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The Adventures of Larson and Garrett - Assault in Stormguard By AaronDennis Characters: 11516

Updated: 2018-01-04 12:02

Assault in Stormguard

Larson and Garrett Adventure the Ninth by Aaron Dennis

Published by April 2016

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any form, including digital and electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written consent of the Publisher, except for brief quotes for use in reviews.

This book is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

On the outskirts of the city of Stormguard, capitol of Ruvonia, Larson, Garrett, Lyalla, Fortha, and Seanessy met with an old man by the name of Lennon. Detective Mathew deemed it a precaution for their safety since the forces of destruction were most prevalent in the capitol and its surrounding cities. While he was off investigating recent tribulations involving the king and his court, and Charlotte returned to the thieves' guild to obtain new information, Larson and the gang made an effort to relax inside Lennon's modest, one room, stone home.

It was an austere setting owned by Mathew's former informant, a man who had been employed by the Caulderstons, a family of merchants who traded with the country of Faaltosk to the north. After introductions were made, and Lennon assured the crew of their safety, they sat around a dining table by the light of candles. Eating and drinking while the rafters above them creaked and settled, they tried to joke about the mishaps involving Prince Roan's phase train, a magickal contraption, which was supposed to have delivered them safely from Xorinth to Stormguard secretly and without a fuss, but the detective's magickal ring, a trinket crafted from ether stone and forged to resonate with the Lagos artifacts, had interfered with the inter-dimensional engine used to power the train, so they had relinquished it in the plane of dreams just before making it to the city.

"The detective is always tryin' ta' do things beyond his abilities, " Lennon laughed in coughing spurts. He brushed back the strands of gray hair that surrounded his balding head before blowing his long nose with a soppy handkerchief, adding, "I remember all the trouble he got into when I snitched for 'im."

As Lennon readjusted his gray pants over his saggy midsection, he elucidated upon his past. He claimed that ten or so years ago, the Caulderstons told all the people from various cities across the northern border that there was a lot of work to be done in Ruvonia; that there were homes and businesses to be built, that the guard needed strong, young warriors, that vast and green farmlands needed tending, and since the country of Faaltosk was mostly a snowy, mountainous terrain, the young folk and the older folk were all more than happy to pay the Caulderstons for the trouble of being escorted into Ruvonia, but in the end, since there was in fact very little work to be done, the people of Faaltosk had little choice but to become indentured servants for the nobility just to survive, to keep their families together.

In the midst of those misdeeds, Lennon provided Mathew information regarding the Caulderstons' plots; they were making an attempt to gain the favors of influential noblemen, other families involved with international trade, and even members of the king's court. It was that information the detective had tried to use to keep the country from falling to wicked deceptions, and the information, which led to the discovery of the attack on Ulfberth and Mathew's subsequent banishment from Stormguard.

"He must be in grave danger now then, " Lyalla whispered while blowing at her cup of hot coffee.

"Ah, Mathew's a smart man." Lennon's saggy jowls creased when he smiled.

"Still, " Fortha fretted, "he's not allowed in the city, and he went to the castle, didn't he?" The group turned their attention to the elf. His eyes were baggy, and he looked pale, but they all looked the worse for wear. Seanessy finished his third mug of beer, belched, and remarked that Mathew was more worried about their safety than his own. "But that's my point, " Fortha heaved.

Lyalla grasped his wrist and smiled. Uneasy glances went around the room. Eventually, growing quiet, they looked at the table, half eaten meals, barren, stone walls, and listened to the howling winds whistling against poorly fashioned shutters. Breaths were drawn and sighs were heaved.

"So, what do yas' do now, " Seanessy asked the old man.

"Bah, I sit here an' rot away, " Lennon grumbled. Furrowed brows and cocked eyes were indicative of skepticism or pity. "I got enough ta' get by, an' I make a few coins 'ere an' there. I still know how ta' trade, so I buy low an' sell high when I can, but you young folks don' wanna' 'ere 'bout an' old man's ramblins'. This mess with the White Wraiths is what's important now."

Before the detective and Charlotte had scuttled off to handle their respective business, Mathew had delineated the crew was there to investigate recent White Wraith activity. Garrett puffed at their mention. He then looked to his compatriot. Larson rubbed his temples vigorously, scratched at his hair, which had grown in nicely since the bout with the wyverns, and released a yawn of epic proportions. Lyalla smiled.

"You're exhausted, " she whispered.

"Aren't we all, though, " Larson replied. "Lennon, do you know much about the White Wraiths?"

"I hadn't given' em' a second thought until a week or so ago, " he answered, leaning back in a wicker, rocking chai

r. "Alls' I know is that there've been more an' more men of all races paradin' around in white robes. Wasn't until last week when they gathered at Roan Square to preach about change that I thought they were up ta' somethin', but then it ain't the first time some people got a notion to meet an' speak 'bout changin' the way things is run, 'ear?"

"This appears the only city where they have free reign, " Garrett commented. "We fought them in the Xorinth sewers, but apart from the ruins of Atjibur, their presence has been squelched."

"Shocking to know they're running around so brazenly, and here in the capitol, " Fortha remarked.

Lennon shrugged. The crew took turns explaining their experiences regarding the cult, and told Lennon their reason for investigating was tied to magickal artifacts of astonishing potency. The old man grew concerned when he heard that the cult worshipped the God of Destruction, and he almost seemed afraid when they told him they were also tied to Parish, a minister of the Church of Knowledge. At that moment, the door came open, and Mathew strode in looking haggard.

"You're all still awake, " he asked them and took a seat at the table.

"Not like I got a bunch o' beds for 'em, " Lennon snarled.

"What did you learn, " Garrett asked Mathew.

They disregarded the old man's comment and gave the detective their attention. "First and foremost, I discovered the White Wraiths are moving freely here."

"That's what I told 'em, " Lennon interrupted.

"Yes, anyway, " Mathew continued and pushed his hair back with both hands. "I incurred some odd looks from a few people, and I'm afraid I may have been recognized."

"As Mathew?" Larson interjected.

The detective nodded. "Regardless, the most disconcerting news involves Parish, Lucas, General of the Griffin Knights, Gromar, the new General of the Storm Militia, Count Sothmire, who is head of commerce here in the city, and Briggitte, who is in charge of a new department regarding workers, a sort of guild or union for laborers. They all seem to be consorting behind closed doors."

"Dolf of the Griffin Knights told me he was investigating trouble in Talsador, and he mentioned trouble in Xorinth, " Garrett interrupted.

"Dolf, " Mathew trailed off. "I'm not certain I know of him, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was sent to gather information for Parish."

"What is Parish doing?" Larson demanded.

"I can only guess he's trying to incite as much instability as possible—since the White Wraiths are preaching change—in an effort to throw the country into chaos. What better way to incite destruction? Not to mention, he'll be able to see who's worthy of bearing the Lagos artifacts."

"Why would he want to see that, " Lyalla asked.

"Difficult to say, " Mathew took a breath in thought. "My guess is that he either wants to see who is likely to obtain them, so that he can steal them, or he is in direct contact with Lagos, and is the one who determines who should receive them."

"We're back at the beginning, " Larson argued. "Before Rolas died, we were trying to figure out where these artifacts are coming from! He said they were being distributed by a daemon from Lagos's world."

"I'm starting to believe that is not the case, " Mathew said, quietly. "The items are far too ancient, and the power within them is not of this age, it would seem impossible to transport them from dimension to dimension, but we're getting off topic, " he snipped.

"Just tell us what ta' do, mate, " Seanessy grumbled.

The detective rolled his head to loosen his neck. He then removed his spectacles and placed them on the table.

"I need you to hear me out, " he eventually said in a strained tone. "This is not some battle you can all charge into blindly. I don't have all the details, and to be completely honest, this is going to take a lot of guesswork, so before I tell you what to do, you need to listen." A moment passed. They all considered to whom they were speaking, and ceasing to worry over their own fatigue and frustrations, they nodded, or played with their food, or tugged at their hair and beards, yet they remained quiet and willing to hear more. "Let us consider what we know is happening here; the cultists are led by Parish, who has them in arms over the state of the country, a state of affairs, which he organized to create instability—he has people up in arms over the instability he created, in order to create more instability. Together, they are worshipping Lagos, a daemon trying to become the God of Destruction because, obviously, the daemon has provided them with unimaginable power. They are now using their power to influence significant people, but the key to stopping them is Parish, who seems to vanish into thin air; none of my colleagues know definitively where he resides, but they think he is staying at the castle, yet I have my doubts because I have heard that he is minister of the Church of Thaud in Glennmoor, however, if he is teleporting from city to city then it is possible he does reside here…."

Lennon shook his head and gave a potent exhale. "A fine mess this is…too big fer' the likes o' me."

The old man worked himself out of the chair by gripping the edge of the table and straightening his back. He then shuffled off to the only cot in the house and plunked down on the pile of hay and pelts. Since Mathew remained in quiet reverie, and Seanessy bolted outside to pee, the other four traded glances.

Eventually, the dwarf came back, and before he wriggled onto his chair, he said. "Oi, I got a question, " when they looked to him, he frowned and tugged his beard. "Why did we not teleport from Xorinth ta' Stormguard. Why'd we have to take that evil train?"

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