The Ranger Of Severum – Episode 10

Gentle rocking interrupted by a sudden bob woke Trillian from his sleep.  He opened his eyes to find the stateroom empty.  Sunlight peaked through the curtains, falling in strips of gold on the floor.  The sound of water lapping and splashing soothed his mind as he lay on the bed a few moments.  Despite the calm, Trillian felt his chest constrict.  He was anxious wondering when Sideon would catch up with them.

Gathering himself, Trillian braced against the rocking to sit up as he shifted his legs over the side of the bed.  After grounding his feet on the floor, Trillian nodded in rhythym to the sway of the boat before standing up.  The first few times he’d tried to stand from sitting, he’d lost his balance.  Once in front of Yulissa, who laughed at him.  The motion to stand was swift.  He put on his shirt, aware of his need to eat and drink.

First he would find his mother and Yulissa, considering neither had woken him when they’d gotten up that morning.

Holding the handrail to balance himself, Trillian ascended to the deck, blinking against the fierce sunlight, shining freely in a clear blue sky.  Trillian couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen the sky so open.  There wasn’t much sunshine in the Severum.

Glancing about he easily found the women.  Yulissa stood beside his mother.  She smiled warmly at Trillian as they met eyes.  This strange woman who’d entered his life a few weeks ago consumed his thoughts.  He hadn’t decided yet whether it was because she was the first woman he’d encountered.

“And here is the devil himself.”  Yulissa stretched a hand in his direction as mother and son smiled at each other.

Their eyes locked intensely and Trillian stepped forward eagerly enveloping his mother in a long embrace.  She’d been waiting for them when they arrived at the docks two nights before. Trillian learned Yulissa had arranged the entire escape down to taking his mother with them.  He’d been alert, spurned by nervous anticipation in each step that took them further from the Severum. Trillian sensed Sideon would be pursuing in flight, riding with his fleet of Morfin –  hawk-like birds the size of lions.  Each one naturally fitted with enormous talons, shaved to sharp points, able to pierce right through an enemy.

Thankfully they had still not seen Sideon or his henchmen on the horizon behind of them.  Yulissa insisted it was because they passed through a portal to another realm, but Trillian was leery nonetheless.

Trillian let his mother go, taking in a deep breath of fresh air.  Traveling by sea brought him joy.  Perhaps it was the salty, fishy scent of the ocean, or the constant warmth of sunshine so foreign to him in the Severum.  Maybe it was getting to see his mother every hour of the day, or the chance to breathe without Sideon’s ever-present gaze hovering in his mind.

“We have much to discuss.”  Yulissa wasted no time.  “We will be to the Gate in a few hours.  When we get there, the ship will immediately dock in a large city.  One greater than either of you could imagine.  It is very important that you refrain from gawking.  My mission depends on your absolute solemn behaviors, even down to the tiniest flash of light in your eyes.”

The ranger thought the order more than possible, though in his heart he wasn’t entirely sure he could agree to it.  “Why is this so strongly required?”

Yulissa’s expression tightened, “Realm Jumping is forbidden, without permission from the High Ones.  The tyrant overlord uses his repulsive minions to guard the gates, in order to keep them secret.  They are trained to see everything, even the slightest flash of awe and wonder.”

“Who are these High Ones?”  Trillian’s mother asked.

Gorthnek, from the lands of fire.  One of them, Urgo, decided he was greater than all the races of the Universe, and warred against the Realms, capturing the Gates as he went.  After conquering the realms, he opened the Gates to hell and foul beasts flooded into the Realms.”  She looked to Trillian, “It is my job to smuggle the beings of Light into Giordan and collect valuable items along the way.”

“But,” Trillian began, slightly confused, “is this Urgo not already aware of a gathering?  If he is watching the Gates, and we passed through one, does he not already know?”

“Urgo does not fear Langoria, he knows Sideon rules with iron will.”  Yulissa replied, her eyes flashing to Trillian’s mother briefly.  “The people are subjugated to him, unaware of freedom and liberties.  It is unlikely Urgo will notice the inhabitants of Langoria passing through the Gates until Sideon has been defeated.”

“Defeated?”  Trillian exclaimed in disbelief, knowing such a thing was nearly impossible.  “Who are you expecting to overthrow Sideon?”  His eyes twitched between his mother and Yulissa.

“You.”  His mother smiled.

A sensation of fear filled Trillian’s chest as he considered what that meant for him.  “I am not–”

Yulissa smiled, “We have been discussing several options, Sosha and I decided you are the only one capable.”  Sosha, being his mother.  “I have seen what you are capable of, Trillian.”  She stepped forward slowly, “You have amazing powers.  If you could learn how to use those powers to your greatest ability, I guarantee you will defeat Sideon.  And in turn, Urgo.”

The weight in his chest became heavier, “Mother, I…”

Gulls squawked over head as the Lookout called, “Gate ahead!  All hands on deck.”

The crew came alive, preparing the ship for docking.

Trillian stood at the rail staring beyond the horizon into the uncertainty of his future, trying to imagine what it might be like to stand up against Sideon.  He was absolutely certain he would be able to stay solemn as they entered this new realm he’d never seen before.

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The Ranger Of Severum: Episode 9

While Trillian was on his way through the city, Yulissa found him first, “Trillian!” he heard her call. Looking around for her, he tried to swallow the lump of nervousness building in his throat. His eyes lighted on her coming across the square.  She was dressed in riding clothes which accentuated her willowy figure. He couldn’t help but admire the way she looked in them as her cloak swirled with her quick steps.  Her boots rode up to her knees, hiding whatever was left of her burgundy leggings which dove into them.  Her traveling tunic was grey, she wore a dark leather vest, and matching belts about her waist.  Her cloak swagged over to one shoulder, clasping in a large golden brooch, and her hair was braided hanging over one shoulder.  Trillian wished he could stop looking, but with women off limits, he’d never had the chance to really admire them before.

Her brow drew together in confusion as she approached, “Aren’t your wings healed?”

Watching her eyes flick back and forth caused his heart to skip a beat, “Um, yes.” He stuttered, “I haven’t tried to hide them away yet.”

“Could you try?” She prodded with a hint of alarm.

He smiled playfully, “Do they bother you?”

Her expression did not relax as she laughed, “No, not at all. It is rather important, though, that you do.”

“Why?” Trillian asked with a laugh, though the way she asked cause an alarm to sound in his head.

Yulissa’s actions gave him the impression she was in a hurry. Visibly she tried to relax and smile, “I haven’t had the opportunity to see you without them.”

Raising his brow, he tried to figure her out. He didn’t care for the way she nervously looked about, or how she seemed to fidget impatiently. After all, in his mind, she could have left the city at any point if it bothered her so much. And why was she so interested in him all of a sudden?

Trillian had to admit after six weeks of this cumbersome wear of his wings, he was ready to hide them away again. Standing his full height – which was difficult enough with the kink in his spine – Trillian dropped his head back, bracing in case of lingering pain, and folded his wings. He didn’t know what it looked like to hide them away, only what it felt like, but considering the woman’s reaction, Trillian could only guess it was certainly an unusual sight.

Yulissa’s eyes had widened, whether it was out of fear of disbelief Trillian did not have time to ask. As soon as his wings disappeared, she took hold of his arm, “Alright. Come with me. We haven’t any time to lose. Quick, this way.”

Bewildered with confusion, Trillian found himself following. “Where are we going?”

“No time to talk.” Yulissa stated, dashing to the northern side of the village.

Darting between row houses and narrow alleys, Trillian tried to make sense of the situation. Considering it had been his home for the last twelve years, it felt strange to be sneaking through the town. A few villagers watched curiously as they fled through the back streets. Trillian did his best to not make eye contact, feeling his cheeks redden with embarrassment.

When Yulissa finally did stop they were in the forest, safely out of sight from Severum.

“Would you mind telling me what this is about?” Trillian panted. Having physically exerted himself for the first time in six weeks he felt as though he might fall to his knees. Not to mention his aching back from sagging to one side for so long.

Taking three exaggerated steps toward a large oak tree, then five more to the right towards a pile of bramble, Yulissa crouched and began digging with her hands, “There isn’t much time to explain, my ship leaves tomorrow morning, and we need time to travel.”

Trillian reeled back, “What do you mean time to travel? I can’t leave Severum, you’re out of your mind. We don’t even know you.”

“The name is Yulissa, I’m a Realm Jumper, your life is in great danger.” Brushing off a small pouch, she opened it checking it’s contents. Seeming satisfied, she closed it up again, sticking it under her belt, then took six exaggerated steps to a grouping of bushes.

“My life? How would you know?”

Bending down into the bushes, she pulled out two large packs, “Listen Trillian, I’ll have plenty of time to tell you later, but right now you need to move.”

Irritation growing, Trillian put his hands to his hips, “If you don’t start talking right now I am going to—”

“Here.” She tossed him one of the packs carelessly, clearly not paying any attention. “And here is a cannister of water. You might want to drink some now before we get going, you sound rather thirsty.” She was referring to his pant.

He looked down at the cannister, then back at her. Yulissa pulled the strap of her bag over her shoulder, tapping her foot as though impatiently waiting for him to drink.

Trillian again found himself complying to the request. After a long drink of water, he did feel a bit refreshed. He capped the cannister off, putting the strap around his neck.

They stood staring at each other, both expecting the other to do something.

“You good?” She threw her hands out, “We need to go.”

“First, I need to know where you’re taking me.”

Yulissa shook her head, “Even if I told you, you’d never believe me.”

Trillian grit his teeth. His curiosity had kicked in, which created a great deal of conflict in his head. His duty to Severum and the likelihood of being murdered by Sideon for running off being the highest of confliction.  “I’m not going to go with you unless you give me some kind of reasonable response. My life could very well be in danger if I left the Severum.”

“You mean Sideon?” She laughed, “Your step-father is a coward. Especially since he thinks primitive distractions like women need sent off and away from his boys so they can fight mindlessly for him.”

“This coward you reference took the city over and killed my father.” Trillian defended angrily, “Who do you think you are anyway?”

Yulissa huffed, “Trillian, I guarantee I am your friend. Mark my words, Sideon is a coward. Everyone in all the Realms knows it, except for you blind fools in Langoria. Why nobody has tried to overturn your ridiculous leader is beyond me. Clearly your realm fantasizes your dark ages too strongly to have any form of common sense!”

“You’re unbelievable.” He exclaimed, “Are you listening to a wor—”

“No, you listen to me,” she started with vehemence, “you are wasting valuable time. Either you come with me willingly, or I will tie you up and drag you along behind me, do you understand?”

Taken aback, the ranger was at a loss for a reply. His mouth dropped open, but nothing came out as they met eyes.

“Good.” She whirled around, “now follow me. We haven’t much time.”

The ranger found himself complying yet again, put his pack over his good shoulder, and followed silently behind her into the forest.

The Ranger of Severum: Episode 8

After breakfast and seeing the surgeon for a weekly evaluation, Trillian was summoned by Sideon. Disappointed, the ranger would just have to wait to find Yulissa.

Slowly, Trillian approached the door to the library. A red sort of glow washed the floor outside of the open doors. After his nightmare, the appearance felt dark. His heart quickened as he walked up to the open doors. Stretching out his hand, he hesitated a moment before he knocked. He could see Sideon bent over his desk, examining papers and writing things down.

The library was warm and colorful compared to the stone hallway Trillian stood in. The desk Sideon sat at was toward the back, centered in front of the rows of bookcases surrounding the walls. Plush red seats were fixed about the room, next to tables with oil lamps on them so one might be able to read, despite the lack of windows in the room.

“Ah, Trillian, do come in.” Sideon looked up, and motioned with his quill, to a chair in front of his desk.

Trillian hesitantly walked to the chair, and sat down as best he could. His back ached a touch from the constant wear of his wings and he looked forward to the day he would be able to hide them away again.

Sideon began right away as Trillian sat down, “I understand you have been recovering these last few weeks, but I grow weary of constantly looking out for you and your well being. As soon as you are cleared, your duties will be returned to you. Our general grows restless covering for you at training, and wishes you back to care for your own men and apprentices.”

Trillian did not need his master to tell him all of this, as he was already quite aware. Twice, he had visited the training grounds to check in on his recruits. They seemed to be getting along well, but the annoyances the other trainers expressed were many. In Severum, each captain and Master Trainer had enough responsibility without taking up for someone else.

“Yes sir.” Trillian replied.

“And if you could do us all the favor of not battling the druids by yourself, I’m sure your peers would appreciate it.”

The ranger felt insulted by the jab. The insinuation was clear enough to Trillian, and while it was the ranger’s fault he had been injured, it had not been because Trillian was incapable of fighting.

“Is that all?” He asked hiding his irritation.

“No, it is not.” Sideon stacked his hands on the desk, making direct eye contact. “This woman that came back with you, Yulissa? Have you had the opportunity to see her again?”

“I have not.” Trillian felt his heart begin to race, disconcerted that Sideon would bring her up.

“I am sending you to find out what she wants with the Severum.”

Nodding slowly, the ranger took a light breath in relief.

Sideon continued without pause, “The fact that a woman has stayed so long in a city with virtually no other women disconcerts me. She obviously is in need of something, you brought her here, and frankly you are the only one I trust with an outsider. Discretion- as opposed to temptation -will guide your interaction with her.”

Trillian swallowed back the heat trying to concentrate in his cheeks. He would use discretion, but his mind was already engaged in attraction to the woman. “It will be as you ask, Master.” He nodded his head, “Was there anything else, sir?”

“Yes.” Sideon leaned forward, propping his elbows on the desk. “Your mother has been nothing but a basket case since your injury. Please write to her and inform her you are well. She doesn’t believe me.”

Trillians mother was on a heavily guarded retreat to the shores for some fresh air and rejuvenation. Sideon loved his stolen wife deeply, hating to see her pale and forlorn. She went to a castle at the shores every summer for a few weeks to perk up and taste the sun on her delicate skin. She always came home happier and healthier. Trillian was grateful Sideon went to such lengths to care for her, but it did not quell the anger over the loss of his father.

“You may go.” Sideon abruptly went back to his work, “report back to me when you find out what she needs and why she stayed so long before asking for it.”

Again trillian nodded once, “As you request, Master.” He stood, and left the library aware of a fluttering in his chest. Yulissa was the first woman to have aroused him. He hoped the nervousness in his flesh would not interfere with his ability to inquire of her with “discretion”.