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Alexander and the Eastern Tyrant
The long, dark corridor echoed with the sound of footsteps on flagstone as Olrik hurried to his commander’s office. As he rounded the corner, the large wooden door was faintly visible down yet another long passage. This is strange… Shouldn’t there be guards? Thinking it was too quiet, Olrik proceeded with caution. I need to make sure he knows about this…
Approaching the doorway, Olrik reached for the latch but froze as the chill of steel met his neck. “What business brings you to headquarters? Aren’t you supposed to be away, Olrik Cedrickson?” the unknown voice asked softly. “It is odd indeed that you should arrive at such a time. Tell me, what could possibly be so important that you deem yourself important enough to interrupt Commander Ackland’s meeting?”
“I have information he should know,” Olrik replied cautiously.
“What sort of information? Surely it couldn’t be anything you can’t tell me. I mean, after all, you’re nothing but an ordinary soldier. What could you possibly know?” Turning his head, Olrik recognized Arnold Deakins, Commander Ackland’s head guard.
“It’s best to get this information to Ackland as soon as possible. It will change our entire direction,” Olrik replied through clenched teeth. The guard released Olrik from his grasp and stepped away with a considerable smirk. “As you wish Cedrickson,” he said with an arrogant bow. “You will find the commander does not take well to interruptions these days. This should be interesting…”
Thinking it certainly would be interesting, Olrik knocked on the door. First once, a slight pause, then two sharp raps followed. A faint “enter” was heard from within. Olrik quickly entered the room and closed the door behind him.
The room inside was more magnificent than the battered door outside suggested. Rich, hardwoods covered the floor and ceiling. The smooth stone walls were barely visible behind the many shelves of scrolls. A large, cluttered desk sat in the middle of the room with a short stub of a candle upon it that suggested the three men sitting around it had been there quite a while. Emmett Ackland, a tall, burly, man with a dark goatee and hair, and an even darker expression on his face, sat in a high-backed chair directly across the room from the door. The other men, whom Olrik did not recognize, sat in two smaller chairs opposite the commander. A scrawny, scholarly looking man with jet black hair and round glasses sat on the commander’s right. He wore an emerald cloak with many sewn-on symbols that suggested he was of high rank among strategists, who wore the dark green cloaks. The other, a more solemn looking man, had light hair, a large beard, and wore a highly decorated, black uniform, with a long sword sheathed by his side. Based on the look of these men, Olrik assumed he was interrupting an important meeting. His news, however, would most likely make their time spent wasted. Oh well… This is important.
“Commander,” Olrik said bowing slightly. Waiting for a response, Olrik paused. When none came he continued, “Commander Ackland, I apologize for interrupting your meeting. I have some information that I don’t think can afford to wait.”
“What ever it is Cedrickson, it can’t possibly be important enough to justify interrupting this meeting. Time is running short, and we have no time for useless disturbances,” the commander replied shortly.
“But sir, this changes everything.”
“I find that difficult to believe. You vanish from all knowledge for a broad stretch of time and suddenly you reappear, in the middle of the night, with great news? It sounds too good to be true Olrik. I find difficulty believing your statement.”
“Sir, the winds of war are shifting. It is both as we hoped, and feared. Swift action is our only hope of survival.”
As if some secret password had been uttered, the room fell silent. The two unknown men sat staring between Olrik and the commander. A slightly frightened look could be seen in the eyes of the man with glasses, the other man simply appeared to be confused by Olrik’s statement. After a few long moments, the commander simply said, “Everitt, Parsons,” looking to the two men before him, “please excuse us. I fear our time spent on these pressing matters has indeed been wasted. If what Olrik says is true, we have more important matters that need attending to. You may wait outside or return to your quarters. This may take some time.”
When Olrik and Emmett were alone, the commander stood from his chair and began pacing the room. Olrik took a seat in one of the chairs opposite the desk. After what felt an eternity, Emmett finally spoke and asked, “Where did you disappear to? What could have possibly kept you from contacting us for so long?” A guilty expression flashed across Olrik’s face as he began to explain.
“Well sir, as you know, I was on the edge of the forest Himlenor on the mission you assigned me,” Olrik began. “I met an unexpected problem on the outskirts of the forest. I was captured in the dead of night and brought to an elven city that I cannot name. That is why I was unable to contact you.”
“Why would the elves feel the need to capture you? You are no enemy of theirs,” the commander wondered.
“I wondered the same thing sir. When I was released, they apologized and explained they have seen many unknown creatures wondering around their forests in the dark lately and captured me to be sure that I was not an enemy.”
“The elves are worried,” the commander muttered. After a moment of thought he said, “Please Olrik, continue.”
“While in their prison I heard a rumor from some of the guards. I began to listen to every whisper that made its way into my cell. I am both excited and fearful to report that the prophecy is correct. The fir-“
“Do you mean the prophecy that the elf Morwena predicted over twenty years ago?” the commander interrupted.
“The very same,” replied Olrik. “But now, you see, it is up to us to turn events in our favor. Remember what Morwena predicted, ‘On which side, good or evil, he will fight is yet to be revealed’. We need to find him before our enemies do.”
“It will be difficult without knowing where the child is,” Ackland said, more or less thinking out loud than speaking to Olrik. “You dare suggest we spend our few resources we have on what may be a futile search attempt over the entire continent? You know our resources are spread thin! How are we supposed to conduct such a search?”
“I heard many of the elves whisper of the child being born somewhere near Himlenor in a place called the Rimrare Valley.”
“I’ve never heard this valley. If our success rests on this new born child any lead we have is valuable. You know as well as I do, delay would be fatal to our cause. Show me where,” the commander said rising and going to the nearest shelf.
After a brief moment of searching he pulled down a large scroll. Unrolling it on the desk, Olrik could see it was a map of the continent. “Where?” Ackland asked quietly. Pointing to a small dot on the map between the two largest mountains in the land, Olrik simply answered, “There.”