Zarange stood silent in her chambers. The Master of each Order had been handed a scroll containing the Master’s edict. Her face had gone white as she had read the contents. The Orders were under attack from within. Olgath had sanctioned a culling, against the wishes of the council.
So this was how it was to end. She felt lucky that she had decided not to open to the doors to her sacred city to those beyond. Sure, she would open to accept refugees. Just not for converts.
She would keep her Order’s blood pure for as long as she could before she would look for new blood. That was why she smuggled in members of her kindred. But, then most of those in Nordia and Austryn did. Those in Estryn or Sudia weren’t so lucky. The Estryn Orders were too far away from the borders to the barbarian lands to benefit from the help of the Rievers who smuggled kindred across the Big Muddy and those in Sudia were too far away from the cover of the Lands of Mist to secret them across the northern borderlands.
Those in Sudia were able to receive kindred some of the time, depending on their exact location in comparison to the Big Muddy. But Estryn was just out of luck. Unless their kindred wanted to go through the lands of Mist and cross on into the eastern lands of the Horse Lords, they would never get the infusion from their tribes they needed to keep alive.
Sure, granting membership to those not born of the barbarian lineages was dangerous, even deadly, but necessity made it so that they had little to no choice. And now, that necessity had caused retaliation from the Master. Law forbade the marshalling and training of troops for any purpose. Yet, this new edict from the Master had left all no choice. They had to train for self-defense if for no other reason.
It angered her to know that Olgath had been so flippant as to decide to attack his subjects. He had truly lost his way. But they couldn’t do much to stop him. rebellion had been outlawed a century ago. Creating one who could stand against him alone was also forbidden.
She crumpled the parchment, enraged. Her anger turned it to instant ash. She had to call a secret meeting of the council. They had to come to an agreement on how to handle this new threat.
She reached out mentally for the Master of the Tyresians, blocking the Master of the Ring from her thoughts.
~We need to meet about the new edict.~
~How do you propose this meeting without the Master?~ Came the response.
~Astrally. But with wards to keep him out. It has to be agreed to unanimously. One dissenter and we cannot do this.~
~Agreed and understood, Sister Zarange.~ He replied.
So that was it. She had begun the first secret revolt against the Master’s decision. But then, the Tyresians had barely agreed to the installment of the Master’s grandfather. They were always open to any form of rebellion. Vengeance was going to be sweet.
She smiled mischievously. It felt good to be bad. She turned and walked away from the window where she had been standing after leaving the mind-mirror she used to initiate psychic contact. She had a meeting to get ready for.
She knew that at least half of her fellow Masters would be reluctant. They would fear punishment. They would fear retribution. But two would be her greatest allies.
The Cyrtians had no love for Olgath. Neither did the Veryddians. Both had voted against having a non-ring mage as their Master. It had been unnatural.
The Sisterhood would stand with her, both the peaceful and the warrior Orders. The sisters always stuck together. But most of the male Orders looked down upon the Sisterhood. To the men, they were weak and incapable of being a serious threat to anyone.
Emperor Kyrzhad I sat upon his throne. He cared not for the Dark Ring or any other confederation of mages and wizards. They posed a threat to him and his dynasty of usurpers. Long had the prophets spoken against the House Mouadizh, royal house of the Renge. Long had they prophesied an end. But now they were no more.
He assumed that Olgath, in his jealousy, had exterminated them all. No matter. He hoped that the mages would destroy each other. It would serve them right.
What worried him was the upstart, Golmagug. The demi-mage was a threat to the very soul of the lands. His unholy desire to find the lost tomes of the Black Ring would be the very undoing of all that had been done. If he ever found them, the demi-mage would destroy the lands and all that they stood for.
Kyrzhad’s fear was that Gol would call the necromancers back to life, setting loose a time of darkness that the lands could not survive. He shuddered to think of it. But such a time had not been prophesied. Had the prophets been destroyed too soon?
He grimaced. It was time to call the nobilis together. They had much to discuss. Perhaps he would wage war on some of the unattached mage-knights that ruled cities. Perhaps he would simply award governorships to his most loyal or the most ambitious.
He shook his head. They were all decadent. They loved their drugs. They loved their gluttony.
But there was a new face among his nobilis. Hadrax, the son of the bard, had joined the lords of the land. How Kyrzhad had waited for one of the bard’s sons to take up the noble calling of their blood and now one had. Sadly, it had taken centuries.
Now, he could see how well the youth could fight. Would he be a good general? Or would he be as the others, worthless as tits on Amalu? He would send the boy-man against Korlabdis, against the twin mages who governed there.
It would be interesting to witness. He knew that he would receive plenty of reports. If the youth proved to be a good warrior, he would hand him governorship of Yndarr. It was only fitting that he was given the city of his birth.