The Heart and The Obsidian Orb Part Three

Chapter Two: The Sphere Lord’s Ultimatum

Ivak tried to hide behind Claroosa as Yagmalral continued soaking in his discomfort. Yagmalral had actually been born without a crest, but she showed such talent for magic that she was groomed for the position of head mage. She even received a crest when Nautha Vulk had been on her dead bed from eating the badly prepared meat of an asp, a serpent who’s venom turns one into crystal. Nautha’s brother the previous head mage had happily retired to some obscure depth of the house to focus on his research. All the members of House Vulk were well aware of Yagma, for one of the duties of the head mage was identifying the abilities of any member’s heart-crest.

Simply put mostly everyone was terrified of Yagmalral, she had a tendency of turning anyone who annoyed her into something or another for a time. There was even rumours that she had even turned the High Crest into a crow for a day. Though, the rumour continues that she then found the transformation turned back on her. Anyone foolish enough to ask has usually spent some time as a cockroach afterwards.

“Little Ivaki, dear little Ivaki, shall I take, you to the High Crest?” She said, her face growing more predatory by the moment.

“I-I’m sure I can make my own way Aunty Yagma” Ivak said, feeling less like a thirty year old man and more like the little child being examined for his crest power.

Yagma was not the sister of Ivak’s father or mother, she was in fact his great aunt, well, probably several greats, but Yagma certainly wasn’t going to get called that.

“Oh I wouldn’t want you to get lost” Yagma smiled.

“I have Claroosa with me, and I’ve lived here all my life!” Ivak objected.

“Yes, all thirty four years of your life, but you spend so much time painting, it may have slipped from your mind, I’m sure you wouldn’t actively hide from the High Crest” She stared at Claroosa “Or that your servant would aid and abet you, I mean those other times that you’ve received summons I’m sure little Ivaki you’ve gotten lost, rather than hiding, right”

“I wouldn’t know myself milady.” Claroosa said “He’s always gotten separated from me, and I’ve spent the time looking for him”

Claroosa grabbed him just as he was trying to slip away.

Ivak nervously laughed.

“Perhaps you are right aunty, the fumes may be getting to me, I should lie down and have Claroosa send my regrets to the High Crest”

Yagma cracked her fingers, and one of her fingernails extended to a needle-like form.

“I’m sure I could perk you up with a bit of magic”

“I think my master is feeling a sudden rush of strength Milady.” Claroosa said.

“I am? Ah yes, I am, the air in this corridor is particularly invigorating, something to do with your august presence I’m sure aunty, charges the air”

Yagma’s fingernail returned to its normal shape.

“A pity” She pouted “I have a new variation on my spell that I was looking forward to testing”

Yagmalral sniffed and spun around on her heel.

“Well then, enough dallying about, I want to see you squirm under the High Crest’s gaze, least he can do for me after all this diplomatic nonsense with Rimlasnathines”

Yagmalral scurried off, followed by Claroosa, dragging along a reluctant Ivak.

* * * * *

The High Crest Haelosther DuVulk was not amused, it was possible he had not been amused in years, though truthfully he had actually been greatly amused by a comedic play in Welterine that he had viewed by crystal ball, but in this moment, he looked very displeased. If Ivak was a bundle of sticks and Yagma was a hatchet, then Haeloster was an venerable wizened tree. Though, it was a thoroughly odd tree.

Haeloster had long since lost the hair of his head, through his luscious silvery beard more than made up for that. He was of course a pureblood aehi, House Vulk had only a mixed blood as High Crest two times in its history, then again it was one of the younger houses. He was dressed in rich robes of alternating circles of black and blue, with arcane sliver linings and circular sigils all throughout.

He wore nothing on his feet, his hands were equally bare. His eyes were like burning spotlights. Haelosther was a passable mage, Yagmalral was more powerful, but Haeloster had the Grand Crest of the house. Some would think that Yagmalral was next in line for High Crest, but she had no interest, a fact that the House Elders were glad of, after all, as good a Head Mage she was, She’d be a terrible High Crest.

Haelosther lounged across four spheres that floated in the air of the High Crest’s room. The room itself was spherical. Lodged in the walls of the room were a number of magical artefacts, sealed in spherical cases, as so as to prevent unwanted interactions between the artefacts. One may notice that House Vulk has a bit of an obsession with spheres, but there was method to this seeming madness. Patterns have weight in the magic of Kigan, in a very basic example, a spear that has been used to slay many serpents can in the right conditions gain some magical aspect of slaying serpents, or perhaps some attribute of serpents.

The spheres of House Vulk were a multiplier of power, an influencer of power. One of the results of their ancestor’s efforts was that spherical artefacts would be drawn to them. Thus, with power, House Vulk’s future would continue to be secured.

Ivakilnah cowered before the High Crest of House Vulk, who had through his power and wisdom kept House Vulk independent of the nations, organizations and groups of Nortrieln. House Vulk for House Vulk. Neither Conqueror nor Conquered, the motto of House Vulk.

Yagmalral was also present, idly looking at her nails. Claroosa was outside the chamber.

“Ivakilnah” Haelosther’s voice throbbed with power. “You have done valuable work, sealing more dangerous artefacts within paintings for the House, but I have made my decision. Ivakilnah you are exiled from House Vulk until such a time as you return with a spheric artefact. Tradition will be upheld. Take whatever aid is offered to you and begone before the setting of the sun.”

Haelosther closed his eyes. There would be no discussion. The High Crest’s will was absolute for a member as lowly as Ivakilnah. Yagmalral pulled a stunned Ivakilnah away, just as they were passing through the entrance, The High Crest spoke once more.

“You will endure, Ivakilnah. Neither Conqueror nor Conquered. You are Vulk.”

The doors made an ominous bang as they closed. Yagmalral and Ivak stood in the short hallway that connected the High Crest’s Chamber and the larger hallway.

Yagmalral coughed. “Well, I wasn’t quite expecting the old coot to take such a hardline, I thought he was just going to lecture you into submission.”

Ivak just stared at his feet. He had just avoided it for so long, put it off and off , it had taken a foreboding spherical shape in his mind. Yagmalral gave him a slap on the back.

“Oh cheer up Little Ivaki, you’ll be home in no time, it won’t be that bad”

“Didn’t you end up getting swallowed by a huge fish at one point in your quest?”

Yagma paused. “Well, yes, but you aren’t as special as me, so I’m sure nothing interesting will happen to you.”

There was an awkward silence.

Yagma dug about in her orange furs. She pulled out two things. One was what looked like a shiny pebble. The other was a small mirror. She handed the pebble to Ivak.

“If you find an artefact, this will be able to check it with what we have in House. It will glow green if it is something we already have, red if we do not and orange if we have something similar”

Ivak listlessly gave thanks.

Yagma sighed.

“Look, you don’t have to come back with something amazing, nobody is looking for you to prove yourself, with your crest, you are already of value, just get something and get back. You’re quite well read, don’t forget all you’ve learned.”

She then held the mirror up. One of her nails lengthened and she began to scrawl circular patterns on it, while muttering to herself. Finally she smashed it against the side of her face, but she was unharmed, and so was the mirror, indeed, the mirror was now without blemish, the scrawls having vanished.

“Speak my name three times to this mirror and you may speak with me, where-ever you are, but mind, you can only do this once. Now, off with you, you need your servant to get some packing done”

She handed the mirror over and swept away. Ivak remained where he was for a while. He stared at his own reflection, he decided to be a bit less pathetic. Collecting himself, he went out to where Claroosa was. She was patiently waiting for him, holding a quilted coat covered in black and blue circles and a dark blue heavy hooded cloak. She herself was wearing a servant’s jacket and another of the blue cloaks.

“I have already begun preparations, milord, I thought it prudent to do so while you met with the High Crest. Everything should be ready for us by the time we reach the entrance of the house”

Ivak smiled.

“Thank you, Claroosa, I-i suppose we best leave right away yes, I mean the sooner we leave, the sooner we get back!”

“Just so milord” She helped him slip his coat and cloak on.

As they walked through the house, people came out and gave their goodbyes to Ivak. He was touched, especially so considering that he wasn’t that big of a feature in the lives of main family or branch families, he had been that boy painting the artefacts for quite some time, then he was that man painting them.

He had kept to himself, but they knew he was family. He began to cry, partly out of joy and partly out of sadness. Claroosa hugged him and patted him on the head, taking him into a dark corner so that nobody would see him and hurt his pride.

His father, crestless, had run away to be an adventurer with his mother. His mother had only returned to give birth to him and wean him. He had known them for six years before they had left him. In some ways, Claroosa had been more of mother than his true mother.

Ivak composed himself, and they continued. After making their way through several more relatives, they finally left House Vulk. Claroosa was loaded with various luggage and supplies, for they did not know how long they would be gone.

They went forwards into Welterine. Part of Ivak hoped that they could just buy a spherical artefact at the market, but he knew that for the few years House Vulk had been in the area, servants of Vulk had been sweeping the markets for such things. Not only that, but many people from beyond Welterine knew how House Vulk valued spherical artefacts and sent them to Welterine, knowing they would get a good price, or if nothing else, a definite buyer.

It was possible that Ivak would have to go far indeed to obtain a magic artefact.

Author: SnowyMystic