Princil's Magic : Ch.4 : The Trial (Part 3) Sorceror In Love
By Kurt Rellians
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(This writing was lost for a few years, but I have thankfully found it and typed it up. Part of the great drama of Remzain's life and the land of Shalirion. Some earlier and later chapters are already on abctales.)
Ch.4 : The Trial : (Part 3) : Sorceror In Love
Valdark came alongside Aribor the sorcerer once again. “You have a young woman of great beauty locked away somewhere. I can see it in your mind Aribor! There is no use in denying this. I can see she has some connection to this condemned merchant. I never thought you, Aribor, could love. I did not think you had that in you, which would be to your credit. For love is foolish and weak. In a sorcerer love is a particularly great weakness, in which you may lay yourself open to the blackmail and control of others, particularly of wizards. I see you actually love this girl!”
Valdark actually croaked with his own version of laughter, a cackling which made him seem more birdlike than human. There was little of normal humanity about the sorcerer. What humour there was in him was his own and not like others. Valdark’s view of love was no surprise to Aribor as all sorcerors must banish any thoughts of love when they learn their craft, particularly if they wish to make pure and effective magic and avoid being caught out by their agreements.
Indeed Aribor had always prided himself on his own lack of connection to other human beings. His own parents brothers and sisters had all long since left this world in civil wars, purges and other personal conflicts of the past. There were other more distant relatives, but none he ever cared about much or ever visited. Early adventures in love or friendship had usually ended in pain, jealousy or resentments. He had learned to live independently, for himself, owing nothing to others. He owed fealty to Guthelm and certain others of the Lords of Grumandor. He owed loyalty to the great sorcerer Valdark, who now addressed him. These loyalties came from duty rather than love, and from his desire for self preservation and the need for patrons to protect him. His sexual interests and his search for beauty were not the desire for love, he thought, but more for the satisfactions of his own lusts. He owed nothing of love to those in whom he invested his interest.
Aribor glowered back, mindful that he must not cause offence to his leader, but unable to prevent some sign of his irritation. “Love is an alien idea to me, he declared, curtly. “It has no place in the mind of a sorcerer.”
“But I see it there! You have become attached to a young woman. You cannot deny it. I can see it clearly in your mind,” said Valdark, cackling irritatingly again.
Aribor realised that despite his defence, the greater sorcerer must have seen inside his mind. He recognized the desire and lust he felt for Remzain the beauty. It was powerful. From self interest he cared something for the fate of her father, because he did wish the woman to give willingly of her charms. He did not wish to admit this to Valdark, because it might well make him appear soft. A sorcerer should be ruthless and unforgiving. He should hold no scruples. However, if Valdark had seen within his mind, he could not deny the existence of the young woman, or even the connection to her father.
‘There is a beauty, a woman of Cromilil, whom I have acquired for my reward,” Aribor confessed. “It is true that I feel some lust towards her. She is indeed a rich reward. But lust is not love. She is my prisoner.”
“Too much lust can be a dangerous thing in a sorcerer,” said Valdark coldly. “Beware my friend, for love weakens us. The enemy can strike in the heart of those who love!”
“It is not love,” said Aribor. “I am a sorcerer. I do not feel love for the conquered, not even for my own people ordinarily.”
“Lust then,”Valdark offered diplomatically. “That kind of lust is not healthy in a sorcerer. It can lead to entrapment and it will weaken your magic and your resolve. Look at that fellow there, the merchant councillor, the accused. I know he has some connection to this young woman of yours. Is he, let me guess….?” Valdark conjectured, “Her father? ….That would explain the thoughts of mercy I read in your mind.”
Aribor was slow to respond, reluctant to admit such a connection, even though he could no longer hide it from the Great Sorceror. “Yes, he is her father. Valdark I feel no care or love for that man. But I do not wish his daughter to withdraw her favour from me. I would prefer to take her favours willingly in her case. That man is an enemy and one of the conquered. King Guthelm can have him for all I care!”
“I see,” said Valdark, appearing satisfied that he had now come to the full truth of the matter. “You do realise, I hope, that you have compromised yourself in this. Your lust is lust, but it is not different to love. I can see a dangerous devotion to this woman in your mind. It will cloud your mind, weaken your magic and tempt you to have mercy on those who are your enemies. Can you see that Aribor?”
“No, it is not as you say,” said Aribor, trying not to sound as if he was pleading. “I feel lust, nothing more. When I have drunk my fill I shall feel less lust and my life will continue as before. As I have said she is my reward for service in this campaign.”
“How will you discard her when you have finished with her?” asked Valdark incisively.
“I will leave her behind, or pass her on perhaps,” answered Aribor, saying what he thought Valdark would wish him to say. As he spoke he could not help but be aware that he would never tire of beauty such as Remzain’s. He could not envision wanting to leave her anywhere or to pass her on. Nor could he countenance the idea of leaving her to anyone who might disfigure that beauty or do her harm.He was aware that Valdark had the power to prevent him from keeping Remzain. Indeed the Great Sorceror could punish him in many ways if he was deemed to have erred.
“I know you will not leave her behind if you have the choice,” said Valdark. “I have read your mind. I can see what is inside of you! I can foresee the consequences for you if you keep this woman. She will turn you into her servant and affect your magic. I foresee that she would have you save her father, although I do not see that could be possible now. What could you do?” Valdark spoke softly, his eyes flickering, as if distracted by unseeing vision. Aribor waited in trepidation, while Valdark continued his seeing and his ruminations.
“No,” continued the Great Sorceror. “You would not save her father. He is beyond help, but she would subvert your loyalties. I can foresee you aiding her and her people if she stays with you. We cannot have that can we?”
Aribor felt a sickness within his head. Valdark had spoken. He would take her away from him. Downcast he could not answer. The shock was too great, proof if he needed it that Valdark could not be wrong. He was affected by the young woman. His magic was already compromised by her. Normally he would be able to accept orders without question. This one he felt he would have ignored if only he could. Why oh why had he come here to observe the trials? He could have hidden in the city while the suppression, pillaging and enslavement continued. If he had kept out of Valdark’s way he would never have become curious about what was in his mind. Aribor was angry at himself. He should have kept a lower profile. Why had he accepted Remzain’s request that he find her father and try to help. Valdark was right in as much as he had shown weakness. He had indeed succumbed to the spell of the beauty. He had been overconcerned with her feelings when she was effectively his slave. He had known he could not assist the father. Why should a Grumandorian sorcerer want or need to help anyone, certainly not an enemy from Shalirion, the soft kingdom!
Partly Aribor could agree with Valdark. He had been weak, foolish and soft. The young beauty had affected him too much. It was not good for him to be so affected. He should be able to control himself and the young woman. But she had much that he sought for. She was the beauty he craved. He had searched for such beauty for a long time, before he had detected her. He accepted that to search for such beauty was essential to him. He could see no other way than to follow his desires. It was the need within him. Without the search he could never be satisfied. He could not regret his search, and the deprivation of his prize was something he would have to face. If this was Valdark’s punishment he had no choice but to come to terms with it. He resented Valdark and Guthelm and all the terrible things he was sometimes obliged to do in this life of sorcery and continual war. But they were his rulers and patrons. He had no choice in these matters. He belonged to them. They were his masters and his people. He had to serve them. There were no other possible ways for him.
“To save yourself from the fate of treachery and disloyalty I will take the woman from you Aribor,” said Valdark, whose eyes now pierced him. He could not avoid the justice of his leader. Aribor was caught in Valdark’s full attention. There could be no disobediebnce. He could see that Valdark had seen the future that would have been if he, Aribor, kept his prisoner. Aribor could see that it must be for his own good that the woman be taken from him. But he could not want that outcome. He could not accept it by choice. Valdark must take her from him. He could not have given her away by choice.
“What do you propose?” Aribor whispered.
“Your prisoner must be given to Guthelm.”
“No!” he exhaled. “Why Guthelm?”
“She will be safe with Guthelm, believe me,” said Valdark.
“How can any prisoner be safe with Guthelm?” asked Aribor bitterly.
“As you have proved, if she is so beautiful, she will be prized. Guthelm will prize her too. He may give her as a gift of value to someone. He does not kill beautiful women. Have no fear. But it is not for you to worry about her. Trust me Aribor. I value your service. You are a good sorcerer and I trust you to perform your duties. It is for your own good that I take this woman away from you!”
Aribor knew he had no choice. If he did not give up the young woman Valdark would force him to reveal her whereabouts, and could have inflicted a wide variety of punishments upon him or Remzain, which could be death in some form or worse than that. Resistance was futile. He would then be turned out from Guthelm’s patronage, and the membership of Grumandorian sorcerors and wizards, even if he was allowed his life and freedom.
He felt anger in his soul towards Valdark, for his spying into affairs Aribor felt should be his own. The great sorcerer had little of the human soul about him, and yet he had gone out of his way to make it clear that he regarded him as a valuable sorceror and sought his best interests. He even felt anger towards Guthelm his King, for the harsh habits he demanded of his followers, and resentment that the King might benefit from his loss and Remzain’s beauty. There was jealousy in him, he knew, but also fear for Remzain, because, whatever Valdark might say, the King was wild and unpredictable. He could be dangerous, although it was also true he could be kind to women.
As a sorcerer and a warrior he could see much of truth in what Valdark judged. His lust for the young woman was great, so strong that it did have the power to subvert his loyalties. His desire to see Chanceleord preserved was out of character and revealed the influence Remzain had upon him. He had little doubt that if he were allowed to keep the girl he would be influenced in other matters also. Perhaps Valdark was right to prevent ths weakness from spreading. Perhaps this was in his best interests.
“You must take me to her Aribor and hand her over to me. Will you do that? You know there will be serious punishment if you refuse, “ said Valdark, clearly.
“Yes my Lord Sorceror. Of course, I know you seek my better interests,” said Aribor, knowing that it would not do to argue further. Valdark’s mind was made up. He must appear willing, even if he did not feel it, to avoid Valdark’s mistrust and future intrusion into his activities. Further scrutiny by Valdark might lead to further troubles to the rest of Remzain’s family, which Aribor found he had no wish to cause.
“I will bring Cyclander with us,” announced Valdark. “We will do it now! Lead us to the young woman.”
“Yes my Lord,” Aribor bowed his head in acceptance.
Valdark rose, his black robe billowing in a non existent breeze. Without any outward appearance of communication another sorcerer nearby, unkempt and strong, bearded, stood and followed. Cyclander was a loyal and unsociable sorcerer. He had done many unspeakable things with and for his Master Valdark, and for his ultimate Master Guthelm. Aribor had always suspected that Valdark had some particular hold over him to cause such close service. The two were rarely separated, except when Cyclander was on some errand or other. Besides his magical prowess he was physically very strong also. There would be no possibility of shortchanging Valdark with this extra presence in attendance. Aribor was resigned and rose to do his unpleasant duty.
She sensed voices. A high pitched voice spoke quietly, but somehow could be heard through the wooden door. “I sense the woman is here,” Remzain heard.
“Yes my lord,” she recognised the deeper voice of Aribor, more deferent than she had heard him be before.
Remzain wondered whether the wizard had found someone to help her father, or was she to be given into other hands? Was Aribor betraying her to his superiors? Nonetheless she was comforted by the wizard’s return. Much as she had been abused by him, she had been content that his treatment of her had been no worse, and had come to trust his promise to protect her family. She understood the power of attraction she held for him and felt confident of him.
A key was thrust into the lock, rattling as it found its position, then turned. Aribor entered. “Remzain,” he greeted her, coldly she thought, “I bring my Lord Valdark, a great sorcerer.” A long thin black robed man entered, his robe fluttering in the breeze, although she had not detected there was a breeze. His hair was long and black, the face harrowed and white in contrast. He had a prominent nose, and eyes which were deeper than any she had ever met, piercing. She found his gaze too penetrating and felt disturbed. He surveyed her not as Aribor had done, with greed and the desire to gaze at her face. This man, she recognised, looked deeper than the flesh, into the soul. He disturbed her for she had never been looked at that way before. There was no smile in his face. Instantly she was unnerved! Aribor had said he would keep her safe, keep her for himself, and yet here he brought someone who was his superior. She felt instinctively she was no longer safe!
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nope, she's not safe.
nope, she's not safe.
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