Fantasy Fiction posted May 23, 2014 Chapters:  ...12 12 -13- 14... 


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Be wary of the song you sing

A chapter in the book The Trining

INTERLUDE IN THE THORNS AND GOBLETS

by Jay Squires


NEW TO “THE TRINING” ADVENTURE?  There are summaries beginning with Cha. 2 and continuing to Cha. 12 (Pt. 1).  What follows is a summary of Cha. 12 (Pt. 2):
As their journey to Kabeez proceeds, both Doctrex and Klasco make the discovery that many of the concepts Axtilla had taught Doctrex on the plane below had entirely different (and often sinister) connotations in the provinces: Axtilla’s Pomnots were creatures in her people’s history from whom they evolved, while they were merely mythical creatures to the people of the provinces; Kojutake was a very real phenomena that Axtilla and her people feared after dark, but to the people of the provinces it was of the highest religious significance, not to be spoken lightly of.  The tension brought on by these volatile subjects kept Doctrex from his goal of explaining to Klasco how he ended up being dragged up onto this plane by Klasco’s own little daughter!
That would have to wait since they arrive at the night’s lodging.  As they enter the Inn, three exiting ruffians collide with Klasco, spinning him around.  Doctrex talks him down, but as they go inside, he sees the three heading back toward the inn.

 
Chapter Thirteen
 
I was of two minds whether I should tell Klasco about the three—at least tell him right now. I saw a side of him I'd not seen before, a violent, insuppressible and irrational side. Not a good combination in battle or when outnumbered in a tavern brawl. On the other hand, I didn't want to have him blindsided.

After what seemed interminable wandering through the labyrinth of hallways, we found the Innkeeper's station and secured our room. Then, on the way to the tavern I took a calming breath and told Klasco as conversationally as I could that we might have not seen the last of the three ruffians.

He kept his eyes averted from me. "I should not have let my passions overthrow my reason. I'm fortunate you were there to be a source of sound judgment and to keep me in check."

"But, will you be able to continue on keeping your passions under control if they confront us again in a similar way? Some people are just rude by nature and unrefined. I'll be the first to agree with you that their behavior was worthy of being—uh, corrected. But this is not our time to do it. We have an important mission after our sleep, and I know you agree that we can't sacrifice that mission for a brawl."

"You're right, Brother. Yours is the voice of reason. With your help we'll enjoy an uneventful tankard of ale—I can almost taste it on my lips—have a pleasant meal and then a restful sleep before we resume our journey to Kabeez."

We continued on in good spirits, tracing our earlier steps up and down the halls, following the growing sounds of laughter and voices lifted in not-too-melodious song until we came upon its source and pulled open the door.

The people in the room turned to look at us. We found a vacant table and sat down. I let my eyes roam. Of the twenty or so occupants I counted, only two were females. They wore soiled white aprons with large pockets in the front, so I figured they were tavern maids. That was confirmed when the younger, plumper of the two, caught sight of us and wove around the tables to get to ours.

"What'll you have, gentlemen?"

"I'll have a tankard of ale," Klasco said and waited for me to acknowledge, which I did with a nod, "and one for my friend."

She turned to leave when Klasco added: "And, where can we eat?"

She told us she'd return with the menus and our ale, and we could have our meal at our table. I watched her leave and then continued to look around the room. Four men, occupying the table nearest us, were intent on a rather noisy game of cards. One would toss a card to the center of the table, and then rap his knuckles on the surface in front of him. The one across from him rapped on the table, but didn't throw a card. Another muttered and swore and then everyone tossed their cards to the center. The two rappers were happier with their playing and began to laugh. One of the other two, a man with orange hair and bushy orange eyebrows, got up and left the room.

Four tables were occupied by lone drinkers. Three were actually drinking. One was passed out with his face pressed against the table top.

Beyond some empty tables, in a far, shadowed corner, two of the three men we had almost had a falling out with earlier sat with their ale, and one cradling a bowl, a substance from which he noisily ladled; not all found its target, splashing instead on the table.

The music we heard earlier had stopped when we entered the tavern and was just now on the verge of resuming. It would be performed by two young men, one playing a mandolin, and one a violin-type instrument; a man, slightly older than the other two, I recognized as the probable lead singer in the group. He smiled coquettishly, very intent on gathering every patron’s eye, ours included, before he began. He did that now by tapping out the tempo with his foot on the tavern floor, scanning his audience. The mandolin started and soon the violin made its entrance. The singer strolled between the two, smiling at the one and bobbing with the rhythm of the other, snapping his fingers. He was determined to build some sort of momentum, to raise it to a crescendo until the audience would be ready to burst if the singing didn't begin.

No one was bursting.

With a disappointment, that I believe I was the only one interested enough to detect, he began his song.

To my surprise, Klasco began humming the singer's words. I glanced at him out of the corners of my eyes and saw that he was nodding his head with the music. His eyes were closed. I wasn't prepared to hear him raise his voice and sing the words, almost trancelike:
 
I lift my eyes from the pink flowered meadows
From the rich brown soil the shoots push through
To the wisps of clouds nudged by fruited breeze
That carries my spirit home
To my beloved Kabeez.
 
He stood up and sang now with even more animation. The Tavern maid brought our ale and the two menus and I noticed she gave Klasco a troubled look. To me she whispered: "You might want to warn your friend that's not a popular song with everybody. Those that don't like it, hate it. And they won't take a high likin' to him singin' it."

I thanked her, and when she left my eyes skimmed past the table in the shadows. The third thug had joined the other two and all three were watching Klasco.
 
My Kabeez, my Kabeez
Our Province's soul
 
And with the last line of the song, I saw a glint and a blur and before I could focus on it I heard a clangor near the band. The music stopped. Klasco opened his eyes, emerging from his patriotic reverie and looked briefly confused. The tankard probably originated from the table where the four card players sat. The one with the orange hair got up with such fury that his chair fell back and clattered against the floor. He strode over to our table and stood glaring at Klasco. He was broad in the chest and shoulders, perhaps 5 years younger, but Klasco stood a few inches taller, and I had a hunch would be faster.

"Klevin is the name, sir, and I want to be the one to shove Beloved Kabeez back down your throat!"

Klasco looked at me and then smiled back at the man called Klevin. "I didn't know my singing would cause such pain."

"If I let the song finish, you'd be weeping like a woman by now." His card-playing friends chittered with laughter. "And, no one should weep over a Province Council who sends its children to battle for its pink flowered meadows and brown soil."

Did this Klevin recognize Klasco as one of the Council of Twelve? Or was "Council" used like "capital or "County Seat?" I put my hand on Klasco's shoulder. He turned to look at me, but while his attention was averted, Klevin grabbed the tankard on our table and just as Klasco was turning back, he flung its contents in his face. Klasco sputtered, the ale dripping from his face and his shirt-front plastered to him. The other three card players scrambled to their feet. I did the same, but my heart was pounding shamefully in my chest.

Klasco smiled weakly. Before the three could band with Klevin, Klasco's arms shot out and locked onto the front of his aggressor's shirt (and probably some of the flesh beneath it, the way he yelped in pain). In one fluid movement, he hoisted Klevin from the floor and onto the table, his knees banging onto it first, then his belly. From there Klasco grabbed the back of his collar with one hand, the seat of his pants with the other, and scraped him across the rest of the surface, dragging menus with him and overturning the other tankard. Kleven landed face-first on the floor with the rest of his body collapsing in a heap.

One of his buddies rounded my side of the table, so intent on getting to Klasco that he didn't see my fist which came from my side in a round-house, catching him on the hinge of his jaw just below the ear. It was a sucker punch, I knew, but it was delivered as cleanly as the one I landed on Axtilla's jaw that sent her eyes into pinball mode. His legs simply collapsed where they were and his body's momentum carried his torso forward to his belly, so he didn't look unlike Klevin.

The third and the fourth card player, as though by some unspoken agreement took a few steps back. I was feeling a little heady with power when I saw two others stomping toward us, their eyes afire with anger. One wielded a club, which resembled one of the chair legs and the other held a dagger at his side. To make matters worse, the three thugs came out of their shadowed corner, two of them with empty tankards, and were making their way toward us as well. The card players' confidence was renewed and they advanced. A quick tally came up with seven men all intent on making short work of us.

"Klasco?" was all I had time to say.

"Brother …" was his only response.
 
*     *     *

CAST OF CHARACTERS
  • Doctrex:  The name Axtilla gave to the man who woke up on the shoure of an alien land without memory or identity.
  • Axtilla:  The young lady who discovered the ailing man on the shore, brought him to health and then held him captive, certain he is Pondria.
  • Pondria:  According to the Tablets of Kyre, he is the one who comes from the sea, to infiltrate the people of the Encloy, deceiving them with his language, setting them up to be destroyed by the Trining.
  • Pomnots:  (Pom = Dark not = Force)  Formerly on the plane below, these ancestors of the people of the Encloy were drawn up to the Kojutake during the Bining's 30 days of darkness.  Fierce, living for their appetites, they are not above killing each other to satisfy their insatiable hunger.
  • Glnot Rhuether:  According to Axtilla, the name of the dark entity who is destined to empower the lodging [the Trining] on their plane.
  • Klasco Braanz: Husband to Metra and father to Sarisa and Klea.
  • Metra Braanz: Wife to Klasco and mother to Sarisa and Klea
  • Sarisa Braanz: Klasco's and Metra's youngest daughter.
  • Klea Braanz: Klasco's and Metra's eldest daughter
  • Kyreans:  According to Kabeezan Myth, a people who lived 5,000 years ago (1,000 D’s) who were ultimately destroyed by Glnot Rhuether and the Dark Force
  • Crossans: They are similar to horses, but broader in the chest and sloping down to smaller haunches than horses.
  • Trining: A code word used by the enemies in the Far Northern Province marking the beginning of the all-out assault by Glnot Rhuether on the other provinces.
  • Kunsin: The magic that Pondria possessed.
  • Kojutake: In the provinces it is the afterlife.
  • Prevaluate: In the provinces, it is where you go just after you die, where you measure yourself to find out whether you will go to Kojutake
 
 
 


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NOTE: Reluctantly, but at the request of many Fanstorians, I am including a Glossary of Characters and Terms. I trust the reader who measures his/her interest by the length of the "scanning bar" will keep in mind the space that list takes up.
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