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Old 05-12-2007, 06:05 AM   #146
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Tora was hurrying through the streets of the settlement. It was late and she had still so many things to do before she could finally be allowed to rest. For one thing, she had to find her father from wherever he was. It was usually her youngest brother who did that, but now he had fallen ill and Tora had to go. It was nothing serious-not yet, at least-but her mother thought it best for him to spend some days in the house. If she could keep him there, that is, thought Tora grimly.

On her way she had made a few inquiries about her father. One man reported to her that he had seen him heading towards the chieftain’s hall. Tora felt baffled. What could he be doing there? It was true that a feast was to be held there in honor of the elven guests-or so rumor had it- but a mere farmer would certainly not be invited to such an event. Then why had he gone there? Had he no sense at all? Had he, perhaps, drunk so much that he no longer thought of the consequences of his actions both regarding him, as well as his family?

Tora quickened her pace. Things did not look good. She only hoped that the chieftain’s would be in a good enough mood not to punish a drunken farmer too heavily. Perhaps they would have enough drink in themselves at the time to make them more indulgent. But maybe he was not even in the hall. Perhaps he had not been allowed in.

On reaching the hall, Tora saw a young guard sitting in front of it, with a look of boredom on his face. Plucking her courage, the girl approached him.

“I…I am sorry to bother you, but could you help me?” she began hesitantly. “I…well, I have been told that my father had headed for the feast and I was wondering…”

Tora paused, biting her lips, desiring nothing but to be away from that uncomfortable situation. How could he explain to the guard that he was looking for a drunk farmer in the chieftain’s hall? And what if she was wrong? What if her father was not even there? The guard, however, nodded curtly at her words.

“Your father would be that drunk rascal shouting to be admitted to the feast, no?” he asked. “It seems he was safe to go there.”

Tora’s eyes widened. He was in the hall? But how…? Yet that was not the time for questions. She had to fetch her father out of there before the situation got even worse than it already was. Taking a deep breath she told the guard in a tone as calm and as natural as she could make it:

“Well, of course he was thought safe to enter. How could he not be when they have invited him. Now, I should have been with him, but I had some work at home said I would come later. So would you please let me enter?”

That was exactly what the guard did not want to do, but the girl had spoken in so natural an air that she could not have been lying. Not in so unconcerned a tone with little signs of fear or worry on her face. Therefore, he stood aside, letting her enter.

Tora thanked her fortune for having taken her so far. She was now inside, and able to look for what she had come to find. Yet she could not help wondering how the evening would end. The talk with the guard had left her with her heart beating fit to burst and her knees shaking. But nothing could have prepared her for what she was to see in the hall. There was her father, sitting beside a young man whom she had never seen before. Yet that was not the cause of Tora’s fears. For she could very well see that Uldor was close by. How come he had not already thrown her father out, she could not tell. Now was the time to act, she thought. Now before it was too late.

With resolute steps, he headed towards her father and tapped him on the shoulder. She could see surprise and annoyance on his face, but she told herself not to be put off by that.

“What are you doing here, father?” she asked, not letting him speak. “I have been sent to look for you, and I must bring you home. Come with me.”

She could see anger growing on Torguar’s face. It was clear his daughter’s words did not please him. He opened his mouth to reply, but Tora cut him short.

“Come.” she repeated putting a hand on her father’s shoulder, and then adding in a quiet whisper. “This is no place for the likes of us.”
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