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The Sword of Light: Book One of the Veredor Chronicles

Eben pondered the stories as he packed his bag. He knew the roads that led north would be
dangerous. His thoughts were interrupted by a gentle tapping at the door. He opened the door and
looked out to see old Vera, the baker’s wife, standing just outside. Vera was a very old woman with
grey hair and blue eyes that were full of cheer. She looked up at him with a warm smile.
‘Hello there my dear boy,’ she said as she stepped inside and out of the cold.
‘Vera, I wasn’t expecting you.’
‘I’ve come to bring you some bread. We baked it this morning especially for you,’ she said,
setting the basket down on the table. She turned to face him. ‘How are you my boy? We’ve been
worried about you living all alone up here on the hill. Is everything alright?’ she asked as her eyes
glanced across at his half packed bag on the floor.
‘I’m fine.’
‘It looks to me that you are planning to go somewhere,’ she said, a look of worry crossing her
face.
There was a short silence as Eben thought of how best to tell Vera about his planned journey to
Ancora. He knew that Vera cared for him like an aunt would for a nephew, and he also knew she
would probably be opposed to any suggestion of an adventure beyond the boundaries of Clemensdale.
‘I am, Vera. I’m going on a journey.’
She nervously scratched her chin and shook her head. ‘Eben, you should reconsider. There are
many terrible things out on the roads of Ortaria. Erako would have wanted you to stay safely here in
Clemensdale. You have an important place here in our village. We care about you; you know we do.’
‘I know, Vera, but please understand I must go to Ancora. If my parents are out there somewhere I
still may be able to find them. I know the road will be dangerous, but it’s a chance I’m willing to
take.’
She took his hand and warmly smiled. ‘I understand what it is like to have so many questions and
no answers. If you really must go then you also must stay safe. You don’t know much about the
outside world, none of us here in Clemensdale do. Don’t trust anyone. It’s not like Clemensdale out
there; the people beyond the hills are only interested in what they can take from you. They say it’s all
about take, take, take in the north. Keep your eyes wide open. Always remember your home and your
people. Once you find what you seek hurry home to us. We will be waiting for you.’
‘Thank you, Vera.’
**
Eben had been walking for three days. He had set out from Clemensdale taking only his leather
cloak, a hand axe, his hunting bow, enough food for several weeks on the road, and the Ecorian
Sword that was mentioned in the letter. He had decided to take the back road from Clemensdale to the
main highway.
It had rained heavily overnight and dark clouds filled the sky above the hilly terrain. Not a single
bird could be heard singing that morning, and a deep gloominess had settled over the land. The road
ahead looked rugged and unpleasant. He expected a long day of tough trekking along the rocky and
rarely trodden way.
The back road led northeast toward the main highway which he planned to follow all the way to
the port city of Ancora. Stories of bandits and other unspeakable terrors on the northern road had
convinced him the back way to the highway would be his best option. The road had already proven to
be challenging; it traversed many deep valleys and unstable ridges, and often he found it difficult to
know whether he was actually following the road or had strayed off onto a goat track.
The brightness of Clemensdale faded away the further he moved north. It seemed that the trees
were struggling against a silent and invisible force. The leaves were withered and their branches
drooped. The light of the sun struggled to make it all the way to the ground, and a murky feeling
permeated the landscape. His hope pushed him to persevere, and he wasn’t going to let a road or the
gloominess force him to turn back. He had his sights firmly set on the great capital of Ortaria.
**
Eben’s dark eyes surveyed his surroundings. He had arrived at the place where the old back road
intersected the main highway that led from Ancora to the Iron Gate Pass. The landscape around was
dotted with large oak trees rising up over moss covered rocky ground. Directly ahead of him were the
ruins of an ancient village. Most of the stone houses were completely derelict, and all the inhabitants
had long since moved on. A stream flowed through the village, pouring down out of the hill country
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