The Nestals (Chapter Two)
Fifteen years had passed.
Felvin was breathing heavily. He had been running for nearly an hour now. He looked behind. There was no sign of his friend Winjes. So, he laid down on the grass, staring at the sky. He was really excited. In two days’ time, he will be starting his training. He looked at the violet circular band around his right wrist. It had appeared there when he was 10. He still remembered that special morning, when he had woken up to find that he had finally acquired the band which truly made him a Nestal. It had been five years since that day, and he had been patiently waiting all this time. Now that he was fifteen, he could finally start doing what all the grown-ups in Nestallion did. The thought itself seemed to raise his spirits.
Then his thoughts swirled to his home...his mother. She might have prepared dinner by now, and must be eagerly waiting for him. He had to go soon. But where was this Winjes?? As he continued waiting for his friend, he thought about his father, whom he had never seen. His mother had told him that his father died a few days before he was born. But she never discussed the matter with him. And whenever he asked, she would dismiss him without any reply. But now that he has become a fully grown Nestal, and is finally going to get a chance to interact with all the elder people in Nestallion, he would find out more about his father.
“Felvin!!!”, shouted a voice from behind. It was Winjes, his friend. He appeared to be on the verge of fainting.
“How do you run so fast mate??" asked Winjes, letting himself fall onto the grass. “I’m just not getting the stamina”.
“That's because you are not trying hard enough," said Felvin. “You are too lazy," he added.
“Maybe you are right," said Winjes. “But I don’t really find it necessary to do this much of practice.”
“How many times have I told you! People from different regions of Nestallion will be coming to Drohold to commence their training tomorrow. We don’t want to look the weaker lot in front of them. It will be an insult to Rigoria," said Felvin.
“There is no point in arguing with you mate," said Winjes. “Don’t you want to eat anything? I’m dying with hunger!!!”
“Yea...right. Let’s go”, said Felvin, just realizing how hungry he was.
And together, they started walking towards Felvin's home.
Veila was staring out of the window. It had been more than three hours since Felvin and his friend Winjes had gone out, to make themselves tougher before they began their actual training in two days’ time. It was getting dark, and there was no sign of them. What if.....no... nothing could harm her son here…in Rigoria.
And there he was!! Walking with Winjes towards their home. She let out a sigh and ran outside.
“Mom...food...I’m starving,” said Felvin.
“So am I”, said Winjes. “I don’t think I can wait till I reach my home. Is there food for me too Deizy??
“Of course, dear”, said Veila. “But what took you so long?”
“Well, we went a bit more than our usual destination since today was the last day. And Winjes still seems to have problem maintaining his stamina”, said Felvin, casting a sideways glance at Winjes.
“Well he can say that Deizy. He seems to be in possession of some superpower, doesn’t get tired at all. I, on the other hand, am an ordinary Nestal”, said Winjes.
Felvin was about to argue but Veila held up her hand. “Enough of it now. You can continue your argument after you eat something”.
“Too true,” said Winjes, beaming, and the three of them proceeded to have dinner.
Felvin was in the middle of a throne room. On the throne, sat a man with four hands. His eyes were really scary, red in colour, nothing like Felvin had ever seen. But how did he get here? And where was this room?
“You are finally here, Felvin. The end is near, and I will make you beg for mercy before I kill you!” saying this, the man laughed hysterically.
Felvin felt blood running down his cheeks……….
“FELVIN!! What is happening??”
Felvin woke with a start. His mother was looking down upon him, clearly worried. It was just a dream, but it felt so real.
“Nothing mom….bad dream”. His voice was shaking.
“What did you dream about?” asked Veila.
“I don’t really remember mom,” lied Felvin. He didn’t want to worry her any further.
“You really scared me there. You were shaking terribly, and I kept shouting your name for at least ten minutes.”
“Whatever it is, get some sleep now. You need to start early tomorrow,” said Veila.
“Mom, can I ask you something?”
“What is it?” asked Veila.
“When did you last visit Drohold?”
“I haven’t been there since your father died. I just can’t go, there are too many memories of Garen.”
“Deizy Warla told me that you were one of their finest warriors. Don’t you miss all the action?” asked Felvin, taking a look at the red circular band around his mother’s wrist.
“I don’t,” said Veila. “You were my priority. My life was always going to be in danger doing what I did. I left Drohold of my own free will, and I don’t regret it one bit.”
“But everything is peaceful now right?”
“For now, yes, and that is the reason I am allowing to you go for the training. But you have to promise me this - should something unexpected happen while you are there, you will listen to Marvellin and the rest of the elders. DON’T do anything impulsive”
“But nothing would happen within Pretonus right? I mean, isn’t it supposed to be the most heavily-guarded place in Drohold?”
“Just promise me.”
“Okay mom, I promise,” sighed Felvin.
Felvin woke up before sunrise, his mother made sure of that. After a sleepy breakfast, he re-checked that he had packed everything. It was finally time for him to start the next phase of his life. As he walked outside with his mother, he wondered when he would be back in Rigoria again.
Winjes appeared a few minutes later, along with his parents, Warla and Jillem.
“The horse-cart should be here any minute,” said Jillem. “Are you excited Felvin?”
“Of course, Deizen. I am very much looking forward to this,” replied Felvin.
“No surprises there,” joked Winjes.
“Perhaps you should learn something from him”, said Warla.
“Oh stop it mom. You know I am a lazy guy, perhaps inherited it from you guys.”
Jillem gave him a stern look, and Winjes spoke no more.
Felvin looked at his mother. She had not spoken a word since breakfast.
“Are you going to be fine, mom?”
“Oh yes. It is just that I have been with you every single day of your life so far, but guess I have to bring myself to terms with the fact that you are a grown Nestal now,” said Veila with a smile.
Felvin realised how much he was going to miss his mother. In all the excitement of getting to Drohold, he never thought about it till now.
“You will come for the Nortis festival right?” asked Felvin.
“Well since you are there this time, I will come,” said Veila.
“There it is!” screamed Winjes.
A horse-cart was slowly approaching them, being driven by a man who looked too old to do that job. His name was Bilden.
“Greetings, Nestals! Get in quick, it is going to be a three-day ride. We need to make sure that we reach the Golith inn before nightfall,” said Bilden.
And without further delay, they got into the cart. As the cart started moving, Felvin looked at his mother one last time. He could see that she was trying her best to control her tears. He himself felt a lump in his throat.
“Make sure you write to me every week,” said Warla to Winjes.
“Yes mom, I will,” replied Winjes. Even he looked glum compared to his usual self.
As the cart started gaining pace, Felvin’s thoughts drifted once again to the dream he had the previous night.
The red-eyed man with four hands - Felvin could still clearly remember his face, as though he had actually met him.
“Who was he? And why did he want to kill me?” Felvin found himself wondering.
A voice inside his head told him that he would find the answer very soon.
© 2018 Rick Jones