CHAPTER 36

Seeing that there was no longer a need to draw out the assassins, Wilson insisted that they hired gryphons from Redpath and flew to their final stop.

"We still don't know why they are after squires-"

"You were tasked with the investigation into the matter of the East Kingdom assassin," Wilson said the third time in this argument. "Not the Hylan assassins nor the Saldarian assassins. Your investigation has come to an end."

"The agent said-"

"I care little for what the agent said. I am your friend, Fayte, and I am also the priest responsible for your safety on this journey, and I say no more unnecessary risks," Wilson stated quite firmly. "We ride for Redpath and we fly to Tyrox from there. End of discussion."

They did not speak to each other from Roseville to Redpath where they hired gryphons without lingering about. John wanted to get more wine but they promised him that he would find more than he could drink in Tyrox. It was late after sunrise when the city finally came into view.

Tyrox, the Hero City. The significance of this place was not the city of Tyrox itself, but the mountain that led to its creation as people believed that the land around this mountain was blessed. For Tyrox was situated at the base of Mount Tyrus, where the brave Eres Star Templars fought against the minions of the Great Evil, battling with their lives to see the Chosen Herald up to the summit where he would summon the nine heroes.

It was where Fayte would end his pilgrimage and receive the Light of the Spirits from Sera.

"You have defeated a band of bandits," Wilson yelled for the wind stole much of his voice. "Killed an assassin from the East Kingdom, defeated a mage on your own, and did battle against two Hylan assassins. You were the true hero who saved Hylan when the Saldarian demon threatened us. Even if we had travelled by land, no fool would dare confront you."

The trip up Mount Tyrus was to be made alone. Priests were there to protect and teach their squires, but this final part of their journey was for them alone. If there were still assassins out there waiting to attack him, Mount Tyrus was where they would surely strike. Fayte was not afraid but Wilson's words had reassured him and reminded him that he was strong.

The city glittered in the morning light as the two gryphons descended smoothly. Tyrox was large and rich and home to many merchant lords who controlled certain goods in Hylan. From silk to rare wine, gems to white gold, Tyrox was the richest city in Hylan. But even as the city glittered and shined, its beauty could not compare to that of Iredis, and its walls were not so high as the ones that protect Rondiar.

"Another squire!" the jolly gryphon master said. "Welcome, welcome, to the final stop of your pilgrimage!"

He thanked the kind man and his assistants before leaving the roost to enter the city. The walls of Tyrox were not so daunting as the ones that stood for Eres Star City. With the right tools Fayte could see himself scaling it with much ease. He smiled and bowed his head at the soldiers by the gate.

"The Hero of Hylan has arrived at last," a knight called from atop his horse. "Tyrox welcomes you, Fayte Kaywin."

"Fair morning to you, Captain Windon," Fayte said, pleasantly surprised to see him here. "What brings you to Tyrox, Captain?"

"Matters of the Order," the man said, greeting Wilson and John before dismounting. The last time they met, Captain Windon was still on leave. Today the man was in his suit of armour with his helm around his arm. "Your father believes that squires might be attacked here."

"And he sent you here?" Surely a Captain had more pressing matters to attend to.

"No he did not. He merely tasked me to ensure the safety of all squires who arrive in this city. I only arrived yesterday to check on things." He placed a hand on Fayte's shoulder. "I did not expect to see you here today."

The Captain led him into the city.

Tyrox streets were wide and crowded with stalls filled with hot buns and vegetables and fresh meat. The morning crowd was out and about, with ladies haggling and children chasing one another. A few boys stopped when they saw them, pointing at the Captain and then at Fayte. They seemed to recognize him so Fayte smiled and wave at them.

"Why not, Captain?"

"Why? Well because tomorrow is the day Hylan joins with Saldara," he said, and saw that Fayte had clearly forgotten. "The marriage between the Grace of Hylan and the brave Prince Rinmar who so gallantly said nothing as our Princess showered him with false glory for rescuing her from the evil sand demon."

Fayte had to laugh and the knight softened his expression.

"I do not judge you for giving the wedding a miss, Fayte," he said softly. "I would not attend myself even if your father had not prevented me from attending."

"Father would not let you go?"

The Captain nodded. "None of the Captains will be in attendance tomorrow. Nor will any person of high command in the other Orders. Your father does not want the Orders of Rondiar headless and without shoulders should there be a mishap during the wedding."

He's afraid that the Saldarians might try something.

"I know what you are thinking, but the Saldarians are not your father's only fears."

"The matter of the East Kingdom will soon be resolved," he told the Captain. "They have-"

Wilson cleared his throat.

"He is Captain Windon," Fayte said. "We can trust him."

"You were commanded by the King," Wilson reminded him. "And so it is to the King who you shall report to. No one before him. Not even your father. I trust you will understand, Captain Windon."

"Of course, good priest," said the Captain, and he tapped Fayte on the back his head. "Do not share information so freely, not even with those you think you trust."

John suddenly overtook them.

"We'll stay at that inn." He pointed at the inn, then his finger moved to the building right across it. "And I'll be at that tavern."

And off he went to get himself drunk.

"I see he is still with you," said the Captain. "And for what purpose did he serve on your pilgrimage?"

Fayte shrugged when he thought about all that happened. "He is possibly the last surviving member of the once royal Greyblade family. What purpose he serves Sera has yet see fit for us to be in the know."

"The last of the Greyblades, that man?" Captain Windon was doubtful. "Well, as you said, Sera works in her own ways. So tell me, when do you intend to make the trip?"

He turned to the north where the mountain stood with its high peak amongst the sky. All of a sudden a bolt of light shot down from the sky onto the peak of Mount Tyrus. The people around them quietened for a moment and watched as the clouds were blown apart by the shaft of light. Slowly the light began to fade, leaving a gap in the clouds. And when all seemed normal again, everyone around them cheered.

A knight has been born.

Captain Windon was beaming with pride. "You best hurry, Fayte. I hear Sera just blessed Julin."

That was Julin? Fayte laughed for he was surprised and truly glad for his friend. "The same Julin who forfeited the fight when he saw…"

"Yes, that same Julin," the Captain said. "I was worried about him to be honest, but after Jeremiah's death, I saw a fire in that boy's eyes. I met him yesterday at the headquarters just as he was about to set off. He told me that if anyone should have died, it should've be him. But Sera allowed him to keep his life instead of Jeremiah, so he swore that he would become a knight for Jeremiah. He resolved to become stronger. You will be amazed at how much the boy has grown in such a short period of time, Fayte."

"I should hope to duel with him soon."

The Captain seemed confused. "Oh you misunderstand. Julin is still an embarrassment with the sword, but on the inside, he has grown tremendously."

Hearing from the people around him, Fayte found out that Julin was the sixth squire to have received Sera's blessing. The sixth squire out of the six squires who had arrived thus far. Every one of them now blessed with the Light of the Spirits. All that remains for them was to be knighted by the King himself for it to be official.

"I leave at sunset," Fayte said, and before anyone could protest, "just as the Templars did when they escorted the Chosen Herald up the mountain. I will arrive at the summit as the sun rises. And is it then when I will say my oath and let the spirits judge if I am worthy."

Ascending the mountain in darkness was not wise, but there was a clear path leading up to the peak of Mount Tyrus. It was symbolic enough for the Captain and Wilson to not try and dissuade him.

"I will await you at the foot of Mount Tyrus at high noon," the Captain informed him. "I shall like to be the first to challenge you to a duel, Fayte."

"Respectfully, Captain," said Fayte, "I shall enjoy beating a Captain for my first victory as a knight."