Remnant: Book of Tulefore Chapter 5
Kiaren was awoken some time early by the morning light coming through the window of her childhood bedchambers in the castle. The smell drifting up from the kitchen reminded her she had forgone her supper the previous night. She fixed her blurry appearance in the tarnished glass of the mirror across from her bed before heading down to the grand hall.
The crew departing that morning— Silvus, his recruits, and the mage, as well as the Viceroy- were partaking in an early breakfast before their departure that morning. The Medan, Terren, and the Prince-Elector were at the foremost table perpendicular to the room, carefully taking in their meals. Danus eyed his daughter who had finally shown her face, although he made no move to interact with her.
Silvus swallowed a heavy bite of roasted meat before standing and reached for a section of crusty bread to take up with him. Kiaren was leaning against the side of the empty throne as he approached. She turned her glance away momentarily from the bright rising sun cutting through the fog over the water and through the rear window. “Good morning,” Silvus offered, pushing the bread into her hand. “I didn’t see you yesterday afternoon. I- I was worried, but your father told me not go looking for you.”
“It was nothing.” Kiaren sighed, taking up the bread in her grasp. She yanked off a section and carefully chewed it. “You’re departing today?”
“As soon as everyone has eaten.” He declared, shrugging his shoulders back to the packs of gear arranged among the men.
Another servant coming the way of the kitchen brought with her a plate of extra bread and several steins of the warm ale to further warm up the men on the cold morning. Kiaren stepped down and took one of the servings of the drink in her grasp. She clacked the container down upon the edge of one of the occupied tables, calling up the attention of the men. “A cheer, to those who are bravely departing today.”
Silvus rounded Kiaren and took up his own drink. He looked to Danus and Terren, who had risen as well. “And to you, Lady Kiaren.” The commander replied back. “May those still here continue to look up to you.”
Kiaren jostled the stein up, tossing out some of the lukewarm liquid. “To a safe return, then. Cheers!”
With stomach full, the men had gathered up their belongings and began their trek down to the docks at the edge of the water. Replacing the caravel ship that the Viceroy had arrived upon, a larger galleon had been outfitted and stocked for the relief forces.
Medan planted his hands to his sides and examined the ship. “Impressive, Danus.”
“It was undergoing cleaning in the shipyard. It’s got some barnacles still on it, but it will manage.” Danus boasted. “Your sailors, I assume, can manage it?”
“No doubt here.”
The old crew had been put up in one of the hostels near the harbor and had been loading up the ship since the night previous. The remaining provisions were being brought up the dock and over the gangplank, and the riggings were being arranged to allow them to set off efficiently. Kiaren gazed up to the deck, where a single member of the crew- one of Slanian appearance- happened to be idling, arms over the railings, and eyes fixed to the group below. She paced about and kept watch of the man as Silvus directed his recruits to begin boarding.
As the commotion about the ship died down, Silvus and the Viceroy prepared for their final farewells. The commander pulled himself away to engage Kiaren once again. “You’re not going to offer me a goodbye? You know I will return, surely.”
“It’s not that,” Kiaren said absentmindedly. “I just saw… someone suspicious?”
Silvus shook his head and looked about, his hand to his sheathed sword. “The harbor guard are all about here. Your brother took care of that while you were… absent.”
“One of the crew.” She whispered, rounding the front of the ship. Her eyes were trained to the deck’s railing, but the Slanian man had long since disappeared from her sight.
“Nonsense.” Silvus sighed. “None of the crew will attempt anything. And we’re prepared to defend ourselves from anything, regardless.”
A loud pattering of feet across the boards of the dock ringed in Kiaren’s ears. As they came back around to the side of the ship, the same Slanian man was already sprinting down the dock, a dagger held in his hand, toward the Viceroy.
“Medan!” Silvus yelled.
The attacker sliced through Medan’s garbs and into his arm before Danus or Terren could react and pull the Viceroy fully out of the way. The Slanian scrambled back over the wood planks and found himself stuck between Kiaren and Silvus’ forces, swords now at the ready. The man launched the dagger at Kiaren’s head, causing her to duck out of the way and leave an opening for him to dash out and to the far ramp that led up and out of the harbor.
“After that man!” Danus called out. Kiaren jerked around and sprinted in the direction the man had gone, catching up with the harbor guard who had heard the call.
Medan was crouched to the ground, holding his arm. “Viceroy, are you fine?” Silvus held at his side. “Elwar!” He called for the mage.
“I’m… fine…” Medan grumbled, forcing his large body up. “Just a scratch.”
Danus directed more guards after the attacker before attending to the Viceroy. “Medan, he was one of your crew, was he not? He looked to be of Slanian blood.”
“I… suppose so.” The Viceroy hummed, standing patiently as the mage pulled up the torn and bloodstained sleeve. “I guess I’m lucky I spent much of my time hidden away in my quarters the voyage here.”
Terren urged the mage to haste as he directed his energy up the Viceroy’s arm and into the wound. “He was from the ungovernable faction, then? Why… why would he choose now to attempt to attack you?”
“If I had to assume…” The Viceroy said with a hint of pain, “…he did not imagine having armed forces joining us to so quickly return.”
Silvus looked up to the dissipating fog along the horizon. “Whatever the reason, we need him captured. We’d best have him brought back there and dealt with among his people.”
“I agree, Silvus,” Danus said dejectedly. “Terren, you must go the direction of your sister before she attempts something foolish.”
“I shall go as well, my lord,” Silvus interjected, inspecting Medan’s already healing wound.
Kiaren’s eyes flashed back and forth among the roads and alleyways. The artisan’s district was cluttered, with carts of supplies and projects messing the paths among the buildings. At her bay were a pair of harbor guards. “What did he look like, milady?” One asked.
“A Slanian- bronze skin and a narrow nose,” Kiaren replied.
Another guard scoffed. “More than a few of the guild members around here employ those folk as their errand boys. We’ll never find the one you saw.”
Kiaren glared back at the man, who was already losing focus on the task. She stepped away without offering another direction, taking up the path that began out toward the edge of the city. Her gaze moved back and forth among the buildings, some of which had not yet begun to stir with the work of the local craftsmen. Each sign of movement or shadow brought upon a menacing glance.
The patter of approaching boots against the ground from behind alerted her back around. Terren met up with her, his breath heavy. “The guard told me you were off this way. Why are you going off on your own?”
Kiaren continued her pace and patted at her hip where the heavy-looking weapon was holstered. “I don’t need such accommodations. If you ever came by the barracks, you’ll know I can best just about anyone. The Slanian only had the single dagger on him anyway.”
Terren sighed, his legs moving back and forth furiously to keep up. “You know father… would never offer a single person forgiveness… if something were to happen to you. Even if you do not care for castle life… that is the fact of being of royal blood.”
“And yet, you’re allowed so much.” Kiaren sighed. “Leave me be. We’ll never find this man about this city if we’re searching the same places.”
“I sent the harbor guard off to the shipyard,” Terren said. “Silvus went off in the direction of the castle in the case he decided to loop back around.”
Kiaren shuffled to a halt. “Silvus? Why hasn’t he left yet? Medan hurt that badly?”
“He’s perfectly fine, the mage saw to that. But father wished for the Slanian to be brought back with them and judged by his own people.”
Kiaren scoffed. “His own people…” She paused, looking over the nearby roofs to the castle up on the outcropping. “We have a good deal of Slanians who work the kitchens, do we not?”