Jun 052012
 

Start Reading From Chapter One

 

Missive to Margravine of The Keith from Keith Dan

Season of the Cold Sun Second Quarter Fourth Day of Sighs

The Quest is done. I am happy to say the stones from Bardelaisch have been recovered. And, apparently, the culprit was the powerful wizard of Stormguard. A great surprise to all of us. Although I have never been one to be trusting of northerners. They do not understand the land as we do, do not appreciate every little bit it gives us. Perhaps in future they will wonder about that as we do.

My duty complete I will be returning to you. And with some more riches than I left with. Despite my dislike for things northern, I will indeed return with what you have requested, and perhaps more than you requested. And, above all things, It will be good to return to the warmth and to never leave it. And to return to your warmth, and never leave again.

 

The Keith was standing in the courtyard of Blackrock Tower, and watched Omar leave with me. He was no less happy than before, although his glamour seemed to be still holding. We would, however, need to leave this place soon after the stones were found. Even the lingering effects of Gwyns powerful forest magics could not likely stand more than a day or two against combined Arcorys stones.

Why did you stop me, he demanded to know, finally breaking the silence. Why did you let him go. He caused March to fall into corruption, scattered its people, ruined its margrave. That man deserved to be forced to pay for what he has done. Justice needs to be met out.

I will explain to you, I told him. Just this once. I hope you will understand, but I will not judge you if you do not.

Your judgment, it would appear, he noted hand on the pommel of his scabbarded sword. Is rather suspect old wizard. I seem to now have two memories of our meeting with arbiter El Anande. Explain yourself.

I took in a breath.

Explain, Wizard, he asked me harshly. Explain what you have done, we came all this way to let that thief escape.

It was Gwynhafer, I told him. An expression of rage overtook his bearded face. She worked her glamours not only on me but of my apprentice and perhaps even others. I told you, eyes have turned to Arcroys stones. I suspect Omar would not have committed to his act without her acts and other support from within The Council or kingdoms. We have entered perilous times, it seems. My apologies Lord Keith. At the time I could see no other way.

His expression turned stony, but his sword did not leave its scabbard.

You suspect treachery, his tone had turned bitter. From the highest. Do I now have to suspect all to protect my lands?

I remember many such actions during The Riven War, The conjunction is coming. This is just the start,

I told him. Many far worse taken by the highest, wizards, Kings, even you father when they decided it was necessary when they were so desperate.

You will not speak of my father in such a manner, His hand now gripped returned to his greatwords pommel, his expression turning back to anger.

Did he call my mentor the Master of Demons? I asked him. He looked confused for a moment. Dont be afraid to say so, many did, still do. Even I, at times.

Only in whispers, he confessed, only in the dark nights when he was filled with amber brew enough to speak of the horrors of the war.

Arcory believed everything he did was justified, even when he crossed over all lines, and descended into darkness, chaos and yes, even madness, I will admit all that. He destroyed armies of his allies when they turned against his dictates, I will admit that as well. And he believed he did it to save us all, however horrific the cost.

That is still not an explanation for what you have done, The Keith shook his head. Speak plainly. I am not a Donland aristocrat, wizard.

At the darkest day, at the base of the blasted walls of the Citadel at Hirach, when almost all was lost, Arcory came upon me, knowing I had betrayed him, and knowing the reasons why I had done it. He could’ve destroyed me then, with a thought, and there with all the power he had possessed, at his height, and his most dark. But he let me go, let me survive, spared our armies, you fathers included, and I will not forget that.

Why would he have done that, let you survive? The Keith asked me.

Because even when he was the most powerful wizard, and most dark, most mad, like all men, while a master of demons from beyond, he was, there is one demon none of us can be a master. The demon doubt.

And what do you doubt about the villain you just let escape.

I fear the coming conjunction will test all of us, more than any now suspect I told him. All of the creations that have come since The Riven War, and that many of them will fall, as they may well unsuitable to the task of defending our lands. The Dragons and Demons learn and plan as we do. I do believe it is possible what Omar did was for intentions good, even if he did it in a way which was the most twisted and wrong. That power within the stone may have may have a greater destiny than the simply denying the corruption that may forever threaten yours and the other badlands marches.”

I will fight for my march, The Keith told me plainly. I will defend it with my life, even if I have to battle you and your council to do so. You mark my words.

And I would not ask you not to, I replied.

We stood there, margrave and wizard, at the end of the discussion.

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