Elderwoods

Elderwoods (Part 1)

Shadows pranced against the grey cobblestone, dancing in tribal motion to an unheard song. The fireplace would spit out tiny embers that would lick at the charred brick, leaving their mark on its history and grey the timber that fed its humor. The crackling echoed through the chambers and the distance sound of clanking metal gave hint that a long night was in order.

An awkwardly feeble old man let out a pained sigh as he stood from the wooden chair near the pit. His left leg hobbled as he lifted himself, requiring that he stand still for a moment to regain his balance. He would blindly reach for a nearby cane that seemed as old and tattered as he was. Its height had been weathered down but seemed to fit him perfectly with its knobbed handled perfectly in line with his creaking hip.

The rattling chains would grow louder and louder as they made their down the hall outside the man’s chamber. They would then stop, and three forceful knocks would sound followed by a loud silence. The elderly man could feel the tension in his place. Words would not leave his lips, but a grunt sounded that was loud enough to break through the door. Another knock would not come, but the silence would ensue.

From the hallway, one would be able to hear the clack of the wooden stick pressing hard into the stone floor, overpowering the crackling fire until he was within inches of the door.

“It is an ungodly hour to bring someone to me, Thatcher.” The old man’s voice would squeal awkwardly. Knarled hands would reach for the knob, twisting slowly before opening. His hazy blue eyes would be allowed to wander upward, meeting the gaze of two individuals. “And a bagger, no less,” he would pause with a disappointed huff before turning around. The door was left wide open, gesturing for the two to step inside.

“My apologies, Lord Maetrost. Caught him by the forests’ end. Said he was just making hay, he did.” Maetrost spoke first. He was a burly man with a little neck but had a tightly squared jaw to make up for it. “Something about the forests warding off the skrime, but we all know ’bout them forests. Up to no good he is.”

Maetrost stopped mid-step, his cane producing a louder than normal clack against the floor. A brow would raise, invisible to the two behind him. “Very well, Thatcher. You may leave. I would like some time alone with our guest.” Maetrost rose his hand, waving it briefly before reclaiming his seat at the fire.

For a moment, Thatcher would stand dumbfounded. “Unbind him, but sir–” He wouldn’t disobey. The brute of a man took the key at his waist and freed the prisoner of his shackles, leaving him with Maetrost as he had been instructed. The large wooden door slammed behind him, leaving them alone in the awkward silence that followed.

Maetrost turned to view the man again, his eyes squinting. “I’m much too tired to discuss this matter with you standing all the way over there. Come. Sit. Sit.” He would gesture at another chair across from him.

The now free man would hesitate. He allowed his green eyes to wander the room, taking in the view of magical relics that glistened and whispered to him before taking his seat across from Maetrost.

“You want to know about the skrime, don’t you?” The bagger would finally speak. His hands were clasped around each other tightly, knuckles turning white as his eyes broke their freedom and strayed downward.

“Mm, perhaps for another time,” Maetrost said leaning back in his chair. “Your name would do for now.”

Evergreen hues met glossy blues.

“Vosk.”

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