Master Kordin al'Dendarii travels to Tear to meet up with the avid Illuminator assistant, simply known as Teben, to take him to Tanchico to visit the Chapterhouse and Mistress Aludra.
To be continued....The Tear road was bending as it curved around a hill that laid to the north. Kordin was munching on some Murandian crackers and the best cheese Far Madding had to offer, as he rode slowly southward towards Tear. It occurred to him that it might not be such a ridiculous thing to stop and pick a few...or a lot, of flowers. The stench of rotten fish in Tear is so intense that even the cold weather during the month of Jumara helped. Frozen nostrils still suffered the stench.
Finishing off the last bit of Far Madding cheese, Kordin pulled slightly on the reins and Blaze, his Domani razor, stopped. He dismounted the horse and rummaged through his saddlebag. Blaze neighed happily as a big carrot suddenly appeared in front of him. 'Enjoy my friend.’ Kordin patted the horse on his neck and turned around, looking at nature's herbal offerings besides a small path heading up the hill’s southern face.
A selection of yellow broomweed, pink foxgloves, and some red Gheandin blossom. Gently picking up a few of each.
“Well, well, whadda we ‘ave ‘ere...’ A gruff voice said behind him. Kordin began to slowly stand up and turn, firmly holding his staff with a hidden feather-blade. A pair of dirty, cloaked men stood not far from him and Blaze, the horse still chewing on the carrot and not least bit disturbed by their presence. A black bandana covered their faces, but Kordin still recognized who, or rather what they were. Bandits.
Using his staff for support, he casually leans on it, smirking ‘I assume you’re new to this...merry band of yours that usually lurks around this part of the Tear road?’
The bandit who spoke before was about to say something when the sound of shuffling bushes and branches interrupted him. Two more cloaked figures with black bandanas appeared behind them, followed by a man holding a finely crafted axe and wearing chainmail. His face hidden by a hood, with a chain coif barely visible underneath it.
‘Wuss dis ‘bout lads?!’ He growled and pushed his way forward, almost knocking his entorauge to the ground, for some reason keeping his eye on the Domani razor. The first two bandits took a step back to avoid being pushed as well.
‘Das a fine ‘orse dur, make a foyn tra...’ As the axe-wielding man began speaking he removed his hood, revealing an ugly, hairy, scarred face, missing the left eye and burn marks all over that side of the head. And a few teeth clearly missing as well, as the man's mouth was left hanging open.
Kordin cackled gleefully at the sight, some soot falling from his shoufa. ‘Blood and ashes! Gadin Tonne, you short-fused, dim-witted, trolloc-faced bandit! Long time no see and burn, eh?’
The four cloaked bandits exchanging confused looks as their leader was clearly struggling to speak, or do anything for that matter.
‘Still trying to become the criminal mastermind of Tear Road, I see...’ Kordin chuckled ‘Well come on man, for Light’s sake, speak!’
The bandit chiefs mounth closed snapped shut, sounding as if he broke what few teeth he had left that way.
‘Lez club dis fenzy breeches ‘ere and git off da road. Dem mercs might ride up and demand ‘eir share, bozz!’ One of the cloaked bandits said, brandishing a club in his right hand.
The scarred chief turned towards his minions, grabbed the one brandishing the club and shouted ‘RUUUUUUN!’ Shoving the bandit aside he began running down the path, towards the hill. Two bandits exchanged one look before turning their heels and trying to catch up with their employer. Last one standing was frantically shifting his also confused gaze from Kordin to his friend on the ground, and then grabbed his friends' cloak and began running and dragging him, towards the same direction where the others went.
Giggling like a Tar Valon Novice, Kordin approached Blaze, took another carrot from the saddlebag and gave it to the razor.
‘I’ll be just a moment Blaze, don’t go chasing any mares....’ The Illuminator said while unholstering a black leather-wrapped tube with an orange fuse, from the inside of his coat.
‘Just like old times...’ Lighting a match on the sole of his boot, he used it to light the fuse and began walking down the path on which the bandits ran.
*An explosion, some broken bones, charred heads, three carrots and two hours later....*
Tear’s docks were wet and dark. Nevertheless, the large flat stones that made them provided a firm footing. Dockworkers tossed ropes to sailors onboard various vessels trying to dock, moving crates of various goods intended for the rich Tairen markets, and others tying pieces of cloth soaked in water with various flowers in it, to combat the lingering smell of fish.
“Sparks!” Teben jumped slightly after hearing his old nickname from his Apprentice days.
“Master Kordin! Good to see you!” The young avid Illuminator smiled as Kordin clapped him on his back, while shaking his other hand.
“And you as well, Brother Teben. It’s been a long time, but I suppose we’ll have plenty of time to catch up on this voyage.” Kordin shifted his look from the avid Illuminator, to the bags and backpacks at their feet. “I assume you brought everything we need?
Teben took one more look at everything and nodded. ‘Yes Master, all is packed safely and ready....I was actually worried you wouldn’t show up on time. Did you run into trouble riding from Far Madding?”
‘Oh, I ran into an old acquaintance.’ Kordin said as he picked up one of the backpacks ‘Perhaps you’ve met him too if you ever traveled on the road leading north.’
‘I’m not sure, perhaps. We do meet an awful lot of people on our travels.’
Kordin tossed the other backpack to Teben. ‘Gadin Tonne, a man of criminal tendencies and a very, very particular look not even a fade would appreciate!’
A few dockworkers could be heard laughing and commenting how fades and other Shadowspawn were tale to scare the children with. Others passing by spat on the ground and mumbled a few words of prayer to the Creator and Light.
‘Oh I believe I know of whom you speak. We met the man once, Master Iovin and I.’ Teben replied as the two Illuminators walked towards the gangplank of the Drunken Kraken, one of the few ships sailing to Tanchico.
‘We were riding to Tear from Lugard, where we just left some fireworks for the brokers to trade on our behalf.’ Teben continued ‘I stopped to wonder at some particular ancient trees, when a group of man ran from the cover those trees provided. I assumed they were admirers of your work, as they shouted enthusiastically and were waving.’
The young Illuminator tried to mimic the sounds and hand motions, making Kordin laugh.
‘So naturally, I called for Master Iovin to halt and meet them, but as soon as they heard his name, the biggest of them turned around and ran, with the rest following. Was very odd.’
Kordin chuckled ‘Yes, that’s Gadin and his merry band that keeps changing members...they weren’t admirers of the Guilds work Teben. They meant to club you an inch of death and rob you of your wordly possesions.’
The avid Illuminator stopped, his face pale. ‘W-w-what? B-but Master Iovin did not mention any of that!’ Arching one eyebrow he asked ‘But why didn’t they? Why did they run?’
Kordin turned and smiled at the young man ‘Because they heard you calling Master Iovin. They heard his name. And they’d rather kidnap a Lord of Tear and face the Defenders, than suffer Iovin talking them to death....or stabbing. Depends on his mood that day...come on, we must hurry or the ship will leave without us.’
The two began walking up the gangplank, nodding at the First Mate with the Captain waving at Kordin from the stern of the Drunken Kraken.
‘Cannot wait to see the Chapterhouse in Tanchico, I’ve heard stories of the amazing progress the Guild artificers made there.’ Teben said with eyes full of excitement and a slight grin.
‘You will, right after you finally meet Sister Aludra and pass your lessons.’
Kordin’s words stopped Teben in his tracks, again. ‘I...ah...Sister Aludra you say?’ The sparks of excitement gone as quickly as they appeared in the young mans eyes.
‘Don’t worry Teben, we’ll have a few messenger pigeons ready to fly to the Wisdoms of Almoth, should the Seanchan occupation of Tarabon keep all of their healers busy.’ Kordin said while opening the doors leading towards the cabins.
‘Seanchan occupation?!’ Teben yelped.