Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Day one - A Traitor, an injured Elf and a visit from the council|
It was a busy week, the mages showed up the day after I had opened the secret passages. It was early in the morning, I had climbed out of my crowded bed and started making rounds of the injured from the day before. As I was leaving the bunkhouse slash stables, I saw them enter the gate. There were four of them and they walked as if they owned the world. As they came up to me they were abrupt, “Boy, where is this entrance to the keep passages?”
I looked them up and down slowly, which made a young looking one snort and start muttering a spell. Unfortunately for him, I could feel the beginnings and reached out from five feet away to grab his throat. When he started to gesture, a pinch at a nerve juncture stopped it. The other three were alert now and looking at me.
When the young one had stopped struggling, I released him. Quietly I faced them, “Lets try this again, my name is Michael and this is my home. How may I help you?”
One of the older mages stepped forward, “that was very interesting. How did you do it?”
When I only looked back, another mage, taller and skinny cleared his throat, “We are here to take possession of the necromancer’s property.”
I looked back at him, “I didn’t know I had put it up for sale.”
The mage flushed and started to reply when the older mage put his hand up. “We were told that there was a situation. That there was left over magic from the necromancer.”
I looked at him carefully, “The work area had magic, but it seems to be warded. So no, I don’t need a mage.”
When the young one started to reply hotly, the older one only held his hand up. “What is it that you want?”
I smiled, “That is not the question. The question is, what do you what?”
As I said this, I felt the mage that had remained silent start to weave a spell. Quietly I looked at him, “I have already warned you.”
Then reaching out, I touched him at a point in his brain making a shield with my chi. It was a point that I noticed was most active in a mage and seemed to affect their ability to do magic. As he started to pull something from under his cloak, I again reached out, this time to touch him at a point in his spine at his neck.
As the mage froze, I stepped up to him. His cloak pin had the same glyph that had been on the silver pendants that the three dead drow guards had around their necks. “Tell me mage, how did your glyph end up on a pendent around the neck of a dead drow?”
Saying that, I brought out the silver pendent I had pulled from the drow in the workroom. As I held it out on the palm of my hand, the glyph seemed to glow. Without warning, the older mage stepped forward. With a gesture, a web of magic sprang up around the mage, cutting off my touch. Darkness seemed to envelope the pendent and the old mage looked at my hand that held the pendent and then at the mage, “Pendar, you have questions to answer.”
Holding out his hand out to me, “May I.”
When I put the pendent in his hand, he turned to the skinny mage. The other mage stepped forward and looked at the pendent and then at the mage being held by magic. With a nod, he stepped back and gestured to the younger mage. The young mage stepped forward, looking long at the pendent before glaring at the mage held in the web of magic.
The old mage looked at me, “We will be taking the mage Pendar. He will face a quorum of his peers. If they determined he was involved with the necromancer he will be put to death and his property sold off.”
After they had left, I sent out two runners. One to Garret with the process for admantium, heat shielding for a forge and the suggestion that the first thing he made was the tools for the smithy. The second runner was to see if Samuel was available for a healing. I told the runner to make sure he knew it was not an emergency.
I found John, “could you find some men to work for a few days? I want bunks made for the rooms on the bottom two floors of the passageways. In addition, I want the stairwell cleared to the keep and the whole thing cleaned up, including the gate to the keep up above.”
With his help and two long ladders hauled up the cliff on a rope, I went back to the ruins. Using the ladders together I managed to get to the third floor of the keep, there was some smoke damage, but there was a lot that could be salvaged. The fourth floor was the same with one addition. I found an elf or drow, (I could never tell them apart) he had been beaten and there were signs of cuts or stabs. He was also in a suspended state.
I called down to John, “Send a runner to bring Samil!”
I checked the attic while I waited. Although the things I found might be out of date, many we would still be able to use. I climbed down the ladder when Samil arrived and explained what I had found. When we went back to look at the elf/drow and Samil nodded, “he’s an elf.”
Stepping on a light colored square of flooring, the elf seemed to wake. With a look around, “I still won’t talk!”
I smiled, “Well, if you don’t talk how will I find out your name?”
The elf looked at us closely, I could see the pain he was holding back. It was the way he clinched his teeth and held his body. “Elvan.” Was the quiet reply.
I knelt down, “We are here to help. I’m a doctor.”
After saying that I started checking him. In addition to bruises, (and he had plenty) there were three deep stab wounds and five other deep cuts. On top of that, the right arm, left leg and three ribs were broken.
We rigged a sling to help us lower him down the ladder. Once we were on the ground, John brought a litter so that we could bring him down the stairs. It was not fun getting him through the collapsed part on the stairs but after that it was easy. Once out of the passages, I had them take him in to the large bath so that he could be cleaned up.
I found Sarah, Cassy and Jen in the bath. Sarah was trying to get them to relax. Jen was sitting at the edge of the water so she wouldn’t get her back wet. I smiled, “Is any word from Samuel?”
Sarah nodded, “The runner returned to say he would be here at noon.”
I gestured to the elf, “Would you help clean him? His name is Elvan.”
Samil had said he would take the news to those that represented the elves here. I told Sarah what to watch out for and went to find Sam. Walking out the door, I almost got ran over by a crowd of children following Jeremy for lessons. I found Cat and Sam in the kitchen with Ann. They were talking about the rooms and how to decorate them.
I cleared my throat, “Sam? Would you get the trauma kit? Cat, I need the plaster and bandages for a cast. Also the stronger linens to tape ribs.”
After they had left, I looked at Ann, “could you find someone to do a little shopping for clothing for Cassy, Jen and the girls?”
Back at the pool, I checked Elvan and then I mixed several drugs. One was a strong narcotic that was extremely addictive. After he was sedated, I began. I cleaned the wounds with a saline solution I had mixed up and then carefully stitched his wounds closed. I set the leg and had Sam wrap it. When she was finished, I made sure the arm was set and had Sarah hold the position while Cat wrapped it. The ribs were only fractured and I had Sarah tape them tightly.
As they were finishing, I could see that the injured or sick were starting to arrive for this mornings rounds. I looked at Cat, “find someone to take him to the first room inside the passage and have someone stay with him until I can check him again.”
As I started checking what I termed my sick, a group of three showed up. They told me that they were representatives from the city counsel and that the property was being taken back by the city. I looked up at them, one was a dwarf and the other two looked like fat cat merchants. “Well gentlemen, if the city is taking back the property, I will remove my plunder, reset the traps and of course send you the bill.”
With a start the short, fat one asked, “What bill?”
I looked at all three of them, “Since I have not had the property for twenty-four hours, I would have to assume that it was a ruse to get me to destroy the undead guards in the tunnels. This means you are libel for any bills by me.”
I glanced at my patients, “I was thinking of charging one hundred gold pieces for every undead guard I had to destroy.”
They started to argue, but I stopped them, “You will also undoubtedly be receiving a complaint from the dwarf merchants.”
They looked at me then at the dwarf, “why?”
I looked at them, “I’m a partner with a dwarf named Garret. There is a forge in the passages. I was going to use it to make and refine new metals.”
They looked at each other and the dwarf cleared his throat, “What proof do you have of the partnership?”
I shrugged, “The dwarf’s merchant guild has already appointed me to a position as a Judge.”
That seemed to be the magic word, the dwarf immediately started backing me up. They eventually told me, that they would ratify my deed. My sick that day was light, I had finished and was sitting with Sarah, Sam and Cat. We were eating a light meal and I was going over the cases with them when three elves walked in the gate.
Two were richly dressed, the other was wearing well fitting comfortable clothes and carrying a small leather case. I met them outside the kitchen, one of the well-dressed elves, (he walked with a balance that I recognized from Samil), held out his hand, “I’m Teral. Samil told me a wild tell of an elf under a spell and injured.”
The other elf was looking around distractedly but the one in the comfortable clothes held out his hand. “I’m Aretha.”
Then surprised me, “I’ve heard of you.”
As I was leading the way to the passageway, I glanced at him, “What have you heard?”
I heard him chuckle, “I heard you were giving healers a bad name.”
I looked at him, “Oh?”
He grinned, “You seem to be actually helping people.”
As we entered the room, I saw that Jen was sitting beside the bed. She was singing a lullaby softly. As we entered the room she stood and backed away quickly. I could see the fear on her face as she looked at the elves. I smiled, “has he awakened?”
She nodded timidly, “I gave him the powder and he drank two glasses of water.”
As I was checking him, Aretha asked what I had given him. I told him and he remarked that the drug was addictive. I looked up at him and agreed, “That was why I only used it once and in combination with a drug to reduce the swelling.”
Aretha only nodded, “how bad are the injuries?”
I described the wounds and the broken bones and then said he looked worse then he was. Elvan opened his eyes and whispered, “It feels worse on the inside.”
The other well-dressed elf stepped up to the bed, “We thought you were dead. What happened?”
With an effort, he tried to sit up only to be stopped by me, “lie still until the healer arrives.”
Lying back, he told his story about an ambush at somewhere called Killgore Pass and a sudden blow to his head from magic. He told of the drow trying to get information about someone called the prince and a place called Willow Grove. Finally, I called a halt to his talking, “He needs to rest.”
Aretha agreed and they said they would return the next day. Showing them out, I saw Samuel talking with Ann, when she saw the elves leaving she sent Samuel over to me. When we entered the room again, Jen was back beside the bed giving Elvan sips of water. She started to move away but I stopped her and had her lie on the other side of the bed.
The bed was large, larger then what I remembered a king size bed being. I stripped her shirt off and gently removed the bandages. The lacerations were red and there was a little seepage from one. Elvan turned his head and was watching what I was doing. Samuel stepped up and looked at the wounds, shaking his head, “Who did this?”
I looked at his face and saw anger. “I found her under a suspension spell like the elf. From what I know, they were both held under the spell for at least twenty years. Would being under a spell like that for so long would harm the unborn child?”
Jen looked back in alarm but Samuel shook his head, “No, it shouldn’t affect the child.”
Laying his hand on her shoulder, he started the healing without even setting a price. As the healing glow surrounded them, I knew that something was different. The glow was brighter and the magic seemed to reach out to me as well as Elvan. When Samuel finished and the glow faded there was a beautiful smile on his face. When Jen looked up at me, I could see a look of wonder on her face.
Samuel looked at me, “She’s a healer. How could someone do that to a healer?”
I had her stay where she was and we went around to Elvan. As I started unwrapping the bandages, I saw that the laceration seemed to be half healed. Samuel only gave a half smile and explained, “She reached out when she felt the healing magic.”
He continued as I helped unwrap the elf, “When a healer first experiences the healing magic, they respond in kind with a magnifying effect. The magic reaches out for any and all that might be near.”
Once Elvan was unwrapped, Samuel looked at me, “Would you mind letting the Mair help me?”
When I looked at her to ask, I saw the look of yearning and went to helped her up. Samuel put her hand on top of his and explained what he was going to do. As the glow rose up around them, it was almost as if I could hear a soft lullaby. When they finished, the look of pain in Elvan’s eyes was gone, but it was the sigh from Samuel that drew my attention.
When Samuel saw me looking he smiled, “healers seldom work together. The feeling of working with another healer is something we savor.”
I nodded as I cut the cast off. I looked at Elvan, “A nights rest and I’ll let you go.”
I smiled at Jen, “have you eaten?”
She nodded, but was still a little distracted from the healing magic. As I walked Samuel out, he glanced at me, “She needs to be trained.”
I looked at him, “where and how much?”
That was a beginning. I had agreed to let him train Jen on the condition that he takes her condition into account. In addition he was to either come and get her himself or send someone to escort her to and from all teachings.
The afternoon was spent in cleaning the halls and removing the bodies that were found. With the exception of the necromancer’s workroom or you could call it the torture room. I had spent some time in what I called the craft hall, learning what was there and thinking of ways to use it. I sat at a bench and made several detailed sketches of surgical instruments and of weapons that I remembered.
I found a set of short Wakizashi cane swords on a bench with a larger katana sword. All the sheaths were a midnight blue. The blades were all the white/silver color of Cat’s sword and they all had the weaving of magic in and through them.
The young girls had spent the day with Marie, David and Mary. Wherever that had been they all looked like they had rolled in the dirt. That afternoon, for my exercise it looked like I had an army training with me. At the end, I sat everyone down, “I see a lot of new faces. Let me say this so you will all know, this is not an art for fighting, but for defending yourself.”
“My sensei told me many things that I did not understand until later. I will give the first lesson and it is a major part of this style, You must learn to see the leaves in the forest.”
I could see several of my students shuffle around, “I think what that means is that you relearn how you see the world around you. You walk down the street, but do you see the lamplighter. Do you notice the way people carry themselves. What about when you talk to someone, can you tell if they lie?”
Pointing to a new guard in the front row, “Which way do people’s eyes look when they are creating a story? What does their body language tell you?”
Pointing to a young apprentice mage that had shown up for this evening’s class, “Which way do people look when remembering an event? How do they hold themselves?”
“Looking out onto the street, who sets a regular pattern, the baker setting out the morning bread, the blacksmith opening his shop? You must teach yourselves to see not just those patterns but those little things that don’t normally fit.”
“Enough, class dismissed.”
I had spoken with Sarah about the things I would be teaching her. I also went over what exactly I would have to do to heal her. It was an interesting evening with everyone splashing in the pool in our room and the quiet exchanges between the girls.
Before bed, I called them all together, “I would like all of you to learn to do things for yourselves. You should learn to read and write, to do arithmetic but mostly to find something you liked doing. Like Jen and her healing or Cat who is learning Medicine.”
That night was a repeat of the night before, even though it did not seem as urgent. I had moved some of the hay over so there was more room in our bed and all the girls crowded on.
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