A young inexperienced mage is put under a geas that brings him half a world away to danger
The Powers Of Haddenspor
Chapter 1 - Tower Of The Elements
Tafon slung the bag containing his few possessions over his shoulder, with an air of confidence, he would not have credited himself less than a year ago. He sauntered down the gangplank, taking a look back over his shoulder at the Kolo Duck. Captain Jessy stood on deck watching him leave, with a nod of his head.
All the farewell he would get from the captain even though he had asked Tafon only a short while ago to stay on as his first mate. Tafon acknowledged the nod with a wave before turning once more to look around the dockside. He sighed, like a man happy to return to dry land. The Kolo Duck had been his home for several months, and although he had taken well to a life at sea. It felt good to have solid ground under his feet and to see faces other than the crew.
None of this took away from the feeling of dread, and anger that nagged at him. That which brought him here half a world away to Haddenspor. Somewhere not far away now someone or something he was not sure which awaited. Waited for him, compelled, forced him to leave his home. He did not realise at the time, just what was happening to him. Already an outcast in his village for using magic lore which was forbidden by the elders. Tafon did not see any harm in it; at first, all he had done was use a little magic here and there. Only small things which he thought had gone unnoticed. Now it seemed he was paying for his sins. It was shortly after being caught using magic that he first felt the geas on him. At first, he tried to ignore it until the compulsion became too loud for him to ignore any more. When he set out, he thought it some urgent plea for help that his use of magic somehow sensed. He met an old witch woman in Janolo; she told him someone had put a geas on him. She tried to lift it without success; in the end, she said the only one who could is the one who put the geas upon him.
He walked along a dirty narrow street strewn with litter and reeking of an obnoxious odour that made him wrinkle his nose in disgust. Looking up, he could see in the distance a tower that dwarfed every other building in the city. Its steepled pinnacle seemed to touch the sky. Somehow he knew that is where he needed to go. He made his way towards the city centre. The streets were more and more crowded with people jostling one and other as they went to and thro talking and calling to one other. Their voice’s merging into one cacophony of noise never had he seen so many people in all his life.
Tafon found his way to a busy Inn, buying some food and drink and sat listening to the local gossip. There appeared to be some trouble from what he could gather, a kind of political power struggle. The bit of information that caught his attention; however, was about someone trapped in a magic sphere; there was also something about the daughter of whoever was trapped in the sphere.
After leaving the Inn Tafon made his way to the tower, the geas felt stronger now. There were guards posted outside the main entrance into the area of the tower. The tower itself seemed further back than he thought at first. Keeping his distance, he walked around the circular outer wall. He eventually found a servants entrance and waited as the sun sank on the horizon. As he expected a horse and cart drew up outside the gate, making sure no one saw him. He crept under the wagon, hoisting himself up and held on to the central wheel shaft as the gate opened. The driver spurred the horse on entering the inner courtyard as the gate closed behind them.
“So far so good,” he whispered.
The cart came to a halt outside a storehouse Tafon could hear voices and a door opening. He waited several minutes listening when all appeared quiet; he dropped down, keeping low. He moved between several buildings keeping to the shadows as twilight began to shroud his surroundings in semi-darkness. Tafon came to what he thought was another wall at first; up-close, it appeared to be a domed circular building. Feeling his way around the building, he eventually came to a locked door. Tafon smiled, opening locked doors with a spell; he knew well. Reciting the necessary mantra in his head, he expected the door to open straight away. Nothing happened, cursing under his breath he tried twice more.
“Is it magically locked?” He considered trying one more time. The door finally creaked open. Keeping low, he peered inside. To the right, a wall blocked the way; leaving a wide corridor dimly lit by wall-mounted torches on either side. Silently he entered closing the door behind him. On the far side of the hallway diagonally across, he made out another door. Nerves jangling he quietly approached the door on the opposite wall. Putting his ear to the door, he listened. Tafon barely made out voices raised as if in a bitter debate. Suddenly he heard footsteps echoing down the corridor drawing nearer. Caught in the light of nearby torches, he sought to try and merge with the shadows. He moved away from the door noticing at the same time what looked like a small recess further along the hallway he headed towards it. The nook turned out to be a stairway leading upwards. Relieved he silently took the stairs, at the top he stood on a circular balcony looking down into a room with a long table in the centre around which he could make about six or seven men talking. At the head of the table sat a woman with long auburn hair braided at the back. He couldn't make out her features from his position, but from the way she sat rigidly, he guessed her to be not happy with the discussions taking place.
As he watched the woman roughly stood pushing back her chair and left the men still arguing amongst themselves. Tafon moved around the balcony finding an adjoining section that led into the central tower. The geas felt even stronger now he saw more stairs leading upwards. Climbing higher, he stopped several times to catch his breath, finally coming to a door which opened seemingly on its own as he reached for it. Entering a room lit solely by a magic crystal-like substance inside which an elderly white-haired and bearded man stood transfixed. Instinctively Tafon knew the man frozen inside the crystal to be the one responsible for putting the geas on him. He studied the crystal and the man within for several minutes trying to think of way break the barrier. He tried one or two spells; none of them worked. He was so engrossed in trying to solve the puzzle before him he didn’t notice someone else enter the room behind him.
Tafon felt a sharp blow to the back gasping in pain as he went sprawling across the floor. He tried to turn and rise to face his assailant before he could; however, his foe straddled across him pinning him to the ground.
“Stop, there assassin try to move, and I’ll kill you. I’m trained in unarmed combat, and I know how to place a blow so that it can be fatal.”
“I’m no assassin I was trying to break the crystal to release the man within,” Tafon noted his captor sounded feminine. He just managed to turn his head enough so he could make out in the light of the crystal his captor was the woman he had seen earlier
“Liar,” the woman accused pressing him further on to the floor. “If you’re not an assassin you are surely a thief to get in here.”
Despite her threat to kill him Tafon struggled to break free expecting the killing blow any moment. He managed to get one hand free and muttered a spell which lifted the woman of her feet sending her across the room as he finally got to his feet — the woman was, quick to recover rising to meet him. Tafon prepared to cast another spell as the woman came at him again. Before either could act, a vision of the man in the crystal appeared between them.
“Father!” Her eyes wide in shock her bottom lip trembled slightly. Tafon noted a hint of sadness in the look she gave the apparition before them.
“Stop, both of you," raising his hands he turned his head to look at both of them. “Elvira, my daughter, stay your temper; I brought this young man here to help you.”
Elvira glanced from the vision to Tafon the look she gave Tafon filled with scorn. “What this thief he is nothing but a vagabond,” she pouted angrily at him. “He may have learned a little magic. How is he going to be of any use to us?”
Tafon sighed, “It’s going to be like that is it.” The woman clearly considered him to be a low born oath. Maybe he was compared to her, but she had no right to speak to him like that. Tafon glared at Elivra nostrils flaring. “I told you I’m no thief I was forced to come here against my will. At least I want to hear why your father brought me here and how to lift the geas he placed on me.”
“Enough both of you,” the Archmage spoke through the projected image his voice sounding hollow. “I haven't much time to speak with you apart from the fact our enemy might become aware that I can still use a limited amount of magic even though I’m trapped it’s also draining my remaining reserves.”
“Sir can you at least lift the geas from me,” Tafon pleaded.
The Archmage projection sighed mimicking the corporeal person trapped within the crystal. “What is your name young man?”
“Tafon Nafrin,” he answered.
“I’m sorry Tafon, to have brought you here, but we are sorely in need of your help---“
“I don’t need this commoner’s help I’ll find a way to release you from this prison myself.” Elvira interrupted folding her arms in front giving Tafon a haughty stare.
“Elvira please, you must work together with this young man,” he paused. “Tafon as long as you agree to go with my daughter and help you will no longer feel any compulsion on you. However, should you stray from what you must do the geas will be painful to bear?”
Tafon frowned considering “How am I to help?”
“I have searched far and wide for a mage of your strength you are more powerful than you realise. One day if you survive and with the correct training you may equal myself in power.”
Tafon felt stunned by what the Archmage said shaking his head in disbelieve. “Sir you expect too much of me I know some magic it is true, but I doubt I can be of much use to you or your daughter.” To this Elvira grunted in agreement.
“You must go with Elvira, Haddenspor is in danger, and that danger may spread to encompass your homeland. There are dark forces at work. I do not yet know who they are, but they have allies everywhere even here within Haddenspor and my tower.” He paused Tafon felt the Archmage's words send shivers down his spine there was no doubt in Tafon’s mind he was deadly serious. “It is these allies that have managed to deceive and imprison me in this crystal.
Tafon nodded, “Very well sir I will help I’m not sure I will be of much use, but I will try my best.” He glanced at Elvira giving a faint smile and bow of the head. She ignored him looking down on him like some insect before grunting and looking away.
“Elvira please,” the Archmage pleaded.
“Very well for your sake father, I’ll try to work with this ruffian, but I don’t trust him and if he gives me cause I’ll kill him in a blink of an eye.”
The Archmage sighed the vision wavered and vanished. Tafon shook his head as he stared at Elvira. Tafon noticed something for the first time las he looked up at the domed ceiling. A dazzling display of light flashed across the domed roof. “What is this tower anyway,” Tafon spoke to no one in particular.
“It's an elemental tower my father is an elemental mage,” Elvira elaborated. “When you’ve finished gaping can you get out the way you came in if anyone spots you leaving you're liable to end up in prison and of no use to my father or me.”
“Yes, but how do we meet up afterwards?”
Elvira pursed her lips. “Do you know The Prancing Horse Inn?”
“I can find it,” Tafon replied. He was about to leave when Elvira spoke further.
“Do you have a horse?”
Elvira sighed, “Very well I’ll bring the horses, meet me there before noon tomorrow.” She turned to leave saying no more. Tafon waited a few minutes looking at the Archmage trapped within the crystal. “I’ll do my best to help you sir despite your daughter.” With a bow of the head, he left as silently as he came.
Tafon waited till well past noon before Elvira arrived. She entered the inn looking around until she spotted him sitting in a corner. Tafon, seeing Elvira for the first time in the full light of day felt his face burn. Though not a stunning beauty, she could turn a man’s head. Her long braided hair shone lustrously with a blush to her cheeks a small nose, green eyes and full red lips. Her petite figure, well proportioned. She wore a light-weight mail shirt, riding britches and boots;.she stood half a head shorter than he. Tafon watched her as she strode purposefully towards him — her expression as superior as ever.
She stopped in front of his table and gave him a haughty look, “Well, are you ready? It’s time we got going we have a long way to go.”
Tafon gave her a disbelieving look, “Ready I’ve been sat around here waiting for you since midday!”
“Well come on then,” she turned to leave.
Tafon got to his feet shaking his head; he followed her out to where two horses waited Elvira pointed to a grey dun while she mounted a black. They rode out of town heading north.
Chapter Three - Tower of Ice