Chapter Sixty-Two
Suspect Judgment

 

Missive to Baroness Castle Rock From Baron Keith Dan

Season of the Cold Sun Second Quarter Fourth Day of Sighs

The Quest is done. I am happy to say the stones from Bardelaisch have been recovered. And, apparently, the culprit was the powerful wizard of Stormguard. A great surprise to all of us, although, I have never been one to be completely trusting of northerners. They do not understand the land as we do, do not appreciate every little bit it gives us. Perhaps in future they will wonder about that as we do.

My duty complete I will be returning to you. And with some more riches than I left with. Despite my dislike for things northern, I will indeed return with what you have requested, and perhaps more than you requested. And, above all things, it will be good to return to the warmth and to never leave it. And to return to your warmth, and never leave again.

 

The Keith was standing in the courtyard of Blackrock Tower amidst the newly falling snow. He watched Omar ride past me and through the gate. He was no less happy as before, although, thankfully his glamour seemed to be still holding well. I was sure he would not have stayed his blood soaked blade if he remembered what I had done in his own hall. We would, however, need to leave this place soon after the stones were found. Even the lingering effects of Gwynhafer’s moon’s magick could not stand indefinitely against the combined power of six stones.

“Why did you stop me?” he demanded to know, finally breaking the silence. “Why did you let that traitor go? He caused one of my fellow marches to fall into corruption, scattered its people, ruined its margrave. That man deserved to be forced to pay with blood! Justice needs to be met out.”

“I will explain,” I told him. “Just this once. I hope you will understand, but I will not judge you if you do not.”

“Your judgment, it would appear, Is rather suspect old wizard.” he noted hand on the pommel of his scabbarded sword. “I seem to now have two memories of our meeting with arbiter El Endande. Explain yourself.”

I took in a breath. So the glamour had failed. I med his glare with renewed respect. The Keith knew more restraint than I gave him credit for.

“Explain, Wizard,” he asked me harshly. “Explain what you have done. Explain why we came all this way to let that thief ride off like that.”

“It was Gwynhafer, Queen of the Moons,” I told him. An expression of rage overtook his bearded face. “She worked her glamours not only on me, but likely of Omar and perhaps others involved in this. As I told you, eyes have turned to Arcory’s stones. I suspect Omar would not have committed to his act without her acts and other support from within Council and Kingdoms. We have entered perilous times. The next conjunction is coming and already there are those who are planning for it. My apologies Lord Keith. At the time, I could see no other way.”

His expression turned stony, but his sword did not leave its scabbard.

“You talk of treachery from both enemy and ally.,” his tone had turned bitter. “Do I now have to suspect all to protect my lands?”

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