The Miracle Stone story
Posted 01 November 2006 - 10:36 PM
He is the one to end ten year conflict with our bitter rivals. It is his wise council which restored fertile lands after the war. He is the one to build schools, hospitals and libraries. He is the one who expanded our economy and made treaties with former enemy cities. He is the one, after nine years reign, who fell in unbelievable hunting accident and have his life ended at the age of thirty. How many more years of prosperity he could have given to our land?
The muffled footsteps along the stone tiles rustling like serpent crawling through the grass approach me. I do not turn having recognised them. The owner not rebuked by my manner joins me by the window. His thin lips never far from forming into sneer are forced into a sad grimace.
Posted 03 November 2006 - 02:04 AM
After some more time of cursing and pacing, the relief guard came. While the two were distracted discussing the single most important even of the week, Andru quickly spoke the words of the spell and dashed inside the inner courtyard. Lucky for him, someone managed to break the portcullis mechanism the night before, so now they could not be closed. Reaching the leftmost balcony he quickly incanted a strength boost and renewal spell, and started climbing at once. Besides the fact he had to squeeze in a break in the guard schedule, he was also afraid that maintaining two spells on himself would make one of them fade at the least opportune moment.
Once inside, the comfortable semi-darkness would mean that even with his imperfect invisibility spell, he would not be easily spotted visually. Unfortunately, the king who built the palace in the first place spent a fortune on marble flooring, so he could not move as fast as he wished. He tried learning a sound muffling spell, but that was part of the temporal school, and he had qualms about messing with the time. Not to mention, the last time he played with it, he ended up moving too slow for 2 days until the spell wore off.
Sticking to the shadows and keeping his blindness spell ready in his mind just in case, he proceeded cautiously, dodging guards along the way, and using secret passages to shorten his trip. Although the job was fairly complex, he nonetheless wondered on the relative ease with which he got thus far. It's true, his employer was very well informed, providing him with everything: detailed maps, secret passage positions, guard schedules for that particular day, going as far as indicating when breaks in the guard coverage would occur. That, combined with the fact that he was to leave the sigil hidden away in the castle chapel, spelled to Andru fairly clearly that it was an inside job. High profile inside job too, seeing how the breaks in guard patrols were too comfortably linked for them not to be related.
Reaching the sigil room, he pulled out of his pouch a scroll inscribed with the most powerful unlocking cantrip he could find at the mage's home. The mage was a funny old man, and seeing how he always forgot his keys, he always kept his house well stocked with magic locking and unlocking scrolls. That worked to Andru's advantage, keeping them for jobs when lockpicking was sure to fail.
*CLICK* The door swung aside with a loud groan, and Andru looked around scared, thinking his cover has been blown. His mysterious employer did his job though and no guards were withing earshot. Dashing in, he swiped the sigil off its pedestal, grateful that its magical defenses were all deactivated, courtesy yet again of his employer.
Curiosity got the best of him and he quickly glanced on the sigil before tossing it in his pouch. Perhaps not so surprisingly, he saw the sigil morph its symbol to the symbol of the lynx. Shrugging, he left the sigil room, careful to close the door behind him and lock it with the most powerful lock scroll he had in his pouch. Hearing footsteps in the distance, he grabbed his belongings and started making his way towards the chapel.
Posted 03 November 2006 - 08:46 PM
Even the guards are absent from their daily patrol routes. This is why I am surprised to see someone coming out of the adjacent corridor ahead of me. I blink not having noticed earlier the gathered tears in my eyes. I flick them away clearing the eyesight. The figure is gone. Uncertain whether it was a trick of the vision I quickly reach the end of the corridor and peek around the corner. He is there. I cannot explain what makes me suspicious. The man dressed in a neutral cloak proceeds down the hall non-charlatanry like he has every right to be here however drawn hood obscures his features and the soundless manner of him not walking but gliding along the floor fascinates me. Unconsciously I adopt the same stealthy manner.
It seems his destination is the same as my own. My curiosity is peeked when I recall that the corridor he appears from leads to the castle treasury. I cannot follow the man as he enters the chapel. The space between the entrance and the altar is bare open and I will be too visible, thus I lurk by the door as a silent observer. A hand holding a black bag about a fist size appears from the folds of the cloak. I cannot see what this man does however a soft click which nevertheless sounds almost as loud as thunder in heavy silence tells me this man knows about a hidden compartment inside the altar where a holy book and who knows what else is usually kept. The man looks around swiftly startled by this sound and just as fast I step back into the corridor hiding behind the wall before he can see me. When I dare to peek into the chapel again he is gone. I am nearly ready to believe that the stress of my uncles passing causes me to see a ghost. But No. My uncle advised me to trust intuition and it is telling me this is not as simple as a ghost. I count up to one hundred and cautiously creep into the chapel. Even my breath seems too loud for this place. The gloomy corridor is bright in comparison to this room. The cold of the altar chills not just my hand but my heart. It takes me a minute to remember the opening secret. When the door snaps open I jump startled. The bag is inside. It is heavy for a small object. I roll the content into my hand and barely contain a gasp at the site of a golden seal. I recognise it. My uncle showed it to me and explained what it is when I was little. A picture of lynx, his very real almond shaped eyes looking directly at me, slowly fades away. I do not see what the picture changes to. The footsteps I had the misfortune to hear earlier today approach the chapel. I dart behind the altar having no moment to find a better hiding place. I feel like a thief in my own home.
Posted 04 November 2006 - 02:09 AM
Reaching the chapel, he went directly to the altar, then using the knowledge imparted to him by his mysterius employer, he opened the secret door. The sound that it made was almost unbearable and scared Andu witless. Cursing at the adress of shoddy craftsmanship, and promising himself he'd hit the Temporal school books as soon as he was out of the palace, he quickly placed the sigil in the now-visible secret drawer. Clicking it closed, he darted to the nearest shadow then incanted the most powerful invisibility spell he could muster without his head bursting open.
"Now let me wait." Andru thought. "Who would have the interest of halting the coronation ceremony?" Andru did not really care, but information was often more valuable in the right hands than platinum bars. "It can, after all, save a person's life, while most quantities of gold cannot". Andru's musings were cut short as a second person entered the room. An young black haired maiden entered the chapel her beautiful green eyes speaking of an unsufferable burden. "The late king's niece, probably here to pray." Andru shook his head and resumed waiting. He could only hope that the paryer would be short, and his mysterious employer would come soon, for otherwise his spell would fade and he would have the unprecedented opportunity to explain why he was lurking in the chapel.
His concerns were cut short as he saw that the young lady slowly clicked the hidden compartiment open. Obviously she wasn't ready for the loud sound either because she looked around cautiouly before retrieving the seal. Andru was puzzled. It would appear that the young lady was his employer, yet he couldn't piece toghether why she would risk exile or even death for treason. She had no logical reason to steal the sigil. Of course, next in line would be the last king's brother and there were some rumors about him, but nothing as serious to warrant stealing the royal sigil to halt the crowning ceremony.
His thoughts were cut short yet again when he heard the footsteps of yet another person echoing from the hallway. The young woman, startled as well, hid behind the altar. Suddenly, it occured to Andru that he might have been followed, and that the young lady was only a witness in this whole sharade. The real buyer would walk through that door, head to the altar, notice that the secret door was open, then proceed to look around, and notice the young lady in hiding. He would proceed to call the guards then begin a thorough searching of the chapel, at which point his hiding place, spell or no spell, would likely be compromised. Having no time to think for a better alternative, he used his last remaining magic power to improvise a targeted chameleon spell on the young girl. While not as potent as invisibility, it would work assuming his target would stand still while the buyer was in the room.
"Strange times require strange bedfellows." He thought. "If only she'd sit still" Andru thought seeing, or rather, sensing, that the space behind the altar began to warp because of the target's restlessness, a common reason for why chameleon spells often failed. "Hmm, three people. This chapel is getting way too crowded." He sarcastiaclly remarked as the late king's brother entered the room.
Posted 04 November 2006 - 10:36 AM
Posted 04 November 2006 - 11:35 AM
"Who... are you? Why... did you follow me? Why... have you done this?"
Posted 04 November 2006 - 12:16 PM
Posted 04 November 2006 - 01:17 PM
"Great, now two kingdoms want my head for treason. Should I die, they would probably start a whole brand new war just to decide who would get my head." Although that thought was somehow flattering, it was of little comfort, for Andru valued his head too much to let it go that easily.
Posted 04 November 2006 - 07:36 PM
Posted 04 November 2006 - 11:51 PM
Andru stood up. He tried to look as fearsome as he could, though his muscles were still weak, and he presently had no weapon. He always considering murdering for amateurs, so he never bothered with a dagger or sword. His arsenal was limited to his fists, a bunch of flash devices he always kept handy, and a few magic spells. Since he would never hit someone who just saved him a few minutes prior, and he was in no position to do magic, his threats were about as hollow as a log.
Posted 05 November 2006 - 09:48 AM
Posted 06 November 2006 - 12:51 AM
Shrugging, Andru sat down.
"What will you do with the sigil then? Your cousin probably knows nothing of your involvement, so now what? I must leave the kingdom now, for by morning, my picture will be handed to every bounty hunter on the street. Even I can't stay invisible for a lifetime."
Andru peered at her. "But I'm curious. What will you do with the sigil? Come, tell me."
Posted 06 November 2006 - 11:40 AM
Posted 06 November 2006 - 05:38 PM
Posted 07 November 2006 - 04:09 PM
"Pleasant company isn't he? No wonder you don't like to see him as the king, much less your husband." Andru remarked with a sarcastic sneer. "Now, to the business at hand. I can't go to your family cottage, at least not with you. Aside from the fact that's unbecoming for a lady of your upbringing to associate with a thief and one soon-to-be-accused of high treason, no less, we haven't even been proprely introduced. Secondly, I can't risk you being followed, and leading your cousin of yours right bach to me. And thirdly" Andru continued with a wide grin, "There's something that's nagging me about that sigil stone. I can't pinpoint exactly what though.."
He paused for a few seconds, then he asked: "Listen, do you have anyone who you trust beyond a doubt in the castle? A personal maid, a bodyguard assigned to you by your late king, anyone? There's a couple of things I'd like to retrieve from my residence. I can't leave the castle, not in my state anyway, and it's imperious that I get the items as soon as possible, before that house would be locked down tight by the royal guard. I need `Daras' treatise on magical items`, `Symbols` by Mengeru, the staff of Lightning, and all the Lock and Unlock scrolls that can be found about the house."
With a smile, he added. "Oh, in case you were wondering, I'm Andru, thief and practitioner of Illusion and Alteration magic, and soon ordered to be aprehended and beheaded by royal decree on grounds of high treason."
Posted 08 November 2006 - 12:33 PM
Posted 08 November 2006 - 11:00 PM
Posted 09 November 2006 - 10:43 AM
"No, that wouldn't work. As soon as i present the would be king with this prize, he'll chop my head off. He doesn't want any witnesses."
"I could leave it in his quarters..."
"No, that wouldn't work either. For the same reason."
"Hmm, I should have looked before I leaped"
"Yes you should have."
"OOOkay, this is weird. Having a conversation inside my head with myself."
"Yes it is, I agree."
Andru jumped from the chair. If it's one thing he hated was having his consciousness having an argument with itself. "Oh well, can't be helped" he thought while looking at the sigil. "I guess I'll wait for her to come back, then." he decided. Looking at the sigil, he saw a bird on it. He didn't know too much about birds, and according to him the bird depicted could have been a chicken. Or a hawk. Or a crow. Or a penguin. Nope, scratch that, definetly not a penguin. Still there was something that bothered him, even from the first time he saw it. He saw this symbol somewhere before, and he knew just where. Fortunately, he already asked Faelwen to send someone for the treatise on symbolism from his house. "If there were any answers, they would be in there." He thought, absent-mindedly grabbing the sigil and toying with it. The shape of the bird morphed yet again into the vaguely familiar shape of a lynx. Of course, to him it looked like any other cat.
Posted 09 November 2006 - 01:39 PM
Posted 10 November 2006 - 01:16 AM
"Well, what news. Has the news that the sigil has been stolen spread yet? I still have to think of a safe place to sleep tonight, and my safe house has likely been compromised. Pity." He said with a sad look on his face, before resuming eating.
Posted 10 November 2006 - 05:37 PM
Posted 11 November 2006 - 02:07 AM
Posted 11 November 2006 - 11:13 AM
Posted 11 November 2006 - 05:58 PM
Faelwen opens the door not too widely and stands at the entrance. She doesn't want Breth to discover the visitor because she guesses fairly well her guardian's reaction, which likely will destroy half of the room. "You brought the items. Thank you." She smiled. Although Breth cannot enter the room, blocking his view is farily useless. He is a tall man. Years past his prime as a warrior his strength is still considerable. "There is one more thing I must ask for." Faelwen Sighs reluctantly. "I need you to mount Woodraven." She refers to her stallion. "I am leaving the palace tomorrow morning, by myself." Faelwen recognises this time the argument cannot be avoided. Breth is not likely to let her go alone.