Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1974108-Sir-Winstons-Party
by cqa1
Rated: 18+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #1974108
War veteran Dax is reluctant to go to a party, but finds the event worthwhile.
A Party filled with Magical beasts, 3,228 words.

The room was enormous, and packed with party guests from across the world. There were diplomats and merchants, stage actors and the children of nobility, wizards and powerful priests. Dax couldn't believe how large one room of Sir Winston Gregore's mansion was. There were balconies that seemed a hundred feet above his heads filled with even more guests. He felt a little bit underdressed when he entered the room, seeing the extravagant priests of Tephut in their robes of orange and blue. The High Priest Brayden of……someplace in the Towerlands he couldn't remember, was surrounded by large men in ceremonial blue armor with greatswords strapped to their backs.
         The High priest recognized him almost immediately, and rushed over to him with a sour look on his face. Brayden was also a wizard of the Blue Order as well as a priest, and Blues didn't always get along with Grays. Two younger looking apprentices followed him, one a blonde haired boy, the other a brown haired girl. As they got closer, he saw that the blonde boy wasn't a wizard, but instead an acolyte. He wore a simpler blue and orange robe with a four pointed star necklace.
         Dax sighed heavily as Brayden finally reached him through the crowd of Fauns, Gnomes, and other guests. "Good evening, High Priest. Are you enjoying the party so far?" he asked.
"Who let a Gray like you in? Is there a charity ball being held in the other room?" Brayden sneered, his posh Towerland accent making it seem comical. The boy behind him chuckled, whereas the girl looked like she wanted to be somewhere else. "Sir Gregore must have felt ill while making the guest list, to invite your ilk here."
         Luckily for Dax, their host was nearby chatting with an Elven  woman and overheard what was going on. "Speak of the devil, and he shall appear." He said, turning towards them. "Dax is here because we fought together for the Gnome King fifteen years ago, against Khazard and his armies. Do you know who Khazard is, Brayden?" Khazard was King of the Ardougenlands to the west, and had tried to invade the Towerlands more than once. Without the Gnome King and the several companies of warriors including Dax and Winston, Brayden's people would be enslaved.
         The look on the High Priest's face was a mix between embarrassment and pure hatred. With a sigh he said "I have friends to attend to, I take my leave." and turned around and left along with the acolyte and apprentice. Dax turned to his old friend, saying "Who knew my career choice would cause me so much trouble?" he chuckled. "Brayden has his head up his ass, like most of the Blue Order. I only invited him because the Mrs. wants our children to study under him." Winston replied, "But after that I doubt that will be possible."
"My apologies, I didn't mean to offend your wife or-"
"Oh shut up, Dax. It's a party! And to think that I want my children under his tutelage is insulting to my family name!" Winston downed his cup of Malatar red wine and then said "Oh, and how rude of me, Viessa, this is my friend and old comrade Dax Sealbrahn. Dax, this is the lovely Elven Lady Viessa Doman…Domanii…..Domanai….I'm not going to pronounce that. Anyways, talk to each other while I find my wife!"

And with that Sir Winston was off, carousing with Dryads and admiring all sorts of Basilisks and Gryphons. He had done the one thing he'd promised to do to Dax on purpose, ditch him. Viessa was drinking a glass of champagne, and looked up and down on Dax. She was wearing a green dress that seemed to go well with her black hair.

"So, Dax, how long have you known Winston?" she asked, taking a sip of her drink. Her deep green eyes seemed to look right through him.

"Damn that man for trying to set me up." he thought as he turned to her. He didn't drink normally, but he wished he did at that moment just to have something to do. "We've known each other for almost fifteen years now." he said, speaking softly as always.

Viessa nodded, she seemed to be distracted by something, however.

"Is something wrong, ma'am?" he asked, and she nodded again.

"Sorry, it's just that Earl Phillip is here, from the Towerlands. He goes to every party I go to and tries to court me. I think he sees us."

She said, but then shrugged. "Maybe he'll wait for us to stop talking, so let's have our conversation while walking. Does the upstairs menagerie seem like a good place to sit and chat?"

Dax shrugged back, "Sure." He'd heard of Earl Phillip, he was famous back at the academy for trying to denounce the forms of magic used by the Gray Order in the Sectorium, the court that made laws for all magic users.

Together they walked to the staircase, passing Dryads and Nymphs that spoke in hushed voices whenever Viessa seemed to pass. The floors were polished mahogany, soon to be covered in wine stains and footprints. They walked up the marble staircase, passing handlers holding cages of baby dragons, pixies and many exotic birds, all to entertain the guests.

"Robert must be enjoying his birthday party." Dax said, and Viessa chuckled.

"He doesn't like the fact that so many people he doesn't know are here to lick his father's shoes. He's probably at the menagerie as well, admiring the animals." she replied.

Sir Winston had started several expeditions to save animals that had magical capabilities from Bolsavgar, where the Wizards there didn't follow the Laws of Animal Protection and hunted magical creatures down mercilessly. He kept a good deal of them to put in his private menagerie, and the others went to sanctuaries around the Kingdom.

She led him through several parlors and past many enthusiastic guests to the menagerie, filled with cages that replicated the animal's environment. In several cages full of gryphons, the cage was decorated with real grass and shaped to resemble the hills of their native habitat. They were segregated by color, the golden gryphons were all in cages to the right while the gray ones were in cages on the left side of the room. The smell was tolerable due to servants constantly hanging perfumed flowers from the ceiling and cleaning up after the animals. Viessa led him through a door at the end of the room he hadn't noticed before, and showed him several hallways filled with animals.

"That's quite impressive." Dax said

"It's heartwarming to know that someone could care so much about these beautiful animals and spend so much time and money to save them." she replied, walking past talking birds who cried out in the Tarntra language."I always wonder what they're saying, I wish I spoke Tarntra."

"They're asking if you have food." Dax said, and she gave him a look of astonishment.

"You speak Tarntra?"

"It's my native language, I'm from Fannescondia,  the island to the east of Bolsavgar. These birds are almost everywhere there." he chuckled.

"Oh, you have the complexion of someone from the Far North, but you have the same accent as Winston's." she replied as they continued to walk down the hallway, seeing two full grown basilisks being fed deer meat by their keepers.

"I had to work very hard to get rid of it, you know how people around here used to be towards the Northerners, because of Khazard." Dax replied. "How did you meet Winston?"

"Oh, it was about a year ago, I was travelling with my brother, Ambassador Oarandon, and he accidentally spoke Western Elfish to him."

Dax laughed, saying "I remember him trying to flirt with an Elven lady and he did the same thing with her."

Viessa laughed, and she led him further down the hallway where large Ice Bears were being kept, most of them adolescents or cubs being fed milk bottles. further down the marble floored hallway was a young man who was the spitting image of Winston. He was about average height for a twelve year old, wearing a suit similar to Dax's. He was sitting on a stool, a notepad on his lap and pencil in hand. He had the same wild blonde hair and muscular build as Winston, and the same large nose. He was pale, which was unlike Winston, however. Viessa was watching the bears while Dax walked over to the boy.

"Excuse me," he called out to the boy, who nearly jumped out of his skin.

"Uh, yes? Sorry, I'll be down in a bit, I just wanted to finish my drawing." he said softly.

"Are you Robert, Winston's son?" Dax asked, and he saw the boy's eyebrow twitch. He'd noticed that he hadn't said "Sir" Winston, thus revealing that he was no average party guest looking to gain contacts and respect.

"Uh, yes.  I'm Robert. And who are you?" the boy replied.

"I'm Dax, friend of your father's." Dax held out his hand.

Rob shook it eagerly, saying "Oh, I've heard so much about you! You saved my father's life in the war against Khazard!"

Dax chuckled, "Only after he saved mine. We were in the same company, but he became an officer and moved to a different company, and I became a Military Investigator."

Rob nodded, "Yeah, he told me about that. He said you could notice little things about people, that's why you were moved?"

"That, and I had an affinity for magic. This was before people from the Far North joined any of the Orders, so I had no formal training in it. I could mostly tell what kind of spell was used and how. I also solved crimes committed by our own soldiers, if I had to. Your father tells me you have an affinity for magic as well."

The boy nodded "Yeah, my mother thinks I should join the Blue Order so I could support myself while I continue my drawings, but I don't think it'd be right for me. My father isn't as concerned about it." he shrugged, and Dax could sense that the boy was slightly nervous about the subject.

"Well, wizards of the Blue Order do get into a majority of the Universities, but they are all devout believers in Tephut as well. Their students usually look down on those who don't share their faith, and you're not a devout Tephutan, are you?" he asked, putting his hands behind his back.

"No, I'm not very religious at all. My mother prays to Tephut, and my father isn't exactly on the fence about religion."

"The Red Order is rivals with the Blue Order, and it's members worship the God Allech primarily. They also focus on enhancing or adapting harmful spells and summon a variety of creatures to study. This might be good for you, since you like animals." Dax said, although he knew that Robert wouldn't like then Reds.

Sure enough, Robert shook his head, saying "The Red Order studies in the Westerlands, and I don't like Westerling food. Not to mention how stuck up a lot of them are."

Dax nodded in approval. "Almost like the Towerlanders. Now, the Green Order is focused on maintaining balance in the world, and tries to preserve nature among other things. They are often worshippers of the Unnamed Goddess, and give up all earthly materials to pursue their studies."

Robert shook his head at that as well "No, I can't give up my drawings. It's how I calm down. That's the only thing I have against the Greens."

Dax saw anticipation in the boy, who was tapping his foot. He wanted him to explain the fourth Order.
"There's also the Gray Order, which I'm a member of."

Robert's face beamed at the mention of the Gray Order, he didn't hide the fact that he wanted to go there. "They don't practice magic in the name of and God or Goddess, and believe the world follows natural laws." he said excitedly.

"That is true; we keep religion out of our studies, unless someone wants to research a particular subject. You'll be allowed to bring your books and art supplies if you join, and will be encouraged to use whatever means to express yourself. We also encourage horse play, as it makes boys and girls tougher and builds comradeship, not to mention it's fun to occasionally smack someone." Dax said

Robert giggled, saying "And the Academy is in the city of Torselland, and I've always wanted to go there."

Dax smiled, "Torselland is a nice place, not glamorous or fancy, and there are fights in the street at night most of the time, but nothing too serious. There's also a constant competition about the spelling of Gray. To the Far North natives like me, it's g-r-a-y, whereas to the southerners it's spelt g-r-e-y." Robert seemed to enjoy listening about the Gray Order, so he asked "If your parents allow it, do you want to become a member of the Gray Order?"

Robert nodded vigorously, saying "Yes! Yes, I do, sir…..under….your tutelage?"

Dax chuckled "Yeah, okay. Go ask your father."

Dax ran off, and Viessa moved closer to him as more people came to see the animals.

"That was unexpected, and nice. He was so happy he didn't even notice me." she said chuckling.

"Sorry about that."

"Oh no, no worries. It makes me happy to see him like this. His father and I talked about you teaching him, while we were organizing another expedition to Bolsavgar. He seemed to hope this would happen." she was about to take a sip of her champagne, when she realized that her glass was empty. "Oh, this will not do. Come, let's get a refill and see if Phillip is still looking for me."

When they went downstairs, there seemed to be several animals, some in cages and others not with leashes and handlers, congregated at the northern end of the room. As they followed the crowd to see the animals rescued by Winston and Viessa's expeditions, they ran into Robert, who was folloed by his mother and father.

"Dax! I've just heard the news! You have no idea how happy that makes me! I know you'll take good care of my boy!" Winston said, laughing heartily.

His wife, Deborah, had a look of contempt on her face. "If it's what you want, Robert, then you can go ahead with it. Dax, shall we go fill out the proper paperwork?"

"No paperwork is needed for the admissions process; I just have to Trust Bind with him as my future student." Dax replied.

Robert, having done some previous research, nodded eagerly. "Yes mother, that's how Grays assure contracts with each other."

Deborah wasn't aware if the custom. "What is this, Trust Binding?"

"Robert and I hold hands, and I agree to teach him to be a member of the Gray Order and he agrees to wanting this. If either of us lies about it, our hands will get warm. It doesn't hurt, just a little sting. After his apprenticeship is complete, the Bind will wear off." Dax explained.

Deborah looked as if she was about to protest, but Winston said "Perfect! Let's do it in the courtyard!" and led them outside. He yelled loudly "Everyone gather in the courtyard! My son Robert is about to become an apprentice to the Gray Wizard Order!"

Everyone gathered outside, forming a circle around Robert and Dax, who stood in the center of the courtyard. They had reached out their right hands and held them as if they were shaking them. Dax began the ceremony by saying:

"I, Dax Sealbrahn, bind this as truth, to teach Robert Gregore as my apprentice."

There was a slight tingling sensation in the back of his hand, and then Robert said "I, Robert Gregore, bind this as truth, to become Dax Sealbrahn's apprentice."

The crowd applauded, except for Brayden and his entourage, their disapproval was noticeable. After Winston was finished congratulating his son, he called out "What seems to be the matter, High Priest Brayden?"

"Oh shit." Dax thought, he was looking for a fight. Or rather, by the look on his face, he was looking for Dax to fight him. He didn't have a problem with it, but he didn't want Deborah to despise him. He wasn't exactly in her top ten list. Brayden himself wouldn't lay a hand on him, he'd send one of his guards to challenge him to a fist de cuffs.

"I came to this party under the understanding that you would ask for Robert to be placed in the Blue Order, Sir Gregore." Brayden called out.

"I am sorry for the misunderstanding, Brayden. I invited you because it had been a long time since we'd seen each other. I am sorry to have caused any confusion." Winston called out.

Brayden was fuming, his well-to-do pride being smudged. "I do believe that you have done this on purpose, and challenge you!"
Many in the crowd gasped, including Viessa. Winston smiled, and his wife looked down in embarrassment. "I accept, my champion shall be Dax Provdy, as I do not want to ruin my new suit. It is very expensive."

As Dax walked forward, Brayden called out "My champion shall be Sir Eustace, captain of the Silver Angels!" The Silver Angels were just one of the many groups of religious warriors under the service of the Blue Order. Dax couldn't remember if they were supposed to be an elite force or not, it mattered not, he was confident in his abilities.

A tall, muscular blonde man with blue eyes and a ceremonial military coat decorated with badges stepped forward. The two fighters took off their jackets and handed them to the men they were defending. They raised their fists, and the fight began.
Dax then anticipated, analyzing every detail he could muster about his opponent. He was from the Towerlands, and trained by the Silver Angels. In order to become one, initiates had to undergo basic training and have two years of experience at least. A Captain would have another five years on top of that. Basic training almost always included boxing, most likely the Southern style which had fighters stand with their left foot forward, which meant that the fighter would probably throw a right haymaker, which was easy to deflect.

The two men walked forward, and sure enough Eustace swung his right fist in a haymaker. Dax rushed forward, his left arm bent in an upwards V to block the punch and stop Eustace from moving. His left arm was placed at his elbow, preventing the man from moving forward. With his right hand, Dax grabbed the man’s shirt collar and kneed him in the groin. He then wrapped his left arm around Eustace’s right and punched his solar plexus. The captain raised his left hand to defend himself, but Dax grabbed the back of his head and threw him forward towards Winston. The man fell of the ground, the wind knocked out of him, and his groin throbbing. He coughed and gasped as the Tephutans watched in shock as their champion had been beaten in less than a minute. Dax turned to look at Robert, who was smiling with admiration.
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