Lawgiver’s Blade: Chapter Two Part One

April 10th, 2019  |  Published in Lawgiver's Blade  |  4 Comments

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Ten moons later, not long after Alidra’s eighth nameday, another visitor brought trouble to Shael. It was Lawgiver’s day and she was playing with her friends on the green when they saw the cart approaching.

It had been several days since anyone had passed through the village which was unusual and the adults had been whispering to one another and looking worried but so far no one had explained why.

Still it was a visitor. Alidra knew what to do. She ran into the house to fetch her mother.

“A cart? But who would be trav… what an idiot!” Tamasa grabbed a flagon of ale and strode toward the door. “Alidra go and fetch Lilat would you?”

“Yes, mummy!” She ran to the shrine and banged on the door of Lilat’s cottage. “Mummy says I’m to fetch you! There’s a cart coming!” Then as Lilat opened the door. “Why is that a bad thing now?”

Lilat swore a few times, language Alidra had never heard her use, before answering. “It’s bad at the moment.” She held out her hand to Alidra. “Let’s go and see how bad. I may have to send a message to Keralyn.”

“About a merchant?”

“If they’re sick, yes. If they aren’t yet we’ll just have to stop them leaving. Why will people never stay put when they are told? Why has no one else stopped them? This just makes more work for the healers.”

It was a hot day but Alidra shivered convulsively, suddenly as cold as if she’d been dropped in a snowdrift. Even young as she was she knew what that meant. There was a quarantine? That’s why there had been no visitors?

“There’s a pestilence?” she asked as they reached the where the cart had stopped in the middle of the village. No one answered her because they were all focused on the driver who was shouting at the villagers who were resolutely blocking the road.

“Get out of my way! I have to get my daughter home.” From his clothes and accent Alidra guessed home was somewhere in Laglin.

“Your daughter will be better off staying here.” Tamasa had climbed up and was kneeling in the back of the cart. “I don’t think she’ll make it to the border, let alone your home town in this condition. You’re just spreading this sickness further and making more work for the healer mages.” She rose to her feet with a semi-conscious teenage girl in her arms. The girl was shivering in spite of the heat and mumbling incoherently.

Tamasa turned to Lilat. “She’s running a terrible fever and the rash has started to appear, so she’s been sick for a least two days. Will you ask Keralyn if they can divert one of the healers to us early because I don’t think she’ll survive if we wait.” She headed back towards the house with the girl.

“Hey! Where are you taking Rinia!” The merchant ran after her. “I’m not trusting her to some mage. I want one of Ilinat’s Chosen to treat her.”

“Tsk!” Tamasa ground to a halt and rounded on him. “Listen, idiot. Firstly, do you have any idea how many people she’s likely infected by you not staying put? What exactly do you think the Peacebinder will think of that? Secondly, what part of she won’t make it to the border do you not understand? It’s a week’s travel from here and from the progression the quarantine order described she’s only got half that.”

“But…” he began desperately. “Please…”

“No buts.” Tamasa’s expression softened. “Trust me Healer Mage’s are excellent. As long as Keralyn send one to us quickly she’ll be fine and I can’t imagine they won’t.”

“We’re not letting you go any further,” Lilat said. “So let’s make her comfortable and wait for the Healer. How did you get past the other villages? Surely we aren’t the first to try and stop you?”

“Carefully,” he said. “We’d hide off the road at night and when I came to a village I’d make the horse gallop so people would have to get out of the way or be run down by the cart. I would have done that here but she threw a shoe earlier.”

Tamasa tutted again. “Well at least that probably means you didn’t infect every village between here and Benar port because of this stupidity. Let’s get her to bed.”

She pulled one of the straw mattress they kept for guests down from the sleeping loft. Then she got Rinia comfortable and set Alidra to wiping her brow with a cool cloth while she fetched a bowl of soup. “You!” She said to the merchant. “What’s your name? I can’t keep calling you idiot.”

“Madri.”

“Okay, you’d best eat this, Madri. I will be charging you for food and board, but your daughter can stay for free since she’s a victim of your idiocy. I really hope you didn’t actually run anyone down because we don’t need the sort of diplomatic incident and Laglini merchant deliberately harming a Benari peasant would cause.”

“Huh,” he said. “No I think everyone got out of the way.”

“That’s good at least,” she said. “You’re still likely in trouble though.” She paused as the girl mumbled something about being thirsty. She fetched a cup of water and held it to the girl’s lips. “Here you are.”

Rinia mumbled a thank you before gulping it down greedily.

“Slow down,” Tamasa said. “You’ll make yourself sick which won’t help.” There was a pause and Rinia began drinking more slowly. “She’s still coherent enough to obey instructions. That’s good. It means she’s not as far along as I feared.”

“Why are you being so kind?” Madric asked. “You don’t even know us and we did break your laws. Everyone knows how the Benari are about the Law.”

Tamasa snorted at that. “Well you broke the law, it doesn’t look like your daughter had much choice. You’ll might be fined but really this is one of those crimes that sees to its own punishment. Do you have no common sense? Your daughter would have died and you would have carried this plague back to Laglin. Just because you don’t trust Mages?”

Madric looked away and muttered something under his breath.

“No he wouldn’t,” Lilat said from the door before Tamasa could ask what he’d said. “The incubation is long enough that it had already reached Ofarat before anyone realised what was happening. I’ve spoken with Keralyn. They can’t spare another healer so they are diverting one to us. She should be with us within two days.” She knelt down by the girl. “It should be soon enough if we can keep her fever down.” She turned to Madric and narrowed her eyes. “As for the idiot here. High Mage Kadria does sympathise with his fear for his daughter so she has assessed a token fine of fifty fain. She isn’t even banning him from travelling to Benar again. That will change if we find out anyone was harmed by his antics.” She glared at him. “Why in the world did you run? You must have known you were both infected. I can understand trusting Ilinat’s priests more but…”

Madric looked down. “We didn’t want to repudiate Peaceful Ilinat,” he said.

“What?” Lilat stiffened slightly. “Why would you…” She took a breath. “I think you’d better tell us what happened.”

Madric sighed. “The farmer who we were trading with when Rinia started getting sick claimed no Healer Mage would treat us unless we repudiated the Peacebinder and swore ourselves to the Lawgiver.” He paused at Lilat’s hiss. “He was wrong?”

“Sweet law, yes!” Lilat exclaimed. “Of course he was wrong! Not even the worst Perfectionist heretics demand that. Why would he even think that?” She rubbed her head. “I’d better contact the High Mage again, it’s probably just one person misunderstanding something badly but we’ll want to to be sure.” She patted his arm. “No one will demand you betray your goddess.”

“That’s what you were muttering about earlier?” Tamasa asked. “I wish you’d said sooner we could have reassured you.”

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4 Responses to “Lawgiver’s Blade: Chapter Two Part One”

  1. torvawk says:

    I am still not sure what the plan is here. I still think you are setting up plots that I cannot even see clearly enough. Little hints here and little hints there. It is almost like there is a subsect of the Lawgivers that has some supremacy idolatry that they are just starting to become aware of but don’t fully believe it yet.

    And so far, this story seems to be a departure of your other work. All events are seen and described from one place so far. Most of your other work has many different places where events are described to happen at the place, not described from Shael’s perspective on events that have happened elsewhere. Maybe this has me befuddle so far.

    • Rebecca Sutton says:

      Oh yeah, I’m definitely setting things up and there’s a lot going on in the background and the backstory that you can’t see yet. Also this story is a lot less “in media res” than many of my others because I feel like the setting needs a certain amount of establishing.

      Interesting theory about the subsects… there definitely are subsects (the Perfectionists get mentioned here – they were one side in the Mage War).

  2. torvawk says:

    Oh yeah:

    She should be with us with us within two days.
    “with us” is in there twice back to back

Leave a Reply to torvawk