Story: Tales of Darkness - The Knight's Redemption (chapter 5)

Authors: Rhanar Narra-Jar

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Chapter 5

Title: Chapter - Welcome to Sarrania

[Author's notes: Arriving at the majestic Capital City of Sarrania, Faris, Hiroi, Raicha, Chinyi, Siriki, Charlene, Rachel, Mirinda, Allisia, Rhanar, Jiraz, Shica and Jisha explore the city to spend the time before the trial.]

"This is unbelieveable!" Siriki exclaimed in awe, Chinyi nodding in silent agreement, walking down the road from the large plaza they had appeared at.

The two of them, along with the rest of the group were meet with quite some suspicious and curious looks from the citizens.

"Halt! Who goes there?" a sharp voice came from a nearby stall, a guard in a salade sort of helmet, as well as chainmail and platemail asked them harshly.

"I'm Allisia Lightblade; I am to be held for trial later this evening..." Allisia spoke in her usual, formal tone; "...'till then, I wish to show my friends our glorious city."

"What are you charged with? Speak quickly!" the guard demanded, her hand never too far from the hilt of her sword and her grip of her spear tightening.

"Aparrently 'high treason' for forsaking my duty to Silvarcira as a Dragon Knight in the Dark Days" Allisia said, the guard frowning under her helmet.

"'High treason'? Who charged you for that? You? A Lightblade??" she asked, highly sceptical.

"The Royal Council" Allisia answered, the guard now clearly laughing under the helmet, her hand leaving her sword.

"If they mean 'high treason' from the time they tried and take over this kingdom, that sets you alright in my book, Miss Lightblade..." she said, saluting; "...Ma'am..."

With that, she returned her attention to the stall, looking through a nice selection of various fruits.

"Your reputation preceeds you, milady..." Rhanar said, respectfully nodding his head in a bow towards Allisia.

"I say we find an inn of sorts; I'm getting bored of their staring at me..." Mirinda sighed, gesturing with a thumb over her shoulders at a couple of youngsters starring at her.

"There is always the Silver Swan; it's just a few streets away" Allisia said, knowing Sarrania inside and out.

"The sooner I'll get something to eat the better..." Raicha complained, her stomach growling, Hiroi grinning at her.

"Allisia! It's been decades, lass!" Natty, one of the waitresses at the Silver Swan, greeted the Lady Knight with an informal, yet happy hug, Allisia smiling at her.

"How are things around here?" Allisia asked, Natty sighing.

"As good as it's always been; old Olgran still ranting about gold and glorious days, Zirix still collecting bounties; the usual, you know?" Natty said.

"'Zirix'? That's a funny name!" Chinyi chuckled, Natty noticing the little pink-haired girl amongst the group, grinning at her.

"I wouldn't say that around Zirix, lass..." Natty said, pointing her thumb at a dark, shady figure standing at the inn's other end; "...she's not good at keeping her temper."

"Can we get a table, please? I'm beginning to starve..." Faris mumbled, holding around her stomach, Natty grinning at her.

"Let's see, that orc fellow just left, so...yeah, I think you can have that one" Natty said, leading them to a well-polished oak table, plenty of chairs making sure they all could have a seat.

"Something you'll like?" Natty asked, the group beginning to ask what the inn could offer.

"Oh, that's just neat..." Faris sighed happily, clapping her stomach.

"You ate over two plates of steak and potatoes in less than three minutes..." Charlene said, her and Mirinda grinning.

"Well, if she was hungry, sure she would need some food in her guts if she was to fight as well as I hear she does with her rapier" Rhanar commented, putting a jug of drakegold down, surprised to find Faris, Raicha, Hiroi and Allisia starring at him.

"How did you know of that? I mean, I was an adventurer once, but I didn't really make that much of a notice of myself..." Faris said, Rhanar tapping his finger slowly to the table.

"Well, unknown to you, it seems, people around Istan began talking a lot about you; they hardly thought an adventurer could take on hordes of renegade undead armed simply with a rapier and a chainmail" Rhanar said, taking another sip of his jug.

"And how come you know about that?" Allisia asked, Rhanar hearing her voice rise in suspicion.

"Truth is, I was around Istan looking for clues leading to the Scepter of the Soulless..." Rhanar said, looking at Faris; " my stupidity, I thought of hiring you to explore some of the old ruins I had heard of, but listening to local folklore changed my mind."

"As you found out the ruins were haunted by ghosts and plagued by Kun'Ja's Zyrakan?" Allisia asked, Rhanar nodding.

"Zyra-what-a-fish?" Chinyi asked, confused at the complex name.

"It means 'night' in elven, or rather it used to; nowdays it means 'vampire'" Rhanar said, Chinyi swallowing nervously, scolding herself for ever asking.

"Sorry if I ask, but why are we sitting here talking about glamerous old relics and folklore when we should try helping Allisia out?" Hiroi suddenly asked, sounding irritated.

"I'm perfectly fine, Hiroi, but thanks for your concern" Allisia said, patting Hiroi's spiky, blue hair.

"Look, hottie, I don't know if you've noticed, but them old fuckers at your 'Royal Council' are trying to wipe their dirty little paws off on you, girl!" Raicha said, Allisia smiling amused at her.

"Their reasons, no matter how old and ancient, are meaningless to me; what is important to me is to make sure I can return to you girls" Allisia said, Siriki and Chinyi feeling tears of joy in their eyes, truly beliving Allisia to be the greatest Dragon Knight of all.

"Oh, Allisia-a-a-a...!" they both wailed, throwing themselves over Allisia from each side, the warrior girl not making it to duck before they both pressed themselves against her, hugging with all their might.

"Ye seen them lasses over there? I betcha they be them Night Ladies, eh?" Olgran, a young dwarf with with a bright red beard grinned, emptying his ale mug, a bored-looking orc woman sighing at him.

"Leave them be, Olgran; if they really are those girls they're not interested in what you're offering up every woman in Sarrania...!" she snapped, the dwarf looking angrily at her.

"Argh, shut ye whiny trap, ye sharp-tooth! Don't ye stick yer nose in me ale mug, Kriska! Ye might lose it!" Olgran grunted, slamming down his mug, hopping down from the chair he sat on, walking towards the Nightwind girls.

"...So all you wish for is to remain at the manor, alongside your fellow Nightwind companions?" Rhanar asked, Allisia giving a simple, determined nod in response.

"Well, here is to you, then..." Rhanar said, rising his jug; "...for a good future and Lady Shinris' blessings be upon you."

"You said it, bro!" Raicha said, grinning at Allisia as she rose her own jug for a toast; "we're right beyind ye, Allisia!"

As the other Nightwind girls rose their own jugs, in Shica and Jiraz's case even two at a time, Allisia smiled gratefully; deciding to remain at Nightwind Manor might just be the wisest decicion she had made in her life.

"My, what a bunch of lovely little lasses we've got here, eh?" Olgran now came wandering, his eyes especially fixed on Mirinda, Siriki and Chinyi.

"There's no need to hide the goods, girl" Olgran grinned, his burly manners and rough tone not at all appeasing neither the Nightwind girls or Rhanar.

"I suppose there is a demented, foolish reason you try your flirtious nonsense on a girl who does not find men appeasing to her at all...?" Rhanar snarled, his eyes appearing under the hood, Olgran simply barking out another laugh.

"Ye and all yer dyke crap! Even yer precious lil' Shinris, oh, the goddess of the whole, damn earth, agrees that it's we warriors who claims both the treasure and the maidens!" Olgran barked out, Rhanar more interested in looking at the table's other end:

Shica and Jiraz looked right out furious, Rhanar noticing sparks of Dark Magic flying around Shica's fingertips as she had to grab hold of the table to went off her frustration.

As for Jiraz, her eyebrows, eyes, hair, claws and wing-spikes had caught on demonic fire, only just able to control it.

"Mister Olgran, I suggest you look behind you..." Rhanar said, smiling evilly as he pointed at Shica and Jiraz.

"What are ye talking about, ye pointy-ear-..." Olgran began, rolling his eyes and turning around, facing the enraged Shica and Jiraz's looks.

"Ah, that's just great, all light shows and no backbone ter it! Hah! Ye could've bought that wizard crap anywhere, lasses! Ye ain't scaring anyone!" Olgran laughed, Jiraz begnning to feel like clawing her way from Olgran's steel helmet to his brain and rip it out.

"And all ye other little tits, ye listen here! I've survived that bloody Divine War, and, suddenly I thought, why am I risking me neck and dragging my arse into certain death if my own king doesn't want ter throw in some lusty lasses or a share o' the bounty?"

Olgran frowned, clapping the runed shortsword in his massive belt; "so I became a mercenary! Since then, I've had all the wenches falling fer me feet..." he said, heading over to Chinyi, grabbing the shocked girl's chin, rustling it; "...and ye bloody well look like some fine little pieces ter me!"

"THAT'S ENOUGH!" Allisia suddenly exclaimed, smashing her jug with a terrible force into the table, splinters flying in all directions as her adamantine armour materialised itself.

"You barge over to our table like some common bouncer; you ruin one of my life's best moments; you call my friends and lovers wenches, and my comrade-in-arms here a pointy-ear!" Allisia said, furiously pointing at Rhanar, her eyes locked on the slightly taken aback Olgran.

"Let me tell you, dwarf..." Allisia said, slowly rising up, her armour fully materialised as she unsheated the Soul-Cleaver; "...your kind are burly, rude and rowdy, I know that, but you..."

Leaning down over Olgran, Allisia's dark, intimidating armour and pose had its effect as she let her blade dance towards Olgran's neck.

"...You...have just made me really..." Allisia said, making a jab at Olgran's throat for each word; "!"

Without a second word, Olgran's eyes widened as Allisia's fist came down with a crushing force, slamming into Olgran's helmet, knocking him unconcious.

"If you all but had my respect before, lady Allisia..." Rhanar said, holding his fist to his heart, trying not to smile at Allisia's handiwork; " now have my adoration for your handling of such...unpleasent occourances..."

"That was kicking serious ass!" Jiraz grinned, Shica joining in, seeing the unconcious dwarf lie on the floor stretched out like a cross; suddenly though, he moaned lowly, beginning to move again, Rhanar feeling his frustration with the dwarf almost boil over; dwarves were stubborn beings, indeed, as it seemed like even being knocked out barely had much of an effect on them.

"Ye gotta be bloody kiddin' me! She's a demon and a dyke, as well! That lil' princess should've gone fer the-..." Olgran mumbled as he sat up, holding a hand to his head, dizzy after his knock-out.

"HOW DARE YOU?!" a roar now thundered through the entire inn, the girls taken aback as Rhanar rose from his seat, dark magic lightning twirling around his fingers, his eyes shining purple with dark magic, his teeth bared in a furious snarl.

"Olgran, begone from this inn, this city, and this land, lest I hunt you down, AND FEED YOUR INTRAILS TO THE RAVENS!!!" Rhanar roared, Olgran backing away, terrified as he was.

"RUN! Run, you little ant! HAHAHAHAHAHAH! Run, you puny little coward! Save your insides!" Rhanar laughed manically, sending a bolt of dark magic lightning after Olgran as he yelled in terror, fleeing the inn as fast as his armour could carry him.

"R-Rhanar, didn't have to overract..." Shica babbled, even Jiraz starring in awe at Rhanar as he slowly calmed down, sitting himself down and grabbing his mug, looking into the golden liqour swimming in it.

".....I am sorry for this outburst...I just tired of this simple-minded wretch and his views on the world..." Rhanar mumbled, the glow in his eyes fading away; "...there may not be forgiveness for my actions, but I dare say the horror in his eyes was worth it..."

"Mr. Rhanar, could I ask you something?" Chinyi carefully asked, backing away as Rhanar's head turned in her direction.

"Do speak it, Chinyi" Rhanar said, Chinyi looking carefully to see if Rhanar still seemed angry.

"Next time you roar, can't you give us earplugs first?" Chinyi asked, Rhanar's perplexed look, making a few of the girls grin.

"Surely, little Chinyi; I apoligize I even let my temper get the better of me..." Rhanar nodded, Hiroi looking almost respectfully at him.

"Dude, chillax; I yell out loud sometimes over nothing, really, like my cola not being cold enough, so don't feel bad about it..." Hiroi assured, Raicha looking in adoration at her.

"And, ye know, I kinda like bad-ass girls..." she teased, kissing Hiroi's cheek, Hiroi returning it smilingly.

"Goodness, back to square one, it is..." Rhanar rolled his eyes, shrugging and grinning; "...seems like we will be needing another round of drinks."

"Urgh! Where's that rotting bastard?! If he's flipping skirts again, I'll...!" Kriska growled to herself, standing up from the bar desk, looking around; to her surprise, she saw Olgran come running and yelling through the inn, and before she could get his attention, he bolted out the door, smacking it behind him.

"What in the...?" Kriska scratched her head in confussion, looking in the direction that Olgran had run from.

"What's going on here?? Urgh...Olgran, you bastard..." she began as she approached the girls' table, now seeing what Olgran might have been up to, grinning to herself that at least he had been taught a lesson.

"...OK, what in the fuck...?" Raicha gasped in awe as the over two meters tall orc woman stood by their table; her body covered in thick pieces of leather and decorated with steel plates with spikes, she looked intimidating, her gray eyes and lower fangs clearly visible in a snarl.

"Allisia here proved quite a bane to your drunken lout of a friend, miss...?" Rhanar asked, the tall orc frowning and looking strictly at him.

"Yeah, and I heard your roar, elf; we're not really as deaf to our surroundings as your light-skinned cousins makes us..." Kriska snarled sarcastically; "...I'm Kriska of the Red Claw Clan; who are you lasses, then?" she asked, her long mane of raven-black hair falling over her face, Kriska irritatingly brushing it aside.

"Uhm-m-m...I'm Charlene, of Nightwind Manor; these others are...uhm-m-m...are companions to Lady Allisia..." Charlene nervously started, Kriska looking over the girls; never had she seen such a row of ravishable young maidens.

"Ahhh, Nightwind, eh? You mean that cozy little mountain hut with the beer flowing like rivers and the maidens romping about in the late night hours?" Kriska grinned, having heard quite some rumors around the Silver Swan.

"Indeed; we're here only because of my comming trail, and when it is over, we shall return there" Allisia now spoke, Kriska noticing a hint of irritation in her voice.

"Don't worry your pretty little heads, girls; I ain't got no problem with you not liking boys..." Kriska smiled, sighed and looked over her shoulder, where a couple of brawlers had begun fighting over what sounded like a chess game; "...sometimes I wonder if I'm not gonna follow the same road; sure sounds more comfortable..."

Lost in her thoughts, Kirska blinked her eyes, speaking something in orcish, looking over the girls; "say, can I smack my arse down at you girls? My only companion for the next cave raiding was pretty much more arse than warrior..." Kriska asked, rolling Olgran away with her steel-studded boot.

"Sure, have a seat" Charlene said, Faris looking amazed at the orc woman as she sat down; seeing her curiousity, Kriska grinned, patting Faris' shoulder with a force strong enough to knock down a bull.

"I gotta say, you've sure got some muscles under all that leather..." Raicha said, her and Hiroi's long and interesting gazes making Kriska feel welcome, enjoying their admiration.

"If you weren't already 'hired' at that manor, you two would be some nice little bunk mates..." Kriska said, Raicha and Hiroi exchanging confused looks.

"Miss Kriska, have you ever had a lover?" Mirinda now asked, her graceful elven tone taking Kriska aback from her usual rough and free language.

"Well, I've had myself some of those young warrior boys running after me a couple 'o times; all about keeping our clan strong and the numbers steady, quite some handsome ones, even..." Kriska said, her face darkening; "...but I don't just wanna be a pet breeder for my clan, so I ran as fast as my legs could carry me."

"To my mind, most orcish clans live around, and in, the Narrak Desert..." Rhanar noted, looking curious at Kriska; " did you survive the heat?"

"I honestly dunno; all my brain told me was to get bloody heck outta there before those nitwits started getting their arses up and moving; a warrior is entitled to claim whatever woman he wants after his test of manhood or his first kill, or least it was so back when I was young..." Kriska explained.

"It 'used to'? Oh Gods, please say your elders, or, whoever they are, came to their senses??" Jiraz asked, her and Shica feeling the deepest pity with Kriska.

"Well, they pretty much found out women could fight, as well, so when they gave fighting a try, they pretty much got their arses handed to them..." Kriska said, smiling; "...that period of my clan's history is called the 'Gender Bender' in your common tongue; it's a bit more diffent in orcish, though."

"'Gender Bender'? Hihihih! Ni-i-i-ice..." Hiroi grinned, Raicha rustling her hair lightly in tease.

"Say, I got a question for you, little elf..." Kriska now leaned herself over at Rhanar; "...if these little vixens don't like males, why are you with them? You're not a slavemaster, are you?" Kriska said, Shica seeing her fangs reveal themselves.

"Relax, Kriska, he's my brother; he'd rather die than to harm a woman" Shica pointed out, Kriska looking suspiciously at Rhanar.

"Not harm a woman? Sounds like a knight...or maybe these Sharas'Car fellows..." Kriska pondered, Rhanar looking up at her.

"I am the leader of the Sharas'Car, miss Kriska; rest assured I all but protect these girls, I do not seek them harm" Rhanar explained, Kriska's jaw falling a bit agape.

"Shinris' groves, you're Rhanar Narra-Jar! And...and then this little elfie's gotta be..." Kriska pointed continously at Shica in confussion, Jiraz finding herself beginning to giggle.

"I'm Crown Princess Shica Narra-Jar, daughter of Empress Shinris Narra-Jar, and mother of Jisha Narra-Jar" Shica explained, Kriska looking at her with a mix of awe and adoration.

"Mother?? You can't bloody well be more than sixteen summers old!" Kriska near exclaimed; "did any bastard do that to you??"

"Hey, she wanted me more than you know..." Jiraz spoke, sticking out her tongue at Shica, who replied with a flirty wink; seeing that, and the rising of Jiraz's tail, Kriska sighed heavily at herself, putting two and two together.

"You must be that Jiraz lady who's claimed the little princess, huh? How much of a fight did she put up?" Kriska partly joked, partly mocked.

Looking at Jiraz, Shica simply grinned, Jiraz joined in as they both spoke; "none."

"Well, well, well, look who it is, then..." a gruff voice now sounded behind Rhanar; looking up, he saw what appeared to be a city guard, this one a dwarf with a long, black beard sticking out under his helmet's visor.

"If it ain't the loveable Allisia..." he chuckled, stepping up to her, offering her a handshake, which she accepted; "...I haven't seen ye since that day ye ran off; I got ter feel why you'd do that, though..."

"You mean the injustice the Royal Council ruled with in absence of the king?" Allisia asked, the dwarf snorting and opening his visor.

"Yeah yeah, bloody bad and all, but that's not the worst; they cut both we guards' pay, and they banned us fer drinking on duty!" he growled, Siriki grinning at him.

"What's it ter you, little lass? You'd properly never drunk before, have ye?" he shrugged, his armour clinking as Siriki and Chinyi exchanged looks.

"Oh, we've drunk plenty, haven't we, Chinyi?" Siriki asked, Chinyi replying by kissing the giggling Siriki.

"Sweet Shinris's tits! I, I've seen me share of exotic sights outside the battlefield, but that...that's actually real pretty-looking, you lasses..." the dwarf stammered, looking curiously at Siriki and Chinyi; "...i-if it's not ter much ter ask...could ye do it again? I didn't really believe me eyes..."

At that point, Shica could have sworn to have seen a spark of dark magic flare in Rhanar's eyes as his claws scraped the wooden table slowly...

"They kiss like schoolgirls! Lemme show you..." Raicha said, smirking at Rachel; "...should we show him?"

"As long as he keeps off, sure" Rachel replied with a wink, now kissing Rachel passionately.

"Oh me Gods! They're heading right fer the sack after that one, ain't they?? Bwahahahahahah!" the dwarf laughed, pounding his armoured fist to his chest; "you're some bloody fine lasses showing me that!"

"If you're through watching my friends' intimacy..." Allisia now spoke, the dwarf taken aback by her chilling voice under the helmet; "...what may you wish from me?"

"Hmph! At least he's more well-mannered than that arse Olgran..." Kriska snorted, kicking the unconcious dwarf warrior in the side.

"Nothing really, milady; it's just been some time since I've seen ye around Sarrania, is all..." the dwarf said, pointing a thumb at the girls; "...but I get the feeling you're not here ter stay for long, are ye?"

"No, I'm only here for my trial, and the-..." Allisia began, the dwarf's mouth falling comically agape.

"Trial?! What son of a harlot would trial ye?! Lady Allisia, you're bloody well the finest blade ever ter serve the Golden Dragon Order! Just tell me who's charging ye..." the dwarf said, his voice sounding quite murderous.

"Not to interupt, but I find your dedication to defend Allisia quite worthy" Rhanar spoke, the dwarf looking at him.

"It's what every soldier worth his honour would do! Bloody Hell, I dunno if she remembers it, but she bloody well saved me from a nasty piece 'o flying metal from a wrecked catapult!" the dwarf said, turning to Allisia; "if ye hadn't shown up, I'd been gutted like a pork!"

"Ah, the battle south of Cinras; brigands really shouldn't try drawing so much attention to themselves by stealing military ballistas" Allisia said, the dwarf nodding and stroking his beard.

"They ain't getting brighter, lady; they're still trying ter claim the road to Cinras as theirs; me daughter holds her ground against a plenty of 'em as we speak" he said, look over to Faris; "excuse me, but could I settle down with ye? me boys over there are giving me a headache..."

"Hmm, as long as you don't start acting like Olgran here..." Kriska snarled, the unconcious dwarf not having moved a muscle.

"Heaven forbid it! I've got respect fer the ladies; me mom raised me right, just ye know it, miss..." the dwarf said, making his way and finding an empty.

"What is your name, by the way?" Rhanar asked.

"Well, around here I'm called 'Blackbeard', but me real name's Haggar Stoneheart" the dwarf said, Rhanar's left eyebrow raising a bit.

"Ah, Haggar, is it? I remember meeting another Stoneheart a few days ago..." Rhanar said, putting down his jug; "...she told me that if I ever were to find you, I should give you her greetings."

"Oh? That must be me cousin, Hellen; heheh, a fine lass, just a bit too sharp in the wits and too slow with the blade..." Haggar mumbled in his beard, Mirinda looking strictly at him.

"Even if she is your cousin, it is her choice how to live her life" Mirinda said, Haggar looking sceptically at her.

"Whatcha mean, elf? Our family's always been tougher with the sword than anyone I know of; she could at least contribute a little ter the tradition..."

"Traditions are 'so' over-rated, dude..." Raicha said, sighed and leaned herself back to Hiroi, who smiled at her; "...if we only followed traditions, we'd still be called freaks."

"Hmm, you got a bloody point, lass; it's all fair with traditions..." Haggar pulled his beard away as he took a sip of a full jug of beer; "...but we shouldn't become obsessed with it, aye?"

"You've got a point on that" Charlene commented, Haggar emptying his jug in two slurps, looking around the girls until he found...

"Holy Heaven...didn't know we still had demons walking Varran..." Haggar said in awe as his eyes fell upon Jiraz and Shica, the two of them secretly kissing behind Kriska's massive back.

"And I suppose ye two are lovers?" Haggar asked, Shica's head popping into view as she wiped a bit of drool from her mouth.

"Yep, we pretty much are; girlfriends, too" Shica said, grinning as Jiraz came into view, chuckling at Shica.

"So, let me get this right: Ye Nightwind gals are all into each other, the little elf lass here and the demon gal are lovers, so..." Haggar said, putting two and two together; " I suppose none of ye have ever been with a man before?"

A collective 'no' were heard from the girls, Haggar not looking too surprised, although his eyebrows lifted themselves quite a bit.

"We've got enough lovin' going on at the manor to last us a lifetime, dude..." Hiroi said, Raicha's hand hovering a few centimetres from Hiroi's left breasts, marking Hiroi's point.

"Uhm-m, before me helmet starts boiling, lasses..." Haggar caughed, "...could I ask ye a favour, Lady Allisia?"

"What sort of favour?" Allisia asked.

"That armour you're wearing looks like some fine forge work; can I see that gauntlet, maybe, so I can write down the design? Me wife would love it; she collects all kind of rare armour designs ter forge back home in High Hall" haggar asked, Allisia nodding and began to take off the gauntlet of her armour.

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