Several horses kicked up a whirlwind of dust and hay as they entered the courtyard of House Drystan. The Commander dismounted mid-trot, calling for the stable hands to attend the horses and  bellowed orders to the men to prepare for the queen’s arrival.  House Drystan was a lesser Noble House and a country manor, smaller than the estates of other lords, especially the families of the King and Queen. However, the queen usually traveled light and rarely required the space of the other lords.

Master Niall Wulfstan adjusted his tabard under his armor and shifted his weight, placing his hand on his sword, a long, impressive weapon with ancient runes inscribed on the blade. The comforting feel of the cold steel distracted him momentarily. Absentmindedly, Niall stroked the obsidian inlays in the hilt. Honestly, he didn’t believe in the fairy tales of his youth, but he knew first hand the Void possessed great power which the Relics could focus. When the Sword of Commander, one of the Relics, passed to him, nearly 10 years ago, Niall  was sworn to protect the Royals and Council members.

Presently,  was irritated by the queen for ordering him to ride ahead like a maid to attend to her accommodations. However, Niall knew that during Harvest Fest, there would be many more guests within these walls and throughout Heddwyn, and rightfully so, it was not the tidiness of her rooms the queen was concerned about.

Shaking himself from his thoughts, Niall went to speak to the Lord Cedric who was striding over to him. Lady Drystan, not the first, stood in the kitchen giving directions to her staff. Niall bowed slightly in her direction, but the gesture went unacknowledged.

Cedric’s long brown robes dripped off his thin frame. Although of an advanced age, he was certainly not frail. A weathered hand reached out from the layers of cloth and the men grasped wrists in mutual good will. The older man’s eyes where full of wisdom and had seen more summers than his face suggested. On this visit, it seemed as if Cedric had gotten younger, which wasn’t surprising, given the level of magic seeping from the Void lately.


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