Lawgiver’s Blade: Chapter Four Part Two

July 17th, 2019  |  Published in Lawgiver's Blade

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High Mage Kadriya must have taken Lilat’s message very seriously because only two days later Vessin rode into Shael accompanied by Kilit, who was wearing a set of red mage robes similar to those Lilat wore on certain occasions except that they were plain without any trim.

He spoke quietly with Lilat for a short time before turning to the few villagers who weren’t in the fields. “Holy Kadriya will reach Shael tomorrow evening and sent me ahead to deal with a situation she has been made aware of.” He and Lilat were just about the only people who didn’t look at Natlin at that.

Natlin scowled at him for a moment before stalking back into her house and slamming the door.

“Well that does not augur well,” he said quietly. “But I think it would be best if Kilit and I refresh ourselves before I deal with this.”

“Mummy is preparing lunch,” Alidra said. “I think she suspected you’d be arriving because she’s making extra.”

“Of course she is,” Vessin said. “And some of her excellent beer I hope.”

“Well look at you!” Tamasa exclaimed when he ushered his niece into the house. “You started your apprenticeship already.”

Kilit ducked her head shyly her cheeks darkening.

“Yeah… it’s kind of embarrassing. I lost my temper when Matik lei Darit insulted my mother and next thing I knew he was flying through the air. Aunt …um… High Mage Kadriya said if my magic was flaring I had to start my training.”

Tamasa’s lips twitched. “That seems immensely reasonable.” She turned back to Vessin. “You didn’t bring Imalia with you?”

“We were planning a business trip when Kadriya asked me to accompany her on this pilgrimage around Tehan province,” he said. “It’s sort of important from both perspectives and Imalia didn’t really want to come on the tour so she carried on with the trip. Kilit’s along as part of her training.”

“Both perspectives?” Mayin had been weaving by the door with a fixed look of disapproval on her face at Tamasa’s informality and now no one looked more shocked than she did to hear the question fall from her lips. She immediately covered them with her hand. “I’m sorry, Mage Vessin, I shouldn’t ask about Mage business.”

He waved that away. “Curiosity is not a sin, madam, and I tell you that in my role as an arbitrator. As to the business well only one half of it is mage business per se and that has little to do with magic. Anyway it’s no secret in Benar. My family supported the High Mage’s side in the Mage War and thus we had to flee to Laglin where we hid and created cover identities as Laglini merchants in Fasrat. As well as hiding us from the Perfectionists and allowing us to travel into Benar relatively freely it has an unexpected side benefit. We could finally sneak spies into Saralet. It’s water silk season. Imalia is in Kesara buying as many bolts as she can lay her hands on while keeping her ears open to see what the Saraleti know about what happened to Kadriya at the Arosia.”

Mayin blinked at that a few times obviously working her way through it. “Mage Imalia is in Saralet?” she asked finally. “Is that safe? What if they catch her?”

Vessin just grinned. “Honestly, she’s safe enough. They’d probably just throw her out or more likely pretend they hadn’t noticed,” he said. “They don’t want a war with us not with our shared enemies still out there waiting for any sign of weakness.” He hesitated. “Their ships try Kadriya’s barrier every couple of years, it’s part of why she hasn’t fully recovered from using the staff that way.”

Tamasa’s eyes flew wide. “You mean that’s why she hasn’t pushed harder against the Perfectionists! She can’t risk another Mage War not just because it was horrendous but because it will leave us all vulnerable again.”

Vessin nodded soberly. “Just so, and the Witch King knows it. Say what you will about the Saraleti they love being alive as much as anyone and have no desire to being another invasion down on our collective heads.” He smiled at Mayin. “But I will tell Imalia you were worried about her. She will be happy to hear it.”

“Of course I was worried,” Mayin exclaimed. “She saved Kivat’s life at such a terrible cost to herself. She lost her magic and she could have died! I’m so grateful to her.” She started sobbing unexpectedly. It had been happening a lot since her son was born. “I don’t know what I would have done if he’d died and left me and Tiran alone.”

Tamasa moved to her side and began rubbing her shoulders soothingly. “It’s okay Mayin it didn’t happen.”

“It’s all my fault! I’m a terrible person…” Mayin’s sobs became deeper. “And Holy Kadriya will know it as soon as she sees me. I try not to entertain heretical thoughts, I swear, and to correct others. But they keep creeping in because I don’t want to be damned. This was to punish me for it and Mage Imalia… she… she…”

Tamasa looked at Vessin over Mayin’s shoulder and mouthed ‘Damned?’

He suddenly looked very serious and walked over and knelt beside Mayin talking to her so quietly that Alidra couldn’t here what he was saying.

Tamasa turned to Alidra. “Take Kilit and go and fetch your father and uncle,” she said. “And make sure to shut the door after you. Mage Vessin and I need to talk to your aunt in private. Oh, and don’t tell them what Mayin said until you are sure no one is in earshot.”

“Yes, mummy!” Alidra grabbed Kilit’s hands and raced with her towards the fields where most people were bringing in the harvest.

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