This is for the Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence
“Not a word.” He hissed. The girl didn’t say anything, just managing to keep up with the mage. Her skirts tangled around her feet as she worked to balance his spell books and wrapped parcels. “These are important men from the city, from the Order. They are not here to listen to apprentice prattle. Not a word.” Her master repeated. “I took you in; if you muddle my chances with them I will assure you’ll spend the rest of your time as an inn strumpet.”
She didn’t bother to nod; he was ignoring her again and said such things often. With their boots clicking against the stone staircase the two made their way upwards towards the receiving hall at the crown of the tower.
Amidst the lavish preparations made to the hall four people swiveled their gazes when she and the mage entered.
“Mage Tilen. You are late.” The woman seated high at the table said. Her red hair was braided in a dozen plaits and her light eyes were very sharp. The man next to her with a dark beard raised a brow at her master.
Tilen bowed, coiffed hair falling before his face. “The Order honors me with a visit.” He didn’t miss the quirk of cruel humor in many of their eyes when he straightened. “I expect you’ll want to see my collection, my works?” He asked. “After introductions I presume.” He looked expectantly at the seated mages.
“It is after all the reason we’ve to this little tower.” The woman said. Something in her tone was too pleased and too icy for her master to maintain his buffeting confidence. His smile slipped an inch. “Tell me.” The woman’s eyes flicked to the girl peeking out from behind the spell books and parcels. “My dear, what is your name and do you ever aid the Mage Tilen with his work? His projects?”
Tilen spoke before she could open her mouth. “I would not trust my apprentice with my works delicate work. She is of little import, mixes herbs and fetches my slippers.” He chuckled and glanced down at his apprentice as if daring her to contradict him. She’d overseen the hybrid creatures for years now…and the dominance potions were solely her invention. But she didn’t say anything.
“Of course. And the interesting creations in your garden… those are all yours as well?” The woman said her gaze fixated on Tilen.
“Yes. Who else?—“ Her master blustered. “I can show you. My rose wolves are coming along wonderfully.”
“We’ve seen them.” The man with the dark beard said curtly. His eyes went to the mage’s apprentice again. “You had no part in them girl?”
She could feel Tilen stiffen next to her. He would be in a mood tonight. The rose wolves were in her charge of course, she doubted if Tilen knew any of their names. But she said nothing and her master quickly lied to fill the silence. “She is air-headed child. My creations are my own and the fruit of many years toil. Would you like to see them or not?! I assure you my work is far beyond council standards!”
“Far beyond. Yes, that is the impression we’ve received.” The red-headed woman stood, the other three mages following suit. “Mage Tilen, you misuse of the arts have come to the attention of the Order. The monsters you’ve created are unnatural and there are reports you’ve been testing substances on the local villages. A few accounts in particular are rather disturbing.”
Tilen balked, taking a step back away from the mages. “If this is about the dominance brew… I—“ He looked to his apprentice. “That wasn’t—“
The man who’d spoken before moved around the table. “We will be reviewing your works Mage Tilen. After that point, when a judgment can be settled upon, disciplinary action will occur.” All four mages stepped forward now, advancing slowly and calmly towards Tilen. “If you would like to call any witnesses for your defense, I suggest you do so now.”
Her master turned to his apprentice, looking down with wide eyes. The red-haired woman cocked her head to the side. “Well apprentice, do you have anything to say in your master’s defense?”
The girl looked from the woman to the Mage Tilen, and then back to the woman. She shook her head.
“Not a word then.” The dark bearded man bent to remove the burden from the girl’s arms as the rest of Order mages took hold of Tilen, one at each arm and they swept him from the room.
The apprentice watched them go.