Raven’s Nest

Few places in the city of Asden existed where you can meet without being overheard, and the buildings around the fountain didn’t crowd in like they did in the rest of the city. The fountain was still surrounded by dark alleys, and overhead windows. In fact, you could be overheard, especially dressed in showy guild uniforms. You would think that that members of the Wizards’ Guilds, with as much influence as they had, would be less conspicuous.

One was a balding man with white hair ringing his bald patch. He seemed to be somewhere in his sixties and tall and slender in build and wore the simmering silver robes associated with a Wizard of the Argent Tower. On his shoulders rested the turquoise stole of the League of Morven.

The other man was much younger with a stockier build. His face was shaded by the hood of a black draped over an equally black armored body. He appeared a parody of the Black Mage Knight emblem emblazoned on his chestplate in silver as he stood tense, lacking only the sword to lean on.

The meeting of the two would draw anyone’s attention. Perhaps they had confidence in the solitude of their meeting place. Neither of them exuded that confidence, however. The League Wizard’s eyes continually darted to every shadow. He scanned everything around him except the man he was meeting. The Black Mage Knight stood still, moved not an inch, nor looked around, but he stood entirely too still, he appeared to be trying to force a calm upon himself.

“Are you sure we should be meeting out here away from the Tower, Captain?” the man in silver asked.

“Please don’t use my title when we meet like this. And yes, too many ears are prone to listening in the Tower. We are much less likely to be overheard out here,” said the Mage Knight.

In an alley directly across from the two wizards, a shadow smiled. They were naive if they thought fewer ears could hear them here. In fact out here far more listened, and many willingly sold any small tid bit that someone important might say within their hearing. To be fair, at this distance no normal man could hear what they had to say with the noisy burbling of the fountain, but this shadow was no normal man. He was employed for situations like this and few others had the ability do what he did. As he pressed his hand up against the nearby wall they sounded as clear as if standing next to them. Well, mostly. Always a sort of rumbling played in the background when he did his trick, but he learned to tune it out.

 

“You had something urgent to tell me?” Said the Mage Knight.

“Yes. I’m sure you’ve heard about the growing movements against the Tower recently?”

“What of it?”

“Well, it’s gotten even worse. In some of the cities on the borders of Breasail there have been attacks,”

“Attacks huh? Sounds like League business to me. What do you need from us?”

“We feel an alliance is in order, in case the attacks… start here,”

“You think there will be attacks on wizard here in Asden?! Right under the Silver Tower?! They’d have to be crazy,”

“The movement is larger here than anywhere else these days. Anything could happen. We simply want to know we have your support if anything goes wrong,”

“And why the secrecy, huh?”

“Well, your… help isn’t exactly known to be the most diplomatic,”

“Right, we’re a bunch of thugs? Our only purpose is to protect the Tower, that’s it! People need to stop spreading rumors about us around!”

“We don’t want you to do anything more than your stated purpose, Mage Knight,”

“I’m sure of that, League Wizard. You know, the other Guilds might see this as a power play,”

“Well, the other Guilds don’t need to know,”

“Now I see what you’re about. Do your guys have anything they’re willing to put on the table?”

“Well, we learned you were working on…”

“…hold on!” the Mage Knight held up a hand to the other wizard as he slowly scanned the area.

“What?”

“You can’t feel that?” he asked looking back at the silver robed mage who shook his head, “It’s subtle but there’s a trickle of magic coming from over in that alley.”

The shadow’s heart jumped in his throat as the Mage Knight bolted towards the alley where he stood and pulled a pistol out from his billowing black cloak. Two blasts of fire from the gun lit up the alley, and hit the spot which he stood only a moment ago, scorching the wall. He jumped back twice as two more bolts of flame were shot in his direction. He knew that he needed to leave now if he wanted to be paid, let alone live. The shadow dashed around the corner down the alleyway. He ran up a nearby wall and jumped off of it to grab the bottom of a ladder for a fire escape. The irony of the escape was not lost on him as he made a mad dash to the roof to get away.

On top of the roof he ran, dodging around red crystal powered air cooling units as he progressed across. A peek over his shoulder showed him that the Mage Knight followed still. Bolts of flame flew, hitting the cooling units just after he was safely behind them. As he neared the edge of the roof he picked up the pace. The next building was close enough that he might make it, if just barely.

He bound over the gap, sailing through the air over the alley below. As his feet landed on the rim of the next building his left foot slipped down, sending him scrambling to grab something, anything, to pull himself up. He was finally able to grip the edge itself tightly enough to get up on the edge and pull to the other side. He would be safe for now, but there would be no telling what would happen on his way back to his guild. To the Raven’s Nest he went.

Copyright 2016 C. A. Pence. All rights reserved.

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