Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Wizards come to the City|
The streets were alive with rumors the next morning. They had just started when another rumor made everyone forget. It was about a group of Mages that had entered the city. I went about the stables working and it was almost noon when the mage arrived. He walked into the courtyard and glanced from Master Hoard to me. He had a little satisfied smile, “So it’s true. A Peacemaker is here.”
I stood watching him carefully and let a throwing spike slip into my hand, “What do you want mage?”
He started to gesture and froze as I shifted, “Before you finish you’ll be dead.”
He looked at me and his eyes narrowed, “You think your weapon can break my shield?”
I smiled thinly, “A normal weapon, no. A spike forged with salt and ash…”
His face whitened and then he straighten, “Do not interfere with us Peacemaker.”
He turned to start walking out and Master Hoard stepped out of the doorway. As the mage started to gesture, I threw the spike. It slammed into a wood post near his head and he spun to face me with wide eyes. I already had another spike in my hand, “Make no mistake mage. I am a Peacemaker. If you break the Imperial law or harm those I protect, I will kill you.”
His face was white as he backed out of the stable yard. I finished the chores and went to my chest to dress. When I came out wearing the peacemaker uniform I crossed to the Inn. The kitchen was quiet as I walked through to the common room. As I walked into the large common room it fell silent. Master Hoard turned and bowed, “My lord?”
I smiled, “I’ll be back. Watch yourself and don’t trust the mages.”
I looked around the room and then crossed and walked out. I walked towards Judgment square and knew who I would meet before I got there. I walked through the crowd toward the four brightly colored robes before the Speaker’s Stand. The crowd parted as they realized who I was and then silence swept the square. I faced the four mages standing together, “Patre.”
He smiled, “Edward.”
I only glanced at the others before looking at him, “I had a visit.”
He frowned and looked at one of the mages before looking at me, “Perhaps a bit early.”
I kept looking at him, “You swore an oath.”
He bowed, “I have kept my word.”
I glanced at the others, “And your… friends?”
He shrugged, “They haven’t sworn an oath.”
I nodded, “Make your allegiances and your plans. When I have proof…”
His eyes narrowed, “Still roaming the streets Edward?”
I smiled, “Only the shadows Patre.”
He looked at another mage, “Shadows have voices Edward.”
I grinned as I looked at the same mage, “When they speak to loud, I will visit their master and quiet them.”
Patre looked at me again, “Do you really think you can stop the fall? There are only three of you left and the Emperor has declared you outlawed.”
I smiled and let a throwing spike drop into my hand, “Our mandate goes beyond the Emperor or his actions. You could ask him why he couldn’t remove our seal before his throne…”
The mage at the end started a gesture and I spun after throwing the spike. I let two more spikes drop into my hands as I faced Patre. The two mages left standing with him were white faced as they looked at the one on the ground with my spike in his chest. I looked at Patre as he stood calmly, “The Empire will stand. Don’t push to hard Patre. I don’t want to kill my own uncle, but I will.”
He bowed slightly, “I gave my sister my oath Edward.”
I look at the others and back to his face, “If you don’t follow an oath in spirit, then you have already broken it.”
I back up and at the last second turned to walk away. I walked through the streets heading towards the monastery for Blal. This was a small chapel very few people came to. I pushed the tall narrow doors open and walked in. I walked down the narrow isle as my footsteps echoed in the building. I stood before the alter and waited. A woman suddenly appeared, “Peacemaker.”
I bowed, “Mother.”
She smiled, “The gods are restless. The charge they gave the Peacemakers is straining. Nobles, Merchants and Mages are trying their patients.”
I grinned, “Patre is here and you know he works against the empire.”
She sighed, “He was my brother and now seeks to have his oath back. His plot is not here. He seeks only your death so he can be free.”
I nodded, “that isn’t something I didn’t know.”
She bowed her head, “I’m sorry Edward. Watch the rich merchants and the poor nobles. He will seek to make them braver and try to get them to cooperate with each other.”
I nodded and then bowed, “Thank you mother.”
She smiled, “You accepted a heavy charge Edward. The woman of your heart draws near.”
I lifted my head to look at her in surprise, “Her name?”
Her laughter was like the sound of musical bells, “You’ll know when you meet her my son.”
I sighed and nodded before kneeling. When I looked up she was gone and in her place was an ancient crone. I smiled, “Thank you priestess.”
She smiled gently, “Thank the gods young peacemaker.”
I nodded and turned to leave. At the door I emptied my purse into the coin box before leaving. I was almost to the Inn when the four men attacked. I was aware of them before they even pulled their weapons and slid to the side and away from three of them as they closed. Both my swords swept out and my left sword blocked a swinging sword as the street quickly cleared.
I rolled the sword over the blade and threw it back as I kept moving. My right sword absently took the welders hand. I slipped my left sword back into its sheath as the other three men closed and with a sharp twist a throwing spike dropped into my hand from my sleeve. I moved around a thick wooden column to make two of the men move out of position.
My suddenly thrown spike flashed across the cobbled street to sink into the throat of a young looking mage that was gesturing. The closest man lunged and I parried his sword. I turned the blade inside of mine and cut his throat as I sliced back across his body. I moved back the way I had come and one of the two remaining men sliced across towards my hand.
I pulled my hand back letting his sword slid along mine before rolling my sword around his and tossing it down as my other hand pulled a knife. I pushed down and out with the sword and I cut across with the knife, cutting off several fingers holding his dagger as he thrust it at me. He screamed and fell back and it was just the one remaining attacker. He hesitated as I slid closer, “to late to run now.”
He swallowed and slashed at me wildly and followed it with a lunge. I knocked his dagger aside with my sword and shifted to the side to avoid his sword and let his body crash into mine. My knife slipped easily through his ribs and into his heart. I pushed him back and careful moved away. I walked across the street to the body of the mage and knelt. I removed my spike before cutting his throat.
I walked back to the Inn and went back to work in the stable. I slipped into my room and made a couple of preparations. I mucked stalls and curried horses while people came and went. It was during the evening rush that I felt the atmosphere change. It was in the voices in the common room of the Inn. I dressed and walked around and came in the front doors.
The room suddenly went silent and I noticed four ragged characters by the kitchen door where I would have normally come in. They looked sour and fingered their daggers as I looked around the room. Master Hoard looked upset and Mrs. Hoard was missing. I sat at a table and Ginger come over with a large mug and her pitcher of ale. I waved both away and she hesitated before nodding and heading for the kitchen door.
I saw the four men tense and let a throwing spike drop into my hand below the table. When they stood and one reached for Ginger, I stood and threw in one motion. The spike slammed into his shoulder as his hand grabbed Ginger’s shoulder. He screamed and let Ginger go to scurry into the kitchen. I faced them as I pulled my knife and another spike. I didn’t even turned my head to the small cloaked figure sitting at a table in the corner, “When you try the spell, I’ll kill you.”
The men across the room stirred and looked at the cloaked figure. The small man carefully pulled the hood back, “You wish to challenge me?”
I smiled and turned, “I serve the Empire. If you wish to overthrow it to enthrall all the people, it will only be after all Peacemakers are dead. Now try your spell and take your chances or leave.”
His eyes narrowed, “Perhaps I will take this up later.”
I smiled and waited as he headed towards the door. The four men were quick to hurry across the room and leave behind him. I slid my knife back into its sheath and pulled another spike as I started across the room, “I would move away from the door.”
It was only a moment before there was a roar and a loud rushing sound. I waited until the crash against the door came and then threw a spike. The scream was one that chilled the blood and made even grown men cringe. My spike was imbedded in something we couldn’t see by the front door. I grabbed a bowl of ground salt from a nearby table as it rushed across the room.
I whipped the bowl across in front of me and a cloud of salt seemed to hang suspended as I threw the other spike. The second scream was worse then the first as the demon hit the cloud of salt. I pulled my knife and a slim stiletto from my back. I sliced across the massive body as I rolled to the side. I came to my feet and spun as it embraced me.
The slim stiletto slid straight into where the heart would be and the demon froze. I dropped and did a back roll before coming to my feet. The demon lifted its head and howled a terrifying scream before disappearing. The scream that came from the street was purely human and one of never ended anguish. I walked forward and knelt to pick up my stiletto and throwing spikes. I looked around and nodded to Master Hoard, “They will stay away now. The death place of a demon is not where a mage or another demon will go.”
He nodded and looked around the room before yelling into the kitchen, “Ale for everyone Ginger.”
I headed through the kitchen, passing Ginger and Teresa as they came into the common room with pitchers of ale. In the tack room I changed and used the basin of water. I dressed again and then moved up to the loft. I went out the back window and over the wall. I slipped through the street using alleys and back streets. The neighborhood I entered was one of privilege.
The merchants here were rich beyond imaging but thankfully most remained loyal to king and Empire. The estate I slipped into was one of the richest. I walked in the open and several guards started and moved to stop me only to be called off by a grizzled old man in worn comfortable clothes. I stopped in front of him and bowed, “Captain.”
He grinned and looked around, “No one calls me that now youngster.”
I smiled, “And how many do you thrash soundly in the Salle?”
He laughed and turned towards the side door into the house, “Any that are silly enough to face me.”
I followed as he led me to a room off the kitchen where a richly dressed merchant sat. I nodded, “Merchant Peddler.”
He grinned, “Only you call me that.”
I smiled and looked from the old Imperial Guard Captain to a once wandering peddler, “The mages will seek rich merchants to corrupt.”
The peddler nodded, “They have already made overtures.”
I looked at him and he waved it away, “I never liked mages.”
I smiled, “How many are thinking about their offers?”
He pursed his lips, “Maybe merchant Taylor and Peterson.”
I nodded, “Then I need to explain my position.”
He laughed with the captain, “Everyone knows your position.”
I smiled, “Try not to draw their attention.”
They nodded and I slipped out. My first stop was the market in front of merchant Taylor’s shop. A mage was standing in the doorway and looked at me contemptibly. He gestured and I pulled a small handful of salt and tossed it as I pulled a spike. The cloud of salt sparkled and burst into fire. I threw the spike as the mage turned to face me fully. He staggered and then looked down at the spike in his chest, “No!”
He went to his knees picking at the spike and then fell to the side. The street had quickly cleared and gone silent. Merchant Taylor appeared in his doorway and looked at me with wide eyes. I looked back calmly, “I protect the empire. If you betray it, I will come for you.”
I turned and walked away heading for merchant Peterson’s warehouses. As soon as I entered the street I knew it was a trap. Months of moving through the city had taught me every nook and cranny. I turned and walked back to the next street and started down. I went through a slip through and then up the side of his warehouse. I entered the warehouse from a small window and silently moved along a catwalk.
I could hear voices from the front of the building and climbed down to carefully move through the stacked crates. As I drew near I recognized one voice as my uncle Patre. He was telling two other mages exactly what to do to trap and kill me. I stepped from behind a large crate and pulled two spikes and threw them. The two mages fell to the ground, one dead with a spike buried through the back of his skull and the other choking to death on his own blood. Patre spun in surprise, his eyes wide, “YOU!”
I looked back calmly as I drew my knife and another spike, “You are foresworn uncle.”
His face went white, “No… I….”
I started walking towards him, “By my blood, I call you oath breaker.”
He gasped and spun as a bright glow appeared, “Elizabeth! I didn’t, I swear!”
The bright glowing form of a beautiful woman stepped out of the glow, “You are an oath breaker Patre. You were directing others and telling them how to kill my son. The price you gave in bond is called.”
My uncle went to his knees, “Please Elizabeth!”
He began glowing and then his spectra stood and his body fell to the side. My mother looked at me before taking her brother’s hand and leading him into the bright glow. The glow shrank and then disappeared, leaving silence in its place. I slipped out a side door and made my way back to the inn. Uncle Patre had been the last of my family.
I went to the stables and changed. The quiet work with the horses soothed my soul. The rumors came quickly. The mages were fleeing the city.
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