I had fun writing this chapter. I was torn where they should be talking but I eventually decided I would rather just pick a random spot than spend half the day trying to decide where. Keep in mind that Aurora was plagued by the Crawlers a year or two before Fable 3, so I'm writing it like they don't exist because I'm fairly sure that they haven't attacked Aurora yet. And a special thanks to Guest, I read their review and it got me into motion and I finally decided to finish this chapter. To bad they don't have an account (P.S. I put your reviews as my lockscreen to make me happy). Remember your three R's; Read, Review, and Rate (although there's no rating system...I guess rate in your head)
"Where to begin my story?" Antero muttered, mostly to himself. He gazed across the tree tops. Sparrow shifted and dangled her legs off the city wall. It had taken awhile to convince Antero that it was one of the most scenic views and it was worth the climb. He was hesitant but when he saw her clamber up there, he had decided to give it a try. It was fairly simple. All he had to do was persuade the general goods store owner to let him climb onto his roof for a minute or two. He went the same way Sparrow had went; up the stairs, out the window, onto the roof, and, with a good running start, run up the city wall. Sparrow had said it was the best store to use for this particular task, it being so close to the wall and all.
Once they had both settled down onto the wall, Antero had found that Sparrow was right; it had the best view in all of Bowerstone Market. From up here he could see miles of trees stretching out beyond him with Bower Lake a blue blob in the distance. Giant, puff clouds lazily floated above their heads in the turquoise sky. The sounds of the market lay underneath them, gently bubbling up the wall. Song birds sang with all their hearts and added a layer to the city noise.
"I suppose I could start with the grand City of Aurora." Antero said after a moment of pause. Sparrow leaned forward at the name. Grand City of Aurora? What made it so grand?
"I was born and raised in a small village a few miles from the city; it had always been a big wonder that my father would always talk about when I was growing up. He and a few other men would sell livestock and crops there, that's how we made gold. My dad would always talk about taking me with him one day when I was older, told me that when I had become a man he would take me. See, when a boy from our village turned sixteen we would have a celebration. Sixteen was the age one became a man.
"The father would buy his son a sword and pass down his own. The one that got passed down would become a family heirloom of sorts. It was only to be used once when you went out on your journey to become a man. Becoming a man isn't just a happy celebration with a feast and flowing wine. Before you can eat or dance or join in the festivities you have to walk the sands with the family sword. You have to slay a Sand Fury before you can truly be a man." Antero shuddered even though the air was warm. Sparrow noticed and asked curiously, "What's a Sand Fury?"
Antero growled, "Sand Furies are a blight to the land of Aurora. They kill our livestock and steal our crops and raid our villages. They may be female, but they show no mercy and they receive no mercy. They are the finest swordsmen around. I've seen a group of armed men killed by a single Sand Fury."
"Then how did you kill one, a lonesome man with only a sword?" Sparrow had a disbelieving smirk on her face.
"I didn't." Antero's words were so soft and pained that the smirk fell right off Sparrow's face.
"I wasn't even two miles from my village when it attacked me, rose right out of the sand like a damned snake. If I had my sword sheathed I would have been dead. I blocked it's blow just in time to keep my head from rolling around in the sand. It was then when I realized I was going to die. I had been to lazy all the previous years to train for that moment properly. Sure, I knew how to block and how to strike but I didn't know how to dance with my blade. I was to stiff. It was maybe thirty seconds in before it cut me from chest to hip.
"I fell to the ground and the thing was raising it's blade to finish me off when an arrow came from nowhere. It lodged itself into her neck, right in the spine. It was dead before it hit the ground. The man who did it was traveling by when he heard our fight. He got there just as it struck me. Eorn was his name. A great warrior and he soon became a second father to me. He carried me all the way back to our village, telling my father how I had barely managed to kill the Sand Fury.
"I healed for a week, staying in bed the whole time. Eorn lingered by my bed. Whenever I would come to he would tell me of his adventures and ask me pointless questions about myself. In that week I gained a friend.
"After I was on my feet he traveled with my father back to the city. I was permitted to go this time," Antero smiled at the memory.
"You never forget the first time you see the City of Aurora. It is massive. Towers climbing high into the sky, clay houses stacked one on top of the other, wide streets filled with makeshift stalls. The castle is large as life sitting back beyond the vendor's cries. The shops are big and airy. I remember a well sitting in a square. It was several feet wide and deeper than the earth. The water from it tasted so crisp and fresh, it was like mist on your tongue." Sparrow closed her eyes as Antero painted the picture of Aurora. She could feel it's heavy sun, the sand under her feet, the cold water rolling down her throat as she listened to the city burst with life. She lay back.
Antero decided to visit the realm himself and closed his eyes while muttering, "Colorful birds would swoop down from the sky. All sorts of shades; seashell pink and ocean blue, forest green and rose red, violet and sunset orange. Some had several colors. They would try to steal food from the little children that ran the roads. How could you blame them? You could smell the food before you entered the city. Filleted fish would sit in the shade. Imported chicken would twirl on a spit above a roaring fire next to baking hot cakes. Lizard pot pie could be seen from the streets, it's crust slowing rising in the open oven.
"Friendly chatter would fill your ears as vendors and customers would chat about everything under the sun. Children danced around your legs and stray dogs would chase after them with wagging tails and happy barks. Mothers would carry their babes in a weed woven basket thrown over their backs and tied securely around the chest. The occasional dockworker would pass you by with a greeting on his lips and boxes of goods in his arms." They both sighed in bliss.
"I wish I could visit Aurora." Sparrow said sleepily.
"It's a wonderful city. Better than I describe." Antero replied, "Now tell me about Albion."
Sparrow turned her head to look at Antero. She didn't know where to start, maybe Bowerstone?
"Well, Bowerstone is the biggest city in Albion. There's four parts to Bowerstone; Bowerstone Market, Old Town, Bowerstone Cemetery, and Fairfax Gardens where Castle Fairfax sits," saying the name still sent a pang through Sparrow, "Bowerstone Market is mostly, well a market. If you go down the south street you get only houses. West takes you to a few shops with houses further back, same goes for the north street. The square has the Cow and Corset, an inn, a blacksmith, an alchemist, a carpenter, and a bookshop. There is a jeweler stand and a fruit and vegetable stand. On the bridge you have a meat seller, a fish seller, and a drink stall. Just under us is the general goods store and the Coach House. Old Town is mostly houses with the exception of some stalls. I doubt I need to tell you about the cemetery. Fairfax Gardens is a huge garden with flowers and trees everywhere." Sparrow looked down at her dangling feet.
"What about the castle?" Antero asked.
"It's big, it's made of stone, and it sits in the garden." Sparrow said curtly. Antero didn't push the matter.
"How about the rest of Albion?"
"Albion is a beautiful land. Forest mostly, with thick oaks big enough that if you and I hugged the tree, we wouldn't touch hands. The leaves are wide and shady; the creeks that run through the forest are cool and fresh. The grass is soft enough you could mistake it for goose down. Bower Lake is a sight to see. Water so blue and silky you'd wish you were a fish. It's clear enough to see down to the bottom."
Antero asked, "Are there any other cities besides Bowerstone?"
"Bloodstone, Oakfield, and I guess you could count Westcliff." Sparrow wrinkled her nose at the thought of Bloodstone. Antero noticed.
"Bloodstone? What's wrong with Bloodstone?"
Sparrow sighed up at the clouds before answering, "Well, it's not what you would call I sight to see. Unless you like hookers, then you get your fill pretty fast," Sparrow smirked when she heard Antero's snort and continued, "The houses are too close together and too small, the people are lawless and not to mention hateful, it's usually dreary weather year round, and Wraithmarsh is slowly sucking the life out of the town. Sound like a place you want to visit?"
"Maybe not, if I knew what Wraithmarsh is."
She had forgotten that Antero didn't know anything about Albion. It felt weird telling of things she hardly gave a second thought to. Everyone knew what Wraithmarsh was. Everyone knew Bloodstone, everyone knew the land and the people and the tales that flowed through the heads of the young children. Sparrow had never known anyone that had lived outside of Albion. She had always thought that Albion was all there was. Albion was her whole world, how could she ever tell all that lay inside of it to a stranger?
"Wraithmarsh is a swamp where Oakvale used to be. Oakvale was a small village where the Hero of Oakvale grew up." Sparrow sighed realizing how much explaining she was going to do, "The Hero of Oakvale was the master of the 'hero traits'. He saved Albion a few hundred years back from Jack of Blades." Sparrow bit her lip and didn't mention that they were related.
"Anyways, Oakvale was destroyed twice, but the second time was the last. There was a boy who feared death and made a deal with the shadows to become immortal. The village served as a sacrifice. Everyone, but the boy, was killed and the town and surrounding woodlands became a place of evil, turning into a swamp. It cuts Bloodstone off from the rest of Albion."
A spark inside Antero's eyes set off a wildfire of interest when he heard the underlying tales of the story of Wraithmarsh. The Hero of Oakvale? Jack of Blades? And most of all, the boy who killed a whole town to live forever. Already Albion was sounding more and more enticing. Was there another hero with "hero traits"? When he voiced this question Sparrow's face turned red.
"Um, well, I- I've heard of one. A rumor really, no one knows who it is. I guess uh it's not definite." Sparrow looked down at her feet, hoping her hair blocked the creeping blush that was coloring her face.
"Hmmm," Antero, deep in thought, barely noticed Sparrow's obvious lie.
"If you want to do research you can always head over to the library," Sparrow hesitated before blurting, "I'll go with you, I need to return some books and maybe get some more. I also need to get rent, should probably pay late fees. I could show you how to get there, it's not far, and you might get lost or go in the wrong building-" The look Antero gave her stopped her rambling.
"That is, if you want me to go." Suddenly the stone wall became very interesting. Had it always been that color? Did they sand down the stones? She glanced up when Antero laughed.
"I'd love for you to escort me. Getting lost can be a bitch." Sparrow giggled for the first time in what felt like years.
I don't know about you, but I feel like Antero's name is weird... I don't know maybe it's just me being me. Hope you liked it, I know I loved writing, although I still feel like the dialogue is kinda awkward, of course I'm an awkward person. Sorry if the history is a little off. Don't forget to review, it'll make me happy to wake up on the 28th with reviews (they make excellent birthday presents *wink wink elbow to the ribs*)