Well, there. Chapter 2. I had been so excited when I finished the first chapter that the only thing I was thinking of was post, post post. I realized it was a bad idea because the subsequent chapters would be posted at an indefinite time since the time I would be able to finish them would be indefinite too. But it's already here. So I guess I would just have to trust in your patience.
No sex in this chapter, I'm afraid.
Anyway, enough from me. I want to hear from you. Please, send any of your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: This story is fictional. Anything, or anyone, remotely similar is purely incidental
Eilon woke just before the crack of dawn as he always had ever since he was capable of working. A sigh escaped his lips at the feeling of Arevan's hand on his chest. He turned to look at him wishing for the first time that he was a free man, then, he wouldn't have to wake up so early and leave the arms of his love.
He shook the thought off and got out of the bed as gently as he could so as not to stir Arevan from his sleep. He gathered first Arevan's clothes and folded them. He put them on top of the bed and put Arevan's shoes together. He got his own clothes and wore them. He slipped his feet into his shoes tightly tying the leather straps for the travelling they would do into Eadzon. He wore his belt last, a braided leather with a sheath for him to put his sword. It had been given to him by Arevan.
He looked at him one last time before making his way out of the tent. He gently touched the earring on his right ear which symbolized his slavery, although with Javan, it meant nothing. He was a fair master and loved by all. Again, he shook off the thoughts of becoming a free man.
When he came out of the tent, fog still covered their camp and probably lands thousands of miles from them. He shuddered feeling the coldness of this particular morning, almost like nature was giving him a warning of a foreboding danger. His right hand quickly went to the sword on his side as he looked around alertly. He realized though that he was being foolish, and that he woke up ahead of everyone else even his father who had always boasted of being awake first.
As the morning mist hang around him, he fed Arevan's Hegiens and put water in their trough. He noticed the sleeping guardsmen, but decided to let them sleep since he was awake anyway. He proceeded to feed the other horses with what was left of their food supply. They would be at Eadzon at noon and there would be plenty of food to feed the horses with there. When he was sure that all the horses are already taken care of, he decided to pack everything that he could for the journey into their homeland.
He made his way toward the wagons but a hand roughly grabbed his arm and dragged him out of the camp. The man continued to drag him even when he fell to the ground. He tried to reach for his sword but the man stopped dragging him and kicked him on the sides. He slapped him and kneeled down in front of him as he held his sides gasping for breath.
"You are leaving the caravan now," the man whispered as forcefully as possible.
"Gendor!" Eilon exclaimed, still gasping for breath. But the man was quick to slap him again to stop him from speaking further. Eilon tasted blood inside his mouth. He looked at Gendor, confused. This time, he felt a kick landing on his stomach. "What are you doing?" he finally sobbed. Tears spilled down his cheeks as he held himself because of pain.
Gendor began to pace back and forth in front of him. "What am I doing? You go ask yourself that question, Eilon," he said as he slapped him again. Eilon could only sob some more. The headservant went back to his pacing. "Don't you know how much I hate you? Don't you know what will happen when that idiot inherits his father's business? I will be back to being a mere slave while you," he said contemptuously, shoving his forefinger onto Eilon's forehead, "Turn into a headservant." He spat on the ground, continuing to pace back and forth.
"Arevan is not like that," Eilon answered, feeling the pain subside.
"The hell he's not!" Gendor thundered. Eilon flinched sensing another beating coming. The headservant smirked at his reaction. "I see that you got the message," he sneered. He waited for Eilon to look up at him then kick him again at the stomach with all the anger he felt. The tears started again.
"What have I done to you?" Eilon's cracking voice pled.
"I saw you." Gendor started. He stopped pacing to spit on the ground again. "You were doing something entitled ONLY for a man and a woman! The curse of the gods be upon you!" He tossed a pouch that seemed to be filled with coins at Eilon. "The master shall know of this if you insist on returning with the caravan. Be gone before the rest of the caravan awakes." He turned and walked towards the camp then stopped, and suddenly went back to where Eilon is. He chuckled looking him over. He kicked his stomach one last time and returned to the camp.
Eilon watched him while he clutched at his stomach. His mouth had already stopped bleeding but he could hardly stand up because of the pain. His tears had stopped and were replaced with anger. He vowed revenge. He promised to come back for Arevan someday even if he wouldn't want him anymore.
The thought of Arevan brought tears to his eyes again. He wiped his tears with the back of his hand, took one last look at the caravan, and walked towards to River Omen.
The snake was about an arm's length. It had dark cross bands all the way down the body. Eilon accidentally stepped on its tail and it immediately flatten its neck and got into an aggressive pose. It was too late for him to notice. He had already taken a step forward and saw the snake lunge at his ankle. It pumped venom into his body in a flash and slithered away as if done with its purpose.
Eilon had gone from River Omen. He went to the tree nearest to the bank where Arevan and he used to spend their time before. He carved a little hole and a circle around it on the bark with his dagger. He would occasionally wipe tears off his face. When he was satisfied with his work. He took off his earring and contemplated throwing it at the river. With a deep breath, he wrapped it with a cloth he cut from his garment. He kissed it and stuffed it inside the hole. He indeed had contemplated freedom but at the moment he would exchange anything to be Javan's slave.
He was on his way back to the road to the kingdom when he met the snake. The effect of its bite was almost immediate. His head began to hurt behind his eyes and his vision began to blur. His throat and mouth felt dry and he could no longer take a step. He leaned on a tree he thought was there but instead slumped on the ground in a heap. His thoughts turned to Arevan as he finally surrendered to unconsciousness.
The caravan was on its way into Eadzon but Arevan hadn't seen a sign of Eilon from the time he woke up. He felt panic creeping up his spine, but remained nonchalant on the outside. He rode on Fiero, looking for Shaya. She was his mother's slave and Eilon's older sister. He hung back awhile to wait for her when he saw her. "Have you seen Eilon?" He asked when she finally caught up with him.
"My lord, forgive me but I haven't," she replied with a bow. Her eyes reflected the anxiety in Arevan's. He left her and rode up to his father.
"Father, may I remain awhile? I lost some... something." He told his father almost letting the word "someone" slip. Javan sensed the anxiety in his words. He looked in his eyes and almost saw it water. But Arevan turned away quickly.
"We are hours away from Eadzon. Just be sure to there before the sun sets. And bring your sword with you." Arevan separated himself from the caravan and decided to go back to the campsite. His tears spilled as he rode Fiero around the campsite hoping to find a sign of his slave.
"EILON!" He screamed his name over and over again but only Fiero seems to have heard him. With everything he had, he screamed Eilon's name again to the point of hurting his throat. His voice carried throughout the mountains like a desperate animal pleading for survival. He collapsed sobbing onto Fiero, hugging his neck. The horse seemed to snort his assurance he will never leave. As if having a mind of its own, the horse went into the forest, towards the direction of the River Omen. Weeping his heart out, Arevan let the horse take him anywhere. The horse stopped upon reaching the bank. He jumped down and sat on the grass with no thought of tying his horse which seemed content to eat the grass beside his master, snorting from time to time. He was no longer crying, but tears still flowed freely down his cheeks. Everything inside him hurt. He could almost feel physically a gaping hole between his heart and stomach.
"How could you leave me like this?" he whispered to the river as sobs overcame his body again. "I owned you... You were my slave... But you own my heart... God... it hurts so much..."
Even the river seemed to carry his anguish. He poured his eyes out at the riverbank but felt the hurt come at him even more. He gave a shout at the top his lungs finally extinguishing what little will he had to cry. He stared ahead lost in thought. He vowed to wait for Eilon to come back even if it means forever.
He crawled to the river and washed his face. The cold water seemed to ease him from the pain he was feeling. He scooped some with his hand and lapped it up with his tongue. He could feel it comforting his throat. Its sweet flavor brought him calm as well. He was about to hop on Fiero when something caught his eye.
He noticed a circle carved on a tree. There was also a hole carved in the middle of it. He approached it and ran his fingers over it. In the hole, he saw something stuffed. He pulled it and the earring fell to the ground. He recognized it upon picking it up and became lost in thought of all the probabilities. He felt empty. To him, the earring was an evidence that Eilon left the caravan, but he couldn't convince himself that Eilon would leave him.
He stuffed the earring in his pocket and hopped on Fiero. He will wait for Eilon no matter how long it takes, he vowed as he made his way for Eadzon.
Brion watched as Javan's caravan passed through the west gates of the kingdom into the city of Peron. He knew the caravan would go straight to the neighboring city and capital of Eadzon, Odean, where Javan lives. Carrying a sack that contained his possessions, he decided to walk with the caravan to the capital.He was tall for a kid his age and many have thought him older than what he really was. His light brown hair was long and tied at the back. His blue eyes brightened and darkened depending on his mood. He had grown up in the streets of Peron among other kids that impoverished mothers left behind. He had learned to live on scratches and still share with others what he had. He worked at the market, carrying sacks of stuffs people sell or buy, and was paid with coins, breads, or potatoes. He was a strong worker, and he had made a lot of friends in Peron.
But now, he wanted to leave the place. Not that he was tired of living in it or he wanted to forget the hell he had been living there, he just wanted to join the army. He wanted to be one of those sword-wielding men who protect and expand Eadzon. He knows he has a future there. He had promised to himself that he would come back to Peron. But for now, he would fulfil his dream.
He approached one of the slaves who looked like someone his age. He was a head shorter. Or maybe I am a head taller, he thought with a smile. "Mind if I walk with you? I'm on my way to Odean too."
"Sure. At least I got someone to talk to," replied the slave, looking up at Brion.
"I'm Brion," he said, offering his hands. They shook hands.
"I'm Kal. I've been a slave here all my life. What would you be doing at Odean, anyway?"
"I'm going to join the army. I've been dreaming of it ever since I saw a soldier." He was staring ahead, and it was obvious he was somewhere else living his dreams.
The caravan was already at the outskirts of Peron, and by then, the sight of houses had faded and was replaced by farmhouses in the middle of wide green fields. Up ahead, a forest waited for them, the signs of autumn clearly evident. Still, it provided shade, and the whole caravan itself seem to rush to enter the forest as the sun beat down hotly at them this particular day.
"What are those two horses doing in the cage?" asked Brion.
"What do you mean?"
"Why aren't they pulling wagons or being ridden on like these horses here?" He spreads his arms and points at the other horses around him.
"They're Hegiens. Master Arevan owns them."
"Hegiens? But they look so much like ordinary horses."
"I had thought so too. But when you look at them up close or touch them, you would know the difference," Kal answered with wonder in his eyes. "Their manes and tails are so much different. They're so smooth and soft like feather. I think they're strong too. Just look at their muscles. But of course, no one has ever used a Hegien at a race before, so we don't know. And I think it has a vision like an eagle. Oh, and it snorts a lot!"
Brion turned to him with an incredulous look on his face. "Like an eagle?"
"I just think, you know. Let's just say that this morning its snorting woke me up because it saw something from a distance. Something disturbing mind you." Kal seemed to get altogether serious. He continued with a grave expression, "If I didn't go nearer I wouldn't have seen it. But the horse saw it."
"To see is to believe," Brion said with a small smile. "Who is Arevan?"
"He's Master Javan's only son. He is also a kind master like his father. But he's not here. I saw him went back to the campsite."
"Uh...Kal, can I ask you a favor?" Brion asked, uncertainty written all over his face.
Upon seeing his face, Kal gave him a reassuring smile. He had only met Brion but he thinks he has a good heart. He thought they would be good friends. "Tell me."
"Do you think I could stay with you until I could find a place to stay?" He wasn't sure he could he could find a place to stay. But he thought if he was accepted as a soldier, surely they will make him stay at the soldier's camp.
"Of course," Kal answered with a sincere smile.
"Thank you very much!"
"You're welcome. Just please don't get into trouble."
Brion laughed softly. "Do I look like someone who would get into trouble?"
"Not if you're asleep." They both laughed at the banter between them. It had already seem a long time since Brion approached Kal back at Peron even though it was only a few hours ago. They had already become comfortable with each other.
Stinging cold wind greeted the caravan as the seemingly carpeted forest thinned around them and the almost leaf-severed trees faded gradually from their sights. And soon, the glorious sight of the city that held the seat of the kingdom awed them once more. For a split second, the caravan halted its advance and paused in reverence before continuing its journey into Odean. They could clearly see the palace as it magnificently stood at the center of the city. The two temples at the east and the west hailed travelers from afar and seem to bow down at the palace. Brick buildings of domed and pyramid-shaped roofs spread out across the city adorning it like glittering stars.
Brion gasped in awe at the sight before him. He had heard of how beautiful the capital is, but those stories were all nothing close to what he was seeing before him. From where he was, he could see River Omen slice the four-hundred-year-old city in half diagonally. There was an island in the middle of the river right at the center of Odean, and that is where the palace stood.
"Beautiful, huh?" Kal said breathlessly.
The sun was long gone when Arevan entered the gates of Odean. Torches lit the streets, and a certain quiescence reigned over the city. From every point of the city, the palace looked enthralling. The fire from the torches and the moonlight rendered it with a majestic glow. The temple of Eador at the west and the temple of Ayzon at the east seemed to guard the serenity of the city. There were singings from taverns, and music filtered out from inns.
But all this was lost on Arevan as he trudged with Fiero the way to his home, which his father had named Ayesa or happiness. Before it had become a mansion, his grandfather had bought it as a piece of land from the fortune he had somehow mysteriously acquired. He enclosed it with walls much like the king's palace and built his own little palace to his heart's content. As he said, the fortune is not going anywhere; it is more than he could spend in three lifetimes.
And as Arevan stood with his horse in front of the gate, he wondered if he could still call the place Ayesa. The guards let him in, and he instructed one of them to put Fiero with the Hegiens. He went to his father's chamber where his mother also was. They were snacking on fruits when he found them.
"Father, my slave is gone. I need to replace him," he said, doing all his best not to break down in tears.
"Eilon is gone?" his mother asked. Arevan could only nod his yes.
"I never would have thought," Javan whispered audibly. He looked thoughtfully at his son and said, "You do what you think is best."
Arevan bowed down his head and went out to look for Shaya. He found her with all the other women washing clothes at the well. It wasn't a well at all, but it was how it has been called since the time it was created. His grandfather discovered a spring during the construction of Ayesa. He decided to make two shallow pools on both sides of the spring where the water would collect. He also had a small creek constructed where the water could flow out of Ayesa. Everything was made with pebbles, and it has become one of the most beautiful spots in Ayesa.
"I'm sorry. I didn't find him and I would need to have someone replace him. Would you do that for me?"
The slave girl bowed her head, her eyes brimming with tears, and said in a wavering voice, "I know just the right one, my lord."
"Bring him to my chamber." Arevan walked off in the direction of his chamber. He found it pretty much the same as when he left it at the end of last summer. The bed. The table. The... he slumped down on his bed and was engulfed with wracking sobs. Everything reminded him of Eilon, even the littlest of things in his chamber. The jar of water. The tray of fruits. Everything reminded him of his absence.
A knock interrupted his thoughts, and he immediately sat up. He wiped his tears and nose, and straightened his clothes. "Come in."
It was Shaya bringing one of the slave boys. He was his height with long blond hair and green eyes. There was gentleness about him and his presence seemed to comfort Arevan a little. "His name is Kal, my lord."
The boy bowed his head and said in a gentle voice, "I'm at your service, Master Arevan."
Sorry for the not-so-original polytheistic thing. I didn't even know it was going to be there. I was just trying to imagine what I want the capital to look like and well, I saw those two temples. I would discuss religion (theirs, alright) on the next chapter.
Whoa, too much info there.
And the names too. I didn't know it is hard to think of names for people and places. Training grounds...hehe
Tell me if what I write is crap and if I need to forget about writing and just go back to reading with you guys at email@example.com :)