Chapter 1 Part 2
Ches 29, Year of The Solitary Cloister
Arthon bounded up the stairs and whirled onto the walkway high along the fortress wall. He filled his lungs deeply as he quickly walked along to the next tower. His was a difficult age. Part of his was called by primal youth, for he was still rather young for his kind. Yet his mind constantly fought this with its hundred and thirty years of accumulated knowledge. Part of him knew it was a great honor…and still a valant duty, even if there were only a handful of his kind for a hundred miles, still Aerun’s Army stood vigilant…and yet part of him was bored nearly out of his mind.
These halves of him continued their struggle, he made sure to seriously peer over the wall and down the hill to the forest below. Yet he still walked far too quickly for what a normal patrol required, eager to be done with the mindless routine.
An hour later, he was breaking fast with Seaoth, his Staff Seargant and mentor. The bitter old elf grumbled over the meager meal and they spoke little. Arthon ate quickly, earning a sneer from his companion, and rose to go ready the horses. As soon as Seaoth was ready, they would leave for Ryventhal. They went about every other week. It was only a few hours ride, but both the stubborn old curmugen and the restless youth looking for purpose preferred to live alone at Fortress.
As he ready the mounts, Arthon’s mind began to wander. Another internal conflict, and alos likely a symptom of his awkward age, played out for the countless time in his mind. How he missed his mother, father, his elder brother who he had not seen since before the Retreat, his younger siblings. If Ardinia had not married Siam and had left with the others, he is not sure if he would have been able to handle it.
And at the same time a bit of anger rose up in his heart. How could his family, his people abandon Cormanthor? How many of his ancestors had died fending off dragons, drow, goblins, man and who-knows-what-else to protect their homeland. And for The People to just abandon their sylvan kingdom. It broke his heart. He had told his family that it was his commitment to Aerun’s Army that required him to stay behind, but he left out the fact that he had gone several rungs up the chain of command until he got an officer to agree to post him in Cormanthor, rather than order him to retreat to Evermeet.
“Gods boy!” Seoth’s scracthy voice pulled him back into the present, “Thanks to Rillifane that we do not find ourselves under attack, or would you ask our foes to kindly wait while you finished readying your mount?!?”
A few decades ago this would have both shamed and angered Arthon. But he has grown to learn that first, such complaining is simply part of Seaoth’s nature and getting him to change would be like asking a skunk to smell better. But also…he knew the elder was feeling time pressing in on him. A proud warrior and loyal soldier in Aerun’s Army would find this troubling enough. Throw in the fact that he was finishing his life maintaining a fortress that would likely never be used again and Arthon knew the Staff Seargant most likely had to find things to complain about in order to occupy his mind and feel some sense of self-worth. It saddened Arthon even while the elder was chastising him, and he was almost happy to play along.
“Sir! No sir! I would make sure your mount was readied and take mine as is, sir!”
“Hmph!” was all his superior would say as he gave him a distrusting glare.
Offering the reigns of the larger mount to the Staff Sergeant, he asked, “Shall we go sir?”
“Hmph!” was the only answer as the elder grabbed the reigns and forced his creeky body up into the saddle. Silently, he steered the horse towards the keep gatehouse and silently, Arthon mounted his own steed and followed.