Embarking on a Most Important Journey
The upcoming ball was the talk of Cavral. In true magician’s style, absolutely everyone that could go was going. The Guild Hall, which had been built over a thousand years ago by the first magicians, could house many more people than lived in Cavral now. Everyone was excited.
Kitara however had been preparing. She had been ready for her perilous journey for almost 3 days. Everyone who knew her in some way had helped with what they could. Clothing, food, tips of useful spells; all were offered in hope that they were something Kitara could use. Most of it she had to turn away, seeing as she would be carrying it all on her own back and there was so much for her to take already. If she had accepted all of it, Kitara would have been carrying enough for at least four people, which she definitely did not need.
During her spare time, Kitara’s nerves had rocketed. She was so worried about messing up. She felt as if all the weight of Cavral was on her shoulders. Of course, Lorkan would be with her, which provided some relief, after all, he was the person she was closest to out of the magicians. However, it did not stop her thinking about all the things that could go wrong on their journey. Inside she was terrified.
She tried to occupy herself with preparing for the ball. She had purchased a new white dress especially for it. It was floor length, and hugged her upper body, but flowed out and down over her legs. She liked it as it masked her curvy shape and made her look elegant. She’d also brought a cropped white jacket which had long sleeves that tapered out to a to a wide flair at the wrist, making them almost a meter in width. She was pleased with her outfit, and as many people said on the night, she really did look older than her 16 years. As well as a white dress and jacket, she’d bought white boots to match. Tallissa too had got a new outfit for the occasion, and Dinnen and their sons had got their white robes especially cleaned. Coren got his out every night and strutted around in them. Kitara had a feeling it was for her benefit, and sometimes she couldn’t help laughing at how over-proud he looked. When it got to this point, Coren flushed bright red and got changed again.
Kitara hadn’t seen Lorkan since the day the final preparations for their journey were completed. Although he’d said so, she still wasn’t sure whether he’d turn up to the ball. Kitara was getting more and more nervous about it all evening. She hoped he’d be there to support her, she didn’t think she’d be able to handle all those people wishing her well and talking to her without his stony silent presence in the background to keep her confident.
At last, when the clock struck 7 in the evening, Tallissa knocked on Kitara’s door.
“It's time to go,” she said. Kitara took a deep breath and got up. She opened the door and headed downstairs. Tallissa, Dinnen, Coren and Dorn were already downstairs waiting. As Kitara descended, Dinnen and his family looked at awe with Kitara’s beauty. Coren’s jaw almost looked as if it were going to fall off, Dorn, who had a wife, still looked stricken, and Dinnen and Tallissa beamed proudly. Kitara blushed.
“You look lovely,” Tallissa smiled. Kitara nodded thankfully, too concernted with the butterflies in her stomach to truly appreciate the compliment. Dinnen lead the way out of the house, and through the winding streets up to the highest tier of Cavral. A cold wind was blowing in from the sea, and the doors to the Guild Hall were shut, but the noise from talking magicians inside and the orchestra was carried like crystal on the air.
Nobody except Lord Morrist noticed that it was Dinnen, Tallissa, Kitara, Coren and Dorn who entered the room. New magicians were entering all the time so it was harder to tell who was who, especially without their separate robes on. He greeted them warmly,
“Hello, my friends, I am glad to see you all here. Lady Lirria, of course was coming anyway, this ball is in her honour after all.”
“In Lord Ranel’s honour as well, your grace,” Kitara added. Lord Morrist nodded.
“Indeed, indeed, but it's doubtful he’ll come. He has never attended any sort of ball or celebration before, and I don’t think that it being in his honour will make him any more inclined to come.” Kitara felt a pang of guilt, that Lord Morrist actually felt like this, but over the course of the next hour or so, where Kitara was introduced to many people wanting to wish her well or have to a safe journey, she found out that that’s what a lot of people thought. The general consensus seemed to be that Lorkan was a sulky, moody, unsociable, rather miserable person. A few people liked him, most felt indifference, and there were several that couldn’t stand his reclusive and unfriendly mannerisms. Kitara was about to explode with annoyance by about the tenth person that expressed their shady views of Lorkan. She desperately wanted to fight his corner, make them see that there was a reason for his behaviour, trouble was, that she didn’t know what it was, and so was at a loss of what to say. Also, it worried her slightly, that she had such a strong desperation to go to his defence.
After what seemed a long while, the dancing started. The orchestra began to play tunes that were slightly more upbeat, and couples around the room moved into the centre of the dance floor. Kitara was at last left at peace for a moment, with the others distracted by dancing. She was sat by the orchestra, listening to the music, when the doors opened, and someone arrived.
The man of the lyre, who was leading that particular song, suddenly stopped playing. The other musicians gradually lost their timing and the music stopped. With no music, the dancers stopped too. Nobody knew what was going on. Kitara followed the lyre player’s gaze to the doorway. In it, stood a man. He was tall, over 6ft, and had his hood pulled right over his head, partially covering his face. Kitara smiled and rose. She walked to greet the newcomer.
“I knew you’d turn up sometime,” she teased. Lorkan rolled his eyes.
“Great greeting,” he grumbled, “I walk in and everyone goes silent. How welcoming!” Kitara laughed. A few people stared in surprise as she led a reluctant Lorkan into the room. She glared at the Lyre player as they went past, who started playing again. After a moments pause, most people went back to what they’d been doing before.
Lorkan looked gazed uncomfortably around as he let himself be dragged into the centre of the dance floor. This was the first time he’d been voluntarily surrounded by so many people since, well, for a long time. Images flashed in the back of his mind of soldiers jeering and shouting at him, cutting of all exits so there was no escape. Quickly Lorkan blocked them out, trying to find a distraction, and his attention was concentrated on Kitara’s warm hand closed around his own, dragging him into the room.
People stared curiously at him as he and Kitara passed, wondering what on earth had persuaded him to attend, where before he would have avoided it at all costs. Lorkan himself was wondering something similar, but he had a rather strange feeling that it was Kitara’s influence on him that had made him come. Obviously others had thought the same thing, as he heard one person say
“That girl must work miracles. I can't remember a time when Lord Ranel was ever sociable!” Kitara heard this too but said nothing. She was wondering what special talent they thought she had, Lorkan had never said he’d come, he turned up of his own accord, at least, that’s what she hoped. Still pondering this, she pulled him into a dance position and managed to make his rather unwilling feet to move in a slightly dancey way. After a few moments, Lorkan began to moan.
“They’re all staring at me!” Kitara shook her head and rolled her eyes.
“Well why shouldn’t they? I mean, its not like you regularly turn up to events like this.” Lorkan glared,
“Yeah, but its not very nice. They’re making me feel like some kind of freak sideshow. I already feel stupid in these dumb white robes. Why can't I have come dressed normal?!”
“Because you’d stand out even more then! Besides, I think white is definitely your colour,” Kitara laughed. Lorkan gave her a scathing look.
“Ha ha very funny,” he hissed, “I just don’t feel comfortable.” Kitara sighed, ‘Paranoid’ she murmured under her breath. When the dance was over, after what seemed like ages to Lorkan, he slipped out of Kitara’s grip, and retreated to the corner of the room. Kitara was unsurprised to find him gone, but no sooner had she begun looking, than did Coren catch her arm.
“A few dances?” he asked, “With the most beautiful Lady in the room?” Kitara blushed. She shook her head,
“I really have to find Lord Ranel,” she told him, but Coren refused to given up.
“He’s not exactly going to get into trouble, in fact, he’s probably just skulking in a corner. He’ll be ok for a while,” he pleaded, “Go on, it wouldn’t hurt, would it?” Kitara thought. After a moment she nodded hesitantly,
“Ok then,” she replied.
Lorkan watched her from the side of the room. He was mesmerised by her smile and her glowing face. She seemed to be happy, to laugh a lot. Coren was a good dancer. Lorkan felt a stab of jealousy. Suddenly he wanted to be back out there, dancing with Kitara instead of Coren. Swiftly, he convinced himself that the fact he didn’t like Coren dancing with her was down to him not wanting her to be dancing with a smarmy git, rather than anything else. Still, ignoring the ‘smarmy git’ Lorkan was quite content to watch Kitara dance and twirl and smile. She did seem especially beautiful tonight, not that she wasn’t beautiful anyway, he reminded himself, then he put that thought hastily to the back of his mind.
Once Coren’s ‘few dances’ were over, Kitara detached herself from him and went in search of Lorkan. She soon found him, arms and legs crossed, head bowed, watching the lively scene with a scowl.
“Can I go now?” he asked, as she approached. Kitara laughed.
“No,” she grinned, “Not at least until Lord Osra has made his speech.” Lorkan groaned,
“There’s a speech?” he frowned. Kitara nodded.
“Yep, all about how wonderful and brave we are, and how they’ll be forever in our favour.”
“Great,” Lorkan frowned, “That’s all I need, more attention.”
“Oh you love it really,” Kitara teased, but at that moment, a large blue spark shot across the room, and exploded on the opposite wall in a shower of fantastic colours. Everyone turned to where the spark had come from, the High Magicians, who were now standing up the end of the room. Lord Osra cleared his throat.
“Ladies and Gentlemen” he said, “This night, may be a night for dancing and socialising, but we all know it has a serious purpose. Lady Lirria, and Lord Ranel,” he gestured to Lorkan and Kitara, “have agreed to risk their lives for the sake of our world as we know it now. We’ve all heard the stories of the Black Lord, and his raids. But when he destroyed Terrivere, he went too far. The only way to stop him now would be all out war. That would mean loss of life, and sorrow for almost all. To prevent this, Lord Ranel and Lady Lirria, have offered to go undercover, to infiltrate the Black Lord’s army, and to assassinate him. It is a highly dangerous mission. The Black Lord is ruthless and cruel, and his Commander, Varran, is even more so. Tomorrow, Lord Ranel and Lady Lirria leave for the island of Clatt, and the Black Lords stronghold of Varrigor. We wish them all the luck of the magicians, and hope for their safe return! To our honourable friends, Lord Ranel and Lady Lirria!”
Cheers of ‘Lord Ranel’ and ‘Lady Lirria’ erupted all over the room, though the ones for Lady Lirrria vastly outweighed the ones for Lord Ranel. People came up to them and wished them luck, some even forgetting their weariness of Lorkan and shaking hands congratulatorily, or even giving him reassuring hugs. He took them cautiously, looking rather unsure of what to do about it. Kitara just grinned teasingly. He glowered back but said nothing. At the end of the night, Kitara and Lorkan went their separate ways, going back to get a good night’s sleep before the day ahead.
Kitara woke early, but there was nothing to do. Everything had been packed the night before, in preparation. So she rattled around, going stir crazy. She didn’t know why she was so nervous. Perhaps because they were going on a life threatening journey from which they might not return or perhaps because she was worried she would make a fatal mistake that could cost her or Lorkan’s life. But also she began to feel worried about just being alone for so long with Lorkan. The thought went round and round in her mind till she figured she was going mad.
Finally, it seemed, 10 am came around. She put on her robes over travelling clothes and donned her pack. Her long hair was tied in loose ponytail, which would be easier to keep on the journey than one of the fancy Cavralian styles. She looked at herself in the full length mirror. Suddenly she felt small, and insignificant, and began to wonder how she’d ever thought she could change or save anything.
Sombrely, Dinnen and his family, followed Kitara out of the house and to the main gates of Cavral, where they would be waving her off. Seemingly, almost everyone had come to see Lorkan and Kitara go. She pushed her way through the crowd, who kept wanting her to stop and wish them farewell, to find Lorkan leaning against the wall, looking uncomfortable. She embraced him nervously, almost shaking with fear. When it came down to it, she was terrified of what they had come to do. Lorkan wrapped his arms encouragingly around her.
“It’ll be ok,” he whispered. He took one of her hands. She felt a fresh wave of fear enter her, and knew it was not her own.
-see, you’re not the only worried one he said to her in a nervous but slightly bemused voice
-thank god Kitara replied.
-time to go he said and she felt Lorkan’s mind leave hers, and his hand let go too.
They turned to the crowd. To everyone’s surprise, Lorkan spoke.
“People of Cavral, fellow magicians. We thank you most gratefully for coming to wish us farewell. But now the time has come for us to leave. We hope we will be successful and hope to return safely. However there is a chance we may not, so for now we bid you a fond, and sad, goodbye.”
“GOODBYE!” the crowd shouted back. Kitara looked nervously out into the faces of those wishing her farewell. Tallissa had begun to cry. Dinnen, Coren and Dorn all looked very grave and solemn. There were many concerned and worried faces. Kitara almost couldn’t bear to look. Lorkan saw this, and with a comforting smile, he turned Kitara round, and out of the gates.
“Don’t worry,” he murmured while they walked. “You’ll be ok. I'm here to look after you. Besides, I’ll die first, the ugly ones are always first to die.” He smiled, showing it was a joke. Kitara grinned meekly,
“I wouldn’t know,” she said, “I’ve never seen your face.” Lorkan didn’t reply, but Kitara could tell it wasn’t an awkward silence, just a stubborn one. After a moment, he jokily pushed her sideways, as if to get her back. She laughed and tried to trip him up, failing miserably. A smile split her face. Lorkan was glad he’d made her smile, eased her tension. He however, still had butterflies.
(A/N) Please review! Id relli appreciate it as I need all the help I can get!