Castle Roland

Zarin Testa and the Andrake Academy

by Jandar Tyr

In Progress

Chapter 12

Posted: 13 Oct 16

Zarin Testa and the Andrake Academy

Copyright © 2016 by Jandar Tyr
All Rights Reserved


It was still dark on the streets of Winterhaven as Cutter led Lowell and Lisette Testa through the dark embattled streets. Any time they came near any fighting, Cutter would do what he could to aid on the city's side. Illusion or attacking in his dragon form with Lowell and what guards were with them to help, increased their numbers as they moved. Soon they were a group of over twenty moving quickly trying to make it to the Academy and safety. Cloaking the group was impossible now, there were far too many. Cutter could mask them all but it would take more concentration than he could spare right now. Soon the Academy buildings were in sight. Cutter called Lowell to him in the front of the group. Looking out, he saw there were three of Tayor's men waiting at the front gate. They would have to be taken care of quietly in order for them to get all of them in.

"How do you want to do this?" Lowell asked. "I could send men out to attack them."

"This has to be quick." Cutter whispered. "Get three men. I'll cloak them as they walk out to engage Tayor's guards. They'll have to kill them fast. No one can get back to report to Tayor or he'll send troops after us."

"I understand." Lowell waved an older soldier over to him and whispered something to him. He nodded and went back and picked two other well-armed men and brought them to Cutter.

"They are your targets." He said pointing at the men patrolling at the Academy gates. "They won't see you as you approach or attack if you're careful. You have to be silent and attack at the same moment. Count to fifty and take them out. Understand?"

The three men nodded as Cutter began to concentrate and they faded away. He watched as only he could see through his cloak of illusion as they crept out and moved to their separate targets. Beside him Lowell counted quietly.

"45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50."

As he watched the three men turned and blood erupted from each of their throats and splattered the invisible men that had killed them. Cutter dropped the cloak and the dead men were dragged into the gate as the rest of the group came running in behind them.

"Leave them there in the bushes." Lowell told them, waving the others through. Cutter ran ahead and was met at the door by Tanis as he opened it for them. He could see students running in all directions, working on different tasks to try and secure their school.

"I'm glad you're finally here." The young vampire moved aside to allow Cutters group to enter. "The school's going crazy preparing for the coming assault."

"I need some help here first." Cutter told him. "Get someone to get these people food and the wounded treated."

Tanis stopped two running by and gave them orders to fetch Macan, the school's master healer, and bring him back to the entry hall. Cutter looked around at all the activity and the arrangement. He wanted to know just what had gone on all night while he was gone.

"We evacuated all the younger children and sent them out of the city." Tanis explained as they moved through the halls to the administration office. "The infirmary is ready for casualties. Macan can treat anything that this battle can throw at us. Let's just hope it's not necessary."

"Oh it will be." Lowell cut him off. "Tayor Larin won't leave this place untouched. This is where some of the most powerful magic in the city is housed. I know he'll want the archives, not to mention all the magical artifacts stored in the vaults."

"Well it's too late for that." Azeal walked out from the office and shook both Cutter and Lowell's hands. "I sent it all to Settlement with the children. It's just the older students and us to do battle here. I'm hoping we can get more help from the city guards here to help us defend the school."

"Sorry, all dead or captured." Lowell stopped him. "This is it. This is all that's left of the guards. Tayor hit the barracks right at the guard change last night and captured almost my entire force. We'll have to make do with what's here now."

"Can we get help from Settlement?" Tanis asked.

He opened the door and led them into the office as they talked. Inside the office, all the rest of the faculty that wasn't busy preparing the school for war stood waiting to find out their next move. A group of eight professors and instructors came over to greet them as they entered. Two older men Cutter recognized as council members that served as professors at the Academy, Borin Gaunt, potions master and Sadon Terryn, professor of magical lore. It was just their luck to be in the school when Tayor sent out his messages for them to attend his meeting. Luckily, they never received those messages or they would be in his power.

"What's the situation in Winterhaven?" Borin asked Lowell.

"Dire Councilor." The warrior answered. "Tayor Larin organized a coup to overthrow the council, and it looks like he has succeeded. I'm afraid the city guards are no more."

"Damn his black heart!" Sadon cursed. "What of the council and Insa? Surely they fight him?"

"He has Insa under a dream weaving spell." Tanis said sadly. "We took him and Councilors Den and Humbridge out of Winterhaven. We're all that's left to oppose him here. The city is in his hands now I'm afraid."

"What of your dragon brothers?" Another professor asked.

"Jandar will send help if we need." Cutter said. "But only to help evacuate. The city's affairs, under the treaty he and Rage signed, can only be interfered with if asked by a majority of the council. So far all he has is three members. We have two more here, but it will take six for him to be able to send fighting help."

"But you're here." Tanis said. He didn't understand the difference. "You're fighting."

"Yes, but I had family here." He explained. "When I arrived my brother and sister were still in the city. And we came on dragon business remember. One of our clan was in peril. Once Insa was free of the city, we were supposed to leave. Jandar can still deny any knowledge of our actions. And don't forget, none of Tayor's men lived that saw a dragon in Winterhaven."

"Then what are we going to do?" Azeal asked. "The school must be protected."

"I have an idea." They all heard from behind them. Everyone turned to find Lisette Testa still with them. Lowell and Cutter had thought she had gone with everyone else to help with the wounded. After all, she was a nurse.

"What is it Lis?" Lowell said smiling as the men parted to let her enter their circle.

"This is just a place." She said. "The school is really in the instructors and the students. Must people die for a building? Is that really necessary? Can't we all just get away from here?"

Cutter looked at her in awe. Such innocence and beauty he thought, and wisdom. Of course that was the answer. Winterhaven was no longer safe to be the home of the Andrake Academy. They had to leave. But how was he to get so many people out of Winterhaven? There wasn't enough dragons to fly them and there wasn't time even if he had them. There could only be one way to do this. Magic. And it would have to be some very powerful magic. What powerful mage could he find? Jandar? Yes, he was powerful, but he needed someone even more powerful. Who was the most powerful and feared? Then it hit him. The mage so powerful that even the gods feared him so they hid all his life's work. Gannon Ka.

"Lady." He hugged her in his excitement. "You are brilliant! She's right, Andrake Academy isn't safe here with Tayor Larin ruling the land. The only way to save it is to move the school somewhere else."

"Are you mad!!" Sadon shouted at him. "We don't have that kind of power! It would take more than we have here to even attempt something of that magnitude. I say we fight!"

"You would see these children fighting a war they can't possibly win?" Cutter yelled advancing on the mage." Even worse, you would put them in his hands? Because that's what happens if we lose. Tayor will have the school and everyone in it. Will you take that chance with their lives, because I won't!"

"I see nothing else to do but fight!" He said. "But if you have another plan, I'll listen."

"I do." Cutter calmed down. "But I'm going to need your help and all of your magical strength to do this. Can I count on you?"

"Of course." Sadon looked around at the rest of the staff as they nodded their agreement. "What can we do?"

"The school must be secured." Cutter told them then turned to the instructors and professors. "Anything beyond the walls surrounding the school either has to be moved in or abandoned. I'll leave that to you. Councilors Gaunt and Terryn, you're going to need rest and meditation. We'll need you at your most powerful."

"You'll find us resting in our office." Borin Gaunt said as they led the staff away issuing orders on what was needed to be done.

"What of us?" Azeal asked.

"I want the both of you in the skies watching the city. I'll need to know if Tayor sends anyone towards us." He turned to Lowell. "You're on guard duty. This entire school needs to be searched just in case Tayor managed to get men in here before we got here. I want all entrances watched and your men rested and ready in case we do need to fight."

"What of you, Jake?" Tanis asked.

"I have people I need to talk to." He said. "There's someone we need here as fast as possible. Good luck everyone."

From the main office the staff scattered out and into the school on the different tasks set before them. One young man that happened to be one of Macan's healer, escorted Lisette to the infirmary. There they found Macan busy treating the wounded as best he could. At the moment they entered he was busy healing a sword wound one man had received on the flight to the school. This was a brave young boy that Lisette remembered well. They had come across him fighting three of Tayor's men that had broken into a house and dragged the family out. They had slaughtered the parents and intended to rape the two young girls when the guard stopped them. He had fought bravely and killed his enemies but was severely wounded in the fight. When they arrived the two young girls stood over him, one with his sword and the other held a broom guarding him. Lowell quickly had the boy bandaged as best he could and put on something they could carry. His bleeding had been stopped but he was in serious condition when he arrived at the infirmary. As Lisette looked around she saw the two young girls still there waiting to be sure he would be well. She went over and checked with Macan on how serious his condition was. Macan wasn't sure if he would make it at all. Sadly she went and told the girls the news and that they should get some rest and return later to see how he was doing. Then she went to work helping anyone she could.

Outside, the staff hurried along as they made sure everything was safe and secure. The stable was outside of the walls so the animals had to be brought in and have a safe place to stay. Hay and feed for the horses, chickens and other exotics was also stored since they had no idea where they would be going. Having done that, they moved on to be sure there was nothing else that could be done. Nothing could be done for sporting areas beyond the walls, they would just have to be abandoned. All equipment in any outer houses and sheds were stored away and soon they were as ready as they could be.

Dressed in their dark cloaks, the two vampires of New Keanna made their way out one of the back entrances of the Academy. Theirs would be a dangerous mission. They were on their way to spy on a very powerful mage. If somehow their enemy pierced their disguise, there was a chance they might not make it back. Azeal looked over at his friend and noticed how scared he looked.

"What are you thinking?" Azeal asked.

"Just saying a little prayer to my mother." Tanis answered.

"Did she answer?"

"Yes." He said smiling. "She says be careful."

"I hope you said one for me to."

"Don't I always?" Tanis pushed back his brown hair from his face. "Let's go."

Spreading their arms they both concentrating on the shift and began their change. Tanis took the form of a great black hawk and Azeal, a harpy eagle. Feathers grew and their bodies shrank down to bird form, then off into the skies they went, winging their way out over the city. With their superb eyesight they scanned the streets block by block. Tayor had ordered the people to their homes and for no one to be on the streets on pain of death, so the only ones moving were his men looting shops and tearing up the city. No shops had opened today, and no city services were being provided until he lifted his order. They watched from a roof as people were dragged from their home and robbed. Some were beaten and some were even raped. Azeal looked away from the horrors. He couldn't bear to watch what was happening to Winterhaven.

[Don't worry Azeal.] Tanis sent to him. [I know we're not just walking away. We'll be doing something about this soon.]

[I know. It just brings back memories of what happened in Vasagi.]

[You mean my father.] Painful emotions rushed out from Tanis at the mention of Vasagi. [And what he did to the whole country. I'm sorry.]

[Don't be.] Azeal tried to reassure his friend. [None if it was your doing. You couldn't have stopped any of it. And you've done your part to end it. I'm proud to be your friend Tanis.]

[Thank you.] Tanis cawed his hawk call. [So what now?]

[We move to the council building and try and see what Tayor plans.] Azeal spread his great wings and leapt off the roof. [Come on.]

Insa's office in the Academy was a rather large chamber with two levels, nothing like his suite in the council building. This chamber was more dedicated to the academics and his role as Headmaster here. It bore furniture for humans and a great desk and his private library which filled the entire second level. The first level was where he met with students and parents. He also had a small magical lab there where he could do any private lessons he thought necessary. Here he also kept a place he could rest in human form. A large comfortable couch he often used. This was where Cutter found himself. A quiet place he could use to make contact with those he now needed to talk to. He thought about Adanar and Emrel. Where could they be now he wondered? They were the first he would try to contact. He settled himself comfortably on the couch and reached out for their minds.

[Adanar!] He sent out. His mind searched for his younger brother and lightly touched his mind for a second. He felt fear there, but he couldn't seem to get a grasp of him. He didn't know why. He and Adanar had always been able to find each other. Almost as easy as he and Seven could. Since he couldn't get Adanar, he tried Emrel.

[Emrel! sister!]

Nothing. Not even the feeling he had gotten from his brother. This scared him. He thought about calling Seven and sending her after them. But he didn't want to get her all worried too. That left Morganz and Braddoc. He knew Jandar had sent Braddoc out to help. He hoped maybe they had found them by now.

[Cousin! How goes your search?] Almost instantly he felt the touch and contact with his cousin's mind. But he didn't feel quite right. [Have you found them yet?]

[No cousin.] He answered. [We've run into a problem.]

[What's wrong?]

[We're not alone out here looking for them.] Morganz told him. [There's a strange witch out here too. And she seems to want them.]

[What?] Cutter asked. [I don't understand. Who else could be after them and why?]

[I don't know. But she tried to kill me with poison. Luckily Braddoc was able to stop it and save me.]

[Thank him for me please.] Cutter sent. [Are you alright? Should I send Seven to help you?]

[We're getting on the road after them now. We'll be fine.] Came Morganz answer. [How is Winterhaven?]

[The city is in deep peril right now. But there's nothing you can do to help but what you're doing now. Find Adanar and Emrel and get them home. And find out what's going on in Eventide to. Whoever this woman is, it has to do with home. I think Tayor Larin's behind it.]

[Tayor Larin?] Morganz's hate and distrust of the man radiated out to Cutter. [He's behind the trouble in Winterhaven. I knew it! I never could stand that dark bastard.]

[I think it's all his doing. But don't worry. We'll figure some way to stop him. Just get back to Eventide and see what's going on. And Morganz.]


[Find my brother and sister.] Cutter said. [Aglar lenn tyss!]

[Thalion sul Tyss!] And Morganz was gone. The news from Morganz wasn't good. Cutter wondered who it was that could be after his brother and sister. Surely Tayor's hand couldn't possibly reach all the way into the elven nations. Though he didn't put it passed him. But he didn't have time to worry about that now. He had a school to protect now. That meant reaching Jandar.

[Jandar!] He sent out. [Brother we need help.]

In a window of the chamber of the new king of Winterhaven, two majestic birds of prey came down to land. No one noticed as they flew in to land on a beam in the ceiling. They sat quietly and watched what was going on down beneath them. Below them, two men talked. One of them was the new king of Winterhaven, Lord Tayor Larin."How goes the fighting, Youron?" Tayor sat comfortably on his new throne. He was so smug in his manner. He knew he had won the city. Now he just had to hold it.

"The fighting is over my lord." Youron said. "The city is ours."

"Ours?" Tayor's said frowning.

"Your pardon my lord." He bowed. "I meant yours."

"Now and forever." He laughed. "Have you found Insa yet?"

"No my lord. We have searched all over the city. There are no dragons in Winterhaven."

"And you're sure of that?" Tayor lifted his cane as the crystal at the head began to glow a bright golden light.

"Yes my lord." Youron said. "I'm positive."

"You see this?" Tayor held out the glowing cane. "My cane can perform some wonderful magic. I can possess others minds. I can steal their magic. I can make them do anything I want like a puppet. It can also detect certain kinds of magic. And this tells me there are dragons near."

Youron's face turned ashen with fear. He had been in Tayor's service for years and had earned his trust. Now he feared his master's anger.

"What of the school?" Tayor asked. "Is it in my hands yet?"

"No my lord. I am organizing the attack now. The man are regrouping at the manor as we speak."

"I sent Tabor and a small group ahead." Tayor stood and walked down from his throne. "You have two hours until I walk into Andrake Academy and take it myself. If I do, you will be the one to pay. Understand?"

"Yes my lord." Youron backed his way out of the chamber. "Your will, will be done."

[We have to get back to warn Cutter they're coming.] Azeal sent. [We better hurry.]

Deep in the shadows in the back of Insa's upper library level, five people emerged from the darkness. One was a tall man dressed all in black except for the silver star he wore on his chest, over his heart. Also over his right eye gleamed another star. This was the dragon of darkness, Blink. Behind him came four others. One an elder man dressed in a grey robe, the sign of a master mage. Kalin Ka, the great descendant of Gannon Ka and master to all his magic lore. Next was a golden eyed beautiful girl with a very unemotional look on her face. She was Texa. Gannon's tome of magic knowledge in a lovely form. The last two in line were the two councilors Blink had bought back to their city to help. Councilors Den and Humbridge. Together they moved on down the spiral staircase to meet Cutter on the bottom.

"Thank you for coming." Cutter greeted the new arrivals. "The school really needs your help."

"What's going on here?" Kalin asked. "All Jandar said was that we were needed here fast and to bring the councilors with us."

"Come with me and I'll explain what's going on."

Cutter led them out of Insa's office and through the school as he told them the situation. Listening carefully the five got the idea where they were going and what he wanted.

"Moving the entire school is a very unique answer to the problem." Kalin said. "And the right one. I can just imagine what Tayor Larin might do if he had control here. This would no longer be a school of neutral magic. And I doubt he would care what the students or teachers thought. They would become his own personal army of dark mages."

"Yes." Councilor Den said. "But can we do it? As masters I think we may have the power needed for such an undertaking, but we'll need more than just magic."

"I agree." Councilor Humbridge spoke up. "I have no idea how to even proceed with something like this."

"My master Gannon has written many spells of such power." Texa told them. "If it is master Kalin's wish, I can provide the right spell to use."

"Gannon had a need for something like this?" Kalin asked.

"Long ago, Gannon's King Nickolai decided his palace was far too easy for his enemies to gain access to." As she talked, she spread her hands over her head and a scene displayed before them. It showed Gannon talking with King Nickolai. "Gannon knew that he would have the same problem no matter where King Nickolai was, so he fashioned something special for him. I have that spell still. But we need four others to work this spell since none of you have the power my master had."

"We have others to help" Cutter told her. "There's all the magic we need in these walls."

The halls of Andrake Academy were quiet. All the students had been sent to the main hall to keep them safe. The only people in the halls were what was left of the city guard. They were all on guard for any intruders finding their way into the building. At each entrance two armed men kept watch for any of Tayor's people. They had no idea when they would be coming, but they knew it was just a matter of time. Lowell stood out in the garden watching the skies for the return of Azeal and Tanis with news. Any news for them would make a big difference right now, for they didn't know how long it would be before they could work their magic. While he watched, he had men go room to room checking each room for its occupant. It was a roll call to be sure all the students over the age of fifteen were there safe. Once the count was done, they realized all the students were there. Except for four young elves.

Flying at top speed, Azeal and Tanis pushed their wings as hard as they could to get back to the academy. There wasn't much time. Youron would have Tayor's forces at the gates in less than an hour. Cutter wouldn't have much time for preparations. Ahead of them they saw the academy building coming up on them fast. Lowell stood out front waving at them. Dropping down they made ready to shift while still on the move. Just a few feet off the ground they made the shift. Their feet formed running once over the gate.

"What did you find?" Lowell asked as they reached him.

"They're coming!!" Azeal said. "Tayor will have his men here in less than an hour. He's given the order to attack us."

"Then we better make sure everything's ready." Lowell waved over one of his men to him.

"Yes sir!" The guard said snapping to attention.

"Get all our men out here in front." He told him. "Make sure they're all armed. Tanis, you have whatever mages are available up in the windows giving us support. Fireballs, power balls, freezing whatever they are good it."

As he gave orders to his men, two men approached him. He knew these men. They were Dack and Craven's fathers. He had told them earlier that their sons were safe in New Keanna. He wondered why they weren't with their wives in the dining hall.

"What can I do for you Delan?"

"No." Delan Rainer said. "What can we do for you? We want to help."

"That's not necessary." Lowell clapped him on his shoulder. "Stay with your wives. They'll need you."

"Our wives are busy with the kids." Rue Tasco said. "Let us help. I'm very good with a sword."

"And you know I can handle a crossbow Lowell." Delan smiled. "Let us help."

"Very well if you insist." Lowell was actually glad for the help. They needed it.

"Delan, get a crossbow from the armory and join the mages in the windows. Rue, you can help in the yard. Just please, no heroics."

"YES SIR!" They ran off to follow his orders.

"I'm staying here with you." Azeal told him pulling Justice from its scabbard. "Valkar would have me fight with you."

"No." Lowell said. "You're to go to Cutter. I want both you and Tanis to protect them. They're more important. If someone finds a way down to them, they'll need strong fighters. Now get going, we don't have much time!"

High in the upper floors of the boy's dormitory a group of men dressed in city guard uniforms and a young mage waited. They had stayed quietly in a private room assigned to a very important student. One that no one expected was still in the school. With very powerful cloaking magic no one had seen them during the search of the school. Now it was time for them to make their move.

"You all know what you are to do." The young mage said as he paced arrogantly in front of them. "The word going around is that they're going to move the school. We can't let that happen. The invasion will take place within the hour. I wasn't able to find out just how they're planning on doing this, but it has to be with magic. Somewhere here they're going to be casting the spells. You're going to have to find them and stop it."

"And you young sir?" Asked one of the men. The young mage looked at him as if he had no business questioning him. They knew he was in charge here.

"There's something I need to find. But what I do is not your affair. You just do as I say or you will see what I can do with magic. Is that clear?"

"Yes Sir!" They said quietly. "What if we run into magical opposition?"

"This will take care of any wards barring any doors and lead you to the strongest magic being worked in the building. Lord Larin made it, I doubt there will be anyone as powerful as he here. Search carefully." He said handing the amulet to the leader. He opened the door and looked out into the hall. There was no one there. "Do not get caught. Now go."

One by one the first warriors of an invading force entered the halls of the Andrake Academy. Quietly they moved down the hall to the transport stones and searched the school floor by floor. There wasn't much by way of resistance in the school. All of Lowell's warriors were outside and at the entrances waiting for the main attack. What few they did see they passed without any trouble at all.

"So where do you think we'll find them?" One young man asked. He nodded to a passing teacher that looked at them strangely.

"They'll go somewhere private." The leader said. "Somewhere deep in the building. It won't be here where the coming invasions might get to them."

"What's below the first floor?" Another asked.

"Laboratories I guess. That and dungeons and maybe storage."

"Dungeons in a school?" The young man frowned. The thought just didn't go with his idea of a school.

"This wasn't always a school." The leader told them. "Once it was some kind of monastery for some long dead god. There are still altars down below I expect. That is where we should go." He held up Tayor's amulet and saw it was like a compass. It had north, west, and east and south marked, but the needle didn't always point north. On this day it clearly pointed more in a southeasterly direction.

"We go that way." He pointed down a hall off to the left. So off they went to complete their mission.

Earlier in the day after Azeal and Tanis had returned, they made their way to the office to find Cutter waking up Councilors Gaunt and Terryn. With Cutter were the new arrivals; Blink, Kalin Ka, Texa and Councilors Den and Humbridge. Quickly they told them all they had heard in Lord Larin's throne room.

"Then there's not much time." Cutter said. "We should hurry. Texa, what will the spell require?"

"Since your magic will be split and coming from more than one mage." She said. "You will need to arrange yourselves in the four directional points of the castle. Each councilor will take a point and recite the spell at the same time with my master Kalin in the center directing the spell. I warn you. You will need all your concentration on this spell while casting or things can go awry."

"Then you will all need protection." Cutter said. "If somehow we are breached and they get to you, you won't be able to protect yourselves. One of us will go with each of you. Azeal, you go with Councilor Den to the north. Tanis, Councilor Humbridge, go east. Blink take Councilor Gaunt, you go west and I will protect you Councilor Terryn in the south. Texa, I trust you can protect Kalin?"

"As always." She said. "That is my mission, why I was created."

"Anything else?" Cutter asked ,very anxious to get on with what they had to do.

"Once the spell is cast the mages will be weak." She said. "Do not move them. They may fall. Do not touch them. You will disrupt the magic. Just let them rest. The school will then be on the move. Just bring them back here when they wake. One more thing. Once the spell begins, a wall will appear around the school. Everyone must be inside that wall. Those outside will be left behind. Anyone caught in the same space the wall occupies will die screaming. You should warn the people fighting outside."

"I will." Cutter said as they all began moving out of the offices. "Good luck everyone. We have to get this right or Andrake Academy will be no more."

Outside, Lowell watched as the new Lord Larin's forces began to advance on the Academy. He had armed all his men as best he could and stationed all of them offensively. Powerful students in the windows to use their magic as best they could. That would be a great help he thought in keeping them back as long as they could. But he knew they would tire and then it would be up to them with hand to hand battle. It was a clear beautiful day he thought for battle. A good day to die. He smiled as he thought of his wife on the inside waiting with the others to deal with the wounded. He knew she would do her part to help. Then he thought of Zarin and hoped the dragons would keep him safe and he would be proud of his father's actions today. The gods knew he would always be proud of his son and his friends and glad they weren't here for this fight. He just couldn't think of what could happen to any of them had they been there. Zarin and Reno would have insisted on being out there with him on the front lines, Dack too he guessed. Looking out at the coming troops he knew they were over matched. He had less than fifty men in his command and there were more than a few hundred lined up out there to face him. Beside him stood his second in command and two senior teaching mages ready but hoping this would all be over in seconds.

Youron climbed down of his horse and handed the reins to a warrior. He adjusted his armor and walked out towered the gate where Lowell stood.

"I know you Captain Lowell Testa." He called. "By order of the new king of Winterhaven. Lord Tayor Larin. I order you and your men to lay down your arms and surrender all you hold to us."

"I don't recognize your lord's authority here." Lowell shouted. "He is not the legal king of Winterhaven. We are not ruled by a king but by the council here. Tayor Larin is nothing but a dark evil man making his bid for power. He has no claim here."

"He claims this city by right of his power." Youron thundered. "He is the strongest mage in this city. By that right he should rule here. You will surrender or we will kill you and everyone that opposes us. Do I make myself clear?"

"We are not helpless here." With that, Lowell ordered the mage at his side to send a blast of flame at the enemy. Flames shot out from the wall into a crowd of men and horses. Panic over took them and scattered the horse trampling a few men under hooves.

"Attack at your own risk!" Lowell said. "Anyone who comes over the wall or through the gate dies. If you don't believe me then try. And I hope you're the first one in to die."

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