Moments #7


The following short story is another part of the Moments series. It follows mage lord Tabitha Sergares and is set 19 years and between six and five months before the White War.

The Ice Queen

They called her the ice queen behind her back. No one had ever been foolish enough to call Tabitha Sergares that to her face. But the mage lord had picked up on it. They could call her whatever names they wanted as long as they feared and respected her. Tabitha was a noblewoman, imbued with the grace and poise that implied. She was also an accomplished and powerful mage lord. That power had led to her promotion to mage lord at a relatively young age for a human. Sergares believed that Archmage Lathaon had seen something worthy in her.

Wearing white robes with a fur trim, dyed a pale wintry blue, Sergares walked through the corridors with a determined expression on her face. Tabitha had pale skin and platinum blond hair, which today was tied up in a bun. She was not carrying her staff, nor was a sword belted at her slender waist. This was more of a social call and that was not something common to Tabitha Sergares. Her upbringing in Asala had been one of luxuriant wealth and careful study. Tabitha had been used to being waited on hand and foot, but she had also been used to being alone. As the daughter of Asala’s second most important family a lot had been expected of Tabitha. She had not had the luxury of time for friends and fun, Tabitha had always had duties… responsibility. Sergares could remember one time when she was eight and she had been invited to the party of one of the other noble children. Her mother had said “Now Tabitha, you know you can’t go. Your father has an important trade meeting for the city and he needs us to be at his side for the dinner and gathering. We have to present the right image and greet the guests.” Tabitha had not spoken to her mother for a week after that.

In hindsight Sergares could now see what her mother had been saying. Petty concerns of social gatherings were not important next to affairs of state and service to Weissland. The mage lord rounded a corner on her walk through the mystic tower of Ataya. Other mages bowed respectfully as she passed, none stopped to engage her in conversation. Sergares was heading for one of the areas where mages engaged in duels for practice. This was not so much for her practice; it was more about making a decision based on observation.

It was a wide arena with barriers to prevent spells that went wide doing damage to the building. There were seats and other space to watch from the sides, elevated slightly. As Sergares entered she noticed someone else was already here. An elven woman stood watching the combat with her arms folded across her chest and her back to Sergares. Tabitha walked over to the other woman and stood beside her to see the duel. Sergares said “Mage lord Fwenlyren. I did not expect to see you here.”

Jhaelra Fwenlyren replied tersely “That same could be said of you.”

Sergares asked with a cool edge “So why are you here?”

The elf pointed a finger casually, still keeping her arms mostly folded. The long sleeve of her black robes fell down to its full length from where it had been crumpled between her arms, which displayed the green edging on the cloth. Jhaelra was different to many of the other elves in the tower, she had grown up on the street, and some described her as almost feral. She said with a hint of anger “I came to see this one. I came to see him lose.”

Sergares questioned “Why do you want to see him lose?”

The elven mage lord answered “He insulted me several times and ignored my authority. Why are you here?”

Tabitha said with something approaching excitement for her “I have a mission alongside the Army and I’m looking for another mage to fill out my cadre. I thought I might find a suitable candidate here.”

“Choose the one that beats him into the dirt.” Jhaelra said.

Sergares watched the duelling mages, there were four of them. Tabitha smiled frostily “It looks like he is winning though. You must be disappointed, Jhaelra.”

Through gritted teeth the reply came “The duel is not over yet and he has three opponents.” Just as Jhaelra finished speaking there was a blinding flash, forcing them to shield their eyes, followed by several loud explosions. When the smoke cleared only one mage was left standing, clad in a black robe. The elf gripped the balcony in front of her and spat “What? No, he couldn’t have! Damn him!”

Sergares smiled another cold smile and said “I think I’ve found my last mage.”

“No, you wouldn’t. Not him!” Jhaelra growled, spittle running off her curled lip.

Sergares nodded as she swept away “Yes him, Nathaniel Drakkon.” As Tabitha entered the corridor she grabbed the sleeve of a passing servant and said “Inform Nathaniel Drakkon that he is being assigned to my cadre for a mission to deal with a force of orc raiders. He must prepare and be at the muster point in Vladus square in six hours.”

The servant said hastily “Yes milady!” before running off.

Mage lord Tabitha Sergares walked away, there was much to make ready before they departed for this mission. But at least, she thought, these orcs will rue the day they ran afoul of the ice queen, Tabitha Sergares.

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