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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: The Road to Imortality

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Chapter 6 (v.1) - A Short Stop

Submitted: May 28, 2016

Reads: 155

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Submitted: May 28, 2016



Proteous’s study was small with a cozy fire in a fire place against the far wall. The walls sported everything from mounted animal heads to portraits of previous rulers. In the center was a large oaken desk with cozy chairs arrayed around it. Paper work littered the top of the desk.

“Please make yourself comfortable. We have matters to discuss. The first being what happened at Rust. You are the only known survivor,” the king stated.

Karn sighed deeply. He had avoided speaking of his past. It had been a while and yet he still remembered each event in startling detail. The dead body of his mother, her head split like a melon. The last breath of his father was taken as he watched himself bleed out from being gutted by the orc chieftain, tears of lost hope running down his hard face. Karn had seen it all and it haunted his dreams every night since then.

“We were attacked by orcs…” Karn went into detail on everything including his own escape and rescue by the Changing tribe. He even went farther and detailed his training and life with the tribe and his life as a mercenary afterwards.

“I was known as the Broken Tusk. I took considerable delight in slaughtering orcs on the eastern borders for little if any coin. Sometimes I killed just for a place to spend the night and a decent meal. I belonged to no specific group of mercenaries but I still do have a few people who owe me favors. I wish to give you a list of mercenary leaders who would find a captain position in your military under my command a pleasant place to retire. If you would round them up for me while I am gone-”

“And where do you plan on going?” the king asked.

“I plan on going to the Dragon Temple to train with them so I will be able to control the powers I contain. I don’t want to lose my head band and destroy someone’s mind on accident; and yes, it has happened before,” Karn responded.

“I see… then I shall not stop you from going. How long do you plan on staying at the temple?”

“At least a quarter year, probably longer. It all depends on how long the training will take and if I survive the training. If I do not, I have no heir to my title nor do I intend on choosing one myself. I leave that in your hands, my Lord.”

“Very well then, I shall be done. Now about these mercenaries you wish to hire as your forces… can they be trusted?” the King asked.

“They are the most honest men I have met. Few are as honest, fewer still more honest. They are mercenaries by trade, not by choice.”

The king nodded, trusting Karn. No Paladin could lie to the King. The oath Karn took prevented him from doing so, even if the King asked about his choice of bed partners.

“How long will you remain in Spectrum?” Proteous asked the younger Paladin.

“A week at most, hopefully sooner if I can manage it. If I can get my gear repaired before then I can leave sooner.”

“Let me offer you the finest craftsmen in the city to attend to your gear-”

“No, I need to do the repairs myself. I will, however, ask for access to any materials I may need to complete the repairs. It has become a habit to let no one else tend to my gear, it has led to… unwanted results.”

“I understand,” the king commented. “Then make a list of materials you shall need and I will send a servant to purchase the items for you.”

“I would like a wizard to accompany the servant. Many of the materials I require are magical. The servant would not be able to properly bargain for the right items.”

“Very well, it shall be so. I hope that this stop, no matter how short, is a pleasant one”

The next few days were full of Karn repairing his gear. Iron Tusk was sharpened and the handle wrapped in new fabric, the black cloaks protective spells were repaired and strengthened, and his saddle was repaired with the finest of leather. It took only three days for the preparations to be completed. Karn was ahead of schedule, and it was worth it, it gave him an extra day to make his check in with the changeling tribe.

When Karn made the link, he began his report, outlining everything that had happened. The Elders were pleased to hear the news, but they had news of their own. Tatia had finally left, determined to find Karn. The head Elder was outlining the details when a magic pulse interrupted the magical link. It took massive amounts of mana took keep the link steady. The next moment, the wards to Karns room were blasted down and he was swarmed by a dozen sorcerers, their wands held ready. A dozen armed guards followed suit, their swords drawn and raised.

Acting on instinct, Karn rolled off the bed and sprang to his feet just in time to avoid a blast of magic that would have crushed him. He responded with a magic dampening spell and tapped into Leibers borrowed godly mana pool, supercharging the spell and preventing any magic to exist outside Karns control, rendering all other magic useless until the caster dropped the spell. The wizards fell back it shock. The entire castle was under the spell, meaning that any magic sensitive being could feel the effects. Few other mages could match the level of power Karn was displaying.

The guards, not realizing what was happening, stepped forward. One took a swing at Karn with his blade, missing the young warrior completely. Karn spun out of the soldiers’ way and grabbed Rust, ripping it from the sheath. This gave the guards pause. They were not permitted to attack a Paladin unless instructed by the King. With that, the King himself stormed in, glaring certain death for the wizards and guards that had attacked his Paladin.

“What do you think you are doing? Who told you that you could assault a Paladin without due cause? Who is responsible for this?” Proteous demanded.

“But my Lord, he was using magic to communicate with someone from the outside. We can confirm that the recipients are far outside the city-”

The king cut the man off with a wave of his hand.

“Is this true, Karn?”

“Yes, but I assure you that there will be no damage to the current state of the Kingdom from it. It couldn’t even count as treason or sabotage. I am simply making a link to the tribe of Changelings that took me in after the orcs sacked Rust. If you don’t believe me, they are still on the line, wish to ask?”

“No, that is quite alright. Please lower this spell, I can feel the walls start to weaken without the wards in place.”

“As you wish your majesty.”

“And as for you,” Proteous turned to the others in the room, “you will all be placed in the next troop to the eastern border. Maybe a few months fighting orcs will improve your competence.”

The men paled, pure fear showing in their eyes. The Orcs and their shamans were sending raiding party after raiding party to the border to terrorize the common folk, making it the most dangerous place to live as of late. Rust was a border town. It was meant to be a block to a band of orcs trying to go farther into the country. It was never meant to be a fort to hold off a full assault from an army of orcs.

“I believe that the guards are not at fault, they were under the orders of the mages, were they not?” Karn pointed out.

“So they were. Then only the mages will be heading to the boarder. A pity really, we are so short on reliable mages. They seem to be isolating themselves from us… mundanes,” the King stated.

This new information confused Karn. Where were the magicians if not in a kingdom working as court wizards, battle mages, or tutors?

“Where are the mages going? Certainly they are not just locking themselves in a tower and studying dusty tombs from creaking shelves?”

“My sources tell me that mages, especially the higher level sorcerers, are being hunted and killed. We do not know who is doing so, but we suspect a powerful Dark Mage or even a Necromancer. The level of power required to kill some of the magicians that were slain was unbelievable. There is a crater to the west were Tezergrad, the dragon prince, was killed. His mana became… highly explosive when let out,” the king responded.

“The level of magic required to do such a feat is beyond my knowledge. It would be at least 2nd level, if not 1st class. I am still only a second class and pushing for third. The only thing going for me is my mana-pool,” Karn said. “Do you have a bounty out for the killer?”

“I do, but no one seems to be coming back… alive at least.”

“Give me time for my training and then three more to track the killer and I will bring you his head. The bounty money will help kick-start the new city, not town, city of Rust. I will make my lands the wall before the hordes of orcs that plague our boarders and keep the kingdom safe in your name, my King.”

“Bold plans, young Paladin. Don’t press too hard for your dream. It may topple over onto you.”

The King and Karn talked off and on for a while longer and then Karn took his leave to rest for the remainder of his journey.

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