Myharl (prime)/A Tale of Two Towers (short story)
Title: A Tale of Two Towers
This is a vignette serialized to expand on Myharl's continuing investigation into the Dusk Coven and dark dealing going on in and around Northwatch. Takes place late evening on the back porch of Twilight Hall in the company of Jastalyn on Leyan the 7th of Fashanos in the year 5124.
A pair of figures lingered in near darkness, a massive hulking form beside a diminutive feminine figure who seemed merely half the size of her companion. Dim candlelight illuminated the pair who were seated at one of many tables sprawled across the bituminous marble floor. It was late into the evening, and they found themselves alone upon the expansive porch of Twilight Hall, their hushed conversation carrying upon quiescent silence.
The tanik of his chair creaked deeply as Myharl shifted his immense weight forward. His elbow set to rest upon the stygian silk cloaking the tabletop as he propped his chin and cast a thoughtful glance towards Jastalyn. The two had spent much time over the past days delving into the mysteries plaguing Icemule Trace, and their conversation had shifted to his own concerns.
His recent venture south from Cold River to investigate the tales of a dark cult seeking an orb of power had landed the kindred in the middle of an unfolding plot wrought with deceit and misdirection. There was much he needed to know, and he was seated next to the one person he trusted to truthfully divulge all she knew on the matter.
A week before he had stood by her side to join her fellow Council members and concerned citizens in a thorough search of the town for the rumored Orb of Kai. It was an effort proceeded by their own expedition, prompted by discussion with the artifact hunter, Prinn, who also sought the orb. Together they ventured deep beneath the town's streets into the twisted domain of the damned Amasalenian pyromancer. Neither investigation had proven forthcoming with additional details, yet were central to the kinship forming between the two.
Jastalyn's gaze diverged momentarily as she considered all the giant had shared with her. The tension of silence relented when she replied in tone both gentle and resolved, "That is completely understandable, Myharl. We will see this through together."
Her petite hand softly braced his, tilting the signet he wore towards the pale candlelight as she drew forth the ring she had discovered months earlier. Hers was a ring bearing the same emblem as those worn by known members of the Dusk Coven.
Her mention of a dark tower had honed his attention. Hearing his moniker spoken in relation to the investigation was unnerving. Even more so as she positioned the sigils side-by-side in comparison. The dark eahnor ring she held was branded with a flame-engulfed dark tower. Its design was strikingly similar to his own. Bearing his seal, the Crest of the Dark Tower, his onyx ring depicted a shadowy tower beneath an eclipsed moon borne upon a starless night sky.
"Would you like to keep this signet while you research further?" Jastalyn inquired, lifting her eyes to meet his. Myharl slowly shook his head, declining the offer. He placed his opposing hand over hers assuredly as he answered, "No, Jastalyn, I think that will be much safer in your possession."
Though the presence of Jastalyn lifted his spirits, after their discussion, his hopes that his curse was not in some way relevant to the darkness befalling the North had diminished further.
As they sat quietly, Myharl’s thoughts drifted to his encounter with the prioress of the Abbey of the Vigilant Heart. He had sought to assess the woman after hearing rumors that she may be involved in the Coven. However, he was taken aback by the woman’s willingness to admit her association with the cult. Her invitation for him to pledge himself to their circle left Myharlperplexed and uneasy. The prioress seemed far too eager to embrace the kindred.
He held no love for the Lords and Ladies of Liabo and had not for many years, but his distrust of the Arkati was ubiquitous—a deep disdain for the proxy conflict waged at the cost of countless mortal generations. For all their power and knowledge, he had come to understand their influence upon Elanthia was little different than any other despot seeking control. A willingness to sacrifice those most loyal for the sake of their own power or perceived greater good.