Missive to Council From Greyslan Amberglass
Season of the Cold Sun Third Quarter First Day of Charm
I have met with the Arbiter of Stormguard and explained all has happened, and given her the Arcory Stones to be returned to their rightful place in the Bardeliasch Marches. I await for a retinue to be gathered to assist me in returning to council purview.
I understand it comes with great disappointment such an influential and powerful supporter of our tenets had chosen such a path of corruption. For the time being, Stormguard will need a replacement wizard at Blackrock tower and I need to return to council, and offer my explanations. Above all, I apologize for not explaining to council the nature of my actions. Although, given all weights, I still believe my decision was the proper one. And it has been proven out.
After my words with The Keith, I turned away from my thoughts of what Omar had been attempting, to the future of his march, to more pressing matters.
“Now go, call your men, and the others the other men and let us find where Omar was working on the stones,” I told him. And be very careful, this is a wizard’s tower. Do not take anything from its place, anything. Once the stones are gone from here, are dispersed, they all the magic in this place will return, I cannot guarantee anything taken will not be greatly harmful.”
The remaining men of the south searched the tower with me, finally uncovering the stolen stones. Whether or not they also found for themselves their own treasures and took them, I do not know. One can give orders to men. It is ultimately up to them to follow their wisdom or not.
Along with the stones, I was also brought what I had not expected.
“We found her in the servant’s quarters, with the other servants of the Wizard,” The Keith’s man dragged the tearful and struggling courtiere. Her face bore a dark bruises. She had fought hard. I would note those tears were not those of fear and anguish. She was clearly much stronger than that.
I warmed my cold hands with a breath.
“That was to be expected,” I told the man. “She was one of Omar’s servants.”
“She was attempting to rally the servants to attack us,” the man said. “I lost three of my comrades this day. She is not a mere servant.”
I looked over her, thought about the man’s angry insistence.
“Let her go,” I told him.
She pulled her arm out of his grasp. Stood to face me, defiant, and shivering in the cold. She was not wearing the fur cloak I had seen her wearing earlier.
“There is no further need for you to fight,” I told her. “You have no one to fight for anymore. You are free.”
“What have you done,” she demanded, all propriety abandoned. “What have you done to Master Omar?”
“Possibly better than he deserved,” I told her. Wanting to comfort, but knowing she would not accept any of what I could give.
“Where has he gone?”
“I do not know,” I told her. “Probably very far away. And if he has any sense, he won’t return.”
She stood silent for a moment, hands clenched, glanced nervously at the man who had brought her, then to me. I accepted her glare.
“What am I going to do?” She wanted to know, waving in the air. “This is my place. Will I be able to stay? Will I be forced to leave? I have nowhere else to go.”
I looked at her, fearful, confused, alone. And I felt… doubt. What was I to do? Did I walk away, abandon her to whatever her fate might be? Or… I looked down at my staff, then back up to the girl from County Glavine, Karrick.
“I have to return to council,” I told her. “These men will be returning to the south. I’m sure I will need some accompaniment. I am old, you see. Sometimes, I need someone to carry my staff, on occasion. It does get heavy on occasion.”
I’d hoped she would remember our first meeting. My words didn’t have the effect I expected. The courtiere became angry again.
“You sent my master to exile,” she told me angrily. “Why should I want to go with you? I should want revenge. For his sake.”
I looked into her eyes, so filled with fury and pain and not a little fear.
“You have no master,” I told her. “You have nowhere else to go, but to perhaps return home to your home county. We will be leaving in the morning. What you do, what you decide, I will leave to you. All I can say is, if you come with me, I will not treat you poorly. I will ensure you have a home and you will have a purpose. That, I promise you”
She still glared at me, the bitter cold apparently forgotten.
“You can go.” I told her, then to the soldier “Let her,”
She glanced around at the others.
“Remember,” I told her. ”We leave in the morning.”
She walked away, arms wrapped around her, shivering again, back towards the low stone buildings which stood to the east of the tower.
“We leave after the Arbiter’s men arrive,” I told the soldier. “You can then go home to your lands and families.”
He seemed happy to hear that. A chill wind blew, and, forgetting for the moment, I tried a spell of warming. It failed, of course, and I shook my head, pulled my robes around me and headed up the stairs. There was a place for a fire in the great hall. I knew how to create a fire without magic; at least I hoped I still remembered.
To share your thoughts on The Stones of Arcory go here
Next: The Illusion of Choice (Forthcoming)
If you wish to be notified when The Illusion of Choice chapters begin posting, go here
or follow on twitter: @BlackCWhiteA
You can also read A.A. Roi’s Science Fiction Novel, The Undeniable Labyrinth free online here
You can also read A.A. Roi’s Darkly Satirical Urban Fantasy Novel, The Thirteenth free online here
And you can also read his satirical Sci-Fi story, Trapped In Zero Point Space free online here