A New Day

Welsley lay her head back and closed her eyes. The pool she lay in wasn’t overly deep, its bottom was paved with small, smooth stones; in a lot of ways it was like a man-made bath. The pool was fed with water direct from the river, it swirled lazily through the circular basin before lazily flowing back to the river it had started in. The result was a constant wash of water over the body of Norasburg’s Light. The water was cold, crisp, exhilarating and a prime way to welcome the start of a new day.

She would have preferred more privacy to her morning reset. Her balcony in the tower was far enough up toward the heavens that she felt secure in her privacy, but the newly built garrison was just across the river and within easy visual range. Welsley was less concerned about the possibility of being watched as she bathed, what bothered her was the inability to relax enough to fully commune with her surroundings.

It wasn’t a religious experience, she had never felt the presence of the Goddess or any other deity. It was a personal ritual to wake herself up and prepare herself, mentally, for the day.

The entourage from the tower had chosen to make their camp across the river from the newly formed river fort. The fort was a fort in name only, it consisted of tents surrounded by a partial wall made of dirt and peppered with sharpened logs. It was barely serviceable as a military base and would not serve as a temporary seat of government.

It was certainly not suited as a prison for a captive of the caliber of Light Falson.

Wagons and attendants were an added perk to the camp that was the current, albeit temporary, home of Light Koarl. These were luxuries not often seen in an army’s camp but none of the faithful could go without them.

The Falsons, Welsley had discovered, were no better company as captives than they were as her captors. Arrogant, obnoxious, demanding were all apt descriptions of the two women. Welsley was certain it must be a family trait, they seemed to go out of their way to dissuade people from feeling fondly of them.

Welsley mostly left them to themselves with just enough of her soldiers to guard them as was needed to outnumber the Falson troops. The two Lights met for meals which were either spent in angry debate or silently focused on dispatching the meal. The rest of the time was spent trying to avoid each other while displaying a false friendliness to outside observers.

It was tiresome but not without amusement.

The reaction of her “guests” was priceless when she announced they would be taking a trip across the river. The two Falsons raged at her until she threatened to drag them behind horses to the new outpost. For a brief moment Welsley had worried blades would be drawn, in the end they submitted the fear of losing their cushy seats in a wagon too great. They had been nothing but cold since.

That suited Welsley just fine. She had no interest in revealing the coming attack by an unknown number of undead. She had no desire to get into a discussion on how she knew of the impending invasion. She didn’t know the size of the force that was headed their way, she only knew it was coming.

And it was coming soon.

No. As far as Welsley was concerned it would be better for the Falsons to assume the attack was unexpected. Better for them to assume the Norasburg soldiery was better prepared than they thought. If they repelled the undead with ease perhaps the Falsons would leave with all their troops and leave her tower for good.

One could hope.

The young Light took a deep breath and tried to silence her thoughts. She tried to focus on the spinning of her body, the gentle current of the water spun her slowly round and round. Almost imperceptible waves washed over her body turning her skin into goose bumps.

The faint sound of nature waking could be heard all around her. In the distance she could hear the sound of rushing water from the river. Hidden behind the sounds of nature she could just make out the sounds of the camps: horses, footfalls, pots and pans, orders barked.

The world was waking up around her.

“The sun rises, Your Eminence,” the voice of one of her attendants arrived at her ears.

“Just a few more moments,” Welsley paused, what was her name? “Tara.”

Welsley tilted her head back and opened her eyes. It had been dark when she had wandered down to the pool, her way lit only by the stars and the torch carried by Tara who had accompanied her. The sun had since rose and bathed the world in light.

Light Koarl took to her feet and stepped from the pool into a waiting towel. She dried herself off and dutifully dressed herself in the clothing provided by her attendant; an outfit of supple leather, tan in colour.

“Is that roast pig I smell?” Welsley asked as they walked toward camp.

“I believe so, Your Eminence,” Tara answered.

“Excellent,” Welsley said, “a wonderful way to start the day.”


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