Castle Roland

Zarin Testa and the Andrake Academy

by Jandar Tyr

In Progress

Chapter 4

Published: 15 Sep 16

Zarin Testa and the Andrake Academy

Copyright © 2016 by Jandar Tyr
All Rights Reserved

Trouble Comes from Everywhere

Tayor Larin labored hard in his workshop on his plan. He had pulled all the old texts and scrolls on dark magic he could find and spread them out on his desk. If he couldn't have the Gold Ring of Endrin, he'd make his own. Tayor searched for the right enchantments he thought he would need. Like spells that made men's minds malleable to being used. Spells to siphon magic from others. Then he looked for magic that would heighten his own abilities. Lastly, Tayor wanted something that would be strong against dragons. It took him hours searching to find the right spells. Once he did, he sat and read over them. This was all very dangerous magic he knew. He would have to get these spells and enchantments exactly right. One mistake and the consequences would be dire. Dark magic could be very dangerous if one didn't know what he was doing or was sloppy in any way. And it took strict concentration to cast. But Tayor was an old master at his craft. All he needed was rest and seclusion to begin his work and something to put the spells on. He thought about the rings he wore. But they already had certain spells on them. Spells that might clash with what he had planned. He needed something free of magic, something clean. Tayor looked around his study for something useful. In a case on the wall there was a display of daggers. He walked over an inspected them. He could feel a small spark of magic in each of them. They wouldn't work. On his desk beside the scrolls and books, there was an assortment of things. Quills, spectacles and other tools he used. Nothing useful here. By the door he saw a coat rack and a case for walking sticks and staffs. Tayor searched through them one at a time checking each until he found a cane Tabor had given him years ago as a child. He and his mother had found it in a shop in the marketplace and Tabor had insisted she buy it for him. The cane was made of fairy oak, perfect for absorbing magic. It was a little over three feet long with what looked like a white claw holding a crystal orb. He picked it up and stared into it searching for any kind of magic imbued in it. Tayor smiled as he found nothing there. It was perfect for what he intended. He knew he would have to thank his son again for this gift. Tabor would be happy to see it in his father's hand as his new weapon.

Clearing all the clutter from his work table, Tayor started the first spell he would need. A spell to bind the cane to him. He placed it on the table and took out five black candles made from the worked down essence of dead men. He placed each at the five points of a star then waved his hand at the burning torches in the room to put them out. With a snap of his fingers, the candles ignited, burning with a mystical black flame that lit the dark chamber. Then his spell began.



As he spoke the powers of the night began to fill the room. Darkness flashed and spun in the air above Tayor and the cane. Slowly magic began to flow into the cane as it rose in the air in front of its master. As Tayor reached out his hand and touched the cane the darkness explodes and the bond was made. It was now a part of him and only able to be used by him. Tayor looked at the cane. Where the claw was once white, now it was as black as the midnight sky. He held it up and looked into the crystal. In it he could see stars and the swirling power of the darkness. He was pleased. Now he could carefully add the spells he wanted and his destiny as the King of Winterhaven was closer at hand.

The forest of Winterhaven could be a very dangerous place if one was not prepared for it. There were many different kinds of dangerous animals living there. To leave or enter the city, one should always stay on the protected paths. For to wander off could mean certain death. Having rarely been out but taught all about what was out there, Zarin and his friends moved slowly and carefully listening to every sound they heard around them. They saw many beautiful birds and small animals. Animals none of them could identify moving around them.

"Reno." Zarin asked. "Do you still have his scent?"

"Yes." He told him. " But it's getting weaker. And there's another scent."

"Somethings hunting him?" Dack asked worried.

"No, it's the person that took him." Reno's lips curled in a snarl.

"I smell it too." Thalia said. "And I know who it is."

"Who?" Zarin asked. His thoughts turned to Tabor. He had to have something to do with this.

"Craven!" Reno snarled. "That bastards smell is all over this trail."

"Craven?" Dack couldn't believe it. "Look, I know he's mad because of what we did. But Craven's not like Tabor and the dark elves. We were friends a few years ago before Tabor got his hooks in him. Remember Zarin? When his family first came to Winterhaven he was just another scared kid like us."

"Dack, he's changed." Zarin said. "And not for the better."

"We'll see. " Dack frowned. "Let's just find them and get Trip back. We'll worry about Craven when we find him.

Quietly they made their way through the dense forest swatting at insects buzzing at them. As worried as he was about Trip, Dack couldn't get his mind off Craven. How could he have changed so much? He knew he was angry because of past events in his life. But to change so much Dack just didn't understand. Casting that spell on him was wrong of Dack, that he knew. But there was no other way. They couldn't allow Tabor to get his hand on that ring. And Craven's' confusion was a small price to pay. He just wished Craven had not joined with that ass.

Following the wall with Reno in the lead they pushed through thick brush. Soon they saw a clearing. That meant the road was probably near. Suddenly Reno stopped them. He sniffed the air and his pointed ears flared up.

"You smell that?" He asked Thalia.

"Somethings dead." She said nodding. "I'll check it out."

Thalia closed her eyes and shifted to her raven form and flew off into the trees. Zarin and Dack stepped up closer to Reno to see what had stopped them.

"What's wrong?" Zarin asked his friend.

"There's something out there." He whispered. "I can smell blood. It's pretty strong so it must be recent. Thalia's going to check it."

"You don't think it could be Trip do you?" Zarin asked. He and Dack looked at Reno with fear in their eyes.

"No." He said. "I can tell there's more than four people there and I don't smell him. And you know I would smell it if it was him."

"That's a relief." Dack sat down and started going over spells in his head. He wanted to be ready for anything that they might encounter out there.

Soaring high on her deep black wings, Thalia gazed down on the scene below her. She saw the gypsy wagon laying on its side with all its contents spilled and scattered around. Tilting her wings, she spiraled down to settle on the wagons side and looked around for any sign of the attacker. Her sharp raven eyes didn't see any threats in the area. Thalia jumped down and shifted back too normal to begin her search. All around the camp she saw their possessions thrown about like trash. She looked to the wagon. It didn't look like it had been searched, just knocked over by something big. On the ground by the steps leading in, she saw large deep bloody tracks. Thalia stood and looked around and noticed they were everywhere. She knew what it was that attacked these people. It was a Garmr. The same hound that attacked them probably. She wondered how many died here in the attack.

[ Four of us. ] She heard in her mind. Thalia jumped up ready for an attack, but there was no one there. 

[ Who calls? ] She looked all around to find whoever she had heard. Suddenly a mist began to form in front of the wagon. Slowly it spun until it formed into the shape of a man dressed in gypsy attire. It was an elder man. Old enough to be her grand sire. he wore baggy trousers and a loose fitting shirt. There were gold chains around his neck and wrist and what looked like silver in his ears. There was a sad look on his wizened face. Thalia stepped closer to the apparition to talk with it.

[ That was your wagon? ] She asked.

[ Yes. My family and I were traveling to Winterhaven to get my grandson into school there, when we were attacked. ] He settled down close to where she stood. He was almost close enough to touch. But being from a long distant gypsy line, she knew that would be a violation of his spirit.

[ I'm sorry, old father. ] She bowed to him. [ Our city should have welcomed you. ]

[ I am Jakub Pedescu. ] He said. [ Healer and elder of my clan. You are of the old vampire blood of Yadessa, am I right? ]

[ Yes I am. ] She told him. [ My name is Thalia Samanis and I do come from Vasagi. Unfortunately, the city's in ruin now and being repaired. But how did you know? ]

[ I am an old mage. And even dead, I have still a little power. But not for long, I need your help. ]

[ What can I do for you? ] She asked.

[ When we were attacked, there were two men guiding the beast. I didn't understand why anyone from Winterhaven would want to stop us from getting to the city. I still don't. But after I died, I heard them speak a name. Tayor. Do you know what this means? ]

[ Yes I do. ] She told him. [ An evil man that wishes to take our city from us. ]

[ Then Insa must be told of this. ] He said. [ This you must do before it's too late. ]

[ Is there anything else? ] She asked agreeing.

[ Yes, my grandson fled into the forest. I need you to find him and get him to safety in the city walls. Take him to Insa. ] As he talked he began to fade. [ Find Rese please. Insa promised to teach him the arts of healing to continue our family heritage as healer. Save him please! ]

[ I will Sire. I promise. ]

And Jakub Pedescu was gone. Now they had someone else to find. Thalia shifted and took off to tell her friends what she had found.

It didn't take long before Thalia came winging back and landed on Reno's shoulder.

"What did you find?" Zarin asked her.

[ There's a gypsy wagon out there. ] She sent. [ It was lured off the road by Tayor's men, Somehow he's behind this. ]

"Gypsies?" Dack sighed. " Why would he do that?"

"And how did you find this out?" Zarin looked at her in wonder.

[ I met a ghost of the dead gypsies. He told me. And he says his grandson is missing. He ran into the forest during the attack ] Thalia answered as she hopped down and shifted. She shook out her hair and continued. "We have to find him and get back to tell the Professor."

"I can warn the Professor from here." Zarin said. "But now there's three we have to find. We better get moving."

"The trail goes this way." Reno took the lead again and headed toward the east.

"So how do you want to do this?" Tanis asked as he and Azeal left the Council building. Azeal looked over the street they were on. It was busy with citizens of Winterhaven going about their business. Shopping in the marketplace and visiting. None of them knew the danger they were all in.

"One of us should join with Tayor Larin." Azeal told him looking in his eyes with a smile. Tanis stopped.

"You mean me?" Tanis through his hands up in a huff. "Why me? You could do it!"

"Who's going to believe the crown prince of Yadessa is turning dark?" He asked. "Would you believe it? After all we just did too free Yadessa. But you, your Balthazar Gaelich's son. I'll bet this Tayor even knew your father."

"That makes me a good candidate?" Tanis looked angry." The sins of the father?"

"I'm sorry Tanis." Azeal pulled him to a quiet place where they could talk. "What choice have we got? Somebody has to get close to them. We need to know what they're doing. If you have a better idea, I'm listening."

"You think he'll trust me?" Tanis asked. He sat down on the wall that separated the two shops they were in front of.

"No, I think he's going to watch you like a thief in his house." Azeal sat next to him. "You're going to have to do something to prove yourself."

"Like what?"

Azeal thought for a minute. There was only one thing Azeal could think of that might do it. And he wasn't sure if it would work. It just might make Tayor overly suspicious as to how Tanis got them. The Dragon Talismans. But what if he didn't give them to him, but just knew where they were?

"I've got an idea." Azeal told Tanis. "But we have to talk to Jandar first. That means a quick trip to New Keanna, and we should hurry."

At a table in Tabor's favorite haunt called The Rouge Warlock, Tabor met with Elan and Aron. He looked serious like they were all in deep trouble. Tabor motioned them to sit then ordered drafts for them all. Once the waiter was gone he started talking.

"I've searched this whole city and none of them are here." He said. "That includes Craven. He's taken Trip to try and get us back the ring. How do we find him?"

"Maybe you shouldn't." Elan said.

Tabor looked at him with an odd look. "What's that mean?"

"It means if he has Trip, and Trip knows where the ring is. You let him get it back." Elan sat back in his chair. "Your father plans to overthrow Winterhaven right?"

"Yes." Tabor listens.

"Then you help him there." He said. "Chasing all over the land with no idea where he is or where he's going won't help will it? Who knows if we'll even find him. But if he's with you, he'll get back with the information. If he's not, then you better plan for that. Either way, I'm sure your father has something in mind in case you don't find the ring."

"Yes." Tabor agreed. He smiled at his two friends. Something shined in his eyes and they knew he'd just had an idea. "I just had another thought. What if I find it and keep it?"

"I get it." Aron moved in close. "You let your father do all the battling, then move in and finish it yourself. That's pretty low."

"But how will you find it?"

Tabor held up his ring. "With this. It might take some time, but it can find the ring."

Aron and Elan stood up and pushed their chairs back to the tables. Their leader had a plan they thought just might work.

"We're with you, Tabor." Elan said. "Just tell us what you want and we'll do it."

"Then follow me." Tabor told them getting up. "It's time we find that ring."

Aron watched as Elan and Tabor walked out together plotting and planning against Zarin and Tayor. He didn't like where this was heading. He didn't like the influences Tabor had on Elan. He was going to have to do something soon before it was too late to save Elan.

More to Come

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