Xabre - The Three Wise Men
Vorastrix banked through a bank of flow clouds, the bronze-skinned dragon soaring towards the mountain range crowning his home. Seated upon his back, Eldran’tyr, second son of Caledor and warrior mage gave a laugh as he felt his hair catching in the cross drafts. In the distance, he saw drakes circling over his father’s home, the smaller beasts the color of old blood, larger than the great eagles that roosted in the highest peaks, but nothing compared to Vorastrix’s majesty.
Beneath them, as the dragon and rider came closer, Eldran’tyr could see regiments of heavily armored spearmen drilling. They were formed into strong phalanxes, each glittering in their mail armor, drilling with sword and shield. He saw another grouping of them off to a side, peppering targets with arrows.
“Magnificent, isn’t it Vora? Father promised me a glorious army, and he did not disappoint. I hear the drakes will come too. You will have playmates.” The elf prince laughed aloud, guiding with his knees and thoughts to bring the Sun Dragon down on the large ‘landing pad’ that had been cleared behind the keep, as befitting the lords of Caledor, where so many dragons hailed. The creature’s response echoed in his mind. Shiny elves in shiny skin. They would burn like all the rest.
The dragon landed easily, barely disrupting the loose gravel beneath them. Eldran’tyr undid his harness, and sliding down as Vorastrix lowered himself so that the mage could land easily. The onyx and crimson of Tyr’s armor whispered as his limbs flexed when he landed, the golden chains that held his spellbook twinkling against his hip. Like any elf, he was graceful in peacetime or war, and his years riding in the saddle of Vorastrix had, if anything, enhanced that.
As Eldran’tyr stepped forward, four men stepped forward to meet him. One was an older elf, dressed in crimson robes, with an elegant golden crown shaped like a dragon. The other three was girded for war in ornate but functional armor. Each carried long two-handed blades across their backs, hilts appearing from dark crimson cloaks. All three had the look of veteran warriors. In unison, the three swordsmen took to one knee, bowing their heads to the prince.
Tyr’s father bowed to no one. The current Lord of Caledor, like his predecessors, had taken the name of the realm, and answered to no other. Closer, Eldran’tyr saw that beneath the robes he was wearing dark armor, just like his own, enchanted to withstand dragonfire and the trials of aerial, mounted combat. Instead, the mage offered his own bow, at the waist as befitting his own station and his father’s.
“My lord. You summoned me home, and so I have returned.” That was a very brief summary of course; Caledor’s summons had mentioned a great gift for his son, as befitting a Dragon Prince of Caeldor, and his standing as one of the magi of the realm. His father had wished him home immediately, to put him at the head of a great army, an expedition out into the world to show the might of the Elves to all, to prove they were not a fading people.
“So I have, and so you have.” The prince agreed. With one hand, he gestured behind him, and the three stood, stepping forward. “I am sure from your perch, you saw the host I have gathered. There is a host of elven bows and spears worthy of a true prince, not to mention the drakes flying overhead, and a force of Knights, trained from my own guard. What do you say to this?”
Dragon Knights, drakes, spearmen and archers. Truly a grand force.
Vora’s words echoed in Eldran’tyr’s mind, almost in time with the same words in his own thoughts. The difference was that while Eldran’tyr saw glory at such a host, his steed’s mind was mocking, as he felt that most mortals, lacking a dragon to give them strength, was just more fodder for the war.
Tyr bowed low. “I am honored by this gift, father, my lord. I will endeavor to live up to your glory, and lead this host to—“
“You misunderstand me, my son.” Caledor’s hand came out, fingers tilting Tyr’s head to look at him, and then slowly raise him to stand again. “This is your host, certainly. You will ride with it, and I have no doubt that your strength, along with Vorastrix’s,” at this the prince bowed to the Sun Dragon, for even the youngest of the great beasts were worthy of respect to the elves of Caledor, “will bring us glory and honor. But you will not be leading this force.”
That gave Tyr pause. His mind raced, thoughts tumbling through his head. He did not understand; he was a son of Caledor. Certainly, as second son he was not heir, but he was a warrior mage, with his own dragon, he deserved his own force of war! How dare his father put him beneath another lord! Force his tone calm and even, he managed to ask the next question in what he hoped was a neutral tone. “And which wiser, more experienced lord shall command, my lord?”
“Again, you misunderstand me.” Caledor spoke. Then he stepped aside, and the three armored warriors stepped forward. “Three
wise men shall guide your efforts in this war. I present to you the first of a new breed of warrior for Caledor. Aldor, Gareth, and Elladan are Loremasters, trained and Hoeth in the arts of the blade, and spellwork. They are three of my greatest generals, and shall lead your force. You will learn from them, and follow their guidance.”
Generals. They were not even lords of their own houses, but generals that led his father’s men. Tyr’s jaw locked, his teeth grinding quietly. He forced his expression to remain aloof. How dare he! Slowly, cautiously as to not give away his irritation, Eldran’tyr bowed in turn to each of the three Loremasters. “I look forward to learning from you all, Masters.” He glanced back to his father. “Is that all, my lord? Vora is eager to hunt, and it has been a long flight.”
The Lord of Caledor waved his hand in dismissal, already turning back to the loremasters. Behind him, his son mounted the Sun Dragon, and they took to the skies again. He looked back to the three with a shrug. “In the fires of war are all weapons forged. You three will be my hammers. Do not fail.”