Dialogues, by Charles Matthias

Story name: Dialogues
Author: Charles Matthias

Date: Mid-June, 706 CR
Location: Metamor Keep (Writer's Guild Hall)

Overview

Charles receives an unexpected visit from an old friend.

Summary

One morning, as Charles is catching up with work at the Writer's Guild, someone knocks on the door. The man who enters is the last man Charles expected: Jerome, his childhood friend and a fellow Black of the Sondecki. Charles first tries to play ignorant, then demands to know why he has come. Jerome brings news from the Southlands: their old leader is dead, as is their old friend Ladero, and the Sondeckis are struggling to hold together against enemy clans. Charles asks if their other friend Zagrosek is okay, but Jerome has not seen him in years. Jerome then compliments Charles on hiding his path well, particularly in the Aelfwood. Jerome reveals that he has been watching him at the Keep for the past three days, and is impressed with the new life he has. Charles demands to know if he plans to take him back, and Jerome admits that he can't; he's never seen Charles so happy before. He promises not to return to the Southlands, so that he won't be honor-bound to reveal Charles's whereabouts.

Relieved, Charles shares some news he has about a pupil of his. Jerome asks about "the Kankoran", offering to kill him for carrying a Sondeshike. Charles tells him to leave him alone; he is sure that he will give up the Sondeshike some day.

Jerome shares more bad news: three years ago, a minor noble, the Marquis du Tournemire, took residence of the Chateau Marzac after casting a powerful exorcism on it. Jerome and Charles are skeptical; nobody has successfully exorcised the ruined castle in centuries, and just a year ago, in the Southland deserts, Jerome and other blacks killed a Shrieker from the Chateau. Jerome asks Charles to contact him if he finds out anything; he will be in the Midlands, and trusts Charles to find a way to contact him. He departs, careful that no one sees him, and Charles returns to his writing.

Characters

Main characters:

  • Charles Matthias: A rat morph, and headmaster of the Writer's Guild. He was a former Black of the Sondecki, but fled due to his personal conflict with Brothus.
  • Jerome: A childhood friend of Charles, who became a Sondecki and a Black alongside him. For the past seven years he has been searching for Charles, especially after Ladero died and Zagrosek disappeared. After meeting Charles, he leaves to wander the Midlands to avoid discovery.
    • He is tall with broad shoulders, and auburn shoulder-length hair, with a hawk-like nose, narrow eyes, and a small goatee.

Important mention:

  • Saulius: A former knight and rat morph. He is planning to compete in the joust at the upcoming Summer Festival, and Charles is practicing as his squire.
  • Zhypar Habakkuk: The newest Headmaster of the Writer's Guild. He spends most of his time reading and editing old stories.
  • Garigan: Charles's Sondecki pupil, a ferret morph. Though currently a yellow, Charles is impressed by his progress, and thinks he might be a green by winter.
  • Rickkter: A former Kankoran, now a raccoon morph. His possession of a Sondeshike offends both Charles and Jerome. Charles has set up a truce with him for now, and Charles asks that Jerome not kill him. He believes Rickkter will give back the staff on his own.
  • Brothus: The old White of the Sondecki. He had wanted to use the Sondeckis to rule the southern kingdoms. He died last year.
  • Yoenel: The new White of the Sondecki. A former black, he is believed to be an idiot, but he is not corrupt, and the only high-ranking Sondecki with any support left.
  • Ladero: A Black Sondecki, one of the three fellow Blacks whom Charles knows. He died after Charles left, assassinated by an enemy clan.
  • Krenek Zagrosek: A Black Sondecki, one of the three fellow Blacks whom Charles knows. Three years ago, when Brothus became especially intolerable, he disappeared, and has not been seen since.
  • Karachek: A duke in the western kingdoms. He died in the winter of 705, causing a lot of unrest in the region.
  • The Marquis du Tournemire: A minor nobleman, and the newest resident of the Chateau Marzac. He supposedly cast a powerful exorcism upon the Chateau 3 years ago, although others, like Jerome, believe that he took control of its power source instead.

Referenced:

  • Misha: A Long Scout, who recently offered Charles to consider becoming a Long Scout.
  • Duke Thomas: The Duke of Metamor Keep.
  • Phil: A friend of the Duke and of Charles.

Locations

  • The Aelfwood: The locals normally refuse to associate with humans, but during his journey to Metamor, Charles bested a tribe elder in a game of wits, who granted him a wish.
  • The Southlands: The Southern Continent, where the Sondeckis have great influence.
    • Sondeshara: The city where Jerome and Charles are from. A giant desert surrounds it.
  • The Chateau Marzac: A haunted mansion in the south, in ruins for hundreds of years. There are old myths about its deadly evil; creatures like the Shriekers are said to have come from it. Supposedly the Marquis has cast a powerful exorcism upon it.
  • The Elderwood: A wooded area in the middle of the Midlands.

Story Connections

Points of Interest

  • This is the first mention of shriekers. They are monsters from the Chateau Marzac. Last year, Jerome helped to kill one in the Southlands; it had been over a hundred years since a Shrieker was seen in the Southlands.
  • Charles and Zagrosek are the only two Sondeckis whom Jerome trusts.
  • This story takes place after Busy Schedule and Dancing With Shadows, and so Charles knows that Zagrosek was recently involved in local affairs by manipulating Loriod, and that Wessex knows this and is currently searching for him. Note that Charles does not share either of this information with Jerome.
  • "Sondlathoros" is the traditional farewell between Sondeckis.
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