Act Two – Scene Thirteen: In another man’s shoes

In response to a recent conversation with AD Bane I set about an attempt to drag myself out of a difficult writing point by switching my point of view and writing a scene from the observer’s view. What I’ve written will not make it into the final draft, as it’s intended to be strictly from Gail’s view, but I thought that being the snippet that it is it might go well here, as a sort of limited sneak peak.

Andrue Kaorl rose slowly. He had been out in the woods for hours. It was his turn, by the drawing of straws, to watch the gate. Ridiculous, he thought, that the Irithol should continue to keep a watch on the gate in these dark hours, especially when they were so few… but then it could just as easily be argued that he was watching the western woods as he was the gate. Right near the gate an Irith on guard might not see an enemy until they were on top of him. No, instead Andrue stayed a good way back in the woods, pacing a slow circle about the gate some fifty meters out. He moved when he was cold, and stopped when he was tired. He had been sitting in the same place for some time now. I was time he rose and continued on his way.

He had not walked ten minutes when it happened. There was a sound almost as if thunder had struck here in the woods. It had not, of course. Andrue had not seen the gate to NaRasch open before, but he had heard of it from the others. He knew what this was now – knew that it could not possibly be anything else.
The wind hardly moved within the wood, but over on the gazebo a tornado had sprung up. The wind tore about the circle of the platform at speeds so great that Andrue could see it move. He broke into a run, drawing his sword even then.
He had gotten half way to the gazebo when she appeared. The transition was shocking. One moment there was nothing but the thundering roar of the wind – the next, the tornado was dying. In the middle of the circle a girl had appeared. Perhaps she was no older than Andrue, and her dress was much like the fashion of Gaeline. She appeared standing, but a moment later she fell to her hands and knees, fighting against the wind. That only lasted for a moment, however. The wind was dying, and the girl was rising.

Andrue ducked behind a tree, intent that he should not be seen yet. With his back pressed against the bark, he peered about. Slowly the girl peered around herself, looking into the woods in every direction, but she did not see Andrue. At last she walked to the edge of the circle and stepped from the stone onto the path. She did it tentatively, as though she might not be sure that the world she was looking at was real. Andrue wondered briefly what lay beyond the stone circle of the gate. He had heard that it was the house of Eliam Stragensol, but he had never seen the old man, and the stories of his house he had heard had been hardly consistent.
The strange girl was beginning to walk now. Andrue could see from his observation that she was well armed, with knives below her cloak and a sword at her back, concealed beneath the cloak with the hood hung loosely over the sheath. Andrue thought that it was hardly an effective way to carry a weapon. If she needed it out it was as likely to tangle in the hood as it was to come free. But dispite this she did not look like the sort of woman who would need a weapon. She carried herself with a sort of confidence that Andrue found it frightening to behold. She walked away down the path and Andrue followed, slipping between the shadows so as to stay out of sight. This worked for a while, but soon enough he realized that he was going to reveal himself to her soon enough. It was his duty to confront any gatepasser and bring them before the High Irith. Gomarden would not look kindly on him if he only followed her into the grounds like some frightened shadow. Andrue stepped out from the trees into the path.

“Who goes there?” he demanded.

The girl fairly jumped out of her skin. She spun around, and one of her knives was drawn in her hand. Andrue was reaching for his own sword, but the moment her shock was over she relaxed and began to resheath her weapon.

“Sorry,” said the girl, sounding embarrassed. “You startled me.” She sheathed her knife and dropped her hands well away from her weapons, trying to smile at him. “I’m Gail of NaRasch. Who are you?”

“I am called Andrue Kaorl,” he replied, letting the Kaorl resound as he always had, as his father and his grandfather did. The Kaorls were, of course, fiercely proud of their name.

“Is this Gaeline?” asked the girl. She asked it so innocently that for a moment Andrue thought she must be joking. But then he reconsidered.

“Of course,” said Andrue, a little stiffly, thinking that she, being the gate passer, should have known where she was going. “Alright then, you’ll be coming with me. By the law of the Irithol of the Karedon every passer of the gate must appear before him for judgement without haste!”

“Irithol?” said the Girl, and Andrue thought almost that she was excited to hear the name. “Are the Irithol here?”

“We are all around you,” replied Andrue. “I am an Irith.” She looked at him with wonder in her eyes, but she still did not move. “Come along now,” said Andrue, trying to be assertive. He didn’t want to have to use force with this girl. He wasn’t sure at all that he could match her. “You must appear before the High Irith.”

“Alright then,” said the girl, sounding as though he had merely suggested that they take a walk through the woods. “That’s fine. It was the High Irith I’ve come to see.” The way she said it was not as Andrue would have expected. It was as though she were saying that she saw his attempt to guard the wood, and with a respectful nod declined to be his captor. He could not doubt for a moment that if what she said were not true she would have simply turned and walked in another direction without another though toward him, heavily armed though he was. The idea unnerved him. Andrue began to walk, and the girl fell in beside him.