Prelude to a Daring Rescue pt1

JP with Thaen

Severos sat in the temple, thoughts distant and long compared to everything else around him. His head was cleared and the tincture was helping his throat more and more. His mind was not on any of this, for it lay on the thought of Orla. He should have just taken her in with him. He should have made her invisible. Instead, now Reise and him lost her to slavers. He reached into his sleeves and pulled out his plaque. He thumbed the incuts upon the metal, the sash at the end a little worn and needing touched up. As much as he used to know this country, now it had become a bit alien to him. He curled his lip in a snarl and almost threw the plaque away. Instead, he pocketed it again and reached for his pack.

He sighed and opened a slightly worn leather journal. As Reise sat down, two bowls of food for them, Severos studied the contents of the book. The Wandering Dog peered over his shoulder briefly as he gave the young mage his bowl. “A spellbook?”

“Yep,” Severos said, eyes focused on the runes inscribed arcanely. His hand absently reached for the bowl, missing it twice before his companion nudged it closer. Reise watched as the mage raised it once, lowered it, raised it again, lowering yet again, peer closer at his book, before finally raising it to his lips. The smile was already planted on his face as Severos suddenly realised his mouth was now on fire with steaming hot stew. “Blargh! You could have warned me!”

“You seemed busy,” Reise replied with a shrug, fetching a spoon and slowly eating the stew. Severos nodded and took the meaning to pay a bit more attention. “Why study your spells now? You seemed capable enough back in the city.”

“Those were merely spells that I had mastered,” replied the mage. “Many other smaller spells are so infinitesimally small in power that it matters nothing. What lies before us… Well, perhaps it’s best that I refresh myself on these.” He pointed to the spellwork laid in the pages.

After a moment of silence Reise spoke again. “You know there will be no holding back, yes?” he asked. “This isn’t a mission of peace or an extension of an olive branch.” Reise made sure Severos was listening. “That woman took Orla. Took her for a slave and brought her to this harsh, desert land.” he said, adding an emphasis to ‘took’. “And she’s had her captive for long enough I don’t even want to consider the ramifications. If I do, I won’t just be not holding back.” Reise ground his jaw hard enough for Severos to hear his teeth creek, but he quickly got ahold of himself.

“This…” he paused, “Call it a ‘form’ I am right now…is anger. Every bit of rage I had from my past. Something I left behind, something that keeps trying to take the wheel and slipping up and letting my emotions rule me is his way in. I can’t let that happen.” he said. “So just know. We can’t let those people hurt her or anyone else…ever…again.”

“‘When emotion is brought to the fore and used to justify everything, no right nor wrong may be had,’” quoted Severos with his right index pointing up in a scholarly manner. “Master Stormcrow… I understand that there’s a lot that I simply don’t know about you, Horo. I assume that this Reise form before me is also a sort of form brought forth. I care for Orla; remember House Blackwood in Warfall? I promised you that I would free and help you protect her. I am not going to back out of that now, huh? We have come this far.”

Severos looked up from the pages to gaze upon Reise. His face was a tortured form and he felt for him. He also cared deeply for Orla, having been the one to bring him back from the brink once before. He meant what he had also said outside of Shadrazar. “I won’t let them hurt her, either. However, even I know that unchecked heads will lead to them being severed. We must move carefully,” he finished.

The storm howled outside but lessened in the past several hours. Severos glanced over to the caravan as Reise ate, watching the conversations there before returning back to his book. “Tell me something, Reise,” he started again, this time curious. “That mage we destroyed… He said he knew you and that you aren't from here. That part, I gathered as much from you. But I wonder, what made you choose this place as your home?”

“You assume there are other worlds worth living,” Reise said with a loud slurp to end the conversation.

“Actually, there are. Mathematically,” Severos pressed, looking up and closing his spellbook. “Even us crazy wizards know about the multiverse,” he added with a smile. “It’s amazingly hard to navigate and even reach. But there are books on it. Perhaps too few books. Which brings it around to why you are here? Out of all the multiverse?”

“That is a long complex story.” Reise said, “I don’t particularly want to get into.” He raised a hand. “Not because I do not trust you, and not because of many of the reasons you are likely thinking,” he added. “It’s just something personal. Even Orla doesn’t know my past. No point. That man is gone. As for the second part of your question. I liked it here, never planned to stay forever but kept meeting people that decided they would settle in my brain and heart so each passing month found it harder and harder to leave. Long ago, before I met Orla, there was another. So long I have to struggle to even fully remember her. Only a few memories without fuzzy edges still exist...” he tapped his head. “After fate caused us to part ways, I settled here. Made a few friends before the two of you. One, she was special to me but nothing serious. Mostly. But then, that sweet girl walked into my shop and showed interest in my weird, weird lifelong collection.” He paused. “But you likely didn’t know that part. I could show you it some time. My shop I mean. Might have something useful for you there. Plenty of magic stuff tucked away, would be up to you to know if it was junk or not.” Reise added.

He looked at Severos again thinking. “We need to go there before we go after her, I need…” he hesitated. “To do something.” he said a half lie.

The young mage listened intently and nodded. He was always curious about his friend from the first day. “We shall, Reise. We shall,” Severos promised. “What is it that needs to be done?”

Reise looked at Severos “I know you think you're ready, but you need gear, and I need my sword.” he said. “My real sword.” he corrected, “But I hid it to be safe, and we’re going to get it and whatever you need so we can do this rescue right.”

Reise stood patting Severos on the shoulder, “I’ll be right back.” he said walking to the priestess and having a short whispered conversation, before returning to Severos. “Will you follow me?” he asked. He waited for the young mage to follow him, and Reise led the two to a door the priestess had pointed out to him.

“Hope you don’t mind using this again, because it's the only way to get to where we are going.” Reise said putting the key in the door and pushing it open.

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