When Marendon awoke the next morning, he broke his fast with a meal of fresh honey cakes and spiced sausages washed down with tart juices. He rose and performed his toilette and made ready for his journey.
His rooms were modestly furnished with accutrements from Prince Kandive's palace that were no longer suitable for formal use. The erb pelt in the library had been acquired by him while fulfilling one of Kandive's directives and was the most valuable furshing that he truly owned. A modest shelf contained all of his books, most of them copies of librams and tomes found in Kandive's collection.
He pulled out a pair of grimoires and placed them on the stand before him. They would go into his haversack, along with a change of clothes, modest camping materials, and a small amount of food, when he began his journey. During past ages there had been over a thousand spells known to man, a hundred attributed to the Great Phandaal himself. Now, in these fallen times, only a hundred remained within the common lore of men. Of the One Hundred, Marendon possessed barely more than two dozen.
With great effort he encompassed the spells. To be able to encompass just one of these corrosive magics would require an ordinary man to spend many years in training and practice. By force of will and mastery of principles, Marendon was able to force The Excellent Prismatic Spray, Phandaal's Gyrator, The Charm of Brachial Fortitude, The Charm of Untiring Legs, and Felojun's Second Hypnotic Spell into his brain.
The magician then wrapped with grimoires in oilskin and inserted them into his pack. To them he added a change of clothes and some food that he had brought up from the kitchens. Lastly, he opened a locked drawer in his desk and drew forth the contents. It was a small mechanical owl, cunningly fashioned from bronze with great eyes of silver and brass.
He was garbed less splendidly than he had been the previous evening, with comfortable trousers tucked into sturdy boots, a plain shirt topped with black vest, and a broad brimmed hat and a warm cloak to complete his ensemble. Finishing his enemble was his sword belt and a purse full of terces. He tilted his hat at a jaunty angle and departed from the palace. He was unmolested as he travelled through the crumbling city of Kaiin, which was decodent, but not yet lawless. He passed through its walls and headed east, towards the Land of the Falling Wall.
Ascolais had once been rich and widely populated farmland, but over the generations the forest had encroached upon it and the region was now mostly abandoned. Still, the countryside was not devoid of habitation. Marendon uttered the Charm of Untiring Legs and set off on his journey, his limbs full of artificial vigor.
He made good time, running without tiring for several hours, and travelled through the Scaum River Valley, with it broad meadows of purple horse flowers and took refuge in an ancient manse run by a charming family of vintners. He entertained them through the night with a series of cantrips that shaped the fire into effegies of famous figures from the 20th Aeon and partook of an excellent repast complete with a bottle from their vineyards. In the morning he bade them farewell and continued on his journey.
He followed an ancient road of cracked and weathered flag stones through the countryside. He crossed meadows and glades as the day wore on, travelling under a dark blue sky, the feeble red sun shinning dully overhead. The great, gloomy trees of the forest cast long shadows as he passed fallen ruins, weathered and encrushed with moss and lichen.
A little past mid-day he arrived at a rustic village and purchased a meal of thick crusted bread, thin stew, and middling quality ale from a farmstead at a cost of a few terces. They informed him of a community farther up the road, Mannich by name, that would have facilities where could pass the night in comfort and safety. They cautioned him also against deodands and erbs, which were not unknown in the region. He thanked the rustics and continued on his way.
The road wound through the trees, with great shaft of crimson light slanting down from the sky. Marendon moved swiftly, but was attentive to his surroundings lest a deodand take him unaware or a gid pounce upon him with one of their famed twenty foot leaps. So it was that he spotted the group of four men ahead of him, but did not immediately think of them as a threat.
"Hail," he cried out, "can you gentlemen tell me how much further it is to Mannich?"
"Indeed," replied the leader, who possessed a handsomely embroidered vest and a gold broach set with several glinting rubies. "We are well aquanted with the town." The man and his friends approached. Their dress was simple, for the most part, but of good make. They wore swords on their belts and the sinister looking, blonde bearded man in the back was armed with a jezail as well.
"How many more miles?" asked Marendon.
"More than you will be travelling," replied the man as the blonde pointed his jezail at Marendon's chest. "Surrender your sword and your purse and well will allow you to retain your life."
Marendon considered his options, but he doubted he could utter the syllables of a spell faster than the bandit could pull the jezail's trigger. "I am undone," he admitted. He tossed his scabbarded sword at the leader's feet and fumbled with the strings attaching his purse to his belt.
The leader stepped forward, impatient to collect his prize. Marendon quickly sidestepped, interposing the leader's bulk between him and the firearm as he uttered the syllables of Felojun's Second Hypnotic Spell.
The bandits fell limp as the spell robbed their muscles of all power. Marendon retrieved his sword and purse, and then relieved them of theirs. He shattered the stock of the jezail against a tree and broke the blades and their swords, scattering the pieces in different directions. Rumoging through the bandits possessons, he found a stout length of rope and dragged them to a tree, where he bound them securely. The spell was just wearing off when he relieved the leader of his handsome broach and attached it to his hat.
"Now then," said Marendon, "your villany is overthrown. I am not without mercy and have not slain you while you lay helpless. I have deprived you of the tools with which you prey on honest travellers and will leave you to the fate that you intended for me. If you can free yourselves and get to shelter before some anthropophagous half-man finds you, your lives are yours. If not, then the Earth is not poorer for your absence." With that, he departed up the road for Mannich.
The village was not too much further down the road and he reached it before the sun touched the horizon. Weathered buildings of ancient stone were mixed stout dwellings of wooden planks that were of more recent construction. The people were pleasant featured and wary of him. A stout man did reluctantly direct him to an establishment where he could take refuge for the night.
The Inn of the Wandering Tree was a pleasant enough place, a three story wooden tavern and traveller's rest crouching under the limbs of a titanic oak. The proprietor was short and slim man, touched with the air of a weasel. "Greetings traveller," he said, eyes flicking to Marendon's hat. "How can my humble establishment serve you."
"A room for the night is a start," said Marendon. "What do you have to eat?"
"Roast fowl, spiced potatos, and braised green beans in a honey and mustard source."
"Excellent," replied Marendon. "A mug of beer as well."
"Of course traveller." The weasel faced man hesitated. "May I ask your name?"
"Marendon. Marendon the Magician."
"I shall endeavour to remember it," replied the proprietor. Marendon retired to a table and cracked open a grimoire while waiting for his meal to arrive. The local beer was slightly nutty in flavor and possessed repsectable force. He finished his mug, ordered another, and began the process of encompassing his spells.
He had succeeded in encompassing the pervulsions of the Charm of Untiring Legs when a stoutly built man with a ferocious looking beard approached his table. "Where did you acquire that?" he barked, indicating Marendon's hat ornament."
"I took it from bandits who atempted to rob me on the road."
"Really?" the man said. "It is the brooch of Irik Taveleque, son of the hedman of this town. He was overdue at his father's house and now has just return, claiming to have been robbed."
"That explains the glimses the townsfolk gave me. Be assured that I did not see any more of their victims and dealt with them harshly."
"That is pleasing to hear," said the stout man. "I will inform the Taveleques of your recovery of their property." Marendon was not pleased of the phrasing of that lest sentence, but let it pass without comment. His terces had purchased a meal that was now arriving. He put away his book and focused on his meal.
The attacked the fowl with vigor and found it very good indeed. More beer helped was down his meel and he was mostly done when an angry party entered the inn. The stout man was in the company of an older fellow of distinguished bearing and four very familiar youths.
The leader of the youths pointed straight at him. "There! That is the magician who set upon us with foul sorcery, robbed us, and left us for the deodands!"
"Liars!" roared back Marendon. "You are brigands who would hide behind the semblance of honest men."
The elder man spoke. "The lies of a stranger are as nothing to words of a respectable man of Mannich."
"The first man to step forward I will blast with magic," warned Marendon. His eyes darted for a route of escape. He grabbed his pack and sprang for a nearby window, the angry shouts of the villagers in pursuit as he rolled with less than perfect grace into the street.
A hue and cry went up. Marendon uttered the pervulsions of the Charm of Untiring Legs and sprinted with the outskirts of town. The villagers followed in pursuit, but were unable to maintain the pace. Marendon ran well into the evening, not daring to slow until the sun was almost beneath the horizon.
The Excellent Prismatic Spray. For when you absolutely, positively must kill a motherfucker. Accept no substitutions. Contact a magician of the later Aeons for details. Some conditions may apply.Librium Arcana
Last edited by Imperial Overlord on 2006-08-16 04:08am, edited 2 times in total.