Cerys and the others picked up on his worry; t did not make them feel any better.
“What do we do?” she asked him.
“We make our way in,” Nashtra to told them. “We cannot stop now just because of the crowd.”
Steeling himself, he led the others down the road. He began calling out over the heads of the other people, announcing that he was there on official business. “Make way for the messengers,” he called out. “We have a message to deliver to the castle! Make way!”
The villagers did not look happy to be moved aside, but in the end they did as requested. It was slow going still, but Nashtra ensured that they soon made their way up to the gate. The guards crossed their spears and looked up at them.
“What business have you in the capital city?” one of them snapped.
“I bring messengers from the south,” Nashtra informed them. “They have an urgent message for the castle.”
The guards looked at one another, then back up at him. “What good would it do now?” one of them asked him.
“What harm would it do, either?” The other said. He pulled his spear aside. “Go on, let them through.”
“Is something amiss?” Nashtra asked them.
The first guard shook his head. “Plenty,” he said. “Just get in, and good luck.”
Seeing that the guard did not want to explain anything, the elf led his fellow travelers through the gate and into the city. People were going everywhere, and soldiers too, trying to control them. They seemed very upset by something or other. They stayed straight on the main task, which led up a slight incline towards the castle. It was made of white stones mostly, mixed with grays here in there. The towers pierced up into the sky, narrow, almost windowless.
The closer they got to the castle, the worse the crowds became, and the more chaos there seem to be. Even Nashtra announcing to everybody that he was a messenger on his way to the castle did not seem to move anybody. There was yelling, crying, people running if they could. They got stuck at one point, and the guards could not seem to shift the people. That was when they heard someone calling his name.
“Nashtra! Over here!”
He and the others turned to see someone on the wall above them.
“Is that…? Cerys asked, gasping.
“It’s James,” Nashtra said, frowning.
Himeko’s eyes widened, unsure whether she was able to believe what she was seeing. “How could he have gotten here before us?”
“Just wait there,” James called down to them. “I will see that you get through!”
As soon as he said it, he was gone, and it was a few moments later several soldiers marched out of a nearby gate, forcing the people aside. There was just enough space to allow the horses through, and they quickly clopped inside with their riders. The gates slammed shut behind them, and they found themselves in a bailey that was relatively empty compared to the city street did they had just been in.
“I have been searching for you everywhere!” James called out as he walked up to the party. “What took you so long to get here?”