(( Last week’s story prompt was to write a story from the villian’s PoV. I decided to go with a Naren villian, and while I’m not ready to reveal the true big bad of the books, there are plenty of minor villians to choose from. I decided to go with the one who was most developed, Lord Miray, who appears in the first book. Also this is last week’s prompt. I was sick for about a week and fell way behind in things. This week’s prompt will come either tomorrow or early next week. I’ll be caught up then, at least on the story prompts. ))
It shouldn’t have been necessary. Thril Gandir sent mages to all provinces who requested one. They had denied him his right to a mage. Yet they allowed his enemies, those who would encroach on his borders, to have powerful spellcasters in their employ. He had not been happy upon receiving a letter rejecting his request for a new mage. He still wasn’t happy. He stormed from his chambers and out into the common area where one of his attendants waited.
“Has he arrived yet?”
“No, my lord. Your spies reported that he crossed the bridge over the Aduandel River early this morning. He should arrive soon.”
“Good. My strongest guards are on duty today?”
“Yes, my lord. They are awaiting you in the courtyard as you requested.”
Lord Miray nodded, and moved onto the next room where his breakfast was waiting. He frowned as he ate his eggs. They were good enough, but not enough salt. He’d have to go to the kitchen later to fix that. For now, he would eat them as they were. It was difficult to get good help in Moressley, and to be denied a mage as well! He was taking care of that. If they had just sent one, he wouldn’t have to have gone through the trouble of baiting one. Then there was going to be the process of keeping him here.
His scouts had told him much about this one before his plan was put in motion. Shortly after beheading his last mage and adahi for crimes against the lordship, he received the letter that stated he would not get a replacement. He sent his scouts out to find one and send back information. There were plenty of mages in neighboring provinces, but the one that intrigued him most was the mage who had been released from Thril Gandir as a free-traveling mage. He had been found in Kingsfall with his adahi at first.
Lord Miray had the mage followed while he hatched a plan. He discovered that the mage wrote frequent letters to his family in Elal’s Fork. He sent spies to Elal’s Fork to find that he visited his family rather frequently. His family was the key to getting him to Moressley. He had them kidnapped and brought to his castle. They were now under very close watch with two guards in their small suite in the castle, and one outside the door. The mage’s father and mother were too old to worry about, but his sisters had put up a fight more than once. After he had them here, he sent a letter to the mage informing him that they were being held for a ransom. If Thril Gandir was notified, he would kill them. The ransom was an amount he knew the mage could easily gather together. As he had hoped, the mage and his adahi did not contact Thril Gandir. They quietly gathered their money together and began to travel towards Moressley. Now they were arriving to the city, and if all went well, should be arriving any minute.
He was just finishing his breakfast as one of his attendants entered the room. “Lord Miray, the mage and his adahi are here. They are being escorted to the courtyard to wait for you.”
“Good, are the archers in place in the windows on the second floor?”
“They have been notified and are moving into position now.”
Lord Miray nodded as he stood, leaving his plate on the table for the servants to take away. “Good. Let’s go.”
He walked ahead of his attendant, stopping and waiting at each door for the attendant to walk ahead just enough to open the door for him to pass through until they reached the courtyard. The mage was already there. He was a tall elf with long reddish-brown hair. He looked down his nose at Lord Miray, and forgoing using any titles of any sort or waiting for any introductions, he asked, “Where is my family?”
Lord Miray withheld his anger. He’d have plenty of time to teach this mage a lesson. He just needed to separate him from the adahi, who was much more dangerous as he did not have anything at stake. “Where is the money?”
The mage looked at his adahi. He was also an elf, shorter but much more muscular. He carried a sword and a shield, and his long blond hair hung loosely over his armored chest and back. The adahi loosened a bag of coins from his belt. “Every copper should be accounted for. Now release his family.”
Lord Miray looked at the bag, but did not take it. “Hold onto it. I will take him to see that his family is safe and release them in front of him.” He started towards one of the doors leading from the courtyard. He turned and looked at the mage. “Coming?”
The mage took a few steps, but the adahi did as well.
“Not you. Stay here with the gold. We’ll be right back with his family.”
“I do not allow my mage out of my sight. If he is going with you, then I am as well. We can exchange the gold at the same time that you release his family.”
Lord Miray frowned, “I think you forget, you aren’t in charge here.”
“Moressley has no power over-”
He was interrupted as Lord Miray raised his hand, then lowered it in an arc. Arrows flew free from the windows over the courtyard. Some of them merely bounced off his armor, but others thudded in where the joints were. The adahi fell to his knees. The mage, untouched by the arrows, knelt beside the adahi.
“No! Kerran!” The mage looked up at Lord Miray, “I’m leaving. My adahi needs healing.”
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. I still have your family. If you leave, they will die.”
The mage took the bag of coins and threw it at the lord’s feet. “Take your money and let them go.”
“Come with me. I will release them for you, then you may come back to collect your adahi and all leave together.”
The mage looked away from Lord Miray and back to the elf who was still on all fours next to him. Blood dripped off the arrows that stuck out of him at different angles. “I’ll be right back, Kerran. I need to get my family first.” He bent closer and kissed his adahi’s cheek before standing. “Take me to them.”
Lord Miray once again turned and walked towards one of the doors. He waited as the attendant opened the door, and waited a second longer as the mage caught up. “Walk with me. We will talk about the conditions of your family’s safety.”
The mage frowned and twitched an ear. He was visibly irritated. “You will release them, and allow us to leave, with my adahi.”
Lord Miray grinned, “I should warn you that the guards following us now are all trained adahis. If you try anything, they will kill you. If they kill you, your family is useless to me, and I will kill them. Thril Gandir has no power here. You are in my city, and in my castle. It is best if you do as I say.”
He watched as the mage glanced behind them to see the four guards he had chosen to follow. “If Thril Gandir has no power here, why do you have four adahis. Why aren’t they assigned to mages?”
“They are adahis from Moressley, when Thril Gandir broke their end of the agreement to send a mage, the adahis from Moressley returned home.”
They turned down a hallway as the mage asked, “They denied you a mage?”
“Yes, and you foolishly walked into my trap. Your family is here. Your family is safe. They will remain that way as long as you serve me. I will show them to you.”
The mage scratched his ear, and looked around at the guards again, “What of my adahi?”
Lord Miray shrugged, “Do you want your family to live?”
“Then no more questions. You do not question your lord’s authority.”
He was pleasantly surprised that this shut the mage up. He reached the door to the suite where the mage’s family was being kept, and spoke to the guard, “Open up the door.” He turned to the mage, “You will not go in the room. Which family member do you want to see?”
Lord Miray waited until the door was open before motioning to one of the guards inside to come to the door, “Get the old man, show him that he’s still alive and in good health.” The guard nodded and returned inside the suite. He returned a moment later pushing an older elf towards the door.
“Heruthin!” The old man exclaimed. He was stopped from running towards the door by the guard.
“I’m sorry, Father.” The mage managed to say before Lord Miray closed the door.
“You see they are alive and in good health. They are being fed and cared for and are well-guarded. I usually have one of the adahis in the room as well. It will not go well for you if you try anything.”
“I want to see Kerran.”
“No, we’re taking you to your room next. Tomorrow, I want you ready to cast some warding spells over the west wing where you will be staying. Also, you will call me ‘Lord’ when you address me. There will be no more demands from you. If you do not comply, your family will die. It is that simple.”
The mage fell silent once more as they walked into the west wing. They went down one of the hallways and up a flight of stairs. Halfway down another hallway, Lord Miray stopped at a door and waited for an attendant to open it before pushing the mage in.
“This room has been prepared for you. As long as you are compliant, you and your family will be treated well. Lunch will be brought to you soon.” Lord Miray grinned as he pulled the door shut. It had worked. He had a mage to serve his province again. The only bad part was that he was an elf, which he was willing to overlook if the mage did as he was told.
He left one guard to stay behind and watch the mage. As he headed back to his own suite within the castle, he sent the other three guards to finish off the adahi in the courtyard. He watched from the doorway, satisfied that his plan had worked so well, before continuing on to his chambers.