The rainclouds had dissipated enough to allow a faint blue to creep from the dawning horizon as the sun rose for a new day.
Lawrence was already preparing for the coming mission. It had been decided during the council session last night that the best course of action was to get the royal family to the harbor and safely on a ship so that the emperor could escape and return with his armies, which were currently out of the country.
The failed mage was tired. The council last night had been long and tedious. Fortunately he met the emperor and his son personally, was promised a hefty sum for his services by the royal treasurer, all under the disapproving eye of the Winged Blade—the queen of the Winged Blades—he added in wry thought. How could that be arrogant?
Lawrence wasn’t known as the Firebrand of the West. Well, okay, some people did call him that—but he never called himself that. He was simply Lawrence. Or sometimes to some, known as the Failed Mage.
Am I jealous? That can’t be it, he thought. Though if I’m not careful, I’ll end up building a reputation as Ecnerwal Kciwzac!
He chuckled to himself and the quartermaster gave him an odd look. He ignored the old soldier and surveyed the swords. These were the best weapons and armor for miles, all of it good work by expert craftsmen.
Before him was an assortment of swords. Most of them the local katanas, but there were some foreign weapons in the lot. He made his way to those. To the double-edged swords specifically. The long straight blades with the gleaming fullers and long cross guards appealed to him. The swords of the west were the weapons he had trained with and used all his life.
It seemed there were three of them. One was far too short, clearly a dirk rather than a proper sword. The second was too large for his style. Lawrence didn’t use broadswords. He needed the ability to use a shield, or if he needed, fireballs.
The failed mage chose the sword with the half grip, the hilt larger than a one handed sword, but smaller than a proper two handed grip. He belted the tattered sheath to his hip and sheathed the blade. As the weapon slid into place it made a satisfying metallic hiss. It was by no means a masterwork, but it was quality steel he could rely on. That much was obvious.
“I’ll be taking this one,” he said. The quartermaster nodded vaguely and went about his other duties.
Amidst the sound of horses, chatter in the yard and the far off pounding of the smith, the failed mage looked down at his feet, wriggled his toes there. He still wasn’t used to the idea of fighting in waraji sandals. He never wore such footwear when in proper employ, but he’d lost his boots some days before fleeing to Mikuma with Ishi-kun. Boots were uncommon in these parts and he wore no armor, other than a leather cuirass over his kimono and also leather vambraces. They wouldn’t protect against much, but it was better than being expected to fight in nothing but cloth. He might as well be naked otherwise.
He gave the quartermaster who wasn’t paying any attention a final nod and headed out. Fortunately he was able to bathe beforehand. After the fight with that hurg in the valley, Lawrence had been covered in mud and his muscles ached. His bones had a deep chill from the cold rain the night before, but the hot bath set everything right. Except for being tired from lack of sleep, he felt rejuvenated.
That’s probably because of what Sakura did, he thought. I should speak with her.
Clearly there was something between them. But her family would be an obstacle, not to mention this whole mess. But after this crisis was over, he would be a man of means again. A man of small means, but a man of means nonetheless. Perhaps he would buy an establishment with his payment and hire someone to run the place. He wasn’t much for business. The failed mage sold his sword, but more importantly his magic. That was what he was known for.
He needed to speak with her before heading out. She probably wouldn’t be coming along, though Hitomo and Tomiichi would be expected to do so. Prepared for what came next, Lawrence left the makeshift armory and went in search of Sakura.
Oh wait, he thought. It’s far too early.
He would wait for a time. Perhaps after the sun was shining golden on the curved eves of the Temple. Then he would go to speak with the dancer who had been capturing his heart.
"I’m a businessman. My family has a seat in the Dwarven Merchants Guild. Merchants buy and sell goods. Businessmen buy and sell stores. In my spare time, I manage a spy network. And occasionally, I write books."--Varric Tethras
Wakiagaru is on going.
The Reconnoiters is complete.
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