The sight of the magician’s home was magnificent. It was huge as told on the wanted poster. It was both awe inspiring and terrifying, since we would have to trick the tyrant living there.
The mansion was made of new stone bricks, with large dusty windows on every level at small intervals. It was decorated with glorious gardens, brilliant plants and a huge fountain in front of it. The building was witness to a great view, I was jealous.
We stood in front of the large blue door, not wanting to be the one to knock. This was the last possible moment where we could give up. Everything else had been simple adventuring; now it was serious.
Brian knocked first.
Brian knocked again harder and longer and a rather small maid opened the door.
“We have an urgent message from the king for lord… um… um…” Brian started.
We had planned this out long ago. We would stutter over the magician’s name until someone filled us in, it would look like we knew it but were just hesitant.
“Darlon” Brian said immediately following; trying to give the impression that he was just about to say it. I found it convincing enough, I would have believed it. The only problem was that the letter had avoided using Darlon’s name since we didn’t know it.
“Well I’ll pass the message on.” She said with her hand open, begging for the letter.
If I was alone I would have passed her the letter right there however Brian had other ideas.
“The king insists we deliver it in person” Brian said confidently.
“Follow me then.” She said.
She took us through a winding maze of corridors and stairs. Instead of being spacious as I had imagined it was actually very cramped, with lots of tiny rooms and no big ones. It felt off-putting, and I realised that there was a strange lack of furnishing. There wasn’t a painting in sight, or an ornament, or even a creepy suit of armour or bookshelf for that matter. Do cobwebs count as furnishings? I didn’t think so.
Eventually she led us to a small study and knocked.
“What is it?” A sharp croaking voice called from within.
“An urgent letter from the king, and two couriers to deliver it for your eyes only.”
The magician didn’t respond, instead he opened the door and spoke to the maid.
“Thank you, that will be all.” He spat.
Darlon had a large bony face with dull greying skin. He had scraggly greying hair and a thinning black beard that travelled roughly 20cm from his chin. Dark blue beady eyes stared at us.
“You’re fat for a courier.” He said to Brian spitefully, opening his mouth wide every time he spoke.
“I agree” Brian said normally, and there was an awkward silence.
“But most fit men are at war now, so here I am.” Brian said finishing.
“Is that the letter?” Darlon said as he slugged out of the room, putting his greasy long hands on the letter, with razor sharp fingernails grasping the surface.
In all things he never ever looked at anything. He always had a vague expression, as if he could see through it all and was instead focussing on something in the distance. Brian made to move the letter away; however he kept his hands on it. Then Darlon suddenly changed his tone, he let go calmly.
“Forgive me.” He said to the two of us “Where is my hospitality?”
“MAID” He shouted across the hallway, and the immediate sound of running could be heard. The maid ran all the way to us in urgency.
“Please prepare rooms for our guests and stable their horses.” He said “I look forward to listening to your message later tomorrow.”
How did he know we had horses?
“My lord.” Brian started “Thank you, but I insist that we must read this letter now.”
“NONSENSE!” He spat back with foul breath. “I am much too busy at this time for news from the king!” he left the corridor and went back in his room. Brian tried to follow, and open the door after him.
“Please!” he cried but the door was already locked.
“Don’t… please” the maid said. She looked terrified, as if she was about to cry “I’ll take you to your room now.”