"You two, stop right there! This is as far as you go. Now how"s about you drop them packs right there on the road?" The voice was loud and gruff. The two travelers, hooded and cloaked, seemed to pay it no heed and kept on down the road. "Didn"t you hear what i said? You take another step and it may be your last." Came the voice again. A moment after, an arrow flew from the trees off on the left side of the road. it had embedded itself in the dirt in front of the travelers.
What ever effect the bowman had intended for his warning shot had clearly fallen short. the travelers did not start or spook, nor did they get mad and draw weapons. the latter was preferred because if the law got involved, and they some times did, he could claim it to be self defense. about the only thing his shot did do however, was get them to stop.
Their packs looked to be small and light. The bowman wondered if this was even going to be worth it. well, he had already stopped them, he may as well finish it.
Indeed the travelers did stopped and one of the travelers spoke, "I think you missed. the rabbit is a little further that way," she stated and pointed to a hedge a few feet up and to the right. just then a cotton tail rabbit leapt from the bush and deeper into the woods looking for better cover. "It"s ok though, we forgive you." the other traveler finished in a low and mellow voice.
"So, you think you"re smart do you?" Came the bowman"s voice again, as five men step through the trees and brush and onto the road. "Maybe I ought to off you right here."
The bowman was rough and lean. His hair a mess of brown. A few scars visible on his face, and his clothes tattered anywhere they shown from under bits of makeshift leather armor. He had a bow in hand, knocked and drawn, as he stepped out in front of the travelers by a good distance. The other four men, garbed in a similar fashion as what could have only been guessed as their leader, took up flanking positions around the travelers with bladed weapons in hand.
In a quiet voice, audible only to her partner "Cladium, sadly I don"t think we have time to play right now. If we delay much longer all the shops in the next town will be closed and we won"t be able to restock our supplies," Kyreen says.
"Yes, I quite agree. We"ll be on our way shortly." Cladium returned in the same manner. "I told you, we forgive you, no sense in holding us any longer." Cladium stated to the thug leader.
In a mad rage now at the blatant insults this traveler made to him, the leader raised his bow to level it at Cladium, and with a twang of the bow string, the arrow leapt towards it"s target. however, in a single swift action Cladium threw aside his cloak and with his left hand grasps the hilt of his sword, that was buckled at his left side, and lifted it almost completely out of its scabbard. Just high enough for the blades edge to meet the arrows tip, causing the arrow to split down the center and veer to either side of Cladium. The arrow, now in two, struck two of the thugs in the chest that were flanking from the rear. Just as fast as Cladium had drawn the sword, he had returned it to its scabbard and replaced the cloak.
Cladium spoke again, "Won"t you please let us pass? Besides, I think your efforts would be best spent tending to your two wounded friends." At that, two audible thuds could be heard to both Cladium and Kyreen as the two thugs behind them fell to the ground almost simultaneously.
Kyreen could tell that Cladium"s action had done exactly as it was intended to do. The sensation of fear began to emanate from the three remaining thugs. For an instant, she thought she could see the leader shaking and a stunned expression cross his face, but only for an instant. His resolve was quick to take over.
Cladium and Kyreen begin walking again. As they pass the thug leader, the thug drew his sword and turned. Grabbing Kyreen he put his blade to her throat, "If you take another step, this one dies," said the thug with a quivering voice.
Smiling, "It is not for her life I fear, but perhaps yours," said Cladium smoothly while gazing over his shoulder and down at the thugs waist.
The thug followed Cladium"s gaze and saw that Kyreen had the thug"s own dagger in her hand and its blade pressed to his crotch. "You sought to take our jewels, but if you release me, I would be glad to allow you to keep your own," said Kyreen in a smooth and cynical tone. The thug, being overcome with fear, dropped his blade and released her. Kyreen returned the dagger to the thugs sheath and Cladium and Kyreen simply continued on their way down the road.
In a large cavern high up in the drenkur mountains Kelbec found it to be quite warm in here despite it being deathly cold outside where they were. as he looked around his thoughts were interrupted. "Lord Kelbec, you have come just in time. They are finished," came the low reverberating voice of a great gold wyrm.
"Please Mourinatharren, I am not your lord," said Kelbec with slight irritation. he had used the dragons full name first as a sign of respect and secondly hoping it would hold weight to his request to not be called lord.
"Sure I may be of royal blood and ok, i do have the heritage of a silver dragon Matriarch. Unknown to me of course till i was 34... or was it 36? but that"s besides the point..." kelbec remembered having this conversation with Revlis... many times in fact. One that Revlis never took to till recent years, though he did tend to slip from time to time. Kelbec thought however, that trying to explain this to the gold wyrm standing before him now would be pointless. after all it took Revlis near 50 years to understand and he doubted Mourin would grasp it any sooner.
"Master craftsman, may we see them?" asked Revlis. Though he too was a dragon it had been many ages since he had seen the work of his kin. such workings did not come into the world lightly and thus are exceedingly rare. to even see the works of a draconic craftsmen, even for one of his own, was a true honor.
Mourinatharren was said to be the best of his kin in the art of metal work and as he limped around to face Kelbec and Revlis he was holding a fine bundle of gold silk and velvet in his talons. As he laid the bundle down on the table in front of Kelbec, he opened it to reveal two pristine blades of approximately three feet in length. These blades possessed a unique hilt design that places the handle just behind the base of the blade with the intentions of being wielded in the inverted position. at the base of the blade too was an extension of the blade that was shaped to look similar to a talon facing outward. Before Kelbec could take the weapons, Mourinatharren interrupted, "What do you wish to call them?"
Kelbec pondered this for a short while, then in answer he replied, "Ensis."
With that the great wyrm nodded, then heated the blades for the last time using fire from his own mouth as the heat from his forge would not suffice. with a single talon he inscribed the name "Ensis" upon each blade. the draconic runes were illuminated in a bright yellow glow that seemed to leep away from the metal and set them apart from the already, blistering red, glowing blades. As Morin finished the incriptions and the blades cooled, the runes continued to glow. "To he who takes hold of Ensis binds himself to them, and they to you." said Morin as he recited the incantation in draconic. Morin took hold of Kelbec's hands and placed them on top of the runes of each blade. for a brief moment a searing pain shot through kelbec though it faded quickly to a warm comforting feeling that he had never felt before. Morin pulled Kelbec's hands away in time to see the last of the runes softly fade away leaving only bare metal in its place. "My lord, Ensis lay in wait to serve you."
"I have a favor to ask of you Mourin. I don"t have the arms to make use of two sets of weaponry and I don"t trust the use of them in an-others hands," said Kelbec while setting a long sword and a finely crafted rectangular shield, that bore the mark of the elven sun goddess, on the table. "They were my brothers you see, so they have great sentimental value and they will need looking after," Kelbec finished, knowing full well that dragons prided them selves at collecting rare treasures of any sort.
"I would be honored to accept a charge given by one with your heritage, my lord. If it would please you, I would be honored to craft replicas that they may hang in your hall," the great wyrm offered.
Kelbec, looking perturbed slightly at the mentioning of his lordship again, says, "Yes, replicas will be fine." Having already fitted the custom twin scabbard across his back, he lifts one of the identical custom blades. Taking a few practice swings while moving around the cavern, Kelbec looked back over his shoulder at the dragon, "They seem quite light. Are you sure I won"t break them?"
"Impossible!" exclaimed Mourin.
"Good, and they are as I requested?" questioned Kelbec.
"In every fold," replied the dragon.
Walking back to the table, Kelbec picked up the second and flew into a flurry of graceful swings that looked as if he was fighting off one hundred men. the blades sang in a subtle yet distinct resonance as they cut through the air that if heard by an unknowing person, they might confuse it for music in the distance.