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Heroes of Mystara - Chapter 17by Jesper Andersen
A wizardly bargain
The steward led Ikaros to the halls of the various ambassadors at the court and knocked at a set of heavy wooden doors. A servant opened it and showed Ikaros into a luxurious chamber with a large polished koa tree table and chairs, heavy drapes by the windows and carpeting on the floor. A tall, lean womanly figure stood by the open window looking out at the sea. She was beautiful in a cold kind of way. Her skin was unnaturally pale for this climate and her makeup gave her elegant face an almost mask-like stillness. She was wearing a long, sleeveless white dress and brass bracelets set with red gemstones. A net of silver strings and pearls held her long dark hair in place. When she turned and greeted Ikaros, he saw a smile on her face but her eyes were those of a predator.
'Thank you for taking the time to meet me milady', Ikaros said and bowed kissing her outstretched hand.
'Don't mention it', she purred, obviously in an effort to be charming. 'Please, sit down'.
'I have asked for this meeting because I am searching for a man I believe to be a wizard of Honor Island', Ikaros continued.
'Really?' Gherynid sounded surprised. 'But who are you, anyway?'
'My apologies for not introducing myself. I am Ikaros Ilfamion, a humble mage from Boldavia in the far north'.
'You don't say?' Gherynid said. 'Are you a graduate from the Great School of Magic?'
'Eh, no. My master was a local wizard. Unfortunately, he died before I was ready to journey to Glantri City to take the Test'.
'I see', Gherynid said and looked like a cat that had just captured a mouse to play with. 'Do go on'.
'Well, for reasons I cannot disclose I am searching for a man named Zajimarn. It is very important that I find him, and I suspect that he might hail from your esteemed island'.
'I see', Gherynid said. 'Has this got something to do with revenge?'
'No no' Ikaros said hastily. 'More like a business proposition'.
'Pity. It has been such a long time since we have had an entertaining magical duel here at the castle'.
Ikaros swallowed hard at the thought of facing one or more of the mages that slew Balagarn and took the staff. 'Look, dear lady, I REALLY need to speak to Zajimarn. I understand that setting foot on Honor Island bear the penalty of death for outsiders but if you could somehow contact him I would deem it a great favour and pledge a service in return'.
'Your service?' Gherynid laughed out loud. 'And what use would I have for an apprentice that has not even taken the Test?'
'I apologise, but at the moment that is all I have to offer', Ikaros said humbly, trying hard to swallow his pride and conceal his anger. 'But I assure you. I WILL take the Test!'
'Sure, sure', Gherynid said. She stopped and stared at him for a while. 'Al right. Come back in one week. But Zajimarn won't come just because I tell him that some Glantrian whelp is here to see him'.
'Tell him it is concerning the demise of Balagarn', Ikaros said with a smile. 'And please explain to him that it is a business meeting'.
Gherynid's eyes narrowed as she stared at the young Glantrian. 'I am not sure whether you are brave or just foolish. If you are going to try and blackmail Zajimarn, he will just destroy you'.
'Well, believe me, I have no intentions of that sort!' Ikaros said with a sincere face as he stood up from his chair. 'Thank you for your time, I will be back in one week'.
Then he bowed and turned towards the door. Just before he reached it, Gherynid spoke again:
'I will not forget the service you promised me! Rest assured of that!'
Ikaros turned and smiled, bowed once more and closed the doors behind him when he stepped into the hall.
You have to stop this madness before you end up owing services from here to the Red River! he thought to himself. Quickly, he walked back to the Serpent's Eye to inform his friends that they had a week to kill in town.
Next time: The tribune's offer