Authors: Terry Mancour
Book Nine Of The Spellmonger Series
By Terry Mancour
First Kindle Edition
Copyright © September, 2016
To Lance, Jeff, Chris, Daniel, and Stephen
Special Thanks To
Sire Aaron of Schwartz,
without whose assistance this caper
would have gone tragically awry.
Rescuers. Avengers. Thieves. Spies.
The life of a knight mage is never easy, but sometimes the gods smile on you and grant you an errand of incredible complexity . . . without regards to casualties. When Tyndal and Rondal, journeymen wizards and knights errant, travel to southern Alshar to rescue a helpless boy and his mother, it sets in motion a series of events that will shake the foundations of the Five Duchies! While they are beginning their quest against the vast criminal gang known as the Brotherhood of the Rat, the two knights encounter the Cats of Enultramar, a family of shadowmagi (masters of shadow, illusion, and obfuscation) and high-class thieves who help them discover a plot to attack the rich lands and prosperous people of Alshar, from the Wilderlands to the Great Bay . . . and only Rondal and Tyndal can stop them! From thugs and thieves to irate Censors of Magic to dragons and undead, the intrepid pair face the challenges of a new land and an old enemy! For when a new, powerful threat in the form of the Necromancer of Olum Seheri looms against them, the brave young knights magi can only hope to defeat it with the help of a . . . SHADOWMAGE!
The Rescue Of Ruderal
The Vengeance of Estasia
The Rescue Of Ruderal
“When the Magocracy’s nascent merchant fleet departed Farise, bound for Unstara, the Far Isles, and points beyond on a great commercial expedition, their escort of Cormeeran warships sailed first far to the west to screen them from the threat of pirates along the Scorched Coast.
“Unbeknownst to the Magi, the Sea Lords of Enultramar were well-prepared to pillage their grand fleet. The proud ships of the Sea Lords descended from the Shoals of Sinbar, like the grandsons of the Storm Lord himself, each sail bearing the Sea Axe token of their secret harbor. Quickly and savagely each ship took a prize and escaped with it through the Channel. When they brought their prizes back to their havens there were more than there were berths prepared.
“Great fleets were forged out of their piracy, and the havens of Enultramar prospered as ships of war and trade departed from the fair bay on their missions. Many of the most ancient harbors and settlements saw their rise from this time: Pearslhaven, Drakeshaven, Solashaven, Deitus’ Landing, Fairhaven, Shellhaven, and many other small ports of the Sea Lords along the rocky Bay of Enultramar rose to economic power during their first grand attempt at organized piracy.”
The History of Alshar
By Seabrother Dexus of Fairhaven Abbey
The drunk old mariner stumbled with practiced grace down the ancient wooden dock, his battered black boots scraping against the weather-worn wood with a determined but entirely irregular gait. The swirl of the mists accumulating in shadowed pockets of the waterfront was already starting to obscure his footing, but considering the cloud of brandy fumes that clung to his tattered clothes and the squint to his salt-stained eyes, the fog was the least of his impairments.
The mariner wore a rusty scimitar at his hip, the bronze bell scratched and encrusted with verdigris from long exposure to the elements. His broad hat, olive-colored doublet and thin leather baldric told him out as an officer, or at least a man with aspirations of a commission at some point in his career. His unshaven chin and patched hose indicated that it had been some time since he’d had a commission that paid – or much work of any sort. The purse next to his blade was as flaccid as a becalmed sail.
“Storm Lord’s blessings on ye, lads!” he said in a loud and enthusiastic voice, filling the air with the aroma of the cheap brandy mixed with seawater known as Maiden’s Blood the mariners of Enultramar preferred as a matter of cultural pride. “Wouldn’t happen to have a spare ha’penny, would you, my lords?”
Rondal eyed the man suspiciously and continued to sip his plain, country-made un-watered ale. The town of Solashaven was full of desperate people. He’d seen enough of these out-of-work mariners in the last two days to fill a fleet, and the landsmen who came to the docks hoping to sell their produce looked just as desperate as the mariners.
There were hundreds of ships at anchor across the Great Bay, after the fleets returned from a season of raiding and trading this year. But there were far more than there were ports for them. When the squadrons of the Sea Lords returned before the winter storms, they brought back more than twice their number of smaller Farisi ships.
When the boys arrived at the mouth of the great river, they’d learned that the mariners of Farise, in exile at sea for nearly five years, had gathered their fellows from all over the Shallow Sea and made port in Enultramar, under the auspices of the rebel barons and viscounts who ruled there. Now the sails bearing the old Farisian symbol, a stylized sun wheel over a stylized wave, were just as numerous as those bearing the sea axe-and-anchor of the Alshari navy, though the latter clearly enjoyed the advantage in the size of its ships.
While that made every major harbor crowded, smaller ports like Solashaven seemed to only attract the large number of mariners ashore for the winter who’d blown through their pay in the first few weeks in the major ports and then drifted like seaweed toward less expensive quarters. Even the great ports they’d passed on their way to this silted-up haven seemed crowded with them, milling listlessly between taphouses. All of Enultramar seemed becalmed, as ships bobbed in the harbors and havens, but did not depart.
Tyndal took a more engaging approach. He saw the vast horizon of squalid fishing villages and ancient docks, sea castles and merchant caravels, vacant warehouses and rotting hulls as an opportunity for adventure, not an insidious trap ever revealing itself. Enultramar was a game to the younger of the two magi. Though their mission was serious, his approach to it was not – something that irritated his companion to no end.
But it occasionally got results.
“I might have coin for the
news, Uncle,” he replied, tapping a silver penny – known locally as a “shell” for the scallop design stamped into the obverse – on the table. He watched with expectation as the man’s bleary eyes opened up. You could buy a
of Maiden’s Blood with a single shell. An entire night’s worth of drunken oblivion.
has his ears open, gentlemen,” he assured them, obsequiously. “
happens on the docks o’ Enultramar that don’t eventually come to these big ears. Like lateen sails, they are. What news do ye seek?”
“We want to know where we might find a certain fellow,” continued Tyndal, more quietly. Rondal had to admit, his partner was far more adept at this sort of thing than he was. “We have reason to suspect he’s somewhere here in Solashaven.”
“Does this fellow have a name?” asked Nymatis. “And does he
to be found?”
“He does and he doesn’t,” Tyndal offered. “Do you find that morally troubling?” Suddenly there were two shells flipping enticingly through his fingers.
The mariner scratched his scraggly jaw. He considered briefly before his face dismissed the idea entirely. “Can’t say that I do, m’lord!”
“The man’s name is Skrup,” Tyndal said, catching the man’s eye intently. “Skrupenal, but he’s known as Skrup. Hard Skrup, to some,” he said, adding the man’s street name.
,” Nymatis said, his voice falling. That seemed a different matter. His expression changed. “Why would a couple o’ nice lads like yourselves want to get on board a ruffian like
“We owe him money,” Rondal blurted out, earning him a stern look from Tyndal.
You do realize that’s the oldest, most blatant lie about why someone is looking for someone else, don’t you?
He asked his partner scornfully, mind-to-mind.
Why not mention we have a present for his daughter’s name-day? Or that we’re long-lost relatives bringing him a rich legacy?