This is the next instalment of the fantasy story I wrote many years ago.
I still haven’t got a title for it, so if you can think of a good one, let me know in the comments. 🙂
If you would like to read it from the start, this is the first part:
Lara, Bethra, David and Augustus rode their horses hard until they had cleared the hill and could look back on the grim walls of the city of Savarias, where briefly they had been kept as guests. Really they had been prisoners, if well treated ones.
Lara couldn’t help feeling a trifle smug. She had managed to fool Colonel Merka and got rid of that terrible coach too. Travelling on horseback was so much easier on her stomach than the coach and horses had been. Lara glanced back and saw Augustus on his brown horse staring at her.
The events of yesterday had started her thinking. When it had looked like she was going to be separated from him, Mage Caraffi had looked profoundly upset, quiet nervous, in fact. When she appeared to agree to send him away he had erupted into protest and had looked totally devastated and had only recovered when she had told him of her plan, when he realised she was going to keep him with her.
Lara thought about this long and hard. Being brought up at court amongst its diplomacy and intrigue had meant that political manoeuvring was not unknown to her. She was getting better at it by the day. Augustus Caraffi must have another motive for wanting to stay with her beyond the wish to be her mentor and teacher in the ways of Magic.
Was this motive to her advantage or her detriment? Was Augustus the friend he had appeared to be or a danger close at hand? She will have to keep a close watch on him from now on and keep her guard up.
High Mage Angstrom had been very busy at court since the arrival of the Purple Mages. They had purported to be Ambassadors from a nation to the South and as such Governor Boadrah had wanted him to attend every meeting. His ability to read minds was normally useful but totally useless with regard to other Mages who usually studied ways to prevent any intrusion into their own thoughts. He had told the Governor this fact but regardless he requested Angstrom attend every session. The Governor seemed to take comfort from having the High Mage with him. Interestingly there had been three purple mages initially when they had arrived but one had disappeared. Angstrom presumed he had gone to report to his superiors on the welcome they had received. None of the guards had seen him go, but no doubt he had taken steps to hide his passing, as any Mage up to no good would have done. The two remaining Purple Mages were nauseating and unctuous enough on their own within need of the third one.
The two mages were quite a contrast to each other. The first one was extremely overweight and had an enormous purple woollen cloak that strained around his enormous bulk. A necklace depicting a pentagram hung around his neck, between his land and penultimate chins. His eyes were small, beady and darted around the room taking everything in. He had declared his name to be Azedreal. His colleague did most of the talking and by contrast was thin, weedy and tall. Whereas Azedreal was bald, this Mage had long lank oily black hair and a goatee beard. His name was Gezaldor. Both of these men now stood in front of the Governor presenting him with a petition that asked permission to agree a trade deal between Argor and their homeland of Ghyzaria, in the south-west. The deal looked to be lucrative to both parties. The lands to the South West were renowned for all kinds of exotic spices, aromatic perfumes, fine silks and satins. Apparently though, wool, Iron and silver, which were plentiful in Argor were relatively rare on the other side of the great dividing range of mountains. Several meetings had already taken place to agree details. Now they were asking for the right to set up a trading post in the City of Argor, which would give the Purple Magehood a permanent base in the City. It is to this point that Angstrom had argued so vociferously against. The Governor sat with his advisors who were equally split on the issue. Angstrom led the faction that was opposing all attempts of the Purple Magehood to gain a foothold. The other faction was led by Councillor Devorah, who was the Chief financial advisor. He could only see the lucrative deals and the tremendous wealth that could be made by the merchant guilds. Now they had both made their arguments they awaited Governor Boadrah’s decision.
Leaning forward in his chair, the governor spoke “Damn it all, Angstrom, I can see no harm in allowing this request and a great deal of good. I can’t let your silly prejudices stand in the way of progress.” He then turned to the two so-called ambassadors.
“In the name of the Governor-General, I grant permission for you to set up your trading post in our City of Argor. You may begin trading but remember you are subject to our rules and laws. You may not practice your brand of Magic here.”
The Two purple mages began bowing “Thank You Governor, I assure you, you and your people will profit handsomely from your wise decision.” Gezaldor rubbed his hands together gleefully while delivering his brief speech. He then turned and stalked out of the chamber.
Azedreal bowed too, as far as his bulk would let him and spoke in his voice so thick with accent “Your Excellency will be remembered for aeons for this decision.” He too then turned and walked out of the chamber, rather slower than his colleague had done.
High Mage Angstrom was devastated. He had witness a historic disaster take place and had been powerless to prevent it. At that moment he yearned for those days before independence when the Red Magehood would have made these kinds of decisions, not the nobility or the army, but his own forebears and predecessors. As head of the Red Magehood in Argor it was his responsibility to write to the High Sorcerer of the Red Magehood himself, who was far away in the Citadel of the Sun, to inform him of these tragic developments, and his own failure to stop them. The pen in his hand had never felt heavier.
End of Part Fourteen
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 04/July/2018