The dawn's first light shone bright in the morning sky as the wind blowed over the grass-covered hills. The kingdom of Deilom was slowly starting to awaken. In the distance the fields of wheat were already tended to by the peasants that had no doubt been working since an hour before dawn.
”I still think Dusk sounds like a girl's name,” Alexander laughed as he walked ahead on the dusty sand trail towards the little town. He was no common traveler and could afford to relax his guard somewhat when he came this near a town anyway. The sword by his side and the suit of steel he wore marked him a knight and there were not many people who would challenge a knight without a good reason in this area.
”That would be insulting to hear if it did not come from someone who looks more like a girl than I do though.” Smirking faintly Dusk walked ahead next to the knight, his long black hair tied to a rogue knot behind his head. The armored man was someone he considered a friend so he was relaxed near him, but Dusk did not like visiting the town and it showed on his face.
”Well at least I am wearing pants instead of a dress,” Alex teased Dusk amused by the way that Dusk grit his teeth together at that comment. ”Its not a dress its a robe, the adepts of the circle are expected to wear one at all times to show what they are so they are not mistaken for a sorcerer in case they have to use magic.” Dusk was never really insulted by the comment but Alex could tell that Dusk was getting tired of explaining himself.
”Calm down I am just joking around. Its good to see more people again but once we are done here we can continue along. We just need some equipment.” Alexander hummed and took a few steps faster to take the lead. Dusk just silently shook his head and followed the blonde knight cussing lightly under his breath.
Dusk had his reasons to not like visiting a town. The robes he wore caught attention and he could see a few people stare and whisper to one another. It was always the same, he told himself while following the knight. As the pair of them made their way down the street looking for the stores Dusk already spotted a group of four guards approaching. There was a reason Alex walked ahead when they were in town.
”Hold! Sir knight, I am sorry to interrupt you but the local count demands you come and meet with him.” The way the guards were standing all holding onto their halberds it was obvious they were ready for trouble. Alex was a loyal servant of the Order and the Order in turn respected the laws of whichever kingdom they were passing through so he nod his head in acceptance but spoke up nonetheless.
”I will gladly meet with the count but would you tell me what does he wish to talk to me about?” Alex knew how to politely talk to these people but sometimes he really did not wish to do so. So many kingdoms had suffered during the past mage-war that he had a feeling it was not going to be a pleasant visit.
”The count will answer you himself.” The guard said sternly but one of the others looked a bit hesitant. ”Well, he is a knight though. I am sure its fine to tell him.” The leading soldier cast a glare at the younger guard who immediately closed his mouth and stood still at a ready pose. Alex crossed his arms waiting for an answer though and the group's leader let out a sigh of defeat.
”There has been a number of problems lately at the local church built over the hills, and the cemetery around it.” The guard cast a look at Dusk before looking at Alex. ”Although I am sure you are more than capable of taking care of it. Also, do you want us to put your witch into the jail while you visit the count's mansion?”
Alexander did not want to punch the guard in the face. He did not want to do it because it would not be an acceptable behaviour from a knight, but he did not like the guard insulting his friend either. Although Dusk was an odd person at times he and Alex got along well and the way the adept was being treated made Alex just feel like breaking an oath or two and atone for it later.
”Oh so you think you can bind me down with mere steel, believe your bravery is strong enough to contain me?” Dusk smiled a little smug look about him but as he did the guards could see his hand rise slightly, and a spark of fire erupt to a candle-size flame above his palm. They were gripping their weapons tighter as they watched the adept's every movement carefully. If Alex was not there they would have likely already attacked or ran away though.
”Dusk.” The knight's stern voice made Dusk sigh and lower his hand the flame dying out and vanishing. ”Yes, I know.” He wanted to give the annoying, arrogant guards a reason to fear him since it seemed obvious they would not treat him with any trust anyway. It was Alex that kept him from doing such a foolish thing.
”This man is under my guard and will accompany me wherever I go. If the count wants to speak to me then he will be along there as well.” Alex's tone left no room for negotiation and the guards knew that. With a new defeated sigh the leader of the group began to lead them over towards the mansion at the heart of the little town.
Alexander wished he could do something more, he knew that the circle was accepted in some places but most of these people probably had not seen an adept in years. It was understandable as the crime of being a caster was enough to deserve a beheading in many places. Even at the places where it was tolerated as legal, as long as the caster did not try and put a spell on anyone, a lot of guards would turn a blind eye to a caster's peril should a mob decide to lynch an adept blaming him for whatever misfortune was afflicting the region.
Dusk walked silently after the others, brushing his hair back with his fingers and thinking. It had been a while since he and Alex began to journey together and it was almost humorous that a knight who might be ordered to hunt and kill sorcerers was travelling with an adept of the circle. The circle had its own laws and rules for its members though and Dusk obeyed them. Most of the time anyhow. The young knight had no real reason to kill him and the two of them had began to enjoy their little arguments a long time ago already, but he still did not like visiting towns. It put his friend in an awkward spot and him to a constant danger of lynching.
”I hope this wont take long,” Alex whispered to Dusk who nod in reply. ”I would have preferred to just go around this place but we are running low on supplies. Next time we need to make a stop though I will stay outside.” Alex chuckled at Dusk's words and shook his head. ”So I get a feather-bed while you find a rock with moss to rest your head on? No, you would be in more danger out there alone and near people.”
The guards didn't seem to pay the two of them any attention but both of them could see the people staring at them uncomfortably. The way they looked at the two of them was different between the two men though, when they looked at Alex they had a look of wonder and perhaps a little hint of respect, a knight of the order was recognised and welcomed person through the lands usually afterall, but the way they looked at Dusk made the young adept grateful that he did not have to accompany the guards to the jail. He did not think the guards would have bothered stopping a mob that he could feel was already forming.