Four Kings

The voices seemed to come from everywhere at once, mingling together till it was just a lot of sound, a lot of yelling and cursing, one voice indistinguishable from the other. But the sound could be ignored, filtered away. She smell on the other hand. Maybe sleeping in the fresh air for so many nights in a row had made her forget about what a city could be like, but at least Caemlyn had been kept clean to a point.

She surpressed a smile as she forced her horse through the crowd, her mare trailing behind her. She ressembled in nothing the Aes Sedai she had been when she left Caemlyn five days before, her finely woven dress tucked safely in the saddlebags together with all her other valuable possessions. She had traded one of the horses in a village down the road for some sturdy riding boots and a finely made riding dress, which tended to keep her beautiful and well formed thighs exposed when riding the horse. The hood of her cloak had been pulled up so her face was hidden in the shadows. The hilt of a sword sticking out above her right shoulder finished the look of a mercenary on the road, rather then that of an Aes Sedai. While she usually didn’t care much what others thought of her, she figured she’d probably be safer retending not to be what she was. She was after all getting closer to the border of Amadicia and the whitecloak presence could be felt well past those borders. No need to put herself in more peril then really needed, after all, any unnecessary delay would only keep her longer from her goal.

She stopped in front of one of the first inns she came across, nothing too fancy, but a good choice for a traveller either way. She slid from the horse and handed the reins to the stableboy who came running to her.

“take good care of my horses and tomorrow you’ll receive another of these”

She handed the boy a silver coin as she spoke in a shienarian accent. Smiling to herself she walked to the entrance of the inn, ignoring the startled and happy look on the boys face as he eyed the coin. The choice of accent was the final part of her disguise. No-one messed with mercenaries from the borderlands, or at least, fewer people did then they’d mess with a smallish lady from Cairhien.

The sound in the inn died down for a moment as she pushed open the heavy door and walked inside, slowing for a moment to let her eyes adjust to the shadowy interior. The talking resumed a moment later, the attention of the occupants of the inn returning to their own bussiness as Nealyn made her way to the bar.

“a room for the night, aswel as some food and drink”

She placed a coin on the sturdy wood of the bar and casually glanced around before focussing her eyes on the large man standing behind the bar. He was eyeing the coin, turning it this way and that to check if it was real and then looked up. When their eyes met he paused for a moment, startled by the intensity of the look in Nealyn’s eyes. This lady was meaning bussiness for certain. So he nodded and motioned to the stairs at the side of the common room.

“Alice, show our customer the way to her room and put some food on the stove, hurry now”

Nealyn nodded gracefully and then remembered her role as she walked more firmly towards the stairs. Alice, most likely the man’s wife by the look of her, showed her the way upstairs and to one of the rooms at the front of the inn. While not spacious, it had a clean bed and only a small window, so Nealyn nodded her consent, saying the room would do just fine. She ushered the woman outside, closed the door and then took a moment to calm her thoughts. She set her bags down on the bed and placed the cloak over them before heading back downstairs, this time having tied the sword to her waist.

The evening past rather uneventful, and she quickly drowned any effort of people trying to socialise with her as she sat on her lonesome at a table, her back to the wall and her face to the entrance.

“I wonder if this is what it’s like to be a warder”

She mused to herself as she played with her glass of wine. Then with a sigh she stood up and made her way to her room. She made sure the door was locked shut and no-one could enter through the window before laying down ont he bed and rolling up in her cloak. She needed the rest for she still had a long trip ahead of her, too long for her taste, feeling the ever changing mood of her warder. Something was happening to him and she wondered what it was.

The next morning she got up early, ate a quick breakfast and then got back on her horse. She handed the stableboy another silver coin as promised and added a third for directions to the southern gate. Before he had a chance to thank her for her generosity, Nealyn’s horse was already moving down the still empty streets towards the southern gate, towards the border of Murandy, and Altara beyond, towards her warder.

Four Kings

Wheel of Time Milura