A Crimson Shore, Black Hollow: 2.3 A Challenge for Champions

Several years later, Governors Haryk and Andril found themselves on the pirate isle of Three Harbors. They each, in their unique ways, found the challenges of governorship demanding. Lord Haryk enjoyed a popular reputation thanks to his many years as a soldier. He was a commoner’s Lord, as the saying went, despite his noble heritage. Maybe it was because of the fact that he left all that aside, throwing his inheritance away like one does a chamber pot in the morning. Whatever it was, Andril, the sly mage, didn’t have it. He spent his days, and nearly all of his nights locked up in his tower, and there, the wealth of the world, knowledge in it’s purest form came to him volume by carefully scribed volume. He left the commands to his captains and intermediaries, and relied on the wealth that poured into his port: gold, silver, and precious gems, not to mention magical wares the likes of which he had never dreamed he’d find.

When opportunity arose, or when the lure of magic was too much for either of them, off they’d go on another adventure. There had been many close calls.  But none had come as close to a certain death as the dragon on Black Lake.  After the attack, Andril and Haryk had decided to stay closer to home for awhile. As Haryk had said afterwards over an ale, “One dragon a year to keep the boredom away.”

Areia, Thrak, and Frank had been missing for some 4 years. Tuatha had claimed in his now famous Ballad that they had died on first isle, and Andril and Haryk had no reason to doubt that. Andril remembered, on occasion, the monk that had traveled with them into the island’s interior.

It doesn’t matter thought Andril. Doesn’t matter at all. Gone for four years and no surprise that they had died upon that terrible isle.  What fool of a person would wade into a lair with beating drums and hordes of undead warriors?

“Not this fool,” he said wryly to himself.

Just then, a messenger rattled his message bell. He had only recently installed it because he was running out of pages. He was running out of pages because he was zapping them with magical missiles. And of course this was all happening because they were entering his blasted research! So, Andril finally installed a simple bell on a rope.  A page pulled on the bell at the base of his tower. A bell chimed in his laboratory at the top. All was fine if the page rang it infrequently. He found it also helped his mood if he was at a decent stopping point.

Down below in the base of the tower lay an entrance hall and the quarters and chambers of his staff. Andril didn’t know much about them and he liked it that way. In a small antechamber two men in chain mail, over which lay matching black tunics, stood facing a wall. The men looked rather nervous. Before them, on the wall, two large lips magically appeared in the stones. A large mouth cracked open.

“Why do you disturb my work, Mildrake?” Mildrake was a young man of only 20 summers and he was hoping to make his twenty first. It wasn’t looking good.

“Master! Word has been sent via Celn falcon that we are to receive two large galleons via the central port. The decree directs us to loose and remoor all ships within a hundred paces of where the vessels are to be docked.”

Andril’s voice squawked grumpily through the stone mouth, “Mildrake?”

“Yes, Master?”

“ARE YOU FEEBLEMINDED?!!!DO AS THE DECREE SAYS AND LEAVE ME TO MORE PRESSING MATTERS OF STATE!!!!!”

“But Master?”

“WHAT IS IT MILDRAKE?”

“The captain of each of the galleons requests your personal presence at their arrival!”

“MY…MY PRESENCE??!!!!! WHY WOULD I NEED TO BE PRESENT WHEN A SHIP OR TWO ARRIVES?”

“I know not Master.”

“YOU CLEARLY KNOW NOT!” Said the voice sarcastically. “WHO ARE THESE CAPTAINS TO COMMAND ME SO?”

“Master, the first captain claims to be the Lord Garondin.”

“The Lord Garondin?” Laughed Andril’s voice. “Well, well, well….I suppose we all ought to drop everything for a silk pajama wearing prince!” Andril huffed, and then exhaled slowly. “And who in Ket does this other captain claim to be?”

“Master, the other captain’s message bore the personal seal of his brother, Lord Genoran, heir to the throne of Cellinor.”

There was a long, drawn out groan and a sound as if something made of glass had shattered.

“Ready the docks as requested Mildrake, and fetch me a cup of strong coffee!!!!”

“Yes, Master!” Said Mildrake in a hasty voice. He knew Andril sometimes “appeared” in the kitchen looking for what he called his “research recovery potion”.  The mage could appear in mere moments.  He gave an urgent nod to his comrade, who hurried down the hall to the kitchen.

“And Mildrake?” blasted the voice from the stone.

“Add a cup of strong rum to the coffee. The good shit, from Far Realm.”

“Aye, Master! Aye!”

______________________________________

In progress…

Genoran arrives seeking Iricah. He and Garondin meet Andril and Haryk in a strange way.

Genoran wishes to stage the Challenge of Champions (He has a secret reason, to look for heroes!)

Foreshadowing clues to the tournament. Abraxas pays a visit.

 

 

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