Chapter 29

The three returned to Aleto and Teman departed from their company there. He had to go about his business and catch up with Devlin.  Oren was happy to be back in his hometown and at his parents again.  It was the safest he felt in a while.  His parents let them rest and get a good couple of meals in them before asking for the finer details of their excursion since leaving Avo.  Oren’s mother recalled hearing about a Lady Nattan from her father, she had some relation to the Drémore Kingdom, but other than that she was not certain.  After describing the events at Erridda, Oren’s father showed some concern that he had not indicated earlier.

“Son, you saw that the Velgrey’s were banished from the Enchanters’ guild.  However, it had not so much to do with books we did not hand over. There was suspicion that our ancestors had abilities similar to ours, but the Enchanters could not prove it.  Our family chose to keep the skills hidden and have never written about them.”

“That is fine, but what is your concern now?”

“The books were correct about the fracturing of the Drémore Kingdom.  Time has distorted such things since then.  But the story passed down in the family goes that the Velgrey’s were far more powerful once upon a time. When the Enchanters chose to remain neutral in the conflict, the Drémores came to our family for help.  We did help them, loyally and dutifully, but not to the end.  We surrendered to the rebellion and were allowed to live in exchange for our holdings.  The Drémores took the Velgrey surrender as betrayal.  Following that, the Drémore’s made several attempts to assassinate the remaining family with varying success.”

“So if they mount an attack, you fear they may come for us out of petty revenge?  But then why not just kill me back at Erridda?”

“I don’t know.”

“Mother, what do we do now?”

“Well, from what I can gather Casapan is still alive.  He is the one that probably created whatever that thing was that called itself Lady Nattan.”

Oren and Martell left his parents for the evening and made a quick stop back at the shop.  The shop was doing quite well and Devlin had made good on the delivery of books from Abbysta. From there, the two headed back to Oren’s house.  Outside his house someone was waiting.  When they got close enough Martell recognized her as Rowenn.  As they walked closer the two could see she looked like she had been in a fight or roughed up.  At the sight of her bruising, Martell rushed over to embrace her sister.

“What happened to you?”

“The Knights of Tethinger.  They said that Priestess Tabia of Varelle had come to them demanding that they join her in the assault on Wind Gait Stronghold.  They told her they needed proof she was a priestess of Varelle.  A group snuck over to the temple demanding to see the body of the Tabia or at least her ashes.  There was no body to show because she was not dead.  I had spoken to Tabia and warned her before she headed to Tethinger Hall.” Martell could see how Rowenn was holding back her emotions while trying to explain.

Oren opened up the house and ushered the women inside so they could talk more talk with privacy.  He went over to the hearth to light a fire and to start some water boiling.  He felt some tea may make the next couple hours pass more easily.

Rowenn continued, “The Knights did not believe my words.  How could they forget that I had helped them with their discernments for joining the order?  Or that I had been there when they were knighted.  They kept saying they knew we had a secret chamber and this was all a ruse to get them to do Varelle’s bidding again.” She paused for a little bit to collect her thoughts.

Martell hugged her sister and tried to speak something that would comfort her.

“That was when the abuse started.  They tried to have me tell them the secrets of the temple; as if the pain they inflicted could break the vows I took.  They had no idea of the binding we priestesses go through when we take an oath to be the goddess’s servants. I couldn’t say anything to them.”   Rowenn was at tears at this point.  “They left me there beaten in the temple.  I was there for hours before I got up the strength to move again.  The temple is now sealed till Varelle tells me how to open.”

“I am sorry,” Oren spoke.  He was trying to understand what would have turned the Knighthood on the temple like that.  Or what have warranted that type of response from a request for man power.

“The Knights, the elder or senior ones at least, cannot turn down Tabia’s request.” Martell spoke up, “They will have to serve or commit someone in their place.  Rowenn, do you know how many she was given command over?”


“Part of the rituals for entering the Tethinger order is that your name is written on a slat of wood.  The slats of wood are held by the Varelle priestesses till the knight turns forty.  At any point the priestess should be able to call on the knight whose name is written on the slat.  In exchange, Varelle offers a talisman that protects against illness and poison.  After the fortieth birthday, the talisman is yours to keep, but it does not seem to help anyone other than the person it was given to. If you fail to answer the call, the talisman can make one fall ill.  It has been several hundred years since anyone has put the negative effects to the test.”

“I don’t know if Tabia knows the help she is asking for means constantly watching her back,” commented Rowenn.

“Rowenn, we need to tell you about what happened after we left Avo.  Maybe you can shed some light on what we can expect.”

After a couple hours of catching up, Rowenn had a better understanding of the events.  She was still puzzled as to why Varelle would have a grudge with the Drémore Empire.  To her, something was missing in the records Oren had seen. She was convinced that she would need access to her temple and its records to have a clear answer.

Martell concurred with her assessment, “But Rowenn, how do you get back in?  You said you locked it such that Varelle would need to reveal to you how to regain access.”

“Indeed, I need her guidance.  There is another way in, but I was never told.  I need a quiet place to pray and await her response.”

“I can get you a quiet place in the morning if you want to rest here tonight,” Oren offered.

“That is nice, but where will you sleep?”

“Out here near the fire.  Besides I am going to read some more tonight.  I have a feeling my skills need more practice if we head back with you to Avo.”

“Oren, I thought you had enough with traveling and wanted to get back to your shop,” teased Martell.

“That would be ideal.” He paused in thought for a moment, “The world is telling me to go see where this goes.  It also may be more exciting than sitting and hearing about it second hand.”

The following morning Oren took Rowenn over to his parents and made arrangements for her to have a quiet space.  Martell met up with him a few hours later at the Cloak and Frog.

“So this is where it began?”  Oren mused.

“Yes, well really, it was at your shop where my life started to intertwine with yours.  It was a good hunch I had about you…after I calmed down.”

“Yes, I do recall there were a few accusations being thrown around.”

“And with good reason.  Someone under my protection had died.”

“I do not think it was your fault.  I went with you down to the Drémore Forest and now have returned safe from harm.”

“True…” Martell got quiet.

“Do you think about it still?”

“I think about everyone I have lost at one point or another.  She was not the first death I experienced, but a rare one…to have occurred not on the battlefield.  Part of me wants to blame not going with her to the graveyard.  But I know I would have made the same call every time.  She was not a child.  Also if I had gone with her I might be dead as well.”

Oren moved in closer, embracing her. “I don’t envy your past…your future is another story.  You do not have to carry these burdens alone you know.  When we are done with this you are welcome to stay with me if you can handle a quieter life.”

“You talk as if this is simple.  These things are never simple.  After this you will have a reputation…whatever the outcome.”

“As will you.  I plan on ignoring it to the best of my ability, hopefully with someone at my side.” Oren spoke plainly.

“That is a good proposition; I will be there to see how it plays out.”

The two had been reminiscing for a while longer when Rowenn came in.  She wove her way through the crowded tavern over to them, interrupting, “Hello, I now know where the entrance is, but we can not to go back there yet.  We should adjourn to a quieter place to discuss this in detail.”

Back at Oren’s house, Rowenn was finally willing to talk with them. “The key to the secondary door is with Tabia, from what I could discern of Varelle’s message.  The key is a necklace she is wearing.  We need to find them, and hopefully meet up with them before they get to Wind Gait.”

“Did you get any insight as to where they currently are?  It could be quite a wide area to search for them in. Or they might still be in Avo.”  Oren prodded.

“They have left Avo, or at least should have, based on what Tabia told me when I last saw her.” Rowenn replied, “They should have left two days ago.  They are to meet up with some other people at the base of the mountains, and follow some old road through them to the stronghold.”

“That does not leave us much time then does it?  Let us prepare this afternoon and set out at first light.”

“I will leave you ladies here at my place tonight.  Meet me at my parents in the morning.  I need to talk with them and will then spend the night at their place.”

Chapter 28

The final chains came off the door and Martel was free. Oren was relieved to have her back. Teman kept the locks and chains as payment for his services. The three agreed that they would investigate around Erridda after a good rest. They spent the night in the courtyard; Oren curled up with Martell enjoying the freedom from the chamber below.

In the morning, they started by looking through the second floor for more clues about what Lady Nattan and Katsutaka were going to do next. Based on Oren’s research, the assumption was they were headed to Wind Gait. Neither Oren nor Martell thought they were equipped to handle the task of stopping her. Their best bet was to regroup in Aleto and confer with Oren’s parents. Oren wanted to know how much more his parents knew about the Drémore family and if they understood the extent of the plans.

The exploration of Erridda yielded quite a few traps, which were easy for Teman to disarm. The wards prevented them from entering several areas. They found numerous maps and battle plans for assaults on cities that had long since fallen ruled by people whose bloodlines had died off. When Oren brought up the old gods to Teman, he recalled to the best of his knowledge that there were no priests of Latl around anymore. The last priest had died around two hundred years ago and since then the god had been silent. Dahl still had at least one priest in Gromdash and Casapaten had a temple somewhere in the western cities of Iseb. They still played rolls in King Hannon II’s court through representatives. Their activity and deeds were known more up north. He was not certain why they were not more widely revered in the southern portions of the kingdom.

Martell added that like Tethinger order holding fealty to Varelle, each of the three other gods had an order that served them. The specialties of each order and the priests divided much of the work and balanced each other out. The goddess Varelle had the Tethinger order; their duty to the four gods was chronicling events as they unfolded. The god Casapaten was served by the order of Kaddock. Their focus was on any task of a military nature. Dahl worked with the Vocknuera order. They provided judgment and mediation to lesser regions that lacked a lord to oversee it as well as certain issues that the king may wish to forgo handling himself. Finally the god Latl’s agents were in the Edostera order. They coordinated spiritual efforts between the gods. They had records of which god or goddess one should pray to for any conceivable topic, and if they did not have an answer, it was to them to dictate who had authority.

Searching through other parts of Erridda, Oren found some additional books, two that struck his fancy. The first was Manual of Wyverns. Some of the sketches he saw while paging through indicated designs of saddles and riders of wyverns. He would have to wait till later to find if this was actual information or whimsical portrayal. The second was labeled Eidolons of Power, it mention concepts that were alluded to in Penumbra of Nature and Meditations in Umbra, such as bringing the spirits form into reality and enshrining their essence so as to have it manifest in objects. It reminded him a bit of his forest encounter with the spirits and how enchanting worked.

If he read correctly, he could either call out the spirits in his staff to fight at his side or channel their abilities to manifest in the weapon itself. Oren got the idea from the book that he may be able to summon birds similar to the ones that attacked Tabia and Martell, but under his control. The thought of that type of power both excited and terrified him. It also had him concerned with the idea of what a Channeler’s Guild could be capable of. The idea of multiple people with that ability, or other abilities he had yet to conceive of, not bound by enchantments had no foreseeable limit. It was no wonder the Enchanter’s guild feared them.

These were feats he would want to make sure he understood before he tried to implement. Based on the summoning of spirits in the forest, this could easily go wrong quickly. He also debated discussing with Martell before practicing. He was uncertain if she had even read this book before. He figured at the very least to not discuss in Teman’s presence as he did not feel need to cause undue alarm with their friend.

Teman spent most of the time rattling off values of much of what they found in the place. He picked up a few trinkets that he could pocket and carry with ease. “Larger stuff would need a campaign to salvage the place, though I feel no need to alert others to the place now being unsealed.” He joked, “This is a great place to call it quits from treasure hunting. It‘s fully furnished too, all it needs is a large shipment of wine and I could be set. But then the guy who delivers wine knows about it and he tells some people and then they tell people and you get the idea. No peace and quiet to relax in.”

“You know the people who locked us up may have plans for the place to. I would not head back here for a while after we leave.” Oren cautioned.

“Maybe,” Martel spoke, “Though I think they are off to Wind Gait now. Do you know if that one is still locked up Teman?”

“That one is still locked. Also no one seems to be able to find it up there in the mountains and hills. You may get close, but the clouds are always there. You start off a clear day, see the peak and when you get up there nothing but fog and clouds. There are also goblins, sprites and wyverns up there.”

“I read in some of the books in the dungeon that Drémore had destroyed their nests and they were no longer a problem.

“Yeah they did clear out the wyverns at one point. But they came back, according to others that travel up there. They don’t mess with the vales, or anyone who leaves them alone. Aside from people looking for Wind Gait, nobody travels up that way. There are cities on the other side of the mountain; trails are there to prove it. It is probably why they built Wind Gait up there, to protect the pass. With the Drémore Kingdom gone, no one was left to maintain it.”

“So something else I read is that Iseb was part of Drémore and rebelled against them. Do you know if that is true? Or at least heard stories”

“I have suspicions of such thing from the ruins I have seen. However, like anything several hundred years old, it is hard to say. There are other records that say they died off and Iseb filled the need of a new ruler of the lands. Guess it is all up to you on who you believe.”

They continued to search, this time specifically for signs of the enchanter Casapan. He had entered and never left according to the logs at the entrance. No remains were found in the cells in the lower levels. They were beginning to wonder if he was part of the group that trapped the place, hence the reason for not leaving a mark for exit. However, why would he have been a prisoner? This place did not make sense in many regards. Also, if he was the same as the one that Lady Nattan answered to what was that connection? Was he part of the Drémore family?

They entered a room at the top of a tower to find the walls lined with shelves full of various gems and minerals. There were plant specimens in numerous glass jars on one set of shelves. There was what looked like a small furnace in one corner. There were a few tables in the room, one with tools for stone and wood work, another with tools for working leather and a third with a setup for a jeweler.

“This must have been where they did enchanting,” Martell spoke up.

“I agree,” said Teman, “Most of these items are still in clean useful condition. The tools have no tarnish on them at all.”

Oren was distracted by some papers laying on one of the tables, looking at the top paper he read:

With each talisman you bring yourself to freedom from your indentured time. I hope that Erridda more than exceeds your needs. I must also compliment you on the quality of your work. Your talismans are highly compatible with one another with little diminishing interference if our men use more than one. I hope you will come to appreciate what the Drémore Kingdom can offer you. Further I am asking for you to offer your services once your indentured time is up and not return to the harsh treatments you received in the Southern Baronies.
Your Friend and Master,
King Drémore VIII

Oren shuffled the other papers, they looked like notes on crafting or requests for more materials. Oren took the papers; maybe his mother would know what they were crafting, if anything out of the ordinary. “It looks like Casapan was here. Though, I would like to know if this is the same one that Lady Nattan called her Lord.”

“That would give him some age.” commented Teman.

“But that would not be a surprise. From what Oren told us, if they had truly slowed time here he may have been able to manipulate his own aging. If he is still around then he may pose a larger threat than Lady Nattan. With this many life times to improve his abilities, I shudder to think what he is capable of.”

“Oren if I may suggest, some of the items on these shelves are quite rare. Perhaps we should take them in case Lady Nattan does return with Casapan. The absence of key ingredients and certain tools may cause them delays.” Teman advised.

“Agreed, perhaps we split them between the two of us; you can sell some of it, think of it as payment for assisting.”

After checking for any traps, they pulled down various items from the shelf. The value of some of the random items would be worth some nice coin to the right buyer, according to Martell. It was after getting down all they planned on taking that Martell noticed a jar with a lump of what they had assumed was copper. But when she looked at it long enough, she swore it moved slightly.

“Do you know what that is?” she asked.

“That? Looks like copper.”

“Yes but it moved. Here I will tap on the jar and watch it.” She tapped it. The size of the lump increased slightly.

“I have never seen anything like it,” commented Teman.

“Hmm, give me a moment,” said Oren. He called out to it to come slightly closer and it did move toward him. He next tried pushing away slowly as he would with a spirit. Again the lump responded in kind. “It is a spirit of some sort, though the copper exterior puzzles me.”

“Should we take it with us?” Martell asked while looking at it.

“I don’t know. The creature could be an issue if we let it out. Unfortunately there is no way to know its intent.”

“I am not one inclined to let things out on the world. Based on my experience back in the forest, I would not like to repeat that,” said Oren. “Though I am not inclined to leave it here either. We will need to pack it up properly so it doesn’t break on the travels out of here.”

They spent the rest of the day searching for any additional information they could find. With nothing new revealed they agreed that the next day they would head back to Aleto.

Roux II

It was the burning eyes
Not the cut of the blade
That brought him down to size
Down in Avender’s glade
Where the forest flames grew
Brighter than the night
In purple and green hues
Where Roux lured him to fight

It had been legends talk
From fairy foe gleaned
That led Gunter on walk
Among forest unpreened
Along valley descent
To glade before seen not
Years in hunt he spent
In brutal chase fraught

Roux hid in shadows and wood
Avoiding fight and confrontation
Gunter after enchanted hood
Was left with consternation
Robe of secrecy and gateways
Was hers by right of birth
Control of surprise and pathways
Gunter saw its worth

Gunter Lord of the land and people
Not accepting of those unrelenting
Roux did not see him as equal
His reason and rule was her dissenting
It started when Gunter took her home
Forced Roux out to forest grand
Then built castles and walls in loam
It was then she took a stand

In Avender’s she would slip
Where Roux would not be scared
With Gunter’s fear he did try grip
But alas trials he not spared
As the two in glade did fight
Roux allies did come to aid
Till ultimately he faced plight
Gunter in glade now laid

Chapter 27

The Drémore Kingdom was fighting the Iseb Barons as they had ceased to pay tribute and send forces to fight in the southern forest border. Iseb had decided that the Drémore Lineage was weak and its leaders were bent on expanding the kingdom while their allies and internally struggled with finding funds and people to send. The Drémores had already taken many of the skilled builders and craftsman out to the south to build strongholds against the Princes of the south. This left the lands internally in poor repair and upkeep. In addition, many lords and barons were unable to continue their preferred level of living. The one upside was there was less strife in the kingdom among the lords as all the normal idle soldiers and knights were now stationed elsewhere.
The leaders of the uprising were the Iseb, Eitelwulf and Auben houses. In their ignorance, they failed to realize with the completion of the strongholds Erridda and Wind Gait the construction was at an end and many of the artisans would return. Also the number of soldiers needed to defend the border was about to decrease with the fortresses. This would satisfy the demands many people had. The taxes levied by the Drémores were some of the highest ever which may have led to the indifference by some of the lords to these promises. As the civil war progressed, the Drémore castle fell. Over time, those loyal to the empire retreated to the four strongholds that stayed loyal, Erridda, Abbysta, Wind Gait and Scoria. From there Abbysta and Scoria were first to fall. Abbysta fell to followers of Varelle who had switched sides when they saw where the power was flowing. Scoria fell to the Tethinger and Vocknuera Knight Orders. Once an order of loyal knights, their ranks had now become swelled with sons of noble families opposed to the Drémores. In both cases, before ceding control of the strongholds, loyal enchanters assisted in sealing many of the important rooms and stores so that they could not serve the enemy.
With two holds remaining the Katsutaka family, the original commander at Erridda, agreed with Lady Drémore to have her daughter Nattan Drémore preserved with the stronghold. She would be locked in a room safe from enchantments and sealed with the blessing of gods. There would be further enchantments done to freeze the state of her being and the structure. And finally one born from Southern Drémore would need to open the seal of the outer gate. The goal was to consolidate forces at Wind Gait with King Drémore and then make a push to take back Drémore Castle. The Wolves would remain in the south and to make the rebellion think they had not abandon the fortress. If the attempt failed, then the prince, next in line, Tariq would be similarly sealed at Wind Gait. This would help preserve the bloodline for the future. The Drémores were not going to surrender to the rebellion. As for the Drémore children, neither was keen on being locked away. It may be questionable if the children knew how long they would be sealed away.
The Wolves of the Vales were an elite scout unit. There are numerous stories of them protecting the borders of Drémore and saving its citizens from dangers of nature and man. Originally, the group was light infantry sent to guard the farms in the vales from wild beasts and the occasional bandit raid. They rose to prominence when the company tracked down and killed a nest of wyverns in the mountains. The winged beasts had appeared from nowhere, and had started hauling off livestock. In several instances, farmers were killed or wounded by the attacks. The attacks were originally written off by the kingdom and the Wolves thought them embellished stories. When the Wolves were finally sent out to investigate the complaint, they found more destruction had been done than reported and immediately campaigned to end the problem. The Wolves lost only nine men in the assault through the mountains while they in turn took down at least ten adult wyverns and several lesser ones. Eventually, they found the nests of the creatures. Some attempts were made to tame the babies, but they proved as strong willed as their parents. In the end all the wyverns were slayed. Where the wyvern’s nest was is now where Wind Gait sits and is the base for their command. They were called to serve in the forests near Erridda prior to the rebellion as guards for construction. The vales at the time were filled with bandits and raiders from neighboring lands. Once the rebellion broke out, there were never orders issued to return so half of them had stayed stationed in the woods. The head of the Wolves in the forest was called Dawsil in honor of the original captain that led the group. This also led to much misconception by their adversaries that he was invincible as he would wear a similar armor style and his face obscured by a helmet face guard.

Oren finished this part of the books as Teman finally picked the first lock. The chain pulled away with some ease once it was no longer locked. He set to work on the following lock. Oren pulled down another couple books from the history of Drémore.
Avo cheered the creation of their ward obelisk. This was to be the centerpiece of the town hall. At last, it meant the town was free of roaming goblins and ogres that otherwise raided their lands for food. The wards would need to be charged to increase the radius of protection, but the fact there was now one created would allow the town to flourish. The hardest parts of building a core out of crystal and then crafting a housing or enclosure were already done. The charging would require the focus of at least three enchanters and a period of two years. After that, they would need to send in a senior enchanter and have the obelisk receive the blessings of a priest on behalf of each god. Avo did not know they were a test for the makers of the obelisks. There was at the northern end of the kingdom the town of Stigen, where three years prior an enchanter perished when a flaw went undetected in the construction of the obelisk. The end result was that the obelisk summoned the beasts of snow that it was to have protected against.
The alliance with the Eitelwulf family came after a two year war. The family agreed to an alliance with the Drémore Kingdom, never admitting defeat, but none the less they were surrounded by Drémore on all sides so had little choice but to agree to something. After three generations, the Eitelwulf family became complacent and less proud and eventually the terms of the alliance were replaced with servitude. They were still of nobility, but no longer independent. This may indeed be what led them to join Iseb rather than fight them when the borders of Drémore receded. It is believed that Iseb has again dangled the carrot of freedom before Eitelwulf, but had no plans to follow through. If Drémore could only prove they would be no better off, then Eitelwulf may be reclaimed.
Eitelwulf has influence over Auben through family, and now Iseb has proposed to take a wife for its prince from Eitelwulf. Auben will follow suit and leave the Drémore Kingdom soon. If not all of it at once, at the least the nobles would go and then the commoners. It is not known why, but the commoners in Auben’s land have always unquestionably followed the lead of their lord. It would be something for a King of Drémore to have that pull over his entire kingdom.

It was here in his readings that Oren heard the second lock undone. Martell was a step closer to freedom. He could now hear as Teman released another chain. Oren had only a little more time to look through the books. It was a book between the end of the history and the prayer books that caught his eye.
Neffian was arrived from the north, he denied that the four gods existed and was exiled from Drémore. His teachings were such that though the four gods existed in some manner, they were not gods but the creation of enchanters that had tapped into a new source. Rather than be accepted as beings that controlled daily life and have worship, they were merely a new source of energy to do enchanting.
Velgrey was lord of the North East. He allowed those that enchanted objects to practice freely in his domain as long as they passed their knowledge on to the records of the lord’s manner. Neffian was allowed to visit the Velgrey manor. During his stay he stole several volumes of records from the estate. The books were recovered and Neffian was seriously wounded. This was the last ever heard of Neffian.
The Velgreys donated their entire collection of books to be transcribed by the Enchanter Guild. However, the guild claimed several volumes were never received. The Velgreys confirmed that all their books were sent and that it is only the guild hungry for power that was trying to press for more information. The disagreement lead to the Velgrey’s being banned from ever being full members of the guild. The Velgreys retaliated by taking back their library. It is believed the guild only transcribed about a quarter of the collection.


The top of the walls of Korack can be seen reflecting light off of their silver tiled roof from over 20 miles away. Odds are it is from the inner set of walls as the outer set have but only one or two such tiled spires. The inner walls date back some five centuries where as the outer walls have only come into existence a mere millennium or so ago.
The people of Korack do not take kindly to those outside the city. Trading houses had to spend generations to establish a reputation with those inside the inner walls. Even then it took another couple of decades to convince the natives that markets outside the city walls would not interfere with the reclusive nature. Those native to the city still do not trust the merchants that deal outside the boundaries of the two walls. All this given there is still much hesitation in any business that may take place between the two groups.
The shops depend mostly on travelers that do not even enter the city to fund their existence. This predicament of a setup has caused all but two shops to close over the past five years. These two stores and a humble inn are what most travelers refer to as Korack as few get beyond the gates to the city. Inside the walls are seen by few and often those that do are not ever seen leaving…at least though the main gate.
A bit of time could be spent debating what lies inside the city. More time could be spent by the few who may ask why the city of Korack has never been seen expanding in any way despite the fact on average the radius of the city grows by ten feet a year. Yet most people do not bother to think on this. And in actuality no person outside the walls of Korack has contemplated this beyond the first thought. For whenever such a debate is sparked, those involved find themselves on tangents five times removed and feel more desire to talk about those topics, while completely forgetting about that magical city of Korack.


Evening fog set abound
As nothing else made a sound
Kit sat a watch and trap
All part of the plan map
In dark green cloak he wait
As behind light egress gate

In temple’s yard with musty smell
Now deserted as sound distant bell
A shadow descends down temple stair
A patter of claws and no one is there
Fog now rising to the waist
Patience mulled as he paced

Warned he was about this place
Trials he would soon to face
The first would be a ghostly light
With which he could not fight
Second would be keeper’s sword
He was not welcome to that hoard
Third would be sent from above
Indefensible with leather and iron glove
Fourth would come to be the last
Do not accept it as repast

These warning were of no concern
It was such spirits he would spurn
Kit was here to collect their master
An ambivalent spell caster

Now came the glow in temple spire
Was this the ghost he could not retire
It came down to yard with great speed
As it clipped shoulder, he did bleed
It was the leaves in its wake
That caused him pain to take
Still Kit stood in patient pose
Ghost came round to see if they foes
When light came close again
It flashed a hollow toothy grin
And like that ghost left to find
Things to torment and bind

Fog now a sea up to his arms,
Thinning and seeping to neighbor farms
No alarm would be raised
By land no longer tilled or phased
Looking for clouds in motion
Tossing vials full of potion
When each glass shatters
They reveal what truly matters
Figments of anxiety on stress
Clear out from the mess
Bushes and stones of stories past
Memorials to things that do not last
Then the crunch of glass reveal
The movement of coming steel

Lithe comes the armored lad
Carrying the sword named Klad
K for the coming kill
L for loathing the blood it spill
A for atonement in its wake
D for the debt you make
Wielded by the last to hold
Bonded till someone else so bold
Klad thrust to the sky
Challenging him next to ally

No choice but to defend
Shield is what he send
In thickest fog of night
Kit was losing view of the fight
Yet near his trap he must stay
If he is to last till the day
“Meduser” he then spoke
Shield’s protection to evoke
Armor to the ground then fell
Sword then Kit tried charm and sell
His shield swelled in confiance
Rebuking pitch in defiance
Sword left temple ground
Back to creator’s mound

The fog started to dissipate
At some time around midnight
The quiet rest between trials
Let Kit’s mind wander miles
Thoughts temples past
Again filled with hopes this last
Caster could problem solve
If willing to let powers convolve
In one last try to flight
Scourge of northern plight

It was in quite reverie
That a choir hit sensory
Banshee terrors from temple’s Apse
Shriek’s his resolve it saps
Till once more Kit’s focus gained
Through mental powers strained
Grabbing out his enchanted helm
Their song he sought to whelm
He notched an arrow next
Looking at banshees vexed
He shot high into the air
Bursting light assailants scare

Banshees three did retreat
As night crept back from farms feet
Once Back to Apse safe keep
The fog at last had gone sleep
Kit took off cumbersome hat
And watched distant skulking cat
Thinking again lecture he would give
To magic user if he live

From temple step did figure descend
Toward Kit it did now wend
Speaking words in lang ancient
Kit strained to understand patient
As shadowed man came near
He felt a tinge of fear
Was this really an demon old
And kit fool and bold
As hood rolled back from gray hair
Magic user gave stop and stare
She changed to modern dialect
Asking Kit was she who he expect
No came his calm reply
For he had expected less spry
But confident in offer made
He waited for his leave be bayed

Out reached bottle in hand
Drink she said in voice bland
Exhausted Kit reached for the drink
Then in back of my he did think
Hesitation filled his soul
Was this the fourth trial’s toll
But if sorcerer he did offend
Upon who then could he defend
Wisdom did prevail
As his grip then did fail
Bottle then did sail
Shattered upon temple shale
Glistening in her eye
Kit did now espy
For not this was only sprite
Who taunted with delight
Floated off in dismay
Kit had not fallen for display

Light now crept from horizon in
Fog gone with rooster din
Then silence in air hung
And trap lay sprawled unsprung
No caster of temple curse
Kit without further trick in purse
Morning maiden up path came
To open gate and songs proclaim
Smiled at him as she passed
His eyes in respect he uncast
Then thought stuck with a jolt
After her Kit did bolt
Begging a moment of her day
Was last night all her display

Chapter 26

It was sometime later when Oren brought up his plan. “Martell, I don’t think what I do is an enchantment. I just need to focus to get outside the door. Will you be ok while I go and find a light source so I can get you out of here?”
“Sure, not like there is anything else in here.”
“Okay, I will let you know when I am outside the door.” Oren’s attempt to move beyond the door worked perfectly. However, his staff stayed behind, he assumed that must have been blocked because of its enchantments.
“I will be back for you Martell.” Oren spoke as he fumbled around the room. He wasn’t even sure where in Erridda they had been locked in. It may be where they found Lady Nattan or a completely new place.
His hands ran along the wall ahead of him grasping in hopes of preventing a run in with the walls. He found a door, but passed on going inside. He was trying to make a map in his head as he made his way, so the fewer rooms the better.
This process went on for several hours with him slowly working out that they were in no place they had seen on the way down. He found a stairwell and went up to the next level. It was still dark, but shortly after the stairs found the remains of a door and its hinges hanging to the wall. Was this the door where Lady Nattan had busted through?
He worked his way around the perimeter of the room slowly. There was definitely rubble strewn across the floor. He felt around on the floor and after what seemed like an eternity found one of the torches that they had had with them. That was a step in the right direction; now he needed something to light it with. If only he had asked Tabia to leave them the flint and steel.
With that, he now proceeded to search the walls for a small cabinet like Tabia had retrieved her set from. There was none in the current room. He preceded up the stairs another level to the first level of the basement. He turned down the hall to where they had not previously been. It was here he found a cabinet on the wall. Inside were flint and steel along with some other materials, possibly what Oren would need for another torch, if they had not gone bad.
Oren lit the torch and waited a bit for his eyes to adjust to the change in light. As he adjusted to the light he could see the decoration in the room. The room was laid out like the other with two altars. This one had a one side with flames and various shades of red across it. From the remnants of the statue on this side, the clothing the figure wore a tabard with two flames rising above a castle. The other side of the room was decorated in lightning running down from the ceiling to an anvil on the wall. Under the anvil were fields of gray, maybe dust or ash. There was another statue destroyed on this side as well. The figure on this side had wielded a hammer similar to one used by a blacksmith. There was nothing else he could determine about the figures here.
Oren went over and checked the other materials that were in the cabinet. They all still seemed functional so he brought them with. It was time to go back and get Martell. He hastened his way back down to her.
When he got down to the door, he called out, “Martell, I am back. Are you alright in there?”
There was a pause before he saw her face at the door. “Yes, now get me out.”
Oren looked at the door. This was going to take some time; Oren did not feel the need to ponder where Nattan and her men had gotten the locks to reseal the door. “Martell, you know anything about picking locks?”
“No, situation has never come up for me to break out of a place. I have always been more concerned about my wellbeing in combat, not so much concerned about being locked up.”
“Have any lock picks or small pieces of metal I can tinker around the lock with?” Oren asked.
“No, can’t help you there either.” The humor in Martell’s voice was fading.
Looking around the room Oren saw a place to at least hang his torch. He put it in its fixture and started to look around the room. He put together another torch with the materials he had found upstairs and lit it. He then went to go check out the other room on this floor. Inside he found it with book lined walls. If he was not trying to rescue Martell, he could have been lost for hours in here. He quickly perused the titles. They covered history of the Drémore kingdom along with some prayer books to each of the gods. There was also candleholder on a table and a box of candles. There was nothing to light them with.
This may have been the library Katsutaka and his assistant had been referring to. He relayed his finding to Martell and expressed that they may need to peruse this collection before they departed. She agreed with his assessment. It was around this time Martell confessed she was getting hungry. Oren would have to go out and find some food for both of them.
Oren exited into the courtyard; the place was strewn with rubble from destroyed statues. There were still a few statues that remained standing, presumably the ones that did not animate themselves. The doors out of the stronghold were open again. Oren climbed up to the second floor to look out and get a feel of who was left around outside the gate. When he looked out the windows he saw that all of Lady Nattan’s men had taken off. He made a quick stop back at the armory to grab a sword in case anyone was still out there.
Oren left the stronghold in order to go get their horse and what supplies they had left. They still had some food in the packs. Also, they did have a couple tools, maybe something to open the doors with. He found their horse and belongings where they left them. After returning to the stronghold, horse in tow, He proceeded to look through what was left behind by the departed knights. He found a bit more food, along with a couple tents, three more torches, and Martell’s other two swords.
Once he had collected everything necessary, Oren closed the gates to the stronghold and started a small fire inside the walls. He wanted to have it going before night came. At this point he was not worried about Nattan’s return. As soon as he had the flames going there was a knock at the gate. Oren headed over to see who was knocking with a sword at the ready.
“Oren you in there?” a familiar voice asked.
“Yes, and you are?”
“It is me, Teman. I wanted to see if you were ok. There was a large group of men that headed down the road away from here. They did not all look in the best of shape. I was coming to see if I could benefit from your excursion here while Devlin took care at Abbysta.”
Oren cautiously opened the gate. He saw the same short, black haired man he had left at Abbysta. He had two dead rabbits slung over his shoulder. “Get in quick, I was about to barricade the gate for the night.”
Teman slipped in and Oren shut the door, slipping a cross in order to seal the gate. “Where is Martell? Is she busy with preparing dinner?”
“No, but I am glad you are here we need help getting her out of a room.”
“Oh? Did you trigger a trap?”
“It was our reward for roughing up the party that left here. Well, really, it is more complex than that. I will explain on the way to where she is.”
They arrived in the room outside where Martell was locked up. Teman took a look at the door and let out a whistle. “You, friends, got yourself a big dilemma if you had not run across me. Those locks are not going to bend to any enchantment. Sure, any one of those chains on their own and you could use one means or another to break. No, this is going to take mechanical know how.” Teman was running his hands down the chains, as if sensing from them the wards on them. He picked up one of the locks and examined it. “Quality locks too. Looks like height of the Drémores’ time. Still better than many made today. This will take some time.”
“You sound so encouraging,” Martell quipped.
“Well let’s get started. Oren if you can handle getting us all some food, that will help all of us. Feel free to use one of the critters I brought to bulk up whatever it is you make.” With that, Teman unfurled his collection of lock picks and started to probe the lock and figure out how to open it.
It was after preparing them all dinner and while Teman had a ways to go on freeing Martell that Oren sat in the small room. On a wooden stool he sat, with candle light coating the table, while he opened the books on the history of Drémore. It was nice of the person who shelved them to have left them in order. Oren would have preferred to read from the start, as history works best in context of what came before it, even if biased by the author. He did not have a luxury to do so at this time. He went to the last couple of tomes till he could find something on Iseb. His goal was to determine if Lady Nattan was crazy or actually telling the truth about the fall of the Drémore Kingdom and if someone had written of her incarceration.