"You must be mad." Jernicus said. "Axtun? Land of twisted Baron Zeitgeist?
The man who takes a perverted pleasure in personally skinning his
opponents alive? The man who has sworn never to rest until every member of
the Mage Guild is strung up in his torture chambers, in an act that has
only furthered his own damnation and madness?"
"Precisely." Jarvis said. "What safer place will you find to hide from the Spirit Ninjas? It's true ol' Zeitgeist's boys can be a troublesome bunch, but they've never bothered an honest trapper like meself."
"But... I used to be a high-ranking member of that damnable Guild." Jernicus said. "What if someone recognizes me?"
"Not if we think of a disquise and a new identity for you." Jarvis said. "Your current disquise won't work, as travelling peddlers often meet mysterious deaths in Axtun... ah! I got it. You will be known as Barstrom Tsenmue, apprentice trapper to yours truly. I think I have an extra trapper's hat you can wear, and we can begrime your face and have you carry my equipment for a more convincing show."
"Apprentice? To you?" Jernicus huffed. "I'm at least twice your age! And Tsenmue? Who would believe it?"
"Quiet, Barstrom!" Jarvis barked.
"We have no better plan." Fred said. "It would just be until we get through Axtun, Jernicus."
"Well allright." Jernicus sighed. With a flick of his wrist, his cart of trinkets set ablaze, and had soon burned into ash.
After Jernicus' disquise was perfected, they struck off. Fred was surprised at how well Jernicus' magic had complemented the disquise. He looked many years younger, and even walked with a bounce in his step despite carrying all of Jarvis' sacks. Fred was certainly glad to have such a powerful mage on his side when he finally faced Castellan.
Soon enough, the woods came to an end. Desolate fields and the screech of carrion-crows overhead marked the beginning of the territory of Axtun. A signpost along the way was burned beyong any possible recognition, although the rows of poles with rotting human heads on them seemed pretty well maintained.
"Disquisting." Fred commented. "Smells foul, and simply anaesthetic in general. In Allaria we simply put criminals in the Dungeon. Who are these people anyway?"
"Bandits, mostly, and the occasional mage fool-headed enough to wander through and get caught by Zeitgeist's patrols." Jarvis explained. "Ol' Zeitgeist may be a stark ravin' looney, but ye can't say he ain't got his own brand of justice. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!!"
"Hey, I knew one of these guys." Jernicus said, magic lending his voice a youthful ring. "Glad to see him in his place."
Quirlos watched the three wander out of the woods. Just great. Now these idiots had to wander into Axtun! Although this could yet work out for the best, staying invisible long enough to see them through safely was going to take some effort.
3/24/2003 9:37:36 AM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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