Jewyl and The Mystyk Mountains

by Bob Nailor

An un-edited, first pass written for NaNoWriMo 2005.

Lord Rinled lounged in his throne, bored at the endless line of peasants as they made their feeble requests of him.

“It has been duly noted. I’ll see what can be done,” he said and waved the old farmer away.

Two clerics approached, walking slowly toward the throne.

“Lord Rinled,” the taller of the two barely whispered. He kept his hood pulled down to shadow his face.

“Remove your hoods and speak up,” the rotund man standing below Lord Rinled’s throne bellowed and thumped his staff on the stone floor. “What do you seek of Lord Rinled?”

“We seek nothing, m’lord,” the tall man replied ignoring the request about the hoods. “We only wish to ask Lord Rinled a question or two.”

“You want to question Lord Rinled? He can’t be bothered with answering questions,” the rotund man said. “Now remove your hoods this instant.”

“Let him ask,” Lord Rinled said sitting up in his throne and leaning forward. “You have piqued my curiosity, stranger. Is your friend a mute?”

“No, m’lord,” a deep, raspy voice replied from under the hood of the shorter cleric.

“Ah, good,” Lord Rinled said. “Remove your hoods then ask your question.”

“Why do you seek the one named Jewyl, Princess of Keyola?” the tall cleric asked and pulled back his hood.

Lord Rinled leaped to his feet. 

“How dare you,” he bellowed. “Insolence.” He grabbed the sword beside his throne and lifted it over his head in a threatening move.

The cleric leaned forward in a bow and stretched out his arms, palms upward. “M’lord,” he said. “I meant no disrespect.” 

“I have commanded this Jewyl person to attend my court,” Lord Rinled bellowed while lowering his sword. “Why are clerics here to question my motives?”

“We do not question your motives,” the tall cleric said. “We only wish to know if you truly wish for her.”

“Yes,” Lord Rinled replied and slumped back into this throne, his sword clanging to the floor. “I have a need of her skills or at least that is what I’ve been told by my advisors.”

“My name is Chardo,” the tall cleric said and noted the extra guards entering the chamber. “I am a friend of Jewyl.”

“I know your name,” Lord Rinled said. “What is your friend’s name?”

“My name is Jewyl,” the shorter cleric said and pulled back the hood to reveal the flaming red hair, her emerald green eyes flashing in the light.

“You came,” Lord Rinled said, his eyes wide with delight and clasped his hands together.

“Yes,” Jewyl replied. “I see that you have extra guards.” She pointed at two of the newest guards.

“They are Lord Azre’s men,” Lord Rinled said and waved his hand to dismiss the thought. “Here at his request; I had no other choice when he found that I had sent out a decree for your presence.”

“Flattering,” Jewyl replied. “Now what is your request.”

Lord Rinled allowed a small smile to curl the edge of his lips then leapt from his throne in one swift movement which alarmed the rotund man near him.

“M’lord,” the rotund man said.

“Jewyl,” Lord Rinled said stepping down from the dias and moving toward her, “My advisors have... how should I put this. They advised me to procure a certain item and that, uh, only a special type of person would be able to get it.”

“Lord Rinled,” Jewyl said. “Now you’ve piqued my curiosity. You consider me this special type of person?”

“Please come with me and I will tell you all,” Lord Rinled said and breezed by Jewyl and Chardo, then turned. “Please, follow.”

Jewyl and Chardo looked at each other then back to Lord Rinled.

“It would appear that we had best follow,” Jewyl said and watched Lord Azre’s men move toward them.

“Lord Rinled has closed today’s listening,” the rotund man with the staff said then again banged the staff on the floor. “Return tomorrow to beseech your benevolent ruler.”

“That’s the end of the show, folks,” Chardo hissed. “Are you comfortable with the situation, Jewyl?”

“Lord Rinled I’m not worried about,” she replied. “Of course, Lord Azre’s men do concern me. It is obvious that he still hopes to win my heart.”

Jewyl pulled her robe closer about her and followed the ruler from the great hall. She pulled Chardo along and noted the guards following.

“You see them?” Jewyl whispered.

“Yes,” Chardo replied. “Do you think they will leave us alone with Lord Rinled?”

“I truly doubt that,” Jewyl replied. “I just hope that we get to wherever it is he is going before they decide to take control of the situation.”

“Take control?” Lord Rinled echoed. “Lord Azre’s men will not touch you, m’dear. They are only here to protect me.”

“You believe this?” Jewyl asked. “Why would they want to protect you? You are, after all, a rival lord.” 

Lord Rinled stopped in the grand hallway and stared at Jewyl. “You think his guards would dare to pull something in my own keep?”

Jewyl glanced about to survey the surroundings. “Personally?” she said. “You have Lord Azre’s guards so close to you that if one were to attack you’d have no time to defend yourself. Is Lord Azre in attendance? I doubt it. He is safe back at his keep.”

“Not only are you beautiful but very savvy, too,” Lord Rinled replied. “Still, I feel safe with his guards in my attendance.”

“As you wish,” Chardo murmured. “What do you want of us?”

“Please, in here,” Lord Rinled said holding back a curtain. “We will be alone and I can reveal my wish.”

“Alone?” Jewyl asked.

“Yes, m’dear,” Lord Rinled said. “I said I felt secure. If you were to attempt an attack on me, the guards outside this curtain would enter and kill you. A very simple feat for them if you were to attack.”

“I have no arguments with you Lord Rinled,” Jewyl said. “Tell me what you want.” She slid past and entered the curtained room.

“First some refreshments,” Lord Rinled said. He quickly crossed the room to the table and poured a ruby wine into goblets. “This morning’s session has parched my throat.” He handed Jewyl and Chardo a drink.

Chardo held the goblet then lifted it to his nose to smell.

“Please, Chardo,” Lord Rinled said. “Do you think I would resort to something as trivial as a poison? The wine is extremely tasty. Drink.” He grabbed his goblet, lifted it in a toast then let the flavorful liquid drain down his throat. “Very good,” he said and wiped the back of his hand across his lips.

Jewyl and Chardo sipped from their goblets and watched the curtains move ever so slightly in the gentle breeze.

“Very tasty,” Jewyl said. “Now what is this request of yours?”

Lord Rinled dropped into a chair and sighed loudly. “What do I want?”

Chardo curled onto a lounge and Jewyl joined him, sitting at his feet.

“I’m sure you’ve heard of the Mystyk Mountains?” Lord Rinled asked.

“They supposedly lay to the extreme east, beyond Ayala,” Jewyl said.

Lord Rinled looked about, shook his head. “I need one of the singing crystals.”

“Surely you jest, Lord Rinled,” Chardo said. He smiled all the while attempting not to.

“Why do you need me?” Jewyl asked. “Could you not send one of your own? Maybe a guard or two? Perhaps someone from the keep; a shop owner?”

“You’ve not heard the legends?” Lord Rinled asked.

“Legends?” Jewyl echoed. “What legends?”

“Only a person true of heart and virgin may touch the crystals,” Lord Rinled said.

Chardo nearly choked on his laughter and rolled to the floor from the chaise. “A virgin?” he choked. “You think Jewyl to be a virgin?”

“No,” Lord Rinled smiled with a reply. “My daughter is a virgin and will join you on the journey. Jewyl will protect her.”

Chardo stood up. “Why should we want to go?”

“Simple,” Lord Rinled replied. “Either you take this task that I have assigned to you or I shall have Lord Azre’s guards take you into custody for him. I understand that he is quite taken with you.” He leered at Jewyl.

“You expect me to wander off on some journey to a fabled place and get some crystals?” Jewyl asked. “Why? Do you think I am intimidated by Lord Azre’s guards?”

“Do you think that you can walk out of here?” Lord Rinled asked.

“Yes,” Jewyl replied. “With Chardo at my side and none other. I see no reason to go on this journey. There is no gain for me.”

“What gain do you need?” Lord Rinled said. “When you return with the crystals and my daughter then and only then will see the results.”

“Your results have nothing to do with me,” Jewyl said. “Chardo and I shall now leave.”

“Guards!” Lord Rinled yelled.

Immediately the curtains that defined the room dropped from their hinges high above and sprawled on the floor. Lord Azre’s men stood in a circle with their swords drawn.

“Then again, perhaps Chardo and I should reconsider your offer,” Jewyl said.

A young lady draped in yellow silks sauntered into the blank chamber, stepping daintily over the heaped curtains.

“Father?” she said, her voice wavered slightly. “You asked my attendance?”

“Eolane,” Lord Rinled said. “Come hither, daughter. This young lady is Jewyl and her companion is Chardo. They are the ones I told you about.”

Eolane nodded toward Jewyl and Chardo. “I am honored,” she said.

Chardo stood to full stature. “The honor is all mine,” he said and smiled.

Jewyl elbowed him then leaned in. “Remember her status,” Jewyl hissed then turned to smile at Eolane. “Such a pretty name,” she said. “Eolane? What does it mean?”

Eolane moved closer to her father. “It was my mother’s name; it means flower scents in a spring rain.”

“I can almost smell them now,” Chardo said, his eyes closed and then inhaling deeply.

“Enough of this,” Lord Rinled said and placed his hand on the pommel of his sword. “Eolane, you will be taking a journey with Jewyl and Chardo. They will be your protectors in this endeavor.”

“Endeavor, father?” Eolane asked.

“Yes,” Lord Rinled said. “Today you will depart on this journey. Jewyl and Chardo will answer any questions you have.”

“Today?” Eolane echoed.

“Today?” Chardo echoed.

“If Lord Rinled wants us to leave immediately, we will,” Jewyl said. “How long before you can be ready, Eolane?”

“My servants can have me packed by mid day,” Eolane replied. “May I ask how long we’ll be gone so I may tell my servants and they inform their families.”

“Servants?” Chardo questioned. “No servants. We travel light.”

“You deny me a companion?” Eolane asked then batted her eyes very slowly at Chardo.

“A companion, yes,” Jewyl said. “Only one; is that understood? Clothes? The bare minimum and keep it to traveling apparel.”

Eolane flashed a questioning look at her father.

“We will not be entertaining or attending that many social events,” Jewyl said. “Have I made myself understood?”

Eolane fidgeted, looked to her father then said, “Yes. One companion, very little personal belongings.” She looked about the room. “Why are these guards here? They are not of your court.”

“Leave politics to me, my daughter,” Lord Rinled said. “These guards are for my protection. Say no more.”

“As you wish, father,” Eolane said. “I will now go and prepare for my journey.” She swept a swatch of silk over her shoulder and moved toward the main hall, then stopped in front of Jewyl and searched her face. “How many days will we be traveling?” 

“I have no idea,” Jewyl replied. “Our journey will take us to many new places. Have you ever been to the Mystyk Mountains?”

“I will tell Piapa that we will be gone for a lengthy time,” Eolane said. “Do you know why I am going?” She glanced quickly back at her father. “I dare not ask him.”

“We are to collect a few of the singing crystals,” Jewyl said. “Are you familiar with their legend?”

Eolane blushed and nodded her head. “I understand,” she whispered. “Let me go and prepare.” She continued on and disappeared down the hall.

“Well,” Chardo said. “It would seem that our work here is done and we should leave and get our own belongings gathered.”

“You will go with the a couple of Lord Azre’s guards to assist you,” Lord Rinled said. “I understand your concerns but I believe you understand mine. You will have my daughter with you and I really feel that two guards to assist you on this endeavor is not out of line.”

“So our group will consist of Chardo, two of Azre’s men, your daughter, her companion and me,” Jewyl said. “A half dozen souls thrown together to search for something fabled.”

“They truly exist,” a guard said. “Excuse my brashness but I wish to attend you on this journey. I have heard them.”

“If you know the way there,” Jewyl said. “Then by all means you will join us. Do you wish to chose your companion?”

“My name is Jor,” the guard said. “I choose my sword mate, Belne, if you have no objections.”

Jewyl searched the guards to see which one was Belne. The giant, dark skinned man stepped forward. “I accept the offer,” Belne said; his voice resonated deeply.

“That was simple,” Lord Rinled said. “Is everyone satisfied?”

A guard stepped forward and raised his sword in a salute to Lord Rinled. “If I may,” he said.

Lord Rinled in a quick, short movement moved his head back and forth. Jewyl caught the subtle movement and noticed the covert hand signal. The guard barely nodded then stepped back into the line and was silent.

“All is fine,” Lord Rinled said. “The two companions from Lord Azre’s guards meet my approval. Eolane has chosen Piapa as her traveling companion. You and Chardo. A good mixture if I must say so myself.”

Jewyl looked about; something wasn’t quite right. She glared at the guard but it wasn’t him as she expected. She couldn’t define what the problem was, but it was there, niggling the edge of her perception. Jewyl quietly followed Chardo.

© 2005 Robert Nailor -- All Rights Reserved