“The seal on him is broken, his power is mine to use.”
The serene ocean remained silent, undisturbed by the dormant vessel upon its waters going nowhere. Meni sat alone with Tawarln inside the ship’s bowels. The two were silent, each of them anticipating the conversation they were about to have. They shared glances, looking across the table that separated them. The differences between them were reflected in personal appearance. Tawarln looked the part of a soldier more than the lord he was. Scars covered his face from the many battles he participated in over the years. His grizzled beard was the same color as his dark hair. He still wore the leathers from the battle he had recently fought in. While once pristine, they were now torn and stained with blood. He kept his sword with him, a blade so large it likely weighed more than the woman sitting across from him.
Meni was the complete opposite of him, where he was a hulking berserker she was a petite woman of grace. She wore blue silk clothing that crossed her chest from her shoulders. The clothing attached to her long graceful skirt. It was a one piece outfit unique to the city of Aqnis. While Tawarln’s skin was pale white, Meni’s skin was tanner and her eyes more slanted. Her skin was flawless, and reflected the light creating a golden glow. The dark straight hair that flowed down her back completed the look. She was a true vision of beauty in Tawarln’s eyes.
They were both reflecting on the beginning of the war. The Night Land, a terrifying place covered in eternal night had attacked Tawarln’s Territory. Despite Tawarln ordering his armies to battle the forces that attacked from the night he was unable to hold them back. He felt he had failed as a lord, and now most of his people were either dead or worse. Any who entered the night would never return. He knew now it was because the night would take over their mind. That’s what happened to Tawarln’s most powerful ally. Wonik, the guardian of wind, was now under the night’s control and was capable of annihilating his armies with a single spell.
Meni was the guardian of water, and was under orders from Aqnis herself to assist Tawarln in evacuating his people to Aqnis’s territory. It wasn’t an entirely selfless act on Meni’s part. She had to see Wonik for herself. Meni was closer to Wonik than any other when she was younger. And while the two had gone their separate ways sixteen years ago, Meni still considered Wonik her best friend. Seeing Wonik, drenched in her own blood as she cast her most powerful magic upon the field of battle with no regard for her own safety stung Meni’s heart and soul.
Still, the battle was not the reason the two looked at each other in silence. They had escaped. There was a new threat from the night that still haunted them. Lina, a priestess of Lumin and the only person with them that had the power to counteract the night’s power, had been attacked by one of Tawarln’s soldiers. The soldier was under control of the night and had managed to trick his way aboard the ship.
“We will not be arriving in Aqnis until the matter of the attempted assassination is taken care of.” Meni broke the stale silence. “I will not risk bringing a potential threat into the city of Aqnis. Aqnis herself may be endangered if we do.”
“I understand your concerns. What I don’t understand is how you plan on finding out who is still under the night’s control,” Tawarln replied sternly. He foresaw her response before she said it.
“Magic,” she answered as if it were so obvious a child would know “Water magic can be used to detect lies. This problem can be solved with a simple spell and a lot of work.”
“You said water magic wasn’t working. That is why you were unable to assist us in taking back our land.” Tawarln was getting frustrated with Meni. Part of him believed that her claims of broken magic were nothing but a lie to avoid Aqnis getting involved in the battle. It was a coward’s way out.
“For the last time, the only magic we are not capable of is creation magic. This is enchantment. We amplify our own mind, body, or soul with the element in question. Creation magic, involves summoning magic from the layer of water. We are still capable of all other magic, including the manipulation of water that is already in the center layer.” Meni cast a dark glare to Tawarln. He still didn’t trust her. She did not appreciate being suspected as a liar. The lack of ability to create water left water mages completely defenseless when they were inland. In the ocean they were still capable of terrifying destruction. A single water mage could destroy entire ships. It was this defense that kept Aqnis impenetrable, as the only way to reach Aqnis by land was through the forest, and the elves would stop any human that dare enter the forest.
“Nevertheless, I wish to be here for your interrogations. I don’t want my people mistreated.” Tawarln decided to shift the subject away from magic.
“Interrogation is a harsh word. I will merely ask them a few questions to assure they are not the enemy. I understand if you want to be here, much like you understand my desire to do this in the first place.”
“Then it is settled, I will begin to spread the word to my people.” Tawarln was about to head out the door, but Meni halted him.
“Do not spread the word. We will bring people back here one by one. If people catch on too quickly it may allow potential threats to prepare,” she ordered. Tawarln groaned.
“I’ll get your first victim instead then.” Tawarln rushed out the room with that one last comment, eager to get away from her. It was hard to keep his temper in check when talking with her. Her superior attitude frustrated Tawarln to no end.
Meni’s screening process took several hours. She talked to all of the refugees from the Tawarln territory, one by one. Her enchantment was invisible to the naked eye. Tawarln did not understand how water magic could detect lies. In the end, it was a waste of time, as nobody on the ship was under control of the night, as guaranteed by the guardian of water herself.