Story for the day: Hallanys
|Battlefield by Twisk|
Once the Den Asaan and commander had gained a few hours of sleep, they meant to continue their journey through the Dehir Wood to the northwest. The commander was roused by the forceful nestle of the giant’s nose against her neck and the excruciating embrace that accompanied his fond assurances. His legs and arms were wrapped around her body and though she thought he would not sleep, as he rather enjoyed keeping a vigil over her when she took the chance to rest, she believed he was performing his duties as mate credibly by guarding her in such a close and pleasurable manner. His warm exhales browsing the back of her neck caused her to shift her shoulder to shield herself from the sensations repeatedly assailing her. The prickling feeling dancing along the back of the neck became too great and she felt she must ask him to move for her own sanity.
A gentle touch to his mauve-grey flesh and the giant’s eyes were open. His violet irises were wide with the morning light and his black sclera reflected the image of his mate in his grasp. He exhaled in pleasance for the sight of her smiling back at him and he groaned with happiness for the comfort and warmth they shared beneath the furs. “No, woman,” the giant moaned. “We will remain here a little longer.”
The commander humoured his decisive selfishness and shifted as much as was possible to face him. He pressed his mouth against her forehead in a kiss and kept them there while his hands roved her temperate form.
“Iimon Traala Ashtihaa,” the giant thrummed, his rumbling voice resonating in partiality. The happy relief his mate’s body offered him compelled him to remain unmoving when he believed they should have been traveling through the Dehir Wood by now, but his sensible enjoyment of their solitude and proximity was a force he would not combat for the morning. He reasoned that the king would not have arrived at the inn in Hallanys before they would and he was resolved to be prone beside his luscious woman until midday.
After a few morning declarations of his attachment for the commander, the Den Asaan bid his mate to rise at last. They collected their sparse effects and doused the campfire in preparation for their leave and after the bones of their morning meal were buried to hide their presence from scavengers, the commander and Den Asaan began their trail northwest to the Dehir Wood.
The western forest stretched from the southernmost reaches of the kingdom to the southern end of Westren Greater. Though there were roads that led around the expanse of the forest, none of them led through. The long copes of trees were dense and elderly, making the wood ominous and ever unforthcoming to those who would travel within them. They were not beset with banditry, however, and therefore they were prime for those who wished to gain more ground in good time. This line of forest had been the shelter and mode of conveyance for the commander and Rautu during the Galleisian War and it was by this means that they were able to maintain their omnipresence throughout the entire western end of Frewyn. As the Dehir Wood touched the edges of nearly every town and village along the Galleisian border, they were able to journey from Amene to Westren in less than a day. This feat had always given great astonishment to Alasdair but then he and the rest of the men in the armed forced had never thought to utilizes the cover of the forbidding wood.
From Varralla, Hallanys was reached in less than a day and when evening fell over Frewyn, the commander and Den Asaan had reached the inn of the Golden Crown in the main square of the city. Rautu looked at the skies to judge their progress and he observed that with only one rest, they had reached their destination in exactly the allotted time he projected. He gave a terse of huff, impressed with his prediction and he and his mate continued inside the Golden Crown to see if Alasdair had defeated them.
It was found that the king had not indeed arrived and only his initial letter marking his coming from Diras had. The Den Asaan was immensely gratified to hear this news and prepared his various words of mockery for when the king should appear. They were given a room for their stay in Hallanys and informed that due to the nature of the roads and the manner in which their presence was inspected, the Regent of Hallanys would not be able to meet with them until the following day. They had only to wait for Alasdair and enjoy what the city had to offer.
The commander and Den Asaan took a small walk through the center of town and each of them noted how remarkably similar it was to Diras. Much of the city had been destroyed in the war but when it was rebuilt in their absence, it was in the very same style as the kingdom’s capital. The lanes were a great deal wider than those of Diras, making the use of carriages more prevalent, but there was something in the reconstruction of the houses that was lacking. They were all of them rebuilt in rows and where Diras was sectioned for each quarter, Hallanys seemed to be a clutter of spaces. A market here, a lane of residences there, but everything suggested that the small city had found its peace.
The citizens of Hallanys were about in the early evening and several of them remarked the presence of the immense giant with apprehension. Those who had recognized Rautu and his mate from their time during the war made gentle waves instead of approaching for those who knew the mountainous man understood his ardent dislike for crowds and chose not to create one around him. Soon, however, the Den Asaan incurred many looks of approbation and murmurs of recognition. He sighed for hearing the buzz that began to meld with his pleasant walk and he bid his mate to turn around and walk back toward the inn.
“You’re the hero of Western Frewyn, Iimon Ghaala,” the commander said with a civil laugh. “While your acts of mastery and godly shouting abilities are of regular occurrence in Diras, you remain a marvel here. Have you forgotten how you saved our kingdom? I’m certain the people here and especially those in Westren haven’t.”
“It was a small achievement, Traala,” the giant said quietly, looking aside.
“You killing over four-hundred Galleisians and flooding the valley was not a small feat,” the woman argued. “Perhaps among the Amghari of Sanhedhran it is considered a mere trifle, but to the people of Frewyn, Iimon Ghaala, you are a champion. You’re our walking legend and though you may deem your past actions as little to excite the interest of your leaders, without you Frewyn as a kingdom would have diminished. This would be Eastern Gallei by now, I’m certain. Granted, with our inbred tenacity we would have risen against them eventually but you are the cause of our immediate freedom and your service to us will not be shortly forgotten.”
Rautu listened to his mate but as she spoke, he became more conscious to the people of Hallanys studying him with expressions of gratitude and gestures of welcoming. He had not felt as much warmth and graciousness amongst the ranks of Frewyn but when stationed in towns after a battle, he was unexpectedly treated with appreciation. It was not the manner of Frewyn to be unbecoming it is thankfulness but where he had expected to be offered suspicion and doubt he was lauded as an accomplished conqueror.
“I had promised to accompany you and fight at your side,” Rautu said to his mate. “I served your people as a means to return to mine. There is no need for this treatment.”
“But you should enjoy it all the same,” the commander smirked. “With it may come many offers of tribute. I remember when Siela NilFayden gave you that chocolate for saving her home. You tasted it once and that was the end of your abhorrence for Frewyn.”
The commander snickered and though her mate flouted her in return, his scowls were not quite as harsh as they once might have been. His dislike for the kingdom as a whole had softened since his stint in Diras began but the woman would never had admit such a horrendous truth aloud for fear of the giant being forced to lie in protestation of it.
Rautu looked out at the indebted people of Hallanys. With a sudden and disarming expression, the Den Asaan began to incline his head to each one who had acknowledged him. They responded and a few of them made a careful approach, all of them wishing to gain a better look at the giant responsible for their wellbeing. It had been some years since Rautu’s last emergence in the small city but they had not forgotten the brooding mountain. Some came forward with small gifts of a few flowers or finely wrapped chocolates and those with kindly homage for him were tolerated a few moments longer than those who only came to gawp. He did not smile throughout his meetings with each curious citizen and shared only a few words of understanding with those who wished them, but when he returned to the inn, the Den Asaan sat at one of the table in the tavern and looked at his veritable collection of kindnesses with a deeply pensive countenance. Tribute for a service that he was born into was something to which the giant was accustomed. The deserving of designates and honors by superiors was his measure of success, but when Rautu recollected his meager achievements and weighed them against the amount of thanks he had received from those he had sworn to protect, he allowed himself to smile and be proud of what he had done.