Ambush at Orc Pass
by Eddie Davis
© Copyright 2013
Audience with The Prince
Amala could see the Prince awaiting their arrival, astride his handsome warhorse at the head of a column of cavalry, all majestic in their silver plate armor. She took a deep breath, nervously running a hand through her short white hair.
“Nervous?” Jevon asked from beside her on the seat of the coach.
“Me? Of course not! Prince Wonderful is ahead with 30 of his equally wonderful cavaliers and here we go riding right in to meet them.”
“Well, he ain’t smiling, Amala.”
“I didn’t figure he would be, Jevon. He blames us for his younger sister’s death twenty years ago.”
“Not you, I meant ‘us’ as in my family. Or maybe Drow in general; I don’t think he makes any distinction, really.”
“Why? Your family wasn’t to blame for the raid by the Faesidhe.”
“No, but they were trying to extinguish all my family in Westmark. Princess Joila was visiting my oldest sister during the attack; therefore in his mind we are to blame.”
“You lost a sister too!”
“I know, but pain and blame aren’t always rational. We’d better shut-up and begin smiling or he’ll see us.”
“Let the boot-licking commence.” Jevon murmured under his breath as he stopped the Coach in front of the waiting line of horsemen.
Prince Edwarren did not move at all as the four coachmen quickly dismounted and stood in front of him. Together, the four, bowed reverently to the crown prince and very possibly the next emperor of the Southern Empire.
“Your Majesty, I am Jevon of Westmark, sent by Her Royal Highness Queen Eioldth to escort you to King’s Reach.”
The handsome half-Elven Prince ignored Jevon’s words and turned his cold blue eyes on Amala, “What is she doing here?”
His icy words confirmed Amala’s dread, but she kept her head lowered and allowed Jevon to handle the situation.
“Lady Amala often rides as a guard on our journeys.”
The Prince sneered, “How unfortunate that Westmark thinks so poorly of its King that they would send this black-skinned wench to escort the Prince to his dying father’s bedside.”
Jevon stiffened, his brown eyes flashing with anger, but he took a deep breath, “Your highness, Lady Amala is a daughter of Earl Coldburn and Archduchess-.”
“I know who the red-eyed witch is!” The Prince snapped angrily, “She’s the fourth of the damned nest of crows hatched out by Lord and Lady Coldburn. Six of the vixens and one son. They spew them out – the witches are all the same; red-eyed, black-skinned, long legged, big-breasted and sultry like their she-devil mother. She sends her succubi spawn out to entice men and get them under their control. All so she and her half-breed husband can control as much of Northmarch as they can.”
“My father and mother very foolishly were charmed by the Westmark witch and look what we have to show for it; my dear sister, the only daughter of my parents, dead because of her friendship with this wench’s sister. Then they enticed my poor elderly father to declare war on the Faesidhe. How many Northmarch soldiers died in that tangled jungle of a forest, pierced with Faesidhe arrows? And why did the Faesidhe attack Westmark? Because they realize the danger of the accursed dark elves that threaten us all.” His diatribe ended, Edwarren sat on his steed, challenging Amala or the other Coachmen to protest or even reply. For a long moment there was a terrible silence, then Amala raised her gaze and stared banefully at the Prince, “We were sent here by Queen Eioldth to offer you the comfort of riding in a coach.”
“Comfort?” The Prince spat out the words, “I have spent ten years leading the Imperial Senate’s legions across the Empire as the old fools debate and delay electing a new Emperor. I have faced countless foes and seen many a noble man die. I’ve even encountered some of your kind, dark-Elf, and none of them lived to tell of the meeting. I will not journey back to see my father in some Drow coach. Ride back in it yourself; perhaps you can find a nobleman from Aeropolis to bed as you bounce along in the back. But whatever you do, take another route home, for I don’t want to see your whoring face or any of these toads near us. And take note of this ‘lady Amala’; my father is near death and soon I will wear his crown. I’d advise you to tell your devil of a mother to pack her brood on this coach and ride as far and as fast as they can, away from my Kingdom and the Southern Empire, for you will get nothing but the edge of my sword from me once I take the throne.”
As her fellow coachmen stood by in stunned silence at the hatred of Edwarren, Amala stoically nodded, “Very well, we have fulfilled our obligations to Queen Eioldth; we will certainly leave you alone.”
“Get out of my sight, dark Elf! I never want to see your damned face again.” The Prince growled.
“Don’t worry, Prince Edwarren, I imagine you will soon not have any friends left to trouble you.”
Without waiting for any response from the angry Prince, she disrespectfully turned her back on him and climbed back on top of the coach.
“Tread carefully, Drow, your lot’s time is numbered.”
Amala just stared coldly, but bravely, at the Prince until finally with a few curses, he spurred his horse and a moment later the troop of cavaliers thundered off in a cloud of dust. Silently, Jevon, Rick and Tadd joined her on the coach.
“Well, that went really well!” Amala said, rubbing her forehead.
The dust of the galloping cavaliers had hardly dispersed when they started off on the coach.
“Do we follow them?” Tadd the Halfling asked with a bit of unease evident in his voice.
“Don’t worry; we’ll circle around the four lakes; that will take a couple of hours before the lake road reconnects with the main road. As fast as they were riding, they should be long ahead of us by then.” Amala pulled her Elven cloak around her as the carriage bounced along on the rather rough blocks that made up the highway.
“So are we bound for King’s Reach?” Rick asked from the rear coachman’s seat.
“No… I’m sorry, guys. I know it’s selfish, but after that meeting with Prince High-and-Mighty back there, I just want to go home to Westmark. It sounds like it may not be home for long.”
“Amala, don’t worry about him – he’ll soften once he gets to King’s Reach. His mother, the Queen will soften up his mood.”
“I hope so, Jevon, because my parents are in King’s Reach now, and he won’t be really happy to find them there when he arrives.”
“Hopefully four days ride will help him relax.” Tadd commented.
“Let’s pray to Yesh they have favorable weather and welcoming Inns on their trip.” Amala replied, though she knew that even a peaceful country ride would not soften the angry prince’s personality.