Spire: Chapter 101

(Click for links to previous chapters.)

Sister Mays ends things by deciding her patients have done enough for one day. I suspect she really means Rage has done enough, the rest of them seem to be well on the road to recovery.

None of the audience moves or speaks until the five of them are helped out, just in case one of them should say something interesting, but once they are gone everyone tries to talk at once, or at least it seems so. Father ignores questions and comments alike. Instead he gathers his family with his eyes and we meekly follow him and mother to his bookless library. On the way, it amuses me to see Lej and Emrinalda scurrying back to Mynar’s library, the only two people in Misthold who are uninterested in Rage’s story.

Father has planned this, the fire is lit, small tables hold wine and food, and a chair for mother is placed for warmth, surrounded by the ever present screens to ward off drafts.

“Is Rage dangerous?” Father is looking at Alan for an assessment.

“Of course.”

Father looks depressed, but mother just pats his hand.

“And I am dangerous,” Alan continues, “And Adava is more dangerous than either of us.”

“More dangerous than both of them together,” my Sword whispers.

I manage to keep from smirking. I whisper back, “I’m not, but we are.”

“The real question should be is Rage dangerous to us. And I don’t know the answer to that.”

“He killed the swamp-wizard, so he must be welcome unless he does something to violate our hospitality.” Mother has clearly formed her opinion.

“I said he was welcome, Mislei.” This time father pats mother’s hand. Suddenly he looks a little happier, or maybe just a little less unhappy, “I suppose he can scry.”

“If not, I can teach him,” Alan answers. “Anyone who has the power to summon a demon can definite learn to scry.”

Really wish Alan hadn’t mentioned demon.

“The priests and I are going to talk to him tomorrow about his grimoire, I might have more insight about him afterward. But from what I have heard of Rage, he is very powerful, but only uses his power to get what he wants.”

“And that is good?” Jes sounds as confused and I am.

“As opposed to those who use their power for harm because they enjoy causing harm, yes, that is good. It implies he can restrain himself if we to show him his best interests lie with us.”

“And if we can’t, then we will kill a third Sorcerer,” my Sword whispers.

“He helped us.” Father looks at me, winces, and pretends he didn’t notice me talking to my Sword.  On yeah…  “I told Alan and Jes that my Sword talks to me,” I say out loud.

“He helped himself, and his family.” My Sword wants to argue.

And his family,” I repeat. This time, I’m the one to quit talking; got another problem to handle, and can’t carry on two arguments at once.

Father is about to lecture me, but mother speaks first, “Of course you told them, they are family.”

Father gives up and moves on. “We have three things that need to be attended to: Adl and her sons, Rage and his family, and Canor and Flower.” We all nod in agreement.

“Adl’s family is easy. None of them have magic, so we can just have Daver arrange a larger house and jobs for the men. Or if they don’t want to stay here, we can give them money and safe passage to where-ever they want to go.”

“Rage is the problem.”

“I disagree you majesty.” Alan is being formal, which both surprises and worries me. “Flower is a more imminent problem. She knows the swamp-wizards secrets, or at least some of them, and for all of Canor’s careful story-telling, others most likely know how The Wassak used her. There will be people who want those secrets, and they will likely come after her.”

“How many will we have to kill before they give up?” Jes sounds as if he is ready to start counting.

“How many Sorcerers have to be killed by demons before Sorcerers stop summoning them?” Alan doesn’t sound discouraged, he just sounds as if the solution isn’t to kill the pursuers. Which is sad, because that would be the easy solution.

Jes sighs deeply, “Then let me talk to the Shaman; they may provide them sanctuary. The tribes are in constant motion, so they would be hard to find, even if they were known to be with the tribes. And I can hide their path.”

“There are several things I can do too,” Alan adds. “And I’m sure Rage will add what he can, since Canor helped save him. Whether or not he feels gratitude, he will want us to believe he does as long as he needs a safe place to stay himself.”

So we have a plan, Daver will see to Adl’s family, Jes will dream-talk, and Alan will try to get more of a feeling about Rage.  As I make a mental note to be at their discussion, I look at Mynar starting into space, ignoring everything except what is going on in his own mind, which probably has everything to do with translations and nothing at all to do with Flower or Rage.


I’m seriously beginning to suspect Daver is some new type of magical being. He has Adl’s family sorted and arranged by breakfast the next morning. Alan and I are lingering over our meal, arguing about whether or not I am going to attend Alan’s meeting with Rage, when Daver leads in a group and settles everyone at our mostly empty table.  Adl’s sons and Dryn I can understand, but Hunk?

“We need your approval, Lord Mage.”

Alan looks at me, but I am only able to give him a shrug in reply. I don’t have a clue. “For what? Sir Steward.” I guess if Daver is going to be formal, Alan will be too.

“Captain Hunk has been consulting with me about the future.”

Well, that is interesting. Maybe Hunk is smarter than I had believed, picking Daver as the source of solutions to problems—which, of course, he is.  And I need to ask Alan if he has given Hunk a promotion to Captain, or if he has given it to himself.

“The men in the village are willing, eager, to prosper,” Daver continues, “But they have no experience with planting and harvesting crops. They need someone knowledgeable to help them. They could also use mundane blacksmith items, horseshoes, door hinges, nails. You have empty houses in your village, and a forge that you don’t use all of the time.  Dryn is willing to continue Sloan’s training, and to sponsor his guild membership, if you accept him in your village. And,” Daver says this as if it is an added bonus, “Having Widow Adl in the village, will accomplish two things, it will make it easier for your men to court—since there is already a respectable Widow in residence—and Rage can move into the house where Adl and Mychl are currently living.” Daver smiles, waiting for Alan’s approval, because how could Alan turn down such a tidy solution to multiple problems. More problems than he has listed, Dryn both wins favor by sponsoring Sloan and eliminates him as a competitor in Misthold. And Adl’s family will be among others who shared, at least in some part, their past terrors, so they won’t be looked askance at.

Alan looks at me clearly thinking ‘what have you gotten me into’, but when he gets nothing from me but a grin, he turns back to Daver. “It sounds like an excellent solution,” he finally answers. “I’m sure we can depend on you to take care of the details.” He drops his voice lower, so only Daver is likely to hear, “Adl and her sons were able to bring virtually nothing with them, so I will provide you with money to get them at least the necessities.”

By this time, the staff has served everyone with breakfast, so Alan and I stay nibbling at a second breakfast and listening to plans.