Chapter Seventeen
Sorceress of the West and East

 

Missive to Council

Season of the Hot Sun Third Quarter First Day of Duty

I am currently detained at Keep of the Three Rivers while The Kingdom of Cherbanz is enduring an unseasonably great storm, which as you know, is well out of season. An omen perhaps? Fortunately this deluge has allowed me to discuss in depth arcane matters with the local entowered wizard Ethely Tallspire. She also agrees there is a troubling change in the tenor of supplicants. In her Cold Season journal, she speaks of a supplicant who came to him with a relatively simple request to take the rust from his vale’s crops of grain. And while the supplicant seemed genuine, when she traveled to the valley, she found herself in a battle against a demon who had taken the area through guile and illusion, and who had set a trap for him.

I asked further and she provided a recount of his battle with detail, as we had though nearly all such creatures Arcory summoned through The Skyrift had been long since destroyed or imprisoned. I had thought the demons trapped on our world would remain in hiding until the next conjunction. She suggests, not only those who we will not deal with, those unable to secure the assistance of The Collegiate, continue to increase in desperation, and there are entities with power who would exploit those needs. I will make further inquiries as I travel, but as Omar has suggested to me, I will approach such with appropriate caution.

The road east was thick with tradesmen and the journeyman laborers of harvest. I remained haunted by more than worries of threats by demanding supplicants. More so of what Omar had impressed on me; the threat from forces of the lower and higher worlds, that many supplicants had gone to and would go to, their unanswered pleas to their own entowered wizards.

True to her titled name, Ethely was as tall as Omar had been round, taller even then myself, which was something. We waited in a proffered – and I must say – less than ornate chamber in The Keep of the Three Rivers we’d be given, her in her silvery gowns, me in my borrowed robes. I had not reached the fortress before the heaviest of rains had begun to scour the great meeting point of the Kingdom of Armanen’s three greatest and now also greatly swollen rivers, and she had chosen to spend a few hours with me.

“It was a being of fire and smoke,” she told me in her ethereal voice as we sipped sweet blue willow tea. Ethely was not a native of this heartland; her people were dwellers of the cliffs where the brow of Dragon’s Head met the Ocean of Dusk far to the west; a people whose quiet company I had always enjoyed. Ironically, she had received her fellowship from the Thennian Collegiate, a distant five hundred leagues to the East, on the Ocean of Dawn.

“I was requested by Council missive to keep this under my cloak, so to speak, but you, given your experience, deserve to know what remains of your masters forces may be aligning well before the Ninth Recoupling is upon us.”

Recoupling was Dragonhead speak for a conjunction, when the Underworld returned from it’s journey under the western sea to move beneath the earth of our lands, while the sun’s would again eclipse each other. During the last conjunction, Arcory ensorcelled Overworld demons from the Skyrift to defend the lands against the Underworld’s equally powerful dragons and their allies. A number failed to escape when the worlds diverged. Since then they had hidden themselves. It has been calculated to enter into the longest and deep conjunction in near fifteen years to come; the actual dates were beyond even the deductions of Council’s time keepers. And, of course, there would be several ear conjunctions to breach the peace of the reams to herald it.

Two conjunctions in a century that would make. It was unprecedented. And also unknown, would our now many wizards be enough to accomplish what Arcory had with all his power? Without his power, we would be facing powers from both sides.

But, whether I would live to see it, I do not know. My master had endured, even grew in power, over the three hundred years between the seventh and the eighth conjunctions, but such sacrifices he accepted I had never had stomach for. And besides, Council only sanctioned such acts only rarely these days. But there were now near a thousand of us now and growing, when at the time of the Eighth there were barely fifty. I still believed in the changes we had wrought, which included the collegiate training of this sorceress I spoke with, were worth it, even if Omar and others still questioned the actual results.

 

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