Melody, Bane, Squall and Zeal have their hands full. They have been sent on a quest to obtain the fragments of truth, a magical gem that vibrates and glows when a lie is being spoken. But someone among them is not being honest.
M. V. Thorpe
M V Thorpe
This is a fantasy fiction novella about a group of travellers that are forced to work together as a team.
Melody Veil walked down the worn path, slowly admiring the view.
The grass around her was blue and green. The tree branches were light brown with bright yellow leaves that rustled with the wind.
She smiled, in no rush to get to the Vulgar Dragon's Inn.
Zeal didn't mention that she had to get there quickly, only to get there as soon as she can. It wasn't unusual to be asked to go on a quest. She toyed with the ring on her middle finger that she acquired from her last quest. It was small in comparison to the rings she normally would wear, but this ring allowed her to learn other abilities of magic. Melody smiled, remembering that she had picked it up for a bargain at an unusual stall.
She smiled, watching people retreat from their stone bungalows to dry their wet clothes.
Even the simpler villagers emerged from their wooden houses up in the trees, getting on with their chores. This surprised her; she had always thought that the simpler people would do their laundry differently, like hanging their clothes inside the tree house where it was warm and dry.
Melody wondered how often the tree house residents would have to repair their rope ladder which looked frayed and worn.
At least they would have a pleasant view of the stony houses with smoke rising from their chimneys, Melody thought proudly.
She smiled, thinking back to the stony house that was waited for her, and the row of pink and red roses in front of it.
Finally, she saw the tavern. It was dank and small, with a thin rug outside the entrance to welcome the arriving customers.
As she neared the building, she could smell the odour of beer and stale drinks that had been left in a barrel besides the building.
Holding her breath, she walked in. She looked around in disgust, clutching at her black robes in hope that Zeal had forgotten about their important meeting.
"We're over here," Zeal called out.
Groaning, she noticed him sitting in a dark corner at the far end of the Inn.
She narrowed her eyes, grimacing. Zeal was not sitting alone.
As she walked toward them, she could see Zeal was wearing his usual dark blue robes, decorated with glistening, silver and gold stars.
Melody pulled off her hood, revealing her long mousey brown hair.
"Glad you finally decided to turn up," a man grumbled, his face hidden beneath the hood of his dark brown robe. Pulling his hood off; revealing his short red hair. Melody raised an eyebrow. Zeal must have told him of her reluctance to be rushed.
Melody glared at him with her icy blue eyes, "I'm here, aren't I? Who are you to scowl at me about how long it takes me to arrive?"
Zeal sighed, "Melody, this is Bane Rainsinner. He is going to be joining our meeting."
Melody frowned, looking at the stranger in disgust. "Why? I am perfectly capable of working alone."
Zeal shook his head. "Not this time, this mission is two big. He is going to keep you out of trouble."
"Well, I will try to," Bane grinned, winking at her.
Zeal rolled his eyes, waiting for his companions to listen to him.
"So, what's so urgent?" Melody asked.
Zeal straightened his back. "The three fragments of truth," he replied seriously.
Bane raised an eye brow. "The three fragments of truth? Why is that so urgent?"
"It is urgent because if it falls into the wrong hands. The truth could be turned against people and start a war."
Melody fell silent, listening to the old man talk, sipping noisily at her cider. Finally, she spoke up whilst she had the chance. "What exactly are the fragments of truth; I don't know what you are talking about." Bane rolled his eyes, Zeal was right; she isn't too smart. "It is a sparkling red gem; it is magic and has the ability to make the truth naked to the person who has acquired it."
"So where would we find the fragments?" Bane asked, ignoring Melody's slurping.
"You will need to go across the river to get to the Empire of the Springs."
Melody choked, coughing violently. "Are you serious? Outsiders aren't allowed to visit- they'd have us hung!"
Zeal nodded, "That's why I am asking for three of you to go, instead of just one of you."
The wizard sighed, "Besides, if you dress like the locals, you'll blend in with the crowd. It's a large area, so you will go unnoticed."
Bane laughed, "Are you senile, old man? There are only two of us."
Zeal glared at him, "Three of you are going to the springs. Yourself, Melody and Squall Ironlord."
"Who in the name of the spirits is Squall?" Melody demanded with a scowl.
"Yeah," Bane growled, "he sounds like a parrot."
"Squall is going to meet you both in the morning, before you leave," Zeal told them firmly.
Bane sighed reluctantly, "All right," he agreed "but Squawk better not cause us any trouble- like getting himself or us killed."
"I assure you," Zeal declared "Squall will be on his best behaviour."
"He better be," Bane muttered, scratching his rough unshaven cheek. He raised half a glass of cider to his dry lips. His robe sleeve rose up his arm, revealing his bulky muscles.
Melody looked at him, her mouth hung open, dropping her glass. 'Wow, you could lift me with those any day,' she thought silently.
Bane glared at her, "Watch where you are spilling your drink."
Melody tore her eyes away from his muscular arms, blushing whilst she replaced her glass on to the table.
She looked around the room, avoiding his rugged face. Through the dimly lit room, she could see the tables were nothing more than up-side-down barrels.
The seats were made from the smaller barrels, neatly lined up around the bigger barrels around the room.
"Are you coming?" Bane demanded.
Melody blinked, realising that the meeting was over and why she immediately disliked Bane.
His attitude was not to be admired.
Melody followed Bane over to the other side of the room, and out of the exit.
"If we're to travel, then we will need to buy some bread, vegetables and some water," Bane listed.
Melody ignored him, already walking towards the vegetable stand.
Melody eyed the vegetables, looking intensely at the cabbage and tomatoes and carrots.
She smiled, picking the carrots from the shelves and thrust them in to a bag. Smiling politely, she handed the shop assistant some money.
Smiling, the woman walked around the town square, picking up some garlic bread and some water from the local well.
"I will meet you back at the tavern," Melody instructed to Bane.
She looked above her; the clouds had darkened the sky.
There was a flash of light. Thunder roared. Then it began to rain heavily upon them.
Melody squealed, running back to the tavern, hurrying for shelter.
As she re-entered the dank Inn, she ordered herself some cider and gazed out of the window.
She drained her glass in silence, and then made her way over to the stairs.
With one final look behind her, she climbed the stairwell and went into a room that Zeal had previously ordered for them.
"Thanks Zeal," she muttered, then closed the creaking wooden door.