Zarin Testa and the Andrake Academy
Copyright © 2016 by Jandar Tyr
All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved
Once back with the crowd, Craven realized what he had done. Tabor was beyond angry with him. He was furious. He would have to face his father and tell him he had failed. Craven knew it was all his fault. Zarin had out smarted him again. He was so mad at himself. He had to find a way to make up for his failure or Tabor would out him from his group of friends. Already he refused to talk with him and made him walk behind them. Craven wasn't exactly the brains of the group and he didn't come from one of the most influential of families. All he had was his magical talent and what wits he could summon. Would it be possible for him to get the ring back from them? Or should he just find some other way of taking his revenge. Magically, he was no match for Zarin, and physically, he couldn't match Reno. But maybe there was a way. The weakest one of the group would be his target. Trip. He had no family in Winterhaven like Zarin and Dack. Trip had come with Reno from Andros, a country far away from Winterhaven. Not very much was known about Andros, except that it had been overthrown by a mage named Mahlos, and the royal family had been killed. Reno was supposed to be a cousin to Prince Shayn so Craven guessed it was possible he had belonged to the Andros royal family. Trip was Reno's best friend very good with his magic. But magic wouldn't be enough to save him if Craven could do this right. He smiled as his thoughts begin to come together into a plan. He decided to work alone. That way there would be no one but himself to blame if thing went wrong. but he knew he would have to tell Tabor.
As they boarded the Golden Goblin to return to Winterhaven, Craven went to talk to Tabor. He found him alone on deck stewing over his failure.
"Tabor." he said. "I need to talk with you."
"Haven't you done enough already?" He turned from his ex-friend.
"I screwed up bad I know." Craven said. But what if I can get the ring back?"
"Then you will be my second again." Tabor turned to look at him. "What do you have planned?"
"To get the ring back." He turned and walked off. "By myself."
"You should have see us, Thalia." Reno patted Dack on his back. "If Dack's spell had affected you, you would have thought we were Tabor, Aron and Elan. We had Craven so mad, I thought his head would explode."
Thalia and Trip laughed with the rest of the group. "See, the studying is paying off." She told him.
"What are we going to do with the ring?" Trip asked. Everyone looked at Zarin for the answer.
"I don't know." Zarin shrugged. "I didn't think beyond keeping them from getting it."
"But I just had a thought." Trip said. "What if we get back to Winterhaven and Tayor is waiting at the docks with guards. He could say we stole it from Tabor. What would happen?"
"They would take it from us and give it to him." Reno said. Everyone had a scared look on their face. "I'm sure he could come up with some false proof that it was his ring."
"Then we need to get rid of it." Zarin pulled the ring from his pocket and held it over the side of the ship.
"Wait." Trip stopped him. "I could fly it back and return before we dock. No evidence, no charges. Besides, If we don't have the ring, Professor will back us. He knows we wouldn't steal."
"But we did steal it." Dack told them.
"No, not really." Thalia stopped Dack. "If it belonged in the mine, it would have been detected by the magic of the dwarves and the mine. We never would have made it out with it in our pocket."
Zarin handed the ring to Trip. "Go, and get back fast."
Trip popped it in his mouth then looked around to be sure no one was watching. Then he climbed on the rail and leapt off. Shifting in the air he took off on the winds and sped for Winterhaven.
A few minutes later Tabor and the Elves walked over to confront them
"What do you want?" Zarin asked.
"You know what I want." Tabor spat at them. "Give it to me now and save yourself from the city dungeons."
"We don't know what you're talking about." Zarin told him as the Elves stepped up on him. Reno and Dack stood with Zarin.
"You know what I'm talking about. You have the ring." Elan reached for Zarin's bag.
"Touch that bag, and I'll rip off your arm and beat you with it." Reno took Zarin's bag from him.
"Why don't you trolls get lost." Walking out in front of Tabor, Thalia frowned at them. "We didn't do anything to you, so get away from us."
"LIARS!!" Tabor's face turned red as he screamed at them. He raised his hands focused on a spell.
"Mr. Larin don't you dare!!" In an explosion of smoke, Professor Insa appeared between them smoke rising all around him. "What is the meaning of this!!"
"They took something of mine!" Tabor shouted. "And I want it back!"
Professor Insa turned to Zarin and his friends. "Is this true Mr. Testa?"
"We don't have anything that belongs to them Professor."
"He's lying!" Elan reached again for Zarin's bag. Reno pulled away snarling at Elan. "Search them, you'll find it."
"Can I see the bag Mr. Andropolos?" Prof Insa held out his hand.
"Of course you can." Reno handed the bag over to him and stood with his friend. Prof. Insa opened the bag and went through it.
"What exactly am I looking for in here?" He asked.
Zarin smiled at Tabor.
"Yeah Tabor. What did we steal from you? Was it expensive?"
Aron started to say something when Tabor shot him a look. He knew if the Professor found the ring, he'd know what it was. Tabor couldn't have that. He could wait until the ship docked and his father was there.
"Never mind Professor." He turned to walk off.
"Mr. Larin!" Prof Insa called him. "Don't you think you owe them an apology?"
"HUMPH!!" Tabor and his friends all stormed to the other side of the boat.
"What was that all about" Prof Insa asked them. "Did something happen while I was away?"
"No." Zarin told him. "We had an interesting tour of the mine. Dack didn't feel well, so we let him get some rest. Tabor's a jerk. Other then that, it was fun."
"Yeah." They all echoed Zarin smiling.
Prof Insa looked at them like he suspected they were leaving something out. He looked around for a second.
"Where's Mr. Tricolos?"
"Here!" They heard coming from behind the cabin deck. Trip came out sweeping his jet black hair back from his face. It was wet. They looked at him.
"Big waves up forward. Stay back from the rails up there."
"If you're all OK." Prof Insa turned to go. "I'll go get the others ready to disembark. We're almost home."
"See ya Professor!!' Thalia wave as he left. Once he was gone they all went into the cabin and shut the door.
"That was fast!" Dack brushed feathers from Trip's shoulder. Trip nodded.
"Any problems?" Zarin asked.
"No," He said "But I was right. Tabor's father is waiting at the docks with guards. We'll be searched when we get back."
"You hid the ring?"
"Yeah." Trip said. "They won't find it."
Over at the window, Thalia had been watching to be sure Tabor couldn't spy on them. She saw something that disturbed her.
"Look everybody." She waved them over.
"What?" Reno asked.
"It's Craven. He's all alone out there. They won't talk to him."
"Of course. Tabor's pretty mad at him." Reno looked out at him. "Not only did he blow it, he hit him."
"Don't feel sorry for him." Dack stepped away from the others. " Not after all the bullying he's done to us. I'm not sorry."
"Dack, he used to be one of your closest friends." Thalia looked depressed. "How can you stand it?"
"He changed." Dack said. "It was weird."
"You want to go cheer him up." Zarin asked.
She turned to look at them giving them the eye. "As if."
"Good." Zarin walked to the door and opened. "We're docking. Come on. Let's get this over with."
Zarin and his friends were the last to leave the ship. As they came down the gang plank they saw Tayor Larin standing there with two city guards and Tabor and his friend. Professor Insa was there arguing with Tayor.
"This is a serious charge your making against my student." He said sternly. "You have proof, I presume?"
"Yes I do." Tayor said stepping towards them.
"You mind telling me what was stolen?" He stepped in front of Zarin.
"A ring Tabor was wearing." Tayor looked at Zarin. "They attacked him in the mine and took it."
Professor Insa looked at him like he was crazy. He knew better than that. If it was the other way around he might believe it. But no one attacks Tabor as big as he is, and with two or three of his buddies with him. No way.
"Let me get this straight." Professor Insa said to Tayor. "Your saying Zarin and Dack attacked Tabor and robbed him? Is that correct?
"We want to search them." Tayor said
"Wait a minute." Professor Insa held out his hand to stop him
"No Professor." Zarin stepped over to him. "We didn't take anything from Tabor. They can search us."
"Inside and out." Tayor smiled.
"Now you wait just one minute." He said angrily. "I won't allow..."
"Inside and out." Zarin said. "We don't have any ring of his."
"Are you sure you want to submit to this?" Prof Insa asked. "You don't have to."
"We want to prove our innocence." Zarin said as Tayor stepped forward. "But, we want you to do it Professor, not him."
"This is outrageous!!" Tayor yelled. "I have a right to..."
"You have no rights to touch or examine these children against their will." Prof Insa had had enough. "I will do it with the guard's presence. Step away Please."
Tayor took another step towards Zarin and the others. Professor Insa held out his hand to stop him.
"Step away!" He said smoke beginning to rise all around him. "Or I will make you step away. Your choice."
Tayor looked deeply in Insa's eyes. The hate they had for each other was almost like something so solid they could beat each other with it. Tayor stepped away and moved Tabor and his friends further up the docks.
Professor Insa turn to Zarin and the others. "This won't hurt at all. If you have anything on you it will show. You ready?"
"Yes sir." They all said.
"Just line up along the pier here and I'll cast on all of you at once."
Zarin and the others lined up one by one next to each other. Prof Insa stood in front of then and put his hands together. He started a spell in the deep voice they couldn't understand then waved at them. All five kids felt a strange warm feeling in their bodies. Prof Insa and the guards inspected each of them one by one and found nothing. Not in their clothing or in their bodies.
"Nothing." The guard said. "I'll let Councilman Tayor know we found nothing."
"Good." Prof Insa said. "And get him out of here."
They watched the guards salute then go and talk to Tayor. It didn't look like he took it to well. He was screaming at the poor guards. They saw him start back towards them, but the guard called out something that stopped him. He left in frustration. Prof. Insa looked back at them snickering with laughter. He had a serious look on his face.
"Mr. Testa. I will see you in my study in one hour."
"Yes sir." He answered. Prof Insa turned to leave. "Professor?"
He stopped and looked back. "Yes?"
"Am I in trouble?"
"I don't know yet." He grabbed his cloak and spun into a cloud of smoke and disappeared.
"Where's the ring?" Tayor asked his son. "They didn't have it. Where's the damned ring. I need it!!"
"I don't know father." Tabor sat on the other side of his father's desk in his study surrounded by his tombs of dark magic. His father was angry he had failed him. Now all his plans were ruined. Tabor knew he had to get that ring back if he ever wanted to be respected or at his father's side again.
"I don't care what you have to do." Tayor fumed at him. "I don't care if you have to torture them. But you better get it back, and soon."
"I will." Tabor got up from his chair and went to the door.
"Tabor." He stopped him. "That ring will still work. Once you're near it, it will glow. Now get out."
Looking at the ground in shame, Tabor opened the door and left. Out in the common room Aron and Elan waited for him. They stood as he approached them.
"We heard him yelling from here." Elan said.
"I've never seen him this mad at me. We have to find that ring fast."
"How?" Aron asked as the left the Larin manor. "You thought the mine was big, Winterhaven is a hell of a lot bigger."
"I know that, damn it!" Tabor looked around the street they were on. All the shops were still open late in the afternoon. Dealers of magic items, hardware and potions seemed to be having a good night."
"It has to be them." Tabor told them. "I don't know how they got rid of the ring, but they have it. We watch them, then take it from them. Elan, you watch Zarin. Aron, watch Dack."
"Right Tabor." The two elves headed off to start then assignments when Tabor stopped them
"First get me Craven. " He turned back to his home. "I think he could be the answer."
Zarin walked along the first floor corridor past empty classrooms and study hall. There were practice rooms and testing areas all empty of students now. Zarin made his way to the end of the hall were the transport stones were located.
"Prof Insa's study." Power flashed around him and he found himself standing on the stone just in the entrance to his study. Zarin stepped in to find Professor Insa standing at the window.
"Come in Mr. Testa." He turned and sat at his desk. "Have a seat."
Zarin walked in looking around. This wasn't his first visit to this office. His office walls behind his desk was lined with books of magic and history. Zarin loved reading in here. He remembered his first visit when he and his parents first came to this amazing city. How the professor had been his personal tutor to teach him the basics. Zarin had learned fast and Professor Insa had praised him high for it. Soon he was in classes and his family settled in their house. His father had been given a job in the city guard where he rose to a captain's position and his mother became a teacher in the non-magical school. Life here became very good for them until Tabor Larin decided to make him his target.
Tabor bullied many kids in the academy and made many enemies. He treated everyone like the academy was his own personal kingdom and he was lord and master to them all, just because he was from one of the richest families in Winterhaven. He put them all through hell with beatings to harassing and stupid tricks. The only relief Zarin found was when he met Prince Shayn and his best friend Dack. They banded together for protection. Two years later Reno, Thalia and Trip came along after Andros their home had been conquered by the evil Mahlos. But that's another story for another time. As time went by the six friends became inseparable. They watched each other's back and protected each other. Tabor found it much harder to attack or hurt any of them because none of them ever traveled alone. Tabor's treatment of the students was known to the academy administration and he was punished often. But it did no good. That was the kind of person Tabor was and he was encouraged by his father. It seemed Tayor's creed was fear. As long as his son was feared he would be respected. The teachers tried hard to show him that fear was no way to gain respect. Only kindness, fairness, and compassion could really get him the respect of others, but that was not the Larin way. Only ambition, distrust and power ruled the house of Larin. So Tabor followed his father in his devious plots to gain control of Winterhaven, no matter what the cost.
"Professor." Zarin sat straight up in his chair. "You want to ask me about this ring Mr. Larin said we took."
"Yes I do." The Professor looked at him wondering what was in his mind.
"We didn't take anything from Tabor that belonged to him or his father." Zarin told him. "And we would never do anything to disrespect you or the council, that I promise you."
Professor Insa sat back in his chair and contemplated his favorite student. "I didn't think you did. And I get the feeling you would rather not answer any more questions about this. Am I right?"
"I trust you Zarin." The Professor told him. "But if this his anything to do with Tayor Larin, I think you should let me know. He's not to be trusted. Neither is Tabor. If this gets out of hand, promise you will come to me."
"I promise sir." Zarin got up from his chair to leave smiling at his mentor.
"Zarin." He stopped him. "If you need me, just call out in your mind. I'll answer, anytime you need me."
"Thank you Professor." Zarin smiled at him as he left his office.
Professor Insa stood from his chair and walked over to a table where in the middle was a large shard of a smoky crystal. It was a piece of shell from the egg his dragon had hatched from. He smiled as he passed his hand over it. Pictures began to reflect on the table. He saw Trip in his raven form fly from the Golden Goblin. He was carrying something shiny in his beak. Insa made the picture clearer. It was a gold ring. Exactly what Tayor was looking for. Insa knew Zarin wouldn't lie to him so he knew the ring didn't belong to Tayor. It must be something of power he wanted and Zarin took it to keep it from him. He watched as Trip hid the ring in a place no one would ever look for it. Folding his arms as he sat, he decided he'd better keep an eye on Zarin. He would need his help before long. Tayor and Tabor would stop at nothing to get that ring. He wondered what it was.
It was late at night and Tryphen Tricolos hurried his way through the quiet streets of Winterhaven. He was late to meet Zarin and the others at their meeting place, Prince Shayn's old house. Together they had cast spells on the house to keep anyone from seeing them enter or exit. There were also spells to cloak the fact that anyone was using the house. They had made the place safe from prying eyes and certain people looking for them.
Walking down the cobblestone road, Trip was lost in his thoughts. He was a little tired from his earlier flight and the trip to Lands' End today. As he made his way down the street, he thought he heard something behind and stopped to have a look. Looking left and right he didn't see anything, but he had the feeling someone was there. He moved on a little more quietly keeping his ear tuned for the slightest sound. He heard the wind rustling through the trees. He heard a stray cat searching through the garbage across the street. Then he heard it again and spun around for a look. Still nothing.
"I must be losing it." He said aloud.
Suddenly a bag dropped over his head and someone hit him, knocking him out. No one saw Craven as he dragged Trip from the street into the darkness. But someone would miss him very soon. But could they find him?
It was getting late and Trip still hadn't arrived yet. Reno was pacing back and forth wondering where he was. He had gone out and looked for him but found nothing. He had even shifted to wolf and looked for a scent. It went as far as a store on the boulevard, then vanished in an alley. This scared Reno a bit. But Trip could have shifted and flew off. So Reno returned to Shayn's place to see if he was there. He wasn't.
"Where could he be?" Reno asked his friends. "I looked everywhere and nothing."
"I don't like this." Thalia got up from her seat and went to Reno. "Somethings not right. Trip knows we're waiting and he wouldn't make us wait like this."
"I agree." Zarin told them heading for the transport point. "I think we should go look for him."
"Not you and Dack." Reno stopped him. "It's pretty late. Your parents will be worried if you're not home soon. Thalia and I can look."
Thalia nodded. Dack protested, he wanted to know where his friend was too. He looked at Reno ready to argue with him. Zarin held up his hand to stop him.
"He's right. My mom and dad would be pretty upset." He said. "And yours will call out the guards to find us."
"I guess you're right." Dack kicked over a chair in frustration. "But you better let me know the second you find him."
"We will." Thalia said. "We'll walk you both home. Let's get going."
After walking Zarin and Dack home, Reno and Thalia shifted to wolf and searched the city. They checked every part of the Academy grounds including classes, labs and dormitories. They searched the playing fields where Witch ball was played and the practice fields where dueling and power ball was practiced. Nothing. Then they moved on to the city proper. From street to street they went sniffing for Trip's scent. Reno and Thalia then moved to the docks and searched every ship moored there. Still no luck. Now they were really worried. Next came the residential areas. They couldn't go house to house, not without the approval of the council. But they could check the outsides to see if he'd been there. Still nothing. Next came the manses of the rich and nobles which included Tabors home. Thalia used a spell to cause all wards and magical traps and alarms to become visible before they came close to the manor. As her spell took affect they made their way to the gate. Reno sighed. There was no way in he could see. Even shifting to something that could fly wouldn't get them in. The air crackled with magic. One step in and they would be incinerated.
"This could be it." Reno whispered to Thalia. "But it will take better magic then I have to get us in."
"I don't think he's here." She frowned and folded her arms across her chest.
"Why not?" Reno asked. "Tabor hates us and wants that ring."
"I know." She said. "But if we went to Professor Insa, they would be caught."
"They could be hiding him in there." Reno wanted to inspect the manse. He was all for calling the Professor.
"They couldn't hide him from the Professor. She said. "And if Trip was found in there, Tayor would be dispelled from the council. He wouldn't take that chance. He's evil, not stupid."
"Then where?" Reno asked. He was beginning to get really mad now. "We've checked the whole city."
"No, we haven't." Thalia looked at her friend. "We've searched the city, but we haven't searched under the city."
Reno's eyes flew open in surprise. "The sewers!!"
The first thing Trip felt when he woke was pain stabbing into his mind. He moaned and opened his eyes to total darkness. He got to his feet and snapped his fingers to summon a light orb. Nothing happened. Trip closed his eyes and concentrated on a stronger spell. He clapped his hands and a light flashed before him revealing a dungeon cell furnished with nothing but a cot and a bucket for private use.
"This isn't good." Trip mumbled. He made his way over to the cot and sat down. His magic wasn't working right. That could only mean one thing. Wherever he was, the place was guarded with some powerful magic. The fact that he made the light flash meant that the spells on the cell were old and failing. If he gathered enough magic, he might be able to do something in time. He just might be here for a little while. Suddenly he heard a noise from outside of the cell. It was the sound of a door slamming. Then he heard heavy footsteps moving towards him.
"Who's there?" Trip called.
"Where is it?" Came back.
"Where's what?" He answered. Trip moved to the cell bars trying to figure out who it was out there.
"Where is it?"
"You can ask that question all day." Trip said. "But I don't know what your talking about."
A flash of energy came flying into the cell and struck Trip knocking him back to the wall.
"WHERE IS IT?" The voice yelled.
Getting to his feet Trip staggered to the cot and crawled underneath it hoping he could find a little protection there. He knew what it was they wanted. He even thought he knew who was out there torturing him. but he'd be damned if he would tell them where the ring was.
"You can shock me. Torture me all you want." He called out. "But I don't know what you want, and if I did, I still wouldn't tell you Mr. Larin."
"We'll see." Another bolt of energy flew into the cell striking the wall as Trip screamed out and covered his head in fear.
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