I am still maintaining forward momentum, but yesterday was one of those “bare minimum” type days. I needed to right roughly 1600 words and that is pretty much exactly what I wrote. I feel like I could probably go through the chapter and fluff it up a bit if needed but I am trying my best not to go rework anything just yet. If I reach the conclusion of the story arc and I am still shy, I will do that. Here is the story so far for anyone who wants to catch up.
- Shadowed Stone
- Little Giant Girl
- Birthday Wishes
- The Gifts
- The Incursion
- The Watch
- Rough Landing
- Dragon Bone
- People of the Storm
- The Lady
- Cambridge Beneath
12 – Prisoner of War
The plan had gone extremely well, better than the master had expected, and as such Baigan had been richly rewarded with greater responsibility in the scope of the proceedings. As such he was dispatched to Fort Kraken and had fancied himself a king over the Trogjan army that slowly began coalescing around him. Morgo however had grown impatient waiting for the right moment to strike and on this day he had stormed his way into the keep demanding to speak with the self appointed manor lord. “I demand to know the meaning of this delay.” the elder gorund screamed, a stark contrast to the calm he displayed in their first meeting. “I have sent my forces, and here they sit waiting for you to give the order to attack. Explain yourself shade!”
“Morgo, everything in good time. Your Orts are no match for the summer wall, and regardless of how much ‘meat’ you choose to throw at it, it will not fall” Baigan raised up off the newly assembled throne so that he could peer down upon Morgo. “It is by magic that we will prevail and this magic requires time. The day of the attack draws near. You are of course more than welcome to wait here with me.” Baigan made a mock gracious sweeping gesture. In the weeks since the battle with his father, he could feel the power of winter growing within him. When they first met Morgo might have been a match for him, but now with the combined powers of winter and summer he could dispatch the old gorund without breaking a sweat.
The fur on the elder bain rippled visibly as he fought every instinct to leap upon the throne and throttle the puppet ruler. He forced himself to calm down, now was not the time to strike. There was clearly an unseen force behind this throne, and until the Elfen had lead him to his master, he could not risk anything that hasty. “When exactly is this moment you are waiting on?” Bain replied as calmly as he could muster. Baigan took his seat again “We wait for the Equinox. The moment when the power of summer begins to wane as the power of winter grows in strength. It is then that we can destroy the summer wall and push forward.”
The more Bain thought about it the more it actually made sense. Never once had he thought to time his attacks against summer to coincide with the waning of their powers. He thought however that the shade had more planned than just to beat down the wall with brute force. Rippling again, this time more with frustration “Fine, you have my forces until the equinox, but not one day longer. That gives you two weeks, use them well. I will not be taking up your offer” turning to look at the gobbley steward at his side “We return to Tjorba tonight, ready my caravan” With that the white tuft strode out of the keeps main hall and out of Baigan’s sight.
“Who does he think he is, against the true might of winter” Baigan murmured beneath his breath. The killing of his father had not only strengthened his abilities but also emboldened his appetite for power. There was quite a bit riding on this plan working, but he had little doubt that he would be able to figure out how to tap into the Queens powers within the coming weeks. He held the orange crystal with its glow out in front of him, twirling it around within his grasp. From another pouch at his belt he pulled out a similar white crystal that made a slight crackling noise. “Father if only you had known I would drain you, you might have guarded against it.” He raised the white crystal to his lips kissing it lightly “You were always so short sighted.”
He slid each crystal into sockets at the tip of a newly carved staff. He had been able to channel the white crystal with ease, but being able to also channel the force of fire had been a challenge. Baigan raised from his throne taking the staff in his hand he focused on an unlit torch across the room. He closed his eyes, and tried to push away the cold thinking on his warmest memories. He found this harder than anything he could imagine. From a young age he had insulated himself from the warm of the world, making his heart cold and brutal all the better to wield the power of winter. His father had been so proud of him the moment he learned to channel ice magic for the first time, but little did he know how deep Bai’s font of power had grown.
Within a few short years he was able to summon snow, freeze rivers, and at the age of twelve he was able to produce his very first ice spear. It was then that the master took an interest in his education. He showed him the more subtle ways of winter, the ability to sap the life out of someone, drain them of all their energy and capture the results in a essence gem. He knew his father was short sighted and could not see the true power of winter, yet he was the one chosen to represent its might on the council. He remembered the day he was chosen by the master, to be his secret heir, to gather all of his knowledge and employ it to deadly purpose.
There it was, he had his warm memory. The day the master chose him, was the happiest day in his life. He dwelled upon the joy he felt, the exaltation of being looked so favorably by someone so powerful. Inside his core the warmth spread flowing out from his fingertips into the staff and coalescing upon the summer crystal. Baigan opened his eyes to witness a jet of flame spewing forth from his staff striking the torch and catching it ablaze. From this warm core he thought about the power of frost, the majesty of ice, and the endless strength of cold.
The staff erupted in a subtle light as this new power poured through the white crystal producing something that he had only heard about in legends. Stormfire, the merging of frost and fire producing something new like two storm systems clashing against each other. From the tip of the staff shot a spiral of flame and ice bound together by white veins of lightning. The powerful bolt lept past the torch striking the column of rock shattering it. Beaming with pride he eased off of the staff causing the stormfire to die down. He finally had done it, he had mastered both seasons and had become something more.
Exhausted he collapsed into the throne. Baigan did not expect channeling both to have been quite so draining. No matter how much so he had done it… he was now Baigan the Stormlord. He very much liked the sound of that. There were few things that could possibly stand up to him now. He had even eclipsed the knowledge of the master, just as he had done his own father. It was then that a sound caught his attention. It was the sound of orts but with them was a metallic scraping. He set up in the throne as he watched a procession of Orts leading a man bound in shackles into the main hall.
The four Orts parted allowed a shade to pass between them. “Captain Wyrmspire, what is this that you have brought before me” Baigan echoed down at the shade captain. Reaching down and lifting the head of the prisoner he Wyrmspire revealed a face Bai was extremely well acquainted with. “We captured this one on the edge of the keep, doing what looked to be scouting. He refuses to give his name.” Baigan stood slowly descending the dias. “Captain I am very well aware of who he is. This is Benjanatos Waxwood, the Woodsblade protector of the former Queen.”
Benj looked up from his yoke a grimace echoed the churning anger he felt deep inside. He looked at the shade and his eyes flickered upwards to the staff he held. Much to his horror he noticed the familiar orange crystal that now contained his queen. Thrashing against his chains he screamed “You bastard! Free her at once!” Despite his efforts he could not break the hold of the chains or manacles holding him in place, and after a brief amount of progress towards Baigan the orts had managed to reign him. A long rolling laughter echoed through the chamber as Baigan savored the sight of the imprisoned protector.
“Captain Wyrmspire, drag him to the dungeon and chain him there. I want him to witness as the power of his queen is used to destroy the summer wall.” Baigan motioned for the captain to take him away. After a few guttural sounding gestures the Orts lead by the captain moved out of the great hall. Benj had devolved into a stream of curses as he was drug from the room. Baigan returned to his throne. He murmured to himself “Yes, things were definitely going better than he could have planned.”