Episode 4: The Magi at Amber Ledge - Part Two
The fractured key remained fractured six hours later as a very confused looking Donathan tried spell after spell to bind the materials. He had long ago determined that the explosion had not damaged the key, but instead some kind of action that the Mistress had taken just before her demise.
“Are we certain we can’t get to Evanor without the key?” he asked me.
I could only shrug. “The prison chambers were up on floating platforms. I need to fly up there if I’m going to get to them. Since they’re on floating platforms, I figure they’re guarded with magical keys too. Can’t you just fuse it together?”
“Were it so easy,” Donathan grumbled. “This is dark magic and I’m not certain I can fix it at all.”
“We have to assume that same dark magic is what’s keeping Evanor contained,” I added. “If we can’t repair the key, then we’re not likely to pick whatever lock they’re using either.”
“I’m aware of that, Sepher. There is only one other that we can turn to,” Donathan said as he scooped up the key pieces and handed them to me. “He doesn’t like to work with me, but he was very kind to Lady Evanor. Perhaps you can talk to him.”
“His name is Surristrasz. He’s the red dragon assigned to defend this tower.”
“You want me to go talk to that dragon?”
“You’ll need a ride to the prison cell anyway, right?”
I rolled my eyes. “All right, Donathan, sure. I’ll go talk to the dragon.”
The trip down to the exit was one that I used to run through my conceptual knowledge of dragons. There was little to know about them other than the fact that I had killed my share and I had been forced to flee from that many more. They were dangerous and powerful creatures, and I was about to have a conversation with one.
Just beyond the front door of the tower I could see Surristrasz resting with his head on the ground. His eyes were open, seemingly watching the sky, but I had no idea if that meant he was awake or not. I couldn’t help but wonder if dragons slept with their eyes closed as I approached. Still, I knew I had a job to do so when I got close I started to speak.
“Excuse me,” I started nervously. “I’ve come to speak to you about a key.”
“You’ve hold a powerful relic in your hand,” the dragon replied with a booming voice that nearly caused me to jump out of my skin. “You were sent to me by Donathan?”
“Yes,” I answered. “This key is broken and we think we can use it to save Lady Evanor.”
“I can mend this relic,” the dragon said. “Place the pieces on the ground, magi.”
I did as I was told and stepped back. The dragon shifted his great weight and a deep rumble came out of its mouth. Instead of black smoke and fire, I was surprised to see wisps of red energy spiral out, down, and encircle the two key fragments.
“Do not look directly at the relic,” the dragon muttered.
“Right,” I replied, turning away.
There was a bright flash and then a gust of wind before the dragon gave a guttural moan and called my attention.
“The key is mended. Do you know where Evanor is being held?”
I shook my head. “Not exactly. I know the area.”
“I can sense her magics. I will take you to her so that she can be freed.”
“Thank you,” I replied. “I’m glad for your help.”
“Climb atop my back and tell me where I need to go, magi.”
“Should we tell Donathan?”
“The Librarian needs to know nothing of the matter,” the dragon rumbled. “We have what we need and we need only what we have.”
“Sure,” I said as I climbed on the dragon’s back. “Let’s get to it.”
Suddenly, and with great energy, Surristrasz was airborne. I shouted the directions to the point where I had found the sorcerers and the dragon was quick to alter his course. We flew for no more than twenty minutes before we were circling down on the platforms where the prison containers were resting. There were still a few loyal dragonkin that had remained at their post, but before I could even bother building up energy to fight them, Surristrasz rained fire on them and turned them to ash.
We landed on the first platform and I went to work on the cages, opening each one to reveal scared farmers, soldiers, and other Kirin Tor that had gone missing over the past several weeks.
Finally, while Surristrasz was busy shuttling other prisoners to the ground, I opened the last prison and found a ragged Evanor standing in chains. It had been at least seven years since we had last seen one another, but she had not changed at all. She had long black hair that rested past her waist and her bright blue eyes still glowed with magical energy. She wasn’t much older than me, after all, and she was still young enough to look young, if that makes any sense.
She started to utter a thank you, but then she stopped short as recognition took hold. A small smile crept over her face and she reached up a hand to touch my nose.
“Sionis?” she asked. “Sionis Sepher?”
“Hello, Evanor,” I said, choking back whatever deadly swirl of emotions had ignited in my gut.
“What… I mean how did you get here?”
“Well, you know, adventure called,” I replied sarcastically.
“Indeed,” she said with a smile. “If I’d known you were coming, I’d have tried to clean up a bit.”
“You look fine,” I said as I finished unlocking her last restraint. “Come on, Lady Evanor, let’s get you back to Amber Ledge.”
The very weak Evanor leaned forward, resting her weight on my shoulder as I helped her toward Surristrasz where the dragon could take her back to the tower. Once she was aboard I jumped up to hold her in place, and together we lifted into the air and turned back toward the tower.
“I can’t thank you enough,” Evanor mumbled. “They were going to kill me, I think.”
“I’m just glad I could help,” I replied. “You’re going to be safe now.”
“Thank you,” she said again.
I didn’t respond. I didn’t know how to respond.
By the time I had a response ready, Evanor had fallen asleep on the back of the dragon, probably the first time since her capture that she’d willingly allowed herself to sleep. I channeled some of my magical energy to her as she slept so that she would wake feeling somewhat rested, and when Surristrasz finally touched down at Amber Ledge I discovered that there were already several Kirin Tor waiting for us. Librarian Donathan personally helped Evanor off the beast without waking her and she was whisked inside without another word. I thought about following them inside, but I knew that nothing good would come of me standing in a tower with that many Kirin Tor mages. Instead, I turned toward the stables, but before I could walk away the dragon called for me.
“You are a brave and powerful mage, Sionis Sepher. I hope that you are able to one day claim the peace that you so desperately seek.”
I stood there dumbfounded.
“Time heals all wounds. Even the wound of a broken heart.”
“Not this wound,” I said, suddenly feeling angry. “Magic will heal this wound.”
“Perhaps,” Surristrasz said calmly. “Perhaps not.”
Sionis frowned. He’d given that answer so many times before. To hear someone else say it was infuriating. He’d have to remember that the next time it was on the tip of his tongue.
“I’ll just have to come back and show you the proof when I have what I seek.”
“Until then, magi,” Surristrasz grumbled. “Travel well.”