War of the Fathers – Chapter Twenty

This week’s episode features Chapter Twenty of War of the Fathers.  Click here to download it or press play below. Here is an excerpt from the show:

The smell of roasting meat from a nearby farmhouse tickled Jorad’s hunger, reminding him that he hadn’t had a decent meal in over two weeks. It was too much to hope for a night of rest in an actual bed, but getting a good meal in Zecarani should be a possibility. As much as he wanted a soft bed and a hot bath, it was foolish to take the risk with the Hunwei so close.

Adar and Karn had scouted ahead and reported that Zecarani hadn’t been harmed yet, so they had continued on to the city. They needed supplies, and Adar was still adamant about recovering the tablet, perhaps more so now that Zecarani had days left, if not hours. Jorad didn’t hold on to the hope that Adar did of finding out that the tablet was a weapon, but he understood Adar’s perspective. When you were already grasping at straws, why not grasp at a few more?

They were traveling on the road again because they were close enough to Zecarani now that it was their only option. The Zecarani city wall was several stories high, but from Jorad’s vantage point on the hill, he could make out the town hall and governor’s palace resting in the center. The governor was supposed to be an elected official, but as far Jorad knew, there hadn’t been an election in years. That wasn’t an uncommon happening here on this side of the world.

His eyes focused on the town hall where Deren’s tablet was supposedly kept. It was a tall building with a large indoor assembly center that had been built before the Severing.

If he remembered correctly, the stonework of the building had been chiseled with intricate scenes of stories long since forgotten. Rarbon’s Palace and Council Chambers had been built for the specific function of protecting people. In contrast, the Zecarani town hall and the governor’s palace were meant to display wealth and grandeur. It was nothing short of amazing that these buildings still stood, unscathed more than a thousand years later.

As they descended the hill, he noticed a considerable group of men on horses approaching from the other direction. As they drew closer, he was able to make out the deep red-brown uniform of the Zecarani guard. The leader wore a helmet with three metal spikes at the top. His horse was a large gray stallion that bore a lengthy scar down his neck. Men with lances followed behind.

Jorad and the others were forced to move to the side of the road as the group passed. The leader stared at them as he passed. When he saw Xarda’s sword, his eyes narrowed. A Radim sword wasn’t common in these parts. That, added to the fact that Rarbon was one of the few cities to recruit women into its armies, told the leader where they were from. He looked like he was thinking of stopping, but he continued on.

Jorad counted five dozen cavalry and couldn’t help but wonder where they were going that required so many men. Were there troubles with brigands or had the Hunwei done something to draw their attention? He wished that they had enough blasters to arm them. That, or Ou Qui weapons. If these soldiers were chasing Hunwei, they would only find death.

Jorad moved to stretch and stopped halfway through because of the pain in his lower back. Nobody in their group had much skill with healing. It turned out that Xarda had once apprenticed with a healer but hadn’t picked up very much. She’d done what she could for him, but her skills were limited. Although he was grateful for her efforts, he was having trouble sleeping. If he wasn’t able to find a healer today to examine his back, it would have to wait until Rarbon. He didn’t relish the idea of facing the Rarbon Council with a lower back that burned with pain every time he moved. Or worse, beginning the trials in such a condition.

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