Marstan Captured by Sorrow’s Forces
(Crossing, Zoluren: 385 Nissa 359)
Sorrow’s forces of Elpalzi and S’lai had already made one attempt at obtaining Marstan where he hid at Aesry Surlaenis’a that day. The Islanders were prepared and at a dear cost, repelled the onslaught.
Garfaldo and I sat discussing recent events over a quiet cup of drink at a local tavern. There was information which I knew he needed to have, and I had not had a chance to speak to him in the past few days.
Before I could finish all that I had to tell him, we noticed Prayk standing in front of us at our table. He spoke of an errand he had to do that night, and his dislike of travelling over water.
Our hearts sank.
Garfaldo ventured, "They need reinforcements after earlier today."
I asked Prayk directly, "And you are the reinforcements?"
Prayk shook his head, "Sorrow is sending us to personally retrieve Marstan, since we are the ones who allowed the attack to happen. Call it a punishment of sorts."
"Us" could only mean the Threesome, Sadiaer, Prayk, and Darkensi.
I tell him, "Marstan will not want to be taken."
Prayk replied, "Marstan won’t have a choice. Marstan cannot stand against the three of us."
There was the confirmation. The Threesome.
Garfaldo was gnashing his teeth in frustration. We were in the Crossing, and there was very little we could do to get any reinforcements clear to the Island quickly.
Garfaldo said, "I sent my familiar ta’ alert him.. and the Aesry citizens. The attack t’day further made it obvious…. he is in danger."
Garfaldo asked Prayk point blank, "If you get the book… is your service ended.. over.. complete fer good?"
Prayk nodded to the now pacing Garfaldo, but added,"Unless I choose to stay and study the book as well."
I did not even want to think about that, and focussed my attention on the exchange going on in front of me.
I interjected, "Surely Marstan knows someone is coming for him, and has hidden well."
Prayk replied, "Marstan is still weak from the attack. I’m fairly sure that we will be able to find where he is"
Garfaldo asked, "What will Sorrow do with Marstan?"
Prayk says, "Marstan will have to repair what he has done. That is the primary goal."
It was more hope than a question, but I asked, "Perhaps it cannot be undone."
Garfaldo quietly said, "Or perhaps he is unwilling…" and leaned slightly on me.
Garfaldo asked, "Will he let him live?"
You nodded to Garfaldo, "Marstan has a singular mindset at times."
Prayk stated, "I am sure that Marstan will fix what he has done."
You asked, "Why is that, Magus?" I glanced at him. He sounded SO sure.
Prayk replied flatly, "Because it is what Sidhlot wants."
Garfaldo said, "We can’t let Marstan’s safety be jeopordized…"
Prayk replied to him, "You won’t have a choice," and shrugged.
Garfaldo mused, mostly to himself in frustration, I think, "Reverse the process on Sorrow…. very well.. but be executed fer it… nay"
Garfaldo was growing adamant, "He risked his life fer our welfare… we owe him that much."
Prayk tells us, "Marstan will most likely live through the encounter."
Garfaldo asked him, "Can I have your word, that ye’ll do all that is possible to ensure he is not eliminated?"
I questioned, "Sir, do you infer that Sidhlot can compell Marstan against his will, or that Marstan is working for Sidhlot?"
Prayk said, "Marstan is a mere Necromancer. Let’s not forget that Sidhlot is a Necrolord"
I was listening for an answer. That was not one, "Is that the answer, or a skirting of the question?" I smiled evenly at Prayk.
Prayk chuckled, "Both."
Garfaldo mumbled something I did not quite catch, and I do not think I wanted to anyway. He leaned close to whisper to me his concern, "I can not let them capture Marstan with good conscious… after all he did fer us.. we have ta’ help him M’lady"
I pressed the issue, "So Sorrow will be restored, and Sidhlot remains free, and … presumably calling the shots?"
Prayk replied, "Sidhlot controls forces that Marstan has no way of knowing about. Perhaps even forces that could restore something he has desperately searched for for so long."
The light went on, and my heart sank, "Dear Damaris. Now I know how he will get Marstan’s cooperation."
I told Prayk, "Sidhlot will not let himself come under Sorrow’s control again, Magus."
Prayk shook his head, "No. But he has the knowledge that Marstan wants."
Garfaldo glanced at me. I was not sure whether he was a step behind my thought already or if he had not quite heard what I had just heard, so I asked, "Garfaldo, what is it that Marstan has sought out?"
Prayk continued, "And Marstan has something that Sorrow wants."
I could only nod to Prayk. Garfaldo sighed heavily and gazed into the distance.
Prayk explained, "And since Sorrow and Sidhlot are partners in things, they compromise."
I was heartsick, "And we will have the two of them, Sorrow AND Sidhlot, to contend with. Sidhlot holds the price for Marstan’s compliance. I think the Magus is correct, this is a done deal."
Garfaldo said, "This whole situation is makin’ me ill… I can not act… on anything.. there is no direction to take which will not put us in jeopordy."
Prayk patted Garfaldo on the back and told him, "Welcome to my life."
Garfaldo shook his head, "Groups of warriors are ready ta’ be led…. but we have no clear enemy to face. Or how ta’ face.. or what time to strike." He sighed, obviously anxious.
Prayk says, "Now, I must finish preparing, I had thought only to tell you that I was leaving soon."
He told us he was going that very night to the Isle, by moongate. There were troops already nearly there by ship, S’lai and Elpazi. Garfaldo did not think it was possible to travel from the Crossing to Aesry by moongate. They exchanged some dialogue about such things, but in the end, he could not distract the Magus Prayk with either an invitation to a dissertation in moon magics or a challenge to prove he could open a gate.
Before he left, I admit curiosity got the better of me. This man was a Moon Mage, and they See the future, right?
So I start out glancing at Prayk, "Now, about that tapestry…" He looked at me, puzzled.
I explained, "You spoke of the whole tapestry, what is yet to come that I cannot see?"
Prayk replied, "Many things"
"Even Taygar could tell me that," I was not going to let him get away with the usual vagueness of the profession. I smiled, but I am sure everyone in the room knew I was pressing for a response.
Prayk quipped back, "I was about to say something similar of Camchak"
Prayk started, "We will retrieve Marstan. And Marstan will fix the damage that has been done. I cannot see what Sidhlot’s place is, but I do know that we will mostly succeed."
I asked him, "Are these the words of the Seer, or the words of the comrade?"
Garfaldo nodded at me, "Precisly jus’ what I was wondering"
I listend for his reponse, studying his face.
Prayk said, "That is a bit of both." It seemed an honest answer. "I have Seen that we will retrieve the book."
Garfaldo muttered under his breath, "That’s a lie… you will fail!"
I prompted Prayk with a glance, "And then…"
He shook his head, "I cannot say where it goes from there. Too many factors are involved."
Garfaldo spoke of his absolute faith in our strength to overcome anything. "The Elpalzi are strong, but not strong enough."
Prayk replied, "You haven’t any idea as to what is coming. You have seen only small forces of the Elpalzi."
Prayk continued, "When they come, they will come by the thousands."
I offerred, "We have faced thousands before."
Prayk smiled at me, "And you lost."
I told him, "We lost a bardess, alas. But we have the land."
Prayk was matter of fact, "Because the Gorbesh chose to retreat."
Prayk said, "You have the land only because of that."
This was a dangerous argument for me, for several reasons, I let Garfaldo go on. Maybe the Magus would not notice.
Garfaldo told him, "Our warriors are far more experienced than back then.. an’ we have greater numbers. The Elpalzi lack the technology the Gorbesh had as well." He shook his head at Prayk, "I know this is a battle we will win."
Prayk only shook his head at Garfaldo.
Garfaldo shook his fist, "If you go fer the book… I’ll have to stop you."
Prayk responded, "When the time comes, aye, I imagine you will try. I wouldn’t expect anything less"
Garfaldo said, "I sincerely believe we have a chance… and will succeed."
Garfaldo managed to engage him in more conversation, but ultimately, Prayk left. Soon after, those on Aesry began to fall.
They were at least warned, thanks to the Elemental familiar which accompanies Garfaldo. But the forces were numerous. Many citizens were struck down time and time again in the defense forces there. Reports back to the mainland were sketchy, and all we could do was pray that there were enough clerics left alive to pick up the pieces.
No doubt those who were there have tales of heroes, brave deeds, and comraderie to tell when they have recovered. It was not a pleasant feeling sensing it from afar, helplessly.
The last news of the night was when the Threesome returned to the mainland. With Marstan.