Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
I was in the Grinning Cat after a long night. Dragon, Griffin and all the drakes were laid out on the table. Teresa was petting the drakes as her miniatures laid on and around Dragon. I smiled as I finished the bowl of oatmeal she had brought, “how are your children?”
She grinned and rubbed the full tummy of one of her dragons, “well, they love all the attention.”
I smiled and glanced at the door as Jasmine walked in. She was pregnant and showing now. Silver followed her and shook his head when they sat, “you still have all of them?”
I smiled and caressed one of the drakes, “everyone needs someone.”
He picked a drake up and turned it around before setting it back on the table where it curled up against Griffin. I smiled and let Teresa take my empty bowl along with all the others. Silver watched her leave before looking at me, “I need a favor.”
I sighed and looked at Jasmine, “why can’t he just come for a visit?”
She smiled, “because you have your own library now.”
I grinned and looked at Silver, “what now?”
He leaned forward, “I just found a scroll that describes a hidden room in the mage hall. Inside is the ancient mage Emperor’s crown, staff and scepter.”
I shook my head, “and what are you going to do with them? We already have a few thousand miniature griffins flying around outside the city. The king and council made you promise not to do anything else to disrupt the kingdom.”
He grinned and looked at Jasmine, “well, I wasn’t the only one responsible for that.”
I looked at her and grinned as I reached out to feel our child, “but she is limited in what she can do until the baby comes.”
She laughed and leaned against me to give me a kiss. Silver smiled and finally nodded, “I contacted the Imperial council and they want the items for the heir.”
I looked from him to Jasmine, “the heir is only a child.”
He snorted, “for when he comes of age.”
I sat back, “why not get it yourself?”
He looked at the fireplace, “the mage hall is warded and those of the mage council here would never let the artifacts go.”
I kept looking at him and he finally sighed, “the emperor is old. The artifacts can help the child survive the change.”
I looked at Jasmine and she touched my hand, “you must wear gloves. The heir is coming here with the emperor.”
I sighed, “my price?”
Silver smiled, “I did a little research and found the entrance you have been looking for.”
I looked at him and then at Jasmine before nodding. Silver grinned, “look in the bookcases along the eastern wall.”
I caressed Dragon’s full belly, “time for bed.”
She lifted her head and looked at me pitifully and I sighed before starting to pull drakes closer. I tucked them into my shirt and lifted Griffin to one shoulder and held Dragon on my arm. I glanced at the cats by the fireplace and the phoenixes on the mantle, “time to go home.”
I stood as Jasmine rose and slipped her hand through my arm. I woke to the hint of a touch and turned my head to see Jasmine in the doorway. She smiled, “it’s dark out.”
I nodded and started nudging tiny drakes and then Griffin and Dragon before sitting up and moving the two cats off my feet. Jasmine giggled as I finally moved off the bed and stopped to caress both phoenixes. First was a bath and then I dressed in dark clothing. I slipped my almost empty pack on before stopping in the kitchen to give Jasmine a kiss.
The streets were quiet with men and women hurrying home. I used shadows to cross to the edge of the Wizard’s Walk. The mage hall was granite stone carved by magic to look impressive, instead it just looked gaudy. I moved through the shadows and around to a small side door that was seldom if ever used.
I glanced at Dragon and Griffin, “find another way in and take the children with you.”
They leaped into the air and vanished into the dark sky. I looked at the door very carefully and smiled before checking to see if it was even locked. I grinned when it swung open and I stepped into the dim darkness. I closed the door behind me and looked around the small entry before crossing to the other door.
This one was spell warded and I knelt to pull out two tiny sticks that had been soaked and infused with salt and other special herbs. I carefully began to move the spell strands until they were on the wall beside the door, they were still active but very old. I used a small bulb of oil in the hinges and waited a few minutes before picking the lock and slowly opening the door.
The huge room beyond was filled with comfortable chairs and couches with ever burning iron fire pits. I let my eyes shift and look around and found several mages towards the front by a large open pit with a roaring fire. Dragon dropped out of the shadows and onto my shoulder before patting my cheek and turning my head.
I saw Griffin and several drakes across the room in the tall bookcase. Few real books were on the shelve and those that were had a thick coat of dust. I used the shadows and slowly drifted around and across until I was at the eastern wall. I knelt to look at the floor and slowly moved until I found the old scratches.
I glanced back at the mages still talking and carefully began checking the bookcase. I found the release almost immediately but left it as I moved to check the other side. That was where I found the old spell strands. They were twisted and knotted so I used tiny salt soaked wooden pins to unravel the knots.
It was awhile before I had worked the knots free. I began working to move the twisted strands to the side and onto the solid shelf. I finished and looked back as the mages stood and stretched before heading towards the front door. I waited until long after they left before moving to the release switch.
There was a soft click and I pulled on the bookcase. It pivoted smoothly until there was a passage into the room. I looked carefully as Griffin walked down a shelf and peeked around the corner. He looked at me and chirped softly and I grinned before moving through the bookcase. I looked to the left and down the long room.
I lifted Griffin to my other shoulder, “nice and slow.”
A few drakes flew in but turned to land on the open bookcase shelves. I walked the entire length of the narrow room before coming to an open doorway. I checked it carefully before looking in and around as I pulled out a tiny mage dark lantern Jasmine had made for me. The room was like a large study with a fire pit in the center and bookcases around the walls.
The shelves held objects and cases and not books and I stepped in, “you can tell the others to come but leave one to watch.”
Dragon chirped and made a rumbling sound. A moment later the drakes were flying in. I crossed the room, “first we take what we came for and then we see what else there is.”
I lifted the crown and a tingle went through the gloves I was wearing. I pulled a small silk bag and slipped it in. Another silk bag and I slipped the scepter in. I put both in my pack before lifting the staff from the back of the shelf. I rolled it in a silk sheet and tied it before turned at Dragon’s pat.
I frowned when I saw the cats rubbing against a glass case next to the floor. Inside a ruby cat was rubbing back. I crossed to them, “no funny stuff.”
I looked at the case before removing four clamps and sliding the top aside. I reached in and lifted the cat out before putting it beside the other two, “don’t get lost.”
Griffin patted my cheek as one of the drakes chirped across the room. I stood and looked before walking to it. It was watching another small glass case with a white dragon looking at me. I looked at Dragon, “well?”
She nodded and I freed the other dragon, “we need items or Jasmine will beat me if I bring more mouths home.”
Griffin leaped up and landed on the shelf above the dragon. He pulled a neckless to the edge of the shelf and I grinned, “that would make her feel better.”
I took several dozen items before my pack was full. I sent Griffin and the drakes out as I lifted the other dragon to my shoulder and grabbed the silk wrapped staff. When I came into the mage hall I closed the secret door. I carefully checked the hall before crossing to the back door. I went out the way I had come in.
I slipped into the shadows as the drakes and Griffin took to the sky. I glanced back to watch the cats following calming as if they were just out for a walk. I shook my head as the white dragon chirped. I wasn’t surprised to find Silver in the kitchen when I got home. He stood quickly as I held the door for the drakes and Griffin and then the cats.
Jasmine was frowning at the white dragon and then at the ruby cat when it walked in, “More?”
I smiled sweetly, “I brought you presents?”
She snorted and then smiled, “okay.”
I ignored Silver as I set the staff on the table and set my pack down, “show your friend around Dragon.”
I searched through the pack and pulled out the necklace. Jasmine’s eyes lit up as I grinned and held it out. I pulled out the crown and scepter and Silver sighed, “excellent.”
I nodded and set the items on the table before I started bringing out the rest of the items I had taken. There were jeweled rings, fancy cloak pins, necklaces and book ends and several stone inlayed wooden boxes. They all had some type of spell imbued in them. Jasmine and Silver both watched and tried not to touch.
I ended up selling most to Silver and giving a few to Jasmine. Finally Silver stood and stretched, “meet me at the Grinning Cat with the relics at the ninth hour.”
I lifted an eyebrow and Jasmine squeezed my hand, “a non mage must hold and pass on the relics to the new emperor.”
I woke to Dragon patting my face and opened my eyes. I smiled when I saw the white dragon doing the same to Jasmine beside me. I shifted and nodded to Dragon before starting the process of moving the drakes and then the cats so I could get out of bed. The phoenixes cooed as I turned to help Jasmine out.
I helped her bathe which she always liked and then we got dressed. When I opened the door into the Grinning Cat the atmosphere was almost tense. Griffin, the drakes and the phoenixes flew through and Jasmine laughed as the three cat walked in front of her and into the common room.
I ignored the nobles in the room and smiled at a frightened Teresa, “oatmeal. I found a couple of strays that are hungry.”
She looked at one of the tables where Silver sat with an old man and a young boy. A woman hovered behind the boy and guards leaned against the walls. I snorted, “ignore them and bring your friends to meet the new dragon I found.”
She smiled and then turned to go into the kitchen. I started across the room and a guard moved out in front of me, “we need to search you.”
I looked at him calmly, “if the emperor doesn’t want what I bring, I’m sure I can sell it to someone else.”
I turned as Jasmine reached for my arm, “Sinclair.”
I looked at her and she sighed and turned to the guard, “move or I will turn you into something slimy.”
His face shifted and he glanced around. The old man shook his head, “let them through.”
The guard looked relieved as he moved back and away. Jasmine pulled on me and we walked to the table. I leaned the silk wrapped staff against the table and set the silk bags with the crown and scepter on the table. The boy leaned forward to look at Dragon and the white dragon on my shoulders and then at Jasmine’s tiny hawk as it peeked out of her hair.
He grinned, “can I touch them?”
Teresa carried a large tray to the table nervously with several bowls of oatmeal and her set of miniatures. The next thing everyone knew the drakes cried out from their perches and swarmed the table. Teresa laughed and started moving them back as she set the bowls on the table, “slow down greedy things.”
Griffin landed on her arm and she moved to set him beside a bowl. Dragon and the white dragon quickly left my shoulders and I shook my head as the emperor started chuckling. Teresa moved several of hers across the table to the boy, “you can touch these, I already fed them.”
He smiled and began petting them as the rest of her set moved closer to get their share of attention. The emperor grinned, “you take these everywhere?”
I shrugged as I pushed a bowl towards Jasmine, “mostly. They have the knack of not being seen unless they want to.”
I bumped Jasmine, “eat.”
She glared, “you know I don’t really like oatmeal.”
I smiled, “want me to fix it?”
She grinned and nodded so I pulled out a small pouch. I sprinkled dark powder over her bowl and pushed Dragon away, “not for you.”
I added golden liquid from a tiny flask and cream from another. Jasmine pulled the bowl to her, “thank you.”
Silver shook his head, “I don’t know where you found those spices, I can’t find them.”
I grinned as I took a bite and gave a tiny bite to the ruby cat when it crawled onto my lap, “you are only a mage Silver. Pay me enough and I’ll find some for you.”
Jasmine stopped eating and frowned, “no you don’t, its mine.”
The emperor laughed and finally turned, “the relics?”
I looked at him as the room became still and reached for the staff. I carefully unwrapped one end and ignored him to hold it out to the boy. There were hisses but the emperor nodded, “take it James.”
The boy reached for it and froze as his hand touched. He blinked and his eyes flickered, “I promise.”
The emperor nodded and I let the staff go. It flickered and shrank to fit the boy’s size. I opened the next bag and used it to hold the scepter as I held it out. James had leaned the small staff beside him and reached out to take the handle of the scepter. He stopped as it and him began to glow.
A moment later he nodded and smiling, “I promise.”
He pulled the scepter across the table and tucked a much smaller one into his belt. I hesitated this time and opened the last bag before holding it out to the old emperor. He smiled, “wise.”
I shrugged as he turned the bag inside out to hold the crown and turned to slowly set it on his grandson’s head. James glowed and straightened as if listening before nodding, “I swear.”
The emperor sighed and relax, “it is done.”
I glanced at him before nudging the white dragon, “want to go with the boy?”
It looked across the table and tilted its head as James held his breath. The dragon finally looked at me and nodded. I smiled, “treat him well your highness.”
His grin lit the room as the white dragon walked across and into his arms. I smiled as Jasmine hugged my arm.
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