Keys of Magic - Part 8

Submitted by Apophenia on Thu, 10/31/2013 - 21:52

I motioned vaguely, “How is the battle at the walls going?”

Sir Janet looked grimmer then normal. “Only bad news unfortunately. Scattered reports mainly. There aren’t many who are leaving the front line to give us details. The injured that are falling back from the wall are our only source of news. I’m not certain if the reports are to be believed however.”

“What are they saying?” I think I already knew what she was going to say but I needed to hear it anyways.

“They are saying that the orcs have Apostates. They are also saying that several of our concealed Apostates apparently had to break cover to fight them.”

“I saw a gout of fire over on the bridge when I was lying down after the battle. Do you think that was an orc Apostate?”

“I don’t know but I hope not. Orcs and monstrous reptiles are bad enough but orcs with magical powers is more dangerous then I can imagine. Now let us get you inside the tent and I will assign you a proper guard.” I nodded and let Sir Janet lift me up and pull me inside the tent where I sat down in the chair and relaxed.

When I was alone I spoke to the Slayer. “So I agree with you.”

“You do?”

I wasn’t actually talking, just actively thinking to the Slayer, it felt mostly the same except I didn’t move my lips.

“Eyyo needs to die. He is breaking down this kingdom, killing the people. I may not be the best person for the task. I may be a noble which enjoys the finer things in life a little too much but if there is something that I can do to stop him then I will do it. I can’t just stand around waiting for him to ruin the world and kill me.”

“Good. You have made up your mind. I’m glad that you finally agree with me.”

“What do I need to do? I don’t know the first thing about killing a god or where to start about killing this one. You must have some clue about what to do.”

“Indeed there are things that I know that may aid you. First you will need to go to the capitol. I have been dead for a hundred years and there is something that I need for you to check for me. Once you do that I will be able to direct you to the next step in finding Eyyo.”

“The capitol? What is there?”

“Information. Those that I knew in my lifetime are dead but the information I had them keep secret may still be alive. I need to confirm that because that is the easiest option that I know. If that doesn’t pan out then I will have to work on different leads.”

“Very well, I’ll organize a visit to the capitol when we are certain that the orcs will not assault again.”

“No, you need to go alone. A large group will alert Eyyo. If he knows that you are visit the capitol then you will be at more risk and I may not be to gain the information that I need.”

“Alone, I don’t know how I would get away with leaving without getting noticed by anyone.” I thought for a moment. Going alone was not something that I had expected. There were few options on how to get to the capitol without being caught. “I’ll have to think about it.”

I rested the remaining of the day gaining information from Sir Janet as it came in. By midday the main force had repelled the orc forces. Because of the orc Apostates there were far more casualties then had been expected. Our Apostates had shown up in the battle and some of their identities were well known. However there seemed to be a group consensus not to mention who they were. Many lives had been saved because the Apostates had showed up and used their powers.

It was a little bit comforting to me. Having people accept Apostates, at least a little bit made me feel a little bit better about myself. I also felt a little bit of comradeship with these Apostates because I too have fought off the orcs and killed one of their Apostates. I kinda wondered if somebody knew I was an Apostate and just chose not to say anything. I then proceeded to avoid continuing to think about that. It was possible for somebody to see me fighting the orc Apostate up near the command tent but it was unlikely.

The scouts later reported that the remaining orc forces were disbanding. They had suffered even more casualties then our side had. With the orc army dispersed the knights and nobles were allowed to return home. I didn’t have a chance to visit Lady Kindeily before her forces left and once she was gone I had no reason to stay there any longer and we all returned to my estate. Considering I had lost less soldiers then many of the lords where were protecting the wall. I had still lost some to both the monster and the orcs. I would have to make it up to the families of those who lost people this day.

The journey home was much quieter then the journey to the river. There was no orc ambush and I was able to sleep quietly at night. A few days later I had arrived back at the estate and was able to finally relax in comfort. I know that it would only be short so I enjoyed myself the best I could for a couple of days before I was finally ready to leave for the capital.

It was late at night when I wrote the letter. The letter read that I was leaving to visit Lady Kindeily that that Sir Nathen and Janet should not follow me and that I would be back in my own time. They would still almost certainly be off chasing me but it would send them off in the wrong direction looking for me. I wasn’t certain how I was going to explain everything afterward but for now it would let me be alone to visit the capitol.

Escaping the manor was a relatively easy task. It was standard practice for noble manors to have secret escape paths built in them. My manor was no exception. I opened the doors of my wardrobe and pushed aside my clothing. There was a lever at the back of the wardrobe which unlocked a secret door in the back which opened up into a secret passage. There was a ladder the and climbed onto and shut the wardrobe behind me. Then I climbed down the ladder into the caves that have been hacked into the ground under the manor.

It took me several minutes of walking before I got to the exit of the the tunnels. It emerged into an abandoned barn that was at the outskirts of the village. The day before I had stolen an old cloak from the guard rooms. Well, it wasn’t really theft because they were my guards but I still had to be stealthy about it. The cloak and the plainest clothes that I could get were the best disguise that I could acquire.

Not wanting to be revealed I had my signet right on a chain around my neck. I could feel it pressing against my skin and as long as I was touching it I would speak with the Slayer.

My main problem for reaching the capitol was transportation. I hadn’t been able to secret away a horse. Those were big enough that I hadn’t been able to hide one away because one of my knights would have noticed. I had plenty of money but I couldn’t buy one anywhere nearby because everybody nearby would certainly recognize me.

I had another option though, it was much more dangerous but it would get me to the capitol at least as fast as a horse if not faster. There was a river that from the mountains, past my estate, and then much father on the capitol. If I used it I might be able to reach the capitol much fast then I did by horse. There were several problems however.

First was that I had as many boats as I had horses, mainly none. The second was that there was a reason the river was not used for trade. The capitol was at a much lower elevation then my fiefdom and there was large abouts of rough terrain and several waterfalls between here and there. Since the journey by horse wasn’t that long anyway most people avoided the river.

The walk to the river from the abandoned barn was less than an hour, however still long enough that I was tired at the end. I had kept a good pace in case somebody discovered this evening that I was missing from my room which was a real possibility. If they started a searching tonight before I reached the river then I might not be able to evade them.

No one must have noticed my letter however because even when I reached the bank of the river there where still no lights near the abandoned farm. My knights knew of its existence and it would be the first place they looked when I went missing.

Once at the river I knew that I had escaped them. The only remained problem was the lack of a boat.

“This is more dangerous then your usually plans.” Said the Slayer.

“Is there a problem?” I responded grumpily. I knew it was dangerous but it was the best and more reliable plan that I could think of.

“No, the opposite. I like it. Reckless behavior is usually the least expected. Eyyo will spend days trying to figure out where you went and that will give us time to gain and edge over him.”

“Well, I’m glad that you like it. I certainly don’t think it is a good plan. More suicidal.” I walked to the edge of the river and placed one hand into the water and the other pulled the signet ring out from under my shirt. I felt cold despite being warmed by my chest and only got colder as I called upon Zillk’s power. Without and enemy it was easy to resist the violent emotions and just concentrate on using his power.

The water began to freeze beneath my fingertips forcing into a large plane of ice. I had myself a boat. Really it was little more then a raft made of ice but it was still capable of floating and would hopefully be able to bring me to the capitol in one piece. I stepped onto the makeshift raft and released enough of the power so that it cracked and broke off from the bank.

I was floating down the river on a raft made of ice that was only held together by the magical power of a dead god and in a few minutes I would be encountering the first of the waterfalls. I felt about as crazy as I had ever felt. I really really hopes that this wouldn’t be the dead of me.

The first challenge came just as predicted, one of the waterfalls that kept the river from being a major trade route. I had a plan for dealing with it and I was not so secretly terrified that it would kill me instead. I gritted my teeth together and prepared to have the raft launch itself over the edge and then just as it hit the water below freeze it to prevent the raft from exploding beneath me.

I chickened out. Just before the raft tipped over the edge I froze a path to the bank and dashed across it. I was a little bit worried about slipping but apparently Zillk’s partial domain over winter protected me from that.