Linvin held the staff like a walking stick as he looked at the ground and tried to remain humble. “I overpowered the guards in the tower and descended into the torture room where Hugon was about to end Miri’s suffering. I surprised him and turned his own whip against him. I kept circling around and delivering blow upon blow. At one point I even threw salt in his wounds. Finally, I ran him through with a blazing poker from a fire-pit nearby.”
“Where was Miri during all of this?” Anvar inquired.
“She was chained to a torture rack where she was simultaneously being stretched at her limbs and stabbed by spikes rising from the table.”
Anvar shook his head. “So you went back to save her, knowing every guard in the palace was after you. Then you intentionally took your time punishing Hugon for his mistreatment of you while the woman you went to save was suffering and near death. You could have killed Hugon in less time than it took for me to describe that situation. 166
Because you wanted revenge, she suffered longer and I would wager you probably had more guards to fight than you would have had if you had handled your business and left. Am I correct?”
Linvin sighed. He thought for a moment about justifying his choice of actions but quickly abandoned the notion. It would be better to accept the critique and move on with the story. “Yes,” he acknowledged. “I could have killed Hugon more quickly. I was thinking more about making him suffer than I was about how Miri was suffering. The extra time did allow the guards to track me down. It was a mistake and I admit to having erred.
“After I freed Miri, some brazen young man stopped me on the stairs and attempted to prevent my escape. I threw him aside and climbed to the top floor of the tower. There I found the staff and my Father’s possessions. With an endless stream of guards climbing behind me, the only way to go was up. I ascended to the battlements of the tower and was cornered there. Then the staff and Red Sapphire began to draw toward one another. I inserted the gem in the staff and a storm of magic appeared around. During the mayhem, the Red Sapphire told me I could fly. So that is exactly what I did. You know the story from there.”
“So you talk to the Red Sapphire?” Bander asked with excitement.
“We do not exactly talk,” Linvin responded. “It is more of a telepathic connection. The gem is a living being in some ways similar to Falconfeather.”
“You took unnecessary risks for the sake vengeance,” Anvar reminded. “Though you came out victorious, you would be wise to note your error in judgment and not repeat it in the future.” Anvar paused and watched the sunken expression from his nephew. Then he added. “However, you have accomplished your goal and I cannot think of another person who could have done all of 167
that. You have reason for being proud this day. Just do not let it get the better of you.”
With his story told, Linvin longed to hear from the others. “So what did you three do after we separated?” Linvin asked.
“We followed your orders,” Anvar stated simply.
Bander, on the other hand, showed no restraint. “It was amazing.” he exclaimed. “The hole in the wall was right where you told us. So we snuck through it and were right by the stables of the Imperial Guard. Uncle Anvar did that fire thing with his hands and all the straw went up in smoke. Rander and I opened the gate for the horses and the fire sent them running everywhere. While the guards tried to stop the horses we snuck behind the barracks and Uncle Anvar torched that too. He was magnificent. The streets filled with people running everywhere. We ran amongst the crowd and headed for the outskirts of town. When no one was paying attention, Uncle Anvar would set another building on fire. Soon there were fires everywhere and we just ran.
“When we reached the messenger stables Rander and me, we killed two of the guards and the others were cut down by our uncle without trouble. Then we saddled five horses like you said and scattered the others from the stable. We rode for our lives. It was really something to see. You would have been so proud of us, Linvin.”