The day he walked in everything changed. Doubt filling every pour till my chest hurt, and I could barely catch my breath. Even now. Looking upon that ridiculous mage, I knew then and there that there was something different. Something he wasn't going to let slip easy.
Even now as the King motioned me closer, the sickening twist tightened in my gut ready to give at a moments notice.
"Asterin, I command you to assist our new friend here in his quest. Your shield will be his to call until your return." His liege breathed out those words as though he was expecting me to argue. But, I nodded a word not daring to fall passed my chapped lips.
I am the High Paladin of his Majesty, his words are my law. But as I turn to face the mage once more the twisting in my gut tightened once more.
Striding passed him, I held my composure to the best of my ability. Fingers idle against the mace that hung tightly to my waist. Fast clicking heels caught up, and I couldn't help but look. Dark-roguish attire, hood up, a sly almost irritating smirk upon their face.
"We'll Asterin, you ready for a ride of a lifetime?" He questioned, nudging me with his elbow before picking up speed. "Oh yeah." He pauses turning to stand in front of me, stopping me in my tracks. "I am Lonán by the way." Whipping around he continues to stride down the corridor, and towards the open exit. Shouting over his shoulder. "Meet me at the Moons Parting!"
Sighing, I head to my quarters. Now more confused then anything.
'Why would his Majesty allow this? There has been no signs of The Darkness in Centuries... peace is all but here. So why... why was he taking this foolish mage up on his offer.'
Reviewing my equipment everything lay in place, it was now or never. With pack over one shoulder, I step out of the castle, down the long stairs, and into the surrounding homes that made up Visivia. The warm afternoon sun hung lazily overhead as passerby's waved or eyed me suspiciously.
I had not stepped foot from the castles walls since the war ended, now— now seeing all the people, carefree, happy, I can only hope what the King saw was only a dream... that this quest will be nothing but a fools errand.
"We'll met Asterin!" A boisterous voice boomed ahead of me, eyes moving from the passing faces to a familiar grinning fool, flour upon dark skin, deep ashened locks twisted behind battle ridden shoulders. Hand clasping my shoulder as soon as I was in proximity. "How be the castle life? Things still same old, same old?"
Nodding the cheery smile drops from the man's face, becoming grim as Hazel eyes looked into my own obsidians.
"Asterin..." He sighs shaking his head and nudging me to follow. "I sorta heard from a few of the maids you'll be going to go check the locks right?" His voice barely breaks a whisper that for a second I had only imagined what he said. But I nod nonetheless. "Be safe." Releasing my shoulder he pushes the door open to a quaint bakery, the smell of fresh loaves hitting my nostrils as soon as my foot breached the threshold.
"Asterin? Is that you dear?" A female with wild red hair all but bounces in front of me, scars of battle littering her freckles ample flesh. "Good to see you still kicking." She jokes, pulling me into a surprisingly hearty bear hug. Releasing me quickly she pays herself down before rushing to around the counter the biggest grin on her features.
Without a word she pulls out a rut sack, opening it to reveal a decent amount of food.
"I know you won't probably be gone for that long but it's always good to prepare. Most is perishable, easy to store and quick to eat, and whatever you do. Do not leave it on the ground. Don't know what kind of wildly things will try to snack on it." She proclaims, closing the pack and shoving it into my arms.
The news had already traveled into town, just as fast as the mages arrival. I could only wonder whose tongue slipped this time. Shaking my head, I fixate the pack in one hand, and my equipment back against my back. With a curt wave, I slip out of the shop and over to the Moons Parting Tavern.
"Do you think there gonna be okay?" The woman asks fixing her hair nervously between her fingers. The man nods stepping around the counter.
"Knowing Asterin, he's got a handle on it.", "If you say so..." She mumbles quickly, as a new customer stepped into the front.
Finding the Moons Parting was no easy feet, the once memorable roads becoming nothing more then a fog drenched array of confusion. Until at long last a bustling tunnel came into view, above the archway sat a poorly painted metal moon, stars haphazardly obscuring the words that announced the taverns very presence.
Stepping inside my eyes scanned the packed crowd, the roguish hood appearing almost instantly. A toothy grin from underneath seemed to stare into my every move. All but dragging his feet across the wooden floor.
Matching his pace, I met him in the middle, feeling watchful eyes as Lonán leads me through the crowd and over to where he had been sitting at the bars counter.
"Ain't this place beautiful? Bustling, Free?"
Sighing, I nod and take a seat. Feeling Lonán's eyes on me, I turn my head to face him. A peek of dark locks fall from his tilted hood as he eyes me. Even with the hood his face almost seemed blurred, broken, a fickle use of magic.
"You truly do not talk much do you?" He questions, taking his drink in hand. "No matter." He continues. "Things will not change."
Confused, Lonán takes a long sip of his drink.