Chronicles of Den'dra - Spencer Johnson

Chapter One: Rebellion

Sir Balinor had been silent for the last couple hours. Em’risi periodically checked on him as they rode. His lights were still flaring in swirls of discordant colors, but they had calmed down considerably. Once they had loaded the knight on his horse, both Emeck and Urake had mounted the horses that Aleest had recalled for them. The tamer still giggled every now and then, somehow invoking a smile then a scowl from Emeck. It seemed that the telepath was particularly sensitive to the tamer’s emotion.

It was a quiet party of horsemen as each was lost in their own thoughts. The only sounds were those of the horse’s iron shoes striking the hardened earth and the clank of Balinor’s armor. The night was moderately lit with the two moons, but they were still low on the horizon causing anything that stood more than a couple feet off the ground to cast incredible shadows. The northlands were still farm fields with rock fences dividing the property lines. It was probably well past midnight.

Em’risi was left to think about the events of the last few hours in peace. She was feeling exhausted both emotionally and physically. As much as she would have liked to join Balinor in slumbering, her mind refused to be stilled. Her father, the King, had just died leaving her to become the ruling monarch. The High Chancellor would have made her into his puppet like he had her father if given the chance. Sir Balinor, acting on her father’s last wishes, had spirited her out of the castle. She had brought a childhood friend along for more than one reason. He was rather simple sounding when speaking with strangers and wouldn’t have lasted long in the court. Without her there to protect him, he would have betrayed himself as Gifted eventually. Another reason was that he knew that she was also Gifted. The primary reason was that he was a friend. She had few friends that she knew she could trust implicitly and he was one of them. Despite his blunt questions and uncomprehending demeanor, he really was rather intelligent. He just liked communicating with animals more than he like speaking with people.

After leaving the city, they had been set on by a band of black robed Gifted assassins. Urake had appeared at the last moment and with Emeck’s help had saved the three of them. Both he and Emeck were mysterious individuals although she could tell that they meant her no harm. This was tested when Urake had set on Balinor with sword in hand. The fight had been brief with the knight unconscious on the ground. One of the assassin's psionic attacks had unbalanced his mind making him act irrationally. The knight was now recovering on his horse. Em’risi was about to fall asleep in her saddle when she glanced back over her shoulder and noticed that Balinor’s lights had finally settled into their normal rhythmic pulse. He should be waking soon. She cringed as she thought of the headache he would be facing. Urake had spared him little in the fight.

“Ohhaaa… What…? Why am I tied up?” As if on cue, Balinor stirred himself with a groan and tested the strength of the cords that bound him to the saddle.

“Relax. No one was trying to restrain you. We needed to make sure that you wouldn’t fall out of the saddle.” Urake reined his horse back and fell into step with Balinor. The knight was still blearily squinting at his surroundings. He scrutinized Urake for a few moments before haltingly continuing.

“That is… All I remember is that we were attacked then there was only one more and… Where is the Pr… my daughter? Who are you?” Balinor shook his head trying to think through the fog that muffled his senses. The haze was clearing slowly and he realized that was addressing a stranger.

“One at a time. The Princess is all right. We arrived just in time to save you.” Urake explained.

“You didn’t answer my question. Who are you?” Balinor managed to work one hand free and rubbed the side of his head. “What happened to my helm?”

“It was damaged in the fight. The reason that you were knocked out.”

“I won’t ask again. Who are you?!” Balinor flinched as his demand elicited a sharp pain in his head. Closing his eyes, he waited for the throbbing to subside a little.

“You should know. You are the one that wanted to hire me. I’m the Asgare.” The name