Stoneseer: Magda or Sol?
The Red Tower’s graceful silhouette was illuminated gold as the sun began its journey beneath the horizon. The generously built edifice was large, and yet graceful in its position of prominence at the top of Lueysianna. The high peaked tower roof sloped down with a slight curve to its lines, to hang over and cover the generous rotunda. Ancient stones of interesting sizes and shapes outlined the exceptionally large windows.
The rider entering the castle walls was watching the walkway at the top of the tower. He observed the figures that seemed to be executing a complicated dance on the suspended walkway. One figure in brown moved swiftly and constantly, to remain on the opposite side of the tower from two other figures. It seemed almost like a child’s game of hide and seek, but for some reason he felt it a more serious moment. He pulled on the reins to pause in his entrance to the castle, and the horse stomped impatiently at the interruption in his travel toward the water that his flaring nostrils could smell.
Saygard the tall, and Aggles the round, two guards of Lueysianna, were unsuccessfully trying to keep up with the figure. The two guards constantly attempted to move into a position to catch a glimpse of the elusive dancer on the walkway, only to be left with suspicions that the high walkway was empty.
Dorgan chuckled because the two figures did not move as spritely as the lone one. They held on with both hands, kept their legs splayed for support, because both were obviously uncomfortable with the height. Finally, in accepted defeat, the two guards climbed through the window, mumbling and grumbling all the while, having not seen anyone even once. The Bordokian continued to consider the movement of the lone figure remaining on the walkway.
As his approach moved him in better visual range, he realized the lone person was female. Although she was in a man’s clothing, she peaked his interest and he straightened in his saddle. Unaware of her observer, she stood leaning on the carved railing of the rotunda and gazed out over Castle Lueysianna’s walls, beyond the swift and sparkling river Se, past the vast plain of the golden colored Suntessan flower, to the deep green forested mountains of Bordok. The sunlight cast a burnished glow on her slim figure and her hair flamed red in the light, as her clear green eyes seemed to search the horizon for….something. Dorgan saw her reach up and loose her hair to the wind, which caught the strands and pulled at the long tangled curls. The currents and eddies of the wind teased the locks, giving the tresses a life of their own.
“A good conquest for a good cause,” thought Dorgan, “and one hopefully that would be accomplished within just a few days.” His eyebrows lowered as he thought of the intricate paths he must navigate to the ending of his mission…but he had no doubt he would accomplish his goal. He turned and glanced at Marek, one of his fellow warriors. Marek’s eyes were also fixed on the figure with the fiery hair. Dorgan waited, and when Marek’s eyes met his, he shook his head “no”. One eyebrow raised in question met his gaze. Dorgan did not answer.
Magda lifted her face to the sky, closed her eyes, and breathed deep the fresh breeze, as she savored this moment of solitude and freedom. She hugged the freedom to her heart. Feedom was a precious commodity to her sixteen years, even though she was considered to be a free citizen of Suntorna.
“What are your plans today?” asked Mara, her surrogate mother, who helped Magda navigate the intricacies of her life.
“Well, first I must scrub this sweat and grime away; relay information to the king, or rather “Sol” will; and then I will commission some clothing with my new coin,” Magda said with a smile and jingle of a small leather bag. “Then, I will have spent the last day, before my last year of freedom of alliance. One more year. I face so many things as Sol, but the thought of the end of next year is so much worse. You are so fortunate not to be under the alliance rule…sorry, I did not mean that, I meant…” Magda trailed off as she saw the pain in friend’s eyes. Mara was widowed and thus was free of the alliance custom. Females of Suntorna did not enjoy real freedom, unless it was bestowed upon them by their husbands…or if they were like Magda, by their fathers.
“It is all right,” Mara said, “I know your heart.” Mara’s heart was that of a mother, even if a surrogate one, to Magda. Essen, Magda’s father, was a minor adviser to the king. Through manipulations, spying, feeding true and false information, and even more dire methods, he maintained his position. Magda was key to keeping his position. From her early years, Essen forced Magda to spy, sneak, and listen for information he could use. If she successfully brought him useable information, she earned freedom from his abuse. If she did not, well, Mara knew Essen as a cruel, cruel man. Essen did not confer moments of freedom to Magda, because to grant such privilege would entail actually thinking about Magda…and Essen did not give Magda a thought outside of what use he could make of her.
“You have to return to the castle earlier next time. Those guards must have seen you enter the castle,” Mara said concernedly.
“No,” Magda said as she shook her head, “They were waiting for me…expecting me. Ailsa. She is always behind those two bumbling idiots! Gladly she does not know it is me. She thinks it is “Sol” coming up to my room. Those two guards have burst into my room on so many occasions, thinking to find me with a man.” Magda turned to Mara with a smile, “If she only knew we were the same?”