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D.T - Volga the Apprentice: Chapter 5

Volga the Apprentice: Chapter 5

During the long trip to Freymere Volga slowly figured out how to ride a horse decently enough. Half the time he couldn't even get the horse to move forward. The other times he would either veer it way off course and bump into Kyra's horse, or he would fall off. She would smirk or giggle every time he messed up but she would always stop to help him out again.

The trip still took them weeks on end to get to the capitol, because Volga was so slow to learn how to ride a horse. He had gotten good at it by now though, he wasn't a master rider by any means, but he was about average

The front gates to the Capitol were wide open (not that they often closed, only at times of crisis) and Volga and Kyra took immediate notice of all the guards around them. It seemed a little strange to have more than a dozen guards standing watch at the front gates.

They were stopped at the gates but only for the captain to tell them their horses had to be stabled inside the city immediately; they were not allowed to ride them around in there. It wasn't a big deal for them, but they did find it annoying when they had to follow one of the guards, by foot, to the stables to have their horses settled in. And then there was the fee, which was cheap because their intended stay in the capitol was only a few days.

Volga had never been to Freymere before so he was excited; Kyra on the other hand seemed rather apathetic. Typically when people think of the capitol city of a magic enriched kingdom they see colors, and bedazzle all along the streets and architecture impossible to create for normal builders. But Freymere is not as magic is people may think. The capitol city is drab with monotone colors, and the building’s design simplistic and well evened throughout the city. Everything seemed to fit in exactly where it should like a massive scale jigsaw puzzle.

All the buildings and even homes were made entirely of stone or marble. Any wood used in their design would be either the window seals or the doors; perhaps inside the home owners could be more creatively free with their designs.

Running down the center of the wider streets were mahogany flag poles spaced exactly ten feet apart each. On the tops of these poles were the white flags with a golden bird of fire, wings spanned out rising up, stitched onto the center: the Phoenix. The Phoenix was the symbol of the new regime of power in Dorgal, internally known as the children of the Phoenix.

"The Phoenix stitched onto these flags are actually used with golden thread," Kyra said to Volga as he took it all in. "So when the sun starts to reach over the city, the golden light is reflected and shines all around, from the streets with the largest flags, to the business and homes with their own flags. For those few limited hours each day Freymere becomes the city of gold."

"That sounds amazing," Volga said astonished.

Kyra shrugged her shoulders and said, "Yea it is... for the first few months of living here. After that it gets rather annoying."

"Really, why's that?

"Makes it harder to sneak around and steal things, even at night the moon shining on the flags lights the city up."

Volga scoffed and shook his head disapproving. They continued without a word after that.

Eventually they reached their destination, which Kyra was very obscure about, which was a shady tavern in the more rambunctious part of the city. Even from across the street Volga could hear the loud sounds coming from inside the tavern.

Standing just by the side of the front doors of the tavern, guarding them, was a burly looking woman with the sides of her head shaved in masculine style. The sleeves of her dark dress were torn off, revealing her muscular arms and the serpent tattoos riding up both of them. The bottom of her dress too was torn, but at the thighs, her legs had more ink showing than skin.

Kyra gaily approached the woman and casually asked her, "What's with the dress Mavis?"

The woman, Mavis, scoffed and said, "Trying new things, catch more tail that way. Speaking, where you been you sexy little fox you?"

Mavis reached her hand down and around Kyra’s lower back, grabbing her ass. Kyra half jumped startled and pushed Mavis' arm away. "See now this is why you’re still single." Kyra said.

Mavis raised an eyebrow and glanced over to Volga standing awkwardly on the side. Kyra didn't even look back at him before saying, "Nope still single, he's a new friend. Anyways are the boy's here?"

"Them boy's practically live here now, but they ain't boy's no more."

Kyra smirked and said, "Yea we'll see about that." She then proceeded to walk into the tavern, but Mavis grabbed her by the arm and stopped her, looking her in the eyes with a somber expression on her face.

"After the gang split up they had to find work somewhere more... rough."

Kyra took a step back and Mavis let go of her arm. "Are they in some kind of trouble now?" Kyra asked.

Mavis hesitated to speak, "No not anymore. Just that the only work they could get with their talents was with some mercenaries."

"Okay, which ones?"

Mavis sighed and shook her head; she spoke so quiet Kyra struggled to hear her over the booming noises from the tavern inside. "The crimson falcons."

Hearing the name Kyra's eyes widened with shock. "By the sisters mercy," Kyra whispered to herself. She shook her head doubting and asked, "Are they alright?"

Mavis looked away, "The only survivors."

Kyra frowned but after a while signaled Volga, with her hand, to follow her inside.

Inside the noise was booming and Volga could hardly hear his own thoughts. "Well that was too depressing for me right now," Kyra half shouted. She looked around the tavern a couple times before spotting her old friends. Shen then grabbed Volga's shoulder and said, "You see those two in the far off corner over there?" She pointed out to the far end of the tavern, wherein a dark secluded corner, devoid of any of the other liveliness around, sat a pair of grim figures.

"That's them sitting there in that eerie corner solemnly drinking," She continued. "Their names are James and Edmin, go introduce yourself and tell them Kyra 'the red fox' sent you."

"Wait you aren't joining me?" Volga asked perplexed.

"Nope," she said with a big smile while looking over to the bar. "I'm going to go have some fun with that hunky bartender."

"Are you serious right now?" Volga asked as Kyra started walking off.

"She didn't stop but turned back to him and shouted over all the other loud noises, "See you back at the inn!"

"I'm glad we got separate rooms now," Volga muttered to himself as Kyra disappeared in the crowd of patrons.

He made his way through the bustling noisy tavern to the dark secluded corner with the two grim figures drinking alone. Standing before their table, Volga said, "James and Edmin?"

Neither of them even looked up at him. They just sat there staring blankly at their drinks. "I um, I wanted to talk to you two uh about this thing..."

Still they didn't respond to him. Volga had always been socially awkward, his time spent with Kyra, and all her vulgarities, helped a lot with that but right here and now he couldn't pull himself together. He took in a deep steady breath and let it out slow then said, "Kyra sent me. Kyra the 'red fox.'"

That got their attention as they looked up at him with their platinum eyes. One of them got out of his seat and took a couple steps forward. "Did she now?"

"Yes, she did, as a matter of fact."

"Well then give her a message for us." Without warning, he pulled his arm back then swiftly delivered a strong punch right at Volga’s face. The suddenness and force of the blow knocked him on his back, and the many patrons who had seen it burst into laughter.

He rose to his feet as the guy who punched him settled back into his seat. Volga wiped the blood from his nose and glanced at it before glaring at the two. "You know Kyra had great expectations of you two, said you were something else. But really you're just a pair of miserable losers, talking with you is a huge waste of my valuable time. Enjoy your life sulking in the dark."

Volga then turned away and searched for Kyra. When she couldn't be found he returned to the inn and cleaned his face up before climbing in bed and sleeping.

The next morning Volga woke up and pounded hard on Kyra's door. There was no answer, either she was passed out drunk or not even there. That was no surprise for him: the real surprise was finding James and Edmin downstairs at the inn waiting for him.

They looked so much more different now that he could actually see them properly. Their platinum eyes seemed to shine in the light, and their dark hair had unusual streaks of silver in it. They look very identical, almost like brothers, except one was a taller than the other and more slender, and the other was shorter but bulkier.

Both of them a head taller than Volga himself, and both not too much older than him, they looked to be in their mid-twenties. It was hard to tell with the numerous little scars on their faces.

"We were thinking about what you said last night," The taller one said, his accent (now that he could hear properly) sounded foreign to Volga. "And we wanted to know what you, and Kyra, wished to speak with us about."

Volga took a long moment to find his voice, still in minor shock of their presence there, "T-The inn is serving some um, a breakfast. If you guy's wanted to eat, I'm hungry so I'm eating."

He turned away from them and briskly walked to the dining area of the inn. 'Those two,' he thought to himself. 'They’re giving off a dangerous and powerful aura.'

Just as the two came in and sat with Volga the waitress was already taking his order. She looked eager to get away from them as soon as possible now but stayed long enough to hear all their orders. When she was gone they all sat there staring awkwardly at each other in silence.

"So um, which one of you is James, and which one is Edmin?" Volga asked trying to sound casual.

They glanced at each other than glared at Volga, "I'm Edmin," the taller one said.

"And I'm James," the bulkier one said.

Volga tapped his fingers nervously on the table while waiting for their food. Before long James said, "We didn't come here for games; tell us what you wanted with us now."

Volga glared at him, and then took a look around the room to make sure no one was listening. All the other people there were too busy with their meals to care about them, or too scared of James and Edmin to look in their direction.

"Alright," he said, "I'm searching out strong companions to help me acquire the wishes in the devil tower."

James scoffed and went to stand up to leave but Edmin suddenly grabbed his shoulder stopping him. As James settled back into his chair Edmin said, "You said wishes, not Wish."

Volga grinned and said, "You're perceptive, but that’s right it's not just one wish in there. And it's not at the top either."

"So where is it, them. Where are these wishes exactly?"

Volga scoffed and said no more. They sat in long silence until their food arrived and Volga started digging into his meal.

"You have nerve, good." James said. A moment later the dark, hostile aura around them faded and Volga was able to relax easier.

The two started eating their meal with Volga and between bites Edmin asked, "Can you at least tell us how many wishes there are exactly?"

"There are seven wish gems total. And only I know where to find them in the tower, and only I can lead the way to them." Volga said. "Now I got a question for you... are you guys brothers or something?"

"Cousins actually," Edmin said.

They ate their meals in silence after that and just as they were finishing Kyra showed up at last. She pulled up a chair to the table and said with a tired yawn, "Hey guys, how long you been up?"

"Nice for you to finally join us," Volga said sarcastically. "I presume you had a good time last night with that bartender?"

She moaned passionately thinking back to it and said, "Yup. The guy was as thick as my wrist, and wow did he know how to get in there and grind around."

Volga should be used to her by now but still stared at her wide eyed as James and Edmin chuckled. "Good to see you have not changed too much," James said.

"I wish I could say the same, you two look grim. I heard it was bad but I didn't think it was that bad."

"We're alive," Edmin said.

"Yea but not for the better. I mean did you really have to join such a radical group?"

"We have only one real talent and after the group split up the only place we could go was with them. We just didn't think it would go so bad."

"Well you're here now and I have some work for you if you're interested?"

"Yes your friend told us already," Edmin said. "We'll need time to think it over of course."

"You have our answer by this same time tomorrow morning," Kyra said for Volga. "If we don't see you after we have eaten our breakfast, then we're to assume your answer is no. This is the chance of a life time you two, don't pass it up for something lesser."

James and Edmin took their leave and Kyra was able to order some food at last.

"So what did you think of them?" Kyra asked.

"I think they have some serious power that we will need. But, I fear their raw power may make them arrogant."

"They have always been arrogant, but not too stupid. Still given how much they changed since we were apart I don't know what they might try when they think we're no longer needed."

"I can say the exact same thing about you, still this isn't something I can do alone. If they join us I'll need to test their power for myself, or at least see what they're capable of. But I think with the three of us we can cross of magisters off the list of needed companions."

"Alright, then who will we need?"

"We'll need warriors, strong and talented ones. I don't know what sort of monsters we will face inside the tower, and the people in there will be just as bad I'm sure."

"The people we know will try to cut our throats to remove any competition with them and their wish. The monsters inside the tower I'm sure will serve as guard dogs to the real wishes."

"Well, anyways I'm going to do some research at the city's grand library."

Kyra snickered and said, "Wow, of course, you would do that instead of seeing the sights, or trying to find a pretty girl to warm your bed."

"Knowledge is power," Volga called back to her as he walked away. He then muttered the last part quietly under his breath, "And I intend to make it out of this whole ordeal alive."

The next morning James and Edmin showed up, each wearing a light grey cloak with the hoods over their heads, and a cloth of the same color, covering their faces from just below the eyes. The only reason Kyra and Volga knew it was them is because their voices and they were expecting them to show. Kyra of course knew why they were dressing like this but she didn't want to worry Volga so she kept her mouth shut.

"Why are you two dressed like that?" Volga asked confused.

"Does it matter," James said, "We're here we agree to join you, so let's go."

"Why are you in such a hurry all of the sudden?" Volga asked starting to grow suspicious.

Hesitantly Edmin said, "Freymere is been going through some, old animosity from the citizens and the council since that tower showed up. We don't want to be here when things finally fall into chaos here."

"Now that you mention it when I was walking around I could see the guards were on edge just patrolling the streets. And the citizens all stopped what they were doing to glare at them as they passed on by. Maybe you are right, maybe we should just get out of here and move on now. I'll grab our bags, Kyra go check us out."

While Volga went up to their rooms, Kyra asked, "Alright what sort of trouble have you guys gotten yourself into this time?"

They didn't answer. "Alright guys seriously it's me we're talking about, I have kept your worst secrets before." She raised her arm up and pointed at her wrist, "Remember how I was the reason the group split up? Well guess what I was forced to wear that stupid wrist band that blocks my magic because I was protecting you, all of you. So I think you owe me at least this much."

They looked at each other and Edmin came closer to her and whispered in her ear, "The reason the Crimson Falcons were so wanted is because we assassinated two members of the council."

"I can't deal with this,” Kyra said turning away. “You guys aren't worth this much trouble. What you did was a capital crime, they will hunt you everywhere you go, no kingdom will protect you from this.''

"Kyra wait that’s not why we're wanted, as far the council knows everyone from that mercenary gang is dead. Only a few old friends of theirs, Mavis included, know about us being in it. We're wanted because somehow the council knows that we are the last two living relatives of Dorgal’s royal family: we're the king’s great, great nephews."

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Copyright © © Jake Pendragon all rights reserved 2015

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