In the Shadow of Kings

Lady in Black

Sarghon

We would be no match for the giant army that had assembled near the mountains, and we made sure to evade any scouting parties or troops on watch as we continued northwards towards the mines. After walking carefully on a path running alongside the main road, we found a place to rest as the shadows hiding us from the Sun’s scourging rays became smaller by the minute.

After nightfall, Sariel and Legion woke us all up. They had spotted a man running along the main road, away from the main camp and towards the mines. It seemed like he was running from something, looking back over his shoulders continuously, but he was but a faint spot in the distance to us. As he came closer a group of riders appeared far behind in pursuit of the scared man. The pursuers were riding on crodlus, and quickly gained up on the man, who had now passed us. There was no telling at this point whether the man was a friend or foe, but with a huge army present in the vicinity, and the danger of the troops being alerted by someone managing to escape, we chose to stand by as the riders caught up with the man. Dust gathered around him and we could hear screams. It seemed the man was going towards an ill fate.

There is no honor in leaving a man to fend for himself, defenseless and outnumbered. I feel ashamed that we could not help him, but we had to think of the greater good. But there was the possibility that, if we saved the man, one of the riders could escape and manage to alert the troops in the main camp. Yes, there definitely was not anything we could have done about it. I should feel relieved, and yet I do not. Logic does not always take us on the morally righteous path, but for the greater good the true path is not always lined by happiness and song.

The least we could do was giving the man a decent burial, as required by his belief, and save him from the drooling faces of Legion and Corrin. As soon as the riders were far gone we approached the remains of the man and found his heavy armor punctured by a big spear tip. Thinking it may be useful in the future, I took it in my possession, hoping that I can find somewhere to repair it and it could find a use to save someone in the future.

Burying the man caused much debate in our group, as humans are not buried but burnt and their energy returned to the world. The girl Alina is so young in this world, she is blind to traditions and customs from different cultures. It seems that not only her eyes are blind but her mind as well. I must take some time some day to educate this girl, to teach her about this world which is not always so straightforward as she seems to think. It is littered with deceit and terror and sometimes you have to join the side to reach your righteous goal. In the end I was aided by our new member Piekka in burning the body. The wind quickly dissipated the fumes of the fire, and we continued onwards.

It did not take much time before we heard troops on the roads, the rattling sound from armors of bone and stone hitting flesh in a military march over the sand dunes. They accompanied some big cart; we could hear its movement over the hot sand. After hiding behind some cliffs, we took a better look at the approaching company; It was a luxurious wagon pulled by a huge mekillot, guarded by two elite guards. Judging from the luxury, it seemed its contents must be important. We decided to leave our crodlus behind and attack the carriage, aiming to strike down the two guards quickly. That proved to be a difficult task, and soon they called for someone inside the wagon: “Lady, your presence is required outside”.

A woman dressed in a long dark dress stepped out through the curtains enveloping the side of the wagon. “Thatari, is that you?” Adorning the head of that dress was a face that I never expected to see again; Tagashna whom I had left behind. The name she called me I haven’t heard for many decades. She explained to me how she is the Voice of Ulrik, working for the devilish Sorcerer-king that is laying waste to city states in a burning rage of terror. He claimed the fiendish Sorcerer-king is her new God, a true power rising in the world. When I first heard her, I thought she must be out of her mind, thinking she must clearly be wrong. But her clear-sightedness has often proved me wrong in the past, and as she continued talking I began to remember just this, and her words felt smoother and truer. I wished that she would take me with her, but she said I was still to weak: “You have forgotten so much of your power, that is hiding inside of you. That immense power of the Gods”. With a gloomy face I saw her disappear as the carriage continued towards the main camp. I felt confused, estranged, lost, forgotten…

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Aryenne

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