Chapter Fifty Four
To The Shelter Of Stormguard


Missive to Margravine of The Keith from Keith Dan

Season of the Cold Sun Second Quarter Second Day of Duty

I trust that you are still managing in my stead. We continue to travel with this Wizard through the snowy wastes from city to city, now near the legendary mountains of fire. It is at times I wish you were traveling with us, as the smoking mountains with their rivers of fire are a sight I would not have believed and cannot describe with the words I know. Perhaps our tapestry weavers can take what I see and fill the empty wall on the north with such visions.

As for the Wizard we are guarding, I am thinking even he has begun to doubt our mission. We have met with several others he has suspected, yet those suspicions have gone for naught. As such, I do begin to believe other than the visions of the strange north and of course the meetings with the buyers and merchants of ironwool are the only positive measures of this journey. I miss the warmth of the March. I miss your warmth. I hope my next missive will be to tell you I am on my return journey.


We left the Citadel, to my company’s poor spirits, shortly after the blizzard subsided, made out way through the thick snow which covered the low mountains which divided the kingdoms, traveled hard along The Kings road from village to town to city, to tower.

“Why do we not wait for better weather?” Reidsweither complained as his horse’s hoof blew snow up and over him. “We should have waited for clear skies at least.”

I was about to answer him when the Keith beat me to the mark.

“Because this is the north!” he bellowed. “The weather doesn’t get better boy. It only gets worse. The sooner we are done with this, the sooner we can return home.”

The younger man glared back pointedly.

“Then why doesn’t the wizard to something to change it,” he challenged. “Or are we to freeze to death before he finds those stones he’s looking for?”

“Because he’s not allowed,” the Keith laughed from the other side of the road. “His great Council’s tenet is that he must suffer just as we do!”

I shrugged and Reidsweither pulled the scarf over his mouth and nose and turned away. I didn’t laugh. What the Keith had stated was close to the truth. I will admit I had cast a minor spell to keep the cold wind at bay. But any and all could see the discomfort I felt, though, of course, little of it from the chill radiating from the Cold Sun overhead.

The misery my fellows endured was short lived, however, as soon we were at the foothills of the Nine Pillars of Fire where the weather was more temperate. It was even raining as we reached Stormguard. While my companions were warming themselves and their mounts, I made my way to Omar’s apartments. He, however, had left before the season had began.

“Back to Tower Blackrock,” the seneschal told me. “As soon as the Season of Storm abated.”

That seemed odd. He should have been able to predict the harshness of the coming season, and seemed quite at home amongst the comforts of the bustling fortress. I knew his tower well. It north, and beyond the warming influence of the pillars. The marsh it lay in thirty leagues north and would be well frozen solid by now.

“Did he offer explanation for his departure?” I asked.

“Nay,” the short soldier replied. “But the Grand Duke has journeyed to the south in hopes of a cure for the wasting, and Magister Blackrock rarely remains when Nevis is absent.”

Fair enough, I decided, and delayed my return to the Margraves and their retinue. They would not be pleased to a journey into a frozen marsh. A for myself, I was alternately looking forwards to seeing Omar again, and dreading the confrontation it might become.

Go To Chapter 53

Go To Chapter 55

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