Snuffing the Fireknight
By Varyn T’Vael
It was Marghya’s idea to approach his companions. We thought her foolish, we were wrong. “Their price,” she argued, “will be far cheaper in the long run.” We put no stop to her attempt. She laughed at our “approval.”
“In time,” she replied. According to her, we all had more learning to do. She was right; our studies kept us occupied.
Marghya busied herself elsewhere, but the three of us — Darjyl, Rhentos, and myself — unlocked the secrets of fire. We learned its secrets while he, the Fireknight, used them to terrorize our people, burn our fields, slay our cattle, and undermine our power. Marghya — as always — stressed patience.
We heard his stories at least once a week. “Tall as a hill giant,” they would say. “Can cleave a horse in two with one stroke,”
“eats the flesh of his victims,”
“sears the ground where he walks and is as hot as a brand to the touch.” As his path neared our keep the stories changed. “Saved a babe from the river,”
“put the man to death but gave his herd to those he had mistreated,”
“freed the entire house staff.”
His nearing presence made Marghya giddy. Our studies complete, she called us together. “It is time.” She donned a hood and fled into the night. Darjyl and Rhentos slept. I tried, but visions of fiery torment stained my mind. When Marghya returned her wicked grin called our attention. “It is done.” She retreated quickly to her study, saying only, “tomorrow,” before closing herself off and leaving us with naught to do but wait.
Come morning the courtyard was alive with commotion. I strained yet failed to pick out the shouted words. Instead it was Marghya’s familiar grim that told me of the Fireknight’s presence. She led us to the ramparts, the four of us ready to meet the four crusaders: the Fireknight and his three companions. The crowd parted and they approached. The Fireknight cut the air with a hot shimmer. The cloak about him was dark red, a coal that refused to die. He drew his blade and spoke, ordering us to change… everything. We looked to Marghya, she smiled and raised her scepter.
The scepter dropped, the crowd gasped. The Fireknight’s three companions faced him, weapons ready. Confidence left his lips in a boisterous laugh, but it would not save him. Marghya prepared her spells. Darjyl, Rhentos, and I did the same. When Marghya finally spoke her word, ‘Vantaer,’ we focused our energy on the Fireknight.
By then the knight had already killed one of his companions, the dwarf’s body shaking in the street. Only a moment later the Erudite fell, gutted and choking. The Fireknight spun to face the elf but our magic broke through and his body twisted to the ground, the sword fell from his grasp, and his gaze came to us. His eyes hurt to look upon, his rage was undeniable, but we dared not flinch lest our spells falter. Marghya held up her hand for the crowd to see. She closed her fist and with it the eyes of the Fireknight.
That night we gathered in Marghya’s study. The Fireknight’s cloak lay before us. “Two reasons,” Marghya spoke. “This has become part of his legend, we must destroy it to destroy him. And, of course, the power we extract from it will fuel our needs.” We nodded, and Marghya finally revealed her plan. We stripped the cloak’s enchantment — as much as we could, at least — prior to taking it apart. The leather, the silk and the woven steel shimmered with power even when separated.
To Darjyl, Marghya gave the woven steel portion of the cloak, sending him to the fiery mountains to Solusek where a gnomish friend would be waiting. To Rhentos she gave the silken garment, sending him to the Catacombs of Mistmoore where he would meet with the Magelords of our sister coven, with whom Marghya had already hatched a separate plan. To me she gave the heavy leather, and the dirty task of feeding Jhal’Dolek.
When we returned, our cloaks faded and impotent, Marghya wrapped the bodies of the Fireknight’s fallen comrades in the fabrics, a final symbol of disdain. To the elf ranger, alive, yet hysterical, she gave the final cloak. The Fireknight’s body we never saw, no were we privy to what Marghya did with it, but the stories from the commoners — true or not — left us all uneasy.
It was thus that Marghya snuffed out the Fireknight. His legend she twisted and made her own, until the stories the commoners and slaves told were not of the mythical Fireknight, but Marghya and her Magelords, and the terrible powers they controlled. The cloak, his sigil, defeated and destroyed, served as a reminder to those that would question our rule.