It had been thirteen days since Theodyne had left for the old council ruins in Arcanea. While Alator knew Theodyne was a very capable warrior, the trip should not have taken more than a week and he was beginning to worry. He was sitting in his chambers behind a large oak desk deep in thought when he heard a knock on his door.
"You may enter." he replied to the knock as he opened his eyes looking up from his desk.
It was Mordynak his personal assistant, another mage within the council whose power was only succeeded by Alator himself. He was an average looking man standing at just below six feet, but as always with men of magic, appearances were deceiving.
"Mordynak my old friend, how are you?" Alator asked quietly. It was apparent that his mind weighed heavily on the recent events that had transpired. With the rumor of necromancers having returned to the area and Theodyne's disappearance, the rumors were all but confirmed.
"I am well, but there is still no word on Theodyne. We must send someone to look for him. We must learn what has happened at the ruins." Mordynak replied.
Alator let out a long sigh and stood from his desk. His mind wandered from one thing to the next as he walked to the corner of the room and opened a small cupboard and produced a bottle of wine. He held it up to his old eyes and smiled. "At two-hundred and seventy five years old, this bottle is nearly as old as I." he stated. "And twice as old as you my dear friend."
Mordynak was puzzled, "I do not see what wine has to do with our situation. We must find Theodyne and we must know if the rumors of the necromancers are true. If they have returned we must take action."
"I agree Mordynak, I agree. But just like this wine, we must not be rushed. All good things come in time my friend, all in good time." he said with a smile. Standing at six and a half feet tall, Alator towered over most, but his pale blue eyes comforted most in his presence. He had a fatherly figure about him and the wisdom to go with it. He sighed, "I want you to go to the ruins and see what you can find. See if there are any clues as to Theodyne's whereabouts and if there are any traces of necromancers in the area. Do not tell anyone where you are going or why, just go. Report back to me as soon as you can.
"Yes sir." Mordynak replied sharply.
"And Mordynak, be careful." Alator had a tone in his voice that was more than sincere when he said this.
"Always old friend, always." and with that Mordynak turned and left Alator's chambers, closing the door on his way out.
Alator pulled the cork from the bottle of wine and filled his glass. He brought the wine to his lips and paused a moment taking the time to savor the aroma. His nostrils were filled with the sweet scent of strawberries. He smiled, always stopping to appreciate the little things in life every moment he had. As he brought the glass to his lips he took only one drink and set the glass down and turned to his window. His mind began to race in many different directions. But he was not panicked, he knew there was to be much bloodshed in the days to come. No war was without blood. But with loss of blood came the loss of life. And this saddened Alator greatly. The loss of any life was a tragedy to him. The extinguishing of the life force that was unique to any being was a horrible thing, but sometimes horrible things must be done. Life was fickle that way. Having survived the near destruction of his order, and at almost four-hundred years old he knew this all too well. With a heavy heart and an even heavier mind, he turned from his window and back to his glass of wine. May the nine be with you....both of you
He thought to himself as he feared for the safety of both Mordynak and Theodyne.
Mordynak did not know what he was to encounter in the days and nights ahead. But he knew where he was going and how he was to get there. It would only take him three days by horse but he aimed to arrive sooner than that by riding both day and night stopping only to eat. He packed his horse lightly and left only hours after Alator had instructed he do so. Normally Alator would not have charged only one man with such a task, but being a Master Mage, Mordynak was more than capable of handling himself and Alator knew this. He would first search for signs of the necromancers and only then would he search for clues as to Theodyne's whereabouts. And as he mounted his horse he was off to the ruins of Arcanea.
Theodyne had just reached the outskirts of Dragonstar at nightfall when it began to rain. It had been four days since he awoke in the cave outside of Chorrol. Not having had a proper meal in quite some time, he was very hungry and twice as tired. He hoped he still had some friends in the area. Soaking wet and shivering from the cold, Theodyne approached the door to a house that was no larger than a horse stable and knocked on the door.
"Who is there and what is your business at this hour?" came a yell from the other side of the door.
Theodyne smiled as he recognized the voice of an old friend. "It's your mother and my business is my own!" he shouted back.
Seconds later the door swung open and there stood a short fat young man two years Theodyne's elder. "By The Nine you're alive!" his friend exclaimed. "I thought you were dead!" he shouted as he threw his arms around Theodyne.
"I will be soon enough if I don't get out of this rain and put some food in my belly." Theodyne chuckled.
"Yes, yes, come in, come in." his friend encouraged as he stepped aside.
Theodyne stepped through the door way and immediately made for the fire burning in the corner of the room. By the time he was in front of it he had already stripped off half of his armor. "About that food?" he smiled.
"Of course! That I have plenty of." his friend said matter-of-factly. He brought Theodyne a basket that contained two apples, half a loaf of bread, a thick wedge of cheese, and a very large sweet roll.
"My word Neville. I could eat for two days on this." he said as he began slicing the bread and cheese.
"So tell me, what brings you here? You know everyone thought you were dead? Sorry about your family of course." Neville said as he poured a glass of milk for Theodyne.
"No I am very much alive Neville, but as to why I am here, I am in need of a horse. As to how I am here, I cannot say."
"Quick to the point I see. And here I thought you just wanted to visit a friend." Neville said sadly.
"If I had time to stay I would I assure you. But I am very much in a hurry. I have answered the call of The Daggerfall Covenant and must return to my order, The Council of Arcanea." he explained.
"The Council of Arcanea you say, I've heard of them. Mages and sorts. Good group of people I've heard. But yes, I have a horse for you friend. Eat up and then rest. Tomorrow after you have regained your strength, I will have a horse packed and saddled waiting for you." Neville said.
"I cannot thank you enough Neville." Theodyne said through bites of cheese and bread.
"No trouble at all Theo. But one question though, are you going to eat that sweet roll or not?" Neville said hungrily licking his lips.
Theodyne laughed and tossed it to him. "Haven't changed much I see."
"And why should I?" questioned with a mouth full of sweet roll.
The two talked and laughed for quite some time and after the food and drink were gone and their bellies were full, they both laid down for rest. It was the first bit of sleep Theodyne had since before his trip to the ruins. He was haunted by a nightmare that night that soaked him through with sweat. Flashes of Coldharbour and of his family being murdered. He tossed and turned throughout the night but eventually he fell silent and was able to rest in peace. But it was the only peace his mind would know for quite sometime. For unbeknownst to him, the secret which he hoped to keep hidden from his council would soon be found out.......