Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sketch in My Notebook: The Order of the Blackened Glaive (Part 9)

Our story so far...

Drakar has been forced from the Sentralian Military Academy because of his half-demon heritage.  However, angels of the goddess Nyx visited him in a dream, commanding him to seek out Fortress Abbadabas and the fabled Order of the Blackened Glaive.  Drakar traveled south to the city of Jakara, where he met a girl--a young wizard named Elaina Emboo.  Having saved Elain from certain death, Drakar headed back to confront Safras, the man who tried to have Elaina killed.  

Drakar feels compelled to visit justice on the wicked for reasons he does not fully comprehend.  Neither does Elaina Emboo.

“What in the ninth ring of Tartarus was that?” 
Drakar smiles, but he can see that Elaina is furious.  “I told you--” he begins.
“Don’t you dare,” Elaina cries.  She whips around, sticking her finger in his face.  “You almost got us killed!”
“I did nothing of the sort.”  
They’re walking back now, having already passed through the slums.  It’s late, and the streets are almost empty.  No one molested them on their way through the shantytown, and now that they’ve reached the more properous parts of the city, there are only a few passersby still out and about.  Every once in a while they see a pair of workmen dressed in the white robes that have by now become so familiar.  These are slowly putting out the torches and oil lamps that give light to Jakara’s streets.  The moon is at its apex, but it is merely a sliver in a crystal sky.  Still, the night is clear and brilliant with stars, and Drakar has little trouble finding his way.  It’s gotten colder than he’d expected given the daytime’s heat, but the cold doesn’t bother him.  He can still feel the warmth of the Pits coursing through his veins.
“Neither of us carries so much as a scratch,” Drakar argues.  “I do not see why you are concerned.”
“You didn’t know it was gonna go down like that, Drakar.”
“Didn’t I?”
“Don’t gimme that crap.  They had us surrounded!  Yeah, okay, you are a badass with that glaive, but come on.  Anything can happen in a fight.  We both know that.  You took a chance with our lives--a bad one.”
“What was the alternative?”
“I’d just made a deal with that guy!”
“A deal through which he was planning to cheat you again.  He tried to murder you, Elaina.  Must I truly remind you of the state in which I found you?”
“Look, Drakar, it’s not that I’m not grateful--”
“Well, what is it then?  Your profits?  Not that I care, but you stand to make more now than you did with any bargain.  Now your friend Ferdinando can send his sailors to collect what is rightfully yours at his leisure.”
“But Safras could have killed us!”
“How so?”
“Are you serious?  There were a dozen guys down there.  You got lucky because you caught them off guard, but that’s all.  Don’t pretend otherwise.”
Drakar stops and spends a moment considering how to explain what he feels.  It’s hard to vocalize, however, and he doesn’t want Elaina to think he’s some kind of fanatic.  There’s no easy way to say it, however, so at last he’s left with the simple truth.  He shakes his head.  When the words come, they are soft, almost embarassed.  “There was no luck involved, Elaina.  My mother watches over me.”
“What in the Hells does that mean?”
“I am the instrument of Orcus, the punisher of broken oaths, and of his mistress Nyx, the lady of night.  My mother’s hand guides me, and against her, a man such as Safras could never stand.”  
They’re standing in the streets now, and Elaina is staring.  She looks hard into his eyes as if taking his measure, and he allows it.  A beat passes while she looks until finally he takes her hands in his.  “It’s true, Elaina.  The Pits…  The Pits are deeper than your theology will allow.
Elaina shudders and turns away, breaking contact.  When she turns back, it is with a healthy distance between them.  “What are you, Drakar?  Why am I suddenly scared?”
“I told you.  I am a soldier.  I’m on my way to Fortress Abbadabas to join the Order of the Blackened Glaive.”
“I’ve never even heard of it.  Do you know where it is?”
Drakar shrugs.  “Somewhere nearby.”
A full day passes before the Trident finally sets sail.  It has taken some time and more than a little bit of explanation and cajoling, but eventually Ferdinando agreed to help Drakar find Fortress Abbadabas.  Unfortunately, no one in Jakara seems to have heard of the place.  Still, Drakar is sure that it is close, and by now he’s learned to trust his feelings...

Another short piece this week.  But.  The original adventures of Elaina Emboo (and her best friend Sneax) are available in my book, Sneakatara Boatman & the Priest of Loki.  It's out for the Kindle and Kindle app for a mere $2.99.

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