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The Guardian Chapter 6
gracie113
Chapter Six: Elyia

The city of Elyia was thing she had ever had to a home. She loved the city. She spent more time in Elyia than any other city.

Her charge also seemed to be quite fond of Elyia. He kept returning to the city time and again. Why? She was not too sure though. She tried not to think too much of it.

When she came to the outskirts of the city, she chose to dismount and walk beside Mallokai. He nudged her with his muzzle. She patted his neck gently.

Around the outside of the city were small farming villages. The northern village was called by the name Edona. Edona had started as one large farm, owned by a man named Hayden Blaise. Now, the people of Edona were all the descendants of Hayden. His daughter, his grandchildren, great grand children now worked the land. The farm had expanded out, away from the city, multiplied over acres and acres of land.

She was met by Adelaide, the village’s matriarch, at the edge of Edona. The two women embraced each other. Adelaide stood just over five feet in height. She had long, silver curls that flowed down her back and piercing blue eyes. Small wrinkles surrounded her eyes and mouth.

“Daneca, we have missed you so,” Adelaide told her as she squeezed tightly. The people of Edona, and all of Edaria, had called her by this name since she was much younger. She had always liked this name more than the others. Some days, she liked it almost more than she liked her real name.

“And I you, Adelaide,” she returned the tight hug.

“Hira,” she called a young boy who was nearby, “Come take Daneca’s horse to the stables. Get him cleaned up and fed.”

The boy came over and took the reign from her hands, “Yes Granna. What is his name?”

“Mallokai, correct?” Adelaide questioned.

“Yes, that is right,” she nodded. She lightly smacked Mallokai on the rear and said to him, “Behave yourself. Understood?”

He snorted and followed the boy toward the stables.

“What have you been doing since we saw you last?”

“Traveling, mostly,” she knew that it was not a complete lie, it was more an omission of the complete truth, “I wanted to visit some old friends who live in Edaria.”

“We are glad you have come back to visit us. My grandchildren will be delighted to see you once again. The little ones have missed your bed time stories, especially Madalana. She has asked over and over when you would return.”

“I have missed her desperately. She must be so big now.”

“Nearly six years old.”

“Have I really been away almost a year?”

“I am afraid so, my dear,” Adelaide took her arm, “come, let us get you some food and rest and we can visit the children.”

She excitedly followed.

*****

That night, the entire family gathered in the barn for a great dinner feast. They had roasted lamb and duck. There were potatoes, carrots, greens of all kinds, and an abundance of ripe fruits. They enjoyed the meal together, talking and laughing.

After dinner, they played music and she talked. Then, all of the little ones gathered around her as she told them stories of her travels. They all sat in the hay around her, eyes wide watching in awe as she spoke.

Madalana sat right in the front. She had long, curly brown hair and big, bright blue eyes. She followed Daneca like a little puppy.

After a while, she looked over to find Madalana asleep in a pile of hay. Her little snores were barely audible.

“Alright children, I think it is bed time now.”

“But we are not even tired,” Jakob whined.

“I know my darlings, but it is time.”

“Please, one more story?” begged Saphira.

“No sweetie, maybe tomorrow though. Tonight you must all go to bed and dream wonderful dreams. Will you do that for me?”

“Fine,” Saphira pouted.

She reached out and gently tapped Saphira on the nose, “Go on, bed time.”

All the children slowly wandered toward their parents. Madalana, however, remained fast asleep.

She got up out of the hay, then gently bent over and scooped Madalana up in her arms. She fussed a little bit, but did not wake. She headed over to where Adelaide stood talking with her daughter Claire, Madalana’s mother. She gently handed the little girl off to her mother.

“Thank you Daneca,” Claire said.

“Of course,” she nodded.

Claire left to find Daniel, her husband, leaving her standing there with Adelaide.

“Thank you so much for your always willing generosity. Your family blesses me more than words can ever express.”

“You are always welcome in my home,” Adelaide stated.

She leaned over and gently kissed Adelaide on the cheek, “You are wonderful.”

“Thank you my dear. Can you stay the night or do you need to be on the road again?”

“I will stay, but unfortunately, I must leave early in the morning.”

“Come, you will stay in my home tonight. And, feel free to take any supplies you need. Understand?”

“Yes ma’am. And thank you.”

“Anything for you, my love,” Adelaide led Daneca from the barn back to her house and gave her the guest room for the night.

*****

The next morning, she left Edona and went into the heart of Elyia. The city was vibrant with life in the early morning. Shops and stands opened up, one by one.

She walked passed a tavern, one of the few buildings with barely any lights. Inside, a barmaid scurried about, preparing for the day while the bar’s owner scrutinized her every move.

Past the tavern, was a bakery. The aroma of the bread was intoxicating. She could not help herself. She left Mallokai outside the shop and slipped in to buy something. People wandered aimlessly around the tiny shop. She weaved her way between the people to a basket of fresh bread. She picked up a roll. It was warm and soft in her hands. She brought it up to her face and breathed in deeply. It was sweet and soft.

“How much for two?” she asked the little boy behind the counter as she picked up two rolls.

“Three coppers,” he replied.

She reached into her robe pocket and handed the boy a silver piece.

He opened a drawer in the counter and placed the silver inside. Then, he pulled out two pieces of copper and put his hand out to her.

She extended her hand out and closed his fingers over the copper pieces, “Keep them.”

The little boy’s eyes lit up, “Really?”

She nodded in agreement.

“Thank you,” he squeaked and then ran to show his father his shiny new coins.

The old man turned to her and mouthed “Thank you.”

She grinned and gave a slight wave goodbye as she headed out the door.

*****

Outside the bakery was a linen cart. She took a few minutes to look at some of the cloth. One in particular caught her eye. A pale blue fabric was laying on the edge of the cart. A few other fabrics were covering it and all she had seen was tiny piece sticking out from underneath.

The young woman at the cart came over and began talking to her, “Beautiful is it not?”

“Mhmm, it is lovely. What is the cost?”

“Let me ask my mother,” she replied. The girl turned to the old woman sitting beside the cart and questioned, “quana perila blea tessato?”

“Ena ora,” the old woman replied.

“A gold piece for each yard,” the girl said as she turned around. She brushed a piece of hair out of her eyes.

“Your mother is from Itillin?”

“Yes, we moved here a few years ago. She is still learning to speak your language, but mostly she speaks in just Itilli.”

“I have to travel for a while. If I pay you now, will you keep it for me until I return?”

“I,” the girl stuttered, “I do not know. I would have to ask my mother.”

“Tell her I will pay extra for her to keep it. I am not sure how long I will be gone. But I can pay for the fabric now. And when I return I can pay her another five gold for keeping it for me.”

“Sesa di viggar. Possabimo manten per il sueo finola sueo retorna? Sesa se peda.”

“La terrama. Mah nah exas peda,” the old woman looked at her.

“My mother says we will keep it for you, but you do not have to pay extra.”

“I insist.”

“Sesa esesta,” she said to her mother.

“Meh, manda.”

“She says maybe. But we can keep it for you.”

She handed the girl five gold pieces then turned to the old woman and said, “Grasa.”

“You welcome,” the old woman replied.

She turned back to the young woman, “Might I ask, have you maybe seen a man I am looking for? He is about this tall,” she gestured with her hand, “with curly gold hair, blue eyes, very muscular. He travels a lot. He has passed through here a few times over the past few months. He rides a brown mare with a white muzzle and white spots along her flanks.”

“Sorry, I have not, but I do hope you find him.”

*****

She spent the rest of the afternoon wandering from shop to shop and cart to cart. She asked person after person, yet no one seemed to remember her mysterious man. He was a ghost among them. She began to wonder how it was possible that no one had seen him.

At dusk, she wandered back through the streets. When she found her way back to the tavern, she charged one of the stable boys with taking care of Mallokai. She paid the barkeeper then went upstairs to her room.

The room was tiny and cramped. A small bed took up most of the space. A wash basin was in one corner, a towel draped over the side. A chest gave room for her to put her belongings.

She dropped her bags on top of the chest, not even bothering to unpack them. She quickly undressed and changed into her night robes.

The bed was not much more than a straw mattress with a few quilts thrown on top of it. Instead of laying directly atop the mattresses, she left the quilts where they were. It was warm enough that all she hardly felt a need for a blanket over her body. Even with both of the quilts between her and the mattress, she could still feel the awful, uncomfortable hay poking through. She had a feeling it was going to be a long night.

*****

She had been right. Sleeping on the hay mattress was not worth the three silvers she had paid for the room. She spent the night tossing and turning uncomfortably and mildly irritated

In the morning, she got dressed and ate breakfast in the tavern downstairs. Her eggs were runny and slightly cold, the milk was disgustingly warm, and the bread was stale. She was not overly happy.

After her breakfast, she walked out to the stables behind the bar to find Mallokai. She walked through the stables, but there were no horses inside. She walked through the barn to find two fields behind it. In one field were geldings, stallions, and colts. In the other, were mares, fillies and foals.

Mallokai cantered over to the fence and nickered at her. A small brown colt frolicked playfully then followed Mallokai over to the fence.

“Hello handsome,” she said.

He whinnied.

“Hello sweetheart,” she said to the little colt. She reached out and rubbed his neck, then turned to Mallokai. She petted his muzzle and asked, “Are you ready to go?”

He whined.

“Alright. You stay here for a while. I am going to go look through the city for him. Behave?”

He snorted and then took off to run around with the other horses. The little colt took a few steps, jumped up in the air a little, then trotted off after Mallokai.

She walked back through the stables and out to the street. She would spend the rest of the day looking for him, and if she had not found him by the end of the day, she would move on to Bria.

*****

Beyond the south edge of the city lay a lake called Deana. It was one of the three lakes which lay between Elyia, Bria, and Sarook. Between Elyia and the lake was a small fishing village called Tammia.

In Tammia, lived an old man named Jamal. Jamal was a priest and wiseman in Elyia. If anyone knew where she would find her target, it would be Jamal.

Jamal’s house was a tiny little cabin right on the beach. Jamal sat in a rocking chair on the front porch of his house. A black dog lay sleeping at his feet.

The old man squinted to see her as she walked toward the house.

She brought her hands together in front of her, palms pressed together, fingers straight in a prayer position. She bowed deeply, a sign of honor for the old man.

“Welcome child,” the old man attempted to force himself up out of the rocking chair.

“No, please do not get up for me,” she said.

He released his grip on the arms of the chair and slumped back into his seat.

She came up onto the porch and leaned over to hug the old man.

He kissed her cheek softly and said, “What brings you to me today Daneca?”

“I am looking for someone, a man, and it is of utmost importance that I find him immediately.”

“Why do you seek this man?”

“I cannot say everything, but I can say this much: I do not seek him for myself. It is my Master who seeks this man. My Master believes this man to be of some importance. I only know what he has told me. But I believe, my Master believes this man is one of a secret prophecy from long ago.”

“Prophecy?”

“Yes. A prophecy of many generations ago. My Master believes this man is the one spoken of in the prophecy and has entrusted me to find him. There is a problem I have encountered with finding him. He is a nomad even more so than I. He travels from one place to another and cannot) remain in one place too long. And even more than that, there are others looking for him, others who know of the prophecy. They seek to kill him to avoid the prophecy from being fulfilled.”

“That is quite a problem. Well, if he is the one of the prophecy, I am sure it is important. How do you know the others looking for him have not found him yet?”

“I saw them in the mountains. They had not yet found him.”

“Tell me, who is this man you seek?”

“I am sworn to secrecy of his name and his lineage. But I can tell you of him. He is tall and has golden curls and blue eyes and is muscular. He wears a set of long brown robes and rides a brown horse A beautiful mare with a white muzzle and speckles along her back and flanks. He carries a long sword made by Bretan of Sarook. It has Bretan’s signature curled hand guards. He has”

The old man interrupted her, “I have seen him.”

“Honestly?"

“Yes my dear. He passed through the city no more than two days ago. I saw him outside the Macalar Tavern.”

“Did he stay at the tavern? Was he alone?”

“He did not stay long. He ate at the tavern and was gone. I have not seen him since, so I am sure that he has left the city. Maybe he has moved on to Bria or Sarook?”

“Which do you think I should go to, Bria or Sarook?”

“Sarook is the bigger of the two cities and, therefore, a smart man would know it would be a better place to disappear. But a smarter man would know that anyone would know Sarook is bigger and would attempt to trick those who seek him and would flee to Bria instead.”

“Is that what you would do?”

“Yes my dear, that is exactly what I would do. In Bria, there is a Tavern on the north east side named The Cyphert. The owner is a greedy old fool. And his ugly wife is just as greedy and foolish. They would be more than glad to hide someone on the run, for a price.”

“I cannot thank you enough, Jamal. Unfortunately, I must go. But I promise, when my work is done, I will return and we may spend some more time together.”

The old man reached out and grabbed her hand, “Promise me you will take care of yourself?”

“I will. And I promise I will see you again soon,” she said as she was leaving.

*****

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