- Episode 40 -
Mal strode back into the room to find Trinity and Camden both awaiting him, his heavy boots carrying with him a rhythmic series of drum like beats. "Come with me, both of you - now," Mal's tone was somehow distant, different. His bearing itself had changed, the old knight had always carried himself with a detached, relaxed strength that now had become hard and lean. A cloak of deep storm sky blue was draped over his shoulders with a bright silver clasp bearing the token sigil of a raindrop. The longstanding emblem of King Rainborne, everyone in the realm immediately knew that it marked the bearer as being in the service of the King.
Curious, Trinity and Camden set their feet to follow Mal as he turned to make his way back through the halls. They walked in silence for a few long moments passing from one darkened corridor to another before coming to a halt before a pair of heavy iron banded doors. "It looks like I am to serve as Earl Marshal etc. again, so I best look the part," Mal started to explain to them.
"That also means that I am going to need a pair of capable deputies to act as my agents bearing the title of Knight Marshal. Interested?" The question caught both of them off guard, Camden stammered to reply with a 'but' and Trinity had to find the words for him. "We're just kids though," she pointed out while her brother nodded, sighing with relief. "Is that a refusal to take up arms and office in defense of the realm," Mal asked.
"Well, no, of course we aren't refusing but..." Trinity was now finding herself struggling to grasp for the right words. "Then it is settled," Mal declared decisively and shoved the doors before them open. "I hereby do welcome you to the service of the King and defense of the realm granting you the title of Knight Marshal." Not stopping to stand on ceremony, Mal walked through the doors to seize a large hefty blade from the wall and set himself to inspecting it. Upon leaving his old office he had been required to also relinquish the symbols of it's authority; chief among them the Marshal's Edge, a blade borne by every Earl Marshal since it was forged. It took a special knack to wield it due to it's awkward size; it was a thick wide blade demanding two hands in it's use. Many a man had foolishly presumed that it's use sacrificed defense since wielding it meant you could not also carry a shield. But Mal had long ago mastered not only the art of it's use but also in unlocking it's various slumbering enchantments.
Systematically Mal moved to strap the large blade on and slung it over his back, then collected a few other various items. "Your badges of office," he proclaimed and handed each of them a sigil etched pendant of silver emblazoned with a raindrop. "Camden, your speed is a strength, your blade and spell shield a proven asset at your side. But even speed can slow and strength can fail, so I would like you wear this leather jack. It was crafted by a master long ago and has served every bearer well. Don't worry, it won't slow you down like a heavy suit of armor can so you can take full advantage of your speed.
Trinity, your magic has served you well so far and I dare not presume to claim myself well versed enough to advise you about it. However, I do know that to rely solely upon it is foolish and unwise. So I would like to give you this; It was fashioned from the heart of a white ash tree and blessed in the Pool of Tears itself. This staff has been wielded on occasion by wizards in the service of the King and it is said that it can lend you it's strength. I cannot offer you heavy armor or stout steel as such proven weapons would be of little use to you. But I can attest to the value of a strong staff wielded in defense and if it might aid your magic as well I can think of nothing more fitting for you."
Camden and Trinity took a minute to study their gifts before gratefully thanking Mal for them. They studied them in all their detail, appreciating every aspect of their new treasures. It seemed like so long ago that they were just running through the woods, arguing with each other. Now they were newly appointed Knight Marshals bearing emblems of office and wielding enchanted items like storied heroes from a fairy tale.
It almost didn't seem real to them. The echoing roar of Silver-Claws instantly reminded them that indeed it was all to real. And now, it was time for them to start acting like it. The dragon must have sensed the decaying forms of it's former siblings, that or the taint of dark magic, Trinity decided. "They're getting close, come on boys," she announced and set off back down the hall.
"Time to go to work," Camden replied as he set off to follow his sister. Mal was left alone to gruffly complain to empty air; "You're supposed to wait for my order. Sundered swords," he allowed himself a quickly muttered curse before rushing himself to catch up.