The Gods of Dragons (Vol 1)

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) - Stevie Wonder, 1970

Chapter 11 (v.1) - Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Submitted: May 16, 2018

Reads: 43

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Submitted: May 16, 2018

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Orn 30, 1103

Lily and Velona made very good time to Smilnda. Only two days on the road and Lily saw the town from the outside for the first time as the sun was coming up over the roofs. Smilnda was surrounded by a tall stone wall not dissimilar from the parapets surrounding Hamerfoss, and Lily craned her neck to see the town guard walking along its top in the clear cold day. Beside her Velona smiled silently, the lines by her eyes crinkling further as she shook her head at the enamored girl.

“This is the town Shon grew up in isn’t it?” Lily asked Velona as the monk showed her papers to the gate guard and explained calmly why Lily didn’t have her own.

“You would know better than me,” she said with a little laugh as the guard eyed the two ladies, looking from them to the travel papers and Lily’s sorcerer's certification. He kept looking at Lily and back down like he was trying to put two and two together and kept getting five. It may have been because of the strange red stripes that stood out on her face and arm, or it could have been the fact that she was wearing a summer tunic with no sleeves and no cloak in the literal middle of winter.

Finally the poor man just shook his head handing the papers back to Velona and saying, “You will need to stop in with the mages guild first and foremost,” it was the standard instruction for incoming sorcerers and Velona just nodded at the man still smiling as she folded her papers and returned them to her belt. “Welcome to Smilnda,” he stood aside, and Lily nearly skipped into the town trying to look every way at once.

“It's not as big as Tarorn,” she said, though she wasn’t disappointed by the fact, “it's cleaner though…” Lily rested her staff in the crook of her shoulder and crouched down trying to lure over a stray dog for petting.

Velona was shielding her eyes and looking around the skyline for the mages tower that would rise higher than the stone houses and shops, trying to get her bearings. It had been a long time since she had been in the island province of Clearhelm. “First things first Lily,” the monk said, seeing the tower and heading in that direction, “we need to report to the mages guild and get your travel papers, then we need to go shopping for some basic travel supplies.”

Lily gave up trying to lure the dog over and hitched her travel pack higher on her shoulders walking quickly to catch up with the monk, “I have some travel supplies…” she started, but Velona was already shaking her head.

“You don’t even have a rain cloak let alone a winter one. And I’m sure your bedroll isn’t as thick as it needs to be for Clearhelm and Oane after.”

Lily scrunched her face in thought and said, “But I don’t need those things, I stay warm enough without them…” but again the monk was shaking her head.

“You stay warm because you’re using your energy to warm the area around you,” she explained as she pointed with her staff down another road and they turned to continue towards the mages guild. “It's impressive that you’ve managed for so long, but I bet by the third day on your trip to Hamerfoss you were exhausted.”

Lily stopped walking for a moment to think about it, she had been tired but, “But I had never walked so much, that’s why…”

Velona turned back, covering the few steps between her and her new student and resting a hand on Lily’s shoulder, “It’s a different kind of tired. Your legs may have ached from the walking, but your energy was drained from trying to fight off the cold with just your ki.”

Lily tilted her head to the right, and Velona laughed at her as they began walking again, “What’s ki?” Lily asked. It sounded like ‘key,’ but she got the feeling it had nothing to do with locked doors or chests.

“Ki,” Velona said, entering teacher mode as they turned another corner and saw the mages guild only a block away, “is your bodies energy. Everyone has ki, it’s the energy of life. And in sorcerers like you, it's what allows you to direct, and feeds, your magical power.” she stopped a few buildings from the guild to look at Lily again, “Everything you do with your ki will be flavored by your fire magic because they are fundamentally linked. Mages access a little of their ki in order to interact with the arcane magic of the universe and clerics us their ki in order to communicate with the gods. Monks,” she gestured to herself, “dedicate their lives to the mastery and control of their ki, and utilize it in its raw form as a tool and a weapon.”

Lily’s mouth made a small ‘o,’ and she nodded, then looked at the ground scrunching her face in thought again, “Sooo… that's why if I use too much fire trying to do some big trick or something I get tired and sleep for twelve hours?”

Laughing Velona continued towards the mages tower. “Yes. Which is also why I think you need some warm equipment, so you aren't wasting your ki fighting the weather when you could be using it to fight bandits and orcs on the road.”

Lily rushed to catch up again but didn’t say anything until they had reached the door of the mages guild, then she asked, “Does Shon know about this?” which made Velona laugh again as the two ladies walked through the doors into the guild proper.

“I’m sure he knows about his ki, Master Veon-Zih would have told him by now. Though he might not realize that it’s tied to his magic.” she reached into her belt again and took out her papers, including Lily’s sorcerer certification, making Lily wonder why she had put them away  begin with, and handed them to the journeyman mage at the door.

The young man took a moment to look through the papers, but at some point, his eyebrows shot up into his hair, and he smiled wide at Velona, “Ah welcome ally Velona, will you be needing a room for your stay?”

Lily looked from the mage to Master Velona and back while the monk herself just nodded, “Yes, only for the one night though. I also need to contact the guild in Tarorn and make a personal report.” the mage was already nodding to her request and resumed his look through the papers, getting to Lily’s and stopping for a moment to write something down in the book on his desk.

“What did he mean by ally Velona?” Lily whispered to the monk.

Velona leaned over and whispered back, “I’ve been doing jobs for the mages guild for many years now. I’m not an official member, so I don’t get a stipend, but I get paid for each job and have earned a few favors.” Lily nodded though she still wasn’t quite sure what all of it meant. Perhaps reading her expression Velona added, "I also have quite a lot of family in the guild."

Before long a second young mage came to show them to a room off the main floor. It was long and lined with what looked like fancy horse stalls with solid doors tall enough for a human. They were shown into one of these stalls, and Lily saw a large mirror on the far end across from the door. Their escort started chanting something in front of the mirror, and Lily stayed quiet not wanting to distract him. She managed to wait quietly with Velona even when he stopped chanting and just stood in front of the mirror for a full five minutes before she started to lose her patients.

Lily had just opened her mouth to ask what exactly they were waiting for when the image in the mirror distorted like a reflection in water and mage Vevi took shape in the place where their escorts reflection had been showing. The escort in question gave a small bow to Vevi in the mirror then to the two of them before leaving the stall completely.

“Aunt Velona, it's so good to hear from you, have…” it seemed Vevi hadn’t seen Lily at first because her eyes moved to the young woman and she stopped talking, changing gears and saying, “Lily! I’m glad you’re alright. We were worried about you!”

Lily walked up to the mirror and poked the reflection of Vevi on the nose. Just flat glass. Monk Velona laughed coming to stand next to her and saying, “She’s well Vevi, in fact, I would like to take her on pilgrimage with me.”

“What? But…” Vevi crossed her eyes looking at Lily's finger which was still poking the mirror where her face showed, “I thought… Lily you don’t want to come back to Tarorn?” she looked concerned, and Lily finally stepped away from the mirror smiling at Vevi.

“Nope. I was going to travel on my own, but Master Velona said I could come with her.” she leaned her head over to rest on Velonas shoulder. The older woman shook her head with a chuckle.

“I think it would be best if we allow Lily her freedom.” Master Velona said, holding her niece's eyes with her own, Lily didn’t notice, “she will need a sponsor and papers…”

Mage Vevi took a moment to think it over, then nodded with a sigh, “Yes, I think you’re right.” she told her aunt, then taking a deep breath she looked at Lily, “We will miss you, Lily, Mage Ranito, in particular, wanted to speak with you if we found you…” Lily rolled her eyes, of course, Ranito would want to talk to her. He would want more samples no doubt.

But just as she had finished her exasperated sigh Lily got an idea… “okay Miss Vevi,” she turned to Master Velona, “may I speak with him in private?” she asked, causing the monk to furrow her brow.

“Alright, I need to get your papers sorted out anyway.” Velona bowed to the mirror, and the reflection of Vevi returned the gesture, “Until next time niece,” she said before leaving the stall.

***

Velona waited for Lily outside the mages guild. It was taking the girl significantly longer than it should for a simple conversation, and the monk was just about to go back in and check on her when the doors opened, and Lily stepped into the cool air. She looked pale but was smiling broadly and skipped down the steps two at a time to reach Velona. “So what do we need to buy first?” Lily asked, and the monk pushed her questions to the back of her mind.

As they made their way through the merchants quarters some of Velonas questions were answered. Apparently the mages guild, presumably Vevi who was obviously fond of Lily, had given her some spending money for the road because she bought not only a new full-length cloak lined in black fir but a new bedroll and boots, a small bag of holding and a simple red dress the color of her scales.

The two were just getting ready to return to the guild for the night when Lily stopped and smacked herself on the forehead. “Damn! One more thing.” and without waiting for an answer from Velona she ran back down the road and into one of the shops. She wasn’t in it for long when she came out holding a plain leather journal and a large smile.

Velona merely looked inquisitively at the girl who said as she drew level with the monk, “I can’t very well write letters if I don't have parchment and writing supplies!”

***

Lily,

I would say I hope this letter finds you well, but considering the situation I hope it finds you at all. I hope you are enjoying your trip and training with Master Velona. Master Veon-Zih speaks very highly of her though they are of different schools. Master Veon-Zih stayed in Hamerfoss for another week after the solstice which was nice, he doesn’t normally stay that long. So we managed to get some sparing in and I talked to him about Heironeous. He seemed to think I shouldn’t worry too much, that everyone is called in their own way for their own thing. I know he was trying to be comforting but I don't feel like I’ve been “called” at all.

Things are quiet here without you. As usual really. Nothing much has changed except that next season Thom, Rerves and I will be entering our final year of training and Brardin, Rehlein, and Zihler will be taking their oath and leaving for their first duty stations as Paladins of the Order of the Sword. It feels strange thinking about being the Sr. squires, Rerves seems to really be looking forward to it while Thom gets all nervous talking about it, and as usual, I’m not sure how I feel about it.

I saw a snow leopard the other day on watch and it made me think of you. Well, honestly it made me think of the stray cats that used to come to the kitchen at the church of Pelor for the food the priests always gave them and the kittens that one of the girls tried to hide in their dorm shortly before I left. They were curious little things that tilted their head back and forth like you do. Writing that out now it sounds so bad… I’m sorry. Either way, I hope you’re doing well. 

Sincerely

Shon

***

Shon,

I got your letter, though late. We’ve been taking the road really slow which is a mix of good and infuriating. Master Velona has kept her word and is training me in her style of staff combat but man is she a slave driver. She has me getting up at dawn everyday to do drills and exercises and I have to try and meditate for a full half hour after that and before breakfast.

You know for an older woman she is FAST. Every afternoon before we break for lunch she has us run at least a mile or two. You would think with that being a daily activity we would be making good time, but you would be WRONG! But it's ok really. I’m seeing a lot of the countryside and that is exactly what I wanted, though I think I may like the larger towns and cities for long term stay.

and Zihler but it also seems natural that you and Rerves and Thom would be the sr’s almost as if you’ve always been sr. only now its official. That might seem weird but it’s how I feel.

I love cats! They are one of the few animals that let me pet them whenever I want. It seems like dogs always have to get used to me and horses NEVER let me get near them. We saw some wolves a few days ago that made me think of you. They stayed just outside the light made by our fire, but I could tell one was pure white with blue eyes like yours and another was solid black, it reminded me of your hair. I wonder if they had puppies if one of them would look like you? Either way it was really neat. 

We will be taking a boat to Oane next.

Until next time

Lily 

P.S.

Master Velona was very impressed by the drawings on your last letter. I hope you don’t mind that I showed them to her. I always love your drawings.

***

Lily,

I don’t mind if you show Master Velona the drawings. They are yours so they are yours to share. I shouldn’t be surprised that you like cats, though I am a little surprised that the other animals don’t flock to you like a druid. Spring came early this year. The ivy is already starting to bloom and we had rain the other day instead of snow. I can’t lie I’m a little sorry to see the snow go, through at least this year I won’t have to do all those drills in plate mail, instead I get to pick and choose my armor and I’m definitely doing leather for the mobility.

Brardin wanted me to tell you that he is being stationed in Tarorn if you end up there again and want to say hello he would like to see you. As for the others, Rehlein will be stationed in Smilnda, so not far, and Zihler is going all the way to Kils Atoll, which is the furthest east you can go in Clearhelm and not be in barbarian tribe territory. Apparently, it's very rare to be transferred to a new province in your first few years as a paladin, though I wouldn’t mind ending up on the mainland myself.

You might be happy to know that I have been stretching a lot and practicing my own few tumble tricks so I hope you are keeping up with your training. 

Sincerely

Shon

***

Shon,

I’m sorry it's been so long since my last letter. You might not believe me but I had one all writen and ready to go when a GOAT a damn GOAT ate not only my letter but ripped apart all my extra parchment. I’m just glad he didn’t get your letters. On the bright side it turns out goat is very tasty, though the fur is to course for my liking. Master Velona wasn’t happy at first that I cooked the goat with fur still on (we could smell it for days after) but I think in the end she understood my frustration and that he deserved it.

I’ve been practicing using my ki and fire more sparingly. I’ve been way more energetic but also much colder because of it. We actually got caught up in a fight between some barbarians and orcs as we were leaving Oane. it was my first battle and I can’t lie I was really jumpy, and I ended up using WAY to much fire. By the time I woke up the barbarians were happy, and the orcs were gone but Master Velona wasn’t happy. She didn’t say so but I think she was really disappointed so I’ve been making a point of not using my fire much at all, so I can depend on it in emergencies and not for every little thing.

I miss Hamerfoss, and you and the boys. I won’t be able to make it to winter solstice this year which is too bad because I really wanted to try and get everyone little presents. I hope you’re well. Tell everyone I said Hi and that I’m still alive and kicking.

 in a few weeks so hopefully I will be able to write again soon. Is it weird that I read all your letters in your voice?

Until Next time

Lily

***

Lily,

I’m glad we got your letter, even if it was the second draft. I have to say the others were starting to get really worried but I told them it would take more than standard road dangers to bring you down. They said my personality was as cold as my hands and maybe they’re right, I hope it doesn’t upset you too much to know that I wasn’t really worried just missing the letters as a way of hearing from you again and as a break in the monotony of training.

If it’s weird for you to read my letters in my voice then I’m probably weird too because I read yours in your voice. And speaking of letters, in general, your penmanship has gotten a lot better since our first few letters over a year ago.

I think it’s a good idea to reduce the fire you use in combat, I feel like it makes a better compliment to your marital skill than as a stand-alone weapon. But I am biased as I have always preferred martial combat over magic.

Thom wanted me to tell you that roast goat is one of his favorite meals and that he would love to have his parents make you some of theirs when you find yourself in Clearhelm again. 

Sincerely

Shon

***

Shon,

I’m so glad you noticed my handwriting! Master Velona has actually been teaching me some calligraphy, I’m not as good as she is and some of the nicer stuff is almost a little too nice to read easily but I never thought that just writing regular words could be an art form. She says that she learned it as part of her monk training, and that it made her a better fighter and fighting made her a better calligrapher. It seems strange to me but at the same time it seems to be true just these last few months.

I’m glad you have enough faith in me to know I was alright! I hope someday we can travel and fight together. I kept telling the boys when I was there that I wasn’t as delicate as my name implied but they seemed to feel that as a ‘civilian’ I needed to be protected. (I hope you can see my eyes rolling in this letter.) in factthen any of you! Even if you do have more training and are physically stronger.

You know one of the best things about traveling is the food. I never considered myself very picky before but some of this stuff has made it particularly hard to go back to plainer fare. Especially trail rations! I’ve started making a list of all the foods I want you to try when we get a chance. 

Until next time

Lily

***

Lily,

We missed you at winter solstice but I drew lots of pictures for you (as you can see). Master Veon-Zih came on time this year though he wasn’t able to stay as long. He said he wouldn’t be able to make it to my oath-taking ceremony in the spring but that's ok really, he has enough contacts in the temple that he will be able to find my station easily.

I got Rerves this year for the solstice gift so I made him a custom map of Clearhelm with all of the stations that the last few years of squires were posted at and told him I would place ours after our ceremony so he would always know where we are. Turns out he missed the older squires the most of all of us. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, he is the most social of us three at least.

Spring and graduation are just around the corner. We did the traditional wagon attack on the incoming squires and I have to say that I don't remember being that small. We must have been, though it feels like a lifetime ago. I’ve been having some strange dreams lately. I will go out into the courtyard and there is this old man all in light gray sitting on the bench by the rain bucket feeding some yellow birds. But every time I get close I start to wake up. The last few times it looked like he was trying to say something but I couldn’t hear it. Rerves thinks he may be Heironeous, apparently, some provinces see him as an older man (and apparently others see him as a woman, which is weird.) I don't know for sure, but I hope he's right.

Sincerely

Shon


© Copyright 2019 Shawn Cameron. All rights reserved.

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