Lawgiver’s Blade: Chapter One Part Four

April 3rd, 2019  |  Published in Lawgiver's Blade  |  1 Comment

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Alidra accompanied her mother to her family’s orchard to deliver the noon meal to her father and Inarin later that morning. It was a hot autumn day and when they reached them they were already taking a break, sharing a flagon of ale and chatting like old friends. Denri spotted them as they approached and waved cheerfully to them.

“Ina says Shael has been over-tithing to Keralyn for years,” he said. “So we’ll have more surplus to sell this year.”

Denri,” Tamasa said in a warning tone, giving Alidra a meaningful look.

“Don’t be concerned.” Inarin knelt in front of Alidra. “It would be wisest if you didn’t let your Aunt Mayin or anyone else who might tell her that your father uses a familiar name for me, Alidra. People like her wouldn’t like it and could cause trouble for your parents, do you understand?”

Alidra thought about Aunt Mayin before nodding. She could imagine how she would make her father’s life miserable if she thought he was some sort of heretic. “I understand, mage Inarin.”

“Good girl,” he said, before looking back at Tamasa. “But Den is correct. Shael has been over-tithing. One of the problems is unavoidable for obvious reasons, but some of it is they’ve been over-calculating your population since the last census, and they shouldn’t have been taking a tithe for Lilat either, and both of those I can fix.”

“I see.” Tamasa put the basket down in front of them. “I brought your lunch. I thought we could share it.”

“Thank you.” Inarin opened the basket and pulled out the small wheel of cheese and loaf of bread. “This looks like a fine meal.”

I hope so,” Tamasa said. “I managed to get Salin to part with some of her best cheese since you would be sharing it, Mage Inarin.” She produced a knife and began slicing the bread and cheese. “we usually only get to share her second best cheese. Though she’s going to want extra beer for months in return.”

“It’s worth it,” Denri said. “Salin’s best cheese is strong and tart. Though I don’t fault her for wanting to sell most of it. It’s worthy of any table.”

“It is indeed,” Inarin said after taking a bite. “You are lucky to have such a fine brewer and cheese-maker in such a small place.”

“We are,” Denri agreed. “Though Salin’s family have been cheese-makers for generations and her grandfather helped found Shael, while Tam arrived with me when I returned after the invasion.”

***

Inarin and his team stayed a few more days after that and, as promised, did regular sweeps into the hills around Shael, but they found no sign of Andric’s attacker. They did however find the source of the tales of monsters. A small group of outlaws who had fled the Lawgiver’s justice.

They had been using costume and artifice to convince merchants caught on the road after dark that they were being attacked by supernatural creatures. Their act had been good enough to cause terrified merchants to abandon their wares and flee rather than fighting allowing the outlaws to steal them without bloodshed.

Inarin thought the whole thing was hilarious for some reason.

“What will happen to them?” Tamasa asked after he told them about it as he shared their evening meal.

Inarin leaned back in his seat and stared at the rafters as he considered the question.

“Well, in the circumstances it will be the High Mage’s decision,” he said finally. “But most of them had committed only minor crimes previously and they did scrupulously avoid killing or injuring anyone in the course of their thievery, so I don’t imagine it will anything permanent or too onerous. After all the Lawgiver prefers his chosen to guide people back into harmony with the Law and mandates us to be harsher only if attempting that endangers others.”

“Not always,” Tamasa said dryly. “We all know there’s an exception according to the Mage Council.”

“As you say according to the Council,” he said blandly. “We fought the Mage War over that exception. It is a matter of sorrow that even after we came to terms after High Mage Kadriya repelled the Harsini they wouldn’t entirely relent. It shouldn’t be a crime at all. That is human foolishness, good Tamasa, not divine cruelty.”

“You know it,” Tamasa said. “The gods can be cruel, but are never wantonly so.”

“Except the Chaosbringer,” Mayin interrupted. “Don’t forget that.”

Inarin glanced at Mayin and gave a half-smile. “She’s quoting the Book of the Law,” he said. “And it makes no such distinction as it happens.” He turned back to Tamasa and took her hands in his. “Wise Lady, it is my honour to know you.”

“And mine to know you, combat mage Inarin. Thank you for aiding our village.”

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One Response to “Lawgiver’s Blade: Chapter One Part Four”

  1. torvawk says:

    Becca,

    You have me so confused. I don’t know what is going on. You are laying the foundation for something, that I am sure. I suspect Tamasa is more than she admits. But from what you have put here, her truth could get her killed outright for some reason that is not yet clear.

    I feel your ploy layers building. I just don’t see the path you are leading us down yet.

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