Paths, pt 4
Friday, May 30, 2008 - 3:33 PM
“You have no power left,” said Sargon, matter-of-factly, and leaned forward to rest his elbows on his powerful knees. “You fought us. But you work magic, and so we are offering you this chance to join us, and become free.”
The magician gave him a mirthless grin. “You are all utterly insane,” the magician said with great certainty.
Sargon dropped his brows a notch and sighed. He was a Lightbringer, and this was something he hated about his duties. Chained to their by-rote incantations and their books, the outlander magicians were always too attached to the tyranny of their arcane science, and never wanted to give it up.
“Be reasonable, as we are,” Sargon offered, but the magician was ignoring him now. Sargon continued anyway, keeping his low voice reasonable and mild. “We respect that you know magic, and can use it. But you must see that these limitations you put on yourself are not only controlling your magic, they are constricting who you are. You are caging yourself.”
“And this is your answer? You send ... that... to attack me in my sleep!”
The magician jerked his head towards Trammel's slender, wiry form. The addict was absently rubbing the magician's formerly enchanted ring against his pale cheek, keeping half a heavy-lidded eye on the prisoner.
“That's just strategy. He could have killed you, but he didn't, did he? He just stole your power so we could more easily talk to you.”
“Very diplomatic of you,” spat the magician in reply. “What did you do to him to make him that way?”
Sargon paused. This was not a question he'd been asked before, but he expected there would be many more, in time. “He was born that way. There are many like him, and they serve the Bethorans just as all Bethorans do.”
“Born? You see, that's what your skybending gets you! You ruin the land around you, and then your own children!”
Sargon frowned a bit. “There's no need to be insulting. There's nothing wrong with Trammel. I've trusted him as a comrade in arms since we were both young men.”
The magicians only reply was a sardonic chuckle, and a shake of the head.
Sargon folded his burly arms and cocked an eyebrow. He did not want to kill the man, but they couldn't very well let him go as he was. Their Skyhammer, Nariste, was working a great divination, and he could not ask her for guidance.
He glanced over at their Heretic, Avara, who was some distance away sorting the piles of loot they'd gathered from the small border fort. Ever attentive, she looked up abruptly, like a wolf scenting prey, and he signaled her closer.
Like Sargon, Avara was a warrior. Both had the swarthy complexions, dark hair and golden eyes typical of the Bethoran pure-blooded, but her long-limbed body was far taller than his, all sinew and muscle. Avara was the same without as she was within, stripped of all but purpose.
“What do we do,” he asked her in Flametongue. “He will not see reason, and I dare not disturb Nariste.”
She turned her thin lips into a frown, and replied in kind. “We have time yet. He may come to understand what we bring to his people. It will be two days yet until we move further north.”
He nodded, and was about to reply when the magician spoke up.
“Trying to decide what to do with me? I warn you, savages, I am a member of the Greenstone Tower! If I am killed, my brethren will seek you out and destroy you, and by the God of Ceria- “
“THERE IS NO GOD BUT MAN!!” howled Avara, and smashed the magician in the face with her gauntleted fist.
Sargon was not fast enough to stop what happened, though he'd tried as soon as the magician invoked a deity. He stood up and gave Avara a bland look.
“...Avara, this is not going to help,” he growled.
“I claim Heretic's right,” said Avara immediately. “He blasphemed against Humanity.”
“But he was a magician, he could have joined us.”
“He WAS a magician. But he swore by a false god. And that makes him a slave.”
A reedy sigh interrupted them, followed by Trammel's soft, mellifluous voice. “And you have made him dead. Problem resolved.”