Using the map Cronos had gotten from Felix, Callindra estimated the location of the mountain where Beliach’s forge was. It wasn’t that difficult; the memory of flying high above the forests, plains, oceans and glaciers was one that filled her with an inexplicable sense of rightness. Someday, she would answer her yearning and find a way to truly fly on her own.
At first the travel had been uneventful and simple. Trudging through dunes and skirting the swamp. Meeting up with an old tradesman’s track and following it to a Lord’s Causeway, and finding it in a distressing state of disrepair. Having to ford a river where the bridge had been destroyed was a setback, but it only meant they got wet and had to hang clothes by the fire at night and change into dry spares to avoid catching a chill.
None of the small settlements they passed had people in them. It was surreal to enter a town and find all the buildings abandoned with no sign as to why the folk had left. As they walked north, the weather began to get cooler. Eventually, they had to detour to a larger city to find a place where they could purchase warmer clothing.
“Where are the traders in the south?” Tryst asked the suspicious looking shopkeeper. The man had been scratching each of the coins they had used to pay for their goods with a dagger, making sure they weren’t just gilded lead.
“Don’t know.” The man grumbled, “I ain’t no trader.”
“When is the last time you saw a trader come through?” Tryst asked, his voice still polite, smiling ingratiatingly.
“Bout six weeks gone.” He waved a hand, “Now get otta here. I ain’t your own personal gossip broker.”
“I will pay for the information if that is your wish.” Tryst said.
“I ain’t got what you want anyway.” The man said, “Ain’t nothing to tell.”
“Anything you could tell me would be appreciated.” Tryst said, still smiling.
“Enough of this.” Callindra stepped forward, a gust of wind following the motion and blowing a stack of parchments onto the floor. “We have purchased goods from you at exorbitant prices, we have been subjected to all kinds of insult and derision, I will not stand by and watch my brother be treated in such a manner.”
“What’re you gonna do then little girl?” He glared at her, “Chop me ta bits with that sword I suppose?”
“I notice you have a lot of goods here that are not water resistant.” She noted idly, placing her hand on Brightfang’s hilt. “I wonder what would happen if a sudden rain storm happened to hit.”
“Ain’t nothin would happen, there’s a roof.” He snapped, rolling his eyes and pointing up.
“Well, I agree that there is one right now.” Callindra agreed, idly looking where he was pointing. Thunder rumbled in the cloudless sky and the breezes around her swirled the papers on the floor. “But I can’t say how long that will last given the present circumstance.”
“Are you threatening me?” He demanded, crossing his arms.
“What?” She said innocently, “Me threatening you? Of course not.” Thunder rumbled again and Callindra smiled. “I’m threatening your building. The whole building and everything in it.”
“Last caravan was three weeks ago.” The man said, wiping sweat off his forehead. “I ain’t seen nothing since and dunno when the next one’s supposed to come.”
“Are you sure?” Callindra asked, leaning forward. Electricity arced across her fingers and he jumped back.
“OK! They paid me to keep people trading. They paid me to not tell nobody and just keep up appearances.” He was looking around almost wildly now, as though he expected someone to pop out of the woodwork and punish him for talking.
“Who?” She pressed, a pleasant smile working its way across her face. Her hair began to gradually rise around her, the static electricity of the magic she held within her finding its exit.
“I don’t know.” He said, holding his hands up in surrender or supplication. “They didn’t tell me who they were.”
“That is not good enough.” Callindra said and lightning struck the courtyard outside. “We need more information than that and I believe you have it.”
“I really don’t know who they are.” He said, “All I know is they’re with The Order.”
“The Order?” Callindra’s voice rose in panic and more lightning bolts began to fall outside.
“Uh. Callindra?” Cronos said with a touch of apprehension coming into his voice. “You sure you have control over this spell?”
“You’re working for the ORDER?” She shouted, the wind picking up and beginning to swirl ominously around the building. A bolt of lightning slammed into the fountain in the square outside the shop, smashing the marble into gravel.
“They offered me no alternative!” He screamed, “They will come, they swore they would come. THEY ARE COMING!”
Callindra looked around wildly and bolts of electric destruction rained down outside. “They will not take him from me!”
“Sister, calm yourself!” Cronos shouted, reaching for her arm. “Keep your concentration steady!” When his hand touched her skin, he recoiled quickly with an exclamation of pain. Electricity had arced from her body to his fingers with a loud snap.
She ignored him, focusing all her attention on the shop keeper. “You have no idea what they have done to me. I hope they do come, for when they do I will destroy them.” The wind began to whip through the square, “I will raze this town to the ground, burn it to ashes and scatter the dust before the gale of my wrath!”
Tryst, Cronos and Vilhylm all attempted to move in and restrain her, but the wind was too strong. A voice cut through the roar of the wind from the doorway. “Oh now that’s not right at all. I am sure that Glarian taught you better than that.”
The mention of her Master’s name brought up so casually made her certain she was with The Order and Callindra turned to unleash all of her fury upon the woman, drawing Brightfang from his sheath. “You will PAY for what you’ve done!” She screamed, but the woman was suddenly at her side, touching her face with a kind hand and looking into her eyes.