Continued from the previous chapter, here.
𝔗he mail-clad man followed the green-clad man into a town east of the woods. When they arrived, they found it gaily bedecked, as if for a festival. Banners in many colors hung from the many buildings, particularly from those of stone in the midst of the town–a church, a house for a nobleman of some rank, a tavern, and a pavilion that had been turned into a market. People were in the streets, and there was a joy about their movements that moved the mail-clad man to smile as he followed the green-clad man through the throng towards the noble house.
In front of the house, the two were soon greeted by a guard at its door. He hailed them, saying “Travelers, the peace of the Lord be with you! What brings you to the doors of the Lord Deleiere? For he is happy to greet visitors to the town he holds in charge, but he meets with ire those who would harm his people or their homes.”
The green-clad man nodded his head slightly. “We are but travelers, as you see, who are headed towards the town that has been called Anderitum. We trade in no wares and, although my companion is armed, it is only because there are perils on the roads. We thought but to pay our respects to the master of the lands through which we proceed–although now that we see there is revelry to be made, we would perhaps be happy to stay, if we may. For joy found un-looked-for is doubly pleasing, and we would hope to be happy with you and your folk.”
The guard made reply, saying “I know of no reason why you would not be welcome to celebrate with us, for we soon commemorate the founding of the town. If you stay, you will hear the story of it, to be sure, and many times. But you seem to be richly kept and of no mean rank, so I am sure the Lord Deleiere will be happy to speak with you. If you are travelers, you will have news, and he will be happy to hear it, I’ve no doubt. We but await word from within the home that you are to be admitted.”
The word soon came, and a groom took the horses the mail-clad man and the green-clad he followed, while a servitor took the men into the home. There, they were offered food and drink. The mail-clad man refused, for though his penance was nearly done, it was not fully accomplished as yet, but the green-clad man partook in even measure. They were also offered the chance to wash the dust of the roads from their faces and hands, and that did the mail-clad man do as well as the green-clad. And when these things were done, they were taken to the chamber where the Lord Deleiere sat, and he stood to greet them. When he did, the mail-clad man bowed and the green-clad man nodded, and the lord of the home bade them welcome and had chairs set for them before him.
When the two had seated themselves, Deleiere asked them whence they had come and what they had seen, for he was eager to hear of the world outside his town and its lands, as his duties to his own lord–Sir Falias, who had fought well in years past but could ride no more for an arrow wound through his knee–constrained him thereto. The green-clad man readily assented, and he spun out the tale of their travels together, relaying much of what had happened since the battle between kings from which he had saved the mail-clad man. He said that he had done so, salving such wounds as the knight had there suffered and leading him eastward from the battle. He spoke of the Lady Maelis and their calling upon her, as well as of the town before and the stop in the woods. He said also that the knight had fought valiantly under the trees to defend him, although he said nothing of the wounds that had been taken and mysteriously healed, and he spoke of merchants and other travelers on the roads they had followed, carrying news of the new king.
To all this, the lord replied “News had reached us that a new king had taken the throne with approval of the Church and thus of God on high. Sir Falias no doubt sent a missive with his congratulations to the new king and his oath of fealty renewed to the Crown–and if he is so sworn, then those who are sworn to his service are so sworn, as well. Yet it seems to me that if you are so mighty a healer as to redeem the wounds a man suffered in so grave and hard a battle as I have heard that between the two kings must have been, my own lord Sir Falias will want to see you. The wound through his knee pains him greatly each day, and he sorrows that he cannot ride for the hurt of it. Indeed, walking is a torment to him, though he still forces himself to stride about his home and much of his holdings. But if it were the case that you could do him service of healing, I am certain he would hold himself in your debt and greatly, and the favor of a lord is no small thing.”
The green-clad man said in reply “I will consider your words, for it is as you say, that the favor of a lord is no small thing. But no healing is certain that mortal hands can render. And there are other concerns I have of which I may not speak, save to say that they take me to Anderitum and the knight here with me. They will not work to the harm of your lord or you, but they are not matters I may set aside for any cause.”
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