Three Faces Of Viros
“That was clever,” Moses said to his sister as she finished casting her spell. The man looked on in wonderment as the magic of his sister continued manifesting in the most eerily splendid fashion.
Ester looked on with marked satisfaction as the shadow of the pell came to life and pulled itself from the cold flagstones of the Amurai barracks courtyard. The spectral shadow quickly began to assault the practice dummy that it had once been bound to only moments ago. The dark phantasm wrapped its cold shadowy arms around the pell with all the strength of one of the southern continent’s mighty river constrictors that lurked in the waters of Silverwood. “I think that you would have thought of something like this ages ago. It only just occurred to me what a shame it is to let a perfectly good shadow go to waste,” Ester said with a self-confident melodic tone. A satisfied smiled graced her deathly pale lips as the sound of splintering timber greeted her ears. She and her bother shared in some quiet laughter as the pell cracked in half under the crushing force of its own shadow.
“Oh I think I have shown more than my fair share of innovative uses for our family talents in the last century. I simply wanted to allow you the opportunity to have something of your own to feel proud about,” retorted Moses with an unrepentantly patronizing cadence. He made no show of hiding his mockery form all the spectators gather in the courtyard. Everyone there knew that Moses Redmoon was one of only two people who could get away with such brazen irreverence for the Lady Ester.
“Enough bickering,” Came the authoritative voice of Viros’s senior Vermillion Councilman. “Master Moses, if you would, please show us something that we have not seen before,” continued Abbot Torrance. The Councilman’s challenge was greeted with muted sinkers and murmurings from the on looking Amurai warriors and barracks servants.
Moses cast a questionably disparaging look in the direction of the man adorned in scarlet timed with gold. “Abbot Torrance, I think the soldiers here have seen enough sport for the day. Do you not think that too much excitement might distract them form their duties. Wouldn’t want them telling stories of how I dazzled and amazed while they stand sentry at the seal wall. Why if I were to bring the farthest reaches of my skill to bear in exposition we might end up with chimera breaching our gates and running rampant in the streets of Viros,” Moses said with humorous sarcasm and masterful showmanship. “You see it is for the good of the city that I must refrain from further exertion,” he continued after enduring a grandiose eye roll and sigh from his sister.
This time the fighting men and women gathered in the courtyard made no show to retain their laughter whatsoever. It was only after a commanding wave of the Abbots hand that silence and decorum was restored to the training area. “I think you grossly underestimate the resolve and discipline of our warriors here. They may not be possessed of the mystical potency of your kind but their sense of duty and resolve is surely enough to maintain their composure in the face of whatever spectacle you might be able to conjure up. Proceed,” responded Abbot Torrance with a confident air that was met with quieted words of approval for the gathered Amurai. The Abbot let a faint moment of stillness linger before speaking next. “Unless, you are too taxed to come up with anything that might serve to impress. I understand if the labors of the day are too much for you. The Redmoon ilk are not properly trained fighting men so there is no shame in retiring,” continued the Abbot as he haughtily drove his passive aggressive challenge in up to the hilt. This time it was the Abbot whose words garnered thunderous laughter form the assembly of warriors and barracks servants.
Moses sent an ignominious glare in the direction of the Abbot. Moses ignored his sister who had been stuck near giddy by the gauntlet that had been subversively laid down at his feet. He pulled his long flowing black and red cloak back over his right shoulder and he dug into the power he harbored within his blood. His imagination fluttered with possibilities until his vision came to rest on a row of archery targets. With a wave of his hands and a chant in a language that even he did not comprehend Moses put his magic to work. The shadows of the archery targets grew in size and became like a black pool of oil on the courtyard stone. Then in an instant all twenty of the targets fell into their own shadows and began a decent into a bottomless void of darkness. Moses ceased his foreign words and laid his power to rest as the flagstone of the courtyard where the targets had been returned to solid matter.
Gasps and applause erupted from the gathered Amurai warriors. Many of the elite soldiers rapped gauntleted hands upon the hound’s sigil embossed on their breastplates as a grand show of respect. Moses spread his arms wide and basked in the adulation of all those gathered. He felt particularly proud of himself for the faint clapping his creative use of power drew from his sister. A keen eye would have seen Lady Esters pail painted skin take on the faintest hue of envious green.
“That was quite the display Master and Lady Redmoon and but I think it is your brother who has shown the most skill here on this day,” came a voice from the entrance to the courtyard.
All eyes went to the gate to confirm with their sight what their ears were telling them was untrue. To everyone’s shock they saw Abbot Torrance sat atop a fine black mare and leading a coach and procession bearing the heraldry of Lighthouse Bay’s Marquee. More than one person and both the Redmoon siblings turned their eyes from the image of Abbot Torrance leading a caravan and returned their vision to the sight of the Abbot who had been presiding over the exhibitions since early that morning.
The Abbot Torrance who was standing on the dais in the middle of the courtyard smiled a wide and prideful smile. He reached up a hand to his face and then with one swift motion he pulled his visage off like a funeral shroud to revel his true shape. “I know it is poor form to borrow something without asking but I thank you for its use just the same. I hope you were not terribly inconvenienced by its absence,” said Noah Redmoon with a rich and quietly powerful lilt. In his hand he held a writhing mass of darkness. Noah tossed the black shapeless thing in the direction of the genuine Abbot Torrance and the Councilman’s shadow returned to its rightful place anchored to the man clad in scarlet. The courtyard was filled with astonished words and colorful expletives on the heels of Noah Redmoon’s unprecedented deception.
Despite their clear measure of jealousy and evident sibling rivalry Ester and Moses offered reverence filled nods and downcast eyes in the direction of their brother. Neither one of them could deny that their respective displays of magic had been shown up by the impeccable skill of Noah’s illusion. They had been fooled by the fantasy just the same as anyone of the mortals present for the event. Not a single person in the courtyard had suspected that the man overseeing the day’s training was anyone other than Abbot Torrance.
“I can see that we are just getting started. I had been holding back but now that I see I have I real challenge for my powers I will put forth my strongest efforts,” boasted Lady Ester as she cracked her knuckles and shot a challenging but friendly stare in Noah’s direction.
“Oh, you think you have been showing restraint? I am only a fraction of the way to demonstrating what I am capable off,” interjected Moses. “My thanks to you brother. I am glad that you have put an end to all this child’s play. I look forward to bringing some real magic to bear,” he continued as he removed his cloak and stretched his hands up towards the sky.
“There will be plenty of time later for the three of you to sort out who the strongest Redmoon is,” interrupted Abbot Torrance as he dismounted his saddle and handed the reigns of his black mare to one of the barracks stable hands. “You three are truly are a spectacle of vanity,” pressed the Abbot with a reprimanding raise of his eyebrow and wag of his finger at the trio of siblings.
“I would hardly say that we are vain. When you consider the scope and full weight of our combined magic I would say we have been rather modest after a fashion, would not you agree?” Mosses said with mock humility to his brother and sister. His words were greeted with over exaggerated affirmative nods of the head from both Noah and Ester.
“The Founder give me mercy,” muttered the Abbot as he withstood the gross bravado of the Redmoons. “Would none of you care to know where I have been, who I have been speaking with or who has traveled here all the way from Lighthouse Bay,” said the Councilman with a fatherly admonishing quality.
“I should think that if you are leading a coach with the sigil of Lighthouse Bay’s Marquee then you would likely have been at Lighthouse bay,” mused Ester with a flippant toss of her long black hair.
“And that would lead me to believe that you have been speaking with someone from Lighthouse Bay,” chimed in Moses with a tone that matched his sisters.
Noah took the cue from his family members and continued the farce. “And as far as who has traveled here all the way from Lighthouse Bay I would think that it is someone from Lighthouse Bay. On that note, I doubt that it is anyone that the likes of us will have any interest in meeting,” Noah said with a mannerism that perfectly matched that of Ester and Moses.
The Abbot’s scowl vanished as he heard the arrogance in Noah‘s words. “Master Redmoon, I think that you will very shortly come to regret speaking those words. I promise that you will all have a keen interest in guest I have brought to Viros,” said the Councilman with an all knowing quality.