Chapter Fifty Six
Disappointing the Courtiere

 

Missive to Greyslan Amberglass From Council

Season of the Cold Sun Second Quarter Third Day of Charm

We understand you have now reached Stormguard. Since you are now close enough to our purview we can provide suitable accompaniment back to Council, we request you give your retinue their leave to return to their southern homes. We will have our arbiter in Stormguard manage the transition, and would have you contact her to ease the transition of retinue.

We have also had odd reports of your visitations with several Wizards on your way back to Council, and are concerned with the somewhat circuitous route you have taken. We will be requesting a full explanation and chronicle of your full activity since leaving council so we can assay your ability to undertake any future missions outside our prevue in future. Understand this is in the best interest of your venerable self along with the council you helped create.

 

The approach to the tower was quieter than I’d expected. The guard at the gates, once spotting who it was riding at the head was more than willing to let us through into, and out of, the bitterly cold we had been traveling to. He even went so much as wishing us well that we had completed out journey with little overall trouble. Of course he did this after I announced exactly who I was. Beyond the gates coated in icicles, the snow covered outer walls were his employer’s refuge, Tower Blackrock. I could feel it more now, something like a cold wind through my bones, colder than even the chill winds of a northern Season of the Cold Sun; a barrier of some sort, a presence of nothingness. I knew then, beyond any doubt, he was the thief.

A perfect play by Gwynhafer in her long sought revenge against me, I decided. Having Arcory’s stones stolen, my obligation to the Margravine of Bardelaisch’s family to pull me into lands she held sway over, and ultimately my very own former apprentice set against me. How well could this end? Not well at all.

I felt a great twinge of disappointment, not to mention trepidation. It is never good to know one’s former pupils have fallen, whatever their reason or their justification might be, it still pains me gravely when one of mine breaks the rules so firmly set, breaks the laws beyond what as a mentor you have the capacity to redeem. I would be remiss to admit Omar had not been the first, although I did hope then he would be the last.

I am aware that to those who would know of this that it would appear to be hypocritical of me to have such a response, considering I have a reputation for breaking edicts and tenets when it suits my goals. I had on this long journey alone broken several. That is a failing I have always wrestled with. I am, still, in hope my acts will balance in the end, their intention has always been for good. Can any of us ask for more? Omar’s theft of the stones, however, I could not see how his attentions could have possibly been to benefit anyone but himself.

As I ascended the towers steps with my companions, I heard a voice, and saw a familiar face approach from around the round tower down towards us, a smiling face filled with happy anticipation. It was the courtiere from County Glavine who I had met at Stormguard in the Season of the Hot Sun past. But, in deference to the cold weather, had traded her jaquet for a fur cloak and thick woolen winter clothes beneath.

“Master Greyslan,” She said with enthusiastic tone, cheeks rosy in the cold wind. “Welcome, what a journey you have had. May I-?”

“I have come to see your master Omar,” I asked her. “Where is he?”

“He wishes to meet you in the tower’s Great Hall,” she told me, now seeming confused at my expression perhaps, or the soldiers I had with me. “These men, Lords, may I ask-?”

“You may go,” I told her. I did not want her to witness what was to come. “Thank you, you may go!”

She looked about reply, then nodded silently and unhappily and watched as my companions and I passed by her. I glanced back towards her, guilt in my heart, to see her youthful face quickly fill with impotent worry that was well founded.

Omar met me, as his courtiere had told me, in the dark marble clad Great Hall of Blackrock Tower. He was dressed in fine black Vaeranshi leathers trimmed with silver fur, alone of course, perhaps not immediately suspecting what he felt as I did from the Arcory stones. He would have never felt such in his life. But I could feel saturation numbness cover me from head to toe. Their creation had occurred a decade before his birth, the dispersal soon after. If he dismissed the sensation then this would be over quickly.

“I wasn’t expecting to see you again this year,” my former apprentice told me, smiling, then frowning, “I thought you might spend the season in the warmer locales of the eastern south or return to Council. What could have possible encouraged you to make the journey through this season’s bitter cold?”

I think the light began to shine in his eyes as he realized what I knew. But there was little they could do about what had happened. I could hear the men behind me in the Hall’s antechamber draw their weapons, despite my orders to the contrary. I turned motioned them harshly to cease, but saw that they had been joined by Omar’s men-at-arms, their own weapons drawn. It was not what I wanted. What I wanted… I knew could not have. I turned back to Omar, in the hope this could be handled without bloodshed.

Go To Chapter 55

Go To Chapter 57

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