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Rallying Themes - Ch 2

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By chanthar
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As he exited the peaceful landscape the young man was struck by the difference in the forest which surrounded it. In the past it held such a dark foreboding that it made everyone fear to enter, not to mention the fact that the trees would attack whoever attempted to penetrate the guardian ring. Now the menace had retreated to an uneasy calm. If someone came with the intent of harm then the forest would defend those within, but only then.

Danny wandered through the forest to the edge. As he came to where the land opened to a meadow another thought struck him. He voiced this as he pondered. “I don’t know how I’m going to get from here to Leldyna. The conventional way of ship travel will take too long too.”

He sighed and put his hand to his forehead. After another minute of pondering he turned east to face the ocean. While he stared out over the seascape a new thought bubbled up. “Maybe I can use the door portal. But that only works if I know the location of another door or place to open it into. The Leldyna I remember was destroyed so if I try that then who knows where I will end up. Another choice is to try and focus on my sister. I know what she looks like now. Maybe I can track her. If she recognizes me then maybe she can show me a map or something to help.”

“Meanwhile I should travel as far as I can until nightfall.” He turned back to face south. Danny began a steady stride to carry him through the soft rolling hills in the meadow. He continued on with the only stop being to snack on fruit he’d packed in his backpack.

When finally the sun set over the horizon the young man paused in his travel. The place he arrived in was meadow as far as the eye could see to the north, west, and south. To the east was beach and ocean. As far as he could tell he had entered the kingdom of Ramia leaving the kingdom of Tallis behind.

At the edge of the meadow he sat down to rest. The backpack slid off to land on the ground. He laid his head on it to use as a pillow. His eyelids slid shut so he could rest. Around him the stars began to dot the sky around the full moon.

By closing his eyes in one world he opened them in another. Danny blinked as he glanced around the interior of someone’s room. The whole air of it had a feminine quality. The floor and ceiling was off-white while the walls were pale lavender. The furniture was built of blonde wood. Each piece of a desk, dresser, side table, and bed were placed against the walls. A mirror was beside a doorway that led into a bathroom. Movement from the curtains around the bed made him turn to stare at it.

The curtain pulled back to reveal a familiar figure. His sister sat there blinking rapidly as she was pulled from sleep. The twin had pale skin opposed to his dark. Her hair was a blonde color. The eyes he remembered as rainbow hue in childhood had faded to only show purple. She was in a loose white nightgown with the blankets still around her waist.

“Eh...” Danny blushed faintly and ducked his head. “Sorry to disturb you sister.”
“Danny?” She gasped with eyes blinking. “When did you get here?”

“I don’t know how long I have. I’m only visiting temporarily. I need help.”

She continued to blink. “Help with what?”

“I, er, don’t know how to get to where you are.” He replied with a sheepish look. “I thought I should try to communicate to you to find a quick way to use a portal from where I am to where you are.”

“Well it would be a bad idea for you to suddenly pop up in the castle,” Rae replied.

“I figured that, but I don’t know of any place to appear in.”

Rae nodded then pushed off the blanket so she could stand. Once she was up she stumbled to her desk. She pulled over a piece of parchment and pen. Then she began to sketch. “The only place I know is the port city of Thandiel. I remember an inn there. I can sketch the room. I don’t know if it will be good enough.”

“That’s more than I have.” He smiled and nodded. “Thanks sister.”

Rae nodded, smiling as she doodled on the parchment. “So I will see you soon?”

“Probably. If this works then I’ll be here sooner than by boat. I don’t know what will be going on between me and the rest of the people though.” He frowned. “I may be met with resistance because of how I’ve changed.”

“I had to work to gain the people’s trust, but it’s worth it to be home.”

“Have you met mother and father yet?”

She nodded. “Yes I have, though I’ve not been able to talk with them for long. I’ve also met our little brother and cousin.”

Danny peered over her shoulder to watch the drawing take form on the parchment. “I haven’t met Murry in person yet.”

“What?” She blinked up at him. “What do you mean by that?” Rae finished the sketch and pushed it into full view for him.

“I’ll explain later.” He smiled and moved his hand to pat on the top of her head. “I think I have to go now. G’night Rae.”

“Goodnight Danny.” She smiled and stood to wander back to her bed. She covered her mouth as she yawned.

With a blink of his eyes Danny was transported back to the land in which his body lay. His eyes opened to stare at the changed sky in the glory of the sunrise. He pulled himself up while he yawned. “Now I have to find somewhere with a door.”

He fastened the backpack over his shoulder then started off. While he walked he glanced around to see if he could find any sort of town or settlement. In the far distance southwards, the top of what looked like an abandoned lighthouse rose over the horizon. He turned his footsteps to travel that way. It was nearly night time by the time he reached the building.

The eastern shore of the continent had a shallow bay in the middle of it. At the furthest southern part there was an outcropping of rock. Once a bustling sea town, the place was now deserted after the Shakti Takeover. The only thing that survived intact was the lighthouse. It was built out of dark brown rocks stacked and mortared together in a way that seemed haphazard with the individual pieces. The very top was made of red tile. Black wrought iron twisted around the windows and the space between the pillar and roof.

Danny glanced around the sands as he strode over them. Then he turned his eyes to the rock the lighthouse was situated on. He had to climb up stairs carved into the face of it to reach the building.

With the picture of the tavern in his mind he approached the door. He glanced around to make sure he was not being watched. Then he turned back to the door. He pulled it open to peek inside. After that he closed the door then knocked on it. “I want to go to Thandiel,” Danny said. With the command spoken he pulled open the door again.

Where once had been stairs leading up to the center of the lighthouse there now were stairs that led down to a wooden floor. Danny entered the stairway and pulled shut the door behind him. His eyes turned to look around the interior of the new place.

It seemed that he had descended from a room in the second floor of the tavern to go to the first floor. Positioned directly across from the stairs there was a bar area with tables scattered around the floor. To the left was a small alcove that served to hold a couch for lounging. To the right was a large window that showed the streets outside. Out of the window he could see the darkness of the night which obscured the sight of the ocean further on.

One of the servers looked at him with a confused expression. It was obvious she wanted to blurt out a question as to where he had appeared from, but she stifled her exclamation. She forced a pleasant expression as she asked, “May I help you sir?”

Danny blinked at her then smiled. “Yes please, I’d like a drink.”

“Of course. Please take a seat at one of the tables. Which drink would you prefer?”

“Cranberry wine,” he replied with a faint nod. Danny turned to wander to a seat at one of the smaller round tables by the window. His eyes stared out at the street. It seemed too late at night to make a cordial visit to the castle, when he found out where it was and even if he had ended up in the correct town.

“Here you are sir,” the waitress said as she returned with his drink.

“Thank you,” he replied. He dug through his pocket then pulled out a coin. “I’m not sure if this converts, but it is all I have.”

She took the coin and held it up to stare at it. “This is a coin from Lonan. It will pay for the drink and a room for the night if you wish.”

“Excellent. I would like a room thank you.”

The waitress nodded and wandered back to the front of the tavern. Then she returned with a key in place of the coin. She placed it on the edge of the table. “Room ten on the second floor is yours.”

“Good,” he said with a nod. He leaned his elbows on the table with the glass in his hands. He sipped at it slowly while he gazed outside. When he was done he traded the glass for the key. With it in hand he wandered from the table to the stairs and up them to his room.

He unlocked the door and slipped inside. The interior of the room was like many that he had entered before in his travels. There was a bed on one wall with a dresser across from it. On top of the dresser was a basin and pitcher for water. He wandered over to the dresser and pulled open the top drawer. The backpack he placed inside along with his tunic. He shifted out of his boots to place them beside the dresser. Once he was settled Danny turned to the bed. He flopped down on it to rest.
There were no dreams. Danny was able to recover from the night before and all that had transpired since. When the sun rose the next morning he did as well. He rolled out of bed and stumbled over to the dresser.

Sometime before dawn the pitcher had been filled with water. That disturbed the young man slightly but he didn’t make a fuss over it. He lifted the pitcher from the basin and poured the water from one container to the other. The pitcher was placed beside the basin on top of the dresser. Danny splashed his face and torso for a quick wash. When that was done he searched for a cloth to towel down with. Sure enough there was a small towel under the basin. He tugged it out and ran it over his body to pick up the wet. Leaving those things there he pulled on his clothes to prepare to leave. He took the key with him to turn in at the desk.

Danny decided to skip breakfast to save time. He turned in his key and wandered out of the tavern. With the world bathed in light he could see where he had ended up. He wandered down the street to an open spot near the center of town.

Now the rest of the island could be seen. The town of Thandiel sat on the western part of the island kingdom of Leldyna. A river that emptied into the sea was to the south of it. It was named Reilly. Halfway down the river it was crossed by two branches of the river that went north-east and south-west. They were named Ethiriel and Varana respectively. Past that to the east was a river under a waterfall that fell down the side of the plateau which held the castle on top of it. Its name was Addylyn.

He stared out across the land he could see, estimating it would take a day or two for him to travel the distance. As he didn’t know anyone here Danny thought it might be best to sleep out under the stars.

With that assessment finished the he turned to walk down the street. His eyes darted around the crowds of people he passed. His eyes lifted to the buildings as he looked for shops to buy fresh supplies for the journey.

Thandiel was set up as one of two ports for ships to dock in when they arrived in Leldyna. The second town, Tobostiel, was located on the shore on the opposite side of the river. Between them they could block traffic down the river into the heart of the island. The town was set up so most of the shops were located by the docks.

Easily Danny followed the scent of food to an open market. The sellers had set up just as the sun was rising. Now that the sun had fully broken over the horizon the place was filled with people selling, haggling, and buying all sorts of different goods. Thankfully most currencies were taken, but the most loved were from Leldyna, Lonan and Randilyn.

First Danny made his way to the pastries to pick something up for breakfast. While he nibbled on a roll covered in baked sugar he moved on to another section to look over the fruits and vegetables offered. He picked up a head of lettuce, apples, and raisins. All those he packed into his backpack while hoping he could find shops in another town further inland.

With supplies gathered the young man moved on to leave the town. Just beyond the town there was a border of forest that blocked the straight passage to the river. Danny decided it would be best to follow the Reilly River from the sea to the crossing of all four rivers where he’d cross the Addylyn River. Somehow he would have to make it up the plateau to the top where the castle was.  

When he finally reached the end of the forest Danny decided to rest. The sun had followed its course to the other side of the horizon. With a sigh the youth plopped down by one of the trees. He pulled off his backpack then lay against its trunk. The he fell asleep.

Sometime during his nap he fell over. The sleep continued until the next morning when he woke. Danny pawed at his eyes as he yawned. Noting the time he stood while pulling the bag over his shoulder once more. He wandered from the forest towards the river.

On the shore was a small settlement which held a shipping business. Mainly they carried people across the river so they wouldn’t have to wander around it. The river was wide enough for a medium sized ship to travel halfway down it, but then it would have to turn back. This town had flat-bottomed boats so they could travel the entire length of the river.

Several people gathered by the ferry. Each paid a fare to travel across at the dock then boarded. Danny wandered up to join the rest. He stood on the deck, hands resting on the railing.

After a half hour had passed everyone was onboard. The ferrymen pushed them off so they could start across the river. The boat rode the waves without incident. They docked at the opposite shore on the edge of another small settlement.

He disembarked then resumed his journey. Danny turned his footsteps to go straight south over the meadow. The land stretched further than he first assumed. He sighed as by nightfall he was only halfway across the meadow. He made his bed in a patch of grass and slept.

The next day when he woke Danny continued his travel across the grassland. Another town cropped up at the base of the waterfall below the plateau. Once more it was night. The young man decided to spend the night there if he could. Into the town he wandered with eyes darting about the white stone houses that were capped with different colored roofs. The structures reminded him of the houses in the Kingdom of Lonan. With a faint smile he turned his attention fully on finding an inn.

He stumbled across one named The Shy Salmon. It was made of two stories with roof colored the same reddish-pink of its namesake. The bar was on the first floor and the rooms were on the second floor. The second floor was decreased by a third so a balcony could be sat on by the guests.

With a smile he walked up to the bar. He entered and glanced around the interior while he walked to the back of the room. He approached the man behind the counter.

“What can I do for you stranger?”

“I’d like a room if you can spare one.”

“I can.” The man nodded and turned to pull a key from a hook on the wall. “How many days?”

“Just for tonight,” Danny replied. He put his hand into his pocket and pulled out another of the same coin he used before.

“Alright.” The man traded the key for the coin. He stared at it for a few moments before he added, “Would you like a meal too?”

“Nah, just the room. Go ahead and keep any change.”

“Thank you sir.”

Danny nodded as he took the key. He turned and wandered to the staircase. After climbing it he went straight to the room he’d been assigned. He unlocked the door and slipped in then locked it behind him.

He glanced around the simple interior then set to work. He pulled off the backpack and set it on the bed. After a moment’s pause he opened it to pull out what was left of his food. Best to eat it now before it spoils. He munched on the fruit as he kicked off his boots. Then he pushed the backpack off the bed to fall to the floor. With the bed cleared of any obstacle he swung his body to lay over it. A few minutes later he fell asleep.

When he woke the next day there was nothing to do except pull on his boots and backpack. Danny left his room and turned in his key. He left the inn to travel into the streets. The town was of a decent size so he could easily find stores that sold food to the public. He picked up a loaf of bread and some fruit to put in his backpack. With that done he turned his footsteps east to travel around the base of the plateau.

Around the plateau’s sides a path had been worn into the ground which spiraled upwards from the base to the top. The path was cut at one point by the waterfall that spilled out from an underground spring. There was a bridge there which was patrolled. If one was considered suspicious then passage would be denied and the traveler would have to return to the town below.

Danny estimated the time as he stared at the slopes. It might take the entire day to climb the path. He could see a few others as they wandered upwards or downwards. With a sigh he walked to the beginning of the path. It first rose in a northward direction, spiraling clockwise around the plateau. The drawbridge entrance to the castle was on the western side.

As he wandered upwards Danny found himself staring at the scenery around him. From the rising height it was much easier to see the layout of the western half of the island. Further west was the main continent of the world where most of the other kingdoms were. To the south-west a group of three islands could be seen. Those he recognized from their location to be the Kingdom of Randilyn. To the straight north, east, and south there was only ocean for as far as the eye could see.

“Hey!”

Danny jumped as someone called out. He turned around, blinking as he looked to a group that had started to travel upwards behind him. “Er, yes?”

“You’d best be careful lad. There’s no railing here and you could stumble off the edge if you don’t watch where you’re going.” An elderly man spoke.

Danny turned his attention down to his feet. There was only a dozen feet between the edge of the path and the edge of the plateau. He had wandered from the path halfway to the edge. “Oh! I didn’t notice. I was enjoying the view.”

“Is this your first time here?”

“Is it that obvious?” Danny replied with a faint laugh.

The old man laughed. “Just a bit. Care to join us?”

“Thanks, I’d like that.”

“I’m Tamas and this is my daughter Ayla.” The old man motioned to a young woman slightly younger than Danny who stood by his side.

“I’m Danny, pleased to meet you.” He bowed as he walked to join them on the path.

“You too,” Ayla murmured. She stood slightly behind her father as the group resumed their travel upwards. “So, do you live around here?”

“Er, I wouldn’t say so, though this may soon become my home,” replied Danny with a small smile. “I was taken from Leldyna when I was a child and only now have returned.”

“Ah, a survivor of the Shakti Takeover,” murmured Tamas.

“Yes. I’ve made a home of sorts in another place, but felt I had to come here.”

“I see. May I ask what feeling prompted that?”

“Well, I wanted to find my family.”

Tamas nodded. “I see. I was fortunate to have my daughter survive. Unfortunately she lost her mother.”

“I sympathize. For the longest time I thought I was the only one of my family alive. I found my sister had made her way to a school in Lonan, but she’s the only one I’ve met in person since the day our kingdom was scattered.” Danny nodded with a sigh. “I had lost my memory so it was especially hard to grasp the concept of family living somewhere else.”

“I’m glad you’ve found your way home,” Ayla broke in. “But why are you headed to the castle? Is it for the records there?”

“Actually my family lives in the castle,” replied Danny. He grinned then shrugged. “If I can get in then I’ll see them hopefully.”

“Good luck,” said Ayla.

“Yes, you shouldn’t have too many problems there,” replied Tamas.

“Thank you.” Danny smiled at both of them then turned his attention back to the path. They had made their circles around the plateau and were about to arrive at the guarded bridge. The youth wondered what sort of questions they would have to answer to pass.

As they approached one of the soldiers stepped forth. He was dressed in a true blue tunic. Shoulders were separated from the main garment by silver straps. Around his waist was a silver belt that was embroidered with the kingdom’s symbol of a sun with a core of water. Silver elbow length gloves were on his arms. Brown knee high boots were on his feet. This was the standard uniform for those employed in his line of work. The soldier stared at the group as he called out, “Who goes there?”

Tamas stepped forward with Ayla at his side. “I am Tamas and this is my daughter Ayla. We wish to visit the library in the castle to discover whether any of my deceased wife’s relatives have been found.”

“Who is that with you?”

Tamas glanced back at Danny. “We met him on the path up here.”

“My name is Danny,” the youth replied as he stepped forwards. “I come to seek my family after having been lost to them on the day that the Sorcerer King attacked our old home.”

The soldier nodded as he listened to their answers. Still with the intense stare he looked them over. After what seemed like forever he bowed his head in acknowledgement. “You may pass.”

“Thank you,” Tamas and Ayla replied in unison. The two stepped onto the bridge and began to cross.

Danny nodded back to the soldier. Following the direction of the two he met he murmured a thank you. He moved to walk across the rope and wooden plank bridge to the other side of the waterfall.

Ayla smiled as he caught up with them. “I hope that after we part at the castle we will meet again sometime.”

“I bet we will,” replied Danny. He smiled down at them as he walked beside them.

As they walked the spiral of the path grew tighter. By the time the group reached the top where it led to the drawbridge it was late afternoon. The sun was sinking to finish its path over the main continent. Facing that direction were the soldiers that guarded the entrance to the castle.

Danny stared up at the towers that made the outer ring of the castle. The stone it was built of was all a white material like that which made up the houses in the towns below. The highest tower was capped in silver tiles. That one tower was built differently than the rest as it raised twice the height of the others. From there one could have an open view of everything.  

His eyes dropped from the height to focus on the task at hand. He watched the two he had journeyed with enter without a problem. Danny moved to follow after them. Just as he passed through the portcullis something in the air made him feel that he was being examined deeply. He stifled a shiver and continued to walk into the courtyard between the first and second wall.
Rallying Themes (Book 3 of Danny's Story)
This is Chapter 2 which is used as a preview for the book
It was published a few months ago

Ideas & art by Me
Published:
© 2007 - 2020 chanthar
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