A Trip to Firerock ~Denouement Part 2~A week passed as life went on as it ever did in Blackwater Manor: Malachi, Sylvan's lover, came home for a visit during his sorcery training; official visitors came to conduct business; court was held to hear the concerns of the people. Days later, Sylvan finally had the chance to look into the legal issues surrounding Kasimir's slave contract with a legal clerk she knew in the capital and brought the good and bad news back to Valkenhein and the man in question. With contract slavery not being legally recognized as a distinction in the kingdoms of Rocreach or Crystalus, freeing Kasimir in those lands was no different than freeing any other slave; however, according to the international laws regarding the slave trade, freeing him would be considered a breach of contract punishable by life enslavement.
Kasimir needed no additional time to think over his decision, however. He had long wished to move to the more temperate lands in the north; an extended trip to Crystalus with his old mistr
A Trip to Firerock ~Denouement Part 1~"Nikolus Westbourne, you are hereby ordered to surrender yourself!" The guards and their leader, Valkenhein's brother Mino, had stopped a few feet from the wolf and cat, swords drawn. It was Mino who had spoken, his tone cold and openly hostile.
Valkenhein quickly assessed the situation and cursed his luck: there was nowhere for them to seek shelter on this street full of private residences and apartment complexes without endangering innocent people. He knew they could seek assistance from the Rocreach Embassy or Mage's Academy, but reaching either would be difficult if not impossible. His mind raced, trying to figure a way out of this situation, when a familiar, and most welcome, voice rang out from behind him.
"On whose authority?" Sylvan asked, her voice calm but powerfully projected.
"What business is it of yours, wench?" the wolfkin sneered. "This is family business, so you'll keep walking if you know what's good for you."
The sorceress strode forward to stand at Valkenhein's side
A Trip to Firerock ~Kasimir~The slave caravan had stopped for the night and the "merchandise" was secured, chains attached to cuffs then looped around trees and locked. Only one slave roamed free, a beautiful catkin who was bound not by chains, but by invisible bonds of his own making. Kasimir was a contract slave, a special class of slave who had willingly sold a set number of years for a lump sum up front. He had sold 150 years of his life to help his family keep their business afloat and his siblings from being forced into true slavery.
The first 80 years of his enslavement had been pleasantly spent as caretaker for an elderly Fire Elf woman. Her family schemed to get at her wealth, so she didn't trust any of them to care for her in her old age and poor health. She purchased Kasimir so she could have a companion and caretaker that she could trust to have her best interests in mind during her twilight years. As a contract slave, he had no reason to resent his owner for "taking away" his freedom, neither could h
A Trip to Firerock ~Valkenhein~The handsome, silver-haired wolfkin strolled through the market, his shoes clicking on the red stone, taking in the sights, letting the scents and sounds bring him back to his youth. Sylvan was meeting with the mages, getting the information they'd come for, so he had plenty of time to visit his old home. Hell's Fang was the capital of Firerock and one of the most advanced cities on the continent. Natural heat from geothermal vents in the ground kept the city warm all year long, braziers strategically placed to heat aromatic herbs and give the market a pleasing scent. Flute players entertained merchant and customer alike, their music enchanting all who heard it in the bustling marketplace. There were dozens of stalls, each selling something different and unique, making it clear why this was the trading hub of the entire kingdom.
Valkenhein stopped at a stall where an old Fire Elf man, his horns curled many times over, was grilling a variety of meats. He'd been gone for over a century,
A Trip to Firerock ~Sylvan~Shelves filled with hundreds, maybe thousands, of thick books, many of which appeared to be hand-bound originals, lined the walls from floor to ceiling while the center of the room was dominated by several large tables made of a rich, dark wood. A few of the seats were occupied by students hunched over, absorbed in their studies. The room itself smelled of old bindings and paper, a scent Sylvan loved. She walked along the shelves, passing the time while she waited to be seen by the headmaster by perusing the vast library. The collection here dwarfed even her own collection of rare tomes, stoking her scholarly desire for knowledge. There were books she'd only heard of sitting openly on the library shelves, free for anyone to read at their leisure.
The sorceress was so enthralled by the selection that she didn't notice the man trying to get her attention at first. "M'lady?" he raised his voice slightly, startling Sylvan slightly but successfully breaking her focus.
"Oh! I'm so sorry!" sh
A Trip to Firerock ~Prologue~A Trip to Firerock
A sudden rapping on her study door startled Sylvan, nearly causing her to drop the old tome she was studying. She had been so engrossed in her research she hadn't heard the approaching footsteps on the stone floor until the knocking got her attention. Carefully setting the book on her desk, the sorceress slipped a scrap of paper between the pages to mark her place and turned, her immaculately dressed and proper butler standing in the doorway, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Milady, a courier has just arrived for you. He says the headmaster of the Firerock Mage's Academy sent him regarding the information you requested."
"Ah, splendid! Please, show him in."
The wolfkin bowed and retrieved their visitor from the foyer. The courier was a young Fire Elf man, his horns just beginning to curve backwards. After a few pleasantries, he gave Sylvan a small, clear piece of crystal and the message that the Grand Mage had found documents that could aid her research