Baric Verel-Sheim, steward of Feyor College, could only sigh as he sat uncomfortably in his master's place before the most powerful people in the empire. The rather tall man was dressed in the traditional robes of Feyor College, though no markings along the hems or the sleeves of his attire marked him as one who had never been allowed into the Order. The steward, having served in the Feyor militia, was a bit too large for the small chair that had been prepared for the rather short Ammon Lancastor, but he had been under strict orders to observe the entire meeting to its end.
Not that it seemed it mattered. The Master, as young as he was, had been aware of the Emperor's deteriorating health for some time, though he had not mentioned such to anyone but Baric, and even then only in an off-hand, dismissive way. Baric, having little patience for the art of political intrigue, had passed it off - there were more pressing things for him to get to as steward.
That was until three days ago, when the Master had come to a similar conclusion in regards to his studies.
===Three Days Ago===
The city of Feyor, often called a mage-city, was nestled near a river by the north border of Vereldar. The winters were painfully cold, and much of the city was built to defend its inhabitants from the forces of nature - except for the Citadel of the College. The structure, rumored to have been built by the hands of elves and dwarves of the Founder's time, was certainly otherworldly. While nature shrieked and beat down upon its campus with her worst, the trees of the campus remained in the color of golds and reds of autumn, and the structure itself was made of red stone, garnet, and gold, and its main doors were made of a brilliant, golden-hued wood, carved with depictions of phoenixes.
Vouvrei Feyor-Vereldar, currently Ammon Lancastor, was writing leisurely upon a piece of lambskin with a long, black quill. He did not look up as Baric rapped upon the door and entered.
"You called for me, Master?" asked the larger man, his back straight.
"Yes," said Vouvrei, nonchalantly. "I will be requiring your attendance at a certain function three nights from now." He held out an envelope, seal facing down.
"As you please, Master," said Baric, taking the envelope. He frowned when he saw the broken seal, and the frown deepened when he saw what the function entailed.
"Master," he started, slowly. "I don't think - "
"I have mentioned the current state of the Empire's throne to you before, have I not?" asked Vouvrei, still not looking up from the piece of parchment. The letters he had written at the top were slowly beginning to glow.
"Yes," said Baric, his brow furrowing even deeper. "Do you suppose - "
"I can't abide by groundless conjecture, Baric," said Vouvrei, finally finishing and setting his quill down. The letters on the lambskin began to grow even more brightly, and Vouvrei placed a golden bracelet upon the glowing letters, which moved in towards the bracelet as it touched the lambskin, as if curious. The glowing letters then, as if agreeing with itself of the safety of the bracelet, jumped upon it, leaving the lambskin blackened and shriveled where the letters had been only moments before.
"No," said Vouvrei, picking up the bracelet gingerly and examining it in the glowing orb that was lit above his desk. "This has precedent - it is not the first time Selavice's throne has had no blood-heir. Unfortunately, attendance of one of ours seems to be mandatory, and it would not do to send anyone in my stead for such a momentous occasion save the steward himself."
"Wait," said Baric, re-reading the letter. "This message says that this meeting is to occur in three days in Selavice, Master."
"So it does," said Vouvrei, setting the bracelet down and picking up a book that had been bookmarked to the side of his desk.
"We are leagues away from Selavice," said Baric. "Even the fastest horse could not reach the capital in such short time."
However, Vouvrei was already deeply engrossed with his book, and merely pushed the bracelet towards Baric.
"Just take any old horse and aim towards the capital," he murmured as he flipped a page. "A road should appear before you. Do the same when you are returning, as well."
Baric sighed and picked up the bracelet, which seemed to widen itself as soon as it felt his touch. As he turned to head out, however, he heard Vouvrei close the book for a second. This was a strange occurrence, and he turned to face the master, who looked thoughtful.
"Baric..." he said, as if starting to say something, but changing his mind. Ammon's eyes looked into Baric's, and for a second Baric wondered if the Master was casting some spell upon him. However, Vouvrei merely shook his head and placed his hand back upon his book.
"Take your dagger," he said. "And trust no one there."
Baric nodded, and turned once again to leave, but as he was opening the door, he asked, "What should I tell them, if they inquire about your absence?"
"Whatever you feel is necessary. Now leave me to my studies," said Vouvrei, irritated.
"Then I shall tell them that the Master feels uncomfortable having a reunion with the Court Magister Nahila Killian after so many years," said Baric, finally leaving and shutting the door behind him. Just as the door closed, he felt the heat of magical fire burst upon it, followed by a curse.
Baric sighed once more as he tried to adjust himself to a more comfortable position on the chair, and found that there seemed to be none. So, trying to distract himself, he instead turned his attention towards the other peoples, though he kept his eyes downcast and his face shadowed by the hood of his robe, as was perfunctory when in attendance of the nobles. He did not make a move to engage anyone in conversation, and nor did he want to draw attention to himself at all.