The hall was fill with nobles around the tables picking up food for their plates. The maid ran around the hall with trey fill with glasses of wine. At the back ends of the hall on top the small stage, the longest table was surrounded with some nobles toasting and putting up conversation with her Lord father or his majesty the king. The young nobles of the households of Valleyfall were mainly there to marvel at the beauty of Cassandra Kylong, the royal princess of the seven kingdoms.
Belia was actually sitting with them not to long ago but stood up because she couldn't stand the fake smile of the nobles. She also couldn't help but fill disgusted at the attitude of the sons of theses household as they didn't hide the saliva slipping from their mouths as they stare at the princess.
She stood at the back beside the fireplace, leaning against the wall. The big black Dire Wolf that was bigger than a bull was sleeping calmly in the middle of all these noises. A maid pass in front of her with a trey, she reach out and took a glass of heartily smile's wine and calmly stood back while drinking slowly.
"My lady, why so lonely here in the back?" A voice that she didn't recognize spoke to her from the side. She look at the man who spoke to her and found a young man in his early twenties standing there with a soft smile on his face. He wore a robe with a Knight's armor underneath. His dark hair was glossy with oil and pull to the back. He look refine and elegant.
"I just got tire of sitting so I wanted to stand up and stretch my legs." The young knight chuckle at her and said, "just like me. I needed a walk and I hope this lady here can show me around." Belia thought for a moment and nodded. They both walk around and reach a table fill with different sort of meat. A maid stood behind the table and greet them with a smile.
"You northern do love to eat a lot. Back in the south we don't have so much varieties of beast meat." He pointed at one piece of smoked meat and the maid served on a plate for him to eat. "We are surrounded by creatures of nature all day, everyday. Of course we would have different ideas of how to cook different meat." She ask for a bowl and the maid serve her some juicy meatballs with a red spicy sauce on top.
The young man said, "I haven't introduce myself. I am Johan of house Hervender a knight in training." General Beévarn son? The smiling knight. She now understood why they call him as such. His smile was as if painted there with his sparkling white teeth showing in between his thing lips.
Belia gave a slight bow, grabing the hem of her dress and slightly bending her knees, she made a courtesy greeting of a young lady of a high noble household. "Belia Ashcold, is a pleasure to meet Ser Johan. Tales of your feats have reach our ears this far north." Johan of house Hervender is a young up coming knight from the capital. He is a genius swordman and is praise by his outstanding performance on the six forts of the south.
She couldn't deny that he was truly one of the true genius of the seven kingdoms. "Lady Belia is such a surprise to me too, to have meet such a beautiful woman in the northern lands like yourself. If I be honest, I heard about you but not because of you, but because of your older brother name Lanier, right." Belia eyebrows were thing like her mother but long like the men of the north. In a sense it brought her an air of intimidation when her eyebrows rose.
Johan continue with his soft smile and said, "I came here of behest of my Lord father. I heard that him and your father were somewhat of old rivals in the past and that my father lost to yours numbers of times. He told me to come here and challenge the eldest of you siblings for a duel to demonstrate who's stronger." He end up scratching the back of the ear when an awkward smile curl up at the corner of his lips.
Belia eyes were now fill with interest for her father old rivals. She wanted to ask more of that but there was a more important information that she wishes to know more about. "How did you train to become a knight?" Since little she has heard about knights from old tales that nanny Marilee read her when she was a child.
Knights was a branch of cultivation that was lost hundreds of years ago. It was only on the war of change that they came back and appear, this was the trump card that his majesty the king use to win the throne.
The tales went far back to when the Frost Giants descended from the lands of always winter. These were humans who have the capacity to form and hold a Force weapon inside their Aperture. Not all Martial Cultivators could actually form nor hold such creations inside their bodies. As such, with the passing of years, less knights were born in the human race and slowly disappeared from the history of the humans.
"I don't know how to explain it myself without demonstrating it. If I could put it into words, would be to coagulate your own soul. You touch the top of your abdomen like this and will it and your weapon that you have been gestalting inside would follow your will." With a hand in the center of his body Belia could see a faint glow been illuminated from there. The light wasn't piercing nor glamorous if one didn't know what to look at, they wouldn't pick up the glow at the time.
"Can you show it to me?" Belia eyes were now sparkling in interested as what it would look like, "hehe, we can't here. Maybe outside, alright." Belia also let a soft chuckle at her childish impatient.
"Little sister what are you doing standing in front of the beast meat table." She heard Stan voice at the side and she turn around and saw him with Lanier making their way to her. Johan also stare at the two siblings and his all smiling face was replace with a serious, calm look.
"Sorry, I just got daze at the ability of Ser Johan." At this time the brothers look at Johan and Lanier said, "you are a knight?" Lanier ask because he knows that most knights are older men in their thirties and fourties. The young that are training can only call themselves as squire. Going through the process of understanding of a true knight cultivation process and learning as they spend more time together.
"Johan of house Hervender, is a pleasure to meet you lord Lanier and lord Stan." Johan put a fist on his chest and bow slightly at the two. Stan and Lanier also bow with a fist on their chest and greet Johan Hervender.
"Lord Lanier my father has told me about your capabilities down in the south. He said that he once saw you saving a town from a flood in the river lands. He told me that you had inborn strength and that you created a wall in front of the town made out of huge boulders weighting tons in pounds. I couldn't possibly do that and we have the same age. I didn't think I would have seen another powerful youth from outside the capital, soo my father urge me to have a friendly spar with you if we ever travel north. And now that am here how could I miss this great chance, I hope that you could give me the honor." Johan finally let a cocky smile spread out. He was extremely confident in himself. A knights abilities may not overpower a Martial Warrior but the advantages that they have is more numerous than that of Martial Warriors that only use the Force to amplified their physical prowess and deployment of their Battle skills, something that knights also can do.
"Don't even bother, you would lose nine times out of ten." At that moment a voice was heard behind Belia and Johan who were already in front of the beast meat table. This voice wasn't from the maid that was supposed to be the only one behind them. Johan turn back and saw a youth with long, starless black hair giving his back to them. He was picking up different type of beast meat and was calmly ordering the maid to slice them in thing slices.
He had a long loaf of bread open up on his plate as he calmly put the slices of meat on the bread. Johan eyebrows furrow as he didn't felt anyone behind them, only the maid that had a smile on her face. The youth turn around to look at the group with a big sandwich made of all type of meat inside, there were also cheese with small tomatoes and lettuce.
With one hand holding the big sandwich that was over fat with meat and was actually overflowing to the side the other hand hold the plate to catch the falling meat. Johan took a deep breath as he realized that the youth in front of him was blind but something from deep inside of him was telling him that the eyes behind that piece of spotless white cloth was actually looking straight at him. And that, cause an uncomfortable feeling from the depths of his heart like a prickling feeling on his skin.
He only felt like this when he started his Knight's training. When he was just opening the Aura Nodes around his body. Everytime he was in front of his father, he felt this suffocated feeling. Now he has grown stronger, obviously still not at his father level but he now didn't felt that suffocating feeling like when he was young. Now he's been feeling it from a youth younger than him, would that means that his power is way higher than his father?
He banned those thoughts as he didn't dare to believed. "And from who's house is this little brother from?" Johan took out his practical smile as he knows that his prior experience was unslightly for his Knight's name.
Belia chime in and grab Cyrus hand to take a bite out of his sandwich, after taking a bite she cover her mouth and said with a stuff mouth, "Good, but it would have been better with fry chips potatoes inside, no." After finishing chewing and swallowing she look at Johan and said, "this is our little brother, Cyrus." Johan eyes widened and he didn't dare to believe it. Cyrus didn't look anything like a men of the north. What define the men of the north is not only their robust and big physique but their square jaw lines and big foreheads. Cyrus jaw was sharp and refine, elegant like boy of royalty.
"He is an orphan, so father brought him up in the castle with us when he was really little. So we adopted him into our household as such. He is the little brother of us the Ashcold childrens." Johan nodded at Stan explanation and thought that made sense.
"Cyrus, right...why did you say that I wouldn't be a match against lord Lanier? You have never watch me battle nor known the extent of my abilities." Cyrus mouth was full of food but he still talk without an ounce of need for nobility in him. "Simple, for me to defeat Lanier I only need to hit him once but you I could defeat you with my mere Aura. Aren't you feeling a prickling sensation on your skin? Isn't that the best answer, only is that you don't want to believe it." He still mind his own business and finish that long loaf of bread and went back to the table to get more.
Belia at the side shook her head at Cyrus bluntness. He has always been like that, he spoke his mind off and didn't care who was in front. He was always living on his own world, detach from everyone but at the same time curious about the surrounding world. He would poke his nose were it doesn't belong to and would seek to entertain himself if the so time calls for it.
She look at Johan who was left with an open mouth at the side and she didn't know what to said to him. She saw anger flash through his eyes and she couldn't help but said, "why not have a spar you two. Ser Johan if you don't believe Cyrus, you could just see the results yourself. It would also help me see the ability of a knight as you have told me." Ser Johan was angry at first but he masked well with that smiling face.
"What do you say big Lan?" She ask her eldest, he shrugged his shoulder and said. "Mind as well, I needed a stretch after all that eating this morning." Belia clap her hand and became expectant for this spar. She wants to know how a knights weapon look like and see if she has an opportunity to train in that occupation. She look back but didn't found Cyrus, looking around the hall she saw his black blur passing left and right to every table. No matter if there was fruit or salad, meat or roasted chicken, wine or beverages. He didn't miss a single table, only the long table on the stage was the one he didn't come close to.
What Belia found weird while looking was that no one in the hall took notice of him. Only the maids that were serving food to the place responded to his presence. "Well let's go out. Why wait here, let's go." Lanier was pump up at the thought of battling a knight and was the first one to cross the hall, Ser Johan was right behind him and only her and Stan were standing at the same spot. They both look at each other and shook their heads at the same time while following the two outside the hall.