After their meeting on icy shores, Cordelia and her company began the voyage south into the heart of the Wyvern Kingdom, the capital city of Lindford. Ancient and majestic, Lindford was one of the oldest settlements after the fall of the Chosen Nation in 1045 PS. Behind the stone walls, Cordelia would meet her betrothed, and if all went well, would consummate an alliance between the Wyvern Kingdom and the Lion Empire.
For what seemed like many days, the company walked and rode south. Horses were a scarce commodity this far north, with only three to carry the group. Cordelia and Archibald rode, while Robert had the privilege of driving the cart full of their goods. Much to their misfortune, all of the armed escorts were forced to walk, both Wyvern and Lion alike.
While on the way, Archibald and Cordelia had many in depth conversations on a plethora of topics. The northern accent took some time for Cordelia to be accustomed to, but she was familiar with it soon enough. Archibald wove fantastic tales of the Wyvern Kingdom’s history with remarkable prose, while Cordelia often told anecdotes of her life on the Middle Continent, including some rather gruesome details of the Crown Civil War and the Seven Year War, both of which she witnessed in her lifetime.
The weather and climate inland were less harsh as on the shore by which they arrived, Cordelia noticed. This directly contradicted her view of the northern kingdoms as being cold and desolate for a majority of the year. Confused, she posed the question to Archibald.
“Well, Your Radiance, I must say that the tales you’ve told me of my beloved nation are a bit exaggerated. Our winters last no longer than yours do, although they normally are very cold. However, given the strange circumstances that occurred towards the end of last year, the weather here has been very much like spring.” The priest nodded, and adjusted his hat.
“Yes, that is also true south in the middle kingdoms. I do not know what caused it, but my father has sent ships southward to investigate. I imagine that a messenger will be sent north to me when the information is received.” Outside of those directly involved in whatever strange event caused the climate change, it seemed that the whole of the Nortlen was kept in the dark on such matters. Curiosity gnawed at Cordelia, and she so desperately wanted to know.
After traveling past villages and open plains spotted with pine trees, the company seemed to be headed straight for a colossal forest. Once more taken unawares, Cordelia turned to Archibald.
“In order to keep this mission an utmost secret, Your Radiance, my superiors asked that we come in through a covert gate hidden amongst the trees in the walls of Lindford. The only accessible path is through a long winding forest path. For a relatively small company like us, we should arrive in half a day’s time.” Archibald had a sense of pride in those words, as if his purpose was the most honorable it could be, despite it’s veiled nature.
Cordelia lost herself in the majesty of so many pine and conifers that she had no idea as to the passage of time. Lost in the endless branches and trunks, from time to time she thought she saw movement amidst the trees, as if many men were climbing about and talking the party. Even among the guards, she felt a pang of fear stab right through her.
Before she knew it, there was a massive stonewall suddenly rooting itself amongst the trees. The entire structure had an aura of cold about it, emanating into the forest. Trees continued to grow right up to the gates, young and old.
A few men in black helmets bearing the red Wyvern on their shields stood at the gate, doing their best to look attentive. A number of spearmen and assorted men at arms ran atop the wall at their arrival, shouting to men below to open the gates.
“Archibald, won’t this all be moot in a few moments’ time? When we enter the city, won’t the entire populace of Lindford be aware that we have entered?” Cordelia said, convinced she had found a fault with the plan Archibald was so sure of.
“Not to worry, Your Radiance. The distance between this wall and the King’s keep is not far at all. Those who see us will barely have time to react, let alone do any harm to you. Once in the keep, the rumors of whether or not a princess has entered Lindford will be all but impossible to confirm. Worry not!” Archibald said, his sense of pride once more showing through his black and red priestly robes.
Staring at the maw in front of her, Cordelia was reminded to ask Archibald of something that had previously slipped her mind entirely.
“Archibald, could you perhaps tell me about my betrothed?” she asked, sounding both curious and scared at the same time. I sure hope he isn’t a brute in the same vein as my brother is, she thought.
“Certainly, Your Radiance, although I suppose you will have to behold him yourself to truly judge his character.” Archibald cleared his throat, and began, “Prince Martin is a very… shy boy. Granted, he is still quite young, only eleven years old. He’s very bright and studious, much like some of his ancestors in that way. He cares not for the thrill of battle, at least not yet. He’s the youngest of King Martin’s five children, all born from Queen Juliet. Although I fear you won’t meet his siblings, nor his mother. They prefer to spend most of their time in the castle at York. I fear to say their marriage is not an entirely happy one…”
Eleven years old? I’m practically betrothed to an infant! Cordelia mulled over the fact. Shy as well. I don’t have to fear him becoming a warring tyrant, though. At least that’s a relief.
The gates started to groan open, and Cordelia braced herself. Despite Archibald’s soothing words, her stomach was still in a knot. She could hear Robert behind her chatting with some of her soldiers. Archibald stiffened and brought his staff up. The time had finally come, and she couldn’t let her apprehension get the best of her. Not now.
More photos on Brickshelf. The fourth chapter of A Lion In The Wyvern's Nest is here! The other chapters can be found (as well as my other stories) here. C&C welcome.