The trip from the nearest portal anchor to Westguard was not a short one. The flight was made even longer by Janderius’s insistence on staying low and weaving through the treetops to reduce his exposure to the continent’s freezing winds at higher altitudes.

Mr. Cinders, his faithful flame hippogriff, had just begun to show signs of fatigue by the time the fortified towers and walls of the coastal garrison began to loom up ahead. The structure was only barely visible, due to the thick fog that permeated the region that afternoon.

The mage’s excited smile ended up as more of a squinty grimmace as the icy headwind continued to cut right through his cold weather gear. Tugging back on the reins, he leaned his body forward to urge his mount into a slow descent. Talons and hooves soon gracefully touched down on the grass just outside the main gate.

Once the tired beast came to a complete stop, its equally weary rider slipped off of the saddle and began slowly leading it onwards towards the stables. His steps were very slow and casual, almost menacing looking considering his chosen attire.

His long hooded cloak obscured most of his features, but a familiar layered tunic, tabard and trousers could still be seen beneath where the dark fabric parted at the front. The shifting sound of very light chainmail accompanied his footsteps, apparently hidden beneath his clothing. A simple steel longsword was sheathed and strapped across his back, and numerous  pouches could be seen attached to his belt.

They soon came to a halt in front of the gate, and Jander let out a sigh that immediately condensed into a cloud in front of him. Slowly he reached up to draw back the hood that had hidden most of his face.

The past two years had actually been kind to Jander. His hair had returned to its natural brown color, and his eyes had even been restored to their original hazel look as well. He kept the long locks pulled back into a half-ponytail, letting the rest of it hang loose at the back. Years of weathering and battle scars still remained on his features, but the evident determined spark of his personality had not left him yet.

He took a moment to pat and ruffle the hippogriff’s vibrant neck feathers, before returning his attention to the gate.

Word had reached him that the Templars were gathering in the north to train again. He was hardly about to let them have all the fun without him.

Author Jander
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