Once he was well past the south gate and clear of all the prying eyes and sharp ears of Ouldengaard, the rider quickened the pace of his saddlebred steed, hastening toward the copses of ancient elms that dotted the horizon. Before long, the rider that left Imperia was gone, and a new rider sat atop the swift and sturdy brindle horse. Shifting his weight to the right and tugging the reins tight, he brought the horse to a gallop, then a canter, and finally, a full stop. He gazed through his hooded cloak into the distance, scanning the lands, the skies, everywhere for signs that he might be seen by unwanted eyes.
Confident in his seclusion, the man that was just moments ago the young sellsword named Alen Wilder lashed his horse’s reins to the low hanging branch of a dead elm. He patted the horse lightly before leaving it to enter the small wooded area, and as his cloak faded into the shadows of the trees, he seemed to disappear altogether.
“I have been sent south, my master,” the Nameless said, his voice a sinewy whisper that sounded akin to a violin string being briskly shorn with a dull iron dagger. " The Emerald Knight sent me to check his suspicions regarding this.”
Producing a thick, round disc of silver with a faintly glowing crystal embedded at its center, the Nameless reached to hand the device over to his master, but a shimmering, golden hand waved him off.
“It pains me by its mere presence,” Belthazar said, his voice cold and coarse as stone. “It is a tool of the demons. I’ve seen them before, in ages past.”
“What is it, master? The Emerald Knight thinks it some sort of device for controlling the minds of others.”
“It is indeed,” Belthazar replied, stepping from the shadows to regard his Nameless servant. “Where was this item found?”
“In the boudoir of Elucia Castille… "
“Castille, of course,” Belthazar said, curling the fingers of his left hand into a coil of anger. For a moment, the flames of his halo blazed bright enough to force the Nameless to avert his eyes. “He rides north even now.”
" …Baron Castille is coming here? To Imperia?’
“Yes,” Belthazar said, “And he is not coming alone. You will ride south, as you were ordered. However, there is one further stop you must make before you find your way to the Castillands…”
In the Courtyard of the Emerald Academy, Eastgates, Imperia
- Sir Kelvan Oakburne regards the Gnoll that was just unceremoniously shoved to his feet, then brushed past the creature to look into the eyes of the strange woman who brought the Gnoll to his doorstep. Sir Kelvan asked who she was, and her answer (that she was a simple sellsword who came to know that this Gnoll had something to do with a possible assassination plot) led the Emerald Knight to believe the woman to be far more than she was letting on. While Sir Kelvan took the Gnoll into the Emerald Academy to interrogate him, he asked Sir Drogyn Martok to pay the mercenary and send her on her way. However, enamored of her beauty, Drogyn instead offered to allow the woman, Electria Bolten, to accompany him on his way to Reignton, where the majority of the Emerald Guard was standing in wait for the recently arrived entourage of Prince Jeremiah and Princess Serafina of Quae Elfien.
- Within the Emerald Academy, Kogatana Sunagi aided Sir Kelvan in interrogating Grash Gnawbone, who revealed that a Silver Dragon had accompanied the female sellsword in securing his capture. It was revealed that Grash worked as a courier of sorts, and that he was sent from Iul to Imperia to deliver a black metal box with some money in it to a tavern in Fiuracht Glen. It was the same box that Koga had procured the day before, which contained Castilland coins and a detailed list of ways to subvert the security of the Emerald Arena. Grash was on his way back south, to Iul, to collect his reward when the Dragon and the woman came to capture him. Not trusting the sellsword, Sir Kelvan sent Kogatana to track her down, learn all he could about her, and report back to him.
At the Grand Concourse in Reignton
- A quintet of carriages rounded the grand fountain to stop in front of a collection of soldiers wearing the green and gray tabards of the Imperian Color Guard. In truth, these soldiers were the elite Emerald Guard, having taken the guise of a lesser unit in order to gain proximity to the unannounced visitors from the south without giving the outward appearance of aggression. Among these soldiers were Nathan Gellar and Haagen Castille. Haagen noticed that Sir Forne, the senior knight on scene, was agitated by something he noticed about the approaching carriages. Haagen realized that these were no Quae coaches, but the familiar conveyances of his youth. These were Castille carriages, and they were piloted, and protected, not by Quae or Imperian forces but by the mercenaries employed by his father, Baron Elrick, to serve as his personal guard. Sir Forne did not like the idea of a mercenary squad coming into Reignton, so he surreptitiously called for the “color guard” to fan out and form a half-moon around the carriages.
- Exiting from two of the carriages were Baron Elrick Castille, Prince Jeremiah, and Princess Serafina. Elrick did not seem to notice Haagen at all, at least initially. Jeremiah seemed gracious and polite, yet remarkably self-possessed at the same time. Serafina, while quite pretty, was almost too dainty and frail. Haagen saw Nathan craning his neck to get a better look at her from the end of the half-moon formation. Elrick demanded that the color guard escort the Prince and Princess to their accommodations at once, but when the captain of the color guard announced that no accommodations had yet been made, Elrick grew audacious and flippant, demanding an explanation. He claimed that he sent word over a month ago that he was going to be escorting the young prince and princess to visit Imperia for the Grand Tourney, but no such message was ever received. In haste, the captain of the color guard proclaimed that the most lavish inn in Imperia would be cleared of all its patrons in order to satisfy the needs of the visiting royalty from Quae Elfien.
- It was at this moment that Elrick noticed his son, Haagen, among the color guard. Haagen recognized the danger this placed him in, as well as the fact that his father’s presence in Imperia bade poorly for Elucia, who could not have any idea that Baron Castille was even coming. Before the princess was loaded onto her carriage again, Prince Aren Koslov, heir to the throne of Imperia, arrived with his retinue, and it seemed that he became instantly smitten with the comely, yet frail Elven princess. He knelt to kiss her hand gallantly, and asked that the color guard spare no effort in making their unexpected guests as happy as possible. After the carriages left for their accommodations in Ouldengaard, Haagen departed at once for Eastgates, where he hoped to find his sister in the Farseer’s Tower and get her safely away from the clutches of their nefarious father.
Within the Emerald Arena
- Primm Skyrin was preparing for his part of the opening ceremonies of the Grand Tourney. Together with his trusted ally, Uryakov Slornn, Primm was going to be a part of the entertainment that preceded the tourney, breathing fire and performing feats of pyrotechnic prowess to amuse and dazzle the crowds as they made their way into the arena the following morning. As he practiced breathing fire and weaving it into animated shapes and different colors, Primm heard rumors of the Drao who came to the arena the previous day, and that Sir Nathan Gellar would be fighting in the final match against this Drao. Intrigued to learn more, Primm noticed that Sir Nathan had just arrived in the arena, accompanied by Sir Drogyn and another familiar face, Electria.
- Sir Gellar was exasperated about the upcoming fight against the Drao, and he wished to seek the guidance of the slayer of the Drao’s father, Sir Edal Bauer. Drogyn was unabashedly against the idea of bothering Sir Bauer, whose health had been failing him over the past year, but in the end, Nathan gained Drogyn’s favor, the two knights leaving the arena to visit with their old mentor, Sir Bauer. In the meantime, Electria remained in the Emerald Arena with Primm, believing that she was finally where she belonged. She felt strongly that one of the men she had encountered on this day, Drogyn Martok, Primm Skyrin, Kogatana Sunagi, Nathan Gellar, or Haagen Castille, would be the one who is destined to bring ruin to the world of Wyrmshadow. The Duskreign Prophecy would start here, in this very city, and the fall of man and god alike would be brought about by one of those five warriors. Electria was determined to be in the thick of it when the group was first formed, to observe these men, grow close to them all, determine which one was the prophesied destroyer, and slay him before he can fulfill his dark purpose.
On approach to the Farseer’s Tower, Eastgates, Imperia
- More to come!
The next session of The Duskreign Prophecy will occur on Friday, October 28th at 9:30 PM!