Chapter 2 Scene 3

by Richard Perkins
This entry is part 8 of 65 in the series Doormaker's Fall

“You are an impossible old rascal!” Mabel admonished Fronek as she topped up his mug with fresh cider. But she smiled to herself as she walked back to the bar with the cider jug.

Fronek took a gulp of cider, and then noisily and theatrically cleared his throat. “Ah, much better. Now where were we?”

“The Scion faced certain death,” came a raucous call from the crowd, accompanied by a concert of chuckles.

Fronek leaned forward in his chair, resting his hands on his knees, and then resumed his tale. “Certain death was it? Right, the Scion was sure he faced certain death! He fell to his knees, clutching his injured hand out in front of him as his blood trickled to the flagstone floor.”

“Now the young Scion had not had an easy life to this point, so he was resourceful, but he was not yet brave. He looked to the balcony, forever beyond his reach now. He caught himself badly as he fell forward, jarring his injured palm against the unforgiving silver of his flawed hand mirror. He cried out in despair and with his next act, unknowingly changed the world forever.” Fronek settled back into his chair before continuing.

“The captain of the watch on that fateful night later reported that his capture of the young Scion was foiled by a powerful tremor that shook the foundations of the Mayoral mansion. He said that the stones shifted beneath his feet without warning and he was thrown to the ground.”

“A second guard wrote in his report that the room tipped in a tremor and the criminal was carried across the room and out onto the balcony, seemingly on a moving wave of cracked flagstones, rubble, and mud. Both of these reports are documented in the historical log books of the city guard.”

“The watch captain quickly regained his feet and charged out after the young Scion, only to be caught in a rockslide as the granite balcony crumbled down into the garden. The Scion, dazed, found himself tumbled headlong onto the onyx slab of the silent yet still flowing river fountain.”

“He was roused by anxious cries from two members of the watch who had stood guard by the bedroom door. They were quickly scrambling down the loose scree of the former balcony toward the watch captain, who was trapped under rockslide debris just out of the Scion’s reach. As they worked to release their captain, the Mayor appeared in the gaping window above, with his formal clothing rent in too many places to counts and blood streaming from a shallow gash across his jaw.”

“Seeing the Scion lounging apparently unharmed in the cascading water of the river fountain, he reddened with rage. ‘You fools! Get him before he gets away,’ he bellowed imperiously at the two guards in the garden below. They were torn between duty to their captain and obedience to their Mayor, but obedience won out. Clearly less than happy about the task, the guards turned toward the young Scion with murder in their eyes. For the second time that night, he feared for his life. And for the second time that night, what happened next changed the world.”

With Fronek’s next words, he speared the audience with the intensity of his gaze. “As the guards stalked angrily toward the Scion, he scrambled to rise from the basin where he lay, still dazed by his headlong descent from the balcony. Unfortunately his injured hand was too weak to support his weight, and it slipped from the onyx slab, over the edge and into the deeper water of the basin. He panicked as a cold chill seared the gash on his palm, and slid full length into the basin’s dark waters.”

Fronek paused again in his narrative and gazed off speculatively as he took another pull from his mug. “As he spluttered back up from the surface the young Scion found himself on a rising flood tide of dark water. The members of the watch were astounded to see a foaming wave crest rise up from the basin and crash down the onyx slab in a seemingly endless torrent. They were pushed back from the fountain by a wall of water as the helpless Scion was whirled away by the current and out into depths of the river.”

“Hours later, nearly senseless with fatigue and numb from the water’s chilling embrace, the young Scion fetched up on the river’s sandy shore. As he pulled himself away from the water’s edge, he looked back to find the lights of the town impossibly distant on the horizon. Succumbing to exhaustion in the waning hours of the night, he realized that he had miraculously escaped the watch.”

Now Fronek rose from his chair and paced in a semicircle before the hearth, turning to engage different members of the crowd as he spoke. “In the days that followed, he wandered south along the river as he tried to make sense of the events of that fateful night. He was amazed to discover that he could still influence the water of the river and the earth of its banks. Once he realized the potential of his gift, he eagerly sought to master it.”

“According to legend, he spent time among the nomadic mystics of the Great Desert where he found kindred spirits among them. He visited ancient sites that were the seat of great elemental power and learned the importance of focus. Through his research, he devised a way to control the air and the winds themselves, though only the Doormaker Councils can reveal how he achieved it.”

“He also discovered others scattered across the Great Desert and the Fertile Plains whom he could train to use his Art. He gathered them to his side everywhere he went, and within a few years traveled with a retinue of ten men and women trained in aspects of the new Doormaker’s Art.”

“Some years later, he and his fledgling Doormaker Council returned to the village where the young Scion had discovered his Art. It had fallen on hard times since his abrupt departure, and the Mayor and most of the city’s elite had left for more prosperous places. The Council assumed control of the ruined Mayoral Mansion, and together with local guild craftsmen whom the Scion trusted, rebuilt the complex to be the centre of their growing influence.”

“Gradually, it became what we know today as Doormaker Citadel. Those early years were a time of eager discovery for them, before suffering taught them the price of their craft. But tragedy is a story for another time perhaps.”

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