Lawgiver’s Blade: Chapter One Part Three

March 27th, 2019  |  Published in Lawgiver's Blade

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The next morning there was no sign Tamasa had been anywhere. Her boots were clean of mud and her cloak bone dry. Alidra knew it could not have dried so quickly. It must have been a dream.

They were eating their morning porridge when there was a knock at the door. Tamasa opened it to reveal one of the mages from the search party.
“Can I help you, honoured mage?” she asked politely.

“I hope so,” he said. “I’m sorry to intrude on you after Andric’s crime against you and your daughter, but my sister said we could find food here and I am hungry after a night of searching.”

“Of course you are welcome to share our porridge, honoured mage,” she said. “Welcome to our home.”

“Just call me Inarin.” he said as she fetched a seat for him. “There is no need to stand on ceremony. We’re all human here.”

“Who’s your sister?” Alidra asked. “How did she know we serve food?”

“She lives here, little one.” Inarin smiled at her and waved aside Tamasa’s attempt to scold her for her rudeness. “Your shrine keeper is my little sister.”

“Little sister?” Alidra stared at him. Lilat had a little grey in her hair and care lines on her face but he looked barely older than her mother.

“You look surprised. I know losing her magic aged her,” he said. “But she’s younger than me by half an Octade.”

“Oh,” Alidra stared at him. “Did you catch the mean mage who hurt me?”

“Alidra!” her aunt Mayin snapped. “You do not call a mage–“

“Andric acted like a spoiled brat and blew up a pot of hot pottage in a petty fit of temper,“ Inarin interrupted coolly. ”The shards of the pot nearly killed her. The healer said they missed a major artery by a mere hair. She can call him mean if she wants to. The Lawgiver knows she can call him worse, he’d deserve it.” He dropped from his seat to kneel beside Alidra. “And we found him, yes. Unfortunately for him someone else found him first.”

“What do you mean?” Denri asked. “Who found him?”

“Ah, well.” Inarin said. “You know that there have been stories of witch beasts haunting the roads in Tehani province. We thought they were groundless because – seriously – the Saraleti have better things to do with their pets than scare merchants. I’d still say that they probably are but we found Andric wandering the hills not far away. Something drained his magic – carefully since he isn’t dead – and his mind seems to be blank, except he was babbling about The Lady of Chaos in the old tongue when we found him. Which is especially weird because Andric doesn’t even know the old tongue.”

“Th-there are witch beasts near here?” Mayin’s voice shook. “How? I mean… Is Shael safe?”

“I would think so,” Inarin said calmly. “Your village and houses are well warded against Amara’s creatures, and this was clearly the action of a Witch not any kind of creature. Even that fool Andric could have escaped from a simple beast.”

“T-that doesn’t make it better,” Mayin said. “How could a witch be here?”

“My guess is they were drawn to Andric and jumped the border to get to him. High Mage Kadriya withdrew the Lawgiver’s protection from him as soon as she got Lilat’s message. That would have made his magic a beacon to the Unbinder’s servants. He was foolish fleeing into the night, he had to know Lilat would contact Keralyn. Anyway I’m sure the witch is long fled back to Saralet.”

Mayin still looked terrified and Inarin sighed.

“Please don’t worry, we won’t allow any harm to come to your village. Not from Amara’s chosen, not from the Harsini and not from those who try to use the mantle of the Lawgiver’s chosen as cloak for their own misdeeds.” He ate a few spoonfuls of his porridge. “And frankly I can’t bring myself to care if a witch destroys a monster like Andric. As long as the innocent are unharmed all they have done is saved us a fight.”

“That’s heresy!” Mayin exclaimed, then immediately clapped her hand over her mouth. “I’m sorry Mage Inarin. I didn’t mean to accuse you of heresy.”

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ve been accused of worse than Heresy during the Mage War.”

Tamasa in the mean time just smiled and refilled his bowl before fetching him a mug of ale. “We will trust in your protection, mage Inarin, and that of your companions. Please advise your fellows that we stand ready to provide you with food and shelter for as long as you require.”

“We have brought our own shelter,” he said. “We are too many for you to comfortably house anyway, but the food will be gratefully received. I will organise a schedule with you later so we don’t all descend on you at once.”

“Of course,” she said.

“I thank you, good lady, and my friends will as well.” He turned to Denri.

“High Mage Kadriya has also asked I complete Andric’s task while I am here since she doesn’t have another mediator to spare – she’s in the midst of some very delicate negotiations with the Meli High Wizard and virtually all of them are needed there. That’s why Andric was sent on this circuit. Even Idria lei Kasid knew better than to let him out of Keralyn usually, but there was no one else.”

“And Tehan Province is supposed to be an easy circuit,” Denri said drily. “There’s never any trouble here.”

“Yes, no one thought even he could mess it up,” Inarin sighed. “Anyway I can’t see there being an issue but may I accompany you to the fields this morning?”

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