"Mom! Mom! We're going outside and don't make food for us. We'll eat at Master Lobsters'" cried Felix as he dashed about in the kitchen. The long bath had completely regenerated his stamina and even though, he was a bit sore, it wasn't a huge problem to take a tour outside.
"WHAT! But I just made food for both of you!!!" came Lady Faye's shout from the depths of the kitchen.
"Thank you, mom!!!!!" Felix shouted back ignoring his mother's cries. He ran out and rendezvoused with Aslak, who was carrying two scale-armors and his Greatsword. "Thanks man!" said Felix, as he took the armors from him.
"Damn! All of your things are so heavy!!" commented Aslak as he wore his own scale-armor on top of his tunic. Felix too wore his scale armor on top of his tunic and strapped the belt to adjust the weight. Felix and Aslak had changed their trousers into smooth woolen trousers and were wearing long-woolen boots. It was the Month of Snowflakes and unlike when training, the temperature outside is quite low to go in simple trousers. They didn't wear any sweater or stuffs, partly because scale-armors were hot enough and partly because they would need to go around the Keep to retrieve their woolen jackets, which was an unnecessary work on their already tired legs.
"Aye, aye, sir!!"
"So, let's go - "And where would that be?!"
Suddenly, a cold voice erupted behind Aslak and Felix's back, shocking them. They turned back to see a maid, in a typical maid uniform of a white tunic, a long red skirt, but unlike other maids, her red skirt was actually slit from the middle, from where her black leggings were quite easily visible. Along with her black strappings on her waist, she made for quite an unusual maid. The maid was a young girl of about 18yrs, named Yvette and was Lady Faye's one of the most trusted aide, not as an influential figure in court, but instead in managing Felix and Aslak. She had shoulder-length pitch-black hair with a thin eyebrow, sharp and elongated green eyes. Her cold demeanor, pale skin and zero-makeup, along with her voluminous chest, thin waist and gorgeous face made her the most perfect ice-beauty among all the women of Cainshire. She was recruited a few months before Felix was born to take care of pregnant Lady Faye and has ever since been in-charge of Felix. The same goes for Aslak, too, and was brought up by Yvette, more than even his father ever since he could remember. In short, she was their attendant and big sister.
"Haha, sister Yvette, we're just going outside to take a walk. I already asked for mother's permission, so there's no problem, okay."
"Is that so?" said Yvette coldly. She clearly knows how the conversation between them went, because like a ghost she always follows the pair, allegedly even to their bathrooms.
"Yes!" replied Felix with a shaky voice.
"Sigh..." she sighed and shook her head. "Stop lying." She said and handed them two big woolen coats.
"These?" asked Aslak curiously. She glared at him and replied, "I fetched it for you. If you're not gonna, give it back."
"Ah! No, no. I'm wearing, I'm wearing." Stuttered Aslak as he wore the heavy and stuffy coat onto his scale-armor, but unlike him, Felix stared at the coat for a moment and replied, "Nah! It's too hot!"
He gave it back to Yvette, but she only glared at him and walked away without taking it. Felix looked confusedly at her when Aslak patted his shoulder and said, "You should learn to appreciate kindness and to read the situation."
The three of them walked out of the Keep and headed towards the Outer section, where the stables were. It seemed that Yvette, as Felix and Aslak's attendant was also going with them.
The Cainhorn Castle, being backed by the rocky Enning Mountains had a superb advantage of terrain and the engineers used it quite efficiently. The Castle wasn't made in complete flatlands, instead, only a small part of the Outer section was on the flatland, while the rest of the Castle was on the slopes of the mountain. The towers of the Castle were erected on the steeps protrudes in such preciseness that if looked with an eagle-view, it would give a perfect pentagon and square, but this was only for the tallest towers of the Castle. The other smaller towers, which were more like outposts compared to those towers and the walls were made on artificial slopes, extending the edges. As for the gorges, they were mostly filled with water to farm fishes, but there were also spikes hidden underneath the calm waters. Only the outer moat was free of spikes because the Great Crocodiles resided there. All the parts of the Castle were connected by long drawbridges, instead of concrete bridges with an added measure of defense and deterrence. With the grey walls of the Castle, the natural elevations and deadly waters, the insides of the Cainhorn Castle were as deadly to the enemies as it was to the defenders.
Felix, Aslak and Yvette went through various gates, drawbridges and checkpoints to reach the Outer section stables. On the way, they saw many empty towers and walls, with only a few soldiers lazing around. Even the checkpoints had one or two Sergeant, who were goofing off. It clearly showed that even though the Cainhorn Castle had superb defenses, the man power in it was disastrously small. Instead, all the soldiers of garrison were either stationed in the Outer walls or patrolling the streets of Cainshire.
Felix had heard several tales about heroes defending a Castle from invaders and monster with few numbers, but he never understood why they needed few people. Generally, more people meant more firepower and combat-strength, but according to his father, it wasn't all that great in the cases of castles. In reality, the reason for having small numbers was because of the food supply of the Lord, but in Cainhorn perspective, all the soldiers patrolling outside the Castle still had to be paid and fed, because they are still garrison soldiers. Talk about foolishness.
Reaching the Outer wall took some time due to the various distractions like the spikes protruding out of the waters or the fishes which played between these spikes and many more and when they did reach, the sun was already up on their heads. The heat of the sun forced Aslak to open his woolen jacket.
The garrison chief of the Outer wall was none other than, Peder Ruen, the Second-in-Command of garrison. He, unlike most other soldiers, was a Warden, even though a low ranking one and was recruited during Felix's grandfather, Sir Curtis. Peder Ruen wore his full suit of armor, but unlike other Wardens, he didn't use a Greatsword. He used a Svarstav, generally a swordstaff with a moderately sized sword fitted at the end of the pole. Half polearm, half sword, the Svarstav is a common weapon among the sergeants and commanders, who have served in the frontlines and understand the advantage of spears more than swords. Peder Ruen, as a man was amiable and was aged between late thirties and early forties, a height of about 6ft 8inches, making him considerably taller than normal foot soldiers. With a brunette hair, hazel-eyes and greyish hair make him more northerner than central. His usual place of comfort was on the protruding edge of the front gates of the Outer wall from where he overlooks most of the town of Cainshire.
"Ho there, little Lord!! How do you do?!!"
Peder spotted Felix and his company from a gate away and his shout was as loud as warcry, shocking the sergeants on their patrol duties beside him.
Both Felix and Aslak jumped up and waved their hands towards the distant Peder.
"Open The Gates, YOU MORONS!!!" was the reply from Peder further shocking the lazy soldiers on the checkpoints. They pulled down the lever and the drawbridge as quickly as possible, in order to not anger Peder, rather than the Lord's son. With the drawbridge drawn, the two parts were connected and on the other side, Peder was waiting for them with his hands akimbo and a broad smile on his large face.
"Hello there, Sir Peder, how do you do?!!!" said Felix walking briskly along the bridge.
"Fine, fine, Milord. Infact, you should worry about your own health, now. With the tough training of Sir Loann, it would be unusual if you don't catch a cold."
"Like hell he would catch one." Commented Aslak from the side. "After all, if he did Master would make him do the Therapy Exercises."
"Hahaha!! That's true, after all its Sir Loann, we are talking about. Anyway, again out for a walk, aren't you guys?"
"Yep, yep! We gotta taste Master Lobsters' lobsters once again or else my tummy would be upset for the next couple of days." Replied Aslak.
"Hahaha!!" Sir Peder rubbed Aslak's blonde hair and shouted at the soldiers on the ramparts of the Outer gate. "Open the gates!!!!!!!!!"
The Cainhorn Outer Castle gate wasn't only a simple wooden door or portcullis. The front gateway was guarded by three layers of gates, the very first being a steel-wood combination portcullis, then came a steel plated door which was pulled up like the portcullis and lastly another portcullis completely made of the hardest and thickest steel available. Along with the protruding rampart, ballistaes and several other stuffs, made the gateway resilient and difficult to breach from outside.
"Yessir!!" came the reply, as the soldiers on the ramparts ran to the guard room. Soon, the sounds of huge gears rotating started resounding and one by one the portcullis and gates started to rise up. Peder turned to Felix and company and asked, "Won't you be taking horses, sire?"
Felix pondered a little because his feets were still hurting a bit but sister Yvette replied faster, "Thank you, Sir Peder."
"Hahaha!!" Peder laughed out and issued orders to bring the best three horses.