Chapter 11: Tower of Mages
“There are times when secrets must be kept, it is true… but much more often, I find them dangerous. So often they are tools used to seek power over others, ones that are difficult to fight as they are unknown. And so I am always wary of those who would hide their purposes from others, for I fear in their heart they dream themselves kings.” — Garkhen
One of the freed slaves was a mage skilled in wind magic, so they made good time. On the second day they saw sails behind them, but they didn’t draw much closer over the next week. But about eight days out from the pirate base, Zakhin’Dakh dove back down towards the deck in the middle of one of his frequent “I’m bored with sitting around” flights.
More things that way! He screeched to Almonihah, pointing ahead of the ship.
“Ships?” Almonihah asked in Common, for the sake of everyone else around.
The big griffon nodded. Yeah!
“How many ships?”
“Zakhin’Dakh says there’s two ships ahead ‘f us,” Almonihah translated.
This was hardly taken as welcome news, but there was nothing for it. If they turned one way or the other, the ships behind them might catch up, and those ones they knew were pirates. These ones… well, they could hope.
It wasn’t long before the lookouts could see the sails, and then everyone aboard the ship. It was a long, tense time, however, until anyone could tell whose ships they were.
“They’re flying Midport’s flag!” One of the lookouts called out, to be greeted with weary cheers.
The tension was not entirely gone as they neared the pair of ships, for pirates were known to fly false flags, but the closer they came, the more it seemed they were who they proclaimed they were. Soon enough a mage on the prow of the first of the pair of ships called out, his voice magically carried on the wind, “Who are you to sail with no flag?”
“Escaped prisoners, fleeing pirates,” the captain replied to the air, assuming the spell would carry his voice back. “If you’re hunting some, there’s at least a pair following us.”
There was a moment of silence before the voice returned. “Stand by to be inspected. If you’re who you say you are, you’re welcome to our protection… and we’ll want to ask you some questions. If not, you’ll find it was not wise to lie.”
Ooo, look at the ominous chapter title…