This one might be going somewhere.
| For your consideration, a messy fragment from a musty, unfinished project. I've got lots and lots of words; an intoxicated band of unruly characters vying for the lead and an uncooperative plot. Grammar and Punctuation were last seen rolling on the floor naked in the kitchen. Posted here for your amusement and thoughts.|
Writing a draft, I throw everything into the chicken stock and let it simmer. I'm pretty good at picking out the unpalatable bits but always appreciate some help. Please let me know if you find something worth keeping. And thanks for slogging thru the swamp with me.
William's father stood admiring a large stone and brick building.The Lord Mayor of Anari-Anar lived and worked at this mansion not far from the Drummond. Jonn strode through the front gate. The guards at the entrance did not interfere, they had been ordered otherwise should they meet a tall priest wandering about.
The Mayor's large office had many tall windows looking out to the harbor. It was decorated with ship's flags and paintings of historic naval battles. The doors to the office suddenly burst open and there stood Father Jonn, a very old friend of the Mayor. The Mayor's assistant, Smith, stood right behind, looking flustered.
"Lord Mayor, I tried to stop him but..."
Mayor Ian looked up calmly.
"Ah, Father Jonn, what a surprise. I have not seen you in sixteen years, not since your wedding."
"Smith, please go and retrieve a bottle of wine for my guest. I'll leave the selection to your discretion." Smith quickly left the room shutting the double door behind him
"We have no time for that, Ian"
"Not even a glass of wine?"
"Lord Mayor. The Crown prince Harold has been kidnapped from the Imperial City and his abductors may be in this area at this very moment. There is no time to lose, you must send your men at arms and the house cavalry into the forest to keep watch."
The Lord Mayor shifted in his seat and stroked his long white beard for a short time till he looked up at Jonn. "Daniel! Come in here," the Mayor called through the door to his head secretary. A lively young man dressed in a red and white uniform came into the Mayor's office with a wine bottle in one hand. "My Lord?" he said.
Jonn watched as Ian stood from behind his desk, he had grown old. A black sash over his shoulder carried a large silver disc that bore the emblem of his office. A long light robe of gray and silver, with a matching cape, covered his thin frame.
"Daniel, have the bell towers manned and send orders for the army and navy to go on alert, then find my generals and have them come here as quickly as possible."
The Lord Mayor was frail but his mind was young. "Father, how came you by this knowledge?"
John recounted everything the Admiral had said concerning the capture of Prince Harold; except the news from Cairntarry, Jonn decided to wait on that.
"I see," said Ian and he sat in a rocking chair next to the desk. "It would have been better if Admiral Peter had come to me directly once he learned the Grand Wizard was away."
"Aye," said Jonn "But he is a steward of the king's secrets and is protecting them as wisely as anyone could manage under the circumstances."
"I see-- well, it is no matter now if the admiral choose wisely or not. We must act today with what we know today. I will search the northern realm from top to bottom and side to side. Now, Father, I think I should tell you some of my secrets"
"We have had a whole series of kidnappings up and down the river, all the victims have been wizards but not all the attempts have been successful. The Wizard Eternus killed ten of them when they showed up on his property so we have had a few dead men to search, although... many of the bodies were reduced to ash."
"They bodies examined were wearing these" The Mayor produced four small tin amulets attached to ovals of leather cord, indecipherable markings were stamped on each. "The markings are each different and each man bore a tattoo on his shoulder matching the amulet he wore."
"Curious, eh?" concluded the Mayor.
"I would say that these tags mark each man as a soldier, a slave, or both," said Father John.
The Lord Mayor Ian replied, "It is good to have a Paladin by my side once again. I feel it in my bones, we are in great peril. I think the time is upon us to make preparations for war. Royals and wizards are taken hostage right from their beds. What we don't know will undoubtedly be worse than what we do know."
Jonn interrupted, "You should know that Cairntarry was attacked by seaborne raiders some months ago."
"Unfortunate this. Father, I know you are one of the Kings Men. Tell me what you would have me do?"
"We must give King Clarence the time he requires to prepare the people and their Lords for this threat. The King is well aware of what is going on and we must trust in his judgment. Preparations for war are expensive and should there be a general panic it will ruin the harvest and the economy will collapse. We must keep these facts in mind as we chart a course."
Ian hesitated, "Look out the windows, Father, such a pretty day for such foul news... A pity." The Mayor began to pace before his desk
"We are indeed fortunate to have so great a King as Clarence in these uncertain days. I will leave it to him to call for war. You are right, if we mobilize too early it will not go well for us. Today I will do all in my power to locate the Crown Prince. Let us pray that we will find him alive.
" Where will you go now, Sir Jonn? I would be glad to have you here to help coordinate the search."
"You don't need me to help search your own city. I think I'll make my rounds of the churches and temples, tend to the sick and offer some prayers for the good fortune of our people. I do not expect to be back till tomorrow, perhaps at dawn. I have a meeting tonight I dare not miss.
"Goodbye, for now, Ian.
The two men shook hands and Jonn left the Mayor's mansion and walked out to a large courtyard of cobblestone which held the stables. Jonn mounted his horse and walked the animal to a stone wall at the edge of a cliff. All the lower city was before him . He looked down to the river and the great port filled with tall ships and galleys, then North to the Roaring Falls that are the beginning of the Great River and East to the Green Mountains that mark the far side of the valley. All this land between the mountains was Jonn's appointed domain.
Jonn was thinking of his son, "will this valley be his fortune when all is done? Will he survive long enough to inherit it?"
Then he turned his gaze to the North-East. Many hundreds of miles across impassable mountains and forests, lay the city of Cairntarry on the North Coast. That city had Jonn worried, he worried a great deal these days.
That day was long remembered for its miracles. Wounds and illnesses which the local priests could not heal-- were healed. From the upper city to the poorest boat in the harbor, good cheer and good health followed Father John wherever he wandered.
It was late evening and the sun was beginning to set. Up ahead two men walked, one was very large wearing a fancy hat and the other was a soldier wearing plate armor, they were walking in the same direction so Jonn joined them.
"We are well met," Jonn said, "An interesting pair. James and William of the House of Ferdinan out and about on a fine summers eve."
"Brother," said James without turning his head. "We have been out looking for you. You have been busy"
"Father!" said William and he turned to give his father a hug. "I have had the most amazing Day!"
"Not now, son, there will soon be a time for secrets but in a better location than this. That tower ahead is our destination, it is the most ancient place in Inari-Anar. We will meet some special people there and all the secrets that you need to know will be ..."
Jonn was interrupted when a bolt of lightning hit the top of the tower and something large roared in response. A pillar of fire shot through the clouds and thunder rolled away with echoes reflecting in all directions.
"Keep close," Jonn said to his son and all three sprinted for the entrance to the tower.