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Magus Magnate (Chapter Two)
Chapter Two: First Outings!
Thud, thud, thud…My eyes whipped open at the same time my body flew from the bed. My sight was bombarded by bright light and I realized that it was morning. Thud, thud, thud…
”Master Flavion,” A small voice spoke through the door. It was then that I realized I had slept in, I quickly collected my things and threw open the door. The servant boy who had been sent to wake me was almost bowled over in the wake of my rushing. I stopped for a brief instant to give my apologies and then out to the courtyard I went.
When I finally reached the meeting place, I was met with hard and angry glares. The day was bright and clear, however. “Perfect weather for traveling,” I thought. A cart had been loaded down with all the necessary equipment for our excursion, two horses were saddled and ready while two others were rigged to the cart. Master Larid, Lady Arannia, and Vandagar all stood by the cart, waiting for me to arrive.
“Good Morning!” I said cheerfully as I approached. I knew that I should have chosen a better greeting, for as soon as it was said I could see the anger on Arannia’s face, although not a word escaped her mouth.
Vandagar was not so civil. “Well, good morning, Flavion! Hope that you got a wonderful night and morning sleep.” The sarcasm was all too evident in his voice. “We have loaded the cart and saddle the horses. Do we now have your blessing for departure, my lord?” He bowed low in a mocking manner.
I wanted to hit him square in the face, but I knew that any physical confrontation would end badly for me. My battles where won with words! “Why, yes, I did sleep wonderfully, thank you for your inquiry, kind Vandagar. It appears that my blessing is not needed however, for Relon has blessed us with a beautiful day.” I spread my arms out wide in an attempt to show the beauty of the day, and bowed low in return. I could see the anger rising in Vandagar’s face and I smiled inwardly.
As if on cue, Arannia spoke up. “It is late in the day already. We should get going.” With that she swung herself upon her horse. She spurred the horse into action, pushing her way through the now crowded street. Vandagar did likewise, though I thought I saw an angry look come my way.
“Good bye, my master,” I said when I knew the others would not hear. “They don’t like me very much. Vandagar thinks that I am weak, and Arannia think I will be a burden on them. Are we doing the right thing?”
“Oh, my young apprentice, they will soon find your usefulness. And as for weakness what you lack one place, you have compensated in others.” He then embraced me, and I in return. “Flavion,” he whispered, “you must learn to have confidence in yourself.”
“I know, Master!” I agreed. I gently pushed myself away from Master Larid, and looked deep into his old eyes. It was then that I realized that I may never see him again, and I started to weep!
Master wiped my tears away as he spoke to me. “All things will work out for the best, my son. Keep yourself and those in your charge safe and you will be fine!” His face turned hard then and he turned to Vandagar and Arannia. “I bid you farewell and good journeys. Please return safely!”
Turning back to me he simply said, “Good bye, my son”, and spun around to walk back to the Library. I watched for a few seconds until I lost sight of him in the crowd, then I turned to climb into the cart. As I positioned myself in the seat I noticed Arannia watching me with a look of sadness in her eyes, I made no mention of it though.
I grabbed the reins and let lose the brake on the cart. “Ready?” I asked my companions. They silently answered by turning their horses around and heading towards the East gate.
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It was a typical busy day in this part of town, the Market District. Merchants peddled their wares as people looked, touched, and purchased those wares. It was hard going at first, but people soon moved when they realized the mounted individuals where a high ranking soldier and a priestess of Relon. When I tried to pass I did have to ask a few people to move for me as they did not give me the respect that they gave to the others. I must have looked like just another merchant to the people gathered to barter, I was more than a little upset by this. I let it pass, however, “How could these naves know what I am? Someday they will though and they will learn to respect me!” That brought a chuckle to my throat.
“HEY!” I was snapped from my thoughts by a loud yell. Looking around I noticed that Vandagar was riding beside me trying to get my attention.
“Sorry, I was deep in thought. What can I do for you?” I asked as nonchalantly as I could, trying to hide the fact that he had startled me.
“First of all, you need to pay attention. If you do not it could be your life. Secondly, when we reach the gate do not speak unless spoken to. Arannia will do all the talking.” I could tell that he was not threatening me himself but he was genuinely concerned. I simply nodded to give acknowledgement. He must have noticed because he rode up to Arannia, where they exchanged some words and she glanced back with a smirk on her lips.
As we neared the gate, it became more and more crowded; it almost got to the point where I had to stop the cart. Vandagar noticed my plight though and returned to assist with crowd control. It took us nearly an hour to reach the gate. After a short conversation between Arannia and the guards, we were passing under the large gatehouse.
I had read about life outside the city for all my life, and had always longed to see what it was like for myself. The view was nearly endless in all directions, broken only by the Melant River to the west only a few short miles and to the east, many days journey, was the Kelcit Mountains. To the south as far as the eye could see was the plains known as the Veldt, you could even make out several wagons moving north along the road.
It was late spring so there were flowers of all varieties, birds flying overhead, and small critters moving through the tall grass. The sky was clear and bright with the sun nearing its zenith. All the books in the world could not have prepared me for the beauty. I felt like a young child again, everything seeming new and exciting. For many hours we went, although I was watching everything and trying to recall the names of all the flora and fauna that I could, so I was not sure really how long we traveled.
It wasn’t until Vandagar called a stop that I realized how long we had been on the road. It was nearing night fall! “How could I have not noticed that?” I asked myself.
“Flavion you are in charge of meal preparation. I will scout our area for hazards. Arannia, you are in charge of sleeping area. We will all rotate a watch through the night, three hour intervals. Is this understood?” Arannia nodded, and went about her tasks. Vandagar raised an eyebrow at me as I did not answer right away.
“Meal preparation?” Was my only response, I had no idea how to cook. There had always been servants in the library to do that. I was not expecting Vandagar to react the way he did!
“Hahahaha!” The sound of his laughter rolled across the landscape, but echoed in my mind. “You cannot prepare food. Can you make a bed?”
“Yes.” I could only squeak out that one word, as I was so embarrassed, although I had many more words for the warrior. Arannia had deposited the bedding nearby and come over to me. Vandagar spun on a heel, with a chuckle under his breath and started out away from camp.
“Do not let him bother you so much,” she said as I glared at Vandagar’s back. “He only does it to get a rise from you. And hells, I really don’t know how to cook that well, either. Maybe we can help each other. I will teach you to cook and you will teach me about the Great Library.”
I could sense no sarcasm, could tell that she was not trying to trick me. “Sure I will tell you all that I know.” I said as I unrolled the first bedroll. I started to tell her everything; the way it is categorized, daily tasks and schedule, who everyone was and their duties, and the importance of the Library, itself. Before long the beds were made and dinner was underway, and I could see that Arannia was listening intently.
“It seems that you love your duties at the Library.” She said after I had concluded. “You love your Master, too?”
“Of course,” I responded. “Like a father. When my parents died, I was only six. Master found me; I was the only survivor of the attack on my village. Half-starved and scared out of my mind, he took me back to Teranus, and there trained me to one day take his place. That’s probably why I am here now, more training!”
“Was it orcs?” She asked.
“That’s what Master told me. What I remember of the attack, is foggy though. I was young and scared; I do remember darkness all around and screaming. There was a creature, but no orc that I have ever seen.”
“That sounds terrible. Thank Relon for your safety! It is no wonder that King Teran vowed to destroy those heathens.” I could hear the disdain in her voice, and thought I seen a tear.
“Sounds terrible, but that is war!” Vandagar had returned without our noticing, giving us both a start. He walked right up to the pot hanging over the fire and scooped a ladle full of food. “Thank Relon, but don’t forget the soldiers who fight and die to protect your asses! They are the true saviors!” With that he dumped the hot food down his throat.
“Careful, Vandagar! You are standing on the edge of heresy.” Arannia spoke up. “I would hate to tarnish your gleaming career with a report to my superiors.”
Vandagar nearly choked on his food. He smiled politely to Lady Arannia and bowed so low I thought he might fall. “Yes, my lady, please forgive me. We soldiers sometimes talk like that to one-another to help boost morale. A cheap tactic, however it is very useful. I only forgot my place!”
“Do what you will on the battlefield, but do not blaspheme the Church!” Her words were very commanding, and I could see that Vandagar took them seriously. I began to wonder who was actually in charge. Arannia changed the subject then, “All went well on your scouting?”
“For the most part, I did find some tracks that I have never seen before. They are heavy and clawed, and cross the road about a mile south of here. I followed the tracks east until they simply disappeared. I can’t explain it! We should definitely keep a good watch tonight!” With that last sentence, Vandagar looked mockingly at me.
We ate our meal in silence, looking out past the fire light. We all waited to see movement or a beast suddenly appear. It never happened, and I eventually fell asleep. I was awaked in the night by Vandagar, so that I could take over for watch. I took advantage of this and began to prepare the spells that I thought would be useful that day.
As I studied my spellbook, I caught myself thinking about what Arannia said to Vandagar. Heresy she had said, “I better watch myself around her.” I whispered to myself.
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© 2013 Jeremy Floyd