Missive to Council
Season of the Hot Sun Second Quarter Second Day of Charm
Despite our greatest efforts in expanding the numbers of mages throughout the kingdoms, It is growing clearer to me as I travel from tower to tower: the demand if not need for our skills continue to grow as the Ninth Conjunction of the Three Realms approaches. While the early stages, certainly, are still likely over a decade away, I am finding more and more of our fellows have found themselves what could well be described as a state of siege.
The situation is also grave for those lords of the marches, the hard fought for front lines of the Riven War, where the many old but powerful permanencies are only controlled through either complicated warding magicks or Arcory’s stones, all have demonstrated at least some degree arcane erosion. As this threat grows, so grows the cost of this to our fellow collegiates who must work hard to maintain the balance we have long committed ourselves to. The state of the stones of March Bardelaisch appear to require most urgent attention.
I wrote those last words in the strongest terms appropriate and wondered, with the dismissal of similar previous missives, whether Council would act before the entire March was abandoned. Few seemed interested in the cost of maintaining marches these days. Some would even be thankful Arcory’s final legacy had faded.
My host rolled her eyes when I told her of the missive I had sent. I was sympathetic, Given how her husband’s previous missives had been treated.
“So, spell-caster, are you leaving us already?” Margravine Galeata stood aglow beneath the streaming light of one of the keep’s many tall thin windows while I sat at a finely carved table, partaking of her generosity. While the sunlight did indeed glitter against her fine and out of place I might add, Donlander samite gown, her pose, with strong arms crossed under her generous breasts was one of frustration and not a little dread. She’d seen the land she’d adopted as her own slowly wither and die. And I could offer her little hope. All the stones remaining were anchored in their own marches, and no such other warding was available of such a scale. Council had not allotted such powers in at least two decades. And wouldn’t, not for a remote scratch of earth whose taint would also not last.
I nodded, rested my wooden spoon in the bowl of mutton broth, acknowledged her fears as politely as I could. I did not think it wise yet to speak of the stones possibly having been stolen. Discretion would serve best, I decided.
“I am sorry,” I told her. “What power this march’s stones once had appears to have faded, possibly entirely. I would say the only consolation you may have is the magicks they were keeping at bay will probably only outlive the stones for a few years. A decade or two at the most, given what I recall of their original channeling.”
She shot a hard glance at me, knotted her brow in an expression which I had come to know quite well in the three days I had spent in her keep. She brushed strands of white back into her still mostly dark brown hair back from her face as I slaked my thirst with a long draught from the half filled silvered water stein I had been offered.
“You see the land around you,” she told me levelly, in a tone not often heard from a Donland aristocrat, and not for the first time from her lips I was sure. “It cannot grow crops, it cannot feed our livestock, unless we receive help, it will have to be abandoned. Even I will have to leave. With not, but to return to my family, who will be less than pleased to cater to one who chose to act against their wishes. A few more years like this, there will be nothing left. Nothing!”