Lawgiver’s Blade: Chapter One Part One

March 13th, 2019  |  Published in Lawgiver's Blade

Index | Next

Alidra was sitting at the shrine keeper’s feet and reading haltingly from the book of the Law when the banging came at the Shrine door. She started but managed to avoid dropping the scroll in surprise while the other children whispered to each other uneasily. All of them stared at the door wondering who would dare bang on a shrine door so disrespectfully. The shrine keeper, however, seemed unfazed and simply rose and opened it.

A man dressed in the brown robes of a mediator mage pushed past her into the shrine and gave a disgusted sneer when he saw the handful of children there. He wasn’t the first mage they’d seen, of course. Blue robed healers passed through at least twice a year and even a village as small as theirs, too small to even have an official name though its people called it Shael, was visited every Spring by a green robed life mage to offer the blessings that protected their crops and livestock and ensured a bountiful yield. But this was harvest time and the silver trim on his robes was far more ornately embroidered than that of those of those kind men and women. As his eyes slid over her Alidra swallowed an unexpected wave of fear and tried to vanish behind one of the wooden pillars.

“Welcome,” the Shrine Keeper began. “How may I–”

“I have come to ensure this wretched place is sending enough of it’s produce to Keralyn,” he interrupted. “I will be here for several days. Find me suitable accommodation.”

The shrine keeper glared at him for a moment before nodding.

“Of course. I am sure Alidra’s parents will gladly share their roof and food with you.”

“You expect me to stay in some peasant hovel? How dare you!” He raised his hand to strike her but she caught his wrist before he connected.

“Watch who you threaten, Andric lei Kasid,” she said coldly. “I remember you, and if you think about it you will remember me. This is not the first time we have come to blows.”

Andric stared at her for a moment before his eyes widened in recognition. “Lilit lei Ralin! I believed you dead!” His lip curled. “But if you are acting as a shrine keeper in such a place you must have lost your magic. Perhaps it is you should have a care who you attack.” He tried to yank his wrist from her grasp.

She gave an exasperated sigh before spinning him around and twisting his arm up his back, making him yelp in pain.

“True, I don’t have my magic any more,” she said. “I burned through it defending the Laglini port of Fasrat from the Harsini during the invasion, while you and the rest of House Kasid cowered in Keralyn and did nothing. But even without it I am still a trained combat mage and know more than just using my own magic for fighting. You, though, couldn’t fight a kitten and win. So I suggest that you comport yourself as becomes one of the Lawgiver’s Chosen while you are here.”
She let go of his arm and stepped back, but the way she was standing made it clear she was ready to stop him if he attacked her.
Instead he stepped back nervously. “I’m still not staying with peasants.”

Lilit sighed heavily. “Very well, you may stay in my home. It’s your loss. Tamasa and Denri’s home is finer than mine.” She shook her head again and turned to her students.

“Good news, children. I need to see to our guest so you can leave early.”

Alidra rose with the others and carefully placed the scroll she had been reading from in the correct place in the book box. She bowed respectfully to Lilat and the grumpy mage before heading towards the shrine door. Lilat stopped her with a gentle hand before she could leave.

“Alidra could you ask your parents to bring food and ale to my house this evening? I will be grateful even if this idiot won’t. I’m really not prepared for guests.”

“Of course!” the seven year old bowed again and ran off down the path to the village.

The sun was brushing the horizon when Alidra went with her parents to take food and ale to Lilit’s cosy house which stood next to the shrine.

“I think we should be quiet and try to get in and out without angering Mage Andric or attracting too much of his attention to ourselves, if possible,” Tamasa said quietly as they approached the door. “Let’s not make trouble for Lilit or Shael if we don’t have to.”

Denri grumbled something under his breath of which Alidra only caught a few words about House Kasid. They didn’t sound complimentary.

She paused and gave him a surprised look. She’d never heard her father speak of mages in such a way before.

“Den!” Tamasa ground to a halt and fixed her husband with glare. “Someone might hear you.”

“I know, I know,” he said. “And yes, I think that’s wise from what Alidra told us of our noble visitor’s attitude.” There was a biting acid in the emphasis he put on the word noble.

“And don’t let him hear you using that tone about him, Den.”

“I know,” he whispered. “I’ll be careful.” He shifted the ale skin he was carrying into one hand as they reached the door allowing him to rap on it firmly.
Lilit looked strained as she opened it, and they could see Andric scowling at them from where he stood by the hearth. It was clear that they had been arguing again, but the warm smile she gave when she saw them was genuine.

“Ah! Thank you!” she pointed to a small table that stood in one corner of the single room. “Put it there please.”

The three of them hurried over to the table and Alidra climbed up on tiptoe so she could place the loaf of freshly baked bread beside the pot of meat pottage her mother had just put down.

“You should thank these good people, Andric,” Lilit said firmly. “They are sharing their food with you after all.”

Andric glared at her for a moment. Then he strode over, lifted the lid and scowled at the contents before slamming it back down so hard the table shook.

“Thank them?” he roared. “When they insult me by expecting me to eat this peasant slop?” He rounded on Tamasa and Denri. “How dare you! Bring me proper food, wretches!” He made a sweeping gesture with his hand and even though he didn’t touch it the pot flew from the table and smashed into the wall. It was metal and wall was daub so the impact should have done more damage to the wall than the pot, yet it shattered like glass. Sharp metal shards exploded out and the boiling contents splashed everywhere. By ill luck Alidra was closest to the impact and caught caught the brunt of both.

She was aware of both searing and stabbing pains across her face, torso and legs and her mother’s horrified cry before she fainted from the shock and blood loss.

Index | Next

Leave a Reply