Linvin flicked his shoulder to expose Falconfeather hanging on his back. “I have heard the same sort of claims from members of the Knife’s Hand bandits, Flageron. They are empty words spoken from empty minds.” He casually moved his shield to a defensive position.
“You speak of the Knife’s Hand, stranger? We scared them almost completely off this plain. You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. Who do you claim to be?”
Linvin glanced at the melting frost on the grass as he reached for Falconfeather. “I have not time for this,” he boldly stated and produced the staff from his back instead. It instantly extended to its full length. He stomped it on the ground and yelled, “I am Linvin Grithinshield, Fool! I am Master of the Red Sapphire and I have no time to mess around with you. Be gone before I exterminate you all.”
There was laughter from all, but Jamon Flageron. Then a crossbow bolt flew through the air and bounced off Linvin’s shield. No one was laughing when they saw Linvin’s reaction.
He surrounded his body in red magic and followed the line of fire back to the person still holding a crossbow pointed at him. Linvin pointed the staff and red flame leapt from the gem, striking only that man and instantly incinerating him in his saddle. The man’s horse never moved as it felt nothing.
Linvin rose into the air before them and condemned, “I thought you were worthy of a chance for life, but you have proven otherwise.” With a wave of the staff all the riders were lifted from their saddles and suspended in the air. “You shall now feel the terror you have inflicted on decent people. You are no different than Bloxor of the Knife’s Hand. He and his men crossed me and were also given a chance to live. They too, chose destruction at my hand. It is for that reason that the prairie has been free of them. Three times they tested me and three times they failed. I dare to hope that killing you will end your band’s terrorizing of the settlers.”
Jamon Flageron had heard of Linvin and he was terrified. “Wait…wait…Great Magician. There are more in our brotherhood than just my company. If I am alive I can change our ways. If I am dead, a new leader will be chosen and the pillaging will continue.
Let me show you my sincerity.”
“Men, throw down all your weapons, now.” Bewildered, the men dropped their swords, axes, maces, and spears to the ground.
Linvin looked at the pathetic pile and shook his head. “If that little stack represents all your weapons, then you are weak indeed.”
Flageron barked at his men and said, “I meant all you weapons. Lose every single last one, quickly.” The men discarded hidden knives and short swords among the growing pile.
At last Flageron spoke again. “I know of you, Grithinshield. You live by a warrior’s code. No matter what you think of us, you will not kill unarmed men. You must set us free.”
Linvin squinted and made a sudden motion with the staff. All the men were hurled to the side of the horses where they crashed to the ground, inflicting serious injury. Then Linvin made all the weapons collect into one pile. With a squeeze of his staff the weapons all turned to dust.
Linvin landed and walked over to the horse belonging to the man he killed. He took it by the reins. Then he walked it over to Brodker and handed them to him. “Keep this horse safe until I return. His former owner no longer needs it.” Brodker was stunned by the events and simply nodded.
Next Linvin walked over to Jamon Flageron and picked him up by the front of his shirt with his mighty hands and held him in the air. “I am letting you live against my better judgment. Do not make me regret it. If you ever bother these farmers again I will hunt every last one of you down and snuff you out like a candle. Am I perfectly clear?”
Flageron’s leg was wounded and he was in great pain. “We are clear, Mr. Grithinshield. Neither me nor my men will ever bother them again.”
Linvin dropped him to the ground, inciting a scream of pain.
“And be sure to leave the rest of the farmers alone as well.”
Slowly, the members of the Blood Brotherhood mounted their steeds and rode off to the south. Linvin watched till they were out of sight. He lamented that Flageron was right. He could not bring himself to kill unarmed men, in spite of their ill intent.