Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Meeting a Wizard’s Apprentice|
It had been a month since I had broken the conspiracy against the king. The whole city had been shocked when the whole truth behind my fight had come out. The king had even ordered the dead men hung from traitor’s wall. I had returned to my nightly stalking.
This night was a little colder then normal and most of the city stayed inside. I moved through the shadows easily until I reached the edge of the Curtain wall. I stopped as a young man stepped out of the shadows, he carried a tall staff and I knew he was a mage. I waited and he bowed, “My lord Peacemaker.”
I nodded, “Mage.”
He grinned, “Apprentice actually.”
I smiled, “How may I help you?”
He looked around, “My master requests a moment of your time.”
I only looked at him, “I thought the rest of the mages left the city?”
He shook his head, “My master has always lived here.”
I was surprised because I had never suspected that a wizard live here. He smiled, “Will you come?”
I bowed slightly, “Lead the way.”
He turned and started walking while I followed along behind. The house he led me to was on the edge of the farmer’s market, it looked old but well kept. In the front parlor an old man sat in a comfortable seat and smoked a long stemmed pipe. The apprentice bowed and withdrew while the old man waved to another chair, “Sit Peacemaker.”
I smiled and moved into the room and sat in the chair next to him, “How may I help you mage?”
He smiled thinly, “Don’t trust mages do you.”
I waited and he nodded. His gesture and murmur towards the fire brought a flare of flames. Out of the flames appeared a stunning young woman. Even with the flames wrapped around her, I knew her hair would be a reddish gold color. Her eyes sparkled like emeralds as they stared into my soul.
I finally shook myself and looked at the mage as the image shifted and faded back into the fire. He looked at me quizzically and then smiled gently, “Her name is Kendra Alexandria Sarah Marie Brigham. She is the emperor’s ward and third in line for the throne.”
I nodded, “Where is she?”
He sighed, “Held captive outside the city in a Sorcerer’s dungeon.”
I looked at him and my eyes narrowed, “The emperor would never allow…”
The old mage held up his hand, “She was taken from the Imperial palace three days ago. The means used was one of treachery by a councilor to the Emperor.”
I looked at him and my eyes narrowed, “Who?”
He shrugged, “it doesn’t matter. His treachery earned him a quick death.”
I nodded and looked at the apprentice as he carried a tray into the room and set it on a small table. The old mage gestured to the scroll on the tray, “This will direct you to the Sorcerer’s keep.”
I didn’t touch the scroll, I only glanced at it and looked back at the mage, “Why help me?”
He smiled and looked into the flames of his fire, “Lets just say I speak to the dead too.”
I nodded and reached for the scroll. I stood and looked at him but he never looked away from the fire. I walked out and after leaving his house carefully opened the scroll. I only needed one look to know where I needed to go before it flashed and disappeared. I headed for the eastern gate with long purposeful strides, the image of the young woman still burning in my mind. I slipped out the postern gate and walked through the shanty town outside the city walls.
The few shady people that saw my shadow hastily vanished. I quietly left the city behind, moving through moonlit fields. It was another hour before I saw the low wall that marked the estate boundary for the sorcerer. In the moonlight I could see moving shadows and knew the sorcerer had spells protecting his estate and keep.
I should explain the difference between a wizard or mage and a sorcerer. A wizard or mage stores energy in an object like a wand or staff and uses it to create stronger spells. A sorcerer can’t use an object so they either use only their own natural energy or they use energy from another person. Most sorcerers aren’t bad, however the ones that are, are very bad and take a person’s life energy by force, draining them completely, leaving a them dead or dying.
I waited as the shadows gathered near the wall and then swiftly vaulted the wall. Even as I landed the shadows were attacking. I knew their power was limited but dangerous. I had kept a small pouch of ground salt since the mages and pulled a handful to toss it in a wide arc. The silent screams as the shadows touched the salt vibrated in my bones as the salt broke the spells that held them together.
I moved quickly towards the distant keep, knowing the disruption of the guard spells would alert the sorcerer. I slipped my climbing claws on after sprinkling salt on myself. When I reached the walls of the keep I leaped and started climbing. I slipped over the wall and onto a walkway as a large altered dog rushed me. My swords swept out as I shifted and turned. The headed bounced past me as the body collapsed.
I didn’t bother with the stairs as I dropped over the wall on the inside. I walked towards the manor and kicked the large double door open. A young looking man spun to face me from the other end of the room, “YOU DARE!”
I didn’t even slow as I headed towards him, “For your acts of treason I sentence you to death.”
He looked around and made a pulling motion that pulled a bound man from a hanging curtain. I slipped a sword into its sheath as he mumbled a spell. I threw a cloud of salt as he gestured and it sparkled before bursting into flame. I drew a spike and threw it as he gestured again and he staggered back with it sticking out of his chest. I reached him as he plucked at the spike and looked at me with wide eyes, “But I can’t die.”
My sword flashed and his head went back before his body started to fall. I moved forward and knelt before bringing the blade down again. It was always a good idea to remove the head of a sorcerer. I stood and looked around before starting to search. I had to be very careful because sorcerers tended to leave traps for the unwary. I moved up floor by floor until reaching the master suite.
When I sprinkled salt on the door it burst into flames and a huge stone man appeared. He reached for me and I turned and grabbed the hand before using the momentum to bring it stumbling around me and into the wall. I shifted my grip and pulled back before kicking into the closest knee. As it shattered and fell to the floor the spell unraveled and a scream echoed throughout the keep.
I checked the door again and then opened it and looked inside. It looked like a magpie lived in the room. I hesitated and then tossed a pinch of salt. The flash had me stepping back and twisting as several knives flashed past me. I looked into the room again and then slipped in and began searching. I found bags of gems and pouches of gold but nothing to lead me to the young woman.
I went back downstairs and started searching again. I almost missed the hidden panel in the main hallway. It was two tiny scratches on the floor that drew my attention. After fifteen minute of careful searching I found the lock. Ten seconds latter the panel clicked and slowly swung open. I knew better then to just walk into any room the sorcerer had kept locked.
I went to the kitchen and found the bowl of salt he had used when cooking. Back at the panel, I pulled it open and looked down a steep stairwell. I tossed some salt and when nothing happened, I stepped in. I used pinches of salt all the way down the stairs. At the bottom a flare of color brought a stinking corpse to life. It slowly stood and turned from the side of the small ante room. Another pinches of salt caused it to burst into flames as it crumpled to the floor.
I slowly crossed to the door and checked it before opening it. I looked into a bare room with only a narrow cot in one corner and a chamber pot in another. Sitting on the cot was a young woman looking back at me. When my eyes locked with hers my heart started beating faster and I couldn’t look away. She smiled, “Aren’t Peacemakers bolder?”
I grinned, “Unless they are overwhelmed with great beauty.”
I looked around and then carefully tossed several pinches of salt. She looked at me with her eyebrow raised and I shrugged, “Better safe the sorry.”
She lifted her arm and I saw the chain that was locked around her wrist. After crossing the room, I used another pinch of salt before picking the lock and tossing the chain away. I looked around slowly and stood, “Stay behind me. Walk where I walk and do whatever I say when I say it.”
She nodded and stood. I turned to the door and retraced my steps and she followed me. I glanced at her as I reached the door, “My name is Edward Fury by the way.”
She was silent as I led her up the stairs and out into the main hallway. She shifted as we approached the open front doors, “A Peacemaker named Fury killed the last emperor’s heir.”
I glanced back, “Did they also tell you he was the one to arrange his own brother’s death? Or that he was planning to kill his father?”
She looked wide eyed and shook her head, “No.”
I nodded and stopped in the doorway. I did not want to try the gateway through the walls. I sighed and started for the stairs up to the wall. Once I was on top of the wall I turned to look at Kendra, “I need you to climb onto my back and hold on.”
She looked at me and then down the wall as she realized what I was going to do. She nodded, her face white as she climbed on and used her thighs on my hips. I slipped my claws on after tossing salt down the wall. Just getting over the edge was the hard part. Climbing down was slow and tiring and I was glad when I reached the ground and stepped away from the wall. Kendra dropped off my back, “I’m glad that’s over. I don’t like heights.”
I smiled, “I would have never known.”
She looked at me and then grinned. It was just starting to get light as I turned to lead her back the way I had come. By the time we reached the shanty town, Kendra was staggering. I finally turned and just swept her into my arms and turned to the main gates. The guards looked surprised but only grinned as I walked by.
I made it to the inn and carried Kendra inside. I asked her to wait and did some chores while Ms Peace fed her. I finally saddled a horse and helped Kendra up before leading her towards the gate through the Curtain wall. The guards looked surprised and the sergeant cleared his throat, “I thought you were supposed to be teaching this morning?”
I grinned, “I have an errand first.”
They didn’t even ask who Kendra was as they opened the gate and let us through. I led the horse through the Nobles retreat and servants began moving around. I stopped the horse at the gate to the Imperial Keep and banged on it. The guard that looked out angrily straightened when he saw me. I bowed slightly, “Inform the ambassador that the Emperor’s ward is here.”
His eyes snapped to Kendra and then widened before he jerked the gate wide open. I led the horse in as the guard sent a runner to the ambassador. It was only a couple of minutes before he appeared. I had helped a weary Kendra down off the horse and stood waiting. The ambassador flung the doors open as he rushed out. He knelt when he got closer, “Your imperial highness.”
Kendra smiled, “Ambassador.”
He stood and glanced at me and I nodded to her, “The ones responsible for taking her are dead. See that she is cared for.”
I turned and started for the gate feeling a tightening in my chest. I heard Kendra’s light steps, “Wait!”
I stopped and turned to look at her. She smiled and came closer before kissing my cheek, “Thank you.”
I nodded as I looked into her eyes and then glanced at the ambassador before turning away.
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