Chapter 1“Your Majesty, my Lady!” Another officer entered the tent, this one was accompanied a group of soldiers and a man they had captured, he had long dark messy hair, messy facial hair, and a rough, muscular build; it was Haroman.
There is a Thief
“Speak officer!” Answered Queen Andromé, again not bothering with formalities.
“We caught this thief in one of our arsenal tents. We searched through his belongings and found two items we think you should take a look.”
“Show them to me!” Commanded Queen Andromé.
The officer stepped reverently forward and, kneeling, gave the Queen the first item, a jewelry box. The Queen took it and examined it in her hands.
“These markings look like those of the Duchy of Abèrca, and its ruling noble family.” commented Queen Andromé, as she examined the box.
“My Lady, the man’s speech does sound Abèrcan in nature.” The officer answered.
“I see.” The Queen replied, “And what of the other item that you found in the thief’s possession?”
The officer turned and approached one of the soldiers holding a cloth bag. The soldier holding the bag looked very nervous, indeed, both the officer and the soldiers all suddenly had frightened looks on their faces; as the officer retrieved the item.
The officer held the item nervously in his hand, it was a tiny wooden box. He hesitated, then said, “My lady, your majesty, you may want to wear gloves while handling this.”
“Wear gloves?” Queen Andromé responded, “Is it elven?”
“Yes my lady, very elven.” The officer looked terrified.
The Queen summoned a servant to bring her gloves, after putting them on, she took the small wooden box in her hands. Looking on the top of tiny box, the Queen’s eyes suddenly became wide with fear, she then spoke with a quiet, trembling voice, “this is the Crest of the Holy Elven City of Reikh-Heim…”
Her court nervously gathered around, peer down to see the crest carved into the top of the box; all of them becoming frightened.
Almost in a daze, Queen Andromé rose her shaking right hand, placed her trembling fingers onto the lid of the box and opened it with the utmost caution, as though she expected the box to explode and devour them. The faces of those who could see what was in the box, turned dreadfully pale when they saw what is was.
“N-no…” Queen Andromé’s voice was frail, frightened, weak little whisper, “th-this, cannot, be…”
“Ash!” Gasped one of them in utter horror.
“ASH!” Terror seized the entire Court of Queen Andromé.
There was only one place in the Forbidden Valley where that ash could have come from, the Altar on the Mountain of Atta. The altar stood on a black, snowless, pinnacle on the western side of the mountain, there, the Priest-King of Reikh-Heim offered sacrifices to the Holy One. The ash from the altar, may well be the most holiest of materials in the entire world.
Everyone was overwhelmed with terror and panic. One of the soldiers approached Haroman pointing his finger accusatorially at him,
“You are in so much trouble.” He said in a low, severe voice.
“The Waréang invasion is a Divine Punishment for this man’s sacrilege!” Shouted another soldier.
“Enough!” shouted Andromé silencing the tent. “Our souls are in great peril now, we must not let panic get the best of us; and cause us to do something rash. Where did you get this box of Sacred Ash, thief?”
“From my father, my earthly father.” Haroman’s tone was rather bitter, boldly bitter considering the situation he was in.
“Watch yourself!” Warned General Zenordos, “this is the Queen you’re talking to.”
“Now is not the time for this, general!” Said Queen Andromé, “we need answers. Thief, where did your father get these Sacred Ashes?”
“I do not know, he never told me.”
“He did not tell you? He gave you one of the most holiest substances in all of creation, and never told you where he managed to receive it?”
“He did not give it to me, because he never got the chance to.” Haroman’s voice became even more bitter, there was genuine anger in it, “he never got the chance to because he died, he was killed! Murdered! Betrayed… I found the Sacred Ashes after his death, and I knew that they were meant to pass on to me. My father never got the chance…”
His voice trailed off, and he looked away from the Queen. Queen Adnromé looked perplexed briefly but quickly regained her stoic and objective manner, “What is your name?”
“Haroman, Haroman Cordévaudoruz.”
“Well Haroman, I do not have the clerics available with me here, to call for an inquisition to investigate whether or not your possession of this Sacred Ash is licit or not; I can however, quickly judge whether or not your guilty of theft and worthy of punishment.” Queen Andromé turned to her son, the Prince, “Ilúrigos, take these Sacred Ashes to our Chief Priest.”
“Yes Mother.” The Prince carefully took the box from her mother’s hand and cautiously walked out of the tent.
“Guards, what evidence do you have that this man is guilty of theft?” asked the Queen.
“My Lady,” answered one of the soldiers that had brought Haroman in, he held up another bag that he was carrying, “he stole these things, arrows,” he pulled them out and presented them before the Queen, “two Aldolese swords,” he pulled out two short, thick scimitar-like swords, “five helmets” he pulled them out, “15 potions,” he pulled 15 veils of potions, “and three small kegs a wine,” he pulled them out and laid them at the feet of the Queen.
The Queen stared at them for a bit, then she fixed her gaze on Haroman, “because you have done all this, because you have committed these five accounts of theft at night, and because thou hast trespassed on Crown Property, and because thou art under suspicions for religious crimes and worthy of an inquisition, I sentence thee to penal slavery in my Royal Court until further notice. Take him away!”
“Yes my Lady.” replied the chiefs guard, and with that they lead Haroman away out of the Queen’s tent, through the camp, to a quickly-built stockade where they were housing the other prisoners that were being held at Háloma before it’s fall. They cast Haroman inside and there he waited until morning, pondering what he could about the fall of Inhabía to the Waréangs.
In the original Síac: “N-no… e-esto n’no puedo, suor…”
The Síac word for father, like the Elven word for father is “Atta,” hence Haroman need to add “earthly father,” to his answer.
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