The Gods of Dragons (Vol 1)

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Please, Mr. Postman - The Marvelettes, 1961

Chapter 7 (v.1) - Please, Mr. Postman

Submitted: May 14, 2018

Reads: 34

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Submitted: May 14, 2018

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Orn 08, 1102

It was snowing when Lily left Hamerfoss. Large clumps of dry snow fell in straight slow lines that stuck to heads and lashes. She had said her farewells to all of the squires at dinner and now stood in the winter night with the four guild mages and the knight commander Rerves. She could see the lights burning in the windows of the fortress, but all other details were obscured by the falling snow.

Her hair was wet from the snow that melted as it touched her and it was starting to stick to the side of her face. "So, where are we going?" she looked at each of the adult faces around her, not necessarily addressing the question to anyone in particular. The young male with the neckbeard was standing a little away from the group chanting softly to himself and wiggling his fingers in some strange dance Lily couldn't see.

"First we are taking a gate to Smilnda," the female mage explained, it seemed she had taken on the role of teacher in the group. Lily got the impression it was a role she was used to, "we will stay the night there, after saying goodbye to Sir Rerves, and then tomorrow we will take another gate to Tarorn."

Lily nodded but said, "Why don't we just go straight to Tarorn and Sir Rerves take a different gate to Smilnda?"

The big mage snickered, but the female said calmly "because it requires a very large amount of magical energy to make a gate and even the best wizards only do one a day."

She gave a small "oh…" and nodded again, watching the neckbeard wizard. He was holding what looked like a small diamond in his hand as he continued to chant, "what exactly do wizards DO anyway?"

Now the big mage spluttered in indignation, and it was the old man, who had been silent up until then spoke, "Mages are the certified practitioners of the arcane magic that keeps things in the kingdom running smoothly and comfortably."

Lily tilted her head in a silent plea for further detail, and the large wizard sputtered angrily, "how else do you think a place like this would have hot water, Eh?"

"A furnace?" Lily asked, and she could have sworn the man's eyes would roll out of their sockets at any moment if he spread them any wider.

The female cut in while the old man placed a conciliatory hand on the big man's shoulder, "That would require a very large amount of fuel and expensive engineering that would need to be maintained. And if that were the case, only the officers would have access." she gave a little smile to the big wizard, "Erdud," she indicated the big wizard, "is one who specializes in the magical variation of such engineering hardware." Erdud had regained some of his composure and was determinedly looking away from them with his arms crossed over his chest.

"They also allow for greater communication throughout the kingdom and between the provinces." the old mage went on, "many centuries ago the provinces were each their own kingdoms. The mail system the mages maintain is one of the reasons the King is able to maintain control over such a large landmass that consists of so many different unique provinces." he had to stop and clear his throat with a small dry cough. Apparently, he wasn't used to speaking so much.

But what he had said caught Lily's attention far more than anything else she had heard since their meeting in the war room, "wait… so you can communicate across entire provinces?" she looked to each of them, leaning forward eagerly waiting for an answer. The female mage nodded though she looked slightly confused at Lily's excitement, "So I could send messages anywhere in the kingdom?"

The female looked at the old man who cleared his throat again, "In a manner of speaking. You may write a letter and send it from our mages guild to any other mages guild in the kingdom. Then it would be the responsibility of the local organizations, such as the church of Pelor or the merchants guild, to retrieve said letter from the mages and see to it that it is delivered to the member to whom you wanted it sent."

Lily's face fell, so she couldn't send messages directly to Hamerfoss… but the female mage seemed to know what she was thinking because she rested a hand on Lily's shoulder and gave her a warm smile. Just then the neckbeard wizard threw the little diamond at the archway of the south gate to Hammerfoss, and between the walls there opened a window to a room Lily had never seen before.

"About time," the big mage, Erdud, grumbled as he stomped through, kicking the snow off of his boots as he passed through into the room.

The old man followed, but the woman kept her hand on Lily's shoulder and bent a little closer to speak to her. "In Smilnda the Temple of Heironeous picks up correspondence every week from the mages guild. And," she emphasized the word, "they send supplies and any relevant correspondence to Hamerfoss every month." she gave Lily's shoulder a little squeeze and winked finishing, "Isn't magic useful?" before letting go and walking through the gate herself.

Lily's mind raced as she watched Sir Rerves follow the mages through the gate and begin shaking everyone's hands before she left to her Temple. Beside the gate, neckbeard was making exaggerated waving motions for Lily to go through, which she did with a little jump and a quick "Sorry," as she passed him.

Once he followed the portal began to close, shrinking from the outer edges inward until it was only the size of a small diamond, which fell from the space and into the mage's hand.

***

The night Lily left Shon spent the time he should have been sleeping screaming in frustration into his pillow. How? How had he not thought to ask her to write him letters? Of course she wouldn't know about the postage system, she hadn't even known about the sorcerer's registry. There was an easy way around this, of course, he would just have to send her a letter so she would know it was possible.

It was around midnight when he finally gave up trying to fall asleep and instead rolled out of bed to start writing the letter now instead of later. The supply wagon had just left Hamerfoss four days ago so it wouldn't be back to take the letter for another thirty-two or so. But his mind was so full of thoughts and worries that he decided to get a headstart on the letter now so he could get at least a few hours of sleep before morning reveille…

***

Aussir 07, 1102

The supply wagon arrived in the early afternoon two weeks after the winter solstice celebrations. By this point, Shon had managed to calm his nerves and guilt over not asking Lily if it was ok for him to write her letters. And so he was as calm and cool as ever when he brought his letter down to the evening meal to give to the driver after dinner.

What he didn't expect was for weapon master Daunas to call him to the command table in order to hand HIM a thick letter written on expensive paper in rather sloppy handwriting. Confused he took the letter back to his table and slid his finger under the wax to break the seal. Beside him, Rehlein leaned in to see the letter only to pull back and hunch over his food at the icy glare from Shon. Opening the letter, Shon read the first line then covered his face with his palm. He tried not to laugh out loud but apparently failed because when he brought his hand down the boys nearest him were looking at him as though he had grown a tentacle out of his forehead while the boys further down the table were leaning in to try and get a good look at something they had never seen before.

Quickly Shon cleared his throat and folded the letter up to finish later. He was the first out of the mess hall, and took the stairs to his barracks three at a time, removing his own letter as he went. Reaching his desk, he quickly crossed out a number of lines at the beginning of the letter and added a postscript before resealing it and running back down the steps to give it to the wagon driver.

That night, sitting at his desk, he read the letter from Lily with a sigh and a little chuckle. The first line of the first page was written in large letters that spanned the page and read…

***

SHON! I CAN WRITE YOU LETTERS!!!

Why didn't you tell me? I can't lie I was so excited when Vevi told me about the mail system (she's the lady mage who came to get me) I wanted to write to you right away. But then I remembered that you wouldn't get it for at least 3 weeks or so so I decided to let at least a little time pass so I would actually have some interesting things to tell you.

It only took us two days to get to Tarorn, can you believe it? Apparently it can take upto a week or more by road. The mages tower here is HUGE! The one in Smilnda was about the same as my tower but this one is at least 10 times as large. They have an entire room dedicated to basic weapon combat. It has loner weapons like daggers and staves and slings and stuff but they mostly only use it for really basic self defense type things. I've been here for 2 weeks and I almost always have the room completely to myself.

There are parts that are different but also parts that are the same as my tower. Like they never lock my door here, but they do keep asking for samples, everything from hair to spit to blood, I have no idea what they are using it for. I can only go outside with an escort. But unlike my tower this one almost always has someone willing to go with me. Han in particular will look for any excuse to get out for the day so we often go out during the day. He even helped me barter for some really pretty hair sticks. I wish I could draw like you can, then I would send you a picture. I will just have to remember to bring them when I see you again so you can see them.

I've got an entire wardrobe of clothes to wear now, though they are also hand me downs. It's really nice to have a selection, though I would be happier with just one or two nice new outfits. Maybe I will save up for that next. Which reminds me, I get a stipend here! It's not a lot, 5 coppers a week but I don't have to buy food or anything so it should save up quickly enough for at least one new outfit before I see you again.

How are you? Training hard I hope. Let me know when you get this letter and maybe I can start timing when I send mine out so I don't send them too early and you get them too late.

There are alot of nice people here. They are all really dedicated to their studies though, it reminds me of you a little, though most of them are the type to stay up really late and sleep in just as late. There is one other sorcerer in residence. He has mostly air abilities so his test will be different then mine but if they are even a little alike then I'll pass it easy. I figure I will wait a few more weeks before I sign up for it though that way I can get a better idea of their expectations, just in case. I would hate to have to burn the place down if they tried to take my fire.

Have you ever been to Tarorn? If not I hope I can show you around at some point, it will be nice to be able to show you something for once! Well I think I will leave this here for now. 

Thank you again for everything

Lily

***

Lily,

I forgot to ask if it would be alright for me to write you in Tarorn before you left. I'm sorry, I forgot that you may not know about the mail system. If you don't mind I would like to send you occasional letters, I know the others would also like to stay up to date on your time with the mages guild. You should know that no matter what happens there, you will always have friends here.

I will not be able to send this particular letter out for at least 2 or 3 weeks when the delivery wagon comes. I will only be able to send and receive letters once a month or so, but that also gives me plenty of time to have something worth writing to you about. We are always learning new things here but at the same time nothing ever really changes. For example, the day after you left we did the same morning exercises before breakfast, followed by morning drills and a lesson focused on the unique laws in the Halakon desert province. They have some very specific rules about water management and the public that we never have to worry about here. After that, we had lunch then mass and silent contemplation in the temple followed by afternoon sparing practice before the evening break and dinner. The specific lessons may change but everything else stays the same in the end.

Master Veon-Zih came to the winter solstice celebrations. Remember, he was the one I told you about who taught me fist fighting when I was younger. He said I had gotten better even though I have been focusing mostly on weapons practice. He still beat me easily, but I managed to get a few hits in and almost had him unbalanced at one point. I know I will never be as consistently good as he is but I hope I can beat him at least once. Maybe you'll be able to meet him soon. He's always traveling around taking jobs from the Church and Temple and different towns and such. He said if he found himself in Tarorn he would stop by to meet you.

I got a new set of charcoal pencils for my solstice gift from Zihler. I had Rehlein this year so I got him a new leather sheath for his family dagger. It's not fancy but I embossed his family name and device on it with the help of Smith Nurangran.

So now winter is on its' downward slope out towards spring. I love the winter, maybe because of the all the ice stuff? I had never thought about it much before now. It's so cool and quiet and every move you make seems to make a sound that fills the empty air. All the white and black make the few colors left stand out so vividly. Don't get me wrong, the other seasons all have something going for them too, but there is almost too much color. They all try and stand out the most and just end up blending together. In winter the red hawthorn berries jump out against the white snow and dark brown branches and bark of the trees.

This spring Rerves, Thom and I are entering our 3rd and second to last year as squires. The clerics say we will be spending more and more time with them in the next two years. To really connect with Heironeous. Rerves is excited, and Thom is nervous. I'm really not sure how I feel about it. I suppose we will all just have to wait and see. Take things as they come to us. I suppose that is true of everyone.

I know you will do great with the mages guild. You are already so good with your fire I don't think you have anything to worry about so don't let any of them try and intimidate you. If they try you can always show them that flower you showed me. I don't think you realize how impressive that was.

Looking forward to your answer

Shon 

P.S.

I'm glad they told you about the mail system. I'm sorry I forgot to bring it up before you left.

***

Shon,

Of course you can send me letters! It would be a little weird if I was the only one sending anything. Really I'm just glad you want to send me anything, and thank you so much for the drawings on your letter! I just wish I could do something similar so you could better see what I'm talking about. That dagger sheath looked truly beautiful, I'm sure Rehlein really liked it. He was always showing me tricks with that dagger. Did you know it used to be his grandfathers? I suppose that's why it's a 'family' dagger. Do you always give gifts on the winter solstice? Do you only ever give one? How do you know who your going to give a gift too? I wish I could give everyone a gift, but there's no way I would be able to afford that! And I wouldn't want to just give one or two, it wouldn't be fair to everyone else.

I was going out into the city everyday until recently. Han likes getting out too and we often just explored down new streets I haven't seen yet. But the other day someone tried to pick my pocket. HA! Not like there was much in there anyway. But it was mine so I chased him down. I ended up getting in trouble because I blocked his path with a little wall of fire. But nothing was damaged and no one got hurt so it wasn't too bad. I felt more sorry for Han, apparently his job isn't just to keep me safe but to keep others safe from me until I get my clearance. In the end I was forbidden from leaving the guild for two weeks, and Han had his stipend reduced for the same time… I decided to give him mine for those weeks since it was my fault anyway. Honestly how was he supposed to stop me anyway?

Because of that I've decided to go for the clearance sooner rather than later. I will probably have already taken the test by the time you get this but wish me luck anyway! If I pass I'm going to celebrate by buying myself my own staff. That way I don't have to keep using the loner ones and I will have something of my very own.

I like the winter because that is when I feel the most useful. They had me heating the tower at my old tower, here they let me melt the ice off the stares after one of the teachers sliped for the third time. Though just between you and me I think that particular wizard is just a clutz. I look forward to seeing all the flowers in the spring, especially now that I know a few of their names! Apparently the clerics of Obad-Hai keep a very nice garden somewhere in the city though I haven't seen it yet. 

Until next time.

Lily

***

Lily,

I'm sorry to hear you and Han got in trouble with the guild, though I understand where they are coming from. It's the rules and they can't make any exceptions without making all of the exceptions. And they don't know how much control you have, which is why the clearance exists. I might need to get at least some clearance after I leave here. Master Daunas said they are letting me finish the training since I can't leave here anyway, just like you can't leave the mages guild alone. If anything goes wrong with me the Temple will be responsible, if anything goes wrong with you the guild is responsible.

Here we do the same thing for winter solstice that we used to do at the Church of Pelor when I was a kid. On the summer solstice, we all pick a name out of a bag and that's the person we give a gift too for the winter solstice. That way everyone gets and gives one thing. There is a 1 gold maximum and 1 silver minimum limit on how much we can spend. So no one gets anything too outrageous or too cheap.

Nothing too exciting is going on here. I've started training in full plate, it's the last and most heavy armor we work with and I hate it. I feel I can barely move in it, definitely can't roll. It seems like I'm just supposed to take most hits and let the armor absorb it rather than try and get out of the way. I've never minded taking a hit if it means I can get one in of my own but this is almost all the time. I can't wait until we get to choose our preference. Scale isn't too bad but I think I'll stick with something closer to leather just for the mobility. Most of the others are liking it so far, though they say it gets really hot in the afternoons. I get hot from the work but I'm not sure how much of it is the armor. It definitely weighs more though so it's overall more work just to wear it.

All the squires and I are sending you all of our best wishes for your exam. Brardin, in particular, wanted me to tell you that you get three tries so try not to worry. I think he's right if you worry too much it will just make it harder to control so go in knowing you can do it and you should be fine.

Sincerely

Shon

***

SHON I PASSED!!!

It wasn't very hard really, but I was very confused for most of it. I told Ms. Vevi that I wanted to take the exam and she just said 'ok' and that it would take a few days for the Sr. mages to get everything ready. The next day weird things started happening, like all the candles would go out when I was trying to read in the library. I would just relight them and a little while later they would go out again. I re-lit them a good 5 or 6 times before I finally just took my book back to my room. Apparently that was the first part of the test.

The second part they actually asked me to show them what I could do. I didn't know what they meant so I did a few of the tricks I used to do for the little ones, similar to the flower I showed you. Then they asked me to make the hottest fire I could. They made me stop that one early. But the worst part was that night when they attacked me in my room. I was sleeping and they put a bag over my head and tried to drag me out of the room. Well I didn't want to damage the room, so I just made my skin extra hot until they let go then burned the bag off. I can't lie I was really scared for a moment, but then I found I was more angry then scared, especially when I lit up the room and saw who it was. I didn't realize it was the last part of the test. Ms. Vevi calmed me down but I almost failed when I lit the floor on fire, but it didn't actually burn anything so she said I had managed to control myself enough that most of the Sr. mages voted I should have my clearance.

I was so excited. Han was really happy for me too so we both went out and I spent my savings to get my own staff. They had some very fancy ones but I decided on a good hardwood plain one. It was actually a little more expensive because it was higher quality them most of the showy ones but thats one of the reasons I wanted it.

One other neat thing has started happening here. I've started learning how to tumble! Now that it's gotten warmer people have started performing in the city square. There is a really amazing family of tumblers that I love watching. They are just so fast and flexible and its so impressive. I asked if I could learn and they didn't want to at first but when they found out I had fire power they said they would if I helped them around the house. So I go over there in the mornings to help with the morning baking, so they don't have to spend their money on fuel, and in the evenings to heat the bath water. I think I'm getting the better deal but they seem happy and have taught me so much. I've already gotten way more flexible and stronger.

Can you tell everyone thank you for me? I'm sure all of your well wishes made all the difference. And tell them I miss all of you and will continue to practice hard so I can show everyone when I see you again.

Until next time

Lily

***

Lily,

Congratulations from everyone here. All the guys were glad to hear you passed your test and asked me to tell you that they knew you could do it. I didn't tell them the details of the test though. The first two parts seem fine enough but I'm not very happy about that last one, and by your description, you weren't either. I suppose they wanted to see how you handled yourself during a stressful situation, like mage Ivelm did here before you left, but even so… I'm honestly not sure what I can say about it other then I don't like it and I'm glad you're alright and did well.

So you're learning to tumble? That does sound really interesting, there was a tumbler that used to perform in Smilnda in the summers. It looks really difficult, and you need a lot of strength and balance. Maybe you can teach me some in the future.

Nothing much new is going on here. We are spending more and more time in the chapel in quiet contemplation. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be feeling or doing anything in particular during that time. Paladins of the Sword are supposed to be a conduit for the divine energy and might of Heironeous, but I don't really know what that's supposed to feel like. Rerves said he had a dream when he was 13 in which he was a Paladin. He said it felt so real and he just knew he needed to join the Temple and they let him in. Thom said when he was young he was struck by lightning but he wasn't hurt, he just felt invigorated and his dad thought he should become a cleric of Heironeous but he felt he would be happier as a paladin.

But I don't have anything like that. I was left on the doorstep of the Temple as an infant and the clerics and paladins of the time thought that it was a sign that I was meant to be apart of the Temple. But that's just what they've always told me, I've never seen or felt anything from Heironeous. Or maybe I have but I didn't recognize it? I don't know but it's got me a little worried. Master Veon-Zih said he will be coming for the winter celebrations again. Maybe he will have an idea of what I should do.

Sorry if I'm bothering you these little worries, it's probably nothing, just end of training nerves. Again I'm glad to hear you've gotten your clearance and are having fun learning new things and meeting new people.

Sincerely

Shon

***

Shon,

I wish I could help you. hopefully your master will have an idea, he sounds like a really knowledgeable person, if not you could probably talk to the clerics. Sometimes I wonder if any of the gods or clerics could help me. I never really thought about it before but apparently NOT knowing exactly what I am is a big deal. At least to the mages. I thought when I passed my test things would loosen up, and for a little while they did. But they said I shouldn't go out alone anymore which makes my tumbling lessons kind of awkward so I don't do those as much any more.

They are still asking for samples all the time, mostly blood. I don't mind giving it, at least they numb the area first, but other then that it's a lot more like my old tower than I first thought. They've even started watching me sleep. I don't think every night but a few nights ago I woke up because I felt something weird and someone was standing in my corner taking notes! I was so startled I set his robe on fire. I put it out once I recognized him, one of the apprentices to Sr. Mage Ranito, the same guy who keeps asking for blood.

I was so angry Shon, I can't lie I saw red for a while and apparently woke up everyone in the living quarters. Han said I was scary and that's why everyone has gotten really jumpy around me lately. But like I told Han it's not like any of them decided to come into my room without asking and move my things around and UG! It's made things really lonely here. I will be in a massive room full of people and feel so alone. It hadn't really sunk in before that I might not be fully human and that I might never be able to fit in with people.

But I was happy at Hamerfoss, with all the squires and you. But I was also happy here for at least a few months so who knows, maybe the same thing would have happened at Hamerfoss as happen here if I stayed for too long. At least I have Han, I think I will keep him, he is a good man.

I have my clearance now so I'm honestly not sure why I'm still here. 

Until next time

Lily


© Copyright 2019 Shawn Cameron. All rights reserved.

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