In the Shadow of Kings

Find old friends with new friends?

Corrin

It’s the first day after we fled Tyr. The city’s still burning in most parts. The nights are bright enough to walk around even without the pale green Ral out. Guthay’s golden orb is barely visible with the city burning so close to us. We’ve seen many strange folks out here. With Aryenne desperate to find Alina, we’ve been talking to many of them. People leaving, tell us that King Shamash and Queen Ishtar reign with an iron fist; they rule more fearsome than before. They say they want to restore the city to its former glory, but those who fled don’t see how. Most of them lost family members, but none has seen even a glimpse of Alina or Sarghon. Aryenne wants to go back into Tyr to look for Alina. At dawn we went to the Caravan Gate and almost made it in. Legion then suddenly draws us back. One of the guards had started to walk decisively in our direction. We did not want to risk capture and retreated back. Aryenne wants to keep trying, but we hold her back. During day we look for shadows and wait and sleep. Aryenne’s hard to calm down; she’d keep searching with the sun out. We can keep her down with drawing Alina’s picture to show to people. Maybe this way they can give us better information.

The second day we ran into a group of Toothcutters. They’ve not recognized us from the start, but after Aryenne showed them the painting of Alina, they must’ve realized who we are. They drew their daggers, but I grabbed their leader quickly. He stopped the others while I put my dagger on his throat. He yielded and dropped his dagger. Most of the group did the same. One of them was bold enough to attack Legion. He merely got out his sword and stuck it into the belly of the attacker. That stopped all those who had more attacks in mind. They all dropped their weapons. The leader told us that they’ve been in the Warrens when king and queen came back. They are flattened, no building survived the attack. Every building there’s burning, they say. They decided that fleeing people would be easy targets. So they went out The Stadium Gate. On their way out, they saw mostly rubble and fallen buildings such as towers. That raised Aryenne’s awareness and she kept asking about that tower and whether any of them saw Alina. None of them did though. They said they wanted to get back into the city. With most of the guards dead, it was probably easy ground as well. They’d go for the Merchant or Noble district, because it’s much less destruction and more loot to take. They might even try raiding the Shahram’s house. There’s none to protect the house after they’re all dead, the leader said. That’s all he knows he says. We let them go on their way. I wonder whether Sariel would’ve done that.

The third and fourth day we’ve been wandering more and more around and talked to several refugees searching protection in the city. Aryenne’s showing them all the painting of Alina and hope that someone will find her in the city. The refugees talk about troops from Urik passing them, going north-east. Some heard about Nidaba, the Voice of Urik, being speechless now. They say that King Ishtar struck her silent and want to seek the wisdom of such a mighty man. One man swears he has seen and talked to Musa Dyan. He’s gone exile the man claims, but he’s no clue why or how. Dyan wouldn’t talk about that he says. I think it’s unlikely the man really met Musa Dyan. He probably just heard rumors. There are more rumors about Musa Dyan around. Some say he seized the Senate before King and Queen came back. Others claim he died defending the city. Even others talk about conspiracies by rivaling houses. None of them says anything about a vault. Many talk about his brother, Harharu Dyan, who’s now chasing Azera Semira in the Valley of Tyr. Some, however, swear that Azera Semira, leader of the Urikan forces, died during the invasion.

It’s going on for days now. We’re walking round and round that city of Tyr. All Aryenne’s doing is looking for Alina. Since that tower fell between us and Alina and Sarghon, we didn’t see either. She’s gone crazy, listening to no reasons. We must’ve gotten round the city twice at least by now. None of the people streaming in or out of the city know anything about them. At least she agrees to make camp now. Legion’s going to report back to his kin, so I’ve got some time to check on my latest recipes.

Legion’s just gotten all excited after he contacted his others. He says that one of his kin has seen a blue man. He doesn’t know where the Deva’s been spotted, but he’s seen an image of him in a green background. It must’ve been in the forests then, I say immediately. It’s the only place I know where you can have a green background. Neither Legion nor Aryenne really believe there even is a forest. I tell them I know the way and that’s the only lead we’ve got so far.

We finally agreed to go – when Legion spotted some people approaching us. Aryenne walked ahead to talk to them – she wanted to ask about Alina, as usual. But those men weren’t as friendly as most we’ve encountered here. They’re from the Tyrian guards from the looks of them and they started to shoot at us. They’re many more and we’ve only got two really fighting since Aryenne is still very confused. But luckily two wanderers came to assist us – a Dra named Grax and his associate Xeeliah. Grax’s been using quite a nice bow and Xeeliah is chasing the enemies as if she were an arrow herself. With their help we fought off those guards quick and clean. We questioned the last of them very shortly before we killed him. He says that they were promised rewards and seat in the senate if they bring our heads and plundered goods. We asked for our charges and he said that we conspired to kill Queen Ishtar and that we stole a “family heirloom” from the Golden Tower.

They’re a queer people those two. Grax’s talking often in riddles and rhymes while Xeeliah doesn’t talk much at all. She’s got a big tattoo, but we can only see the upper bits – the rest’s hidden beneath that robe of hers. Grax seems to be very interested in all that stuff we found in the vault. He takes this in hand and that and tells us whether it’s a good hand-wrap or a nice dagger. I know that sharp daggers are good daggers. I don’t know what makes any hand-wraps better than others though. It seems a little fishy to me what he’s doing. But he didn’t do anything bad so far. Our way leads us north and those two want to go north as well. We can use some good fighters, so decide to team up for our trip to the forests.

Moving! Finally we’re moving again! We‘re heading to the forest ridge! I hope we’ll get to visit Algor. I can’t wait to see Algor again. Derlan, Garret, Merric, Kithri, Verna and Wenna – and father! I wonder what they have been doing while I was gone. Merric’s gone to the crystal forest, Jana said. But I’ve never heard of anyone else. I am leading us north-east. We need to get to the passage close to the Mausoleum of Shivarm. From there I can lead them on good trails through the forest. But the Mausoleum, I remember from last time: It still gives me unrest. The strange feeling we had, the creatures that attacked us. Last time we barely escaped – but this time I will not run!

Since we met Grax and Xeliah, our spirits went up a bit. They’ve gone through our stuff and explained us some the engravings. These lines and circles will stay a mystery to me. He gave me some hand wraps that look a little red. They’re supposed to make me stronger somehow. I haven’t felt it yet. I still can’t lift Legion. Well, they are comfortable, so I’ll wear them. The Dra knows all kind of things and still often surprises us. We talk a little on our trip. For the night he took us to a good place. Here we have the cliff to one side and can see wide in the other directions. It’s good to rest our legs for the night. Grax is taking watch and Legion is edging his new shiny blade a little at the camp fire. I’ll get some good sleep now!

In the middle of the night Legion woke us from our slumber. There was this hag almost right in the middle of our camp! She’s got some dogs with her – some big dogs. Before I was entirely awake and aware of what’s going on, the hag grabbed Grax and put a dagger on his throat. She keeps asking for a “sister”, but we all can’t make any sense of it. Grax is getting annoyed be her and shoves her off. She tells us that these dogs are the “hounds of the seven”. Well, there are only three dogs here… I hope she did not bring all seven.

Then the hag ran for Aryenne. She threatened her; she said that she wants Aryenne’s heart! That was too much! I put her to the ground showed her my sharp dagger. During more talking and discussions (How I hate these long discussions! I can barely think straight during these long talking times.), one of the hounds attacked us. The hag killed it with a single blow of her dagger. Suddenly we were in the middle of a fight. The hag disappeared right before our eyes! This must’ve been evil magic! I just saw this and then I ran to fight one of the two remaining hounds. I was so sure I could strike it down with me dagger as the hag just did. I was so wrong! I not only missed the hound, it also stroke back on! That did hurt a lot! It made me run back to my friends. Together we fought against the two remaining hounds who gave us a good fight. But in the end we killed them both.

The hag appeared again later while we were fighting the hounds. She’s more powerful than she looks like. Put we’re stronger than her! In the end she ran off, probably frightened. After we pulled all of us together and made sure that we weren’t in immediate danger any more, we’ve discussed what just happened. That hag was curiously interested in Grax and Xeeliah. She’s mostly buffing on Grax, but also seemed to be drawn a little to Xeeliah. These new companions of ours have some ‘friends’ as it seems. There were also some other interesting things we’ve seen. Grax was breathing a flash of lightning that made one of the hounds whimper and retreat for a few seconds. He also vanished in the middle of a fight and popped up several feet off. That must be magic! Magic is evil! Also the vanishing hag must’ve had something to do with magic. It might have been her or Grax doing this. Xeeliah did some strange things as well. I am getting weary around them!

Who are these new companions of ours? Can we trust them? They maybe do magic, but magic is evil! Aren’t we better off leaving them as soon as we can?

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