Addicted To Haste

(24 Lormesta 5115: The Landing)

He walked into town square, and returned to normal speed. Who would guess that would be the portent of an unforgettable adventure? It barely registered on the young bardess, though. She was hurt, and seriously diseased from an encounter with a warcat during the first moments of her hunting outing.

“Take your time, I do not think this will kill me,” she whispered to Miss Solstys, who was the only one healing all the people who came in.

She first noticed the archwizard when she heard an old sailor’s ditty faintly on a sea breeze as the elf gestured with a magic spell. She listened again, sure enough, there it was as he made another spell. She looked at him. Flustered with draining health, she could not really believe what she saw, and she looked again, hoping he would not notice. (If he did, he had the manners not to let on.)

On his arm, there was the unmistakable tattoo of an Ashrim scout ship. Ashrim; the extermination of that Elven family and Isle was a watershed moment in Elven history. The mass murder of nearly an entire people does not pass lightly by, it will be one of the named Sorrows of the Elven Nations for a very long time yet. But … there he was, right in front of her. She had never met an Ashrim. She had so many questions – and probably all of them tactless, so she stood quietly.

Feeling better, she greeted the Dreaming Tree, gave Miss Gingie a hug, and greeted the rest of her friends there. That was when the Archwizard waved at her, she wanted to freeze. Manners took over that were so deeply ingrained that they function no matter what else is going on. She was so grateful to her mother, aunties, and her Grams for all those … tedious … lessons in etiquette and carriage. It was not the first time, and surely will not be the last, that she will not be caught in an embarrassing silence because of her training. Even though, she will be the first to admit, she was a less than willing participant in those lessons at the time.

She curtsied, he bowed, she introduced herself, and in turn, she learned his name.

“Well met, Luxelle. I’m Admiral Aetheri Machtes Ashrim. It’s a pleasure to meet your acquaintance,” he told her.

“Would you like some assistance hunting? There’s not too many people here eager for my magery,” he asked her. She thought he meant some bright, shining spells of protections.

“Well, I am still sort of blurry, but I can always use more magic to keep me safe, my lord,” the young elven bardess replied to him.

No sooner were the words out of her mouth than she heard the sea shanty again. As his practiced magics surrounded her, she could almost smell the salt on the breeze. Magics bright and wizardly swirled around her. She thanked him. His manners impeccable, he told her she was welcome.

She sat down next to the Dreaming Tree and pulled out her harp, starting to play some music as the dreaded subject of the jobs from that man at the Adventurer’s Guild came up.

“I am so done with that man at the Adventuring Guild,” she told her friends. “He just is bound and determined he wants me dead.”

“What is the bounty?” Miss Gingie asked the bardess in a soft voice.

“I’ll accompany you. That should even the score of whatever he gives you,” Lord Admiral Aetheri piped in and immediately joined the bardess before she could even reply to Miss Gingie.

Luxelle explained that she stopped asking about the bounties. Miss Gingie encouraged her to accept the assistance, vouching for the gentleman. Then the bardess turned the conversation from hunting and asked the Lord Admiral about his ships.

He has three ships, it turns out, harbored in Solhaven. Many of the officers onboard were also Ashrim. She did not let her mind follow that revelation.

“The Silver Leviathan is my flagship. I also have the Siren’s Call, which is a blockade runner, and the Kraken that’s a caravel,” he answered her questions, explaining freely. “It’s a privateer fleet that sails under my command.”

“What wonderful names. I love how ships are named. It is like a song,” she told him.

She noticed several glances from people she knew and did not know. It made her do a quick re-evaluation on her etiquette, but she was pretty sure she was not out of line discussing things with the Admiral, as far as she could tell. But there was always so much the young elf did not know about how things worked in the city.

Lord Aetheri showed her his ornate archaic Ashrim warblade. It was weathered and ancient, the weapon bearing the scars of many battles, lost and won.  The slightly-curved blade was etched with wave-like Ashrim runes and the metal gleamed in hues of silver and celestial blue.  A fine layer of gilded blued mithglin was been added to the razor sharp serrated edge of the blade to prevent any premature wear.  The ornate silver eahnor hilt ended with a perfect spherical emerald pommel marked with the royal crest of House Ashrim.  She also noticed a small enchanter’s glyph and Aetheri’s crafting mark.

“That’s an Aetheri original. I forged her myself. Her name is Tempest’s Fury,” he told the bardess.

“Hello Tempest’s Fury, it is good to meet you,” she thought the weapon was beautiful. Then he turned the conversation on her.

“Are you able to wield weapons like that in battle?” he asked her point blank.

“It looks awful big to me. I have a handaxe, a loaned sword, and a pretty little borrowed dirk,” she replied, thinking she must sound like she was boasting about how many weapons she had. It was uncomfortable, but she felt the need to answer him completely.

“Let’s go hunt. I’ll subdue whatever you decide to kill,” he told her. So much for trying to distract him from hunting. Miss Gingie nodded at her.

“I will show you where I hunt, then,” Luxelle told him. She knew when to admit defeat. He had politely answered her questions and still remembered to draw the conversation back to where he started.

They headed to the fire cave. She pointed out a couple places to watch his head, and explained that she had been hunting here some time, it had become a familiar place; she would have to leave soon.

“I could take you to the glacier,” he offers. She considered answering, but let it go. Too many unknowns were piling up in front of her, and the warcat territory was something she was very comfortable with.

Hunting with a wizard was a very new experience. (She hunted once with Mister Fupius, a long time ago, but she was both too scared and too green for anything to register except relief when she got home.) Lord Aetheri was able to make the warcats sleep, she thought bards were the only ones with lullabyes. She was constantly making adjustments to her view of the world as she learned new things.

And then he made another spell for her … and strangely enough, the world started to move very slowly. Her swings that she had practiced to fall with her breathing suddenly only took her a fraction of that time. She could get four swings in during the time she would take for one. Her eyes were wide with wonder.

“Wow, haste. Are you completely addicted to it?” she asked incredulously.

He grinned at her, and kept the spell around her at the same time putting the warcats to sleep. She did not use many lullabyes at all, she never had a chance to. He asked, no, he really just offered, for her to swing Tempest’s Fury. She was shocked. He just met her. She could be a vile thief or something. Or perhaps she, too, had been given a good reference for her reputation that she had no knowledge of. She knew she was not a thief, and that the weapon was quite safe.

The weapon hit much harder than the treasured sword she usually used, and took longer to use, haste made that better, but not as fast as her sword with the magic of time working for her.

“It swings rather like my handaxe,” she told him, “But better.”

“She,” he corrected her.

“She,” the bardess repeated, feeling a bit embarrassed.

As she drew the next hit on the cat, the warblade flared with water! Pure water. That was amazing to both see and hear. She returned the weapon quickly, lest she damage it.

“Glory be, haste makes hunting very quick,” she observed with a soft chuckle to herself. Mages, they lead a different life. Who knew?!

He shared with her the last time he hunted the Fire Cave. It was clearly a long time ago, and she knew better than to ask for that span of years. His wife, dead, and he worked out part of his grief here.

“Ach, I would have spared him that association, had I known,” the bardess thought to herself in response to the pang of her heart as he briefly told her that past and showed her the beautiful locket.

The cats were dealt with so quickly, the spell of haste made everything so much faster, she would have been hunting there so much longer. It was almost a giddy feeling, triumphing over time itself in that manner.

“Tadah!” she exclaimed as she declared the time for the hunting to come to a conclusion. “It is already time to go back to rest. Mostly thanks to you, my lord.”

In seconds, the Lord Admiral gestured and an orb appeared out of nowhere, expanding to form an elliptical portal of swirling blues and blacks. The edges of the portal were shrouded in dancing blue-white light. That was her first trip through a magic portal, too. It happened so fast, she did not have time to hold her breath, let alone be scared. In the blink of an eye, she was in Town Square in the Landing.

“Thank you again for the company and help on the hunt, my lord,” she told the archwizard as she sank into a formal curtsy before him.

“You’re welcome any time,” he replied with a smile.

“Haste … clearly must be the addiction of the wizard guild,” the bardess had a wide smile as she spoke.

“Haste is a must have,” Miss Gingie told her.

“Evidently. I had no idea…” the bardess chuckled.


You might as well face it, you’re addicted to … haste.


Author: GSBardess

A young bardess named Luxelle is currently learning her trade and hoping to one day make a name for her songs in GemStone IV. Follow along with her adventures in life and song.

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