May 282012
 

Start Reading From Chapter One

 

Missive to Greyslan Amberglass from Council

Storm Season Fourth Quarter Third Wheel Day

We appreciate the men of The Blackland Marches are willing to offer themselves for your care on your journey back to council.  And we are willing to balance the cost of their guardianship against the cost of a more expedient return to our care.  Should, however, you need greater protection; we shall assuredly take responsibility of your journey at whatever point is prudent. 

Understand, however, your actions have caused us to wonder at allowing you any further missions beyond council.  This, you understand is not a question of your willingness to help where you can, but your unwillingness to ultimately meet your obligations to the council, the obligations and edicts you yourself helped write.  Do not see this as any form of punishment for your lack of communications.  We seek to ensure our venerable members are cared for and not unduly risked

 

Within a few cycles of days the snows begin to fall and with them myself and the company of men began to make our way back from their marches north to the coast of the Silverbourne Sea following the route we had negotiated, which allowed for the margraves’ merchant trade in ironwool. We returned through and visited several of the of the wizards whom I had retrieved yearly chronicles from, Each of which I had at least some small reason to suspect might have been involved in the theft of the Arcory Stones.  One by one each of them were proven not to be in possession of even a trace of one of the three stones.

I was becoming more convinced Gwynhafer was behind the theft of the stones.  It made complete sense, given the grudge she continued to hold, and her powers.   And she would have known having them stolen would draw me out.  But she wasn’t finished, of that I was sure.  I think she wanted me to find them.  Her endgame had not yet played out.

I was mostly concerned on my return to the Isles of Albanic as the location was likely to be even more treacherous a sea route in Cold Season, and, I will be honest, if perhaps somewhat proud, as I do believe my direct apprentices were amongst the most powerful in the lands. Yet, brother and sister both, they too, were proven to be free of any trace of sympathetic anti-magic the stones we carried with us would have shown. In addition, the further we moved along the more suspicious my soldierly companions became in my motives.

“Are we to go all the way back to your council,” the margrave of Reedsweither’s eldest grandson, a young and slim soldier with an increasingly sour disposition, wondered.  It had become apparent soon after our leaving he had not volunteered in his grandfather’s stead. “And this to ultimately be a fool’s journey.”

I think he also did not enjoy the bracing cold and salty winds which blew over the now ice covered Silverbourne.

“None of this is been a fool’s journey.” I told him and. “At the very least we have confirmed none of those with even an ounce of station has been beyond is been behind the theft.”

“If I never have to travel through these cold northern wastes again,” he complained through coughs, sniffles and the occasional sneeze which rattled his dark red scale mail, “I will be ever grateful.”

He had been, however, willing to train with me, for my benefit more than his.  When we each had free time, I engaged him to duel with our staves.  It had been long times since I had fought with the strength of my staff alone, and I would need to relearn my skills should our eventual adversary choose battle over all other options.  Despite his seeming willowy frame, the young soldier was more than a capable sparring partner.

The weather soon reached its worst and we found ourselves sequestered in the Citadel at Dirian.  The blizzards wailed beyond its stout stone walls, while we remained within, warmed by roaring fires and heady northern spirits, at the very least.  The Keith, who was the only lord who had accompanied us himself, to, had become restless, having run out of sellers of river reed to attempt to become part of his marches trading network.  Despite the warmth of the fire he had not shed his new fur lined cloak.

“What happens if none of the wizards you suspect have the stones,” he wanted to know.

“Then I will have to return to council, and you and your men to your marches,” I told him.  I was relearning, had improved much, but still found the effort of battling the young man exhausting.  It wasn’t how I wanted our journey to end, but it was the answer I had to provide. “And should I find further clues, I will come back to you.  I am doing what can be done.  None of this is certain, you know.  We are all only me, we do what men can do.”

But I knew, should my suspicions prove in error, the council may not allow me further allowance.  I could remain in some hope, beside the heat of one of the citadels great fire ovens their anger at my wayward journeying would have subsided by the time I returned.  We were not quite at the end of our journey.  But at the very least, my maintenance of the glamour was still in effect.  He did not yet seem to remember what I had done at his keep.

He shook his head.

“This has been sacrifice enough,” he told me. “And the other two, I am sure will agree.  You understand all the edicts we have bend, in secret no less, for your suspicions.  It will be enough.  We have our own lands to care for.”

“There are still several more of the entowered to visit,” I told him. “My suspicions are grounded in all I know about my profession, my fellowship and those stones.  And I do know more than any other in the Kingdoms. You need not worry, I intend to the search to be done before on this journey.”

He turned to the furnace, held out his hands to the great warmth that billowed forth.

“At least the Dirian’s understand a man needs such heat to endure the Cold Sun.”

At least they do, I agreed silently.  But my thoughts were, as always, elsewhere.  Ahead, there were four more towers to visit.  Only seven more wizards were left to be faced.  Each of whom were no more, no less likely to have stolen the stones the nine we had already visited.  Meaning of course, my understanding of who those fellows had become, I was very wrong in my assessment of at least one of them.

Go To Chapter 41

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