Return to Everly

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fantasy Realm


Alan and Lynne arrive in Everly and find an old friend. He tells them of the danger they have walked into and how their only way out may be for Alan to do something he never wanted to do in the
first place.

Chapter 3 (v.1) - Chapter 3

Submitted: April 09, 2018

Reads: 150

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Submitted: April 09, 2018

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The darkness was complete around them as they flew through the abyss. Having done this before, Alan and Lynne knew what to expect.

Lynne couldn’t help, but worry about what Sara had experienced when she went through the portal. The land of Everly was a place she and her husband had left behind, not of their own choice, but for the safety of the others left behind. They had never told Sara about Everly and it was their intention to never tell her.

It seemed that events were now conspiring to make that impossible. When they reached Everly, she intended to have some very strong words with Bennifort. If she didn’t kill him on sight.

After what seemed like a long minute of passage through the void, Lynne felt a hard tug at her chest and that led to a change in direction. This was definitely not a sensation she was prepared for.

Nor was Alan. He still had a tight hold on the strap over her shoulder and when the change of direction came, he felt like his arm was going to be pulled from its socket.

He groaned as a pain shot through his shoulder, but he tightened his grip and then his arm muscles to strengthen his hold on his wife. He would lose his arm before he would lose her.

Then, as fast as it had started, the journey ended. Quite abruptly. In a small clearing in a grove of trees. It was night, the moon was shining down through the branches of the trees and there was the usual sound of night critters in the air.

Alan stumbled as their feet touched solid ground and Lynne grabbed his arm to hold him up.

“Easy there, tiger.” she said as he winced in pain from her grip on his arm.

“What’s the matter?” she asked.

“I think I may have dislocated my shoulder. Did we really change directions in the portal?”

“Yes, I believe we did.” she said as she moved around behind him and put an arm up and around his shoulder.

“So, I wonder where … OW!”

As his shoulder popped back into its joint, he felt a little rush of nausea and doubled over, ready to empty his stomach. That would have been a neat trick, seeing as how they hadn’t had time to eat breakfast.

“Please take care of that out here, so you don’t make a mess of my floor.”

Lynne whirled around, pulling her sword in one smooth movement, bringing it to bear on the owner of the voice.

In the darkness, at the edge of the grove, she could see a cloaked figure moving toward her, completely unafraid of the shining blade she had pointed at his chest. He stepped out from between a couple of trees, his face shrouded under a hood.

“Is that how you intend to greet all your friends?” asked the figure.

“Not my friends, no.” said Lynne as she kept the sword at the ready.

The cloaked man stopped at the edge of the moonlight and reached up and pushed his hood off his head. His long gray hair fell down over his shoulders and his silvery, gray eyes shone in the darkness.

“Kendric?”

The old man bowed and said, “M’lady.”

By this time Alan had regained his composure and was able to stand up and face the old man.

Kendric looked at him and smiled.

“He still has trouble with passing through the void?”

Lynne reached over and ran her hand across Alan’s shoulders.

“Not usually. I think he only had trouble with the change of direction this time.”

Kendric clicked his tongue a couple of times and then said, “I’m sorry about that, sire. It was necessary to keep you safe.”

“What do you mean?” asked Alan.

Kendric looked at him and took a deep breath, but didn’t immediately start talking. Lynne put her sword away, but looked at him with a question in her eyes.

“You’re the one that brought our daughter here.”

Kendric looked at her and she could see the sadness in his eyes.

“No, m’lady. I am not to blame for that.”

Alan straightened up fully and looked at the old man.

“I think you better start explaining what is going on.”

“I will, sire, but not out here. We need to get you somewhere safe, where we can talk. Follow me.”

Kendric turned and headed back toward the trees he’d come through and the two fell in behind him. After walking for a couple of minutes, they came to a small cabin in the woods. There was smoke coming from the chimney and a warm, golden glow in the windows.

“Isn’t this ...”

“Yes, sire, it is.”

“What is this place, Alan?”

“I built this cabin by myself when I was a kid. I used to come here when I wanted to get away from the castle and be alone. Kendric was the only one who knew where it was, just in case he needed to find me in an emergency.”

“And its secret has been hidden all these years, sire. That made it the perfect place to bring you.”

They stepped through the door and into the small, one room cabin. There was a small fireplace in one corner, that had a warm fire burning to help remove the chill from the travelers. There was a small, black pot hanging over the fire and Kendric grabbed a steel hook to remove it from the fire. Setting it on a small table, he produced some cups and began pouring some warm tea for all of them.

Lynne was looking around and then looked at her husband.

“You built this?”

“Yes, it was my first attempt at a man cave, I guess.”

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “It’s nice.”

He stepped up behind her and helped her remove her sword and she did the same for him. With his sore shoulder, it took a bit of working for him to move his arm, but he got it done.

“What’s wrong with your shoulder, sire?”

“Just a little sore, Kendric. That change of direction was quite unexpected.”

The old man motioned for Lynne to take a seat on a stool, while he got Alan to sit down and then stepped behind him. He placed his hands over the injured shoulder and closed his eyes. Alan felt a warmth come from Kendric’s hands and start to loosen the muscles in his shoulders. Within a couple of minutes, the pain was completely gone and Alan was able to move the shoulder freely.

“Thanks, old friend. But, now, you need to tell us what is going on and why our daughter was brought here.”

Kendric sat down on the other side of the table and picked up his cup. After taking a sip, he realized that these two parents weren’t going to wait much longer for an explanation.

“Your brother, Bennifort, has grown increasingly cruel and more of a tyrant since you left.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Alan, “but I still don’t understand what that has to do with our daughter.”

“It has everything to do with her.”

Kendric looked at the two and then continued.

“Bennifort has begun to grow worried about his hold on his kingdom and as I’m sure you remember, you would be the next in line, Allain.”

Alan nodded and said, “A right I gave up by leaving this land.”

“That is true, but Bennifort has become increasingly paranoid that you would return and take his throne from him. He started to become more worried after Merrideth passed.”

Lynne gasped at that statement.

“Merry passed away?”

“Yes, m’lady. About five years ago. She never produced an heir to the throne and Bennifort was more and more angry with her for it. Truth be told, it is believed that he killed her over her lack of children.”

Lynne hung her head and grieved. Merrideth had been her best friend as a child. The two of them had been thick as thieves in the village. Until Bennifort took a shine to Merrideth and began courting her.

She felt Alan’s hand on her shoulder. When she looked at him, she could see he knew exactly what she was feeling.

Alan shook his head and said, “Okay, I still don’t understand why our daughter was brought here.”

“It’s quite simple, sire. He meant to use her to lure you back here. He means to kill you and make sure his claim to the throne is intact.”

Lynne spoke up, “That’s just crazy. Alan was gone and had no intention of coming back here and claiming anything. If Sara hadn’t been brought here, Everly never would have felt our presence again.”

“Bennifort doesn’t believe that. He has new counsel and they have been poisoning his mind.”

“Who is this new counsel?”

Kendric hung his head and then said, “My son, sire.”

“Your son? Penric?”

Kendric nodded.

“He has become as power hungry as Bennifort and he has wedged himself in between me and the king, to the point the king will not listen to me anymore.”

He picked up his cup of tea and took a sip, letting the last statement hang over the table for a few seconds.

“It was he, who brought your daughter here, on orders from the king.”

“How did he even know about her?” asked Lynne. “It’s not like we announced her birth here in Everly.”

“This is true.” said Kendric. “Penric has sent spies to your new world to find you and report back to him. When they found you, in some place they called, Phoenix I believe, he went straight to the king and told of a new heir being found. Your daughter.”

Alan stood up and walked around the small cabin. He stopped to stare into the fireplace, watching the flames flicker in and around the logs.

“So, bringing us back here, so he can kill me, wouldn’t be the end of his plan.” said Alan.

“No, sire. Killing you would only move Sara closer to the head of the line.”

“And he isn’t going to allow that to happen either.” said Lynne.

“No, m’lady, he won’t.”

Alan turned and looked at the old man.

“So, what is your part in this?”

“My only part, sire, was to intercept you and your bride as you returned to this land. If I hadn’t, you would have appeared in the same, exact spot that your daughter did, which would have had the unfortunate effect of landing you right in the middle of a ring of armed guards.”

“Well, thank you for that, I guess.” said Alan.

Kendric nodded and said, “One thing Penric and Bennifort still don’t understand is the time difference between Everly and your new world.”

“And what would that be?”

“Your daughter has been here for two weeks.”

“What?” yelled Lynne.

“No,” said Alan, “she went to sleep in her own bed, in our world last night.”

“Correct. And about an hour ago, in your world, she entered the passage and was brought here. You didn’t know about it until about half an hour later, at which time you two came through the passage.”

“Okay, half an hour. Not two weeks.”

“One hour in your world is about two weeks here in Everly, sire.”

Alan felt like he had been punched in the gut and he walked around the table and sat back down.

“So, she’s been stuck here, a prisoner of Bennifort for two weeks?” asked Lynne. “She probably thinks we aren’t even coming for her.”

“Oh, she knows you are.” said Kendric. “I’ve had occasion to speak with her a couple of times. Though I haven’t been able to speak with her alone, I have let her know that you would be coming.”

“You’ve seen her? How is she?” asked Lynne.

“M’lady, she is just fine. Bennifort has not dared to hurt her in any way. She actually has a new best friend.”

“Really?”

“Yes, a young woman by the name of Sharese. She’s a servant girl in the palace and when Sara met her, she demanded that she be assigned to be her personal servant.”

“She asked for a servant.” said Alan.

“I believe she did it more to get Sharese out of her station in the kitchen and away from the harsh conditions there.”

“Sounds like her. She wouldn’t stand for someone being mistreated.” said Lynne.

“Does a lack of respect also sound like her?”

“Uh, what do you mean?” asked Alan.

“Well, it seems she has no desire to bow down to the king or give him any respect.”

“Yep, that sounds like her.”

“Well, I’ve been trying to get her to change her attitude. Sharese has, too.”

“Well, good luck with that. If you figure out how to do it, let us know.”

“She better start taking it seriously, because Bennifort will not put up with it much longer.”

The three of them sat in silence for a moment. Kendric sipped his tea and Lynne just held her cup, letting the warmth flow into her fingers.

“So,” asked Lynne, “what is our next move?”

“Obviously, we need to get her out of there.” said Alan. “But, I can’t see us doing that and just going back to our home like nothing happened.”

“No, sire, that would not be advisable. Now that Bennifort and Penric know where your home is, they would just come after you again. Maybe even kill you and your family there instead of here.”

“Okay, we need to get Sara out of the palace, quietly if possible,” said Lynne, “but not return to our world just yet.”

She looked over to Alan and said, “Looks like it might be time for you to face your brother and put an end to his reign.”

Alan hung his head and shook it.

“And I thought the meeting on Wednesday with the Sigma Corp people was going to be the toughest thing I did this week.”

He looked at Kendric and asked, “Is there any possibility of help inside the palace? I mean besides yourself.”

“Yes, sire. There is some help to be had. A small portion of the royal guard is beginning to get tired of Bennifort and his cruelty. Since they started hearing you and Evelynne might be returning, they have been looking forward to backing you in a bid to take the throne.”

“I didn’t really come back here to become king.”

“I understand that, sire, but it may be the only way to insure the safety of your family.”

Silence descended on the group as they pondered how best to remove Sara from the palace and then take the throne from Bennifort.


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