Bou and Rau: False Alarm
The commander stirred from her rare sleep to hear a disconcerting sound from the outside of the commons. She believed she heard two men conversing in Galleisian but she thought this was a device of the sleeping mind made before waking and was inclined to ignore it until the two voices became more ardent in tenor. Her eyes sprang open at the realization of the foreign presence and she reached for her knife at her bedside, preparing to attack if required. She turned to the window to ascertain the source of the voices and found the Den Asaan standing beside the opening in the wall with his broad back pressed against the stone as he listened to the unfamiliar conversation.
The commander silently prowled over to her mate with her knife gripped tightly in her hand and she craned her neck toward the window, her eyes low in concentration as she attempted to decipher the Galleisian words. She was having difficulty in the comprehension of certain phrases and she looked to her mate for signs of understanding. She observed the Den Asaan's violet, calculating eyes flicking back and forth as he interpreted their speech and his expression grimaced for each phrase he could not grasp.
"Master scout hard at work," the commander murmured to herself with pride. "What do they say?"
The giant responded with a curt grunt to signal he was dissatisfied with the meager amount of information he gleaned from their conversation.
The commander listened again, pressing her ear further toward the window to collect all their words but though she heard the two Galleisians more clearly, she could not understand them for all the endeavoring. "It's an odd dialect. I cannot translate most of what's being said," she whispered, chiding herself for her inability.
From the Den Asaan's stiff and attentive manner, she understood that the giant had not fully translated the discourse either and Rautu huffed as the Galleisians' speech finally ceased. They heard the tender footfalls of soft leather boots walking along the parapets directly above the window of the commons and as the two invaders took their leave of their opportune position, the Den Asaan swiftly donned his trappings with which to shroud himself under the darkness of the early morning light and placed his beloved sword at his side.
"I will follow them," Rautu's voice rumbled toward his mate. "You will remain here and guard your king. I will return to you in your king's chamber with reports."
The commander nodded and the Den Asaan vanished, skulking off into the shadows and up the winding stair toward the parapets. When her mate had gone, the woman had immediately hurried toward the royal quarter, running while searching for other signs of infiltration. As she raced toward the king's chambers, she observed that there was no one about at this time in the morning and there was not a sound to be heard. From her training and experience on the numerous fields of war, the commander understood the presence of complete silent to be a sign of foreboding and crept carefully around the corner of the winding halls toward the entrance of the king's quarters.
The commander was prepared to kick open the door but on further inspection she found the door to be slightly ajar. She began to fear her king had been compromised and rushed in to assail his attacker to find Alasdair standing in front of his mirror adjusting his jerkin and sculpting his short hair.
The king leaped in fright for the sudden intrusion and his terrified countenance thawed into one of confusion when he beheld the woman standing menacingly before him. She appeared in naught but her long tunic and disheveled hair to conceal her form with a threatening expression, waving her long knife about as she looked for an enemy to assail. Alasdair stepped aside as the commander lunged forward, thoroughly searching his room for signs of permeation by a supposed Galleisian threat. The king was treated to a pleasant view of her thighs as she bent to look under his suspended bed and laughed to himself as he believed she must have been subject to a nightmare of some kind.
"Is that what you look like when you wake up? No wonder you don't prefer sleep," the Alasdair said with a smile.
The commander would have made a fitting reply but she was too occupied with the notion of invasion at present and turned toward the king still panting from her run toward his chambers. "Alasdair, listen to me," the commander said in a grave tone. "Stay within this room. I know you can fend for yourself but there are two Galleisians on the parapets-"
"I know," the king said, unable to understand her concern. "That's the Galleisian ambassador and his assistant. I invited them here in hopes of reopening trade routes between our people."
The commander sighed for the misconstruction and rubbed her forehead in disappointment as she lowered her blade to her side. "I daresay that plan will fail," she said.
Alasdair's perfect brows lifted as he turned his head, casting the commander suspicious looks. "Why?"
"Because there is a certain giant stalking them at the moment who is convinced they have come to kill you."
Alasdair's eyes suddenly widened in terror, believing the ferocious Den Asaan had already rent his honoured guests in twain. The king demanded that the woman recall the giant immediately with slender hopes it was not too late, but before the commander could obey his order the giant came thundering into the royal chamber to give his reports as promised.
"Please, don't tell me you've killed them," Alasdair said with dread shaking his bearing.
"I scouted them," the giant firmly said, bothered that the king would think him so unskilled in his position. "When I saw them, I understood they were not here to invade. They held no weapons and were dressed in absurd clothing."
The commander smirked at her mate's dissatisfied expression. "Hardly soldiers at all," she said, attempting not to laugh.
Alasdair waited for no further explication and rushed out of the room to find the ambassador to assure himself that the Galleisians were unharmed. The giant was aggravated the king had little confidence in his assertion however the commander knew Rautu could not be trusted on that account as he was head scout of his people and never left any foreigner unwatched or any mission undone.
The woman placed her hands on her ample hips and spied the giant with astute misgiving. "What has your shrewd scout's mind planned for these two Galleisian gentlemen?" she asked.
The giant remained silent and his maw flexed as though he wished to say he had done nothing but was incapable of making such a fallacious declaration.
The commander fleered as she marked his subtle movements and she gestured toward the silent mountain with the point of her blade. "I understand you too intimately to know you would not leave two enemies wandering about without an ambush or a sentry in place."
The giant shifted and looked to the side as his mate drew near, unable to deny her correct claims.
"How many did you set?" she quietly asked.
"Ten," Rautu grunted.
"So little for the Den Asaan and Den Endari of Sanhedhran," the commander crooned, teasing his quick and extensive designs. "I thought you would have placed more. Are they simple trip ropes or did you indulge yourself with bear traps?"
The Den Asaan was about to reply that he would not dare to use such paltry and decidedly inferior ensnaring articles when he was master hunter capable of building those of superior quality on his own when they heard the telling sounds of one of his traps succeed in its application. There was a bustling outside the king's chamber and yelps from Alasdair and the two Galleisians rang out, calling for assistance to be let down from their high perch.
The commander and the Den Asaan rushed out of the room toward the howling sounds of fear emanating from the giant's captives and they looked out of the window to find the king and Galleisians hanging over the side of the parapets above, suspended there by thick ropes about their waists.
"Perhaps we should help his majesty down before the Galleisians begin to think we plan to disrupt their accord?" the commander laughed.
The Den Asaan reluctantly agreed and went to liberate them from his trap, grumbling that they should be left to discuss the trade agreements there rather than in the comfortable aegis of the courts to ensure the negotiations would be short and end in Frewyn's favour.