The Stones of Arcory 21 An Apportioning of Blame.

It was not, I will readily admit, one of my better moments. Oh, if you read my past accounts you will understand I had been a party to many a similar sad exodus as this in the past, both during the Riven war, and in the two wars of alliance after. In the realms of king and country, there is much allowance for compromise with enemies in that weak allies are often pawns of convenience and expedience. And this is not something even the greatest of magicks will ever cure. And if past experience is any guide, nor should they.

I sent a query to Council from the fortress a Vanak where I stayed to help sustain fellow Goldenstar’s life while Healers worked on his wounds. I must add this was during one of the most spectacular lightning storms I had ever experienced. The year’s Season of Storm seemed to be showing more than its usual eagerness to be upon us. Or perhaps to provide me a reminder.

Thankfully the castle at Vanak had thick stone walls, although I swear the aroma of those strikes followed me for near a cycle after the storm was done.

Not to be remiss, I received more than one missive over my further delay in traveling from Drake himself chastising me for the actions that had put my chronicle gathering now well behind schedule. Oh, there was concern over fellow Goldenstar, but I did not overly offer such excuses. There was little point. And I had other things on my mind; resumption in the growing flaws in my patterning had again returned at the most inopportune and critical moments.

It had been quite some time since I had reason to question my efficacy as a Wizard. Certainly I knew my best days were behind me, and I did not tend to question the choice of allowing myself to age as all men do. I was nearing a century, after all, and that is far more than most ever get to live. Even with what I had allowed to empower me during the last conjunction, I had become an old man. And, more or less, I have accepted that fate.

And while Goldenstar had chosen to rely on my help, I couldn’t help but ponder again and again back on what had happened at our battle with the giants at the heights of Shatter Stone Pass. I do believe I failed him in the worst way I could have. And I told him as much when he recovered his consciousness and his wits.

“Do not blame yourself,” he offered with generosity of spirit. “There were nine giants. There were but two of us. That neither of us, nor the entire caravan perished, is a testament to your courage and your enduring powers. None could have done better.”

He gripped my hand in his. It had taken four healers three days and nights to re-knit his many broken bones. His other hand was still unusable.

He did not seem to remember well what had happened during the battle. And perhaps that was good for him, more so for myself. For I believe if he could have told them what had truly happened, Council would have immediately revoked my mission, and likely sending me to hermitage without debate.

And, they may have been right to, a part of me argued. From that terrible night and the days which followed, even well past my leave taking of the restored Goldenstar, I was of two minds. One insisting I needed to complete my mission before such an act occurred again. The other, that I should return immediately to Council and full retirement, never to cast a spell again.

For his terrible injuries were not caused by the giants. His shattered bones were caused by my wild spell-casting, and that alone.


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