Into The Night
Xenograg helps Philippe to his feet. Teleperien and Eönwë join them.
"Lady, I would not go about unarmed," advises the Maia. "He will be back, and he will not be alone."
"I own a blade, My Lord," is her answer. "We will be ready."
"As will I," is the calm but steeled reply of Eönwë. The queen and her consort move off, presumably to get their personal arms. Xenograg just looks towards the gate—thinking, planning. Using the knowledge and experience of fifty-three years to swiftly critique his idea, Xenograg decides it is sound. The Darelir's resolve is then immediately shaken when he looks back to find Eönwë looking directly at him. Xenograg's face becomes as a mask in a vain attempt to hide his reaction. No words are exchanged. Xenograg first averts his eyes then walks away from the Maia.
"Noujak!" is Xenograg's shouted summons for his armorer. The short Rellugai comes running.
"I want my black garb, light armor, short blade, both knives, bow and quiver—immediately." Noujak does not answer verbally but with gesture. The turkoman then sprints away to gather the specified arms. Four of Xenograg's Rellugai retainers return in a few minutes. In the interim Xenograg has stripped down to only a loincloth, oblivious to any witnesses in the bailey. Handing over his good robe and a two-inch wooden dowel to Noujak, Xenograg pulls on a black tunic, trousers, and soft boots. His men then gird on his leather jerkin and weapons. Last on is the Ostego cloak which appears pitch black in the low light. Xenograg checks all his arms before taking the dowel back and dismissing his armorers.
Alone again, he looks at the 'dowel' in his left hand. With a soft crack sound Xenograg expands his sorcerer's rod to a length of two feet. Placing his right hand around the base of the rod, Xenograg conjures a special addition: a six-inch iron penetrating axe head. After a few test swings the weapon is tucked into the sword belt.
Xenograg moves into the shadows of the bailey. Cloaked in a spell of invisibility, no one sees Xenograg the Sorcerer leap over the castle wall into the night. The hunt begins.
(continues in "The Hands of the Queen Are the Hands of a Healer")