Chapter 3: The Fortress
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Rowan followed the two acquaintances with hesitation. He felt a clenching feeling deep in his gut. Trouble brewed when Everdore confronted him, how could this be any different? He kept his gaze down when Lyra glanced at him with a questioning look. “I’m sure the order and the council can find proper judgement in all of this.” She said. “High sentinel Khalsal, has the council ordered you?” she asked their escort as they continued their walk along the capitol.

“The council has heard enough about this… obstacle.” He replied, a hint of frustration evident. “My orders are to bring you two back.” She nodded her head in understanding while Rowan gritted his teeth. They reached the market center filled with chatter, bargaining and the hustle of merchants. The citizens are willing to exchange anything from clothes to weaponry, fruits to information, Given the right weight in coin.

They passed through, ignoring the calls and hollers of the men and women trying to get profit out of their labor. Some even moved away from the trio, seeing a rather large man with an equally large Morningstar on his back could sent shivers to anyone’s spine.

They continued their walk as the hollers faded to the distance. They walked to a less crowded road where chatters of families hung in the air. More reserved shops had glass windows to display their products of fancy dresses, beautiful pastries or pricey jewelry. “Does the counc…-“ Rowan averted his gaze from the two exchanging questions and answers and gazed at their destination from a distance.

The fortress De Larune. One of many pillars of defense for the capitol with the defense that can withstand a thousand sieges. The fortress looked similar to a large oak tree; the trunk was an amber brown as the sun gleamed against it. Roots took the role as a barricade on the ground. Bark floated around the truck as shields for the tree. But the spectacle awaits at its crown; Emerald leaves that looks like glass rested on branches that curled and grew horizontally. It stretched wide enough that buildings near it had a shine of green when the sun hits the leaves at noon. It looked almost as if it was the goddess of tranquility’s, Dhorteus, blessing upon the capitol. It was too bright to look at.

It was a beautiful, graceful thing…and Rowan hated it.

Beauty was a weakness for him. Appearance adds attention to you and he wanted none of the attention. A war is won by not the wave of their flag or the gleam of their blade, its won by your decision. A decision is a saint or a murderer. A decision made him lose everything. Caring about beauty is weak.

They approached the fortress as more soldiers in emerald uniforms were prominent. “Follow me.” Khalsal ordered as they approached the gate. He placed out his palm in front of iron doors with engravings of runes. A symbol glowed in front of them as the engraving did the same and with a soft click, the gates opened.

Rowan stepped forward and walked inside with the other two but stopped as he heard an annoyed, scratchy voice hollered at him. “watch where ya’ goin’ dipshit.”

He looked around until his eyes caught a tuft of bright ginger hair. He averted his eyes downward to the small, brawny dwarf whose foot he managed to step on. He wore a different attire than armor. He wore a rather dirty apron over his dirtier leather padding. His belt hung around his wide waist, its contents rather heavy with tools prodding out of it. His left foot was replaced with a steal peg leg, His other foot was till under Rowan’s. he stepped back as the dwarf adjusted his tool belt.

“Molr.” Khalsal greeted. “hmph, Who’s the fucker?” Molr replied back as he eyed Rowan with flaring anger.

“Haven’t heard the news yet?”

“Oh, so he’s the dummy who made a big ol’ problem down the capitol?” He glared as he just shrugged and walked away. “You don’t scare me!” he exclaimed as he continued walking towards a corridor.

After he left, this gave Rowan time to actually take in the inside of the fortress. The long hall had pillars across it. The walls to the left and right held statues of hooded figures holding an assortment of weapons. Arcs with writing and depictions of war and magic was above each statue. He took in the large stained glass on the opposite side on the hall. It faced the outside of the capitol of green pastures and deep forests. It had a pattern of a woman with a one wing, looking down with praying hands. Underneath, there was eight figures with different attire and weapons looking up in wonder.

“The council is this way.”

They were guided to two large ivory doors but it didn’t silence the rising voices on the other side. Khalsal  pushed it open to reveal a platform in the center with different bridges leading to dark halls. 8 figures in different colored cloaks stood on a platform above them, murmuring amongst themselves.

One spoke up. “Rowan Stormroar, Lyra Netanashia. Do you know why you were summoned?”

“Do not stand with haste.” Another spoke up. “We simply want to know the events of today in full clarity.”

Lyra stepped forward and looked up at the council. “In full honesty my council, I was there to merely stop an execution. If you want the beginning, I believe you should ask Rowan.” She said firmly.

“Sir Stormroar, could you tell us what had happened.” Another voice spoke up.

“I was attacked by a guild member of everdore. She used Reverent magic.” He started as they gasped. Murmurs rose among the council.  

“Are you sure about what you saw.”

“Yes, I’m sure. She was a knight that summoned a marionette. No magic allows a knight like reverent magic.” They seem to acknowledge his testimony.

Magic is a fragile thing that should be balanced and among its balance there are laws that are placed; A paladin can use magic to kill and a cleric’s beliefs stop them to spill blood. A knight can only use weapon enchanting spells like summoning daggers or shields and dwarves use magic just for tinkering. Those laws are bound to the arcana, The blessing of gods among mortal men. But with the light of Arcana, a shadow rose. Reverent magic fed off of the evils of the world. It used the hunger of men not blessed with arcana gifts. It consumes them, they lose humanity.

“If this is true, then the guild Everdore has committed a heinous crime and should be disbanded immediately.” The first announced as the others whispered in agreement.

“very well.” Another spoke up and jumped down from the platform. The cloak billowed around him as he softly landed in front of them. They took a closer look at one of the council masters. He wore a maroon red cloak. An emblem of De Larune was pinned on his cloak. Underneath it was intricate silver armor, the design resembling a lion’s head. He pulled down his hood and gave a bright smile to the three. They took in his face; He had eyes that glowed a golden yellow aura. His hair was a deep brown and a scar was prominent across his face.

Both Khalsar and Lyra bowed in front of the council master. He returned the gesture. “No need for bowing. I find it a symbol of me being a snob. I want to be the opposite.” He said as he placed his hands on his waist.

“Council master Poltius of the band of knights shall be with you to investigate.” A council master spoke up.

“You have witnessed yourselves the abilities of Everdore firsthand, so please take caution.” Another said.

“The session is disbanded.” The council spoke at once.

 “Just lovely.” Poltius replied. He turned to Rowan. “Let’s talk about this somewhere…less intense.

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