The Stones of Arcory Chapter Twenty Eight
The Wrecks of Quests
The shipwrecks scattered about below reminded me of this as our skiff approached the docks of the Albanic. I was again reminded by the two wizards who made there place in the newly built towers. They are capable wizards, old man. Don’t give them cause to grow concerned. They are geased, and would not have their position threatened.
“I see you two have had your troubles as well,” I noted glancing back to Tess.
“Yes,” she admitted with no reluctance. “There has become an abundance of those who come for supplication and for more.”
Her brother Drey joined us with a tray of nectar from the island’s honey fruit. I was touched; it was as though time had stepped back more than a decade. He could have called on one of their many servants, there was clearly no shortage. He too, still seemed to young for his station, and like his sister, wore a tunic, his grey, in opposition to the standard robes and black cloak I and other older fellows were wont to wear. Well, it has fallen a little out of fashion.
“We need to ensure those who come and receive our help are deserving and in need,” he added.
“There are a great deal of shipwrecks on you beaches,” I noted looking over the distant bones of the vessels.
“Yes, there are those who would test our powers and our protections,” Tess offered. “With no kingdom to claim the sea…”
Such had been a complaint, from Omar to Albanic, which I noted aloud.
“But surely they can’t have all been pirates or raiders,” I suggested. The Silverborne Sea wasn’t that lawless, at least not here in its more southern reaches.”
“No, that is true,” they agreed together. Then Drey continued, “we have ensured warnings are well placed in the ports around the sea and only those in greatest need and the most deserving of folk can safely arrive at our tower doors.”
I took a sip of the nectar, although just that. It was far sweeter a drink than I was accustomed to.
“But there are those that are desperate,” I offered. “Several of the wizards I have visited had mentioned a particularly desperate one. The Margrave of March Bardelaisch.”
They nodded in unison.
“Certainly,” Drey told me.
“But the ship he came on was not wrecked, at least not on our shore,” Tess added. “We let him go in peace.”
“Then you did not help him?” I asked.
Tess raised her eyebrows. Drey tightened his lips. Neither of them, I recalled, had ever accepted criticism easily.
“There are enough problems to be dealt with on The Silverborne,” Tess replied quickly. “And master, as you well know, Arcory stones are spoken of as terribly complex magick and take much work and study to find a path through their anti-magic wards.”
“We explained that to him,” Drey told me, his expression a touch guarded. “And with our responsibilities here, a journey so far to the west was out of the question. We did wish him well on his search. You understand that we are dedicated to our domain.”
“Oh certainly I do,” I told them. “Refreshing though, it must have been, after dealing with so many less polite,” I again nodded at the wrecks.
“Oh yes,” they both agreed, their moods lightening.
“Well, now that I do have my days free to me, I want to hear about them, and the work you have been doing to restore these islands with your own magicks. I’ve read something, but I truly want to learn how my favorite pupils have developed.”
The pair beamed back at me, clearly happy to cease talking about the desperate Margrave. Was there more to their meeting with them than they were willing to tell me. I decided I would remain to test that theory out.
For the next three days we spoke of their work and lives, and of the Margrave. I of course, made certain talk of him was buried so deeply in our conversations they would not think it important to tell Trona or other councilors through missive after I left. I didn’t want to alarm my betters.
But what I gleaned from them added little to what I knew of the man and his search. He was still heading east, and so three days later I said my farewells, and commanded the skiff’s captain to take me to the far side of the sea instead of returning west.
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