Colquitt sat in a high-backed leather chair in a lavishly appointed waiting room. Bright sunlight streamed through a pair of paned glass windows, and a slight breeze fluttered a pair of blue and yellow pennants atop a nearby tower. The mage sipped at a small glass of brandy he’d poured from a crystal decanter on a gleaming silver tray. The entire effect, in fact, was so relaxing that Ambrose had just started to nod off when the door opened.
“Mr. Colquitt, I am Baronet Axson Wishock. I am sorry for the wait.”
“Oh, not at all, not at all,” replied the mage while stifling a yawn. “I greatly appreciate your seeing me on such short notice.”
“Certainly. When a Champion of Stormwind needs an audience, we make time.” The tall thin man accepted Ambrose’s hand in greeting. “And again, my apologies, but this meeting will need to be mobile. Won’t you walk with me?”
The mage nodded, taking one more sip of brandy before setting down his glass and picking up his copy of the Shield Book. Ambrose’s host smiled broadly when he spotted the cover.
“My son and I just completed an aerial survey of Stranglethorn this past weekend.” Wishock placed his hand on the mage’s shoulder, guiding him into the tower’s circular stairwell before leading him downward. “You know, that book has been a lightsend for us parents. My son, well, like most teenagers he gets into his fair share of trouble. Things were getting worse, though. He was getting caught up with the wrong kind….” He paused, turned, and looked up at Ambrose with a sincere smile. “Then the Shield Book came along. It gave us something in common. Now his grades are picking up and he really has a sense of ability, of accomplishment.” The thin man shook his head as he continued their descent. “Listen to me, going on. I’m sure you didn’t come all this way to talk about books. How can I be of service to you, Mr. Colquitt?”
“Well, I hate to say it, but this book is precisely what I’ve come to discuss with you; specifically the security risk it may or may not pose.”
The baronet wheeled around with the practiced and disarming expression of a consummate politician. “Security risk? Mr. Colquitt, what danger could there possibly be in a simple book?”
“Believe me, there is much more danger that you might believe, and let’s be honest: this is no simple book.”
Wishock’s smile eased as they emerged from the tower into a small flagstone quad. “What, specifically, are your concerns then?”
“I must confess that I have no specific concerns as of yet. I only purchased my copy earlier today. There is some form of magic at work,” Ambrose said, turning the book over in his hand as if examining it. “It’s able to determine our histories, our triumphs… what else can it divine? What secrets? And, most importantly, to whom can it communicate them?”
The thin man said nothing for a long moment as they walked, his black polished shoes clicking their way across the courtyard. “If there truly is a threat, Champion, then I charge you to root it out. You may avail yourself of the full faith and credit of this office to do so.” He retrieved a small card from an interior pocket of his jacket. “Take this to my clerk on the fourth floor of the southeastern tower. He will emboss my signet for you.”
With a surprised expression Ambrose accepted the card. “I… thank you, thank you very much. In the meantime, however, the books-“
“Shall stay as they are,” interrupted the baronet. “These books are wonders for morale here on the home front, Mr. Colquitt. I will recommend no action without further evidence.”
The mage nodded. “I understand, and let me be the first to say I hope I’m wrong about all this.”
The pair reached a large, gilded door that led to an interior area of the palace. Two burly guards in lion’s head regalia and with polearmed axes stood to either side. The politician stopped and offered his hand. “I hope you’re wrong as well, Mr. Colquitt. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for my next appointment.”
Ambrose shook hands heartily and held the card up. “Of course, of course. Again, my thanks. I won’t let Stormwind down.”
Wishock said his goodbyes and passed through the golden door. Once it closed he summoned a page from an anteroom. “I need ten minutes of Lord Shadowmore’s time today.” The boy’s eyes grew wide. “See to it and return to find me in the Malachite Room.” The page swallowed, nodded, and took off running down the hall.
writing/the shield book ch 2.txt · Last modified: September 8, 2011 by Dave Leach