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Rage - Part 7


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(Find Parts 1 to 6 linked here)



Anthrage looked to the horizon, towards where he knew the palace was. They had come that way, after passing through the runegate into the kingdom from the one they’d spent the last year, and he had marvelled at the castle which dominated the area. He had found it to be impressive, but Kelvin had snorted and said it was small as castles went, and modest besides, being made of wood rather than stone. Wood, Anthrage thought to himself, seeing a smudge of dark smoke in the distant sky. That was not good. Not good at all.


Even though he had an extremely small amount of field experience when it came to waging war, he knew enough to understand what was going on. First order of business for any force in a kingdom raid was to secure their avenue of escape, in this case, that mean the runegate and the courtyard it sat in. Some kingdoms were built with security in mind, and the gate complex was heavily fortified and often remote. The Kingdom of Whitestone was different, being focused more on trade and commerce – it’s palace was at one end of an immense open market area, with the runegate at the other end. Security had not been a primary factor in it’s design, and they were paying a price for it now.


Anthrage watched Kelvin’s parents in animated discussion as Allesia and Kelvin organized a group of workers to take the dead man’s body to the estate crypt. Whitestone’s palace was modest but not because the kingdom was without wealth. It actually had considerable resources…only they were natural ones. The fertile farmland, extensive forests, and a half dozen mines and quarries dotting the sides of the monstrous mountain range that ran down the length of the land. The village of Oakridge was at one end of this range, while the kingdom center was at the base of the mountain almost precisely in the middle. If those raiders were riders, which was likely by now, they would be here very soon.


Whitestone got it’s name from the marble veins that ran up and down the Blackrock mountain range, and while marble was one of it’s many products, the truly valuable commodity was it’s ore. The mines sunk and dug deep into Blackrock yielded ores of all qualities, except for the most prized and rare. It was why Kelvin’s father, Verrick Grandon, had settled here. As a blacksmith he benefitted greatly from living so close to the source of the raw materials he worked with, with monies normally spent on import fees going back into his smithy, his estate and the lands it sat on. He and his wife were well-known for producing quality goods, not just in Whitestone, but across the Eternal Kingdoms.


Anthrage suddenly realized what was going on. His parents were in God’s Reach with the king and his army, not serving combat roles but instead taking advantage of the higher quality raw materials available there to forge weapons for use by the forces of their kingdom. Every kingdom needed raw materials, and some were only available in the campaign worlds. Others could be found in the kingdoms themselves, and they flowed between them just as often as they did from those harsher worlds. If what you needed was not terribly rare or valuable, a kingdom was definitely an easier source.


Whichever monarch was behind this raid, was doing the same thing his own monarch was…gathering resources. There was one difference however…Whitestone’s army was not with it’s monarch.


Verrick’s wife, Nolani, embraced her husband and ran off towards the stables, no doubt to collect a mount. She was also a craftsman, being an expert leatherworker, but according to Kelvin, her skills as a Scout surpassed those of anyone in Whitestone, and quite a few other kingdoms as well. Anthrage didn’t know where she was headed, but he had no doubt she would find whatever she was looking for.


Kelvin’s father was giving he and his sister instructions now, and they too ran off, in different directions. Then he turned toward Anthrage, a serious but calm expression on his face.


“Come with me.” he said, striding off without waiting for a reply. Anthrage hurried to keep up as they walked at a fast pace towards the back of the villa. Verrick cast a glance over his shoulder and looked him up and down before continuing. “Kelvin wrote to us about your time together this past year. He considers you a good friend and while I’ve only met your parents a handful of times, they seem like fine folk. I had heard stories from the War of the White Mare, been wondering what kind of young man you are…it looks like I won’t have to wonder for much longer.”


Anthrage didn’t know what to make of that. Though he knew what was meant, he hadn`t realized he was being judged before now, and felt a small amount of trepidation at what that meant given current circumstances. He would do his best, as he always did, and conduct himself with honor, as his father would expect. That would have to be enough.


As they rounded the rear wall of the villa, he saw for the first time the source of the hammering sounds he’d heard earlier…the smithy. It was much larger than his father’s, clearly having been rebuilt since it’s initial construction using wealth it had generated, and Anthrage wondered for a moment if his own father had ever seen it. He smiled at the thought then caught himself as Verrick continued.


“The invaders are no doubt on their way, planning to loot our armoury, metal stores and ore supply. I don’t have the manpower here now to move everything to a more secure location, nor to defend it, and in any case we don’t have enough time. We’re hiding the most valuable items, but there’s something I need you to do that no-one else here can.” Verrick led them into the smithy then, moving swiftly to the far side where the forge sat, like the severed head of some great dragon, still smoking and somehow still dangerous. Assorted pieces of armor lined either side of the room, and the blacksmith moved to a pile closest to the forge, picking a few up.


`These aren`t finished, and the set lacks greaves, but they are yours, commissioned by your father." Verrick said. Anthrage took the breastplate, and examined the front - etched into the metal were a handful of symbols he did not recognize. It was unpolished, but heavy and firm. He hadn`t expected to have to wear it, or test it, so soon.


`Thank-you  Sir. I will wear this with pride and try to do your work honor. What is it you need me to do? I am at your service." he bowed slightly as he said this, and when he met Verrick`s eyes again, the look he saw there chilled his blood.


"Ànthrage Stormrider - I want you to kill my daughter.”

Edited by Anthrage
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