So because I was feeling rather attached to Tolkien yesterday, I figured I’d continue on with what I was writing in Trying Out Tolkien.
Description: The apprentice returns from his assassination, only to have yet another task thrust upon him, this one assuring his almost certain demise.
Grand Arms-Master Lobner smoked a pipe through an opening in the stones. His eyes, hooded with shadows hardened and he let out a smoke-filled sigh as he watched his young apprentice walk up the pathway. He carried the body of another man. To the Grand Arms-Master it seemed that the boy had gotten himself in trouble again. At the same moment, he swung himself down from the ramparts and flung open the door to the armory.
“What’s this then?” his voice was like gravel and his eyes followed the obviously nervous apprentice as he set the dead body down and off to the side.
“Another assassin, sir” he said, “This one got closer, in the same room”
The Arms-Master grunted, before crouching down to examine the body. Looking down closely, he fingered the string to a sack of gold coins the man had held around belt level. As he contemplated, his eyes were drawn to the face. Peacefully shut eyes were all that was to be seen behind a cover of black.
“Let’s get this off” he muttered under his breath, before drawing out a knife and making quick work of the light cloth. An enigma lay before him. Lifting his gaze to the apprentice, he watched him critically.
“So, you found him and made short work. Did it ever occur to you that we might want one of them alive these days? It’s disgraceful. And, Evan. It’s getting to the point where I’m seriously considering making you a real servant and not just one for a cover” His voice had risen to a shout, but the boy’s eyes had begun to harden.
“No, Master” the term said with spite, “I didn’t think of that, not when the Lord’s lives were at risk. Perhaps I have a reason for leaving now, if my services are not appreciated. Perhaps it would be better if you hired a bodyguard service” he spit on the ground.
The Arms-Master let out a sigh, before smacking the boy and watched him fall backwards without pity. Turning away at the sound of a whimper, he paced towards his desk and stared at the letter he had been in the midst of writing. No. Mayhap the boy was right, he had plenty of other young men to use, but only one apprentice. Letting the thoughts mull, he faced Evan.
“Pack your bags” he said suddenly. “I want you gone by the time dawn breaks”
His eyes widened, and his mouth gaped for a moment. The apprentice seemed stunned.
“I have a task for you. It will be neither easier nor simpler than the tasks you have had before. In all certainty, it will be harder and you will most likely die before you get back. But someone must do it, and you are my best”
He seemed to take a breath for a second before looking down at the apprentice. Before the boy could conceal it, he saw through a mask and to the fears that lay beneath. He hesitated.
“What is my task, Arms-Master?” Evan spoke, his voice as steady as he could allow it,
“I will need you to go to the Forest of Deron, through the Fields of Crasel, and speak to King Veneer. You need only to deliver this letter, but beware. It’s contents will not be taken lightly, and you have yet to enter the world beyond the castle for many years. Our world has changed, but you must remain unseen, a stranger travelling to parts unknown. And when you get there” he cleared his throat a moment, “There is a prisoner you will need to break out, a Voe Pattora. And the rest of the task will become clear”