The War of the Towers

The sky was gray as ash, but every once in awhile the pale sun peeked through.

Martyn stood among the throngs of citizens standing outside the Walled Tower. The Tower was old, its dark grey stone matching the tall wall that surrounded it. Spires pointed up like fangs into the sky, the old architecture of Uthgard apparent in it’s design. The tower was mostly empty these days, save for the Baron and the rest of the Zadeku family. A small garrison of the Steel Guard stayed on the grounds as well.

Martyn heard his companion, Garric, shift from side to side. Garric never did like the cold. Today the Baron was to address the rumors about his son, telling the citizens what happened. All the city could talk about lately was the Baron’s son, the wizards, and what may come next. Martyn was afraid he already knew.

A two large wooden doors opened on the balcony above the walled gate. It seemed but a small speck on the giant gray wall, but everyone knew this was the lord’s balcony. The crowds quieted.

A tall man strode out, his suit an elegant purple, a sharp contrast to the dull colors surrounding him. He was thin, his eyes narrow and intense. He looked out over the crowd and smiled. It was the strange smile, Martyn often thought it looked like the smile of a thief who you couldn’t help but like. Next to him came his wife. In pale yellow she was the opposite of her husband. Contrast to his strange good looks, she was radiant and heart warming. Her light brown skin made her different than most in Kowal, and her jet black hair was styled intricately above her head, wrapped in jewels.

Baron Zadeku held up his hands, ” Greetings citizens.” His voice rang with a tone that had a hint of music to it. “I am sure you have all heard the rumors of the awful actions against my heir and son.” At that moment his son stepped from the shadows of the doorway. He held his head high, and the clouds seemed to part at just the right moment to reveal the tattooed runes all over his face. Even from this distance his eyes seemed sunken and dark. “The sorcerers of Eredar wrongfully kidnapped my only child, my son, and accused him of using the same ruinous magic that they partake in. They scarred his body with blasphemous symbols and pierced his flesh with implements of torture. We do not believe in the work of demons in our lands, nor do we accept those of other lands to take our own people and condemn them with their demonic ways. This is an act of war.”

Martyn turned to Garric, the Baron’s voice continuing to ring in cadence across the courtyard. “Garric, this is going to make things interesting. Its already been a tough few years, this will make things slimmer.”

Garric nodded. ” I think I have heard all I need to.” He turned and started to push his way back through the crowd.

Martyn turned back to hear the Baron proclaim.

“We will declare war on these demon lovers both abroad, and in our own city. We will reclaim our lands, our city, and our people, and none shall challenge us.”

Martyn shook his head. This will change things.

The son returns…

The whispers ran through the city of Kowal.

The Baron’s son was returning. It had been a year. Arnexi had long been known for his adventures and disregard for his station, ever since he travel to Tyr on a diplomatic mission in his teens. He had never arrived in Tyr and returned to Kowal a month later. But this had been different.

Rumors said that Arnexi was a warlock. A practicer of magic. But in Kowal, practicing magic was considered almost the same as murder. Magic destroyed the world, magic was forbidden.

But the son of Baron Zadeku was off limits to the magistrates and their tough laws. The ruling family was above the law. After all, they wrote it.

Arnexi had been gone for a year, off in a far away land doing the things only a young lord can do.

Now he is returning. And he was different. Word came from the outlying villages. Arnexi had been captured by Eredar, the tower of the mages. He was sentenced for practicing ravaging magic and had been silenced.

Arnexi arrived in the streets of Kowal astride a giant white horse, his honor guards behind him in dull gray armor and dull gray horses. Large red banners flew from their backs, the symbol of Kowal floating in the breeze.

Arnexi had changed. His blonde hair was shaved in places, and tattoos covered most of his skin where it could be seen. His eyes looked sunken and bruised. But he sat tall in his saddle, ignoring those who stared from the streets and windows. The silent procession carried itself down the street and through the gates of the Baron’s tower.

The gates closed, but mouths opened and the city was buzzing with speculation.