Sir Jaroc, the light under the shadow. Jalten Short Stories #11

“Jal’es Aara… daerais jal… osol…” whispered a man, cloaked in a black cloak and dark armor. He held a strange-looking leaf on his hands, closing his eyes and kissing it with respect. He muttered his prayers over and over again. It sounded like he was crying for help.

He then stood up, hiding the leaf deep within his cape. As he rose, he glanced around him. The forest had turned dark and cold. The shadowy mist slowly rose from the bottom of the forest, creating a sinister look to it. He rubbed his grey beard, moving his hands on his mustache until he got to his bearded chin. He sighed and took one last glance at the tree he prayed under. It was just like all the others, oak with blooming leaves. But for some reason, this particular tree called for him to pray right there and then. It wasn’t the first time he felt that connection.

He walked through the darkening forest for about an hour, before he finally got to the river he had left his horse at. His white horse was drinking the crystal water, neighing when he saw his master returning. “Good to see you again,” Jaroc said as he laughed, fondling the horse’s silver mane. He tapped his horse, before walking to the river itself and taking a drink. The cold water flushed down his throat, making his body waver in cold for a moment. It felt like a fire had been distinguished in his stomach, for he hadn’t drunken in a long long time. The water tasted sweet like it always did while thirsty. He took some of it into his hands and washed his face. Feeling refreshed, he climbed on his horse and cantered on the small forest path, making his way to his next destination.

He rode for a day, then he slept. He rode another day and slept once more. Only after riding three days, did he got to his destination, the Valley of the Raven. The dark towers of his masters ascended on the horizon, making his mind turn dark and his body feel sick. Only darkness had room in a place like this, yet here, he was ordered to act. He kept rode down and up the great hills, over the faint streams, until he finally got to the citadel. The walls were high as mountains and the towers stood tall among them, gazing upon the lands below. The citadel was located between two mountains. It effectively created a blockage, while still having a route to the north, thus, making defeat almost impossible. As he got to the gates, a few guards, dressed in black and red lured over the walls.

“Who goes there?” one of them shouted.

“Sir Jaroc, knight of your king,” The guards nodded to one another and the gates were opened. The chains that raised the iron gate crackled and screamed as it always did, but this time, it sounded more fierce. Pushing it out from his mind, Jaroc rode in, hearing how the gate closed behind him.

He made his way through the city’s streets, where people were chattering, making trades, and fighting among one another. He gazed around him, feeling uneasy, yet still feeling at home. This had been his home for a long long time, after all. Finally, he got to the second wall, which was already open. The guards took one look at him, before continuing their own ways. Jaroc rode inside, left his horse at the beginning of the stairs, and began making his way up. It took a few minutes for him to get there, but time went quickly. The guards opened the door for him, allowing him to enter into the throne room. The walls were high, covered in dark banners. Fires were burning on the walls, bringing mysterious light into the room and chandeliers lightened the path to the throne. He walked forth on the dark-red carpet when he heard a familiar cold voice call for him.

“Sir Jaroc,” he shouted. Jaroc brought his eyes on the throne, where an old man sat, leaning his head on his hand, while his other tapped the surface of his throne.

“Your grace,” he said as he bowed deeply. He kept his eyes on the carpet for a while. Just seeing his king’s old and sick face made him feel sick as well. He looked like a rotting corpse, with hateful eyes and piercing cold voice.

“How was your mission? Did you achieve what you were meant to achieve?” he said, staring at Jaroc with his black eyes.

“I did as you commanded, your grace. I got the information that you desired,” The old man closed his eyes and muttered to himself.

“Good… we’ll talk about it tomorrow,” Jaroc sighed in relief, bowed, and made his way out from the room. As he got outside, he felt how the dark and burdensome atmosphere released him from its grasp. He walked to the next building, which stood a bit lower than the one he just visited. It too had vast windows, where lights were burning. There were a few towers too, but not as tall as the one atop of the throne room.

He walked inside and was greeted by a few handmaidens. They gave him a playful look and he returned it with a warm smile. They giggled as he walked by them. He moved from room to room, from hall to hall, until he finally got to the place he was looking for. The door was an old one and it looked out of place for a royal place like this, yet it had remained there for years. His eyes beamed with grief as he raised his hand to knock on the door. As the sound echoed into the empty halls, he heard footsteps from the other side. The door was opened by a white-haired man, who quickly took his eyes from the floor and to Jorac’s face.

“Jorac?” the man said, barely being able to breathe.

“My lord Zylron,” he responded as he bowed to him.

Good news everyone! I’ve begun writing my book! Soon, these short stories will get adapted to the complete story I’ve been working on for over five years! I’m so excited and I can’t wait to share my progress with you! 

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to like it, share it with your friends, and follow my blog! Spread the word! I’d really appreciate that!

This image inspired me when I created Jaroc. I didn’t make this art!

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