Order of the Red Band

Forging the Blades, Part I

Rhys Arrives

If Urbites hadn’t told Yorastor the man approaching was a member of the Sklar-Quah tribe of the Shoanti, Yorastor would never have believed, nor guessed it. He was armored in full plate-mail with a lance in his right hand a large steel shield in the other. His mount was a fine charger with beautifully crafted mail. The shield was unusual – glossy green shimmer to the metal contrasted with flowing flames painted on the front. Fresh paint too. Everything about the knight, for he really did appear to be a knight, seemed to be straight out of the Mendevian Crusaders or the Ozemites. Either way, Urbites assured him the man was a friend, was also interested in quickly, and safely, leaving the sphere of influence that was Magnimar and was more than formidable on the field of battle. While Yorastor never questioned Urbites knowledge he did wonder about where the man met some of the people he mentioned.

The closer he came the more details resolved themselves. A heavy warhammer was on his hip and an axe rested on the far side the heavy weapons harness that girdled the plate mail. Yorastor turned to Urbites, “You said he came by ship, right?”

Urbites nodded, his black eyes gleaming and his beak almost cracked in a wry grin. It was hard to tell with his alien physiology but Yorastor was almost certain the man loved these moments – moments where Yorastor’s mind whirled through the problem at hand. He couldn’t tell if the bird-man did it for amusement, as a test, a confirmation or something else in between but Yorastor was coming to expect his friend would present something in the fashion that made Yorastor work the most to get it. “Yes, Yorastor he did.”

“And precisely what sort of man wears that much armor on-board? I know my sailing knowledge is limited Urbites but I’ve learned well the weight of anything while trying to float. He’d drown in moments, no matter his strength.” About the same time Rhys’s, the approaching Shoanti’s name, approach was close enough to permit fine-grained details. Yorastor could spot the motifs of leaping fish and cresting waves. The etching was expertly done and to Yorastor’s arcane eye the enchantment stood out on the metal. Ah, that explains it. The armor was enchanted to provide buoyancy. He bet the man could swim in it better than Yorastor could naked. The axe was clearly of a kind for use on-board ships with a sharp back spike counterbalancing the wide front cutting edge. The warhammer shown of silver – a most unusual choice in a battering weapon – but prudent nonetheless. This warrior was clearly a unique combination of things – and a sight to behold too. At the final approach he flipped up his visor with a long practiced flick of his head. Inside was a faced framed by padding and burned dark by the sun. Overlaying the dark, betel-nut colored skin were primitive tattoos of flames and efreeti. Something that appeared to be an ash or smoke cloud formed close to the hairline and a line of fire, like that of a plains burn ran across the man’s forehead. He smiled revealing clean, white teeth with only one or two missing or broken off. He wears a helmet, I’ll give him that. The hair was silvered and ash colored at the ends and darker black towards the roots. He’d seen more than a few summers and likely more than a few battles.

Urbites reached forward, clasping forearms with the man and grinning broadly. “Well met cousin!”

The deep baritone rolled out of the massive man, “Be welcome as well my cousin Urbites. I’ve missed your company and your note could not have come at a better time. I am grateful.” The massive, metaled warrior pivoted to Yorastor giving the appearance of an adult meeting an adolescent. For all their differences in size however the Prime Theurge’s force of presence was enough to make the warrior seem crude and primitive – as if his entire approach to the world was not only wrong but ineffective. Nonetheless, Urbites assured him this was the man they needed to lead the Blades of the Magi. 

Nethys burn me, your humor knows no ends does it? You send me a knight to lead our fighters, he travels by boat, with accoutrements to show such travel frequent and prove useful, yet he is a knight in truth with a mount. A mount that is completely useless at sea. Also, he’s a member of the Sklar-Quah, a horseman of the sun and fire-blasted plains. Why on earth would he don plate mail to begin with let alone take it to get on a ship?! Don’t think I didn’t notice the fact he doesn’t seemingly even possess a sword, either. How can a man with no sword be called First Blade! How can he be in the Blades of the Magi?! Clearly, there were some good tales to tell about this man’s adventures.

Yorastor turned to Urbites with his eyes flashing. The message was clear, “I know you and Nethys think this is funny but I am not amused.”

I sure hope he proves his skills this afternoon against Dorin and the other assembled fighters.


Zandu abacus

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