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The Raven's Voice

By ThaboWells All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Departure for Gothal.

“Yah fii Ruvaak!” Birkir stood alongside his stallion, Ajaex outside the city gates of Vasteras, he fingered the ruby stoned, energy ring on his middle finger, as he waited for the appointed hour of his meeting. It was early morning and the city was already up about, beginning their daily routine. He stroked Ajaex’s snout as the city bells tolled six o’ clock in the morning, he mounted Ajaex and rode him through the wide streets up through the an arch and into the Citadel of the Divines, the Headquarters of the famous and renowned Order, the Vigilants of Arthler, the brothers and sisters of Mercy and Divine Justice.   Keeper Carcette, Elder Vigilant Tyraneous, Hrogar, and Faendal were sitting at one of the many wooden tables that dotted the courtyard of the citadel. He dismounted and hurried over to the four Vigilants who were deep in discussion.  

“We have to investigate the situation, Tyraneous!” Carcette put down firmly, the old man shook his head:

“The Grey Knights are a militant order, they can deal with it themselves.”  

“I disagree.” Faendal interjected, he added hastily, and looked to Birkir as he took his seat beside him.  

“We as the Vigilants should be leading that expedition, not cowering away from this.”  

“Our Order.” Tyraneous began laying down his vision of the Vigilant, “Is founded on the teachings of Manka Karem, we will, and should not go out with every other order out there, it’s preposterous!”  

“Elder Tyraneous, with all due respect, but the Vigilant have made no move at all, in a few decades this big, all we've done so far is clear a dungeon of Vampires. We are losing our prowess in the Supernatural fight.” Hrogar said carefully choosing his words, he was a reserved man, in his early forties, who chose his words with extreme care, he watched the old man’s reaction. It was mocking and contemptuous, and he really did believe that the Vigilant was a wild animal and he was the only sane human being amongst them, and that he should have been chosen the Keeper.  “Prowess is in battle, are a militant Order now?” Tyraneous hurled blatantly at Hrogar. 

 “No, we always were.” Keeper Carcette snapped she was beginning to get annoyed with the old fool. “Since the end of the Great Purge, the Vigilants have been holding the dark forces at bay. We have been holding back the Daemons and other creatures that prey on mankind at bay, we are all warriors, you, Birkir, Hrogar, Faendal, and I. And everyone inside these walls, and all those who wear the colours of Arthler.”   

 “Fine, you win.” 

Tyraneous submitted, he folded his arms across his chest and sat back on the stool, there was dark dangerous look in his eyes as he looked at Carcette with a seething ignorance, Keeper Carcette gave a sigh of relief, it was written on her face. In her early thirties, she had aspired to the role of Keeper long before Tyraneous had had a chance to even set his goals, she turned to Hrogar, Faendal, and Birkir.  

 “I was thinking of sending you three to investigate RiverWaith, the Grey Knights somehow,  dug into an old  Torec tomb, and they need help.”   

Help with what exactly?” Birkir asked, he had tried to adapt to Hrogar’s careful character; but, his tone was curious and adventurous, Carcette could see in his eyes how tired he was, Yet he had a burning desire to get out set on an adventure.  

 “They found an ancient burial crypt; they think it is the last known resting of Madanach, the early leader of the Great Mythic Dawn. And they say that some magical barrier is blocking the way to the inner chamber, and there seems to be a source of energy hidden there. But all I know is that none of them know enough about wards and shields of magic to disable the damn barrier, Hrogar will handle the barrier, Faendal I want you to collect whatever information you can about the crypt, and Birkir your job is to actually go inside the crypt and see what you can find. You’re the one who’s going to be doing all the daring needle stuff.”  

 Birkir nodded, he couldn’t help concealing his smile which caught the attention of Tyraneous who had been quietly listening the whole time, finally he spoke again. His remark was aimed at Birkir indirectly.   

“You expect this oaf to investigate a crypt? Please he can barely hold his own pride together, and keep his head out of the clouds at the same time! And he has been doing forbidden research, in the archives!”    “Shut up old man!” Birkir shouted, how did he know what Birkir was up to, had he been spying on him. Fool, Birkir thought.   

“Excuse me!” Tyraneous gasped, he acted as if he hadn't heard the direct yell from the young mage.  

 “You heard me!” Birkir hissed, getting irritated at the man’s incompetence. Pride and maledictions of anger, what was wrong with him?   “Listen to me boy, I have been with the Vigilant for twenty nine years, I've seen things that'll wet your trousers and have you crying back to you mamma… Or falling on your knees in unnerving fear, take your pick!”   “Oh yeah, well years mean nothing when you're out in field, actually doing a thing, risking your neck for the Vigilant. Sitting by the Keeper’s side is not experience. Its cowardice, plain through and true!” Birkir interrupted, Keeper Carcette slammed her hands on the wooden table, and rose to her feet, her voice was hoarse as she shouted, trying to remain sensible.   “Enough! The both of you, Elder Tyraneous you will be silenced, and in no way discuss or even talk about this mission. And Birkir, you will not disrespect Elder Tyraneous like that, now I have made up my mind. Let me make it very clear to you Birkir, if you mess up this mission. I’ll have you suspended until the next eclipse! And that is a promise.”   “What in the Abyss’! Are you serious?”    

“Yes, I am. Hrogar, he is in charge and he will report everything directly to me. Elder Tyraneous.” 

She said, turning to the furious man, with her cold steel grey eyes. The last phrase was aimed at the hysterical Vigilant, who just sat in his seat staring out into the courtyard ahead of them, watching a group of young new Vigilants training and practicing on a few practice dummies.   

“By your words Keeper.” Birkir mumbled, it was better to do as she said, and avoid another meaningless dispute. Faendal and Hrogar had cast wary glances at each other, then back at Birkir who caught their meaning, Hrogar sighed and resting his arms on the table, he turned to Keeper Carcette and said, carefully laying down his request.  

“Keeper with all due respect, and assurance, Faendal and I ask your permission to hold this quest for adjournment, we still have yet to resume our search, in looking for the Va’elenwood Vigilant border recruitment, there are still a few details to handle with these young recruits. But Faendal assures me, it could take a couple of weeks, at the most.”  

“Fine, I’ll give you a season,that’s all I can give you. Then it’s RiverWaith.” Carcette grumbled, she was irritated and exhausted. Birkir could hear it in her tone and see it in her eyes. She excused herself from the table and Elder Tyraneous followed, darkly. Birkir turned to Faendal and asked, he would have helped with the Va’elenwood Recruit, but he had other things to take care of while the two were away on Vigilant business.  

“Still busy with Va’elenwood, I see?”  

“Ah yes, Queen Eleawe’ wants her borders more secure, Hrogar and I just have to assign a few more young and talented mages to do the work, then our part is done, hopefully.” He added, doubtfully. 

“What am I supposed to do with six weeks?” Birkir mused, realizing the amount of time he had on his hands, with Hrogar and Faendal gone.Hrogar sighed and standing up he responded to Birkir’s lamenting tone, he placed a comforting hand on Birkir’s shoulder, he had taken Birkir in as a son, when no one else was willing to handle the young rebel. 

“Find something do, I’m pretty sure there a lot to do around for six weeks, that’s if you’re still alive after Tyraneous hasn’t got you. But rest assured, we’ll rendezvous at Springs when we’re done at Va’elenwood. Just before we go, I have to ask. How’s your mother, she still managing without you, is she?” 

“She’s well.” He replied, “A lot stronger, than the last time I visited her. She is still having nightmares, but they’re frequent. Otherwise she’s doing okay.” Birkir nodded to prove his point and then Faendal and Hrogar left to collect their things,

Birkir watched as Hrogar and Faendal left that same afternoon for Va’elenwood. Hrogar on his steel grey stallion and Faendal on his bay coloured mare. It was mid-afternoon, just after Birkir had had his hourly luncheon and rest, when his door was knocked on by one of the library scribes.  

“Yes.” He called, admitting the young fellow into his apartment room.  

“Here’s the, ah… book you were looking for, sir.” The scribe said handing Birkir a small leather-bound, with shaking hands, he placed it in Birkir’s hands, he held the book up and read its title. “Seers of the Torec Age”    Birkir nodded his thanks, and handed the scribe a few Darthings and thanked him, he closed his apartment and sat at his paper littered desk, and placed the book before him. He opened the musty cover to the contents page and began to read down the list of seers throughout the age. He ran his eyes down the page, noting some noteworthy Seers and Mediums and Witches, then he stopped as the name he was looking for appeared, in sharp thin strokes of an ink-quill.   

“Ah ha, page two hundred and eighteen; seer Sylvieve Ruvaak of Gothal.”

 He flipped through the pages hastily but carefully until he came to the page number two hundred and eighteen. He read aloud to himself the page title.   “Sylvieve Sorceress of Gothal, Second Wife of Ajaem.’‘Believed by many to be a member of the fabled and lost Ruvaak house the Raven House, Sylvieve has grown into mysterious woman, surrounding her and  surrounding her arts, Fortune reading, and Magic and Sorcery. She lived in the city of Helios Keep in her first years, and then moved to Gothal, after her so called husband had her excommunicated from the palace, for practicing witchcraft and studying Sorcery, at an Aercane level. She has told the fortune of many noblemen and women, in recent years she has offered training in many areas of magic. If she is still alive, that is something that could be investigated, she is rumoured to now live in Gothal, not too far from Vasteras, a great trade city. But what we know about her has been lost, and she still remains a mystery even today.”’   Birkir sighed, and sitting back in his oaken wood seat, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes, and closed the book it had given very little information concerning the seer herself, though it did tell him where he could find her, he looked down at the book cover one last time and the made up his mind. He was going to go to Gothal and find out what his future held.
  

The raven landed on the Gildergreen tree, that stood just outside his window. It watched with glowing pale orange eyes as he packed a knapsack with his things, the it shook its body ruffling its dark soot black feathers, it hopped onto the window sill and peered into the room, it looked down at the book laid out on his desk. It ruffled its feathers one last time, and then when Birkir had left his room, and closed the door behind him, the Raven opened its beak and gave a caw.

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