Ok, here it is, part of the "very" long chapter 1. I'll post the other half later, but anyways. I know I most certainly am missing something in my writings, and I can't quite figure it out..can you guys help me?..Please? By the way, I apologize that it is so long, I want to restrain from posting so much to finish one chapter.
Tekél of Honor
As King Idis’ father used to tell him as a young boy, “If ever you shall have to go to war my son, fulfill every line of the oath you will take, and you shall receive your honor.”
Remembering the ancient king’s words, Idis embraced his own son and found himself saying the same words as his father, “Receive your honor.”
He took a moment to take in a deep breath and stand still to admire his son. He smiled at a man whom in his eyes was a little lost boy, thrown in the battlefield with nothing but a sword and a shield in his hands, as it was in the old days. Idis remember that is was not long ago, that young boys over the ages of twelve, were forced to fight against their will. But he knew that this was no little lost boy; this was his son, who was only seconds from becoming captain. The future captain had been training since his hands were able to grasp a sword, and he knew nothing of war. Idis could only mourn for the surprises war has prepared for him, and he could now only hope that he wasn’t making a mistake.
The young prince looked up to his father and said, “I will father.” He patted his aging father on his right shoulder twice, turned and left without a care in the world about his own life, only the lives of his soldiers. He knew in his heart that he was scared and nervous, but he was ready. He knew that if it was one thing he ever learned throughout his years of training, is to never fear. “Fear brings weakness,” as the elders used to say, “If you stand there trembling with fear, you are most likely a coward. And it is probable that you will be the first one to fall.”
It had been six months to the day and no word reached the king’s ears about the well being of his heir and the thirteen hundred men he sent with him. He was never the one to think positive in dark times; he could only think the worst, for he was weak for letting fear and worry in his heart. But he was strong, and he stood motionless in Kei Lethui E Tekél, the Ancient Hall Of Honor. Idis looked down upon the city and watched as the worst and coldest season of all was nothing but a mere curse upon Tekél. He had announced for all of the remaining soldiers and advisors (all except the Nibestir ) to set forth for a meeting in Silver Hall on the third ring from the bell. Thoughtless, the king could only hope for some council regarding one of the decisions he dreaded to make in the future.
The sky had remained grey-dulled, with the threatening clouds as they snowed and snowed with a never-ending potential. The blinding light of the sun was to never be seen again, so was the fate of the bright-green grass upon the field hill. No color was ever to be seen since the first snowfall (save the light-blue colored skin of the freezing tekéns). The guards of Tekél couldn’t resist the cold to deal with any riots uproaring about when their loved ones shall return, so all were forbidden to leave their homes. They stood at the sides of all entrances with their hands clutched onto their cloaks, as their faces became more red every second. They knew they had a duty and had to stick to it, but they prayed the king would show mercy and let them switch shifts with the inside guards. As they trembled in the cold, the bell rang the third time and the fifty soldiers Lord Idis summoned left Intelef for Silver Hall and were soon accompanied by the royal advisors. As they went, struggling through the snow, none could identify a single flake, for it seemed a white blanket fell from the sky instead of snow. The road they walked across had snow up to thirteen inches in depth that their footprints vanished in seconds as if the ground was never walked upon. The soldiers shivered intensely as their body started shaking faster and faster, hoping for some warmth. A chill then rose in their spine that branched into their arms and legs making their pain greater. In their eyes they weren’t walking on snow, but a field with tall grass and blooming flowers, then the scent of pure warmth tickled their face.
When a fierce wind blew from the west, they snapped back into reality. The breeze brushed by, and the tekéns shivered in the frost, as they remained emotionally disturbed in their homes. The women were with much grief and sorrow, for their husbands suffered far more badly, and no one dare imagine the perilous journey they went through. The children were confused as to why they left in such a hurry, so they somberly waited for their fathers after more than six months had passed. All were grieving and no one else knew what to think, then a poorly blown horn was heard from the distance and everyone looked outside through their frosted windows.
King Idis knew that sound and slowly ran to the balcony overlooking Silver Hall. No one knew where to look, for the trail heading down to Leaie Point was completely covered. All hope either kept or lost, was risen at the sight of Captain Isthul wearily dragging his right leg across the snow-covered field. He was barely seen through the blizzard, then after a few steps, slowly, the Tekén army was finally seen behind him. The women’s eyes widen, the children’s frown became a smile, and then suddenly their jaws dropped and silence fell as if it rushed its way through the blizzard from Estorlair.
Isthul barely remembered anything. He was so cold; he put his hands in front of him, wiggled his fingers and felt nothing. He moved his legs and felt nothing. He was glad, and smiled as he thought about how this moment was perfect to rest and slowly die. But he wasn’t dying, at least, he thought so. He tried hard to remember if he had possessed any wounds, but highly doubted it. The captain prayed the cold would freeze him to death instead; even after all he had been through.
Lying on his back, his eyes winced in pain. He dare not open them to the falling snow, which was the one thing he only remembered; the mere sting of snow in his eyes. His men didn’t even cross his mind until he heard their cries when the snow finally blew out of his ears. Something struck him and he sat upright to see his soldiers. He saw nothing, but heard their cries clearly, even with the powerful breeze whistling in his ears. He struggled to his feet and he looked at the field and saw little ditches in the snow everywhere and realized what had happened. The soldiers along with Isthul fell into their pain and weakness, and were buried in their 13-inch grave.
Isthul quickly went to every ditch helping his men to their feet, shouting, “On your feet! Run! Run to your homes! Your eyes play no trickery!” Then he pointed towards the city, “Intelef is before you!” All heads perked up and ran towards the city cheering and chanting with joy when the sight of home reached their eyes. Then all pain and all fear left them.
He came across a badly injured soldier still in the ditch lying there helplessly. Isthul took his hands and brought him on his feet. He took the soldier’s right arm and put it around his shoulder to help him walk.
Then the man released himself from Isthul’s grasp and said while trying to squeeze in a small smile, “Weakness is no excuse, for is that not what you have always said my lord?”
He turned and wearily started walking away. Isthul went in front of him, “I have. But you have shown no weakness if you survived the journey.”
The injured soldier walked around the prince, and then, getting annoyed, Isthul walked in front of him again. The man looked up at him and as he struggled to stand he said, “I am fine my lord.”
Grabbing his left shoulder before he can escape again he looked into his eyes and asked him, “Look straight at me in the eyes. Would you ever lie to your captain?”
The soldier bended his head down to the ground and replied, “No my lord,” and then his knees started shaking.
“Then answer me this: How do you feel?” Isthul asked as he looked at his dear soldier trying to prove himself worthy of honor when he already received it in war.
The soldier looked at him for a while and gave up into his pain and said, “Like hell, my lord.” He was about to collapse until Isthul grabbed him under his arms and held his soldier, “I thought so,” he said to himself.
Soon the people realized what had happened. They laughed and cheered as they jumped with joy. Intelef’s horn blew loudly, and permission was given to the people to meet their loved ones, who are running to the city. The women ran to the snowy fields holding their children and reunited as a family. They smiled with a joy that could not be explained while others mourned for the missing presence of their loved ones. Healers rushed through the crowd and snatched all soldiers with injuries. Chaos had reached the paths within seconds. Isthul was way behind, he never saw his soldiers so happy before, and frowned at the thought that they may have to go and fight again.
His thoughts were interrupted by Colad, the main healer of the Kei E Nibestir . He walked up to Isthul, “Back already eh sire?”
Isthul replied, “Nibestor Colad, it is good to see you as well. Here, get this man some aid.”
“Of course!” he said and the two assistants behind him took him to the Hall of Healers. “What about you captain? Any injuries?”
Isthul took a look at himself from his arms to his legs, “Take no care for me.”
Colad laughed, “You’re not getting away so easily, and I bet you can’t feel a thing, you’re colder than ice itself! Let’s go, I’m going to check you out whether you’re injured or not.”
Isthul wanted to see his father, as he had much to discuss with him. He just wanted to get out of the sight of Colad, who is so overprotective of the prince, being that he cared for him as a child. “Colad, I’m fine reall-”
The Nibestor interrupted him, “Nonsense! You’re so stubborn you know? Just like when you were boy. Always too high and mighty to get help. If you don’t come with me, I’ll have your father drag you to the Hall of Healers himself. Now let’s go, it’s bloody freezing out here, come on.”
As Isthul started walking, Colad stopped him. “What troubles you?” the captain asked.
Colad looked at him, “You’re limping. What happened to your right leg?”
The captain couldn’t believe his ears. He looked down at his legs shocked, “I didn’t know of its presence.”
By the time Isthul and Colad were going to the Kei E Nibestir, there wasn’t anyone in sight. All the soldiers went inside craving a fire. When the two got inside it was so crowded, you couldn’t find a place to stand. But of course, everyone made way for the captain, and Colad showed Isthul to his private room. They walked across the hall and up the stairs into the room. He closed the door and Isthul examined the room as Colad went to the well outside on the other side of the room to wash his hands. The walls and floors were made out of wood and there was long table to his right that caught his eye. There were knives of different sizes and looked away when he caught a glimpse of the biggest and sharpest one.
Far away to the end of the table were bottles of medicine and folded cloths, and then he found himself staring at the knives again.
Things started flashing in his head and then Colad came up behind him drying his hands with a white cloth, “Don’t worry, you won’t be needing those. You’re one of the lucky ones captain.”
Isthul felt the edges of the knives. The Nibestor understood his shock and watched him stare at the knives and knew he was thinking of the deaths he witnessed in battle. He decided to break the silence, “Come, please take your pants off and lie down here,” he pointed towards a high bed that was behind a long, thick, squared pole that went from the floor to the ceiling.
Slowly, Isthul did as told, and took off the small knives that were strapped to both his legs and the armor that were covered the lower part of his legs. He also took out his sword that was strapped around waist and just dropped them on the floor and sat, and then he saw a large, deep slit on the upper part of his right leg. Looking at it carefully, he remembered how he got it, and he peeled off the once running blood that got frozen into red ice. Colad took a long, thin, nicely carved piece of wood and placed a small cloth over the top and dipped it in one of the medicine bottles.
Then he placed it into his wound and Isthul made a slight hiss in pain and the wise Nibestor tried to make him calm, “It’s all right sire, you’re just going to feel a bit strange because your wound is a bit frozen.” As he tried to get the medicine in every corner of the wound, his eyes widen, and he exclaimed, “Damn it!”
The prince was taken back at Colad’s reaction and asked, “What is wrong?”
“What I feared might happen just did.” Colad got up and dipped the cloth into the bottle, “You’re wound is infected…badly. How long have you had it?”
Isthul thought for a minute and replied, “About 3 weeks.”
Stunned, the healer shouted, “3 weeks! Oh lord!” Pausing for a minute, he continued to examine him and sighed, “Now, take off the rest of your clothes, let’s have a look at what you have in store for me this time sire.”
Isthul took off everything on his chest, mostly the armor and mail and then he started feeling pain everywhere. He noticed he wasn’t feeling so cold, it was because he was warming up and so were his frozen wounds. He felt a small tickle in his back in various places, it was the same for his chest.
“My my, you’re just bleeding everywhere,” said Colad, as blood trickled down Isthul’s body.
Isthul remembered he had to go and speak with is father. He was getting impatient and finally spoke his mind, “Nibestor, I do not mean to rude but I need you to hurry. I must get to my father immediately.”
“I’m sorry my lord. I’m trying, but it looks like your wound here is pretty serious. Give me a few moments and I’ll have it bandage it for you.”
Colad quickly put in several more bottles of medicine and bandaged the wound on Isthul’s leg. He did the same for the small wounds on his back and chest and then stood up and said, “I am finished, but please captain, try not to walk on your right leg too much and whatever you do, don’t go outside until a few hours pass.”
“I will do as you ask.”
Colad gave Isthul some fresh clean clothes and he dressed. It was comfortable when he put it on. He felt lighter, no heavy mail, no armor, no sword, no knives, nothing. He noticed it was his clothes, and that Colad kept it to prepare for when he returned.
He helped Isthul get down from the high bed and as he walked towards the door to leave, he stopped, turned around and said, “Thank you Colad.”
The man replied, “Anytime sire.”
Isthul went down the short narrow stairs and then silence left his ears and noise came rushing in. It was very chaotic in the hall of healers. It had cleared up a bit and he went through the passage way that lead to the door. It branched out to small beds where the injured soldiers lay. There were, but very few, soldiers that were screaming in pain, and among these was the soldier Isthul had helped on the field.
He walked towards his bed and asked the Nibestor there, “What seems to be the problem?”
The young woman turned around and was gasped in shock, since it was the prince. But she calmed herself down and answered casually, “My lord!…His right arm is broken along with some deep wounds in some parts of his feet, mostly caused by the frost bite.”
Isthul looked at the man’s wounds and pitied him as he breathed hard. He noticed that tears flooded his eyes, and the captain could not bear to look at his wounds any longer. He asked the Nibestor, “Will he be alright?”
“It can be cured, but I never say anything for sure. Time will only tell.”
Isthul examined his face and asked, “What is his name?”
“Berhil, my lord.”
The captain went to the soldier’s side and whispered in his ear, “Berhil? Can you hear me?”
The paining soldier struggled to answer, “Y-yes m-my lord.”
“Everything will be all right. Make it your last duty to stay in good health and to hang in there.”
Berhil smiled and answered with pride, “I will.”
Isthul’s heart almost melted when he saw his soldier smile. He patted him lightly on his chest and said, “And I will hold your word to it.”
Isthul turned and by now, many of the soldiers were bandaged and he was saved from seeing what he had been seeing for the past six months. He can only see the blood drastically seeping through the white cloths wrapped around arms, legs, heads, and everywhere else on the human body. He yawned and just realized that he was tired, but he had to get to his father to discuss what’s been going on for all the time he was gone. He knew it would be a long discussion along with questions so he decided he owed it to himself to get some sleep.
Meanwhile in the Kei Lethui E Tekél, the king was losing his patience. He had been told his son was in examination in the Kei E Nibestir, but then heard no more. A maiden passed by with a tray filled with all kinds of meat, and Idis guessed she was bringing food to feed the starving army.
He stopped her, “Excuse me.”
“Yes my lord?”
He looked at her and he remembered who she was. She was the maiden who had been serving food to the royal family for years. “Ah Treis! It is you! Have you any news about my son?”
“Yes King Idis, he has just finished getting some aid with Nibestor Colad. I believe he is getting some rest.”
“I see..well, thank you Treis.”
“Your welcome sire.” Then she continued her work and walked out of Silver Hall.
He was disappointed for he was anxious to see how his son looked after all this time, but for his son’s sake, he furthered his patience for just a little longer. King Idis along with at least a hundred people from soldiers to advisors, were sitting in Silver Hall for the meeting he had called for. But then he decided it would be best if Isthul were here so that they may know of any news. They all agreed.
Isthul slept soundly in one of the rooms the Nibestir provided for him. He didn’t go to his bedroom for sleep for he had promised Colad to not go outside for a few hours, and he was a man of his word. When had closed his eyes, he wished that he would never have to open them again. He couldn’t remember the last time he had a good rest. To him, it seemed like years, not months. And he was more comfortable than ever, in his soft clothes, in a warm room, he was very cozy. But this feeling did not last until he started dreaming.
He pictured a battlefield, empty, deserted, no one there but the tekén army and himself. They were just staring into nothing, there were no trees, no lakes, rivers, and not even a small weed plant grew from the cracks on the ground. Then Isthul knew where he was when he realized he was in a lifeless territory. He was in Estorlair, Windless Plain, and he didn’t know why. And then he heard a loud sound, “boom bah boom, boom bah boom,” it was the sound of drums and everyone looked around frightened as they could hear it, but not see it. The captain then saw something like a black cloud slowly coming into sight in front of him. The cloud became bigger and bigger until he realized it was no cloud, and it came closer and closer. He unsheathed his sword and so did the soldiers and Isthul found himself dreaming the same thing over and over again.
He woke up instantly when he heard a voice calling his name, “Isthul!”
The prince’s eyes opened wide, blinking a few times till he could finally see. It was his sister, “Liariel.” She was a beautiful woman. She had long silky light brown hair, that hanged down to her sides, and she wore a white gown that dragged on the floor. He wanted to smile, but then grew malicious when he remembered past events.
She kept calling out to him, “Isthul? Isthul!”
“Must you yell so loudly?” And he finally sat up stretching and then yawned a bit.
Liariel had a straight face and said what she had to say quickly, “I was sent here to check up on you. Spare me the humiliation, and give me an answer to report back with.”
Isthul looked up at his sister, “I was having a comfortable sleep, till I just remembered that my little sister is guilty of treason.”
She chuckled a bit in anger and gave him an angry face, “Treason? I swear Isthul, if you ever say that again-”
He was staring at her, “What will you do little sister? Harm me? I highly doubt it.”
“You are a snake. And I hate you.” She said coldly.
“That, I know.” Isthul got up on his feet and walked slowly toward her, “But you know, you need not to fear me sister. I have restrained my anger, do not heighten it now. I am in no mood for it.”
Liariel continued to look at him scathingly, “I do not fear you, nor your anger. I do not care for you or anything having to do with you anymore. Nor will I ever care if you were even alive. It is a shame you did not die in battle!”
Isthul lost it and grabbed his sister’s arms and put them behind her back and fiercely pushed her against the wall. His face was close up to his sister and he said angrily, “You will watch your tongue Liariel!”
“How dare you touch me! Let go of me!” Liariel struggled to break free, but Isthul hands locked Liariel’s arms tight in place, so she couldn’t move.
Isthul held her down and spoke again, “Do not be so feisty Liariel. The more you struggle, the more your strength wanes.” He let her go and she immediately went to the other side of the room, away from Isthul. He smiled as she attempted to get away from him, and Liariel stood still for a few moments as anger instantly grew in her. She controlled herself and then finally spoke, “I pity you brother.” She turned and left the room. Isthul almost laughed to himself, but he held back and sat back down on the bed. He tried to forget what had just happened. The last thing he needed now was more worry.
A female Nibestor entered the room with a tray of food. It had some bread, spiced wine, a large chicken leg and tomatoes. The young prince thought it was an odd combination, but he dare not complain about food. He hadn’t had a decent meal since he left, he had been nibbling on small pieces of bread, or apples he had taken bites from and didn’t take another until a few days later.
She laid it his lap and Isthul said, “Thank you,” and the woman just smiled and left.
Isthul was starving and ate all the food within minutes without leaving a single crumb behind, and then grabbed the spiced wine and drank it down to the last drop. He placed the whole tray aside, then got up and walked out of the small room.
A male nibestor came up to him, “You are awake.”
“Yes, I am. How long have I been sleeping?”
“Two hours sire. Your father requests your presence at Silver Hall.”
Behind the nibestor was Colad and he saw the look in the captain’s eyes and gave him a nod, which meant he could go now. A bit happy, he went outside to the stables. He was too weak to walk all the way to Silver Hall so he went to ride on his dear childhood horse, “Kifir.” As he approached the black horse, he remembered the day he named him. He couldn’t think of a name but then decided to name him, “Kifir,” the (unknown language) word for “peace.” At that age, Isthul barely saw his father, for even war was still going on back then, and he thought that if there were some peace, he would see his father again. But peace has not been reached yet…
Kifir neighed with joy and Isthul smiled at the horse’s reaction to his presence. He got on him and rode at a steady pace. He didn’t want to ride too fast or too slow. It was still snowing heavily and the sky showed no signs of ever stopping. Isthul started to feel the chills again from the cold, and with his long red cloak covering him, he began approaching Silver Hall. It hadn’t changed a bit except for it being covered in tons of snow. It still stood tall and majestic.
He approached the gate and the gate watcher saw the prince, “Well well! Here you are at last! Open the gates boys, the prince stands before it!” Then Isthul started hearing chains clanging against each other noisily and very loud. When the chains turned and the gate started rising, it stopped and wouldn’t go any further.
Then the gate watcher shouted, “What’s going on up there boys?”
One of them shouted, “The gate’s not moving sire! The middle chain is frozen.” Isthul sighed, but he didn’t get angry, he kept his patience.
He began thinking that at this rate, everything will be frozen. Meanwhile, the gate watcher ordered to get some hot boiling water, and the gatekeepers brought bowls of it and threw it on the middle chain to melt the ice. The middle chain is what holds up the gate in general, the front chain holds the left side of the gate, and the back chain holds the right side of the gate. All are built so only the strength of ten soldiers can pull the gate up and open it from the other side. After a few bowls, the ice began melting. Isthul and the soldiers couldn’t see anything, for one can’t see clearly if two opposite and drastic temperatures are met. It finally cleared up and they tried it again. All struggled and it finally broke through the small bit of remaining ice. Isthul’s ears started hurting from the ringing noise of metal rubbing against each other, and then he was allowed to go through. Kifir neighed in relief and took off. Isthul was greeted by a soldier outside Silver Hall. He gave the soldier Kifir, to put him in the stables, and then he faced the door, let out a big sigh and entered.
When Isthul opened the door, everyone looked and stopped what they were doing and stared at him. Some faces were surprised, confused, or happy. All showed different emotions through their faces, and then King Idis approached his son with his arms opened and a huge smile on his face. “Isthul!” He hugged him and backed up to take a look at him.
“My, look at how you’ve grown! Growing a slight beard there I see, and your face! It’s so aged! You’ve got broad shoulders and your tough looking too. Must come from the fighting I bet. You’re becoming a man my son!”
Isthul knew everything his father was saying was true. He was getting older, not too old, but he became older. He was growing a slight beard around his face, but not too much, just a grey shade across his chin and cheeks. He couldn’t tell much about his shoulders, but he knew he grew. Older and wiser he became, and he was a man, not becoming one. He thought about telling him about the situation with Liariel, but then decided to tell him when the more important matters are done with.
He looked up at his father and replied, “Have I changed that much father?”
The king was still a bit hyper, Isthul didn’t just want to rudely jump to the real reason he was there, so he tried to spark up a quick conversation, although he knew his father could do that on his own. “Well of course! Just look at you! How have you been?”
There was no real answer to the king’s question, and his father had always said, “If you cannot answer a question, do not answer it. It is better to remain quiet than say a wrong answer.” Isthul didn’t necessarily agree to his saying but he just shook his head from left to right which meant, “Not so good.”
Idis knew he had asked a stupid question, so he just replied, “Oh..”
He was speechless, so Isthul decided this was his chance. “Father, we must talk about what has happened and we need to do it quickly.”
The king looked embarrassed, but tried to restrain himself from it. He replied quickly, “Ah, you’re right, I’m sorry. I was just so happy to see after so long. I suppose you received my message?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Good, let us begin.” Idis rubbed his together, took a deep breathe, and together, he and Isthul walked to the front of the hall. Silver Hall was a very important place. Significant meetings and gatherings were held there numerous times throughout the years. It was a very beautiful place. Bright, lit, silver candles were hung at each thick column from the ceiling to the sides of the hall. The pillars were grey and were made out of marble. The ceiling was very high, and important speeches and such were held there because every movement, footstep, and sound echoed brilliantly throughout the hall. There were also high windows, about half the size of the columns, that always caught the sun, and it shined through the windows revealing a diamond-shine light, and it twinkled throughout the walls. Ceremonies were held there also. Isthul’s birthday was held there every year, and nowhere else, except this year he missed his birthday because he wasn’t in Tekél.
Isthul helped his father sit down, and he stood beside him and few feet in front of Idis, was a long, never-ending table from the front to the back of the hall. Idis called it, “The Table of Tekél,” because only soldiers, advisors, and Nibestir, were allowed there.
After taking a deep breath, followed by a long pause of attention, Idis spoke, “I had announced for this meeting today to discuss our next decision concerning this..” The king paused for a second, “..war.” Idis took a breathe and glanced over at Isthul, who in turn, returned the look. “I however, know little, but Isthul has returned today in just time.” King Idis looked at Isthul and whispered to him, “Son, speak of what has been going on.”
Isthul froze. He looked around the hall locking eyes with the people sitting there waiting for this heroic story they expected to hear. A nervous chill instantly climbed his spine, and he thought, how can he possibly put all the things he’s been through, he’s done and seen, into words? Isthul took a deep breath, swallowed hard to clear his throat, closed his eyes and spoke as if he was doing it all over again, right when he left Tekél…