Kingdom Tales: Balance

By Michael Robinson III All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Action

Chapter 13

Vincent and Ryanah make their way quickly out of the city at once. They need to get to Morage before any evidence can be removed or destroyed. When they get out of Lumorra a light rain begins to fall. Luckily it isn’t enough for them to have to stop.

“Are you sure it will take us six days to get to Morage and back?”, Vincent asks Ryanah as they ride.

“Considering Gordowe is a day’s journey from the capital if we take that route. Yes it should take three to four days.”, Ryanah answers without looking to Vincent.

“In that case let’s ride until the moon is high.”, Vincent suggest. The two did exactly that meaning they would be passing Gordowe by moving slightly south the next day.

When they reach Morage they stop on the outskirts of the village to rest. Vincent and Ryanah also decide that he will scope out the town. He chooses to get a more elevated look of the village by climbing a nearby tree, a talent he always has possessed.

From what he could see it looks to be a normal village. Unlike Gordowe its people depends on fishing not the merchant trade. As a result there is no real layout besides a housing area, market area, and a port by the river and no road system. More importantly there is no sign of any armed forces present. The idea and fear that Lord Argon would try and separate the lands held by the lords' from the rest of the kingdom still rest on Vincent’s mind.

Satisfied, he descends down the tree and lands next to a waiting Ryanah.

“Well, how does it look?”, she asks.

“Seems clear. There were no forces present as far as I could tell.”, Vincent informs her. A relieved look comes upon Ryanah’s face. “Sir John sure does come from a quite looking village. It must sit on a previous settlement though. I noticed some ruins around it.” Vincent comments half to himself.

“It seems we are in luck. We should move quickly.”, Ryanah says getting a move on towards the village. Vincent follows her leaving the horses tied up behind.

“Oh know it wasn’t always like this. I remember hearing Morage was at the center of one of the biggest rebellions during the time of King Andreious.”, Ryanah shares with Vincent.

“Really?”

“Oh yes. Apparently Morage was apart of an effort to free the river lands and the people who lived there before they were conquered. Morage also is a key location when it comes to controlling the region. Which is why it was burned down when the rebellion was put down.”, Ryanah responds. By this time they have reach the village. There is no certain way to enter the village, for no walls enclosed it. At least not anymore.

“What are we looking for exactly.”, Ryanah asks as they stroll in the village. Vincent thinks for a moment. Malinda hadn’t given them anything to go on inside the town.

“Someone is bound to have seen something. If we ask around enough we’ll hear about something.”, Vincent finally replies.

“Alright then let’s split up.”, Ryanah suggests. With a nod from Vincent the two fan out asking if anyone was spotted coming to town and leaving every now and then regularly. It takes some time, but Vincent finally finds someone willing to talk. It’s a woman around the age of forty. Vincent takes her with him to meet up with Ryanah.

It’s a little past sunhigh when the three meet just outside the housing area of the village.

“Ryanah, this is Sarah. She says she can help us.”, Vincent says introducing the woman.

“Hello.”, Ryanah greets her with a nod. “What do you know?”

“I remember seeing a small carriage coming to the village. It would go to the local tavern, but I didn’t think much of it. It is only when the visits continued and now your visit do I think you’ll find what you’re looking for there.”, Sarah explains.

“The carriage, did it have a family’s crest on it and did it ever come back?”, Vincent asks. The woman thinks for a moment.

“It didn’t have a family’s crest, but it came back for a final time a few weeks ago.”

“Was that around the king’s death?”, Vincent asks.

“Yes... Actually it was.”

“Thank you. You have been most helpful to us Sarah.”, Vincent tells her with a respectful bow. Returning Vincent’s bow with a smile the lady departs.

“We need to head to the tavern. No doubt in my mind that is where Lord Argon made the dealings with Kaba or someone else for him.”, Vincent says turning to Ryanah.

“We better get going then.”, Ryanah agrees.

Once they enter the tavern full with people taking a rest after their early working hours they look around and Vincent notices a door near the back. Signaling for Ryanah to follow he makes his way there fully focused and determined. He feels that they are getting closer and closer to what they are looking for. When he reaches for the doorknob he is stopped by the man behind the counter to his left.

“Hey! You can’t go in there.”, the older man says in a grunt voice.

“I am a knight and have business here. I can go in if I please.”, Vincent responds with authority.

“I’m sorry young man, but I am being paid to keep everyone out of there until further notice.”, the man counters. Vincent turns fully to the tender.

“By whom?”, he asks. The man looks nervous. He wants to tell Vincent what he knows, but at the same time doesn’t want to betray whoever is paying him.

“That would be Lord Argon, sir knight.”, it isn't the tender who answers. It is another. Vincent and Ryanah turn around to see Hugo standing behind them alone. “Please do not arrest this man. Lord Argon is paying him to keep secret what happened in that back room.”, he continues.

This is the first time Vincent heard him clearly speak. His voice was smooth and not too deep. Vincent faces him with narrowed eyes. He is prepared for anything the secretary may try this time.

“What are you doing here?”, Vincent says with undisguised hatred.

“Please, knight Vincent, don’t be quick to anger. I am not here as an enemy. I swear on my honor.”, Hugo says getting on his knees hands up. Vincent stares at him for a moment surprised. “Please Sir Vincent there is not much time.”

“Time for what?”, Vincent asks still on guard.

“First allow me to let you in the room. You will find what you are looking for there.”, Hugo says. Vincent looks to Ryanah. She hadn’t taken her eyes off of Hugo since they spotted him. She looks to Vincent and nods her head.

“Alright. Rise and open the door.”, Vincent tells Hugo. As the servant follows his directions Vincent keeps his hand near his blade ready to draw it if need be. Producing a key Hugo unlocks the door that opens up to a room where extra barrels of beer are kept.

“You first.”, Vincent tells him. Without a word Hugo does as he is told while Vincent and Ryanah follow. Vincent looks around. Everything seems safe and he gives a signal to Ryanah to close the door. As she does so Hugo turns to them both; a sense of urgency in his eyes. Vincent notices and suddenly he sees someone showing signs of trouble.

“What’s going? What wrong?”, he questions Hugo.

“As you have found out this is where Lord Argon sent me to bring the payment to the bandits that occupied the northeastern part of the kingdom including this village.”, Hugo starts off quickly. He goes to a barrel to his left and opens it to reveal what appears to be the last payment that was never picked up by the bandits.

He places it at Vincent’s feet. “For so long I was loyal to my lord. I believed in his cause to get his family on the throne. I did all I could do to help him and kept many secrets. Many, many secrets.”, he faces Vincent squarely in the eye. “But no more. I can not agree with how far he has gone. My loyalty wavered before. Around the time I agreed to your proposal to be a spy.”

“Then why did you betray the crown? Let alone me?”

“I had struggles, for this was not an easy choice. By the time you all had come...I…” Hugo trails of with a sigh and his head in his hands. Ryanah approaches him and places her hand on his shoulder.

“You have a very heavy spirit distraught with turmoil and regret.”, she says to him. Ryanah turns to Vincent. “He is not lying.”, Ryanah tells him.

Vincent’s eyes soft and his shoulders relax visibly. Though it isn’t because of Ryanah’s words. He knows Hugo is telling the truth. He knew from the moment he turned around. Vincent kneels down to examine the money Hugo had revealed.

“This is all we need to show what Argon has done. Now that we have your word no one can disprove it.”, Vincent says to Hugo. He smiles at him and Hugo returns it with a nod. “That isn’t the only thing you had to tell us though.”, Vincent tells him. “What is about to happen?”, Hugo’s eyes widen.

“Lord Argon has an army of forced fighters and is on his way to here and the capital.”, Vincent’s eyes and face fills with shock and horror. At that moment the sound of men shouting outside are heard. Vincent turns sharply to the door.

“We must leave now!”, Ryanah says getting herself and Hugo to their feet.

“There is only one way out!”, Hugo informs them. Vincent gains control and faces his companions.

“Stay close. Ryanah carry this.”, he says handing the bag full of money to her. He then draws his sword from its sheath. Ready to get everyone out.

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