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Stargate Alpha - Discussion Forum: Knight of the World ~working title~
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Knight of the World ~working title~
Tim McGeek-Cadman SW
#1 Print Post
Posted on 21-02-2012 01:58
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Joined: 16.06.08

Note from the Author: This is a work in progress, and is only a First Draft. As such, there will be many things wrong with it, and many things that need to be addressed before this approaches anything close to a complete novel. Thank you.

Prologue: A Battle Cast

Paeritas. The white marble masonry rose in levels, each level smaller than the one below. A wall surrounding the vast city protected it. The semi-circular structure led against the cliff face, like a child leaning against its mother. At the very top, a dome sat. Paeritas. City of Kings some called it. Others named it the Fortress City. But always Paeritas was its name.

Stones skittered underfoot. The loose chippings made the once great tiles look centuries old. He walked with a casual gait. Hands in the pockets of his coat, while the cloak over it billowed around him in the wind. His clothes were black, with only trimming in silver as highlight for the otherwise unrelieved black. He walked with a smile, amused at what he saw around him.

In the streets, chaos gripped the people. It was a wondrous thing, he saw. Fear had reached even here, and so the people ran, confused, afraid, and not knowing what to do. Even the soldiers who would otherwise have kept order didn’t know how best to act. The minor Nobles who weren’t important enough to be at the heart of things wandered the streets bickering and arguing amongst themselves. Some things never changed.

Yet he walked, calm and sedate. No one saw his passage, for none of them was supposed to see his passage. He slid by like a shadow. Always felt, never seen. It was the way with him. The way he liked, the way he wanted. Pausing, his gaze slid upward, up past the levels of the city, shining a dazzling white in the sinking sun. His gaze rose up, and up, and up. Up to the very top of the city, where the dome sat. Time to visit an old friend. He smiled, and turned towards one of the deep shadows created by the setting sun.


At the pinnacle of the great city, in the dome of masonry, the same chaos gripped even those who were meant to know what to do. Lords, Generals, and Captains alike stood over a long table, covered in maps and plans, books and papers. Small discussions had broken out between them, and the multitude of voices carried across the Throne Room.

A man stood in the centre of the room, watching it with a forlorn expression. These were the people who were meant to help him understand what to do, and yet they couldn’t even agree between themselves what should be done. With a shake of his head, and a sweep of the crimson robe he wore, the King of Paeritas turned his back on the crowd and surveyed the room instead.

The room was pure white marble. Pillars rose up to meet the curved dome roof, and in the centre of it all stood the throne itself. Raised up on a shallow platform, it sat, waiting. Obsidian Black, from the clawed feet to the high back, it was a pure black that seemed to swallow the light. It was not plain, though. Carvings adorned the great seat. Carvings that were highlighted by shadow alone. It looked like a great black hole surrounded by the white of the room.

His eyes were drawn to the chair, and he stepped closer. The carvings were hard to pick out by sight, yet they were found by touch. A hand slid along one arm of the black chair, the grooves and patterns felt by fingertips alone. It was his chair, his throne. The seat of power for lands that stretched for over 100 leagues in any direction.

The Darkened Throne was its nickname, and no one knew how it had come to be. Rumour said it had just appeared one day, stories claimed it had been a prize, given as the spoils of war. Whatever its origins, all knew that the throne itself whispered in the dark, like a voice on the wind. All feared what it might do someday, if given the power.

He smiled then, and stepped away from it. The power was his, not the Throne’s. He used the power for his purpose. He moved away from the noise of arguing people, to the back of the Throne Room. Needing peace, and quiet for a moment, he retreated to where a long row of arched openings led outside.

A garden had been set on a balcony. This time of year, the flowers were in bloom. Reds, yellows, blues, pinks and too many other colours to name. Yet there they were. Carefully, and lovingly tended to by a select group of people.

The deep blue sky was visible beyond, and it seemed like an almost idyllic counter-point to the chaos that was taking place. The sweet smells from the flowers made it the perfect place to forget the troubles of war and death, forget the bickering of the Nobles, almost forget the world as a whole.

“Frustrating, isn’t it?” A voice asked out of the shadows created by the setting sun. “For all their talk of loyalty, and trust, and servitude to their King, they quibble amongst themselves.” The shadows coalesced into a form. A man. Clad in black clothes, lined with silver, and a cloak that billowed behind him. “Were it me, I’d have struck them down long ago.” The man shrugged and gave a casual flick of his wrist, dismissing the notion. “But then you’re not me, Taerin. Never have been.”

Taerin Parras, Lord and King of Paeritas hadn’t flinched or moved. He had been expecting a meeting. “Indeed, Sataar. It is precisely that type of thinking that resulted in our division. You were always a smart man, I shall give you credit for that. However, for all your intelligence, for all your bravado, you lack one thing.”

The black-clad man arched an eyebrow. “Oh? And what would that be, Lightlord?” He crossed his arms with a thin smile, genuinely intrigued by what could be said next. Despite their differences, it would never be said that the debates they had once had were still full of meaning to them both.

“You lack faith in others.” Taerin said, before he turned his back on the man who had once been a friend. He didn’t ask how the man had got into this place, into his home. He knew well the powers that Harael Sataar possessed. They had studied together, after all. They had once been Lightlords together, wielding the power for a common purpose. Sadly, those days were gone. A distant past that could never be again. One argument, a division of opinion had occurred, and time had allowed it to grow into an impassable chasm of ideology.

Re-entering the throne room, and crossing the polished marble floor, Taerin frowned at the people around the table. “Enough of this!” He cried, and all noise died. Everyone looked at him expectantly. “Gone is the time for foolish squabbles. You wish to be here? Then learn to talk with civility.” He stood in front of the long table that dominated the room, upon which the scrolls of papers sat. “Your intelligence reports suggest the Hathean are moving against us here?” He asked one of his top Generals, whilst pointing at the map.

One of his Generals nodded. “Yes, My Lord. We have a very strong indication they will land at the port inside of a day. Word brings there are as many as 5 ships, all loaded with supplies and warriors.”

Taerin slammed a hand down on the table at that. It wasn’t news he particularly wanted to hear. “By the Light!” He was truly an imposing figure. Not by his sheer size, but by his mere presence. Taerin was only five and a half foot, but the green eyes blazed with a fierceness born out of anger and frustration. The light poured in from the glass at the top of the dome, reflecting off the marble white pillars, and white stone floor.

His power was now surrounding Taerin. A soft glow of green, like a small fire that from every inch of his skin. It was not a simple glow, like the sun, but a fire that rolled around him. He stared at the map on the table. It showed the land is it was known, and markers pointed to the companies of his army. “Where do we stand?”

No one could answer before a high-pitched roar filled the air. It came from above, around, everywhere. That sound sent a chill down the spines of all those present. “Dragos!” The cry came from outside.

His eyes going wide, Taerin knew they had precious little time to act. “Defend the lower levels; we cannot let them get into the city!” But the men were already moving. The Nobles deeper into the safety of the court, the soldiers out into the open. Not caring for his personal armour or weapons, Taerin followed the soldiers, intent on defending his home.

The Dragos were not prone to attacking cities by themselves. Indeed, they usually kept to the mountains, unless summoned by some will of intention. Standing outside the Throne Room, Taerin looked sky-ward, raising a hand to block out the harsh rays of light that blinded his vision. The unearthly shriek of the Dragos came, and cross-bows were raised, seeking the targets.

Heavy wings beat against the air, a steady rhythm that thrummed through Taerin in time with his own heart. The Dragos shouldn’t have been there, it didn’t make any sense. Unless something had occurred that he hadn’t foreseen. Lowering his sight from the sky, he froze. For that one moment, he understood his enemy’s plan with a clarity that left him unable to think.

The Dragos were there for a purpose: distraction. The bait with which the enemy was to draw his attention away from where it should be. The army marched towards his city in a wave. There was no time to call his forces back. They would take days to reach the city, even if word could be sent.

Taerin Parras, Lord and King of Paeritas stood and watched as his own destruction marched ever closer, and knew there was nothing he could do except meet it head on. If his enemy’s wanted the city, they would have to do so after he was dead, he decided.

“That’s the plan, old friend.” Sataar’s voice echoed in his mind with a chuckle. “That was always my plan…”
The only truly original idea left in the world is to create an idea void of originality.
Tim McGeek-Cadman SW
#2 Print Post
Posted on 21-02-2012 02:07
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Chapter I: Village Life

Wood creaked in the wind as the sign was buffeted. It hung between two posts. The posts themselves set deep into the hard ground curved, and crossed over each other some thirty feet in the air. The arch was the entrance into the village. What was once a vast field of grass had become a patchy square covered in dead greenery and withered foliage. The buildings themselves stood proud, despite the desolation around them.

Built solid, timber beams, with thick planks comprising the walls, in an attempt to block the winds that blew through with persistent frequency. The buildings rode the central path of the village, until at the very end, the largest of them all stood. Three levels high it was, and looked upon the structures as if a Sheppard, guarding over its flock. This was the Hall. Next to the Hall sat the stable yard.

The stable was no exception to any other building. It was a short, long building. While it could hardly be considered warm, it at least offered shelter against the sharp wind. “Oh come on, Allain. It’ll be fun. Besides, they’ve already agreed to go, on the condition you do as well.” Torin Cabbot watched his friend eagerly. “Your sister’s coming.” He let out a broad grin, hoping that would end the argument.

Allain Hallan just looked at Torin with an expression that spoke volumes. If the boy thought using his sister was a good idea, he was even more foolish than the village thought him to be. “Are you kidding? It’s the Springwood!” The horses whinnied in their stalls at the shout, and Allain dropped his voice. “It’s the Springwood.” He repeated in a calmer voice.

Along the main road in the village about halfway between the stables and the village entrance, was a side road. It moved East, hugging to the tree-line of the Springwood, an area of trees that surrounded a spring in the centre, where children often played, and adults went for a more intimate and secluded time, away from prying eyes and ears.

Once the trees were majestic, broad, towering oaks with wide-reaching branches and their solid presence was as unwavering as the village itself. Yet now things were very different. Dried leaves cast on the ground, the branches stood bare, and the wood seemed more desolate, more vulnerable. Still children played, though the adults didn’t venture into it much. There was something about it that put them off. Not children though, very little could put children off.

Throwing up his hands, Torin just shook his head. “So be it, then. By Fire, I thought you were smarter than to be taken in by those tales.” With a last shake of his head, Torin left the stables carefully, darting out in an attempt to not be seen.

Following his friend a moment later, Allain was not five paces from the Stable when he froze at the sound of voices.

“Well, that was a waste of time.” The doors to the hall opened, and a dozen men exited. One in particular threw his arms up in a total loss, and turned to the others. “I mean, we give what was asked for, and the answer is still no.”

Greadon Hallan looked at his friend in resignation. “Will, I did try to warn you that they wouldn’t go for it, but you just had to push. I’m telling you, the Council will not let you rip out what has been there for over a hundred years, just because you think you can do it better, no matter how many plans you give them.”

Greadon was a stocky man, broad of shoulders, and a face that seemed unfit for smiles. He wasn’t an unfriendly fellow, he was just known not to smile all that often. Yet, for what he lacked in his demeanour, he more than made up for in his years. Hardly the oldest of the village, he was nevertheless considered one of the older gentleman.

Snorting, Will Locklan’s slender, yet tall frame turned away to stalk down the path. He may have been one of the best Carpenter’s in the village, but that just added to the man’s belief that he could in fact do anything. Many of the villagers watched him before turning to tend to their own business. Graedon watched the man depart, and then his eyes locked upon his nephew. “Ah! Allain. Good. I was wondering what you’d got to. Are you all right my boy?”

Allain blanked his face of the worried expression his uncle must have seen. “Y-yes.” He said, and took a breath. “Yes, I’m fine; I was just in the stable, seeing to the horses.” He hoped his uncle didn’t question it, as he didn’t relish the thought of actually saying what was going on.

Waving a dismissive hand, Graedon set it aside. “Oh, nothing you need to worry about, lad.” He paused then, looking off into the distance. “I could have sworn I saw young Torin scamper across the Green.” He turned a suspicious eye on his nephew. “The two of you wouldn’t be up to something would you?”

Raising both eyebrows, Allain attempted what he hoped was a surprised look. “After Master Parlat’s store-room burned down? Hardly, Uncle.” He still felt the man’s hand on his back from that, and it was a month gone already. “I was simply seeing to the horses.”

Sighing, Graedon nodded. “Okay, well I guess you can take the horse home and get started with the sheep. I’ll be here a while yet, but no sense in you hanging around.” Turning, the man headed back away from the stable, to the few that were waiting for him. It seemed that they had yet ore to discuss.

Breathing out a small sigh, Allain cast one last look in the direction his friend had gone, before going to fetch his horse. It wasn’t that Torin was altogether a bad person. It was more that he didn’t know when to stop, or more accurately, he didn’t when to keep his mouth shut. More often than not, the boy had gotten himself into trouble - and his friends along with him - because he couldn’t keep silent. Placing the saddle on the mare’s back, and tightening the straps, Allain got a look from the white animal. For a brief moment, he paused, and thought back to the day when she had appeared.

It had been a bright summer’s day. Allain was already up a pot over the fire to make tea. He hadn’t even managed to light the wood underneath before a high scream came from outside. Grabbing a knife from the kitchen on his way out the door, Allain came to a halt in the yard. The scream had come from Kay, and he looked wildly around for her. Such was his intensity to find his sister, he almost missed the obvious standing right there.

Graedon was right behind him, and the man came to a dead stop, staring, not quite believing his eyes. “By Fire! That’s a horse!” He forgot the reason they were there, such was his surprise at seeing the creature in his field.

Looking back, Allain felt himself freeze. His mouth open in stunned awe as he gazed at it. Pure white, as freshly laid snow, he saw it grazing the grass. As if sensing them there, the horse looked up, fixing them with a look. Shaking its mane, the horse trotted over to them. Graedon held a hand out to keep his nephew back, but Allain dodged it. He had never seen anything quite as beautiful in his life.

Reaching out a hand, Allain patted the horse’s neck. He stroked the fur, and got a nuzzle in return. It seemed the horse liked him. Hearing a cry of glee, both men looked to see Kaylel running up the field. It seemed she had been following the horse. When his sister got closer, the horse danced slightly, uneasy about her energy.

Putting a hand on it to try and calm it down, Allain held his other hand out to Kay to calm her down as well. “Easy, Kay. It doesn’t like high screams or people running at it.

“Isn’t he pretty?” She cooed, looking at the horse and ignoring her brother.

With a frown, Allain gently patted the horse as he stepped towards the hind quarters, checking something out. He turned back to Kay. “It’s a mare.” He announced, and saw her confused look. “Girl horse.” He had learned all about horses. Many of the traders who came through the village had whole teams of them, and he had spent his time asking questions, while the villagers bought what they needed.

“Can we keep her?” Kaylel looked to their uncle with a pleading look. “Oh please! Please say we can keep her!”

Allain himself looked to Graedon. “I don’t see any marks or brands to say she belongs to someone.” He said taking a slow walk around the horse. “Nothing to indicate she has an owner…” It was strange though, for ah horse to just suddenly turn up in a field like that, especially so close to a house. “That is… if you were considering it.”

Graedon sighed and eyed the horse wearily. He could see Allain was already enjoying it, and Kaylel was giving him the big innocent eyes. “Think you can handle her?” He asked his nephew, crossing his arms over his chest.

Looking at the horse with a calculating look, Allain shrugged. “It might take me a few days to find out if she has had any training, and if she is trainable. If she is, I’d be able to take of her. If not, we can always let her go.”

With a sigh, Graedon waved Kaylel inside. “All right, put it in the barn for now, until we can sort something out.” He ushered Kaylel inside, as her scream of excitement sent the horse into another dance of panic.

“I want to name it!” She said as the door closed behind the two of them.

Shaking his head, Allain guided the horse to the barn. It was really the only place to keep her, until a stable of sorts could be put up. Using some strips of leather, Allain put together a make-shift leash that would at least stop the horse running away. Carefully, he tethered the animal to the metal rack on the wall that usually housed all the tools. There was plenty of hay in the barn, and more than enough slack to let her roam around, but not go past the door.

With a look at the horse, Allain sighed. It wasn’t the best solution in the world, but she hadn’t really given them much chance to get anything done, and he did have work to do that day. Maybe when they were next in the village, he could see the local tanner about getting something made up. Easing the door closed slightly, Allain still felt badly about shutting her away in the barn, but he went to his work for the day.

With a shake of his head, Allain cast the thought aside. It wasn’t the time to start thinking on the past. Using the small stool, Allain launched himself into the saddle, taking a moment to settle before patting Snowflake’s neck. She had always been a very good horse, never once having refused him, or thrown a tantrum. For that, he was pleased. “Okay, girl.” He said in a soft voice. “Time to head home.”

Whether she actually understood him, or simply knew what to do, the horse clopped out of the stables. Ducking his head, Allain avoided the low hanging beam. Outside, more people were appearing, going about their day. Many said a greeting to him as he passed by; others were too engrossed in their work to notice.

He saw the carpenter, Locklan, busy moving things around in his storage shed. The miller waved to Allain on his way, which the lad returned. Despite the poor crops and dying cattle, people had continued on regardless. It was the one thing he was glad for, to be living in this village. Many of the surrounding inhabited areas had given up, gone to the towns and cities to look for food and work. But not here. Not this village. Here people carried on, unwilling to surrender, and give in.

Using his knees, Allain turned the horse off the main road in the village and along the East Road. It was the quickest way back to the farm, and he needed to get some things done before his uncle returned. Even so, it wasn’t the most pleasant of routes to take. The trees, once majestic and grand, had wasted away into gnarled, withered trunks and braches. The Springwood - named for a pond of crystal clear water in the centre - had once been the largest forest for miles. Now, it was a creepy place that all of the adults in the village avoided.

Glancing at the trees, and the desolate wilderness within them, Allain shivered. The general consensus was that something lived in there, something wicked and evil. It didn’t stop many of the young lads and girls from venturing in, but every now and then there was that sense of fear, of dread.

Snowflake snorted, and Allain almost leapt out of the saddle at the sudden noise. Laughing nervously at himself, he gave the mare a light prod, and she picked up the pace. It wasn’t a short way to the farm, and he didn’t want to spend all day next to the Springwood.


The Springwood fell away on his right, as the road eased towards the North. Looking to the left side of the road, Allain saw the fence that marked the farm, and home. Easing Snowflake towards it, he slid off the saddle and stepped forward to open the gate. Holding the reins in one hand, Allain let the horse in, before closing and securing the gate after her. More than once, they had lost a sheep or a cow because the gate had been left unlocked.

Leading Snowflake by the reins, rather than climbing back into the saddle, Allain headed for the small and cramped stable that sat beside the apple tree. It had been many years since the tree had given anything edible, yet it had always been an apple tree. The sable itself - built only when the horse had arrived wasn’t the biggest or the grandest in the world, but it was at least clean, and dry, and the straw bales stacked around kept most of the heat in.

Ensuring the horse’s feed was fully stocked, Allain brushed the animal down. There wasn’t much of anything in her mane or coat, but he liked to brush her down anyway. It stopped tangles, and was his way of showing that he cared for her. After a final pat on the neck, ad a nuzzle from the horse, Allain left the stable, heading for the farm house itself.

The house wasn’t much to look at, a simple, square two-storey building, but it was home. Smoke rising from the chimney spoke of the fire that was burning inside. Given the chill that was settling in, a fire was just the thing he needed.

Pushing open the back-door that opened into the kitchen, Allain felt the warmth of the house. It was like a barrier that kept the cold breeze outside, better than any door or wall ever could.

“Is that you, Allain?” The voice of Kaylel called from somewhere inside the house. Closing the door behind him, Allain hung his coat beside it, as his sister entered the kitchen. “Oh, good. Is Uncle Greadon with you?” She looked around, as if expecting the man to appear out of nothing.

Casting his sister a look, Allain sighed. “No, Kay. He’s still at the village.” Her expression perked up at that. “He wanted to stay and get some things done, so told me to head home. Why do you ask?” He knew why she was worried, but didn’t want her to know that, just yet. Sometimes, his sister needed to be herded into a corner before she would see reason.

Waving it aside, Kaylel put on an air of innocence. “Oh, no reason. I was just curious if the two of you came back together.” Turning to go back into the only other room on the ground floor of the house, Kaylel had a small bounce to her step. “I’m going to go wash up before he gets here.”

Watching her for a moment, Allain sighed. “You’re not going.” He said, finally. “I spoke to Torin, and you’re not going.” He saw her stop in her tracks. “I don’t even want to know what you were thinking, but seriously. The Springwood? With him?” While he was also the town scoundrel, Torin was also known to be a favourite among the girls.

“You’re not my father.” Her green eyes locked onto his brown. “I don’t see any reason why you get to tell me what to do.” She was the younger of the siblings, and wondered why that meant he could tell her what she couldn’t do. There wasn’t anything dangerous in the Springwood, except a wolf or two. Wolves could be scared away easily. Most of the stories were just that: stories told by frightened parents to make their children frightened as well.

Pinching the bridge of his nose, Allain sighed. “I know.” He said in a voice barely above a whisper. “I am not father. I can’t tell you not to go, all I can do tell Uncle Greadon if you insist on going.” He looked at her, with her wavy, sandy hair, and couldn’t help a smile. Even when she was being a brat, she was still his sister. “Family look out for each other, I just know that something bad will happen if you do this, which is why I have to stop you.”

Looking at him, her mouth open, she couldn’t believe he’d actually do that. “You… you wouldn’t!” Kaylel saw the look on his face and took a small step back. “Oh, come on, Allain! This is about the only fun a girl gets to have!” Crossing her arms over her chest, she gave him a pout, knowing it wouldn’t work, but wanting to, anyway.

Shaking his head at her, Allain headed back for the door. If she was going to be like this, he’d use what light there was left to get things done outside. “Don’t go.” He said, putting on his coat. “If you do, I won’t have a choice in the matter.”

Seeing the door close behind him, Kaylel just shook her head. “Men.” She muttered. “Always think they know what’s best.” Climbing the stairs to the upper floor of the house, Kaylel fumed at the injustice of it. Allain had always been trying to protect her. She was so sick of his protection! She was almost sixteen years old. She could think for herself, make her own decisions. What made him so great that he knew what was best for her?

Slamming her bedroom door closed, she fell back onto the small bed and stared at the ceiling. It was getting dark outside, and the light was slowly fading from her room. Would it really be a bad thing if she just went anyway? Sure, Allain would tell their Uncle, but she’d be out, having fun. If she was going to get in trouble for something, she’d much rather be guilty of it. With that thought in her mind, Kaylel smirked, and went to the chest that held her clothes. She’d need something pretty special to go out in. It couldn’t be just any old thing.


The door slammed shut behind him. Allain stood for a moment in the chill breeze, and just shook his head. Didn’t she realise he was trying to help her? “Women.” He muttered, walking to the chicken coop to make sure everything was as it should be.

There had been some issues of late, with wolves and wild dogs coming out to steal a sheep or a chicken. While their farm had been lucky, word had come of some loosing their entire livestock in one night. Allain could hear some shuffling as he approached the chicken pen, and lifted the lid. Sure enough, they were all inside, ready for the night. Locking it back up, he made sure everything was secure and headed round the back of the house to the sheep.

Didn’t Kay see that he was only trying to keep her safe? Torin may have been a fool, but he knew his way around young girls. Moe than once he had been chased out of haylofts and cellars. With a shake of his head, Allain lean on the fencing that kept the sheep in place. The sheep were settling in for the night, and so he figured he would too. There was nothing more to be done for the day, it was getting too dark to see anything.

Turning to face the house once more, Allain saw a flickering light in a window. I was the window his uncle always sat at in the evening when he was reading, which meant the man must have been home. Strange that he hadn’t heard Graedon’s approach to the house, but he shrugged it off. A thousand thoughts had been running round his head. He was bound to miss some things.

Pushing the front door open, he once again hung his coat up, this time next to his uncle’s. “Greetings, Uncle Greadon!” He called, wanting to announce himself before he ventured too far into the house. Too many times he had not alerted the man to the fact it was him, and he had found himself facing a pot or a rolling pin. Neither were pleasant things to be hit by.

“That you, lad?” Graedon called back, knowing full well. “I was beginning to wonder where you had gotten to. The sound of creaking wood came then, and the man appeared in the doorway. “Your sister’s been awfully quiet since I arrived. Did you want to call her down for supper?”

It was only then that Allain noticed the large pot sat on the stove, ad while he would like nothing more than to examine its contents, the man had asked him to fetch his sister. Leaving the cook pot to be attended by his uncle, Allain cast a glance into the other room and saw a small circle of candles burning on the table next to the chair. Sure enough, Graedon had been reading.

The upper floor of the house was divided into four smallish rooms. Three of which were bedrooms, one each for himself, Kay, and the largest of them for Graedon. The last room was a storage room, or anything that wasn’t needed in the near future, or for things that just needed to be put away.

Standing just outside his sister’s room, Allain tapped lightly on the door. “Kay? Uncle says supper is nearly ready.” He heard no reply. Tapping again, he made a slow count to ten in his head before lifting the catch on the door and pushing it open.

The room was dark, as was the sky outside the window. Taking the small box of matches that was always beside the door, Allain reach up to light the small lantern that hung from the ceiling. Golden light filled the room, illuminating the sparse walls, and showed off the dark rug on the floor. His eyes moved to the bed, still perfectly made, and empty. There was no sign of her anywhere in the room.

With a frustrated growl, Allain walked over to the window. He knew she was long gone, but still he looked, in the slim chance of seeing her. “By Fire, Kaylel.” He growled. “I told you not to.”

“What’s taking so long?” Graedon called from downstairs, and Allain knew he had to say something. He knew he’d regret it, but what else could he do? Protecting her sometimes meant getting her into trouble. With a long, last look at the still and empty farm, Allain closed the shutters, to keep out the chill and doused the lantern. Closing the door behind him, Allain resigned himself to a difficult conversation that he wished she hadn’t pushed him into.
The only truly original idea left in the world is to create an idea void of originality.
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