Stones of Morality

Chapter 3 First Impressions

Meeting Duke Kratious

“Dawn will be greeting us in no more than two hours,” Eeeagle said, disdain dripping with every word. He understood the quest Danig, and more importantly the Duke, had in mind. It wouldn’t be easy, and the urgency in the little gnome’s voice gave proof towards his thinking.

“Don’t worry,” Rohan spoke with great reassurance.” “We will get back to the inn, rest for a few hours, and be walking through the palace entrance refreshed and ready for battle.”

The four men came down the stairway and through the battered doors of the mansion. As they peered out they noticed a score of steel clad warriors, great tower shields at arms and spears pointing their way. The line of guards formed at the mouth of the threshold, one officer stood out among them. He carried a longsword in one hand, a torch in the other.

“Halt, on behalf of Duke Kratious and the Royal Guard of Kalindrill!” the commander yelled. “Stand down and drop your weapons, or face death.”

“Says who!” cried Kentorr, anger spewing from his lips.

“Says I, the commander of the night watch, Johan Brox. Now drop your weapons or taste the end of my men’s spears!”

The men were cornered and quickly conceded to the man’s words. In shackles they marched down the hill, not to the palace like Rohan promised, but to the barrack’s dungeon, where they would wait, most likely without proper rest.

“To the inn we go huh? Oh come on Eeeagle, we could use a midnight rendezvous.” Eeeagle sarcastically called out as they made there way into the dungeon chamber. Kentorr looked over at the shapeshifter and gave him a stern glare.
They barely slept a wink, except for Ku. By nature, he was used to getting in trouble. He could recall many days back roaming the tunnels of Lei’lin’ra when he was captured and shackled to the stone walls of those desolate dungeons. He always seemed to find an advantage in those situations, and this would hopefully prove no different. After all, they did kill a vampire. A surly good deed if ever one existed.
Morning rays sliced through the dusty chamber of the dungeon’s barred windows. The men were restless. Sleeping in separate chambers on nothing but the stone floor gave cause for little sleep and many aches. A loud creak was heard from the far side of the room, and in came two royal guards escorting Duke Kratious of Kalindrill and his gnome steward, Danig. The Duke was outfitted in fine chain mail, draped in a long purple velvet cloak, and a scimitar strapped to his belt.
Danig was first to speak. “I gave you two simple instructions. Keep quiet and go to the inn! That’s all I asked, yet it seemed those directions were too much to…
“That is quite enough Danig,” Kratious said with a soft spoken voice. The Duke turned back to the imprisoned men. “My son, Laertes, is missing. He was taken not but a tenday ago by a group of thieves. I have sent for you, so that I could ask for your aid, however, your actions last night have shown me that my steward was wrong in choosing you as my last hope.”
The idea that Danig failed his leader put a scowl across the little gnome’s face.
The leader of Kalindrill began again. “Unfortunately I do not have the luxury of time. I cannot scout out another group of warriors that can take up this most important task. I must put my trust in you a second time, will you men agree to aid in my predicament?
Kentorr shot from his resting position and came forward. “We did the city of Kalindrill a favor last night!”
“Compose yourself Kentorr.” Rohan said with a calming voice. “Duke, we believe to have slain a vampire, not the Lord Barringer as all of you know.”
“This is true,” Eeeagle added.
The Duke looked at them with a content façade, “The incident is being investigated. For now I would like to focus on the task at hand.”
Kentorr was the first to step forward, “I will fight for you my lord, and for your son.”
Danig looked over to the dragonborne with a quizzical look. “Who are you? I did not scout you nor the gnome for this quest.
“They are with us,” Rohan added with a slight smile. “Two of the finest warriors in Kalindrill they are.”
“I see,” Danig said doubtfully.
“I am ready and willing to do what it takes to find your son,” Eeeagle said with pride in his voice.
The Duke gave a slight nod and turned for the door. “Guards release these men and get them fitted for their journey. My four trusted warriors, meet with Captain Roac down at the barracks. He will brief you then debrief you for your journey. Be sure he gives sufficient supplies for the road.”
The Duke and the steward exited the dungeon. The barred doors were unlocked and the four men walked out, united again as one.

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Delphian

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