Island of the Kahts~ Part One
Island of the Kahts
Being the account of one of grand adventures of Torinnir Erris Vongelli, in which is recorded all the prevalent, relevant, little-known, and/or otherwise obscure information of his great heroism and even greater handsomeness.
(And perhaps a bit of his slight, slight, very slight stupidity, of which there is very little—but perhaps just enough to warrant the death threat given the Author/Hero/Central Character by the Co-hero/Co-central Character, Savadra Kylon Reckitt, if he did not include this disclaimer.)
Rain. In the desert. It wasn’t exactly something you saw everyday. I glared at the clouds which continued to dump buckets down onto my already soaked clothes. Soaked for three very long days that is. Terrific.
I turned to Craigin beside me. “I wish this infernal rain would go away. You’d think that in the desert there wouldn’t be many rain storms. Not to mention the fact that this one has lasted for days.” I muttered as we passed a blackened cactus stump. A cactus which had been thus charred by lightning…and was still smoking. We all took a second glance.
“Don’t worry Tory, lad.” Craigin assured, pausing to shake out his coat, a useless attempt to get dry. “We’ll be in Montal soon.” he added. For a day we had been hiking through the desert to reach Montal, the capital of the country of Kurrm’anair. (The first two rain-soaked days had been used up trying to find safe anchorage for our large ship in the many shoals, rage-tides and reefs surrounding the now-distant shores of Kurrm’anair’s desert front. Oh, and the sharks; but I would rather not talk about that particular incident in this adventure. We’ll just say that it involved a lot of yelling, pain, and general chaos.)
Now, then, it might be a wise idea for me to introduce the members of our little group, as you will be seeing a lot of them in this retelling of our now-famous second quest.
Craigin is the captain of the ship The Waveblade and an endless source of information. He’s also a skilled knife thrower—which comes in handy. He is known for getting easily sidetracked and is prone to being absent-minded, especially when researching.
Savadra’s our leader; a tall girl about my age with the brains of a hundred year-old wise man and the sword fighting skills of a knight. Savadra is known for being headstrong. She has long red hair that curls once at the base of her neck and again at the tips. Her green eyes can sparkle with mischief one moment and anger the next. It is best to keep on her good side—now whether that is right or left, I have never figured out and am frequently kicked when in the wrong. I eventually learned to wear padding below the knees and smile innocently when she decides to take out her frustrations on my shins. It infuriates her. (Likewise, this paragraph will likely infuriate her so let it be known that I’m risking life and limb and hair and hide for you, oh undeserving reader.) She also hates being referred to as ma’am or captain or any such title. She’s odd.
Savadra led the group with me and Craigin near the end. The twins, Fern and her brother Gern, walked in the middle. Fern is quiet but not shy and wields an iron club to prove the fact. While Craigin has the smarts when it comes to books and charts and the like, Fern is most often the brains behind our plans but also tends toward the very pessimistic. Her brother Gern was added to the party to lighten our spirits with his joking around and prank pulling. Walking down the street you might say they were ‘as alike as two peas’. (What sense does that phrase make, anyhow? We liken people to garden vegetables now? Just goes to show how intelligent we are.) But on further examination you realize that they are ‘as different as black and white’. Gern is trained with a sword as well, though we have learned over time not to rely too terribly much on his skills. He’s probably my best friend among our group, and certainly the first to laugh and the first to support me, so that’s always helpful.
Now, why are four teens and one captain wandering around in a rainy desert with such obvious fortitude and purpose? I'm glad you've asked.
We had been grouped together from several different countries by one man to save a village from pirates a few months back. This might make a rain storm in the desert sound normal, or at least somewhat tame. I suppose compared to the monkey eating, dog-sized spiders on our first mission, it was. King Greythan of Montal had heard of us after the whole pirate-and-spider episode and immediately begged us to come help him. Since he was, after all, a king we agreed.
“Are you cold, Tory?” Savadra asked. Her wet red hair framed her face and her snapping green eyes.
“Not at all, ma’am. I make a habit of wandering for days in soggy clothing in a desert which drops nearly to freezing temperatures at night.” I replied sarcastically. She slapped me.
“I’m no ma’am. You make me sound like an old woman.” she chided and paused long enough to aim a kick at my shins. I smiled sweetly. She growled menacingly. Sometimes all that bottled-up wisdom turns into erratice vengefulness that you might think the former wasn't there at all.
“There’s the city!” Gern called to us as we crested a large dune and everyone let out a sigh of relief.
“At last. I can’t wait to get into some warm, dry clothes.” Fern groaned. “That is, of course, provided we can get into the city at all and then assuming we find some rooms to stay in and then find some fresh clothes. And assuming we don’t all freeze to death before that happens, or drop dead from some disease we’ve contracted from all this exposure to the harsh and grating elements that everyone, for some completely inane reason, believes to be wonderful. Besides, even if we should manage to get in still breathing, there’s still the whole idea of grabbing an audience with the king and it’s just possible that we’ll all die on whatever so-called adventure we’re supposed to embark upon and…” I warned you she was pessimistic. We had kind of learned how to ignore her unless she had something useful to say. We have kind of learned how to ignore her unless she has something useful to say. She is in the habit of grumbling and mumbling everything, except for when she has got an idea, in which case she will fall to shouting. We all learned this fact within the first twenty-four hours of meeting her and it has become quite easy to tell the difference. The key, we've discovered, is to tune out everything else.
We arrived at the walled city of Montal and stood at the city gates waiting for the gatekeeper to come and permit us to enter. He took so long as to allow Fern to begin an entirely knew list of worries and “we’ll-never-make-it-because-of-this-blasted-gatekeeper”’s. Finally he opened the iron gates and waved a tired hand, inviting us in. He was a weary looking man with a weathered face and almost mournful expression, his hair was dark brown and grey-templed and he was clothed in a long brown robe over a light blue tunic.
“Wayfarers seeking lodging? Great warriors on a quest?” he droned in an uninterested voice. Savadra tried to speak but he went on. “Minstrels with broken hearts and instruments, gypsies with no food or shelter to speak of, traveling emissaries or royalty who have been sadly robbed of all their wealth. On and on, I have heard it all before you know. Either way you want the king and the king you shall get—in a few years, if you’re patient enough to stand in line.” For the first time he looked up at us.
“No sir.” Savadra explained quietly. “You came close on a number of occasions but we are none of those you mentioned. I am Savadra Reckitt, of Easton Stoll, and my companions and I are here because we were summoned by the king, not because we wish to seek an audience to win his favor and achieve our desires.” Despite other faults, Savadra can be very diplomatic when she chooses, or, in other words, when she isn’t occupying her time with making my life miserable.
“Oh.” he said with an eyebrow quirked in curiosity and understanding. “Well than,” He looked us all up and down. “Well than, that is a different matter altogether. Come with me.”
We then followed him, not through the city streets as I had imagined we would, but through a maze of hallways in the thick inner wall of the city. The man had a quick, spry way of walking despite his harried appearance and we hurried to keep up. However, there was something awkward about his step too. As I watched him closely I discovered that it was because of a slight limp in his right leg.
“You are warriors but you have come alone. Where are your crew and supplies, your army?” the gatekeeper asked as we past under one of the torches that had been placed about every fifteen feet through the narrow way. I looked up the thick dark-stoned walls as Craigin answered.
“My crew from our ship remains there. We understood that the problem was not within the city walls but out across the sea to an island claimed by the king’s explorers.”
The gatekeeper nodded. “Yes, that is correct; but most want to show their power and influence, instead of arriving wet and bedraggled without a tent to rest in nor a pillow to lay on as you have come.” he said as we squeezed past a few men and woman in servant garb gossiping and laughing. The gatekeeper turned to us and smiled and I found that he was actually quite handsome when he did so. “I like that in you.”