Hangman's Watch . The Dark Isle Saga
Chapter 1: Grim Hollow
Part 5 . Hangman's Watch: Located half a days journey west of Grim Hollow Village. The tower was once a lookout post that kept watch on the western borders of Grim Hollow. It gets its name from the many hangings that occured at this site. Enemy soldiers captured trying to attack the borders were often hung from the old trees that overhang the tower. Many evil souls have been sent to the afterlife beneath the looming tower and the locals steer well clear of it.
They could see the tower from quite a distance, its dark silhouette splitting the skyline in two. It had been a long hurried walk with the constant fear that there may be more dark warriors following close behind. Ella had kept a fierce pace that the other two had struggled to keep up with and they were both tired. The trio finally came upon Hangman's watch and Ella led them down the small path towards the old tower.
Ella drew her swords and scouted the area. "We are safe for now." she said calmly, then gazed up at the old tower. "Such a violent history this place has." she spoke softly then turned to Taryn and Sarlina. "You may rest for a short while then we must get moving again. The enemy won't be far behind so we must get to the safety of my brother."
Sarlina put her hand on the scroll reassuringly. "Well they won't be getting this." she said defiantly.
Ella laughed in amusement. "Do you really think you can stop them? You would already be dead if I hadn't saved you. I don't think you realise how much trouble that thing is worth!" She shook her head. "Silly girl."
Taryn sided with Ella. "She's right Sarlina, we were nearly killed back there, for that old scroll. I don't see any good coming from it, we should just get rid of it." he proclaimed.
"Exactly!" Ella said. "It should be destroyed."
A look of anger crossed Sarlina's face. She had finally found Haldur's Scroll and revealed its secrets and she believed she could now achieve her dream of a restored Avalonia. Now all that was threatened because of this new upstart warrior.
She looked Ella straight in the face "No!" she snarled. " I will not let you do this. Don't you see, the scroll contains the knowledge of the ancient ones. We can harness their power to restore Avalonia to glory and destroy our enemys."
Ella sighed and shook her head. "I know the legends and I also know that our ancestors left that Scroll as a last resort, only if all else failed. The ancients never really wanted us to use those powers, it is to ourselves that we must look. That is what they would have wanted."
Sarlina laughed " There is no one, we have no hope, it is to magic that we must look." Sarlina gripped the scroll in her hand. " I have the power to restore this land to greatness and its in my hand, why should I risk that for your belief in men?"
Ella drew her sword and pointed towards the distance. "Out there, my brother awaits and with him, a fine group of warriors stand ready and waiting for my cousin to return with his warband. The finest warriors ever assembled in Avalonia are ready to fight for this land and bring peace and prosperity back to its people."
Sarlina smirked "Really now" she scoffed, "It sounds more like a hopeless last stand." she laughed and held the scroll up. "This will restore our land, not your so called war band."
Ella stared at Sarlina for an instant, her face unreadable, then she lowered her head and smiled. "We'll see" she spoke softly.
The three stood there quietly.
Taryn had been watching the confrontation closely and found himself caught between the two. He loved Sarlina, she was his friend since childhood and they had been insepparable. But during these last days he had begun to sense a change in Sarlina and for the first time he felt a distance forming between them. Then there was Ella who he had known for all but a day, yet in that small time he had grown to like very much. She shared the same dreams as him and she had given him hope. For the first time in his life, Taryn felt that maybe things were not all lost, that there were a group of people who were going to change things and fight for what was right. He wanted to be a part of that vision.
He turned to Ella, breaking the silence. "Who is this cousin you talk of?" he asked.
"Artorious" she smiled.
That was the first time Taryn was to hear that name and he looked puzzled. "Can he fight, can he lead?"
Ella nodded. " All that and more she smiled. I would follow him into any hellish dimension and know that I would always return safly with him by my side."
"Is that where we're headed" asked Taryn grimly. "To Hell?"
Ella turned and faced him, drew both her swords then smiled. "Not while I still have these in my hands."
And with that she turned, lifted her cloak's hood over her head and began walking back up the little path. "Time to make a move." she spoke.
Taryn turned to Sarlina. "Lets get going then, the quicker we get to the safety of her brother and his warriors the better."
Sarlina was still angry "This is all a waste of time Taryn, she has it all wrong."
"We don't have a choice" Taryn replied. "Who knows what is out there following us. At least we can get somewhere safe if we follow Ella."
Sarlina scoffed at that. "Safe? For how long?" She glanced up to where Ella was waiting. "We'll follow her to meet with her brother, learn what we can from them, then slip away. I won't let them destroy this scroll and I trust that you will make the right judgement and follow me out of there." Sarlina placed the scroll back in her pouch and looked at Taryn. " If you care for me as much as I do for you then I know you will make the right decision." she gave him a kiss on the cheek. " Lets get going then."
Whats worse than one beautiful woman? The answer, two beautiful women! Taryn was stuck, drawn to both of them and left knowing that one day he would have to choose. Never an easy task for a young man.
And so the trio left Hangman's Watch and set out towards Darkmire Mill and the knowledge that they would be met by the saftey of Ella's brother and his band of Warriors.
"So we head for Darkmire Mill?" asked Taryn as they set of down the path.
"Yes" replied Ella. "To the safety of my dear brother...Lord Owain."
To be continued...