3: Serving the Regent - Part Thirteen
He looked around the dark bedroom he shared with his siblings. Alak and Kara were sleeping soundly and it was still dark outside. He heard something move in the other room and he cautiously crept out of his bed and opened the bedroom door. His eyes could make out a shape moving toward the door and he realized it was Bren. Felanar noticed through the window that it wasn’t completely dark outside for the sky was lightening in the pre-dawn hour. Pack in hand, Bren opened the front door and quietly stepped outside. Felanar crept over to the window and saw Bren in the growing light prepare his horse, mount him, and trot quietly away. As the sound of the hoofs faded in the night air, he could just make out that Bren turned, not straight north toward the Old Highway, but east into the heart of the Heatherwood. Soon the horse and rider disappeared between the trees and all was quiet. Felanar went back to bed and fell asleep.
Eleven days later Bren returned. It was dusk and the family was eating supper when they heard him knock. This time Bren was dressed in a green hunting outfit and boots, but he conveyed the same casual feeling. Felanar ran over to greet him as Bren looked down and smiled. He also nodded toward Alak and winked at Kara, who blushed.
He joined them at their meal and spent the evening telling them about the outpost that was his temporary home. The Kings had long ago established the Tranith cities along a network from Khrea to Arenar. The Royal Highway connected them all through the Guardian Mountains of Khrea from Tranith Heron down through Tranith Toar and then sweeping across the vast Plain of Talenar toward Delendor and Tranith Argan. With the Kings at their peak, their power ensured the safety of all travelers along the Royal Highway. With the death of the Kings, however, the power to enforce safety diminished and the distances involved were too vast. It was 200 leagues between Tranith Toar and Delendor alone. Organized bandits took advantage of the lax security and threatened travelers along the road. For a time saarks (and even worse) dared to enter the Eastern lands.