Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part VI - Party Crashers - Part 9
Everyone gathered back by what was left of the tables. The clerics, including Aksel, Qualtan, Fairwind and Ves went around healing those who had suffered minor wounds.
Andrella was still at Lloyd’s side fussing over him. The rest of the KOTC gathered around them except for Aksel who was still helping with the healing and Seth who had decided to go and re-explore the wagons outside the keep.
Sir Fafnar came walking up to Andrella. “Excuse me milady,” the Dunwynn noble said in a fawning tone, “I am glad to see that you were not hurt in that little fiasco.”
Andrella turned to look at the nobleman. “I thank you for your concern, Sir, but I was well protected by my friends here.”
“Really?” Fafnar replied, he voice taking on a snide tone, “you call that protection? If this were Dunwynn, those rogues would have never made it past the gates, let alone inside the keep.”
“Is that so?” Andrella replied, sounding somewhat annoyed. “Tell me Sir Fafnar, where were you during all the fighting? I did not see you out on the battlefield.”
“Ah, yes,” Fafnar replied, “It seems that some varlet thought it would be amusing to tie my boot laces together. By the time I had them undone, the battle was over.” The nobleman looked around at the KOTC members accusingly.
Andrella stifled a laugh. Lloyd snickered as did Glorfindle. Elvisda laughed openly. Donatello, however, was strangely silent.
Then Andrella spoke, “Well I’m sure the prankster, whoever he was, meant no real harm.”
“That’s quite alright milady,” Sir Fafnar replied turning back to her. He had been staring at the KOTC members with daggers in his eyes. “I will prove my prowess at the tourney tomorrow. Then you will see some real swordsmanship at work,” he finished staring directly now at Lloyd.
The big warblade stood up and replied, “I look forward to it.”
“Yes, I’m sure you do,” the fop said mockingly. Then he turned back to Andrella, took her hand, bowed to kiss it, turned on his heel and strode away.
“Lloyd, you better kick his ass tomorrow,” Elvisda said.
“Please do,” Andrella agreed.
When they were done healing the injured, the Baron called for everyone’s attention. When they all quieted down Grellus said, “I want to thank ALL of you. Your swift rise to arms and prowess in battle has won the day for us. But I especially want to thank the KOTC. Had they not caught wind of the impending attack and prepared for it, things might have turned out quite differently today.”
Everyone cheered; everyone except for the Dunwynn contingent of course.
Then the guards began chanting KOTC! KOTC! KOTC!
The Baron then raised his hands and asked the guards to quiet down.
“However,” Grellus continued, “Sadly, we did have one casualty. Poor Sir Calric was killed by those accursed dark mages and their fireball blasts. I want to ask our good friend Qualtan here if he could raise him.”
The town head cleric, Qualtan responded saying, “I may be able to restore his spirit in the morning. That is with proper prayer and donations from Penwick.”
The Baron’s face turned red and then he said angrily, “Qualtan! What has come over you? If you need a blasted donation that badly, then I will cover all expenses.” Then the Baron ordered alitter prepared to send the body to the temple.
Sir Brennon approached the Baron and said, “Thank you Grellus. That is very kind of you. Sir Duncan and I will accompany Calric’s body to the temple and remain in vigil until he is raised on the morrow. Remington’s son Lloyd can continue to represent Penwick at this gathering. Thanks again.” He shook Grellus hand.
Then Sir Brennon went over to Lloyd. Baroness Fairwind had just finished healing his wounds. “That was quite some display of swordsmanship lad,” Brennon told the warblade. “I’ve fought beside your father before, and you looked just like him out there today.”
Lloyd stood up and clasped the knight’s hand. “Thank you Sir Brennon. That means a lot. Please send my regards to my father when you return to Penwick.”
“I certainly will lad,” Brennon replied. Then he leaned in and whispered. “A piece of advice off the battlefield. The Lady Andrella seems to have taken a fancy to you. Just be warned that there are those who seek her hand for more than reasons of the heart. Watch your back son. These folks are ruthless and will stop at nothing. If they see you as a threat, they may not attack you on the battlefield.”
“Thank you again for the advice Sir Brennon,” Lloyd replied quietly. “I will heed your words.”
“Very good,” Sir Brennon said. “Stay safe young Lord Stealle.”
Seth was outside searching the caravan wagons to make sure that all the Serpent Cult members had been dealt with. He was invisible again and moving stealthily through the deserted section of the campsite.
“Where are you going little one?” a woman’s voice said from behind him.
Seth started, and quickly spun around. A striking blonde woman dressed in gypsy garb was standing outside a wagon he had not previously noticed. Although he was invisible, the woman was looking right at him.
“I can see you,” she said, as if reading his mind.
He walked over to her and whispered, “Who are you?”
“Me? I am the fortune teller Elistra. But what you really want to know is how I can see you when you are invisible, am I right?”
“That would be nice to know,” Seth replied noncommittally.
She smiled at his refusal to admit that she rattled him. “Let’s just say that I have certain gifts. These gifts provide me with advantages that most people do not have. I can see things others cannot, speak with spirits, and sometimes even divine the future.”
“That must be pretty useful,” Seth told her.
“It can be at times,” she replied with a grin. “But it is not all fun and games I can assure you. There is some evil at work here and my instincts are telling me that I should help you and your friends uncover it.”
“My friends?” Seth replied cautiously.
“Yes Seth, your friends. I know who you are and who your friends are as well. The KOTC has become somewhat popular around here in the last few weeks and everyone knows who you are. Keep it up and they might even make an action figure of you,” she said with a smile.
Seth seemed to be contemplating himself as an action figure. Then he shook his head clear and said, “Anyway, I really need to know if there are any more of these Serpent Cult folks around. Can your gifts tell me that?
“Yes, actually, I can,” Elistra replied. “While I do not detect anymore of those snakes or magic users in the area, I feel something dark and strange emanating from that wagons.” She pointed to a specific wagon about thirty feet away.
Seth led the way to the wagon. The door was locked but the little ninja opened it and peered inside. There was a dull glow. As he entered the wagon he heard a voice moan, “Help me.”
He scanned the wagon and then saw a gruesome sight. There was a body, or at least the top half of a body, hanging on the wall. It seemed alive. At least it was talking, “Help me. Please. I am in pain like this. Please kill me.”
The body looked familiar. Then Seth recognized it. It was Telvar!
“Is he alive?” he asked the gypsy.
“Half alive,” she replied, “No pun intended. It is an evil spell which keeps the spirit tied to the body even though it is dead.”
“Listen to me,” Telvar said, “they have my work. They know where I originally found it and now they go to seek the rest. They go to the monolith. The Darkwoods Monolith.”
“You mean the golem research,” Seth guessed.
“Yes. But the Master’s book, the Golem Master’s book can be found at the Darkwoods Monolith. If the cult finds it, they will be able to make their own golems like in the old days. Golems that haven’t been seen since the Thrall Masters walked the earth.”
“So you got your work from the original Golem Thrall Master,” Seth said.
“Yes,” Telvar admitted. “Now please, end this spell. Set my spirit free.”
“Can you do that?” Seth asked Elistra.
“Yes I can,” she replied. She stepped forward, and raised her hands in concentration.
Seth felt some kind of surge of power. Not quite magic, something different, but definitely power. Then the half corpse of Telvar sagged and the life went out of it. He heard a ghostly “Thank you”.
“He’s gone,” Elistra announced.
“I need to report this to the guild,” Seth said. “You coming?”
“Wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else,” Elistra replied and followed the little ninja out of the wagon.