[RP Episode] The Northern Reach


#81

‘‘Shall i carry these gifts for Macil all by myself then?’’ she asked sarcastically, ‘‘You wouldn’t let a lady drag her own through the mud and dirt by herself, would you?’’


#82

Magor eyed the pile of goods with narrowed eyes. He whistled. Two burly elves popped around corner, looking inquisitive.

”Find Borna, and bring these to the Teranor’s quarters.” he said. They nodded and vanished again. ”Satisfied, “your ladyship”?” Magor said, looking at Rhae with a grin.


#83

‘‘But i was meaning to prese… oh, nevermind…’’ Rhae shook her head, ‘‘Let’s go then.’’


#84

With Rhae and Landro in tow, Magor quickly moved to a door in the room, opened it and sprinted up a flight of steps, turned right and then left so many times it was confusing, climbed several more flights of stairs, and then abruptly they were standing on a platform jutting out of the side of the mountain, several thousand feet above the ground. Beneath them could be seen walls and parapets, rank after rank of battlements manned by soldiers in white, but no actual houses were in sight.

Standing on the edge of the platform looking out, was a figure wearing a blue tunic with silver edging, and a circlet of black steel on his head, with spikes jutting intk the air. It looked eerily similar to the crown Velar had been wearing, but far more ancient, and it shimmered soundly when gazed upon.

The wearer of the crown didn’t move. Instead he spoke in a grim tone that was not as disturbing as Velar’s whisper, or as brash as Cundro’s shouts.

”What is it Magor?”

”An elf named Rhae-Ming from the south wishes to speak with you.” replied Magor.

”The south?” The figure turned out swiftly, revealing himself to be a elf some years older than Magor, with grey eyes and silver hair held in place by a simple leather band. ”I am delighted to welcome one of our kin from the south, and in fact to know that you exist at all. My name is Macil Sornion.” He bowed.


#85

Rhae kneeled before Macil as she did before Verel, ‘‘My name is Rhae-Ming. It is a great honour to finally meet you, your lordship. I have travelled far.’’


#86

”That you have indeed. Please, we do not kneel here.” His gaze shifted to Magor, and to the battered prisoner behind him, who was trying to keep her face hidden. ”Magor, why did you bring elf as a prisoner up here? And where is Ming’s guard? She would not have come alone.”

”Aye, she had some companions. They’re waiting below. This” he jerked his thumb at Landro, ”Is her guard. She’s a Narmani battle commander. Caught her and four others trying to leave after escorting Rhae to within eyeshot of the gates.”

Macil’s face darkened. ”Excuse me.” he said to Rhae. ”You…attacked the bodyguard of a Southron diplomat? What in Olossë’s frost bespeckled name did you do that for?”

Magor shrugged. ”She’s Narmani. Only Rhae’s group carried a truce banner.”

His boots clipping on the stone, Macil marched inexorably towards his brother. ”You imbecile. Get out of my sight.” Magor shrugged, and vanished. The High King looked at Landro for a moment, and then laughed aloud. ”Well I’ll be damned Landro. I didn’t think I’d see you here.” He flipped his hand at the guards, who released her. She rubbed her wrists.

”I didn’t come here by choice, Macil.” she said, quietly. ”Your brother is responsible for that.”

Macil frowned again. ”That he is, and while I deplore the means by which he made it so, I gratefully accept this gift from above.” He looked at the guards again. ”Take her to her chambers. And get that wound looked after.” The three left, Landro glancing once at Rhae as she vanished out the door.

”My apologies, again.” said Macil with a smile on his lips. ”It is not every day you meet an old friend under such circumstances.”


#87

Rhae was not sure what the heck just happened, but she was glad Landro seemed alright.

‘‘Magor’s actions will have far reaching consequences, your highness. We have arrived in these lands with ships by sea, and the Narmani have offered them safe harbour. And it was the Narmani who provided my party the means and the manpower to get us where we needed to go, and for their act of kindness, your brother had relieved Landro’s men of their lives. What will the Narmani think of me, of Xia, and of my entire people, when they see their own depart along side us and not return?’’ she explained, and after a brief pause to give the King time to absorb all of that, she continued, ‘‘And if they are to act against me and my fleet of 3, in vengeance of his actions, how will i return home?’’


#88

”You will return home.” reassured Macil.” ”But the Narmani gave you shelter? And Tar-Velar sent his daughter as your guide?” His eyebrows returned to what seemed to be their permanent state, a frown.


#89

Rhae raised an eyebrow, ‘‘Yes?’’


#90

”Your ships are gone.” said Macil bluntly. ”Verel will have repurposed them even now. Your crews are most likely dead. He does not want foreign help, or he would have won sometime ago. He was quite polite, I would imagine?”


#91

‘‘WHAT!?’’ she screamed.


#92

”Oh yes. I’d imagined you haven’t heard Verel’s moniker yet. We call him the ‘Hungry Wolf’. He does not want friends, or allies. He wants subjects.” Macil looked up at the sky, which was beginning to darken. ”This will take sometime. You have quite a few questions I can see. Will you come inside?”


#93

Rhae’s mood had darkened just as well, she began to avoid eye contact with Macil, turning her head to the side, attempting to bottle up her anger. Frowning heavily, she held back watering eyes. She had spent many weeks with her crew, some were old friends, some were new friends she had made during the expedition, she cared for all of them. ‘‘The Empress… will not be pleased…’’ she growled through clenched teeth.


#94

”’I can concur with that. The first time Verel killed someone of mine I didn’t feel to happy either. I am sorry, Rhae-Ming. Two days ago I heard that three ships had appeared in the Narmani harbor and had been taken over by boarding parties, but my spies did not report where they ships came from or who was on board.” Macil looked at her carefully, unsure of how to proceed. He’d not imagined his first encounter with a foreign elf would go like this at all.


#95

Rhae took a deep breath, and took a moment to recollect herself, ‘‘I… was sent here to establish … some sort of contact with your people, … as a people … after we discovered there were elves so far from our homeland.’’, she cleared her throat, ‘‘We were thrilled when we realized it. We had even brought you gifts all this way, from the farthest south. Which have, by the way… been delivered to your room, apparently. I would have wanted to present them to you formally, but what does it matter if the entire expedition has been incapacitated.’’, she sobbed, ‘‘Why am i even still here…’’


#96

This was even worse. Macil was utterly unequipped to deal with a weeping, female, southern elvish diplomat. For half a second he hesitated.

”I said they may be dead. They may still yet live, and your mission is not a failure.” he said gently. And very, very, carefully. There was a precipice right there with a very low railing. ”You are in the most powerful city in the Iron Mountains. You are speaking with the king who controls it. And that king is currently fighting Verel Narmanion.” He reached out, and took her hand. ”If they are still alive, I promise that I will free your crew. And if they are not, I will avenge them.”


#97

Rhae threw a glance at him from the corner of her eye, barely turning her head. ‘‘Thank you. Um…’’ she coughed uncomfortably, ‘‘Do you maybe have a tissue?’’


#98

”That I do.” Macil retrieved a small piece of cloth from his belt, still holding her hand. ”Here.” He handed it over. ”Now will you come inside?” It began to snow again.


#99

She swiftly patted the tissue over both eyes, as if she didn’t actually cry but merely had some dirt stuck in them, though she wasn’t fooling anyone. ‘‘Of course.’’ she spoke up with renewed dignity, and followed him.


#100

There was a short hallway leading off from the balcony, into a small square room with a table in the center, surrounded by wooden chairs. A bear skin rug was in front of a merrily burning fireplace. The table was covered in parchment, an inkwell, and a half-finished carving of a bird of some kind, perched on a branch. There was a pitcher standing on a small stool in one corner, along with several cups.

Macil drew a chair up to the fire, poured a cupful of whatever was in the pitcher, and handed the drink to Rhae, indicating that the seat was also for her.

”Careful, it is extremely strong.” he warned, poking the fire with a metal rod with a wooden handle. Flames flared up again. On the wall was a drawing of two elves. One was a man in armor, with a black crown on his head. The other was a woman, with white hair and blue eyes. Both elves were smiling at each other.