Land In Revolt Interludes III
“You have some nerve, hero."
Eleak Dragonsbane made certain to inject the last word of his statement with venom. The Lord Senator had risen from his seat to lean menacingly towards Crolin.
“You come here uninvited, a representative of normally uninterested parties and try to shove their supposed wisdom down our collective throats?” he continued. “Where were the great wyrms of Majeria during the Rebellion, eh? Where were they when the Traitors tried to play Gods? Where were they all the centuries before then, for that matter?”
Crolin had to suppress his warrior’s urge to silence Dragonsbane with the back of his hand. True, the Arcanist before him was a powerful wielder of magic but The Guardian of Dragonkind was fairly certain he could lop the Wizard’s head from his shoulders before he could utter a single verbal component. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option. Such is the life of an arbitrator.
“As I have already stated, Lord Senator,” responded Crolin with great poise, “I cannot speak for the actions of my masters before I served them. And. if you recall, I myself was quite…busy during the Rebellion.” Crolin locked eyes with Dragonsbane when he spoke. His smoldering stare slowly forced Eleak back into his chair. The silence in the room seemed to indicate Crolin’s point had been taken.
For all his aggression, Eleak Dragonsbane was not the one about whom Crolin was concerned during this exercise of fence-mending. While the conflict between Clerics and Arcanists continued to escalate across all of Majeria, the Lord Senator was the most willing to come to the table. He was hot-headed for sure, but open to discussion. No, the one who posed the greatest threat in Crolin’s opinion was Ruger. The Archbishop of the Church of Light. Arguably the most powerful Cleric in the land. The quiet one. It was always the quiet one.
Crolin expected confrontation akin to what Dragonsbane was offering based on past observations of Ruger. This was not the case at these proceedings. Ruger appeared content to let Eleak be the vocal one this time around. Not a bad tactic, thought Crolin. Why add to the vitriol when Eleak was capable of dishing it out for both sides. On more than one occasion, Crolin was certain he saw a smirk on Ruger’s face. Crafty bastard.
“If I may continue, Lord Senator?” asked Crolin. “Thank you. While this convocation is certainly a step in the right direction, much work lies ahead. These two groups must learn to co-exist peacefully. Majeria is vast; there is room enough for both Arcanist and Cleric alike. There is no alternative to compromise here. Conflict between the two of you threatens to tear the world asunder. For the sake of all Majerians, for the sake of the people you serve, for the sake of the people to whom you minister – this cannot stand. To that point, I shall not mince words. My masters will not LET it stand.” Crolin paused for effect. He wanted this last part to sink in.
With renewed vigor, Eleak rose to his feet. “Is that a threat, Guardian?” he growled.
“No,” replied Crolin. “It is fact. And it should serve as motivation to put aside your differences in order to work together. For there is a greater issue at hand than your petty squabbles.” Crolin did not alter his stern tone in the face of Dragonsbane’s challenge. “None of us are naive to the changes in the Essence. Its erratic behavior is most likely linked to your contention. My masters are willing to lend their aid to determine the true cause.”
“Well, how noble of them!” mocked the Lord Senator. “They extend their talons in solidarity only to eviscerate us with them, is that right? Know this, Guardian: I do not fear your masters. My surname is well-earned. My brethren and I shape the fabric of reality. We bend it to our own wills. I have bested all manner of man and beast. We bow to no one.”
“Nor shall the Bearers of the Light,” added Archbishop Ruger calmly. “Your masters’ offer of assistance appears more like an order of acquiescence.”
At least they agree on something, thought Crolin. His frustration was mounting and it was obvious on his face. His mind’s eye conjured images of Lord Raxis reigning fire upon the fleeing citizens of Wyldshire and his stomach turned. The poor fools.
“Perhaps we adjourn for the day,” suggested Ruger. “We have been at this for quite some time. We need not fray the nerves further.”
Before Crolin could respond, Eleak made for the chamber door. “With pleasure,” the Lord Senator said as he stormed out. His retinue of some of the most renowned Arcanists in Majeria followed suit. They spoke in hushed voices. Many looked askance at Crolin as they exited.
A line had been drawn in the sand and Crolin was left holding the stick. To the Nine Hells with the Art of Diplomacy! This wasn’t Crolin’s forte by any stretch. As he made his way out of the building, he cursed his inability to steer the talks in the right direction. He feared he may have even made the situation worse. Perhaps Lord Veles was correct; Crolin was too far-removed from the humans society. He could no longer relate to them as he did before his draconic lineage came to the forefront. Crolin wondered how Aramil puts up with the daily annoyances brought by politics. The thought of his old friend made him smile as he strolled down the street.
Wyldshire by night was as beautiful as its daytime equivalent. The ornate lanterns fueled by continual light spells cast a warm glow. Instruments that played by themselves in the nearby cafes provided a soothing soundtrack. Something pleasant Crolin could take in before playing referee again tomorrow.
“May I walk with you, Guardian?” Ruger had been behind him for a short while. Crolin had smelled the Cleric when he turned the last corner.
“Of course, your Holiness,” replied Crolin respectfully. He wasn’t sure if the Archbishop intended to engage him in conversation. This section of the city was the most direct route back to the Temple of Light so it made sense to see Ruger here.
“I wanted to apologize for my part in complicating your efforts today,” said Ruger. “I know you find yourself in a somewhat hopeless situation. I’m certain dealing with us is infuriating. At the same time, the edict of your masters looms overhead. I do not envy your station.”
“Well… thank you, your Holiness,” replied a humbled and confused Crolin. This friendly version of Ruger was nothing like the acerbic zealot he’d seen so many times before. It was a welcome change. Crolin was starved for signs of positivity from either group. This was something with which he could work.
“Please,” replied the Archbishop putting up his hand, “Call me Johan. We could all do with a little less standing on ceremony, wouldn’t you agree?”
Crolin grinned widely. “Amen to that,” he replied with a chuckle.
The two men made their way through the streets of Wyldshire. They spoke of the Gods, Clerics and Wizards. Both shared stories of the most fantastic events in their respective lives. Perhaps, thought Crolin, real progress was being made.
The Guardian of Dragonkind was so engrossed in his conversation with the High Cleric, he didn’t notice the three silhouetted figures that followed the pair from the darkness.