Chapter Twenty-Five

on March 26, 2010 in Evermist

© 2010, Patrick Hester.  All Rights Reserved

Chapter Twenty-Five

Eli was lost.

The keep had fifteen levels once you got inside and each one felt to him like a labyrinth of twists and turns designed to make it impossible to know where you were or where you’d been.  Signs were posted in most places but the light was poor and most of those signs were dull and faded making it that much harder to find his way around.  The tapestries on the walls only made it worse; they all seemed to depict mighty battles but one looked like the next after a while, just as the red and black carpets seemed to have the same patterns from one to the next, causing them to blend together in his mind.  Jaycn hadn’t been any help, disappearing almost the moment they stepped into the keep and his own friends were struggling as much as he was.

He paused, staring at a tapestry that had an odd battle depicted.  Men in blue uniforms were fighting men in gray uniforms-neither of which looked anything like the uniforms he’d ever seen.  The entire thing was badly faded, the colors muted with time, but they seemed to be fighting in close quarters, with sabers and knives fixed to the ends of their rifles, which he’d never heard of before.  He tried to make out the flags of the enemy armies but he didn’t recognize the red, blue and white of the one, nor the orange, blue and white of the other.

Shaking his head, he moved on.  His squad, 4th, was now officially a part of L Company, which had twelve total squads of thirty men each.  4th now shared a barracks with 3rd squad on the west wing of the keep, third level.  The commissary was on lowest level east wing, which was what he was trying to find by himself because the others hadn’t waited for him before running off.  As large as the keep was, it looked bigger from the outside, a fact he hadn’t been able to resolve to his own satisfaction just yet, but they’d only been here a week now.  His only contact with Jaycn had been a hastily scribbled note reminding him they’d be moving out for their first patrol of the Wall three days hence.

“Lost?” called a harsh voice, and Elias turned to find an older man with a thick red beard sprinkled with white standing in an archway beyond the intersection he’d just passed.  He had an angry red scar that cut down his face from his scalp to his jaw and one milky white eye and one crystal blue one that was staring at him.  When he saw the Captain’s bars on his collar, Elias snapped to.

“Yes, sir,” he answered.

“So fresh I can still smell ‘civilization’ on you,” the man muttered, rubbing a hand across the stubble of his chin.  “Trying to find what?”

“Commissary,” Elias replied.


“Elias,” he replied.  For a moment, he was stunned that he’d left off the ‘sanRian’, but then the moment passed and he realized it was the right thing to say.  He no longer felt like a ‘son’.  “Private,” he added after a moment.

“Hmmm,” the man said as he took several steps and closed the gap between them, his finger going to the patch on Elias’ arm.  This close, Elias could smell the ale thick on the man’s breath.  “Marksman, eh?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Hmph.  Let’s hope you shoot better’n you navigate.  This is the Library,” he said with a wave of his hand towards the doors he’d just walked through.  “Back that way about a metre,” he thumbed over his shoulder, “then down the stairs and turn left until you cross the wide hall with the green carpet, then right for about a metre and a half.  Think you can handle that, boy?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Off with you then,” the Captain barked, and Elias moved.  He was nearly out of earshot when he heard a second voice speaking to the Captain.

“Scaring the new recruits, Shen?”

“More fodder for the butcher’s bill,” said the Captain.  Elias could only shudder at the certainty in the grizzled Captain’s voice.  He pushed that away though, curious about this Library.  He made a mental note to come back to investigate.  Maybe when Captain Shen wasn’t around…

One Response to “Chapter Twenty-Five”

  1. Clifton Hill says:

    Building some good atmosphere.

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