(Icefurr’s back, baby! Sorry to anyone who might be reading this about the delay between Shantali and this story. 3 year split.)
The night was cool and clear in Western Clandon. The moon hung bright and full over snowcapped peaks that shone far off, and the long grass waved in the gentle breeze coming down from the Mountainous lands. Trees everywhere swished along with the smaller plants, making their own beautiful song.
In a clearing near the edge of the region, shadows flitted back and forth with the moving branches. Almost all of them seemed to move in sync with the others . . . all but two. A quiet form in a black cloak, followed by another figure with its hood up, darted from dark spot to dark spot. Some distance away, a silvery-white fox sat cross-legged. His eyes were closed, and he wore a silvery chest plate, blazing with a white emblem of two paws holding up a crown. A white hood covered the back of his head and let the tip of his snout poke out. Chainmail reached down to his knees, stopping over a pair of white leather boots. His figure was majestic in the moonlight. The two figures didn’t have to see any crown to know that this was a king.
His head was bowed, his paws raised, and fervent words were pouring out of his mouth.
The two black-cloaked creatures drew flashing silver knives from inside their garments. The fox’s eyes were closed, and he didn’t notice. The would-be assassins crept across the open glade, behind the fox where he couldn’t see them. They froze, then crept a little closer. Soon, they were less than three yards from him. One brought his arm back. The knife glinted in the moonlight.
The fox’s ear twitched, and his murmurings silenced.
“Die, false king!” the assassin cried, and flung his arm forward. The knife spun through the air. The fox was too quick, though, and rolled out of the way just in time. It sailed harmlessly past. Another knife twisted from the other’s paw, but the king spun his body away, and only suffered a graze on his side. He stood and whipped out his curved sword.
Now the three were at a standstill. They were within two yards of each other, and the assassins had no weapons in their paws. Their hoods had fallen from their heads, revealing a brown hare and white fox, somewhat resembling the silver king. However, now that the pair got a better look at him, the two foxes looked quite different.
The king was far taller, and his snout and teeth were longer, as was his tail. His paws looked far stronger. A trace of silver ran through his fur, making him seem lit up by moonlight itself.
And his eyes shone silver. “What do you want?” he asked in a deep, strong voice. The two assassins stared up at him, mesmerized by his look.
Finally, the hare gathered enough courage to say, “A . . . free Clandoran!” He drew his own sword. It was curved, but not like the king’s; the sword bent twice, making the shape of an “s”, and didn’t curve straight from the hilt.
His companion also drew his own strange sword, and both rushed at the white king. The Foxwolf crouched, sword at the ready, then sidestepped the hare’s lunge. He followed with a spin and slice down, severing the hare’s paw and leaving him unarmed. The hare screeched in pain and hit the earth.
The other fox snatched up the fallen assassin’s sword and leaped at the king, swinging wildly. The king could easily see that he did have skill, though, and dodged the first swipe with some difficulty. He didn’t want to harm the fox. “Stop!” he yelled, but the fox lunged, swung, and finished with a figure eight swipe down towards the white king’s head. The king had no choice.
“Cranathi luthen, ithiniel tiren doran!” The words flowed from King Gethnoel Swiftblade the Foxwolf’s mouth. A wave of pure white light rushed from his sword, pushing back the moonlit darkness and slamming forcefully into the fox’s eyes and driving him backwards. He cried out and collapsed to the ground. “Thank you, Doran,” Gethnoel murmured, then moved to tie both assassins up and let them be found by their own.
Soon, both were struggling against their own belts, which Gethnoel had used to restrain their paws. “Wait here for your friends to find you,” he ordered. “Why you ‘Old Clandon’ clan members keep trying to kill me has me very confused,” he added, then moved off through the forest.
“King Gethnoel, you can’t keep going out without bodyguards, or at least me!”
Santena Ironpaw was furious. In the three years since the war on Gulrag Northwind, the Rogue Captain had driven Santena mad with his ventures into West and East Regions. He would go off by himself, to see about a treaty or some other formality, then not tell his most trusted general and protector! “Those Old Clandoners could have killed you this time! You can’t always rely on your weapons skill to protect you.”
Gethnoel raised his arms in protest. “I’m sorry, Santena, I’ll tell you next time! I promise!”
“No you won’t. You may have Doranfather’s Spirit inside you, as many of us do, but you said yourself not too long ago that sometimes you will be required to suffer! It’s my job to keep that from happening.” Santena huffed.
He was a large wolf, about half a head taller than Gethnoel, and covered in black fur. Back in the rebellion, three years ago, he had been one of Rogue Captain Icefurr’s lieutenants. Now, he was King Gethnoel’s top general. This gave him the right to wear a breastplate and tunic like Gethnoel’s, with the same emblem on the silver metal, and the same white hood with white leather boots. The one thing that distinguished Gethnoel’s outfit from Santena’s was the crown of pure silver on the king’s head. It blazed on the hood in the shape of frozen flames.
“I’ll be careful next time.” Gethnoel gave Santena a look that clearly said, “This conversation is over,” and the black wolf returned with a glance that obviously meant, “No, it’s not. We’ll talk later.” Gethnoel rolled his eyes, then walked out of the throne hall of the new palace to find his chambers.
Santena though, He’s going to get himself killed someday. And if he does, I’ll be there with him. The general stomped bad-temperedly out of the hall.
Five minutes later, a page came running to his bedchamber door. “General Ironpaw, your services are required at the council meeting!” Santena came out in two seconds, dressed in his full gear. A straight sword dangled at his side, with -- you guessed it -- a silver hilt. And a white sheath. “They are in the smaller room this time,” the page added. The general nodded, then rushed down the hall to his right. “Um . . . sir! It’s the other way!” Santena snorted, then spun around and marched down the other passage. Stupidly large palace.
When he arrived, ten members of the king’s council were in a full out argument. Some were shouting. Santena rolled his eyes. These petty advisors could get riled up over the smallest things. No wonder Gethnoel needed help. He slammed a massive paw down on the center table. “Quiet for the king!” he yelled.
That shut them up very quickly. Gethnoel nodded to his general. “Thank you, Santena. Now, Lord Rake, what were you saying? Something about my potential . . . marriage?” He puncuated this last sentence with such a glare that the rabbit in question shrank back.
“I . . . it . . . I was just saying . . . that you might b-b-be aided in your search for a treaty with West Region m-might be aided if . . . i-i-if you were to accept the paw of the fox Spokesbeast’s daughter in m-marriage!” Lord Rake stuttered. He gulped. Gethnoel looked about the council.
“Do the rest of you feel the same way?” he inquired, gentler. Hesitantly, the rest of the lords nodded. The only one to shake his head was Santena. “Ridiculous,” the black wolf muttered.
“Her father did offer it, Your Highness,” an otter at the end of the table added.
“So, you believe that I should marry, not because I love another creature, but because it would be advantageous?” Again, a series of nods greeted this statement.
“Would you at least look at the document, lord?” Lord Rake asked, more confident now that the silver eyes weren’t on him anymore. He instantly procured an envelope with a green wax seal on it. Gethnoel sighed and took the papers.
After reading through the message, he slammed it down on the table angrily. “This is how he sends his daughter’s wish to marry? Or rather, his own wish?” He handed the paper to Santena, who stood beside him. The wolf looked over the paper. It said:
King Swiftblade, Rogue Captain and defender of old Clandoran,
I send you my highest regards. In light of our recent interactions, I might speak to you of a matter that has been weighing down on my intelligent mind.
My daughter is of marrying age, and I believe that you would make a suitable husband for her. I would like to offer you her in return for peaceful relations between our two kingdoms . . .
Santena had to read no more to determine why Gethnoel was so mad. The pompous buffoon dared to speak to the king of his own intelligence and splendour, and all the reasons that Gethnoel should listen to his wisdom, given him by many experienced years. Apparently, he still viewed Gethnoel as a young king, but Santena didn’t think that this was what infuriated the Rogue Captain. No, rather, he believed that it was the objectification of Lady Madian.
“At least meet him at Highlord Rock, Your Highness,” an older ermine suggested. Gethnoel sat in fuming silence for another two minutes of silence, then finally nodded.
Santena almost smacked his forehead.
I love fiction, fantasy, roleplaying, and reading. Nice to meet you too. All of my tales are little kid-friendly, except perhaps a few stories in the Rogue Captain universe. Those are more geared towards teens. Check with your parents, just in case.