Parting of the Ways
On their return to York, the companions took Damien of Orleans directly to York Castle, where he was imprisoned in the deepest of its dungeons. While there, the friends visited Sir Alfred of Selby, who was overjoyed by the return of his son’s sword. From there, they accompanied Uther to the Templar chapterhouse, where he delivered Sir Richard’s armour and shield into the care of the senior Templar knights.
Having discharged their duties, the group returned to the Minster and were admitted for an audience with the Archbishop. The old pontiff praised their work and thanked God for their success. He explained that Manzio and Uther were needed for an urgent mission to Scotland, despite the lateness of the season, and dismissed the others with his blessings.
As the winter snows deepened, Sophia spent time with her father, Tector in close attendance as always. Storm secluded himself in his chambers, achieving a trance-like state while projecting his senses into the items the group had recovered from the ruins.
One at a time he was able to identify their powers and distribute the items accordingly. For himself, a wand of fire which could evoke a bolt of flame. For Uther a goblet which would heal the drinker. For Tector, a Brooch of Mithras, the Roman bull-god of strength, which could be called on to grant the wearer a surge of adrenaline in battle. And for Manzio, a ring of invisibility to aid his stealth.
With this task completed, the three friends bade farewell to Manzio and Uther, waving them off from the wharf. They spent a few days resting and recovering from the wounds sustained during their quest, before celebrating Christmas with a great feast hosted by Baron Henry de Percy at the Castle. The Year of Our Lord 1180 dawned with snow on the ground, the river Ouse iced over, and the companions wondering what the new year would bring.
They would find out in A Sorcerer’s Ransom, Part One – Depths of Danger