Chapter 12

Chapter 12

A Chapter by Johnzo

Trede wakes up the following day. And we check in on Marshal Langhorne back in Smisom.


“And you say he’s been unconscious since?  How is his wound?”  Trede heard a voice break through his foggy mind.  As he came to, he realized he was laying in bed in a room he did not recognize.  The voice was coming from somewhere outside the room.

“He hasn’t woken up since, it’s been hours.”  The replying voice Trede recognized as Cassidy.

Trede looked around, there was a window with a shade mostly drawn.  A slit of light beamed in, he squinted as his eyes adjusted.  By the look of it Trede determined it must’ve been nearly midday.  I’ve been out a while.”  He thought.

The conversation in the other room continued. 

“We had the medical staff check him out, they said he should be ok.  He was hit by that mystic’s glowing blade, but it only left a bad bruise and searing burn.  It could have ended up a lot worse.”  Said Cassidy. 

Trede placed his right hand over his left ribs as he sat up in bed.  Someone had removed his shirt and replaced it by a thick layer of bandages over the painful slash.  Trede stretched to one side and felt a great amount of pain. 

That is going to take a while to heal.  He grimaced.

The other voice spoke again. “Do they have any idea how the intruder got into the grounds?”  Now that Trede’s head had cleared a bit, he recognized the man as Gragus, Cassidy’s mentor.  “This sort of thing is unprecedented.”

“No.  I talked to head inspector Gen earlier.  There was no trace of the man entering or leaving the the compound.”  Cassidy replied.

Maej.  Trede thought.  What is it with these mystics?  Seems like every one I meet wants me dead.”  Trede moved the blankets to one side and tried to stand up.  As he did he felt a sharp pain rise up in his ribs.  He wrapped his right arm around his torso to brace himself as he stood.  “So far this one came the closest.” 

“I’m going to recommend you and master Trede be moved to the mountain side laboratory.  At least for the time being.  We cannot risk another assailment like this.  Especially not with the heads of the other regional labs currently in the city.  We have a very important exhibition planned.”

“Yes, yes of course master Gragus.” Cassidy said. 

Trede walked toward the doorway exiting the room, he rested a moment leaning his right shoulder on the door frame.  He looked down the hall and could now tell he was back at Cassidy’s house.  He was at one end of a t-shaped hallway.  To the opposite end was Cassidy’s room, and the stem was another hallway leading towards the front of the house.  As he stood there, Trede heard the sound of an opening door.  Someone else had entered the house. 

“Ah yes, our new selahn friend.  How are you fairing today Mr. Traz?”  Asked Gragus.

“Traz?”  Trede spoke aloud. 

Cassidy stepped around the corner of the hallway, “Trede!  You’re up!” 

Trede walked into the sitting room where Cassidy and Gragus had been.  Traz was walking in at just that same moment. 

“Traz, how did you get here?”  Trede asked. 

“From what I hear, Mr. Traz here saved the day, and perhaps your life.”  Gragus announced. 

Traz smiled.  “Yes, I was the hero.  And good thing too I can see, you look like you had a rough night indeed.  I couldn’t imagine how bad it would be if I had gone back for more smoked jivret instead!”  Traz said chuckling to himself. 

Cassidy covered her mouth while smiling in a slightly embarrassed manner. 

Trede knew he was shirtless, and he imagined his hair was nothing but a mess.  Though in his groggy start to the day, he had not realized he was wearing a pair of pink pajama pants with an ornate floral design.  Trede looked down and noticed that the pants were a few inches too short and the cuff sat well above his ankles. 

“Those are mine.”  Said Cassidy, chagrined and still smiling.  “The medical staff asked me to get you a clean pair of pants.  That was all I could find in a hurry.” 

If he was in a better state Trede may have been embarrassed and left the room, but he was not going to attempt any sudden moves in his current condition.  He slunk over a bit and leaned against a nearby wall. 

“Well, we are all glad to see you up and around.”  Said Gragus, trying to diffuse Trede’s embarrassment. 

“That’s another one I owe you Traz.”  Said Trede.

“We friends should stick around at least as much as villains.  How is your side?”  Traz said.

“Sore.”  Said Trede gripping his bandaged ribs.  He winced as he again tried to stretch.

“Quite the fracas last night, it seems your recent clientele’s motives are as shrouded as his garb.”  Said Traz. 

“You say you know this mystic?”  Gragus was shocked. 

“Oh right!  I saw him in Smisom just before he left.  That was the same guy wasn’t it!”  Cassidy said. 

“Yeah.”  Said Trede.  “His name is Maej.  He gave me a job to do before I came to Sendenza.  Turns out he had something else in mind.” 

“No doubt he has machinations for your invention.  The only question is does he plot alone, or was he merely the hired hand?”  Said Gragus. 

Trede knew this was not the case, but he was not about to let on.  “I hope I never find out.”  He said.  “That’s one stranger I don’t ever want to see again.” 

“Here here.”  Agreed Traz.  “A mystic of that caliber is rare indeed, and I have met several in my years.  I doubt I’ll catch him off balance a second time.” 

“With all luck we can ensure that will be the case.”  Said Gragus.  “We’ll be moving the three of you to the mountainside laboratory later today.  It’s virtually unscalable, you should find safety there.  Plus I know of one positively curious Cytech member who would greatly like a peek at your technology before the exhibition gets under way.  He’s the resident master inventor of Lab One.”

“You mean master Tenowon!”  Cassidy’s excitement was obvious.  Tenowon was one of the most highly respected and exceedingly brilliant master inventors in the entire guild.  The fact that he had taken an interest in Trede was noteworthy.  Cassidy knew if she stayed close to Trede, she might even get a chance to work along side Tenowon.  This could be a huge advantage for me.  I’ll make full inventor status in no time!”  Cassidy was proud of her full title ‘Junior Inventor First class’, but she longed to drop the ‘junior’ status and be taken more credibly by her senior peers. 

“Yes, the very same.  He will be waiting for you all at the landing dock.  In fact, I believe the cable carrier is due to lift within the hour.”  Said Gragus. 

“Oh, we should get ready.  I have some things to pack.”  Cassidy exited the room.     

“I’ll have someone from the medical staff come by and check you out before you leave.  And, perhaps Cassidy can see about getting you a change clothes.”  Gragus said while trying to hide a smile. 

Trede attempted to overcome the urge to roll his eyes as he looked down at his flowery trousers.  “Right.  Thanks Gragus.” 

“We did manage to save a couple of your personal effects.”  Traz said.  He pointed to Trede’s boots and grey jacket that was folded up and resting on a nearby chair. 

“At least some things survived.”  Trede said. 

“With that, I must be off.  With all the commotion, the exhibition has been postponed until tomorrow afternoon.  I’ll see you all then.”  Said Gragus while straightening his spectacles.  “So long Cassidy!  Keep an eye on this one will you?”  Gragus said smiling widely, making the wrinkles around his eyes pronounced.  

“Thank you master Gragus, I will!”  Cassidy called out from her nearby bedroom. 

Gragus left the room and exited through the front door.

Traz came in closer to Trede and sat in a nearby chair.  “You’re quite lucky you know.  Fighting ruffians in the street and escaping a small clan of swordsmen is one thing, but this one…”  He paused while shaking his head.  “Well.  You are very lucky.” 

“Lucky you showed up when you did.  You should’ve have seen the way he tore through all those guards.”  Said Trede. 

“Indeed, as if being driven by some mad desire.”  Said Traz. 

“I gave everything I had against him.  But there’s something about that mystic, I couldn’t stop him.  No matter what I tried.”  Said Trede. 

“I’ve never known any mystics to be interested in Cytech affairs.  And to have started this whole ordeal back in Smisom, what do you suppose he’s after?”  Traz’s inflection seemed to imply he might be asking a question with an obvious answer. 

Trede was a little taken aback, but tried to play it off nonchalantly.  “I’m sure I have no idea what that monster wants.”  A little anger bled through in Trede’s voice. 

“A mystic with such power would hardly be interested in a Cytech recruit’s new firearm.  Nor any other invention that I’ve seen.”  Said Traz. 

“I’m sure he would’ve taken me back to that temple.  Beyond that, I’d rather not think about.”  Said Trede. 

“I’m on your side, make no mistake.  But surely there are some motives that don’t add up.”  Said Traz. 

“Surely.”  Trede turned and looked out the window. 

Traz continued.  “Yes, there’s a clear link to our friend Maej and this haunted temple of sorts.”

“It wasn’t haunted.  Whatever was there, was very alive.”  Trede responded. 

“If only there was a little more to go on, we might decipher a clue as to the plans of these fell-folk.”  Traz paused.  “You know you can trust me?” 

Trede started as if to speak, but then only exhaled. 

“You’re a young man of secrets, that I know.”  Traz smiled.  “But surely there’s something you can share to help us discover a reason why trouble seems to be following you so close behind?” 

Trede was frozen.  He had spent so much of his life keeping the darker things to himself, he just didn’t know if he was able to speak openly. 

Traz leaned in, “We’ll start very small.  Trust me.  We selahns are very trustworthy with confidential information.”  He said with a wink.

Trede shuffled further into the room and sat at a chair adjacent to Traz’s.  “You know when we first met?”  He paused.  “I didn’t just fall into the forest.  I was pushed… more or less.  It was another mystic, but one I haven’t seen before or since.  This one didn’t travel alone either, he had a couple mowguls with him.”  Trede paused in pain, though this time not from his aching ribs.  “And he had the most eerie green eyes.  That, I won’t ever forget.”  

“And that would make three I suppose.”  Said Traz puzzled.  “Assuming the force we encountered at the temple is what we surmise.  Quite a convergence of mystics in a short time.”  He sat back up straight.  “In my experience, mystics rarely share a common motive.  What could be drawing them all towards you specifically?” 

Trede was sure he knew the answer, though not in it’s entirety.  He was now more certain than ever that his dreams were not only driving people nearby to harm, but in fact his dreams were directly responsible for causing that harm.  And now, he had seen now that his dreams may not have been dreams at all, but a vision through the eyes of his next victim.  This epiphany was too fresh for Trede though, he needed more time to ponder it.  He deflected the question with a truthful aside, “I just wish they would leave me be.”  He followed with something he knew to be less truthful, “There’s nothing remarkable about a courier from the outskirts.” 

“Another piece to the puzzle at least.”  Said Traz. 

Cassidy entered the room.  She had changed into a yellow short-sleeve button down and navy blue shorts.  She was completely suited up with belt and bandolier, and her bag hung over one shoulder.  “Ready to go?”  She asked as she looked down at Trede.  “Oh right!”  She said smiling.  “New clothes!  I’ll run to the textile house, I can get you something in your size.”

“Ok, thanks.”  Trede said. 

“I’ll be back shortly.”  Cassidy set her bag down and exited the house. 

After a moment of quiet, Trede spoke again.  “How do you know so much about the mystics?  They’ve always seemed more elusive than even you selahns.  At least from what I’ve heard anyway.” 

“In the high and far places, “ Traz spoke, “we selahns encounter all manner of men.  Some we prefer to watch from afar in a quiet hiding place.  Though not all mystics I have seen are bent on such malpractice, there is a danger around those who follow a path in search of greater power.”

“Danger.”  Trede almost chuckled at the understatement of recent events. 

“We should be safe once we’re mountain side.  There should be plenty of time to sort things from there.”  Said Traz. 

Another moment of quiet passed then Trede was shook by the rumbling of a very empty stomach.  “Wow.  I’m starving.”  A fact that took Trede by surprise. 

“Very good!  We should stop by for a meal on our way.  For a group of nerds, these cytech’s do put on quite the spread.  Breakfast this morning was top shelf!”  Said Traz. 

“Nerds?”  Trede said confused. 

“Oh yes, a term from one of the ancient tongues.  We selahns picked up on it a long while ago.  It means uh…”  Traz tilted his head to one side, then looked up at the ceiling for a moment.  “I’m not really sure what it means.” 

Trede laughed aloud.  “Thanks Traz.” 

“For what?”  Asked Traz. 

Trede just shook his head.  “Let’s go get some lunch.” 

A young scout ran down a dirt street in the town of Smisom.  A carrier had just landed and the stream of new arrivals crowded the streets leading to the marketplace.  The midday sun shown brightly, making it an unseasonably warm that day.  The scout, his name Brek, had been running from the nearby town of Mez for hours.  He had an urgent message to deliver to Marshal Langhorne, and there could be no delay. 

He dodged left and right around the marketplace denizens.  Brek was barely able to maintain a joggers pace, and he was favoring his right foot.  He had slipped and fallen on a rocky ridge on the way from Mez a couple miles prior, but had pressed on.  His legs ached, and the sensation in his feet was indescribable.  They were so worn that to him, they didn’t even feel like his own feet anymore. 

Brek exited the marketplace and turned down Issux Rd.  Not much longer now.”  He breathed in a barely audible tone. 

He reached the front door of Langhorne’s office and knocked with as much strength as he could muster. 

After a moment the heavy wooden door creaked as Langhorne opened the door. 

“Marshal Langhorne!  It’s Mez!”  Brek could barely breathe, he gasped for air but still tried to deliver his message.  “They came.  They’ve burned everything.”  Brek braced his hands on his knees, bending over and began hyperventilating. 

“Brek!”  Marshal was used to receiving urgent messages from a scout who had been away in the field, but never had he seen a scout in such a ragged state.  “Come in!  Come inside.”  Langhorne led Brek inside to a padded bench seat that was nearby the door.  Brek collapsed into the seat.  “Take it slow son.  Take a deep breath.” 

Brek tried to slow his breathing and erupted into a convulsive cough.

“Jaxet, get some water!”  Langhorne yelled to another scout that had been sitting at a small desk in the far back of the room who was looking on in shock. 

The scout Jaxet ran out of sight for a moment and quickly returned with a glass of water.  He gave it to Brek and he took a short sip, followed by a longer series of gulps.  Brek’s breathing slowly returned to a more normal pace. 

“You’ve come a long way.  What happened in Mez?”  Langhorne asked. 

“Sir, the whole town…”  Brek tried to regain his composure. 

“Take it easy, Brek.  Just tell me what happened.”  Langhorne tried to remain as stolid as he could to help Brek remain calm. 

“Sir.  Hildegras sent me.  We’ve been attacked.”  Brek took another gulp of water.  “It was the Outcasts.  They came before dawn.  We never expected there were so many of them.”

Jaxet leaned in close and wide-eyed at the news. 

“How many?”  Langhorne asked. 

“I don’t…  I didn’t even see the whole group.  But sir, there are many.  They have an entire army.  In the hundreds at the very least.”  Brek’s voice wavered as he spoke.

Langhorne leaned back and exhaled while in deep thought.  His mind was already racing with possible courses of action, but he needed more information. “How did you get away?” 

“I was on the north side of town, with Hildegras.  The was a flash of fire and a deafening explosion.  Hildegras sent me from the barracks right away.  We parted ways, I ran north.  He ran towards the fire.  As I crested the hill leaving town, I looked back.  I saw many raging fires, and there were hordes of the Outcasts flooding the town.”  Brek said. 

They made their move a lot sooner than I expected.  Langhorne thought.  The gravity of the situation was slowly sinking in. 

“I could hear many more explosions as I ran north.  I wanted to go back to help Hildegras, but-”  Brek had bore all he could.  He sunk his face into his hands shaking his head. 

“It’s ok.  You did well.  The best thing for Hildegras and Mez was for you to come here with the news.  You’ve ran swiftly scout, well done.”  Reassured Langhorne. 

It was a customary compliment for a marshal to give a scout, but only when truly deserved.  The fastest of the scouts were greatly valued, and such a comment was high praise. 

“Sir, what kind of weapons could cause such destruction?  How could the Outcasts do this?”  Jaxet asked in disbelief.   

“Outcast weaponry has always proved to surprise.”  Replied Langhorne.  His face was solemn. 

“What do we do sir?  If what Brek says is true…”  Jaxet’s eyes grew wide as he spoke. 

Langhorne did not respond for a moment.  He sat there paused and stroked his bearded chin. 

“How can we possibly stand against such a threat?”  Jaxet asked.  The panic in his voice finally broke through. 

“Be calm Jaxet.  I have a plan.”  Langhorne stood as he spoke.  He then placed his hand on Brek’s shoulder.  “Rest a while here son.  You’ve done enough for us today.”  Langhorne walked back to his desk and examined a large map.  “Jaxet.  Go and get Dyer and Haz.  They should be just south of the Daemon cliffs.  We need to regroup.” 

“Of course sir.”  Jaxet took a step, then paused.  “But what do I tell them?” 

“We have preparations to make, tomorrow we set out for Mez.”  Langhorne looked up from his map with a gleam of determination in his eyes.  “And we’ll need to be well armed.  Now, hurry!” 












© 2010 Johnzo

Author's Note

Tried to avoid adverbs in some places, but wasn't very strict about it. (still only 1st draft quality) The first scene is a long one, but I enjoyed writing all that dialog, hopefully some useful plot points come through there.

Also, I'm not sure if this will be where we introduce Langhorne's subplot in the final edition, but I felt it had been too long since we checked in on him and the Northeast Territory in general. The events there will effect the main story, but not until later on.

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I would probably reread from the beginning to be sure, but I am liking how the piece of Trede's dreams is unfolding gradually; this final (or at least NEXT) part of the revelation/explanation of the dreams seemed very natural. Again, a final read might indicate a better place, but as the Trede storyline had reached a nice breathing space, after some intense action, it seemed like a good place to touch base on another line of the story. Kind of like, "while they're eating... let's look in on Langhorne." :) Other thoughts I had were merely grammatical/phrasing, not storyline, which may change as you rewrite, so I"ll wait on those! :)

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Great chapter, I love the change in the feel of the story During the next part with the scout. I could imagine it well. Didn't quite expect the comedy with Trede's clothes. But I think Traz is grasping the situation in a more serious tone, deepening his personality and giving him a more of a... black and white feel I guess I could say. Hundreds of possibilities flowed through my head about the future of the story, and personally introducing langhorne's subplot here is a great idea for that reason exactly. It makes the reader question, then in-turn wanting to find out if his question is right. Didn't catch any grammar errors and didn't get choked up on anything. You're a great writer, can't wait to read the next.

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I would probably reread from the beginning to be sure, but I am liking how the piece of Trede's dreams is unfolding gradually; this final (or at least NEXT) part of the revelation/explanation of the dreams seemed very natural. Again, a final read might indicate a better place, but as the Trede storyline had reached a nice breathing space, after some intense action, it seemed like a good place to touch base on another line of the story. Kind of like, "while they're eating... let's look in on Langhorne." :) Other thoughts I had were merely grammatical/phrasing, not storyline, which may change as you rewrite, so I"ll wait on those! :)

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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2 Reviews
Added on June 17, 2010
Last Updated on June 17, 2010



Bridgton, ME

For more info on my little world, visit: -Latest post: 2nd Draft Preview My favorite stories are usually ones that have a bigger world behind them, a story behind the story that.. more..

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A Chapter by Johnzo