Monday, 24 November 2014

Scent: Part 15

 Reynard and Aisha sat waiting for Master Ulfram in his study. The walls were panelled with rich dark wood and decorated with various shields and weapons. They sat in finely carved wooden chairs, shifting uncomfortably against the hard wood. Grisly trophies from victories of the past sat in cabinets under glass. A skull of a minotaur was in a cabinet to their left, a harpies claw to their right. All the trophy cabinets had been engraved with the date the trophy was taken and who the hero was that had slayed these beasts. Reynard raised an eyebrow as he realised that most of them had Ulfram’s name etched on them. There were few bookcases in the room which they both found strange as it was a study but from what they knew of Ulfram it didn’t surprise them. He was very much a man of action and not of words. They both continued to squirm in their chairs wondering why it was that they had been summoned before the Master. Reynard had been in the order for over twenty years and he had never once had an audience with any of the masters that had served in Orlands Chapter. Aisha had been a Traveller for only a few years and was even more nervous that Reynard. She played with her hair with one hand and drummed out a rhythmless beat with the other which stopped abruptly as Ulfram strode into the room.

He sat opposite the Travellers placed the elbow of one of his huge arms on the desk and stroked his chin thoughtfully. He looked back and forth between Reynard and Aisha and after a short uncomfortable silence spoke. ‘I have asked you both here to discuss the aspirant you brought before us. The boy concerns me somewhat’ his deep voice rumbled as he continued addressing Aisha, ‘You used your powers of compulsion on him so he came without argument?’ Aisha nodded in agreement, ‘Yet we don’t compel them to fight. Especially the way that he did’, he furrowed his brow. ‘Where did you find the boy? Tell me all and don't’ leave out any detail’

Reynard and Aisha told of how they had found Reven at the Barded Warhorse Inn and how they had both sensed power within him. They talked of Rosholt and how he came to travel with Fang. They told him of the frenzy they had seen Reven display whilst hacking at the bandit when defending the coach on their way to Vardenfell and even relayed Lord Vol’s message of doom which brought a derisive snort from Ulfram. They were honest in that they believed that Reven was the most promising aspirant they had ever presented to the Order. Ulfram nodded throughout, listening to every word intently.

‘We haven’t had a beastmaster pass through our halls in a long time. He would be a boon to us in years to come but I fear that he may border on the insane.’ Reynard and Aisha exchanged a look at their master spoke. ‘I was delayed meeting you because I looked in on the boy in his cell. He was weeping...almost hysterically.A far cry from the remorseless child we saw in the trial.’ Reynard spoke forgetting himself, ‘Forgive me Master but he stood the trial, he bares the mark of the chosen upon his shoulder. Many children have reacted badly once released from our spells and wards, what is special about Reven?’ Ulfram stared at Reynard, ‘I was coming to that Traveller’ he said letting his anger show at the interruption. ‘As we do with all aspirants, we examined him after the trial and after some questioning from Mistress Renk, this chapters Magister, it became apparent that the mark he has upon his shoulder is from a recent wound. He hasn’t had it from birth.’ Aisha gasped and Reynard recoiled in his seat. The mark of the chosen was more a birthright than scar and only those with it could be recruited into the order. Reynard and Aisha had made a grave error bringing the boy to be tested.

‘We had no inkling Master, we will rectify our mistake at once’ Reynard started rising out of his chair but Ulfram waved him down. ‘The boy poses many question. He is a vessel of power, I feel that just as you did. He is also on the verge of a mental breakdown it would appear.’ Ulfram stood and started to pace the room, his hands clasped behind his back. ‘Perhaps the biggest question surrounding Reven is who marked him and why. He says he has no recollection of how the mark got there beyond some nightmares he has had. He claims the wound only happened a week ago but there is no way that can be true, he cannot of healed so quickly. I think he is confused. I think somebody want’s him within our order but for what purpose I don’t know.’ Ulfram nodded as if somebody was advising him but Aisha and Reynard sat still just staring at their master hanging on his next words. ‘We’ll keep an eye on him but should things go bad you will be called from your travels to do what must be done. The boy will be trained.’ With this Ulfram turned his back on them and stared at nothing at the back of the study as if contemplating his own words. Reynard and Aisha got up realising this was their cue to leave.

Reven lay upon his bed, his cheeks still wet from the tears he had wept. Little did he know that the course of his life had just been decided for him. His path had unknowingly been laid before him now all he needed to do was walk it.

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