The Hateful Wars: Chapter Forty
The Lortmil Queen carefully folded the garments of Esmerin and packed them away in her sack. She girded herself in her mithril armor and strapped her sword to her side, and pulled a red travelling cloak overtop. Slinging the sack over her shoulder, she set off toward Courwood. Not long had she walked before passing the burnt ruin of Defile’s End. The blackened and broken stones made her shudder. She offered prayers for the fallen.
Edda’s New Riddle
A few miles further brought her to the cairn that sheltered the bones of the Prince Consort’s host. Like a wight clambering out from a tomb, a wild-haired and wild-eyed elfess climbed from behind the stones and leapt up on top of the cairn. She wore only a loose-fitting hair cloak bound at the waist by a thin leather belt. “Hail, Queen of the Lortmil Mountains,” Edda saluted. “What now for Kristryd Olinsdotter?”
“Edda!” Kristryd exclaimed as she recovered from the start. “I am almost glad to see you. Have you more riddles for me?”
“Just this one,” Edda replied. “How did the Red Fang orcs know to waylay the Prince Consort at this place?”
“I imagine they fell upon him as a random act of savage banditry, not unlike a dozen’s dozen that occur in these mountains every year.”
“Perhaps. Perhaps you are right,” Edda feigned a naiveté that belied her words.
“I feel as if we have had this conversation before Edda. If you know something more, you might say so.” Kristryd grew impatient and rested her hand upon the hilt of her sword where it hung at her belt.
The wild elf continued, “The Grand Court whispered about the People of the Testing. Some said that we plotted against the life of the Prince Consort.”
“I don’t understand your pitchkettle riddles Edda.”
“Perhaps you have not heard that the queen’s dandy led a strike deep beneath the mountains. They say that the third time is the magic. This time the fastaal made good on his oaths. None of the Red Fang orcs remain in the bowl, though many begged for their lives.”
“That’s good news to my ears.”
“Is it? The fastaal persuaded the unhappy survivors to spill the true tale of the ambush. They said an old dwurwife hired their tribe for the deed. She paid them in horse’s flesh.”
A stab of fear plunged into Kristryd’s heart.Continue reading “Heroes of the Fey Kingdom”