Monday, May 23, 2011

It's way earlier in the morning than I like - it was, after all, a late night - when there's a series of brisk raps on the door. I come awake on the instant; nothing and no one should be able to pass the wards the sorcerer has woven about this place. If there's someone out there that can ignore them... it doesn't bear thinking about.

Getting into a pair of pants and t-shirt damn near defeats me and watching Star giggle at the spectacle doesn't really help; but finally I make it to the door and open it the half-inch the chain will allow.

"A good morning to you, Master Erik. May I come in?"

I feel distinctly scruffy compared to the sorcerer, resplendent in his cape, gloves and ever-present hood, but I let him in. "If you'll excuse me for a minute...."

When I come back, I'm less scruffy and the sorcerer is still standing there impassively. "Have a seat, make yourself at home." He sits and leans back. His cold gray eyes fasten on Star.

"Milady Star," he says finally, "your loyalty to your friends does you much credit, but" - he holds up a finger - "as a Warrior, you are woefully underqualified." Her lips tighten, but she remains silent. "Last night, your actions endangered your husband, your friends and your children." The black hood leans forward. "Milady, you can no longer afford to act on impulse. Each action must be considered before it is enacted - or those you love may well pay a fearful price for it."

Star is pale to the lips and her eyes wet with the onset of tears; seeing this, the hooded man continues in a kinder tone.

"I would not cause you pain, milady. I speak of such things only because I would spare you greater pain, which perhaps forethought may avoid. As the mother of the Warrior, your peril is already great. I beseech you, therefore - do not make it greater. Your husband, your friends, your servitors - these protect you, perhaps better than you know; but nothing can protect you from folly."

I know what he says is right, but part of me wants to leap to Star's defense. The other part - the part that agrees with him, even if I don't agree with the way he expresses it - keeps me mute. Star hesitantly raises her eyes to meet his. Her voice catches, just once.

"You're ri..right. I'm sorry. It won't ha..happen again."

To my amazement, he goes down to one knee before her, his voice as gentle as it was stern moments before. "Forgive me, milady. Sometimes it is necessary that I be cruel to be kind."

He rises, gives us a bow and leaves as he came.

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