The Veredor Chronicles: Book 02 - The Journey West

BOOK: The Veredor Chronicles: Book 02 - The Journey West
2.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

THE JOURNEY WEST

BOOK TWO
OF THE VEREDOR CHRONICLES

By
E J GILMOUR

 

The Journey West: Book Two of the Veredor Chronicles

Copyright 2013
E J Gilmour

 

ISBN: 978-0-9923750-1-0

 

Hero Pages Publishing

www.heropagespublishing.com

www.ejgilmour.com

 

The Journey West: Book Two of the Veredor Chronicles by E J Gilmour is subject to copyright. All rights reserved. This publication must not be altered, printed, resold, shared, copied or redistributed without the written permission of Hero Pages Publishing. This publication is a work of fiction. All characters and situations in this novel are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to real people or situations is coincidental. Cover image: © depositphotos.com/Sari ONeal

 

This novel is a direct continuation of The Sword of Light: Book One of the Veredor Chronicles. It is recommended that you first read The Sword of Light to fully grasp the characters and events of this story.

MAP OF THE EASTERN LANDS

MAP OF THE
WESTERN LANDS

CHAPTER ONE

The sound of
galloping hooves echoed in the night. A flash of white light hastened through the dark woods. Eben could not see clearly because of the murkiness of his surroundings. A light in the distance caught his attention. He watched as a glowing unicorn approached through the gloomy forest. The beast was surrounded by shining light that lit up the tangled trees at the edge of the clearing.

Eben awoke and abruptly sat up. He felt so wide awake that it could have been the middle of the day. The vivid dream remained clearly imprinted in his mind. He leaned over and lit the oil lantern beside his bed. His chamber was situated on an upper level of the palace and was adorned with all manner of royal luxury. King Ignis had been generous in rewarding him and his friends for all they had done for the Kingdom of Ortaria. He put on some clothes and then went to the window and looked down to the palace courtyard far below. Across the far side of the courtyard was a large gatehouse. Several guardsmen stood just within the walls and kept a watch on the night.

A moment later
Eben caught sight of movement at the top of the wall. A cloaked figure emerged from the far side. The shadowy man quietly lowered himself down a rope to the courtyard below and then edged along, keeping to the shadows, until he arrived at the palace wall. Eben kept his eyes fixed on the dark figure who had carefully avoided being seen by the palace guard. The cloaked man quickly climbed up the palace outer wall. A few moments later he slid through a lower level window and was gone from sight.

Eben
drew a deep breath and picked up his sword. He dashed out of his chamber into a long lantern lit corridor. Moments later he was descending a stone stairwell that led down to the great hall on the first floor. The hall was only dimly lit by a single oil lantern that was set beside the main entrance door. His eyes scanned the area; there was no one in sight. Across the hall he could see the open window. Eben slowly walked out across the marble floor into the centre of the hall. Suddenly the dark figure came into sight from behind one of the large stone pillars that lined the outer walls.

‘Who are you
?’

T
he hooded man walked forward and did not respond. Eben drew his sword. The man stopped about twenty feet from Eben and stood still for a few moments; his face was shrouded by the shadow of his hood. His hand went to his side, and he drew a sword.


Getting by the guards was too easy. I see you have saved me the bother of finding you,’ hissed the man frostily.

‘What do you want?’
asked Eben firmly.

‘The Sword of Light; y
ou will give it to me or you will die.’

Eben shook his head
at the man’s words. He knew that one man was no match for him whilst he carried the Sword of Light. ‘I don’t think you know who you are dealing with.’

‘Y
es I do,’ hissed the cloaked man. ‘You are the one they call the Champion of Ortaria. You are nothing without the Sword of Light.’

‘I’
m not going to give my sword to you,’ said Eben, turning the blade to point it at the cloaked man. ‘If you want the Sword of Light you’re going to have to take it from me.’

‘With pleasure,’ said the cloaked man,
suddenly launching himself at Eben.

Eben
quickly parried and stepped back as his opponent swiftly advanced. The clash of blades rang out, shattering the eerie silence of the hall. Eben was forced back toward the stairwell and had to focus to hold off the attack. For a moment Eben felt that he was being overwhelmed. He struck back again and again, and with great effort he pushed the cloaked man back across the hall. Eben pressed forward with all his skill and experience until his opponent was forced into the far corner. With a quick circular motion his enemy’s sword was sent bouncing across the marble floor.

The man, now unhooded, stared at Eben with piercing dark eyes. His skin was death
ly pale, and a sneer was etched deeply into his features. Eben knew in that moment he was dealing with a powerful Skathean. He held his sword at the Skathean’s neck, ready to finish him. The doors of the hall burst open and a large group of palace guardsmen rushed toward them.

‘What’s happening
here?’ cried a guardsman.

‘An infiltrator!’ replied Eben as the
palace guardsmen approached.

‘It’s Eben
the Champion,’ shouted one of the guardsmen.

‘This man
is a Skathean. Bind him and then take him to the dungeon. We must inform King Ignis. I am sure the King will want to question you.’

The
Skathean scoffed and laughed evilly. ‘You will find that I give you no answer but this: the Lord of Veredor wants your sword. He will soon come south to take the Sword of Light from you. You are a fool if you think you’re safe in Ancora; there is no place in Veredor where you can hide. Every servant of the Master is hunting you. You may escape the servants, but you will never escape the Master. Your meagre hands will tremble in his presence and in that moment all your hope will fade. You will soon see what real power is.’ His voice hissed, and his evil eyes were fixed on Eben.

‘The
shadow will never overcome the light,’ replied Eben firmly. The Skathean’s cold eyes stared at Eben as the Ortarian guardsmen placed him in manacles. Eben watched as the guardsmen dragged him away across the cold marble floor. He then returned to his chamber and pondered what he had heard from the Skathean.

**

Eben sat with King Ignis, Cassiel, Red, and Stella around the table in the royal guest chamber.

‘It would be best for you to make a move soon
,’ said King Ignis. ‘It’s not safe for you here if Skatheans can so easily sneak by my palace guard. I will have to double the guard as we simply can’t accept an intrusion like this. You should know that I had the Skathean questioned. He refuses to speak.’

‘He said enough last
night,’ said Eben. ‘You’re right; we should leave for Faircastle soon.’


The council will be held on the first day of summer,’ said Cassiel. ‘We must make a move if we hope to arrive on time.’

‘This council is of great importance to us,’ said King Ignis. ‘
King Edric of Irvaria sent a messenger pigeon and requested a representative from Ortaria be present. Sir Red has graciously agreed to be our representative.’

‘It is an honour and a privilege
,’ said Red.


Most importantly we need you to ask the Irvarians for help. This is a desperate time. We are in great need of assistance. I received word from Duke Egil yesterday. He marched his army north to liberate the far northern Scaldonian town of Aldokan. He found the way blocked by large armies of muckrons. He also said that there are other unknown evil creatures lurking in the north. He has returned to the relative safety of Orelin and has asked for our assistance to liberate Scaldonia. I plan to send him several thousand men, but we still must also deal with the Zyranian Order.’

‘You should wait for Meara to return with the
Irilians and then set sail for Zyran,’ said Cassiel ‘I believe breaching the walls of the Citadel would prove impossible without the help of wizards. Even if you had one hundred thousand men you could not capture the Citadel of Zyran.’

‘You must speak with Meara about this.
Tell her that I hope to cross the Sea of Zyran soon.’ King Ignis looked sadly around the table at the four of them. ‘I will miss the four of you. You have become very important to me. I feel that you are like my own children.’

‘We will return as soon as we can
,’ said Stella, smiling kindly at the King.

‘I
look forward to the day,’ he said, his sadness melting away. ‘You must be careful. We have taken back Ortaria, yet there is still much evil in the land. The Vastorian Wastelands are particularly dangerous; you must always travel cautiously. The Vastorians are a fierce people; you should be cautious about giving your trust to them. If there are Skatheans in Ortaria there will surely be some in Vastoria.’

**

The following morning they galloped away leaving the walls of Ancora behind. Eben rode Swiftwing and led the way along the highway as they entered Altus Forest. The day was bright, and the sky was perfectly blue with not a single cloud in sight. The birds of the forest were singing, and a feeling of joy permeated their surroundings.

As the evening approached they arrived at the small town of
Lantern Hill. They stopped their horses at the edge of the forest and looked at the town ahead. Lantern Hill was set on the hill at the far side of a large field. The sunset sent long golden streaks of light through the smoke that drifted upward from the many chimneys. Eben remembered back to when they were last in Lantern Hill and the experience of fighting the group of Skatheans. He replayed the events in his mind; the memories made him slightly lightheaded.


Do you think we should stay in Lantern Hill?’ asked Eben.

‘K
ing Ignis said the town is safe. There is a small brigade of Ortarian infantrymen based here. I think we should be fine,’ said Cassiel.

‘I agree
,’ said Red. ‘Once we leave Ortaria we’ll have to do a lot of camping, especially when we pass through the deserts of Vastoria.’

They
rode across the field and two guardsmen greeted them as they approached the base of the hill.

‘I’
m Sir Red, and this here is Eben, Champion of Ortaria, Lady Stella, and Lord Cassiel.’ The two guardsmen bowed and saluted them.

‘We were informed that
you were coming. We will tell Baron Sabin of your arrival,’ said one of the guardsmen. He then turned and ran up through the town toward the manor house which was set at the pinnacle of the hill. Eben dismounted Swiftwing and led his horse up the main cobblestone street. The people stared as they passed by. Red was outfitted in the elaborate armour of a knight and looked the most dazzling of their group. Most of the villagers watched Red, and he enjoyed the attention, a wide smile crossing his face. Eben preferred less armour and wore only a light chainmail shirt, a leather overcoat, and gloves. He found it was much easier to fight with less weight.

A short man ap
proached them and was followed by about a dozen Ortarian guardsmen. He was a thickset man with dusty brown hair and bushy eyebrows. A big welcoming smile crossed his face as he reached them.


Welcome my friends. Champion Eben, Sir Red, Lady Stella, and Lord Cassiel, I am overjoyed you have come to Lantern Hill. You probably don’t remember me; I fought with you in the Battle of Scaldonia and the Battle of Ortaria.’

Eben thought
he recognised Baron Sabin’s face from the many faces of the knights who had travelled with them from Scaldonia to Ortaria.

‘We are just passing through on our way wes
t to Galdir,’ said Cassiel. ‘We will stay in the town inn if you have no other lodgings for us.’

‘The town
inn...no, you can’t stay there,’ exclaimed Baron Sabin, horrified at the suggestion. ‘I have guest rooms in the manor house. Please follow me and be my guests.’

They followed Baron Sabin
up the hill and arrived outside the rather large house. The manor house didn’t have any battlements and was simply the largest house in Lantern Hill. Two guardsmen in full Ortarian armour stood by the front door and saluted them as they approached.

‘I will have the stableboy take care of your horses,’ said the Baron. ‘Please, come in and meet my wife and family.’

**

Baron Sabin had his chef
prepare a banquet to honour their arrival. The Baron proved to be a gracious host and made sure that they were completely comfortable. Red and Stella had wanted to explore the town, but Baron Sabin had planned the entire evening. He insisted that they attend his banquet; he had entertainers and musicians perform for them, and he introduced them to a host of noble families who lived in and around Lantern Hill. By the time they retired to bed they were all very tired but also in good spirits.

The following morning they set out early and rode west along the high
way, heading in the direction of Riverside.

BOOK: The Veredor Chronicles: Book 02 - The Journey West
2.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Matilda Wren by When Ravens Fall
Infinity Beach by Jack McDevitt
Swap Meet by Lolita Lopez
Suspiciously Obedient by Julia Kent
One You Never Leave by Lexy Timms
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, Edith Grossman
Endless Obsession by Alex Grayson
Treasure Hunters by Sylvia Day
Forged in Grace by Jordan E. Rosenfeld