Bolts From the Blue

Working his way along the path, Kendall is somewhat disappointed that it's not as challenging as he thought it would be. As long as he kept his head and balance, it doesn't seem to be much of a problem to negotiate. He pauses to enjoy the view for several heartbeats, but his attention is caught instead by a flicker of movement from one of the battlements; a sliver of shadow shoots off into the air, arcing towards the young Lord of Chaos. A bird flying towards him?

Kendall absently wipes at the light sheen of dust that had begun to gather on his face while watching the approaching flyer, trying to gauge if it is going to prove hostile or not. He notices quickly that the object is too small and slender for any Amber birds he knows of or has seen. Then catching just the hint of color to the rear of the projectile, he realizes it is an arrow or bolt!

Moving to the right, as quick as any serpent, Kendall avoids the shot, the bolt shattering against the stone. But looking up, he sees another one in flight from the same place on the battlement. Soon that bolt is joined by another. Though he is still unable to see who is shooting at him, the last bolt is much closer, as though the unseen crossbowman is finally getting the range. As the broken shaft of the last bolt falls to the path, Kendall takes another look up. He still doesn't see anyone from where the fire is coming from, which is strange because the assassin should have to lean over the battlement to see Kendall now. He does catch just a hint of movement, but it's small as if a child's.

Kendall heads back the way he came, to the place where he sent Vanya on her way. Timing it just right, between the assassin's shots, he scrambles back up the path. At that point, he estimates he is safe; the angle on the tower is wrong for shooting anyone on the Exercise Area, if they are indeed using something mundane to propel the bolts. But if not, he is still in danger.

Seeking to learn more of his would-be assassin, Kendall begins centering his concentration to shift into a creature capable of climbing the wall. Yet just as he begins bringing about the changes to his body, he is distracted by movement at the stable gates - his four escorts. The stable boy holds the gate open for them as he points down on the course, saying something to them. Whatever he is saying, it seems to annoy one of the guards; the man raises a mailed fist to backhand the boy, but is restrained by his companion. With a grunt, the guards start down the path as the boy scurries back to the stable.

Kendall feels a pang of remorse for getting the child in trouble, but the more immediate concern is to find a cover for his wanderings. He looks about for a nearby tree or rock, and spots a hedge with a rather large boulder behind. The Knights, not seeing the Chaos Lord, start down the path. Their skill is evident in their moves and tactics as they proceed in perfect two by two, hands on sword hilts and eyes searching.

With a sigh of irritation, Kendall goes over to the boulder and finds a clear space at the base in its shadow to sit. A brief grimace is all he spares to the thought of the dirt he was going to get on his clothes before he settles into a cross-legged meditative pose to await his keepers' arrival.

It's a good 200 heartbeats before he hears their footsteps, a weak shadow of a man falling on the hedge. The shadow hesitates, and then withdraws. The soft silky sound of steel being drawn is the next thing that Kendall hears.

"Lord Kendall?" A male voice asks.

"Yes?" He inquires back. "I trust you have compelling reason to interrupt my meditations."

"Besides your well-being, no…" a far deeper voice replies.

"I do not believe my well-being will be improved with a sword," Kendall remarks with a trace of humor in his voice. He stands, stretching and turning to look at the other men. "For whose safety do you fear?"

"It depends in who's hand the sword is in, Lord Kendall," Lieutenant Rayner answers, as Kendall hears more then one sword sheathed. "As to whose safety I fear for? Yours of course, Lord Kendall."

Kendall takes a deep breath of the keen air and shakes some of the dirt from his robe, raising a small cloud of dust. "I observed a procession of Knights walking quite solemnly towards the sea earlier. Is it permissible for you to tell me in what activity they are engaged? It did not have the look of a military maneuver."

"No, Lord Kendall… it was a part of today's funeral for the Lady Lorraine," Rayner answers, civil yet cool. "The Ten Thousand were showing their respect for her, and her sacrifice."

"I see," he answers. He thinks about that for five heartbeats, watching as the other guards scout about the trail. "I do not believe I am familiar with that name. In what way was she related to the Amber royals?"

"She was Prince Corwin's companion," Lieutenant Rayner answers. "She died in childbirth while delivering his son. Thank the Unicorn, the child survived."

An eyebrow quirks at the quaint euphemism 'companion,' but Kendall doesn't seem to have anything to say about that right now. Instead he indicates the trail with a look. "Are you intent on bringing me back to the safety of the castle?"

"I think it would be for the best, Lord Kendall," Rayner says. "Night is falling, and these paths can get dangerous in the darkness."

"Indeed," Kendall nods, "they appear dangerous enough during full light." Without any further ado, he begins walking up the trail back towards the stable.

Lieutenant Rayner falls into step with Kendall though the other men lag behind. Then one stops on the edge of the path, looking in the direction of the goat path that Kendall had been traveling earlier. He sees something there in the falling darkness that gives him pause.

"If you excuse me for a moment, Lord Kendall." Lieutenant Rayner joins the sharp-eyed guard to look down the mountain. The other man points towards where the goat path is, talking in a low voice. It seems Rayner is troubled by what his man is saying; he shakes his head after squinting in the darkness while Kendall waits patiently for them to finish their discussion. The other man again points into the darkness, but Rayner only shakes his head again, talking in quiet tones before slapping the soldier on the back in good-natured jest.

Turning to walk back up the trail, the Lieutenant turns his attention to the Chaos Lord. "Lord Kendall, did you notice anything odd when you where out riding?"

Kendall considers several possible responses to that question before finally answering. "Hm. I am afraid my judgement regarding what is considered odd here in Amber may not be reliable. Perhaps you would be able to tell me for what you are searching."

"There seem to be some crossbow bolts laying about on the lower trails," Rayner clarifies.

"Ah. On the ground? No. I do recall seeing several bolts flying through the air towards me," Kendall continues blandly. "However, I did not note their positions on the ground."

At these words, Rayner slashes his arm in the air, and Kendall suddenly finds himself surrounded and being hustled into the darkness of the stables. There the Lieutenant shouts a few coded commands, which cause two of his men to take off. Turning to Kendall, Rayner bows his head in respect. "My apologies, Lord Kendall. It will be just a minute before we can escort you to your suite."

Kendall takes a deep breath, of the sort people take to keep from making a rash response. Folding his hands in his sleeves, he instead answers in a chilly tone, "I would prefer not to return to my quarters just yet, Captain. If it was an assassination attempt, it was a poor one, and not something over which I harbor great concern at this point."

"Lord Kendall, it does not matter if the assassination attempt meets your standards or not. Its very attempt is a stain on our honor and hospitality. While I will escort you back to the castle, it need not be to your suite," Rayner says, all business. "That is the best I can offer."

Outside, Kendall's sharp hearing picks up the sound of armored footsteps coming his way in a hurry. His lips tighten in annoyance, but that's the only outward sign of his displeasure. He knew he shouldn't have said anything about the crossbow bolts, but sometimes selective honesty was best. The shock value couldn't be overrated, either. He refrains from agreeing with Rayner's remark about the stain on honor and hospitality; it went without saying. Instead he stands silently and waits for the guards to arrive and escort him back to the castle.

Once the fully armored men arrive, the group proceeds to the castle, the Knights on either side of the young Lord walking with shields held high. Just inside the doors, the Lieutenant stops the group with a gesture. "Where would you like to be escorted to now that we have arrived?" he asks.

Kendall glances at the clanking group of eight Knights that now surrounded him, taking his escort to a whole new level of annoyance. He feels a headache coming on. "My thanks for your efficient and scrupulous attention to your duty and my safety, Lieutenant," he says. "Perhaps it would be best if I returned to my quarters after all."

"A moment, Lord Kendall," Rayner says, tone both respectful and proper. "May I ask what you noticed when this attempt took place, so we might better bring your assassins to justice."

Kendall pauses before replying, thoughts whirring through his head as he decides how to answer, though his expression reflects only bland patience. "I saw very little, except that the assailant appeared to be small," he finally offers.

"Small, as in what way?" Rayner asks.

Kendall's irritation peeks through his polite patience. He gives a small sigh and shifts his weight restlessly, though his voice is still controlled and calm. "Small in stature, Lieutenant. That is all I noted."

"As in a dwarf?" Rayner asks, his tone leading.

Kendall continues to carefully weigh every word before answering, keeping his face politely expressionless even though he detected the change in the Knight's tone. He relaxes into a waiting pose, hands disappearing into his sleeves, deciding to wait Rayner out. "Lieutenant, the assailant was at the top of the Castle wall partially hidden behind solid rock. Even I do not have vision that would allow me to determine such details. Do you have difficulties with dwarfs here in Amber?"

"There have been reports…" is all the Knight says. Kendall simply stares at Rayner, clearly waiting for the other man to continue his thought. The Lieutenant does not elaborate, however, instead motioning for the young Chaos Lord to follow him to a small room off the main hall. "I will summon some wine for you, Sir. You may refresh yourself here…"

Kendall walks into the room, looking around in some perplexity since he had agreed to go back to the Chanicut suite. Standing in the exact center of the room, he turns back to the lieutenant. "I would prefer to refresh myself in my suite rather than staying here, Lieutenant," he tells Rayner.

"As you wish…" the lieutenant responds.

The trip through the castle was long and noisy, with the expanded escort about the Chaosian drawing even more stares and whispers. Keeping his expression calm and keeping his annoyance contained kept Kendall's full attention, however, giving him something to focus on besides the long walk. The door finally looms ahead, and with a final nod to Rayner, the young Chaosian proceeds down the glass walkway without another word.

Once in the privacy and relative peace of his own room, Kendall summons refreshment to be brought to him on his balcony. Rory brings food and wine and sets the tray on the low table near the door. His master stands by the railing looking out over the expanse of sea, barely acknowledging the servant's presence at first. He comes back from his musings when Rory offers him a glass of wine, however.

"Captain Briar may stop by our suite later this Turn," he says, accepting the glass. "You may show her in and bring her to me immediately." Rory nods, and then hands his master a note sealed with the insignia of the Captain of the King's Watch. The servant bows himself out, leaving Kendall to his meditations.

Lord Kendall,

Unfortunately my schedule has change some at this time. If an opening appears I will be pleased to talk with you then if our schedules are both open. Until then enjoy your stay in Amber.

Regards,
Prince Brin, Captain of the Kings Watch

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