Home of a mother, wife, writer

Story a Day: Day 20 – “Looking for Allies”

Today’s prompt for Story a Day was to write a piece of fan fiction. I almost skipped today, not having any ideas. Then, I finished listening to the audio Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas. I’ve been discussing it with a friend as we listened, as we’ve done with the other books in the series. We were discussing possible theories and other ships than the couples who are currently matched up. We’ve also thrown out theories that a character might actually not be dead. This could just be wishful thinking on our part, since every time he’s been mentioned in the books, they say he’d DEAD. Not believing it, though. So, this is my thought of how he could come back into the series.

Obviously, these characters and this world do not belong to me. Just borrowing them for a short time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sam Cortland made his way down the side alley, keeping a cautious eye on the entrance. He knew just what could come out of the dark shadows at you. Had nearly lost himself to those dark shadows. He wouldn’t let it happen again.

He’d been on the southern continent for nearly two years now. Less than that, considering how long the trip had taken getting here. But, it still didn’t feel like home. He doubted it would ever feel like home.

Maybe no place ever would again.

He shook his head and turned back to moving down the alley. She would have sniped at him until he broke out of this mood. Too bad she wasn’t here with him. Sam had wanted to find her and bring her with him when he’d received that urgent message. What would have happened if it hadn’t come. Or if he hadn’t read it in time.

He wouldn’t be here, that was for sure. He may not even be breathing.

“But, you are, Sam.” He always heard the words in her voice. Could she still be alive, too? Would he have let her live. Had his supposed death been enough of a message? Those questions had haunted him so much over the last years. But, there were no answers to be found. Not unless he returned to Rifthold. Soon, he kept telling himself. Soon, he’d be able to. Then, maybe he could finally know.

His fingers brushed over the handle of his sword as he stepped into the side doorway into the tavern. He never took his safety for granted. Not anymore. Not that he truly had, though he’d always thought he would be able to handle anything that came at him. When Celeana had been at his back, he likely could have.

He was on his own now, though.

He stepped into the tavern, looked around. Nothing to be concerned about. Only a few tables were occupied at this time. It would get busy later, but for now it was a quiet place to do some business. No one appeared to be waiting for him.

He signaled one of the serving girls to bring him some ale and headed for a table in the corner. Hopefully he wouldn’t have to wait long. The girl set a mug on the table in front of him, and when she moved away, he noticed a man leaning against the counter, his gaze right on Sam. How long had he been there? Sam should have noticed him before.

Once their gazes locked together, the man started toward him. Sam lowered one hand toward the dagger on his belt. The man had an odd gait, but he wouldn’t call it quite a limp. Sam still had the sense he could be dangerous. There was something else there, too, but Sam didn’t dig too much into that. There was time for that once he decided if that danger was aimed toward him.

His golden-brown eyes never left Sam’s face as he crossed the room. In the dim lighting, Sam couldn’t tell quite what color his hair was. There was a strength to him that went beyond the muscles evident in those arms.

The man didn’t ask if he could join Sam, just pulled the chair out and dropped into it. There was a brief wince then his face cleared. Sam’s hand tightened on the hilt of his dagger. “I didn’t say I wanted company.”

“That’s a good thing, since I didn’t ask.” He held a hand out to Sam. “Chaol Westfall, the Hand of the King of Adarlan.”

Sam didn’t respond or clasp his hand. But, his hand did tighten on the hilt of the dagger. His jaw tightened as well. The man didn’t react to that, though. He just said, “King Dorian, the new king of Adarlan.”

That made Sam loosen his grip in shock. “You mean prince Dorian.”

“Not any longer. He’s king now and looking for allies. You were pointed out as someone who is good in a fight. Adarlan, and all of Erilia, could use all the good fighters it can find.”

Sam was supposed to be meeting about a contract here tonight, but suddenly Chaol Westfall had all his attention.  “What kind of fight?”

“The kind that will keep darkness from sweeping over all the land.”

Sam was caught in the other man’s eyes for a moment, then he shook that off. “Why do you think I’d want to be involved in that kind of fight? Not like it’ll reach here. I have contracts that I’m sure pay better.” Contracts that would bring in the money he needed to find Celeana again.

“A lot of things have changed in the years since you died, Sam Cortland, but I doubt you’ve changed that much from the boy Celeana Sardothien loved.”

Sam jerked his dagger out and had it pinned an inch from Chaol’s hand before he even thought of acting. His chest heaved, but the other man hardly reacted. “What do you know of her?” he demanded.

“If you agree to come with me, I’ll tell you.”

Sam swallowed hard. The thought of seeing Celeana again had him nearly agreeing. But, it could always be a trap. He had to be careful not to step right into another one of those. “How did you find me?”

“For an apprentice of the king of assassins, you don’t hide very well, Sam.”

That had him jerking the dagger out of the table and pointing it toward Chaol. “How did you know that?” No one here knew about his connection with Arobynn. He’d figured he was far enough away from Adarlan to use his real name, but it was almost impossible to slip away from Arobynn’s influence.

“We have a mutual acquaintance. Though I was surprised to hear your name when Ael-Celeana had told me you were dead.”

Her name from his lips again. There was something about the way he said it. That he had history with her, too. He hadn’t thought he’d ever hear someone else say it, though. He’d almost called her something else, though. He wanted to find out what it had been.

He sheathed his dagger again. It didn’t matter if this was a trap. He had to know.

“I’ll go with you,” he said. “Whether I join your fight remains to be seen, though.”

Chaol seemed to accept that as satisfactory. He stood and motioned for Sam to follow him. He’d do that, but he’d certainly keep an eye on his own back. He wouldn’t die when he might possibly be so close to seeing Celeana  again.

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