Thursday, 7 July 2016

Artel

He looked out across the land in front of him, grassy slopes tumbling away until they met the dark mass of woodland that spanned the horizon. In the far distance his sharp eyes picked out the faint, shadowy shapes of the mountains, stretching their pointed fingertips to touch the sky. He sighed, that was where they were headed and they still had a long way to go.
The journey so far had been harder on him than he had anticipated, and even harder on his bumbling companion. He turned his tousled head to look back at the small camp they had made for the night and the glow from the setting sun caught his features, making his face look unusually dark and his eyes glisten a deep amber. He coughed and the small man who had been busy fussing over the already dying fire looked up at him, a look of what appeared to be apprehension written on his face. He shook his head slightly, wondering why the smaller man always seemed to be expecting to be told off.
"Millon," He spoke quietly, "I believe you have added more than enough wood to that fire, try blowing gently into the embers and waiting until it has begun to catch before adding more."
"Y, Yes Sir." Stammered the smaller man as he rushed to obey.
"And Millon, you really do need to stop calling me Sir, it's beginning to get rather annoying."
"Yes S... Yes Artel."
"Better." Smiled Artel.
Millon shot him a quick nervous smile before turning back round and tending to the fire as instructed. Artel sighed under his breath, it was going to be a long night. He would gladly have made the fire and cooked the food each night himself but every time he went to do so Millon cut him off, mumbling something about how such things were below him and he should sit back and relax. If Millon had any skills with fires or food then this might have been quite nice, however it had quickly become apparent that he did not. The often burnt offerings he managed to produce after hours spent poking and prodding at a dying fire did little to comfort or nourish Artel, but Artel, watching how hard the strange little man tried to please him, did not have the heart to complain.
He sighed again as he turned back to the landscape before him and began to plot which route they should take in the morning. They still had many leagues to cover, and strange match or not, they had to do it together.
Artel's eyes glazed over as he stared at the faraway mountains, imagining the moment when they finally reached the top of Mount Borna and found what they had come all this way to find. Would it be like he expected, like anything he could imagine?
If truth be told he had no idea what they would find they reached the top, all they had to go on were the local legends and the musings of the old Priests. Maybe this was a fool's errand and there would be nothing there at all. Maybe this was all a huge waste of his time. He could be in the lower lands now, fighting for his kingdom, for his freedom, for his Queen. Instead he was standing on a small hill in the middle of some quest that he did not even know the truth of, accompanied by a bumbling fool who was proving to be more of a hindrance than a help.
Artel shook his head again, trying to dispel the negative thoughts from his mind. It would do no good to dwell on them, they only lead to the loss of hope. Besides, his Queen had sent him on this mission and he had vowed to complete it, no matter what the outcome. He had to have faith in her judgement, he had to believe they were going to be successful, he had to try.
Artel stood silently and watched the sun slip over the horizon, plunging the land before him into twilight, and then into darkness. Then he turned and joined Millon by the fireside, gratefully accepting the lukewarm cup of mint tea he was offered.

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