The night passes into morning. Our three heroes wake, pack their things, and move on from their camp. They travel north together toward the citadel of Greanfas. It is visible before they exit the trees.
The place looks different to each member of the party. To the old wizard, it is a worn out remnant of what was. To Keatoph, it is both a dungeon and a home. To Ophni, it is one of the great fortresses of men. Its walls shine in the sun. Its flag’s flicker, carried by cold wind.
They pass over the grass field between Felhind woods and the citadel. Yellow grass brushes their boots.
“Keatoph and Ophni,” Rhokie addresses them as they travel. “May I present to you the last fortress of the western King’s realm. The citadel of Greanfas. I remember many moons ago, gazing upon its walls for the first time. The feeling was incredible. Someday soon, I think I shall repeat the experience.” He glances at them and smiles. They smile back.
“You may be needing these,” he adds, tossing them each a crystal looped into a yarn necklace. They put them on. “If you cannot find each other. Simply call. The word is oikos.”
“Oikos,” Keatoph repeats without thinking. He feels his feet slip beneath him. The young warrior disappears from their left and reappears next to Ophni on the right just as quickly. He trips over his feet as he lands. The she elf giggles as she helps him to his feet. “My bad,” he mutters.
When they are near the exterior, soldiers become visible. The guard at the wall is surprised to see the group. They do not let the front gate up. Some of these men have never seen an elf, or Rhokie for that matter. The upper ranks recognize both the wizard and the boy, but seem perplexed about which to address.
“Keatoph and Rhokie,” one captain calls from the wall. “Neither of you are expected. Unless of course, the forest is now in safe domain?” He observes Keatoph. Keatoph stares silently back. “I thought not. Best you turn around then. The King’s orders are clear.”
“Ithya Dayern!” Rhokie calls back. “I haven’t seen you since you were a mere farm boy.” The soldier locks eyes with the mage. “Unless your intention is to return to that position, you would do well to open up.” For a brief stint there is nothing except a few distant chuckles.
“You have no authority here, gray wizard,” the knight answers. “Now turn back.”
The two young warriors look at the enchanter. He stares up the tower, unblinking.
“Dendron!” He commands. Again, for a second, there is a still quiet. It is broken by the movement of the trees. From out of the forest, massive timber slides. Its vines serve as tentacles, tearing through the grass and pulling itself forward. “Such a shame,” Rhokie mutters. “I quite liked the beauty of this field.” The oak comes to a rest when its branches intersect with the wall. “Shall we?”
Together they climb. It is a journey guarded by the tree itself. They step on branches, which in turn pull them toward the sun. They reach the top quickly, faster than even then if they had taken stairs.
At the top, captain Ithya and his men gape at the group. They are largely unmoving.
“Now,” Rhokie pipes, as he steps onto the wall’s walkway, “As to my authority. You would do well to remember that I am a wizard of the Arcane order. My authority comes from the old King himself. So,” He points his thumb at Ithya, “can we do this the nice way or not?”
“Right,” the captain gasps, “Right this way.” He steps to the side and allows them to pass by.
“Captain,” Keatoph addresses him as he passes. “Please have your men gather the other captain of the guards at the city hall. It is urgent.”
”Yes, my lord.”
With this, the fellowship enters into the Citadel of Greanfas. They never pass into the city streets below. Instead, they utilize the wall walkways, which provide the quickest currents across the city. Eventually, they find where the wall enters into the home of the Jarl.
“City hall,” Rhokie remarks. “I think it would be best if we enter through the front door.” He looks over the ledge. “There is no foliage nearby. It appears we are due for a climb.”
“No problem,” Ophni answers. She looks to Keatoph.
“I’ll lead the way,” he tells the group.
They climb down the wall using stones as handgrips and footholds. When each of them are on the ground. They enter Greanfas city hall.