Part 8 - Mádon's Fall
During the afternoon, and by Dana’s decree, Selina served them as guide, as they visited the city. Since it had been Dana’s suggestion no one had been able to really refuse, even though Elian had little desire to spend all afternoon in a meaningless walk.
His mind was distant, lost in thoughts, his feet moving almost automatically. And so Denar had to take his place in weaving compliments and comments every time the young girl shared some kind of information regarding the places they passed by.
When the visit was finally over Selina bowed respectfully and left them in the main hall. Denar sighed, seating heavily on the couch, too tiered from the constant acting, and watched Elian as he seemed to wake up from his sleepwalking mode.
“They’re coming,” he suddenly stated in a low voice.
“They…? Who are they?” the Knight asked, straightening his back as he understood all too well the meaning of that tone of voice, and Elian took a deep breath.
“The Northern Armies. They’re on the move.”
Denar stood up, his mind flying as he contemplated all he urgently had to do. A message had to be immediately sent back home so that the Knights could confirm Elian’s insight. And if it was true, it was even more urgent to gather the Council. Above all, he had to get Elian back home, as soon as possible!
However, the uproar that echoed through the palace, usually submerged in silence, interrupted what he was about to say. Following the shouting, they both stood discreetly by the door, watching the breathless young man who stood there, his clothes dirtied and worn by long days spent on the road.
“Message!!” he shouted again and Elian saw Heric, walking urgently down the steps.
Spit it out, man! What message do you bring?”
“Mádon has fallen, my Lord!”
Elian stifled an exclamation and Heric didn’t seem any less disturbed.
“It’s horrible, my Lord!” the young messenger went on. “They left no survivors! Only ruins and corpses! Not even the children were spared! Those who managed to run away before the massacre begun say they’re looking for something. There are rumors that their searching for some kind of powerful object, and that they’ll kill all those who stand in their way until such thing is found! And yet no one seems to know exactly what they’re looking for.”
“This is crazy!” Heric spat, more frightened than angry. “All this for some … object?!” he vented and then took a deep breath, trying to calm down and to give some measure of order to his thoughts. “Go on, you may leave. Please give orders that any survivors from Mádon that reach Everlyn are to be received and cared for. See that they are given food, a change of clothes and somewhere with a roof where they may sleep. Also, if among them should there be someone with a military degree, please ask them to come to me. I’ll reunite the Council as soon as possible.”
The man bowed, acknowledging his orders, and Heric left the room in large heavy steps.
Elian took a deep breath and closed the door behind which he and Denar had been spying from.
“They will also fall. It’s only a matter of time.” Denar stated. “Everlyn has no geographical defenses, it stands on a plain, has no real walls, and its Knights … well, they’re too heavy and wield even heavier weapons, not to mention the lack of proper training.”
“Not even Mithir can really expect to be victorious against them,” Elian added, thoughtfully. “It’s true that we are better armed and our defenses are more advanced. But they have Magic users on their side and such allies don’t need weapons to kill. However … it was the first time I heard this rumor about a search …”
“An object of power?! Even if that rumor is true. With so many shaktitatra in the world that they could easily conquer, what could they want with a mere object of power? Besides, I don’t think they really need the extra help.”
“Which means that it’s probably not just any object … ”
“Anyway, Elian! You do understand that we have to go back to Mithir as soon as possible, right? When news of Mádon’s defeat reach His Majesty not even Arkel’s note will be enough to appease his concern for your safety.”
“Yes, you’re right. And Elipson is going to need our help. We’ll leave tonight. I’ll go talk to Allana one last time,” he told him and, before Denar could say anything else, left the room.