Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Payment(continued)

“Captain! You’d better come quick. Sky is about to start something huge.”

The sergeant interrupted Mercenary Captain Lightblade’s charming rendition of the heroics performed by his company. The surrounding crowd of guests whispered among themselves surprised that he would allow such a brash interruption. But he simply smiled and excused himself.

The diplomatic smile hid inner worry. Strangers who saw sky only saw his physique and thought that his fighting strength lay in swordsmanship. Ha! The man couldn’t out duel a fly. He as immensely strong, yes but had no clue how to use the blade he carried in melee combat. However, outside of a martial contest he was devastating. The man was simply the best war mage the captain had ever seen. That had been proven at the pass of Reijin. Sky alone had held the shield against at least twenty imperial mages. Their bombardments were casually ignored. At the same time he had reinforced the bridge the pass was known for; allowing more refuges to cross faster and had assisted the companies three other mages in counter bombardment. But with a range, power and finesse they could not match.

Not to say the man was invincible. The captain was certain he was mortal but give Sky a meager personal guard and he would be an army to himself. Fortunately he avoided all conflict and was very content to accept any orders that had been given him since he signed on to the company last spring on the north shore of Jennen. Which was why this news was a surprise. Sky starting a fight. This was a problem.

No change that. “Sky” and “start something” was disaster.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The band froze at the booming statement. The dancers paused. Everyone’s attention focused on the dumpy woman in the middle of the room and the uncouth man whose voice had silenced them. The party was completely derailed.

The Grand Duke Montain rose angrily from his upper balcony table to see what and who had interrupted his party. A flush spread across his face when he recognized his niece’s serving girl, on her knees confronted by a large unwashed mercenary. Some jaded lover returned, he presumed, and interrupting his ball like at some commoner house building party. Furious he turned to his nephew and snapped: “Deal with this intrusion” Then he sat back down and resumed his card game and the important discussions that went along with it.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Earl of Kines pushed his way through the crowd. He had worked hard to get a seat at that table. All of the Lords who were anyone were there and with the Summer King absent it was the highest honor available at this ball. So much power and influence in one spot the opportunity to make contacts was beyond value. And now banished like a serving boy to clean up his sisters mess. His inner anger boiled to his face and more than one of the lesser nobility flinched as they got out of his way.

The crowd finally parted and he found himself standing over his sister’s maid. He tried to remember her name. Amanda or Alicia or something like that; it didn’t matter. He raised his hand to strike her for the impudence of interrupting such a momentous occasion…

Strike her and die

Spinning, he turned to the mercenary who had spoken.

“You threaten me? Dog tonight I will have you in chains. Guards! Remove this man!”

Immediately, at least ten palace guards surrounded the mercenary their weapons drawn. The sergeant at arms spoke up: “Surrender your weapon and come with us or draw it and we’ll take your dead body.”

The tattooed behemoth simply shrugged. Drawing his stone blade he planted it in front of him. Two calloused hands rested on its pommel. The Earl felt the air cool noticeably.

“STOP” A third voice halted the guards a second before they reacted to the drawn blade. The Earl saw a mercenary officer emerge from the crowd.

“My Lord,” the officer started, “please call off your men. I will take my soldier and we will withdraw. I will pay any rudeness fine that must be addressed.”

The Earl sneered, the temerity of the man. Bargaining with him? As if he was a minor noble who had been bumped in the market place. “This is beyond rudeness. This fool has threatened my life and shall be punished for it.”

A smile flashed across his face as he saw the captain blanch. It didn’t stay long.

“My Lord,” the Captain , “if your men attack they will all die, and more than likely most of us will as well. My soldier Sky there is an elemental Grandmaster. If he can hold of the might of the Imperial Mage Corp do you really want him to unleash his strength here and now? Please just let me take him and go. I will send a currier after we are gone to discuss settlement and make amends for this affront. I beseech you do not allow his uncivilized behavior to further ruin your evening.”

A cold tremor of fear crept through the Earl. This man? A mage? That mage? Taking another look at the large man confronting his guards he shook his head. This couldn’t be. He scanned the crowd for his own mage Krem. He needed some sort of verification.

He found it. There in the back of the room was Krem, staring white faced at the barbarian; flame magic and fear in his eyes; backing towards the exit. The Earl’s fear intensified mixing with embarrassment and anger. He turned back to the captain.

“Go. Take your rabble and go. But I swear you will recompense me for this.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The captain sighed with relief, he really had thought for a moment there that this Earl would have ordered the attack and killed them all. Turning to Sky he gestured, “Come on, let’s get out of here.”

Sky returned his weapon to his back, strode past the Earl and his guards, and swept up the unmoving servant woman. He then quickly followed his captain out.

As soon as they were out of the room the captain turned to the Sergeant who had summoned him. “Rodriguez grab the men. All of them. I want everyone back at camp within the hour. Things are going to get real ugly soon.”


==================================================

*edited*Republished like 10 times to try and fix format errors I didn't catch when I told it to publish yesterday. The first part of this story was published on Feb 25th and can be found in the Tales and Shadows section of my links.

1 comment:

Kaelynn said...

I'm very excited to see what happens next. Keep up the good work!