Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Servant freed|
My mother was found in the middle of a small battlefield. She was alone, injured and in labor. I was born right there on the battlefield and shortly afterwards my mother died of her wounds. The Duke of Chester took me in and I became one of his servants. Unlike other children in the Keep I grew slowly as they aged rapidly.
I was small and looked much younger than my age. Two men became my mentors, Ian the Forester and Adam the Armsmaster. Ian taught me how to move silently and a lot about animals. Adam taught me how to use a staff and night sticks. By the time I turned forty I still only looked like a boy.
That was when I was let go by the current duke. I made a pack using my blankets and carefully folded my good set of clothes before adding my small set of carving tools. A few small items and I was finished. I tied the corners together and turned to leave. As soon as I walked out the small postern gate old Ian fell in beside me.
I glanced at him and he nodded towards the river. I looked and saw the barge waiting to leave for King’s Watch. He patted my shoulder, “I paid your fare, go to King’s Watch. There isn’t anything here for you now.”
I looked at him again, “What do I do now Ian?”
He smiled, “Find your place boy.”
The ride down the river on the barge was long with nothing for me to do. When we finally came into sight of the huge city it was amazing. The city was bordered on one side around a large bay. On other side was the great forest with a high walls to protect it. The other two sides were open farmlands.
The river flowed through the middle of the city and merged with another. The barge loaded with timber stopped beside a large sawmill. For the next two weeks I tried to find work but most of the people almost seemed to fear me. I made my way close to the forest wall to the side of a small overgrown park like estate.
The people feared the estate because they believed a wizard that had lived here was haunting it. I bought a small cooked sausage with my last copper and leaned back against the estate wall to eat it. A small kitten meowed pitifully and I sighed when I saw how skinny and starved it looked.
I broke the sausage in half and broke one half up as I fed the kitten. I wolfed the other half down before sighing and petted the cat as it purred and rubbed against me, “That’s all I have.”
It butted my hand and meowed before taking a few steps away. It came back to meow again before walking away. I finally smiled when it stopped and turned to look at me and meow. I stood, “okay, you want me to follow.”
I followed the small kitten down the alley where it slipped into the wall suddenly. I moved forward to look into a narrow nook. I turned sideways and stepped in to see another narrow opening going to the side behind the wall. I slipped through and stopped inside the estate’s overgrown grounds.
The kitten meowed again and I glanced at it before grinning and following its weaving trail through brush. There was only a single stone tower in the center of the grounds. The cat led me to several flowering bushes beside the tower. It looked at me and slipped between two and disappeared. I sighed and pushed through expecting the tower wall.
I stepped into a small doorway with a solid looking ironwood door half open. I pushed the door open to squeeze through and looked around the huge round room. A dim light seemed to come from the walls. There was stairs going up and another set going down. The kitten was on the stairs going up and meowed before turning and climbing up.
I followed it up passed a door to the last floor. The stairs continued up to the roof but the kitten was sitting beside a large bed. I stood for a minute before moving closer to look down at the dried corpse in the bed. It looked like he had been there a very long time. I glanced around and saw the remains of an old leather purse.
The leather was cracked, flaked and fell apart when I touched it. Six gold coins and a dozen silver lay where the pouch had been. I looked at what was probably the old wizard that had lived here. I set my pack down before taking a single silver coin, “I’ll replace it lord.”
I knelt to caress the kitten, “I’ll be back with dinner.”
I stood and headed for the stairs. After I came out of the tower I used bushes to cover my way back to the entry into the estate. I went to a nearby inn and slipped in. I stopped one of the serving girls and held up the silver, “Sausage, cheese and bread.”
She looked into my face before smiling and taking the silver. I waited anxiously until she came back with a cloth wrapped packet. I smiled as I took it, “Thank you.”
I made my way back to the estate without being seen. I dusted the ancient table before setting the cloth packet on the table. I untied it and opened it to find a loaf of bread, a quarter of a small wheel of cheese and a couple of dozen large, plump sausages. I tore a sausage apart and put it down for the meowing kitten to eat.
It was the first time I had a large meal in a long time. After I finished eating I started looking around. The tower was amazing, in the small kitchen area was a sink with a pump that still worked, there was even a small toilet closet. The floor below was a large workroom with forges and wood working tools.
I finally returned to look at the bed. After looking for a minute I used the old blankets and wrapped the body. I carried it down and out and looked around. I set the body below an old flowering tree. I found an old shovel and began to dig a grave. By the time I was finished it was dark.
Back in the tower I spread my blanket over me as I sat in an old cushioned chair that felt very comfortable. I relaxed and closed my eyes only to open them as the kitten wormed her way under and laid down in my lap. She was purring and I smiled as I pet her before closing my eyes again. I woke as the cat moved and sat up feeling refreshed.
I glanced at the kitten beside the table and put my blankets away. I went to the table and tore a sausage apart before eating a couple with cheese and bread. I sighed and sat back as the kitten went downstairs. I looked around before starting to clean. I pulled out the old mattress and carefully slipped off the estate to get rid of it.
There was a man, a merchant he called himself. He bought stolen things from thieves and told them who to rob. He treated everyone on the street like they were slaves or worse. I had just finished getting rid of the old mattress and watched as he ordered his gang of thieves to beat a man that had dared to stand in his way.
I moved quickly and pulled the two night sticks I was carrying, “Leave him alone.”
The gang grinned as they pulled daggers and the merchant grinned nastily. I stepped in front of the man and my left stick slashed out to smash into a wrist. The dagger spun away as the thief yelled. I shifted and my right stick blocked a dagger as the left spun around. I slid in and my left stick slammed into the side of another thief’s head.
They backed away quickly, helping the two men I had hurt. The merchant snarled, “this isn’t over Sidhe.”
I waited but they left and I put the two sticks away. The man had slipped away but a lot of men and women from other shops were still looking. I turned and walked away as I thought of the merchant. By the time I had returned to the tower I had an idea. The kitten was sleeping in the chair and I went down to the workroom to clean.
I went out to buy a bread bowl of lamb stew and some meat. The kitten really seemed to like the chunks of raw lamb I fed her. It was dark when I slipped out of the estate and used the shadows to make my way to the merchant’s. His home was above the large shop and he had a couple of thieves guarding it.
I watched from an alley mouth until he put out his lamp. I waited a couple more hours before moving. I had noticed a stone drain pipe that came down past a narrow window on the second floor. I went hand over hand up to the top of the window. I grabbed the top sill and stepped onto the window ledge.
I reached down to check the window and smiled when it opened and slowly slipped in. I had always been able to see in almost pitch darkness and my hearing was better than any man’s. The room was a large closet and I crossed to open the door silently. I had thought about it and knew the merchant wouldn’t trust thieves near his money.
He was selfish and greedy so... I moved towards the master’s bedroom. I checked and then slowly opened the door. In the large bed the merchant was snoring loudly. Beside the bed was a small chest with iron bands and a large lock. I crossed and checked it before quietly lifting it and moving back to the door.
In the hall I shouldered the chest and closed the door. I thought before quietly climbing down the stairs. I glanced into the shop to see the two men asleep on the floor. I silently crossed to the door before reaching up to the bell over the door. I held it carefully and lifted it off the hook and slipped it into a pocket.
I unlocked the door and slipped out, closing it behind me. I went back to the estate and the tower. The kitten looked up from the chair when I came in and meowed before putting her head down. The walls were still lit dimly as I carried the chest to the other large comfortable chair. I set it down and went down to the workroom for a hammer that had been beside a forge.
I broke the lock on the chest and opened it. I sorted through it and pulled out five pouches of gold coins. There was another fifteen pouches filled with silver and twenty of copper. I set a pouch of silver aside with one of copper, the rest I put back into chest. I pulled a single silver piece out and went to place it with the coins beside the bed.
I shook out my blanket and sat back in the other chair. I sighed as the kitten climbed under the blanket and onto my lap. I slipped out early the next morning and bought fresh hot bread and fruit. I even bought a small hunk of raw meat for the kitten. When I went out later to buy a new mattress, everyone was talking about the merchant.
He had made a mistake and blamed his own gang of taking the chest and had been killed. As the weeks passed I made myself a home. I found three more ways in and out of the estate, including a large ironwood gate horses and a wagon could travel through. I also cleaned up the large basement and started making wood figurines.
Sometimes during the day I took long walks through the city just to look around. Almost three weeks later I heard about a gang of street thieves. I was in a small market and overheard two men talking about the gang taking another woman and raping her. They said the city guards wouldn’t do anything because they were afraid of the gang.
I took time to walk the area and look at the large house the gang had taken over. When I returned to the tower I was already planning my visit later that night. I cut up the pigeon I had bought for the kitten before cooking another one with herbs and rice. After I had eaten I changed into the new black clothing I had made.
The kitten started rubbing on my ankles and I smiled as I knelt to pet her. She surprised me by walking towards the wardrobe and looked back. I had learned and stood to follow her, “What is it?”
She stopped and patted the door. I opened it and she moved in and patted a black carved staff I had hadn’t seen before. I lifted it out and caressed the smooth dark wood. It was made from black ironwood with the top half carved into a dragon. The eyes almost sparkled darkly as I looked at them.
I smiled down at the kitten rubbing on my ankles. I slipped out of the tower and the estate before making my way across the city. Not many people were out and those that were crossed the street when they saw me. I waited down the street in the darker shadows from the gang’s house. After a long time I moved and walked around before entering through the servant’s door.
I moved from room to room until I found the first one. One strike against his head and he was out. I tied him and went looking for the next. There were a total of ten men in the gang and I took all of them. I moved them all outside and tied them spread eagle against the building’s fence.
I had brought a few things with me and started with the heavy hammer. The first man screamed when I broke the bones in one hand. He continued to scream as I moved to his other hand and then his feet. Lights were coming on as I pulled the razor sharp bronze knife. I castrated him before pouring a red liquid farmers use to prevent infection.
I glanced back as I moved to the next man and saw guards moving down the street. That was when the staff I had left leaning against the building began to glow. The guards stopped several dozen feet away as I worked on the man and then moved to the next. By the time I finished there were a dozen guards.
They were all smiling as I cleaned the hammer and knife and walked to the staff. As soon as I touched the staff the glow faded and disappeared. I started walking and the crowd that had gathered opened up and let me pass. The next day I went to the marketplace to do my shopping. All the talk and gossip was about the dark mage that had mutilated a gang of thieves.
No one was talking bad about the mage they were saying he should do the same to this person or that. One of the names mentioned was a minor noble. I started to listen as I shopped and then slipped away to the estate. I sat with the kitten on my lap and thought about the noble. I finally stood and set the kitten on the bed before leaving.
This time I went looking for the noble’s manor. I sat or moved around on the street by his manor. I used a small knife to carve a thick stick as I watched and listened. When I stood up, I absently handed the small carven cat to a girl that had been watching me. I walked away as she ran excitedly to show her mother what the strange Sidhe had given her.
It was dark with only a tiny slip of moon. The street had several lamps but the greedy baron didn’t even bother to fill the lamps around his manor. I went around back and slipped into the manor using the servants entry. The house was quiet but I still moved as quietly as I could. I moved through the house to the study off the parlor.
I used a slim piece of steel between the door and the frame to work the bolt into the door. I slipped into the room and looked around. With my eyesight I could see what I needed to and crossed to the desk, beside it was an oak chest. I ignored it for now and took the large ring with the baron’s seal on it.
I looked in the few drawers and lifted out a heavy pouch of gold. I finally turned to the chest and looked inside. It was full of silver and copper coins. I closed it and lifted it before carrying it to the servants door. I set it down and walked towards the stairs and climbed up to the next floor.
I opened the baron’s bedroom door and crossed to the bed. He was sleeping with a women and even in the dark room I could see her bruises. I snatched the baron out of the bed and spun him before slamming him into a wall. I kicked down into the back of his knee and he went down. I smashed one hand before I started to beat him.
The woman had screamed once and then went silent. The baron was yelling and screaming as I broke both his legs and smashed his face into the wall repeatedly. When I was done he was a bloody wreck and only lay whimpering. I grabbed his hair, “If you continue treating people evilly I will return.”
I let him go before leaving. I carried the heavy chest out when I left the manor and used alleys and side streets to make my way back to the estate. I added the gold to the other chest and set the chest beside the first one I had taken. As soon as I slipped into bed the kitten was crawling onto me and curling up as it purred.
The next day there was more talk about the dark mage and the baron. As it began to grow cooler people seemed to become meaner or greedier. I was known in the marketplaces as a homeless beggar that carved wooden toys for children. I was working on a small purple wood that I was carving an unicorn into.
I glanced up as a commotion across the small market square started. Three mercenary soldiers were shoving and pushing people out of their way as they went from stall to stall. I glanced at the unicorn before smiling at the little girl sitting in front of me and handing it to her, “go show your mother.”
She grinned as she came to her feet and turned to run. The looming shape of a man appeared and she dodged him nimbly. He cursed and lifted a hand to hit her as I came to my feet. My right hand grabbed the staff resting against the wall beside me, “I wouldn’t.”
He froze for a second and the girl slipped away. He glared, “Keep your trap shut beggar!”
I smiled and the staff shot out and hit him in his stomach. He folded and start gagging before vomiting. The other two soldiers moved apart as they started for me and I shifted my hold on the staff. I lashed out to crack down on a hand holding a slim dagger and thrust across as the other soldier started to move in.
The end of the staff slammed into his stomach and he folded to join the other man in vomiting. I looked at the last one standing as he shook his hand and turned to walk away. I bought a large hunk of lamb with some fresh bread and cheese. In the tower I started cooking a thick lamb stew as I thought about the mercenary soldiers.
This wasn’t the first time they had gone through a marketplace bullying people. I glanced down at the kitten rubbing on my ankles and bent to pick her up, “What do you think? Should I go out tonight and teach these men a lesson?”
She butted my chest as her purr grew louder. I smiled and hugged her before setting her down. I pulled the scraps I had saved off the counter and knelt to give them to her. When I slipped through the street later I was in dark clothing and carrying the wizard’s staff. The mercenaries haunted a tavern near where they camped by one of the farmland gates.
A dark cowl covered my face as I stepped into the loud, dimly lit common room. The staff flared to life and the room went silent. I looked around, “You are now on notice. If you break the city’s peace again I will come for you.”
I turned as if to leave and several benches scrapped the floor, “Fool! We take what we want or need!”
I turned back to the room as several men moved towards me with drawn daggers. I shifted and lifted the staff before turning to thrust out. There was a thud and suddenly the man I had just struck was flying back into the crowd of men behind him. I spun the staff and brought one end down on a man’s wrist.
He screamed as the bone snapped and I swept the staff the other way into a man lunging towards me with his dagger. The staff slammed into his extended arm and there was a sizzling crack before the man was flung back and down. I spun the staff and thrust it forward into another man that had pulled a sword.
He parried and screamed when his sword hit the staff. Lightning crackled and exploded around him before he dropped to the floor. The rest of the men backed away and I straightened, “Leave King’s Watch or I will be back.”
I spun and left, slipping into the shadows as quickly as I could. The staff stopped glowing as soon as I had walked out and felt uncommonly light. I moved through the streets staying in the shadows and checking behind me. I was almost back when I heard the girl’s pleading voice. I moved into the alley where I had heard it coming from.
I found three men standing over another man. Two women and a girl were crouched against the wall as the men kept kicking the man on the ground. I moved quickly as the staff flared and brought one end down on a man’s head as he started to turn. There was a crack and he dropped straight to the ground as I spun the staff.
I sent it into the chest of a second man. Lightning flared around him as he screamed and flew across the alley and into the wall. I brought the staff back and twisted, bringing it across and into the last man’s face. There was another crack and he went straight back and down. I looked around and straightened, “It’s over. Help this man and go home.”
They scrambled to the groaning man and helped him up. I followed them out of the alley before the staff stopped glowing and left me in the shadows. I slipped away and back to the estate. I slept well that night with the kitten curled up on my chest. For the next few months the rumors and talk of the dark mage seemed to reassure the people.
I was just finishing a set of toys for a young boy when word spread of a band of Sidhe entering the city. I glanced around as the marketplace filled with gossip. I finished what I was doing and slipped the toy into a large stocking. I stood and grabbed my staff before handing the stocking to the boy that had been watching me patiently.
I stopped to buy everything I needed for a nice stew as well as several large rolls and a small fish, the fish was for the kitten. I slipped onto the estate and into the tower. I thought about the rumors of sidhe as I made dinner and watched the kitten devour the fish as she growled. It was late when I left the tower and started across the city.
If a delegation of sidhe were here they would be in the rich part of the city. There were still people in the streets and a few thieves started following, at least until the staff began glowing. I stopped at a wide elegant gate and looked at the two frightened guards, “Do you know where the Sidhe are staying?”
One swallowed, “The Duke of Sutton is hosting them.”
I nodded and looked down the street, the other guard cleared his throat, “Straight down the road my lord.”
I looked at him before walking on, I found the estate a little later. It was bright with lanterns and loud with voices of a nobles having a party. I walked towards the gate and a guard stepped out, “this is a private...”
He froze as his eyes locked onto the glowing staff. I continued to walk through the gate and onto the estate. I walked through the open front door and the foot man backed away quickly. I stood looking around at the entrance to the great hall as slowly the voices stilled and went silent. Across the huge hall a man stood but I could see he wasn’t a man.
I started towards him as the crowd parted and looked down as the kitten wove between my legs. I stopped and looked at her before bending and picking her up, “You shouldn’t be here.”
She purred and rubbed her face on my chest. I sighed and started walking again. The duke stepped forward, “You are not welcome mage.”
I glanced at him briefly before looking past him at the sidhe, “I came for words with your guests.”
He turned and the sidhe man stepped forward with a smile, “And how may the Sidhe help...”
His eyes narrowed before he turned to look at a young sidhe woman, “My lady?”
I glanced at her as I slipped the large hood of my cloak off. There was a gasp as the three other sidhe stood. The woman stepped forward, “Who are you?”
I smiled, “The Duke of Chester named me Simon Silverleaf for the broach my mother wore when she was found.”
I opened my cloak to touch the single sliver pin on the right side of my chest. She reached out with a shaking hand to touch it before looking into my face, “She was killed with all her guards.”
I had heard the stories many times and nodded, “I was born even as she died.”
The woman turned to face one of the sidhe men, “Go to Ser Green Bough, tell him his son lives and is here.”
The sidhe bowed before glancing at me and striding away. I looked at the woman when she turned back, “You know who my mother was?”
She smiled and glanced around, “perhaps we could speak later?”
I turned to look at the duke and all the other guests that were staring. I nodded and pulled my hood up, “I will find you.”
I turned and walked through the crowd as the kitten squirmed in my arms. I looked at her and sighed before bending to set her down. She headed straight back towards the woman as I walked out. I slipped into the shadows of the street and slowly made my way towards the estate. After I entered the tower I leaned the staff against the wall beside the bed.
I slept uneasy that night, the kitten didn’t return and all I could think of was the sidhe woman. I woke early to the kitten purring on my chest. I smiled and pet her, “Decided to come home?”
She butted my hand and I rubbed her ears before slipping her off me and sitting up. The slight sound across the room made me look. The woman smiled as she relaxed in one of the comfortable chairs, “You have nice accommodations.”
I hesitated before reaching for my clothes and dressing, “They weren’t being used so I borrowed them.”
I crossed to the small kitchen area and started the stove to heat two pans of water. I opened a stone storage chest and pulled out a small fish and knelt to feed it to the kitten, “you followed the cat here?”
I looked at the sidhe woman as she smiled, “Yes, she seemed determined that I come with her.”
I smiled as I stood and started adding tea leaves to one pan of water. I left it to seep and added oatmeal to the boiling water in the other pan. I stirred it as it thickened and added cinnamon and diced dried apples. I poured it into two bowls and set it on the table. I gestured to the other bowl as I sat, “eat.”
She moved from the comfortable chair and sat across from me. She smelled the bowl and smiled, “for being lost and thought dead you seem very competent.”
I smiled, “The old Duke of Chester took me in as one of his servants.”
She looked at me and frowned, “Sidhe are not servants.”
I shrugged, “I was a baby and alone.”
She looked down before nodding and starting to eat. When we finished I cleaned up and we sat sipping tea. She looked at me and smiled, “I need to leave but seeing you makes me want to stay.”
I knew what she meant and smiled. After she left I went to wash and then put my cloak on before slipping out of the estate. I went to the closest market and started shopping. The loud commotion on the other side of the marketplace made me turn. Several young nobles were pushing merchants and laughing.
I glanced around and slipped a few coppers to a street vender selling brooms. I cut the bindings around the bristles before walking towards the young men. One shoved a woman and I caught her and set her aside as the nobles laughed, “It is time you young sirs found other amusements.”
One put his hand on his sword hilt, “We go where we please beggar.”
I brought the long handle around and it slammed into the young man’s wrist. He screamed as the bone broke but I was sliding forward and spun the staff and brought the other end down on his head. He dropped to the ground as I thrust the end of the staff out and into the stomach of the next man.
He was pulling his sword and folded to the ground vomiting as the sword skidded away. I moved to the side and slipped a lunging sword away before bringing the end straight down on the young man’s arm. I spun the staff and struck him in the side of his head before facing the last man. He licked his lips as he waved his sword, “You will hang for this.”
I smiled and moved towards him, “Then I should kill you.”
His eyes widened and then he spun and ran as he dropped his sword. I shook my head and bent to take the purses from the other men. I tossed them to a nearby beggar before turning to walk away. I walked through the streets and alleys until I came to another marketplace. I started shopping and it wasn’t long before the street rumors started.
A few minutes later a bully shoved a merchant and reached onto his counter to grab several rolls. I started to move and stopped when half the marketplace suddenly moved towards the man. He looked around and sneered, “what are you going to do?”
There was a loud growl and then the crowd surged forward with sticks and began to beat him. I grinned as he screamed and curled up on the ground begging them to stop. Someone brought rope and they tied his hands and pulled him to a beam. They hoisted him up and left him hanging as they went back to their business. I finished shopping and walked home.
I bent to pick up the kitten sleeping on the doorstep and carried her upstair. I set everything I had bought down and carried the kitten to one of the narrow window seats. The sun had warmed the seat so I set the kitten down and sat beside her to pet her, “do you think the lady will return kitten?”
She purred and shifted to get comfortable and I smiled before going to put everything away. I went to the top of the tower with the wizard’s staff and began to slowly move through my exercises. When the sidhe came out and began mirroring my moves I smiled and continued. It had been a long time since anyone had practiced with me.
It was awhile before we stopped and I bowed to him, “thank you.”
He smiled, “many prefer the edged weapons. Lady Brianna is waiting.”
I shrugged and gestured to the doorway leading down, “why cause more damage than needed?”
When we walked into the common room the sidhe woman smiled and stood from the window seat, “I thought perhaps you got lost again.”
I smiled as I crossed to the kitchen and the pitcher of cold water that always seemed to be waiting. I turned after drinking, “you returned quickly.”
She blushed as the male sidhe grinned, “She did not wish to lose you again.”
I glanced at the kitten as she stood and stretched before turning to pull out the wrapped stew meat I had bought. I cut up several pieces before kneeling and setting them down for her. She butted my hand and I smiled as I started to feed her. The two sidhe laughed and the woman came to kneel beside me, “In some things we are all servants.”
She started feeding the kitten as the other sidhe laughed and sat down. She looked at me, “She is special you know.”
I pet the kitten as she purred, “she saved me I think.”
The woman caressed her cheek, “she is a mage’s familiar. She should have died but for some reason she lived to attach herself to you. I think she has been a kitten for a long time, now she will begin to age as she should.”
I looked at her and back at the kitten as she finished the last of the meat. She rubbed against my hand and turned to walk towards the stairs down. I smiled and stood to wash my hands, “How may I help you?”
The woman smiled as she washed her hands and glanced at the other sidhe, “We have an audience with the kings council here to renew old treaties and trade agreements.”
I waited and the male sidhe shifted, “many think we should let the treaty and agreements lapse.”
I glanced at him and then at the lady, “because the human nobles are greedy and arrogant.”
She smiled and bowed her head, “yes.”
I nodded, “Perhaps you should look for another way to teach them manners.”
The man snorted, “tempting but we do not go to war lightly.”
I smiled, “I did not say go to war. Treat the nobles like they treat their servants. Treat the servants like nobles. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate your skills to make a point.”
They looked at each other and the lady smiled and bowed to me, “you are truly the son of Ser Green Bough.”
I didn’t know who she meant and shrugged, “consider it servant wisdom.”
She smiled, “perhaps.”
After they left I was alone again and put a cloak on and went out. I carried the wizard’s staff and it glowed as I walked the streets. Thugs glared and merchants and the other people smiled when they saw me. In many of the marketplaces I saw men hanging from beams. I had to smile as I realized the people were waking up to protect themselves and each other.
When I returned to the estate the sun had set and there were a dozen elven steeds grazing on the green grass around the base of the tower. I watched them for a couple of minutes before bending to scoop up the kitten rubbing on my ankle. I climbed the stairs to find a small crowd of sidhe in the upper rooms.
The lady smiled as she moved to me, “Simon, these are the Watchers. They protect the great forest and our home.”
I nodded to the sidhe looking at me and one strode to me and reached out. My hand moved automatically and turned it away. He started and frowned as he looked into my eyes and I looked back calmly. He straightened suddenly, “he is her son!”
I looked at him and then at the others as they broke and started talking. Lady Brianna walked closer, “Simon, this rude sidhe is your uncle Lord Mel, your lady mother’s only brother.”
I looked from her to him and he smiled, “I didn’t believe you lived.”
I smiled slightly, “It is nice to meet you.”
Lady Brianna turned to face the room, “now that we know, he must be protected and taught.”
I looked at her, “Protected from what and taught what?”
She smiled at me but it was my uncle that spoke, “you are from a high elven family, only a few stand between you and the high king.”
He sighed, “since you know us not, you must need to learn our ways.”
I caressed the kitten as she purred, “I will think on it.”
He blinked and lady Brianna’s silvery laugh filled the room, “did I not warn you? Simon is his own person and not a follower.”
The other sidhe chuckled and my uncle grinned, “like both his mother and father.”
I smiled slightly, “I am a servant no more.”
I had at least four sidhe with me at all times, even the one night I walked the streets with my staff. I practiced with the bow and staff outside the tower now but refused sword or dagger. So far none of the sidhe could best me with the staff. The large gate into the estate had been opened and the duke’s council had given the estate to the sidhe.
It was a week before more sidhe arrived. I moved through the six sidhe attacking me with practice daggers and swords. I shifted and the staff slid out smoothly to brush a reaching sword aside before spinning and the other end struck. I shifted and slid to one side smoothly as the butt of the staff slid straight back to hit a sidhe moving closer behind me.
The staff whipped to the side and cracked against another’s arm. I shifted at the suddenly noise of horses walking but kept moving as only three sidhe remained. I turned and twisted as the staff brushed aside another reaching sword and twirled and lashed out to sink the end into one sidhe’s stomach.
I brought it across to block another sword and then down to strike the wrist. I slashed around to slam into the arm and side of the last sidhe who tried to slip in. I straightened and turned to glance at the large party of sidhe on horses watching me. One drew my attention as he dropped off the horse and walked towards me.
He slowed and began to circle me, “he looks like her but different.”
Lady Brianna laughed and we both looked at her. Several of the others were grinning as he frowned. She walked to me and cupped my face before looking at the other sidhe, “two pees in a pod.”
Other sidhe murmured as one still sitting on a beautiful horse laughed and slid off to walk to me, “even I know my own cousin.”
I looked at him as he stopped and smiled, “welcome cousin.”
The other sidhe sighed and then reached out to hold my shoulder, “my name is Michael Ser Green Bough and I am your father.”
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