The Story of Mena - Chapter Two

By Mena Daman the Trooper of Love (KTN)

Continued from Chapter One.....

Caron explained that she was in need of the services of the assassin in Miramor, but that he lived behind a locked door. The assassin had received so many threats to his life that he no longer trusted anybody, and refused to open his doors, even for potential employment.

Caron explained that she had noticed Mena whilst she had been arguing with the Assassin and had formed an idea. For the sum of 10,000 coins Mena was asked to pick the lock on the door, and to conceal the knowledge of the event from everyone. The idea did pose a few moral problems to Mena, people only hire assassins when they want someone killed, and the idea of killing a fellow adventurer abhored her, and made her sick to her stomach, but she was being paid, and she needed the money to buy better equipment. Mena agreed to Caron’s task, and went forth to do her bidding.

The lock was easy to pick, and with a smile, Caron disappeared into the realm of the hired killer. Mena sighed, turned and went back to where she had left Gristle. Their fights continued, and the memory of Caron slipped from her mind, as easily as the money slipped from her pocket. A few weeks passed before Mena once again felt herself being watched from afar. She dispatched the half-elf that she had been toying with and approached the figure in the shadows.

“Well fought Mena,” the voice said, “ I see you have managed to learn something, even though you have been accompanying a warrior for so many months.”

Mena recognised the voice as that of Caron and answered her, “ Yes, I have learnt much, but I do not see that it matters whether I learn on my own or with a friend.”

“Learning with a friend is a good idea I agree, it is the matter of which friend that I was refering to”

Mena considered this and answered sadly “Well I have no other friends with which to learn, so then what do I do?”

“You are a thief Mena, a warrior trying to teach a thief is the same as a duck learning from a fish. You need to be taught by thieves, only they can help you fulfil your potential.” Caron stated firmly, her tone of voice left little room for argument.

“You believe I have potential?” Mena asked hopefully.

Caron nodded, “Yes, I believe that you might. I have been watching you for some time. It is what we do in our guild, watch and observe those we believe to be of interest.”

Mena was surprised to learn that she might be of interest to anybody, “I have tried to be trained at the guild, but everyone is so busy. They are concerned with their own affairs, as long as I pay my gold on time each month, they take no interest in me.”

“Well Mena, I know that not all thieves are in the guild, perhaps one of them could help you?” Caron asked. Mena was not sure, but she had the idea that Caron’s question was leading her somewhere.

“Do you know of a thief who could teach me Caron? You seem to know what is best for me, so maybe you know the best tutor too?” Mena asked, as she was somewhat annoyed at having her lifestyle brought into question this way.

“ Well, he may not be the best tutor in the world, but yes I know of a person.” Caron stated bluntly.

“Are you going to tell me his name? Or do I have to search this continent high and low until I stumble across him?” Mena replied, she could feel her voice slightly rising in annoyance as she asked the question.

“Well it seems you have spirit little one, maybe he will enjoy teaching you more than I thought.” Caron grinned evilly at that thought. “His name is Smeagull, he is my brother, and a fellow thief. I believe that with a bit of persuasion, he will be willing to tutor you for a while.”

Mena nodded, “And where do I find him then?”

“Meet me here at Noon tomorrow, and I will take you to him,” Caron answered, and promptly uttered a few words and disappeared.

Mena could not sleep that night for excitement. She tossed and turned in the creaky bed that she had rented in the Inn and thought of memories. She would be leaving Gristle and Miramor behind, for a fate and destination that she did not know. She was putting her life into the hands of strangers and walking away from her friend. She stood and pulled on hercloak and went in search of Gristle. It was not hard to find him, he was propping up the bar, with a mug of ale beside him.

“Gristle, I need to talk to you,” Mena said, sitting down on the floor beside her friend.

“Mmmppf, huh?” Gristle murmured and then took another drink of ale. Mena was now used to her friend’s limited conversational abilities and persevered with her confession.

“I am afraid I shall be leaving you tomorrow Gristle, and I will be gone for a very long time.” Mena said, with tears stinging her eyes. She had not realised how close she had grown to the clumsy oaf.

“Mmurrhh, hmm okay,” Gristle replied. Mena wondered whether he understood what she was saying at all.

“I will not be able to help you with fighting anymore, I will no longer be in Miramor. I have to go and learn more and I am afraid this is stuff that you can not teach me, I realise that now.” Mena nodded in an effort to reassure herself, she was doing the right thing, she knew it.

“Uugghh okay. Gristle beats ‘em up” Gristle clumsily stumbled through the words. He understood, and Mena got up to leave him to his ale. Gristle looked at her then, and grasped her hand.

“Mmmm Mena,” He stammered, the ale affecting his tongue, “Bye, go beat’s em heads,” and he returned to his mug. Mena climbed the stairs back to her room, she hoped her friend would be safe, but she had to move on. She began to put her belongings into her bag. The cockerel crowed shortly after Mena was finished with her things and she made her way downstairs. Having settled her bill with the innkeeper she wandered onto the quiet streets. She looked at everything as she made her way about, it would be along time until she was here again, and she wanted to remember it. Noon seemed to come too soon, and Mena found herself waiting in the same spot as the day before, where her fate had been decided. She was checking that she had everything one last time, when she felt a tap on her shoulder.

“Are you going to keep me waiting all day, or are you ready now?” Mena heard Caron ask from behind her. She stood and nodded.

“Ready when you are.” And with one last look, she followed Caron out of Miramor, to a new part of the world. They journeyed for many weeks, crossing mountains and rivers, until Mena once again found herself in Riversy. Caron explained that she needed to stock up on supplies, and so Mena was once again left to wander the city. She visited the thieves’ guild and the temple and soon found herself resting by the familiar fountain again. It was here that she first encountered Glarin. He was resting by the fountain and was talking to another person whose name Mena did not catch. She gathered that they were talking about a guild that they apparently were members of, named the KTN. Mena hid, and sneaked a bit closer to them to hear their conversation. They were discussing a recent kill that their Guild had embarked on, and how glorious the victory had been over the beast.

“Yes, I delivered the killing blow to the beast,” the nameless figure boasted, “I swung my sword down upon his neck and decapitated the creature. Then I skinned him to make my boots!” The person laughed loudly as he lifted his leg to the edge of the fountain to display a shining pair of skin boots. Glarin grinned evilly and grabbed the other person, then proceeded to bounce him all over the Fountain Square! Mena smiled to herself. These people seemed to have so much fun and laughter inside of them, and a part of her longed to be a part of that. She set her mind to becoming a member of this Guild, and she began to feel better. Caron returned shortly after the display in the square and Mena followed her to the ferry berth in Riversy. They journeyed west for some days, passing beautiful lakes and waterfalls along the way, and arrived in the town of Rodby. Mena had never been to a coastal town before and the smell of fish assaulted her nostrils and made her feel quite ill. She looked worriedly at a small boat that Caron had purchased off a fisherman, and nearly threw herself to the ground when she was told that Seledorn was across the ocean, and the boat was the only way to get there.

Nervously she stepped into the boat and sank to the damp floor, clinging her bag to her chest, and muttering prayers to the Gods for safety. Caron smiled at her and shook her head, then taking up the tiller she guided the boat out onto the open sea. The passage was rough, the wind tipped the boat this way and that, and water gushed over the sides. Mena was beginning to think that she would never see dry land again, when they pulled into another fishy harbour. Sighing with relief, Mena scrabbled from the boat and nearly ran up the jetty to the quayside.

Caron explained that their journey was nearly over and pressed on through the town and out into thecountryside beyond. Mena continued to follow Caron for a couple more weeks, until at last Mena saw the gates of Seledorn looming ahead of her. She smiled to herself, straightened her clothes, and then marched to the gates. Once inside, Mena looked around.This place was not as she had expected it to be, it was rather gloomy, and very quiet. In Riversy and Miramor the streets had been bustling with civilians and fellow adventurers, but Mena saw empty streets as she looked. She did not have long to ponder on this thought though, for a figure appeared out of the shadows in front of her, and she gasped. This figure wore a cape with a hood, and a veil obscuring his features from view, but Mena felt an overwhelming sense of presence as he walked closer.

“Mena,” Caron said suddenly, she too had been watching the figure approach, “Let me introduce you. This is my brother, Smeagull.”

“How do you do?” Mena asked, stumbling for anything better to say.

“Mmmm” came the reply, “Caron, you really want me to teach her? She looks like she knows nothing, I am no teacher to children.” Smeagull directed his speech directly to Caron, straight over Mena’s head as if she were not there.

“She is capable of putting a dagger into someone’s back just as well as you are brother, and besides, with a bit more knowledge, she may one day prove useful.” Caron grinned evilly as she said this, and gave Smeagull a sly wink.

“Hmmm” he pondered, “Well lets see what you can do then. Go and distract that guard over there, he has been harassing me for weeks, and I am getting rather annoyed with him.”

Mena looked hesitantly at her new tutor, but walked over to the guard and smiled her cheekiest smile. The tactic seemed to work, the guard stopped what he was doing and smiled at her, thenbefore Mena knew what had happened, the guard was on the floor bleeding with a dagger in his back. Mena gasped and looked accusingly at Smeagull, who promptly stuck another dagger into the squirming guard to silence his groaning forever.

“What you looking like that for? You knew I was going to do that so don’t try to act innocent.” Smeagull said bluntly, whilst rummaging through the guards pockets. He pulled out some coins and grinned.

“That should make up for his annoyance, I hope he learned his lesson.” And with that he turned and walked away from the corpse. Mena followed for lack of anything else to do, and they continued in this manner for many weeks. It turned out that Smeagull had many grudges with the people of Seledorn, and there were many fights and many corpses. Smeagull provided food and shelter for Mena, and answered her questions on thieving and the world they were in, and soon Mena realised that nearly half a year had gone by without her notice. She decided that it was time to return to Riversy for a while, she felt slightly out of touch with the world and needed to catch up on any recent events. Smeagull packed her off with provisions and a map of how to get there and back, and she ventured out into the world once again.

It felt strange to Mena to be back amongst people again, to be able to walk the streets and smile and laugh with others on her way. She admitted that she missed the companionship of others, but realised that she had to return to Seledorn to complete her training. Then she remembered the promise that she had made to herself, so many months earlier, and she set out in search of a particular Treehouse. The Treehouse was situated in the forest west of Riversy, and as Mena approached she felt suddenly compelled to enterit. She spent hours walking around that tree trying to find an entrance, everytime she tried the ladder she fell painfully onto her bottom, and she had concluded that there had to be another way in. Mena did not know how many hours she spent circling that tree, and feeling defeated she sat at it’s base and sighed.

“Why are you sitting at our tree?” Came a voice from above her, and Mena turned to look at it’s owner. Peeking out of the foliage of the tree there was a small head, looking curiously at her.

“I wished to gain entry to it, but it seems your entrance is too hidden for me to find.” Mena stated bluntly.

“You are sitting at the entrance,” came the reply, and the person smiled.

Mena looked around her; all she saw was the ladder. “You mean this ladder? I have tried over and over and I can’t seem to climb it.” Mena said, feeling rather foolish.

“Yes, the ladder is the entrance, but you have to be one of us, a member of Khan’s Army, before you can learn how to climb it.”

“But that is what I want to be,” Mena cried, “That is why I came here, Oh please let me join you.”

“It is not that easy,” said the face, “We have to vote on new recruits, I can put your request to the others, and if they are in favour of you, we will welcome you to our ranks.”

Then the face emerged from the foliage, and a slender female elf climbed down the ladder. She sat down next to Mena and smiled. “Now tell me your name and a bit about yourself.” She said, and Mena could tell that this was going to take some time.

It was three days later, and Mena was resting once again by the fountain. She had decided to take a trip down memory lane, and had been butchering gnomes in the eastern cave, they had been so much easier than she remembered and she felt a little disappointed. She was disturbed from her reverie by a figure standing in front of her. She looked up, and saw the face of a tall, dark skinned man looking at her.

“Mena” the figure said, “I am Brakkart, a general in the Army of the Khan, and I am here to tell you that you have been accepted into our guild.”

Mena smiled and clambered to her feet. Brakkart indicated for her to follow and they set off to the Tree. Mena hesitantly put one foot onto the ladder, fearing that she would fall down again, but this time something felt different and she climbed the ladder with ease. Once inside, Mena looked around. She was in a large hall, carved out of the tree, and she felt an overwhelming sense of calm come over her. She was greeted by others, andwas bounced so many times that her head spun! She was told to explore the tree, and to talk to the inhabitants of it. She was sitting in the shadow of the Khan’s Statue when the female elf appeared out of the shadows.

“Hello again,” She said. “My name is Gilwen, and I am here to give you your quest.”

“Quest?” Mena asked.

“Yes, “ Gilwen nodded, “Every new member to our guild has to perform a quest. It helps them to learn more about the world, and to prove their commitment to the Army.” Mena nodded, and listened to the task that Gilwen asked of her.

“When you have found what I ask for, bring it to me, and we shall talk again.” Gilwen smiled, and merged back into the shadows. Mena set out to search for the items that Gilwen wanted, and eventually she found herself in Rodby again. She looked out over the ocean, and felt a huge weight hit her heart. She had been gone from her tutor for the best part of eight months, and the realisation of that hit her like a punch to the stomach. She knew that she had to abandon her quest for the time being. There was something more important that had to be done.

She purchased a boat, dug Smeagull’s map out of her bag and nervously set sail to Elwyn. It was raining on the day that she returned to Seledorn, and she wandered about in the storm looking for her tutor. She was standing in the marketplace, taking a sip of water, when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned, and looked into the eyes of Smeagull. He was drenched, and rain was pouring off his cape, but he was not wearing his veil, and his eyes held her gaze.

“So you came back then?” he asked accusingly, there was a note of pain in his voice.

“I got delayed,” Mena said quietly, she felt suddenly guilty for not returning earlier.

“Is that what you call it, delayed? You sent no note or anything. I thought you might have been stupid enough to get yourself killed.”

“You sound like you were worried ,” Mena threw the remark at him, “I did not know that you cared.” She added sarcastically.

Smeagull went very silent after she said that, and turned away from her. “I did care,” he whispered after what seemed like hours.

“You did?” Mena asked, surprised by his answer. Smeagull nodded solemnly and turned to face her, his eyes were sad.

“But you don’t now? Is that what you are trying to say?” Mena questioned. “If I am a burden, I shall leave now.” She stated, but hoped that he would not ask her too.

“No.” He replied, and his voice held a note of urgency. “Don’t go.” He sighed and looked into her eyes. “I mean, please don’t go.” Mena looked at this man standing in front of her, and she felt a change inside of her. Ever since her father had told her to leave her home, she had held a wall about her heart, so that no one could hurt her as much as he had. Now she felt that wall crumbling, and she admitted to herself that it had been crumbling since the day that she first met Smeagull.

She jumped out of her thoughts as she felt a hand brush her cheek. “I missed you.” Smeagull said bluntly. “Those have been the three hardest words for me to say in my life, but I missed you.”

Mena swallowed hard and replied, “I missed you too.” Then she felt strong arms around her, and a mouth pressed against hers. She giggled and kissed Smeagull back, and deep inside her she felt the last stone crumble off the wall.

The next few months were amongst some of the happiest in Mena’s life. Her and Smeagull continued in their old routine of killing, but now there were differences. They smiled warmly at each other, and would hold hands whilst walking around the town. Kisses and cuddles became as frequent as the fights, and phrases like “I love you”, and “You mean everything to me,” were whispered to each other. It was Smeagull who reminded Mena about her KTN quest. She had been so happy that the memory of it had gone from her head. However, having spoken to people, she had gained an idea into where the items were and reluctantly set out after them. Her heart burnt everyday that she was away from her love, and she traveled as fast as she could so that she could soon be back with him.

Having collected all the items, Mena returned to Riversy so that she could visit the Treehouse. When she reached the fountain though she saw a familiar sight. Sitting on the floor there was a young woman with golden hair. Although Mena had not seen this person for a number of years, she knew that it was her sister, Myer. Mena approached and sat down next to her. Myer did not appear to have even noticed her, and so Mena coughed loudly.

“I suggest you take a drink of water for that throat,” Myer said, without even looking at the person beside her.

“I might just do that,” Mena said, and took a sip from her waterskin. ‘Tell me, have you always been this helpful? I remember someone far more spoilt personally.”

Myer looked troubled at this remark and turned to face the person beside her. “Mena?” she asked, and Mena nodded with a smile on her face. “ I can’t believe it is you,” Myer continued. “I have searched this city high and low for months, and have asked everyone that I have seen for information on you, but they have looked at me and turned away. I had begun to think that I had come to the wrong place.”

“Well I have been away for a long time. I can’t believe you are here, why did you leave home?” Mena asked.

“Things got so much worse after you left. Papa was furious with you, and he accused Jacob and myself for your departure. He made us do everything around the farm, I had to give up my studies so that I could help Jacob. Oh it was horrible.” Myer said and tears welled in her eyes at the memory.

“But he wanted me to leave.” Mena stated. “I am sorry you had such a horrible time, but what else was I to do? Stay there and endure beatings, or actually do what he asked?” and Mena shivered, the idea of that task still made her sick.

“We did not blame you for leaving Sis, but it seems Papa only meant to teach you a lesson, so that you would obey him. He did not think that you would be so independent as to leave.” Myer answered, and she reached out for her sister’s hand.

Mena grasped Myer’s hand and held it tight. “So what about Jacob? Surely things will be even worse for him now that you are gone?” Mena asked, she could not bare the thought of her brother being mistreated.

Myer shook her head, “No, he always was their favorite. They love him too much to hurt him, I imagine he will just be put to training. Papa wants Jacob to join the army before taking over the farm.”

“A fighter? But he is a thief, I saw to his training myself.” Mena said angrily.

“I know, and he will go his own way eventually. For now he just wants to stay on Papa’s good side." Mena nodded, that was an idea that she could understand. She stood then and motioned for Myer to follow.

“Where are we going?” Myer asked, but rose to her feet anyway.

“I am just about to become a full member in my guild.” Mena smiled, she felt proud to have finished her quest. “Perhaps you would like to join too? We could have so much fun, just like the old days.”

Myer shook her head. “I will accompany you, but I will wait outside. I don’t feel able to trust people enough to join one of these Guilds. Maybe I will one day, but not right now.” Mena nodded again, and they set off to the Treehouse. Once inside the tree, Mena searched out Gilwen and gave her the items.

“Well you took your time about it!” Gilwen remarked, “Now come with me to the top of the tree,” and she stood up and left the room. Once in the holy room, Mena saw a lot of familiar faces, and she smiled.

“We are here to pray for you,” Irzam, the leader of the Army explained, “Now bow your head and pray for yourself,” and he bowed his head in prayer. Mena copied those in the room with her and she heard herself be welcomed into the Guild. Mena felt overjoyed, she had completed her promise, and had found a new part to her life.

“Welcome to the Treehouse and welcome to the family.” Gilwen said, and Mena knew that she had at last found a home.


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