GUESTS FROM THE SOUTH

(Another story about Tela Marbir. Read the previous story here.)

Tela entered the hall. She was serving Lord Berin for a few years now, but this hall still inspired awe in her — strongly and efficiently built; few windows that compromise security; narrow, easily-defended passage in the middle; beautiful sconces, made obviously by a talented metalsmith; and, most importantly, minimalistic interior. One of the main reasons she felt affinity to this man and considered herself lucky to be in his employ.  

— Ah, Tela, how are things? How are these oafs I call my personal guard? — Lord Herevard Berin smiled warmly and invited Tela to sit with him at the table. — Anything to drink? 

Captain Marbir adjusted her eye-patch and politely smiled back.  

— No, thank you, my Lord. May I know the reason you have summoned me? 

— Oh, but surely you must already know. I did not wish to trouble you before your complete and full recovery, but information is of vital importance… — he stopped himself. 

— My Lord, I will present a report about the expedition to you in a manner of days, — Tela said. 

— Yes, yes, the report, that is all good and well, but I need to know now. Is there hope? Are they approachable? I am aware of the fight that broke out and the losses, but… Do you think it would be possible to reach out to them again? Maybe don’t send army this time, just a delegate or a diplomat or a… 

— My Lord, — Tela interrupted, — I think that we can only count on ourselves in this. 

 

A few hours later, checking on the soldiers, Tela got up on the castle wall to look over surroundings. And just in time. 

— They’re approaching! — was the shout from guard tower.  

And indeed. The long-awaited delegation had finally arrived to Castle Berin. For some reason at this moment Tela remembered her old sergeant from back in the Sikil military. “You are army,” he would always say to them, “You are the masterful wheel of progress. You are the bloody wheel of ruin. Be careful of what you become in the end.”

 

— His Excellency Tremille Jhoras of Liol, international peddler of wares, owner of businesses and Commerant of the Conglomerate. 

After the introduction was concluded, the door to Berin’s hall opened and Tremille Jhoras of Liol, along with the rest of his delegation, entered. There weren’t ever so many colours in this hall as at this time right now. Vibrant greens, blues, yellows mixed with pale reds, bright reds and noble reds. The attires were glorious, the people radiant with smiles and the mood light in their midst. Lord Berin instinctively checked if the sword was on him. Undoubtedly, it was. 

— I bid welcome to this noble delegation. How was the journey? I hope northern roads weren’t too much for your steeds, — Herevard smiled and stood up from his seat at the center of the hall. 

— We are pleased to be in your presence, oh Lord Berin. I shall announce to you, that we had a fascinating journey indeed, even all the way after crossing Larredin. Weather was most kind to us, — Tremille bowed as deeply as his body would allow, or so it seemed. 

— You were quite lucky to not encounter rain at this time of year, it is becoming increasingly common. 

— Well, I assure you, Lord Berin, we were prepa 

— Anyway, let us end the formalities and get to business, if you don’t mind, Your Excellency. 

Tremille hesitated with an answer, but only for a moment. 

— Without question. Getting to business is what we like in the Conglomerate. 

— One thing, before we start. I assume, you remembered my main condition for this meeting? — Herevard sat back down. 

— Of course, Lord Berin. My companions left all their weapons at the gate, as instructed previously. 

— Just a quick search, if you don’t mind. Only to be sure. 

— Well, uhm, of co… Of course, Lord Berin. 

Herevard motioned to TelaShe and few other soldiers rapidly approached the delegation, while crossbowmen on the upper floor stood at the ready. Few minutes later Tela nodded to Berin and returned to her spot near the wall. 

— Thank you for your patience, Your Excellency. One can never be too sure these days. 

— Certainly, I understand. Now, getting to the point of things… 

 

Tela Marbir, captain of the Castle Berin guard, veteran of a dozen campaigns and an experienced tactical combatant, felt quite helpless watching the Conglomerate delegation leave. As the gates closed behind them and the bridge towed back up, she glanced at Lord Berin, standing beside her. 

— They’re not gonna assume we have something up our sleeve, will they? 

— No, captain Marbir, they will not, — Lord Herevard Berin looked stressed and tired after several hours of negotiations, – They will not. And they will be right.

By Yurii “Shahor” Bisyk

25.03.18

 

GUESTS FROM THE SOUTH

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