Location: Drullen Bell Keep
Formendacil wrote:"In that case I'll have to look afield to find one, and one that suits me," said Sir Dractor. "Since we're going there anyway, would Orion be a good place to look?"
"If you can't find the information in the Archives there, then you won't find it anywhere," said Bjarn. "Which reminds me: I want to get the finished installment of my memoirs copied by the time we leave so that I can take it to the Archives. Remind me to talk to the scribes; if they start now they can be done a decent, if unillustrated, manuscript by then."
Sir Dractor had finished his shield, and was itching to do something. He had started sparring with Thomas in the training grounds. He had a touch of nostalgia there. Odd, he thought, that he was already getting nostalgic about the year he had spent in Dametreos, but already he was looking back on the weeks spent training the Forestmen soldiers and practicing his fighting with Shainya and others with great fondness.
Thomas was turning out to be a decent swordsman. He had plenty of energy and enthusiasm, and he was slowly, but surely, acquiring the necessary knowledge of parrying and thrusting and other talents. Sir Dractor had high hopes for his young squire. He would quite likely be an excellent knight in the service of whichever king he chose.
And speaking of kings, Bjarn was starting to itch to be off.
"It's a couple week-long walk to Orion," he said, "we had may as well start now, don't you think?"
"It won't take that long to get there," said Sir Dractor, "unless we travel with an army or something similarly slow. Do you want to get there a fair bit early?"
"A bit," admitted Bjarn. He sighed. "I'm a wanderer by nature, Aethelred. I've settled down, and I'm glad to have a home, but the urge to travel is still there. It's high summer now, and my feet are urging me to hit the road."
"I can sympathise," said Sir Dractor, "I've been on the road a lot of my life, although usually serving my prince in some capacity. On a single mission, as a soldier, as a captain, even as a commodore."
"We've both had colourful lives, my friend," said Bjarn. "But mostly I'm content to settle down nowadays. Still, it will be good to be there. I'm expecting to see most of the Misfits, and I'm looking forward to it. Except for Reno and Aros, I haven't talked to any of them since the BloodVaine war, pretty much- and I wasn't really in any condition at the end of that."
"No, you weren't," agreed Sir Dractor. "I'll admit that I'm willing to get to Orion early. It will hasten my sword-searching process."
"I'm amazed that you're so picky about what sword you carry," said Bjarn, shaking his head. "Surely, a warrior like you doesn't NEED a weapon to be any good at all."
"Need it, no," agreed Sir Dractor, "but I've always preferred to have the best weapons and armour possible, so as to be able to strain myself to the very limits. And, I'll admit it, I like having a well-made weapon."
"Well, good luck," said Bjarn, "I'll say no more than that."
"And I won't say anything about a king who deserts his people at the first available opportunity," said Sir Dractor with a rogueish smile.
"Gonderin can rule them as well as me or better," said Bjarn. "And it's not as if I won't be helping them in Orion by promoting their interests, anyway. But I'll admit that it isn't too dissimilar to the behaviour in Radjar Kath that I so often criticized."
"I wasn't born to rule," he said. "I was born royal, yes. I was the cousin of kings and leaders, but it was never expected that I would be the Leader of the League. That was Isaac's title, and was to be his descendents after him. It was never supposed to fall to Cousin Bjarn. That's why they excommunicated me. It was never thought that they would need me to take the throne.
"But Isaac never had another child, and the throne did come to me. Not only Isaac, but none of our cousins had any children. Ours is a sad family. I'm probably the last.
"I don't usually think about my family, or succession, but sometimes I have to wonder: when I go, who will succeed me? Who will lead the League of Forestmen? Who will follow me in the footsteps of Jethro Argus Tahmyll?"
"I'm sure that someone suitable will be found," said Sir Dractor. "Maybe Gonderin will finally become king in name as well as in practice." Bjarn laughed.
"Maybe!" laughed Bjarn. "I regret, now, that I never married. Never had children. I wanted a family, or thought I did, when I was young, and I loved J'anrya. Sometimes I think my friendship with Shainya, Reno, and his brothers has to do with having missed out on having a family."
"I missed out too," said Sir Dractor. "I used to think that my brother's family was enough, and it was- until I lost them.
"I don't think that either of us was ever intended to marry, but I understand about Reno and the others. I'm starting to feel the same way about Thomas."
Weighed down by their heavy thoughts, both were silent for a moment.
"So, we're agreed to leave for Orion tomorrow then?" said Bjarn.
"Tomorrow," agreed Sir Dractor. "If we get there early, maybe we'll get the best accomodations."