ORACLE AWAKES

A Novel Silvanus Sæ-gar Prince Book One Of The Ravenstone Saga

The rusted chains of prison moons Are shattered by the sun. I walk a road, horizons change The tournaments begun. The purple piper plays his tune, The choir softly sing; Three lullabies in an ancient tongue, For the court of the crimson king. The keeper of the city keys Put shutters on the dreams. I wait outside the pilgrims door With insufficient schemes. The black queen chants The funeral march, The cracked brass bells will ring; To summon back the fire witch To the court of the crimson king. The gardener plants an evergreen Whilst trampling on a flower. I chase the wind of a prism ship To taste the sweet and sour. The pattern juggler lifts his hand; The orchestra begin. As slowly turns the grinding wheel In the court of the crimson king. On soft gray mornings widows cry The wise men share a joke; I run to grasp divining signs To satisfy the hoax. The yellow jester does not play But gently pulls the strings And smiles as the puppets dance In the court of the crimson king. In The Court Of The Crimson King King Crimson

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Page Numbers In Draft)

ORACLE AWAKES In The Court Of The Crimson King TABLE OF CONTENTS Prologue: Moonchild PART 1 Chapter 1 The Rusted Chains Of Prison Moons Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 PART 2 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 (Currently Writing - Text Not Included In This File) Glossary Of Nyheun Names & Terms Appendix A: Erupuan Time & Measurements A-1 The Erupuan Time System Table A-1.1 Chronographic Table A-2 Measurement System Table A-2.1: Distance Unit Table Table A-2.2: Mass Unit Table Table A-2.3: Volume Unit Table Appendix B: Maps B-1 Map Of Nytheun B-2 Map Of The Grand Duchy Of Ravenstone B-3 Map Of Noch Geongechuth Appendix C: Erugioth, The Erupuan Language

1 2 3 5 7 8 13 22 28 38 50 60 70 85 98 99 110 121 133 148 160 171 183 199 200 213 213 213 214 214 215 215 216 216 217 217 218

C-1 A Brief History Of Erugioth C-2 Concerning Place Names And Proper Names C-3 Erugioth Pronounciation Guide C-4 Writing Appendix D: Ravenstone Timeline D-1 The Pre-Imperial Age D-2 The First Imperial Age D-3 The Dynastic Periods & The Era Of The Crimson Kings D-4 The Second Imperial Age

218 219 220 221 223 223 224 225 227

Prologue: Moonchild

A soft sea breeze gently pushed its way in through the window, bringing with it the salty smell of the Crimson Strait as well as the mirid fragrances of the bustling city below. The sunlight sparkled off of the ornate trophies and numerous pairs of swords which hung upon the stone walls - testaments of the glorious deeds of the Grand Duchy’s finest heroes. Rising up to meet this breeze and the glorious sunlight were beautiful harmonic frequencies dispatched by expert fingertips upon taught silver strings - giving the large hall an almost magical ambiance that filled all of its occupants with wonder. All sat still as the single musician with fire-red hair manipulated her instrument, coaxing melodies and subtle counter points from the vibrating body of the stringed instrument. The chorus began to build in a crescendo, its seven-eight time accelerating slightly with the heartbeat of the musician. With each new phrase or repeated theme, the tension built - not only in the music but in the very air of the room. Arpeggios began to ascend and descend over the span of intricate chordal figures and scales, their tempo increasing with each frequency. The hearts of the spectators beat in time with the music and each and every one held their breath in anticipation of the climax. As the music soared in intensity, sudden clouds obscured the sunlight streaming in through the windows and the room was immediately awash in grey light which yielded an air of macabre premonition. The spectators were struck with the startling

transformation in the luminescence - and as if feeding on the change in the energy of her audience, the fiery haired musician’s cadence slowed, almost becoming unsure and selfconscious. The attacks upon the strings became hesitant and filled with an almost unnatural staccato, their sustain and release filled with a sense of oncoming doom. Even

stretching tall and proud and gently placed her instrument on the stool she had recently occupied. She stood up. their modulated chorus causing an epidemic of panic to flash through the crowd. the gathered guests began to take on the air of a mob terrified into actions they hoped would assure their preservation. The gathered guests began to look around at each other with concern etched deep within their eyes. The air even became thick with the fragrance of brimstone and a terrible and mournful wailing was heard in the distance. Though the sorrow and fear remained. forming little enclaves that were desperately trying to plot some reaction or some scheme that would advance themselves ahead of their neighbours.as the frequencies reverberated off the stone walls. It was at that moment that the vibrating strings became still and the musician sat. the sense of imminent catastrophe was perceived by all. Brass bells began to sound throughout the city below. All of her education and upbringing came together and she took a single . she suddenly knew exactly what needed to happen. The desired result was in vain. With each passing moment. for the faint glowing lanterns and torches seemed to only enhance the somberness by augmenting the contrasts that the shadows seemed to create. the uncertainty beginning to fade from her face. The roar of the plotting was almost deafening and increased the sense of unease and doubt in the musician who still sat in the center of the hall observing the mounting ado. Her mind was made up and firm in its decision and she was prepared to act. The musician looked up from her instrument and scanned her audience. pushed aside in the interest of personal survival and aggrandizement. Servants entered the hall carrying torches and lanterns hoping that these faint nimbuses would perhaps stave off the forthcoming gloom that had so quickly permeated through the room. It now appeared as if past loyalties and relationships were now forfeit. her face painted with a stern resolve though for those who looked deeply into her young green eyes a deep fear and an even deeper sorrow was to be seen. They began to whisper amongst themselves.

step forward: the first step on the road to her destiny. .

PART 1 .

But she never could run away. she sometimes laid awake dreaming of who she might have been had circumstances been different. Run away from home.Chapter 1 The Rusted Chains Of Prison Moons At some point in the past. She was well aware of the fact that everyone at some point wanted to run away. How perhaps she might have been but a regular citizen working in her father’s shop and playing her harp in the evenings for family and friends.for . Perhaps. It was as if the very sanity of her mind depended on a hasty departure from where she had grown up and everyone she had known all throughout her life. In the darkness of the night. as the fire in her fireplace burned low and the two moons bathed the city in their magical light. Her duty to her family and to her people was far too pressing for such simple things as her own personal happiness or sanity. But her urge was far more fundamental then these usual flights of fancy. if she was lucky enough . They would enjoy delicious meals together. she had felt the urge to run away. that is how the visions began… As if the sense she had of being trapped in that castle . Perhaps then. Something that would not only define who she was but usher her towards the destiny she was meant to embrace.needed to be counter balanced with something extraordinary.the home of her family for countless generations . drink to the health of the Grand Duke and thank the gods for blessing them. run away from a lover or some terrible situation or job they just could not do anymore.

She knew there were many people at court who would help her when she did take on that responsibility. In fact she was at the age were youthful rebellion against the status quo and the institutions of her parents was ripening within her young mind. She was still so young. But she was also aware of the fact that the famous Court Of The Crimson King was home to many plots and schemes and many individuals who were seeking personal gain. the hand we are dealt is often better suited to allow us to truly achieve what we are meant to be. What extra money she would make from her musical talents she would willing give to her parents for all the blessings they had bestowed upon her. Alas. Only through many trials and tribulations as well as a determination to understand ourselves and the world as much as possible will allow us to truly achieve the ends which we constantly strive for. It can be surmised that this fact was partly the source of the dissatisfaction she felt with her station. Indeed. The very name of her Father’s court was to blame.she would sometimes play in Axuzith Etoliysth’s famed orchestra which delighted crowds throughout the Grand Duchy. such is the want of dreamers who dream of the greener pastures beyond the horizon. she had so often thought. If only one could change one’s circumstance to one’s liking then life would always be joyous and fulfilling. there had been a time over three millennia ago when the rulers of what was now the Grand Duchy of Ravenstone had been kings of their own independent state. It gave the whole thing an air of majesty well beyond its station.she firmly believed she had talent enough . The ancient Erupuan Empire had crumbled into warring kingdoms and the Grand Dukes of Ravenstone had been forced to declare their independence from the Imperial Throne in order to survive the chaos which had . Unfortunately it is often very hard to know how to use what we have in order to find the happiness and fulfillment we all seek. Indeed. For she knew that one day she would be forced to take the Grand Ducal Throne as her Father had done when his Father passed onward. However destiny has no ear for the desires of mortals and often the hand one is dealt is not the flush one believes will win the game.

Geography was one of her favourite subjects. Howver. after becoming a vassal of the Imperial Throne yet again. Rana. He was a weathered man who had known the horror of war.engulfed the Empire. She had been learning these important things since she was old enough to write. He founded a dynasty of monarchs who would come to be known as the Crimson Kings of Ravenstone and who would keep the kingdom intact until the Empire was reborn just over two and a half millennia ago. for she was a talented harpist and truly loved being able to express herself through the strumming of a harp’s taught strings.it seemed loved to hear their Grand Ducal Heiress perform for them. had formed an alliance with the noble Iperatesi elves and was able to fend off the attacks of the other break away kingdoms. for she had found that her music allowed her to express herself freely without political or social judgements being placed upon her. Often she would perform for the court and other guests within the Grand Ducal Concert Hall located on the second floor of the Palace Keep. was proud of his daughter. Rana lived for those solo performances. for he had spent much of his youth outdoors . Rana loved to perform for her people. on rare occasions she would do solo performances where she would glory in her talent and let the frequencies reverberate almost magically through the air. She studied the history of the Empire. She also studied mathematics and literature. Yet all these years later. was only beginning to fully grasp the politics and the history of her people. King Munammeren. Most of the time she would perform with a small ensemble of musicians culled from the ranks of the palace staff. Most exhilarating of all was when she performed with Axuzith Etoliysth’s Orchestra in his concert hall in the city. the Great. for she loved looking at maps and imagining the lives of the people who lived in far away lands. for that is what her friends called her. they still called it the Court Of The Crimson King. Her ancestor. For five days in every nine day week she studied in the classroom of Wycheren Edoshesh. and the people of Ravenstone . Rana’s Father. of the Grand Duchy and of her people. the Palace tutor. the Grand Duke. But the subject she loved most of all was music.

It seemed to Rana that no matter what the situation or the challenges the Grand Duchy faced. She had never asked him about his years serving as a Ducal Ranger before becoming Grand Duke. That her father had survived his imprisonment and had been rescued was a testament to his character and abilities.could lean on in order to weather any storm. Ekomuni would come to his side and help him banish his inner demons. the mental scars that remained mostly unseen were the deepest. The Grand Ducal family were very close. there were times when his past would haunt him and the horrors he had witnessed would consume him. though. It was in those dark times that his devoted wife. Her powers as a healer had helped her father live with the traumas of his past and be able to rule their beloved people so kindly. but she had heard from others that he had once been taken prisoner and tortured by the vile Ayrtesi Elves . he loved his family and dotted on his only daughter and heir to the Grand Ducal Throne. Above all else. Rana understood that though her father bore many physical scars from that dark time in his life.an evil kindred of Elves who were ancient foes of the Erupuan and their Iperatesi allies. Ekomuni was a rock that the Grand Ducal family . In the darkest times. her mother always had hope.and by extension the entire Duchy . there were times. Grand Duke of Ravenstone was a kind man and a fair ruler of his people. did not suffer greatly from his memories. Yet. Rana’s mother had trained with the Erupuan Order of Healers and was perhaps the Grand Duchy’s greatest healer.serving with the Ducal Rangers who patrolled the wild eastern mountain border of the Grand Duchy. He was happiest when he could spend time with Rana and her mother. They loved each other very much and they understood that their duty towards their people must be present in every deed they performed and in every word they spoke. when the Ducal Family were alone in their apartments in the Palace. Indeed. Even though Rana had misgivings about her . Ekomuni. Ethithung. But Ethithung Geongechuth. that Rana caught glimpses of darkness in her father’s eyes. it seemed. as well as the legendary skill of his comrades in the Grand Ducal Ranger Corps.

she was glad she had her parents to help her as well as her devoted body guard. but eventually she opened up to her beloved bodyguard. At first the visions seemed simple and almost mundane. Pairan was indeed a very special person. At first. the very events disclosed in these visions came to pass . This terrifying prophecy was the first to reveal itself multiple times to the . it was the vision of a darkness coming to her beloved city that truly disturbed Rana the most. She would catch glimpses of scenes in which people would be talking about something going on in the palace or the city .duty and the responsibility she would one day inherit from her father. But within a few days. Their relationship was much deeper then most others understood or even could perceive. Pairan was the only person to whom Rana had turned to when the visions began. Rana felt that without Pairan she would never succeed as Grand Duchess when the time came to ascend to the throne. and Rana always felt safe and secure when the golden-skinned warrior was at her side. Rana found that she could predict events that would happen in the future. For the longest time. forcing Rana to attempt to warn members of the court. In actual fact. the Richethi warrior was Rana’s closest confidant and advisor. However. She was a Richethi. With this new ability. Events regarding the governance of the Grand Duchy as well as other stately matters began to reveal themselves to the young heiress. Not only the Grand Ducal Heiress’ bodyguard. the visions became less mundane and more serious. she still felt a deep sense of duty. believing that others would think she had lost her sanity .a condition Rana had never truly discounted. As time passed. the strange race of warriors and warlocks who had helped protect the Empire since the Demon Wars two and three quarter millennia ago. But. With these visions also came a sense of great responsibility towards her people. the young heiress kept the visions to herself.without error.events that had yet to transpire. But Pairan knew her too well and almost immediately noticed that something had changed within the young woman’s life. Rana denied that anything was the matter. Pairan.

young seeress. The scenes of which seemed to play themselves over and over again in her mind, even in her most lucid waking moments. The true terror of its portent began to wash her soul and fill Rana with a feeling of impending doom. The first time she experienced it, the vision manifested itself in a dream. This was not unusual in itself as many of Rana’s visions came to her in the dream state. It always began the same way, though the fine details seemed to change somewhat. She would be giving a performance in the concert hall of the palace. She would be playing for a crowd of gathered nobles and court functionaries. The melody, harmony and rhythm was the best execution of her talent. But as the performance went along, darkness would engulf the room and panic would fill the minds of her audience. Somewhere, in the city beyond the palace, the long dark tolling of a funeral bell would be heard and the chaos felt within the hall would crescendo. Yet suddenly, the only feeling she had was one of determination and that she would be the one to stop the darkness. Pairan had attempted to calm Rana’s fears, soothing her young charge with all the arguments she could rationalize. But the logical words of her beloved protector were not enough to truly appease the disquiet growing in the depths of her soul. It was not the darkness itself that terrified her, but the long suffering tolling funeral bells that seemed to reverberate throughout the last part of the vision. Rana’s instincts told her that those bells rang because someone dear to her would be taken from this plane of existence. For it was this sad prophecy which troubled her most. To Rana’s relief, no visions came to her with more information regarding who would die and bring about this chaos. But she feared that it would only be a matter of time before the unerring visions would reveal this truth to her. She simply hoped she could prepare for their portent, or perhaps some how find a way to prevent it from happening.

Chapter 2

Shattered By The Sun

It was a crisp morning in the autumn of the year 2745 in the Second Imperial Age, Rana was fifteen years old. She sat on a balcony, quietly brushing her long dark fire red hair. Her green eyes looked out over the city of Noch Geongechuth which was nestled up against the shores of the strategically important Crimson Strait. This calm body of water connected the great northern sea called Ethesh Whyonqü to the Ethesh Erupua which was one of the major seaways used by Imperial ships to transport goods. The strait was the only passage between these two seas and had been claimed by the Erupuan Empire ever since the Grand Duchy had been founded. There had been many times in the past when control of this important passage was contested by neighboring nations, but the might of the Grand Ducal Navy backed by Imperial forces had always assured that Noch Geongechuth kept control of the strait. This history and political geography was not what had been occupying Rana’s mind that morning as she sat brushing her red hair. The health of her father’s closest advisor had preoccupied the mind of the young heiress. Indeed, Aheneko, the Richethi Warlock assigned to her father’s court, had been like a grandmother to Rana. The elderly advisor had served the Court of the Crimson King faithfully for over fifty years, having also advised Rana’s grandfather when he had been Grand Duke, but now she was far too weak and sick to attend Court functions. Rana knew that Aheneko’s time in this world was nearing its end and she wanted to spend as much time as possible with the old Warlock. “Your breakfast is ready, my Lady.” a soft voice interrupted Rana’s thoughts. She

turned to see Menino Iplæta, her Lady in Waiting standing near the door. Menino wore her usual blue dress and her long brown hair was held up in a bun at the top of her head. The Lady in Waiting was a year younger then her mistress and they were more like best friends then noble and servant. “Have you heard how Aheneko feels this morning, Menino?” Rana asked as she stood up and followed the young girl into the sitting room to which the balcony was attached. “She is about the same, my Lady.” Rana frowned, worry and fear growing deeper in her mind as the two young women stepped through the door of the sitting room and into the large living space that made up the majority of the Grand Ducal Apartments. The room was round and over two hundred feet wide with a central area made up of couches and chairs where the Grand Ducal family would sit at night and read, or simply talk. There was an area to Rana’s left with a multitude of shelves which stored a great number of books and scrolls which were part of the family’s personal library. Directly across from where Rana was, on the opposite side of the sitting area in the middle of the room, was a large open space covered in rugs which had been the area where Rana had played with her toys when she had been younger. A massive fireplace was also located here which gave the room its primary lighting and heating source. Often, Rana would still lay down on the rug closest to the fireplace in the evening and dream of how her life might have been if she had not been born the Grand Ducal Heiress. Finally, to Rana’s right was the eating area comprised of a large table with a number of chairs. Her father and mother were already sitting there, eating the breakfast of eggs, sausage and toast. Sitting next to her father, going over the day’s itinerary, was Chyeshuish Ihoshapu - the Duke‘s Seneschal. He was a tall man with medium length white hair and intelligent green eyes. His ruddy skin contrasted nicely with the gold coloured tunic and dark pants that he wore. Though Chyeshuish’s voice was deep and resonant, Rana had sat through

enough breakfasts in her life to be able to completely ignore what the elderly chief of staff was telling her father. But as she sat down, Rana’s gaze turned to her mother. Ekomuni had long fire red hair which was a slightly lighter shade then her daughter’s. The Duchess kept her hair pinned up with a beautiful jade hair pin which had been a gift from her husband when they had been married. She had kind blue eyes which seemed to dazzle anyone who looked too deep into them. Ekomuni wore her usual jade coloured robes and brown leather sandals as she quietly ate breakfast, attempting to listen to the discussion between the two men. “Menino tells me that Aheneko is about the same as yesterday.” Rana stated after sampling some of the sausage. “She is comfortable and stable.” the Duchess replied with a hint of sadness in her voice. “But I fear she will not be with us for much longer.” Rana brooded silently over this latest news as she ate more of her breakfast. Memories of time spent with the elderly Warlock flooded the young heiress’ mind. Happy moments spent exploring the palace grounds when Aheneko would teach Rana about the flowers and herbs which grew in abundance. As she took a bite of toast, one of her earliest memories of the Warlock filled her thoughts. Rana was perhaps five when the two of them had first explored the hedge maze which stood just to the south west of the palace. Aheneko had lead the young girl down the long passages and around many corners. Rana had quickly felt lost, but Aheneko knew exactly where they were the whole time. At long last they found themselves in the beautiful sitting area at the heart of the labyrinth with its ancient fountain. The young girl marveled at the large statue of a silver scaled salmon that had a large stream of water flowing from out of its pursed jaw. The very sound of the fountain calmed the lost feeling that had controlled her psyche during the journey through the maze. “You like the fountain, Rana?” Aheneko queried in a hushed voice. “I do.” was all the young girl could stammer.

“Come, let us sit on its edge.” the Warlock invited. Without a word, the heiress followed the older woman and then sat down next to her on the edge of the pool of water. “I often come here when I need to think.” Aheneko continued. “Do you know what the salmon symbolizes?” The young girl’s eyes turned up to the face of the giant silver fish, meeting the chinook’s gaze. Deep within the eyes of the statue Rana saw vast wisdom, as if the salmon knew the secrets of the universe. The elder woman looked fondly at her charge, smiling warmly. “I believe you see it in his eyes, don’t you child?” “Knowledge. The salmon symbolizes knowledge, Aheneko.” “That’s right, child. Perhaps that is why I find this spot such a good place to think.” They were silent for quite a while, enjoying the sunshine of the warm summer’s day and the calming sound of the water tumbling through the fountain. Rana continued to be captivated by the gaze of the massive fish while the old Warlock simply enjoyed the aura which seemed to permeate the heart of the labyrinth. “In two days a member of my order will arrive to take over command of the Chaotic Lotuses.” Aheneko interrupted the sound of the fountain. “Your father has decided that on top of her duties as the head of the Richethi company, she will also take on the task of being your personal guard.” “Does this mean that we won’t be spending as much time together?” “Of course not, Rana.” Again, the old woman smiled warmly. “We will spend as much time together as you want. But Pairan will be charged to protect you. You are the heir to the Grand Ducal throne and your father feels that you should be kept safe.” “Because of duty?” “Yes. We all have a duty to fulfill. Yours, my child, is a very important duty. You must serve your people faithfully and fairly. Pairan will help you accomplish this.” Rana had smiled, hugged the old Warlock and then went back to contemplating the

Her father sat silently eating while reading over some reports and briefings. In fact. “Of course. This elite unit was divided into two smaller units of nine men each commanded by two Immosehon. The entire unit was under the command of its Avuth. “Good morning. or Captain.” the white haired soldier greeted Rana. Without a word. but mentally and spiritually strong. “Is it alright if I pay Aheneko a visit?” Rana interrupted her mother’s reveries. Pairan kept Rana not only physically safe. then it must be true. a brave soldier named Efoguen Apluploish whose family had served in the Ducal Military for generations. My Lady. “I trust the night . For they were the two wisest people the young girl knew.” The young woman excused herself from the table and headed for the antechamber and foyer to the Grand Ducal Apartments and the stairwell beyond. Avuth Efoguen was on duty this morning along with eight other members of the Ducal Guards. the young Lady in Waiting also cleared Rana’s plate and then made her way towards the door which lead to the stairwell that connected the Ducal Apartments to the rest of the palace. a sad smile crossing her lips. Chyeshuish was just standing up from his seat.salmon. Indeed. Rana’s mother was sitting. Whenever the young Heiress felt overwhelmed. A visit from you would probably do her good. If Aheneko and her father thought that this Pairan would help her. Pairan was a great help. She descended the stairs which opened up into a large room occupied by the Grand Ducal Guardsmen who controlled access to the Ducal Apartments upstairs. preparing to depart to carry out the rest of his morning duties. Ekomuni turned her attention to her daughter. The Grand Ducal Guards were comprised of eighteen of the Duchy’s most skilled soldiers. She had been a blessing for the young woman in more ways then her father or Aheneko could have imagined all those years ago. or Lieutenants. The young heiress’ mind refocused on the breakfast table in front of her. Rana. seemingly lost in her own thoughts while Menino silently cleared the Duchess’ empty plate from the table. it was her faithful guard who helped her cope.

but fears her time is short. Mother says she is stable.” “I will. smiling kindly. Ahenthair. “Take care. “I fear that your mother’s prediction might be true. my Lady. At the end of the hall. “Yes it is. as tall as her father. Rana turned left into the main corridor which connected all the hallways on this level of the Palace. Give her our best wishes.” A darkness crossed the green eyes of the tall robed man and he quickly cast his gaze away from the young woman.and give Aheneko my regards. “I am just going to see how Aheneko is doing. her father’s Grand Vizier and chief magic user of the Grand Duchy. the various offices of the Military Commanders as well as the door to the Grand Ducal War Room where military strategy was planned and coordinated. with long white hair and an immaculately kept white goatee. Ahenthair wore deep blue robes and soft leather sandals as well as a golden ring set with a brilliant sapphire on his right hand. Efoguen. Rana encountered Ahenthair Ycashiosh. Rana . She traveled southwards along the main corridor to where another hallway opened up on her left and turned down it. After only a few steps into this passageway. She followed this hallway past the Grand Ducal Guards’ barracks.” “Very good. He was a tall man.” the Grand Vizier noted in a matter of fact tone.” she replied happily.” Rana replied. The offices of the highest Court Officials as well as their quarters were located down this new corridor.brought you good dreams and a restful sleep. thank you. He turned and walked past the young Ducal Heiress and . “Yes. then are we?” Ahemthair surmised. My Lady.” the magician disparaged. “A crisp morning. His green eyes sparkled with great knowledge as well as a sense of authority that only individuals who studied the deepest magics seemed to possess. “Checking on Aheneko.” “Yes it did.” Rana exited the guard room through the door at the south east corner and entered into a long hallway.” the old man ventured after a short pause.

Just behind this sitting area was a large bookshelf where the Warlock’s personal tomes and scrolls were orderly kept. child. Aheneko looked old. It was under the large blanket on the bed that Rana found the ailing Warlock.” “Mother says you are well but aren’t getting better. was a large four poster bed. so she knocked again . child.again marking her as a Richethi . seemed more yellow and jaundiced then it should have been.” “Come in. Rana. Rana opened the door and entered Aheneko’s living quarters. “I am so pleased you have come to see me. “My time in this world has been long and rewarding. Rana. closing the door behind her. towards the back of the room. At first.” the Warlock replied . which constantly changed their colour . one of the hallmarks of her race. as well.” Aheneko told her as the young girl pulled a chair next to the bed and sat down. there was no response. Behind this. was now grey and sparse. “Who is it?” a frail voice drifted through the wood door. The young woman took a deep breath and then gently knocked on the door. I’ve come to see how you are doing. Her golden coloured skin. which had been thick and luxurious. continued on her way. “Your mother was here first thing to check on me. but other then that . Aheneko. But the old woman’s eyes. It had a sitting area to the left of the door which was made up of two oak chairs and a small oak table. The single room which served as the Richethi’s home within the Palace was the same size and dimensions as every other staff quarters located in the building. also made of oak. “It’s Rana.” Rana replied sadly. To the right of the door was a large rug set before the room’s fireplace which burned brightly. walking until she came to the fourth door on the right-hand side of the hallway.were as sharp and knowledgeable as Rana could remember. Her once white hair.you are my first visitor of the day.this time a little louder.continued on his way.” came the old Warlock’s reply.

” Aheneko began. One day we all must walk the Halls of Eræron.the one in the concert hall which prophesied the death of a loved one. “There are many who do not remember any other Warlock at Court. They too will help continue to protect the Empire and the Grand Duchy.” Rana was quiet.with a smile. wishing to change the subject. I must tell you something. Pairan will remain along with the members of her unit.” Aheneko continued.” Again silence fell between the two. “The day is yet young and Eræron has allowed me at least this moment to spend with you. but some have foretold me of events with great consequences. Besides. Always remember that the members of my Order have sworn an oath to protect the Empire. Could it be that Aheneko’s passing would be the actualization of this vision? “Aheneko. It is simply part of the natural cycle. such is the fate of mortals. Most of them have been harmless.” “Indeed. “As comfortable as I can be. “Rana. Her mind kept returning to the vision . Aheneko. “don’t let my passing from this world disturb you. “Do not mourn me once I have passed onward.” “You will be greatly missed. A new Warlock will be sent from Tor Keisoryse.” The young woman did not reply. Every so often I have visions. as they each contemplated their own thoughts. But we must celebrate the time spent here on Nytheun and with our loved ones. There is one vision which has yet to come to pass which disturbs me greatly. Child.only our mission.” Rana observed. It warns that someone dear to me will be taken from this world and great chaos will erupt throughout . where my Order is headquartered. Aheneko?” Rana asked. “Something I have only ever told Pairan. The individuals are not important . for she was fighting an inner battle. prophecies of the future. reflecting on the old woman’s wise words.” Rana announced. let us not dwell on such morbid thoughts. and your father will again have a Richethi advisor trained to help him keep the Empire safe. but fear not. “Still.” “Are you comfortable.

” A serious look had overcome the Warlock’s face and she looked deeply into Rana’s eyes. Each passing day. Grand Duke of Ravenstone. this is a blessing given to you by Eræron herself. Finally. Do not speak of these visions to anyone else. my Child. calling upon every skill she had learnt as a healer to make the Warlock’s passage from this world as . Be careful how you interpret these visions. stormy evening a number of weeks after that fateful conversation. Child. The Duchess did everything in her power. “Then heed my words. It may be unpleasant or challenging. “It would seem Eræron has blessed you as well. Choose the path which leads to Truth and you cannot err. But also remember.” the Warlock asserted. No prophecy has any true power over us unless we choose to give it authority.” Those wise words would stay with Rana all through the coming weeks as Aheneko’s condition worsened. daughter of Ethithung Geongechuth. Some individuals might use such knowledge against you. “Time will tell what will truly come to pass. but it forces us to be the best sort of individual we can be. Rana’s mother was called to Aheneko’s bedside.” “Very well. Use it wisely and it will help you in your hour of greatest need. “As for the portent of your vision and how it relates to me. One day you will wear the Crown of the Crimson Kings and your authority must be absolute within the bounds of the Grand Duchy.the Grand Duchy. There are some who might perceive of this gift as a weakness and use it to stir up trouble against your rule. on a dark. Not even to your parents. the old Warlock grew sicker and sicker. But remember. You say Pairan is the only other person who knows of this?” “Yes. Ecrana Geongechuth. sometimes suffering and chaos are necessary in order for us all to grow and to learn.” Aheneko intoned. The messages of the gods are not always easy to understand and their portents should not be divulged lightly.” Aheneko shrugged. Always remember that we control our own fate with the choices we make. “Indeed.

but she persisted . the silver glow of the moon Eqyrsh illuminating her features. As per the traditions of the Richethi Order. A dark coloured cloak kept the night’s chill air from her body. the sky cloudless and filled with the brightly shining stars. praising her years of dedication and service to the Grand Duchy and to the Empire as a whole. was a quarter of the way to its zenith. “I thought I would find you here. signaling the passage of the beloved Richethi Warlock. Thypryrrm. the gold coloured skin. Finally. joining the multitude of others who walked the Halls of Eræron. It would be delivered to the head of the Order to undergo whatever secret burial rites the Richethi exercised and a new Warlock would be selected and ferried back to Noch Geongechuth to continue Aheneko’s work. the red moon. Nobles from neighbouring Duchies as well as dignitaries from foreign nations arrived to pay their respects. the silver moon. a great memorial was held. Aheneko’s body was put aborad one of the Grand Duchy’s warships and sailed to the island home of the ancient Order. was just beginning to rise to the east while Eqyrsh. Rana sat silently on the edge of the fountain in the middle of the hedge maze. Bells tolled throughout the city. The various religious leaders of the Duchy’s six religious orders blessed the Warlock and wished her peaceful travels in the afterlife. Aheneko closed her eyes one last time and her spirit departed. On the night after Aheneko’s memorial and the departure of her body for Tor Keisoryse. Their reverberations sent chills through Rana’s body.holding onto the advice Aheneko herself had given her. the jet black hair and the eyes that constantly shifted colour.painless as possible. the Grand Duke himself gave an eulogy in Aheneko’s honour. she saw Pairan standing not far from her. In the end.” a familiar voice interrupted her thoughts. but she felt a deep coldness and emptiness within that no garment or fire could chase away. So absorbed in those thoughts. It was a cool autumn night. Looking up. Rana never noticed the tall figure standing nearby until it spoke. Before Aheneko’s body was to be taken back to her homeland. She . The Richethi warrior had all the hallmarks of her race.

” Pairan smiled warmly. But as they left the central clearing. “It is starting to get cold. . As long as you rule with love in your heart and intelligence in your mind. “I don’t believe Aheneko is the one from your vision. your parents will be worried. “I fear what will happen now that she is gone.” Pairan interrupted her contemplations.” The two women rose and started back through the maze towards its entrance. you will never err and the Grand Duchy will prosper. Pairan watched Rana’s face. We should return to the Palace. on the other hand. The Grand Ducal Heiress. Rana rose quickly and rushed into the Richethi’s arms. looked deeply into the eyes of the statue of the salmon which rose up above the fountain. And you will be the same when it is time for you to take up that duty. The golden hilt of a broadsword could be seen sticking out of its scabbard at her right hip.” The Grand Ducal Heiress started. as it always has. Your father is a wise commander and ruler of the people. “Come. Her tall guardian sat down next to her. the Grand Duchy continues on. Black riding boots protected her feet and lower legs and a black cloak was draped around her muscular shoulders. She remembered again that day she had first come here with Aheneko and the Warlock’s wise words. Pairan.” They were quiet for a few moments. and when I heard the tolling of the bells throughout the city today. worried that such a young mind was dealing with so many fears. Rana. hoping that one day she would be as wise as the recently departed Warlock. Rana.wore a black leather bustier and a matching leather kilt. Rana turned back one more time to look into the eyes of the salmon. quietly waiting for Rana to speak. Do not worry. That is all that the people can ask of their rulers. the young woman finally composed herself and sat back down on the edge of the fountain. my whole body felt cold. Tears immediately began to stream down her face and Pairan simply held the young woman close. After a few moments. “The vision still haunts me.

Pairan found Rana practicing her harp alone in the Grand Ducal Concert Hall. Menino tried everything to keep her mistress’ spirits up. she kept hearing the reverberation of the funeral bells. On a snowy day in Egeniung. so much so that she could not hear anything else. the second month of winter. But it was Pairan who truly understood why Rana had been so deeply affected by the passing of the Warlock. Even Rana’s parents had noticed a change in their daughter since the passing of Aheneko and had become concerned for her well being. But other times they were at the forefront of the dreams. Sometimes they were deep in the background and she fancied she sensed them more then she actually heard them. illuminated by the grey light that filtered in from the windows on the south side of the room. Rana’s small circle of friends had noticed her melancholy but could not fathom its cause. trying to figure out how she could dispel the malaise. The harpist sat on a simple stool in the middle of the of the massive hall. Her harp stood next to her and she seemed to be one with her instrument. her delicate fingers caressing the frequencies from the high tension of the . but could not seem to break through the dark cloud that hovered over the heiress’ demeanor. In her dreams. Ekomuni talked often with her daughter. which was located on the second floor of the palace. dreary weather added to Rana’s malaise and a deep feeling of foreboding was growing in the depths of her being. The cold. they were always there somewhere. No matter what she was dreaming of.Chapter 3 Walking The Road That winter was longer and colder then what was usually experienced in the Grand Duchy.

“It is beyond the physical and the rational. The music came to an end as Rana took a break. The girl’s back was to Pairan and the warrior doubted if Rana had even heard her enter the hall. for this room was the scene of the young girl’s disturbing vision. Rana turned around with a start. “What is not?” the young woman returned in a confused voice. however. Worrying about it is changing you. The tall golden skinned warrior did not disturb her charge as she played a particularly difficult passage over and over. Was Rana perhaps seeing the vision yet again? “It isn’t real. .strings. Pairan followed her gaze but could not discern what had captured the girl’s attention. for Pairan found herself enraptured by the magical tones that emanated from Rana’s fingertips. but this vision with the performance and the bells…” Pairan countered. “The vision. “You do not know what it truly means and what it portends. everything is bright and sharp. “Do you see how the light is grey? It is grey because of the clouds and the snow outside which distorts the light coming to us from the sun.” Pairan reassured in a calm voice.” “Yes.” Rana turned back to look at the windows. This time was no different. Worry began to seep into the warrior’s thoughts. but simply sat down in a chair not far from where Rana was playing. my love.” Pairan explained. mesmerized by the passionate talent her charge possessed. The world appears to be dull and undefined. The warrior was reminded again of why she so deeply loved this beautiful girl who sat before her. her hands resting gently upon the pleats of the green dress that covered her thighs and lower legs.they are easy to view and distinguish what is happening. Her head turned slightly and she looked up into the windows high above the floor of the concert hall. My visions are always bright and sharp . There were countless times when the Richethi had sat and listened to the Erupuan woman’s playing. It seems to me like feelings bestowed upon you by forces we can never truly comprehend. for she had not sensed that Pairan had been watching her. On sunny days.

Pairan.” The young woman was quiet for a few moments.” she changed the subject.except for one blatant exception: the ending. It had been about a month since she had last experienced the vision. and this time it was as lucid and powerful as the first time she had heard the music of her harp in her mind’s eye. “I hope you enjoyed my playing. determined to make a decision to combat the chaos.” “I always enjoy hearing you play. But as Pairan departed. Her gaze turned to the warrior’s face. As she stood up tall. We just have to make the right choices. my love. not only your spirits but also how you seem to react to things.” “We can always change what will happen to us and who we are. Let me help you find some way to change the prophecy of this dark vision so that the dark portents it reveals do not come to pass. The vision was the same as it had always had been . and without thought.” Rana smiled at that and hugged the tall woman close. Rana collapsed down hard onto the floor of the concert hall. so let me help you. Pairan. she heard someone cry out: “The Crimson King is slain!” The vision cleared and her knees failed her. However. She looked deeply into Pairan’s colour-changing eyes. Rana was quiet. The terrible shock of the vision kept her motionless and numb for . Numbly. The visions always came to pass. and Rana knew deep down that this one was no different. standing up and starting to pack up her harp.Your family and friends have noticed a change in you. the young girl felt a chill course through her body. seeing the love and concern there. she put her hand on her harp and was suddenly overcome with the vision again.” Again. I am the only one who knows why. The chaos it prophesied would come to the Grand Duchy and nothing she did would change it. “I have to go to class now. there was nothing anyone could do.” the warrior returned. I wish I could change what seems to be fated. silently contemplating the Richethi’s words. “I wish I knew how to do that. “It reminds me of why I love you so much.

she found herself opening up the door of the Palace school room and finding a seat near the large desk occupied by Wycheren Edoshesh.” Whycheren paused for a moment.a long time. He had of course witnessed much of Rana’s recent melancholy and he had heard many of the Palace staff and servants talk about it. looking at her teacher . As you know. It was all she could do in order to keep herself from collapsing in a heap of utter dismay. In fact. not even watching where she was going but trusting that her feet knew the way. Quickly she pulled herself up off the floor and exited the concert hall. The elderly sage with the long white hair and mustache fixed his green eyes on the face of the young woman who sat before him. he smoothed the front of his crimson coloured robe and then gently cleared his throat. every . “I am sorry I am late. At last. “I was practicing my harp and lost track of the time. “But I must ask: it does seem as if something is bothering you…” The young woman looked away briefly and then returned her eyes to the face of her teacher.” “Not to worry. All she could think of was that Pairan had been right. As he gazed into her green eyes his worry increased. my Lady. his mind reeling with implications. I might have some good news that may improve your spirits.” he replied in a deep voice. But he returned his thoughts to the task which lay before him at this precise moment in time. she had no idea how much time had actually passed when she began to become aware of her surroundings again. Her father was the one would die and bring about the chaos which would engulf the Grand Duchy. For quite some time. she simply sat there. “Well. She forced herself to keep moving.waiting for him to begin the day’s lesson. Master Wycheren. the Palace Tutor. Master Wycheren had watched the young woman enter his classroom as if in a daze and was immediately worried for his most important student.” Rana apologized. “I’m not feeling completely myself. Absently. Aheneko’s death was not what had been foretold by the vision.

you are right on track.or what also is counted as 1137 of the Crimson Kings Era here in Ravenstone. my Lady. to find out whether you would be willing to give a solo performance in the Grand Ducal Concert Hall on the afternoon of the Munammeren Celebration.” Memories of the vision flashed through Rana’s mind but she quickly brought her thoughts back into focusing on the classroom around her.” “I always enjoy performing. I have been asked by Master Poserun Munaplata.year the citizens of the Grand Duchy commemorate the deeds of your ancestor. We celebrate his accomplishments on the anniversary of the signing of the treaty that brought our beloved realm back into the folds of the Empire. Of course. my Lady. and Emperor Gycherun in the seventh year of the Second Imperial Age . What purpose does the Treaty hold?” “It is the formal terms agreed upon which brought Ravenstone back under the fold of the Erupuan Empire. though it was signed a millennia after he ruled the Crimson Realm.” “Excellent.” the old school teacher continued. the Great. King Munammeren. A certain amount of taxes . Especially for my people. good. the Palace Chamberlin. the last Crimson King of Ravenstone. “I would like that greatly. my Lady.” “Good.” she remarked. Master Whycheren. What does the Treaty demand of the Grand Duke in respect to the Imperial Throne?” “Absolute loyalty and allegiance to the Imperial Throne. “I am so happy. It would be a wonderful way for you to show the people your talent and also how much this great celebration means to the Grand Duchy. “Now let us talk some of the Treaty of Munammeren today.” “Yes. forcing a smile onto her delicate lips. you will remember that the treaty itself is even named after the Great King himself. Since its signing the Realm of the Crimson Kings ceased to exist and the Grand Duchy of Ravenstone was created. “I will let Master Poserun know and he can begin making plans for this wonderful event. What can you tell me about this important document?” “It was signed by King Ekotai.” Whycheren beamed.

As such. “Normally.” the old sage informed her. present himself before the Imperial Court and restate his vows of allegiance to the Emperor.” “Yes. Once a year. our closest allies. “However. that was one thing.” “Very good. “The Grand Duchy was able to keep its knightly order. “The Grand Duke of Ravenstone is the only Duke in all the Empire who has the authority to negotiate treaties with foreign nations. I didn’t realize some of them came to the Court of the Crimson King.” she admitted. all foreign relations are handled by the Imperial Court. the Grand Duke must travel to the Imperial Capital of Eruplong. on the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty.” “I have seen many foreigners in the city. Whycheren. The Grand Duke and his advisors are much more aware of what goes on in the Crimson Strait then anyone could possibly be at the Imperial Court.” Rana stated. The “I do not know. However. my Lady. it is much more efficient for the Crimson Court to negotiate treaties and military alliances concerning the Crimson Strait then having officials thousands of miles away in Eruplong do it for us. many foreign nations have ambassadors at your father’s court and we are constantly negotiating with them on a multitude of issues. Now what freedoms does the Grand Duchy enjoy which are unique to our realm compared to other Duchies within the Empire because of the Treaty?” Rana thought hard for a few moments. Military aid as required by the Emperor. the Crimson Knights. What else?” Rana pondered the workings of the Grand Duchy but could not think of any other unique powers the Grand Duke enjoyed over his peers. have always had a representative here.” “Anything else?” “Yes. the Iperatesi. Master . We are the only Duchy in the Empire to have our own knightly order.transferred to the Imperial Treasury every year. because of Ravenstone’s important strategic placement. Which other nations have ambassadors?” “Well.

my Lady.Ronithæ elves also have an ambassador. but our dealings with them are minimal. “And the issues regarding each of the them are different. We also deal quite a bit with the ambassador from the Zïrilï Shin Empire because their western most lands are located on the opposite shore of the Crimson Strait. let us return to our original topic: the Treaty of Munammeren.” Master Whycheren replied. “Most scholars refer to this architectural style as Ammæchuth because of its use of distinctive red stones. It also uses mosaics of tiles as decoration on walls and in ceilings. There are many examples of Ammæchuth architecture within Noch Geongechuth. So can you tell me what are some of the unique cultural factors that the people of Ravenstone enjoy?” “There is a style of architecture which was originally developed during the Crimson Kings Era which is unique to the Grand Duchy. Ekotai not only wanted to celebrate our unique culture which developed during the Crimson Kings Era. who afterwards was the first Grand Duke of Ravenstone in the Second Imperial Age.” “That is quite a lot of different nations and races we deal with. Sometimes there are merchants from the Kingdoms of the Pliac who request passage through the Crimson Strait. and indeed across the entire Duchy. It was constructed by King Munammeren’s son. There is one representative from the Jufuovhofin who we are constantly dealing with because of their known piracy on the Ethesh Whyonqü. that is correct. also created the celebration which falls on the anniversary of the Treaty’s signing. “Indeed. King Eblonamma. but he also wanted to celebrate our return to the Empire. the tallest tower of the Palace. my Lady.” . The Dwarves and Halflings of the Atïhosas Mountains also have their own ambassadors at Court. In fact. as an observatory for the Crimson Kings. But. there are none more prominent then the Pläsh Gyisamma. An emissary from one of the Emirites of Raivarivar also attends court. “Yes.” the Grand Ducal Heiress noted.” Rana answered proudly.” Whycheren beamed. King Ekotai.

In fact.Rana suddenly had a thought. he does not normally participate in the celebrations. then?” “You are correct. if the Grand Duke is at the Imperial Court renewing his allegiance to the Emperor.” the school teacher acknowledged.” . none of the Grand Dukes have ever been present in the city for the Munammeren Celebrations because of the requirements of the treaty. “Your Father will be at the Imperial Court whilst we celebrate. my Lady. “Master Whycheren.

The orchestra was working on a particularly difficult section of an ancient Iperatesi song called Amosyl Etos. In his right hand was a small wand which he expertly waved through the air keeping time for the musicians who sat playing under his watchful gaze. The song had originally been composed for the lyre or the harp by the legendary Iperatesi Bard Sylarrö in the ancient Pre-Imperial Age. Rana was sitting in her allotted place in Axuzith Etoliysth’s concert hall with the rest of the conductor’s orchestra. Mæstro Etoliysth had composed a fully orchestrated version giving the piece a truly epic air yet still remained faithful to its ancient Iperatesi feel. With his left hand he would indicate accents for certain sections or simply turn the pages of music which were laid out before him on his conductor’s pedestal. The difficult part was to be found at the end of the main verse section where a change to an odd time signature was emphasized by an intricate harp solo built upon a complex arpeggio.played by Rana on her harp . His beardless face had a chiseled quality about it which seemed to accentuate his intense green eyes.Chapter 4 Horizons Change On a beautiful afternoon in the month of Arrieniung. eighteen days before Etashycu. The solo itself . or The Siren Of The Vein River.was not the issue. The entire ensemble was rehearsing for the Etashycu concert and Axuzith was working them hard. He wore a loose fitting white tunic and navy blue leggings which were tucked into the tops of his black leather boots. The Mæstro was about average height for an Erupuan man with long orange coloured hair. for the Grand Ducal Heir had diligently practiced this difficult solo until she could play it without even looking at the . the spring equinox .

” The orange haired conductor looked from the cellos that sat directly in front of him to the two groups of violins on his left and right and finally over at Rana who sat with her harp next to the first row of violins on the right.” the orange haired conductor instructed.sheets of music in front of her. “Stop.” the girl replied. Following the direction of the conductor. With the Mæstro counting each beat in their time signature out-loud. Mæstro. Mæstro Etoliysth made a motion with his left hand in the direction of the cellos. stop!” Etoliysth commanded with great frustration seeping into his deep baritone voice. What was proving difficult was the backing rhythm played by the cellos and violins. the assembled cello players began to slide their bows across the taught strings of their instruments creating a deep resonating staccato that accentuated the melody Rana was repeating. the cello and violin players were able to keep proper time with Rana. Etoliysth let the phrase repeat twice and then made a final motion towards the two banks of violins who began playing arpeggios of their own in a mezzo-piano. “Let us begin again…” With this command. These transposed chordal figures were so expertly written that there was no point when they were dissonant with the melody . Axuzith Etoliysth began to wave his wand. “Perhaps we should take this section apart. “Cellos and violins come in on my signal. After she played through the phrase once.even though the later was written in a different key. My Lady. . “We still cannot achieve the proper feel or timing. The musicians were having trouble keeping proper time with Rana’s playing. After one bar of his count he turned his head and nodded to Rana who began to play the ancient melody with all her skill. a pattern that had been written in a different time signature and key then the harp solo. would you be so kind as to play the main phrase of the solo repeatedly until I indicate that you can stop?” “Of course. counting out-loud the timing of the rhythm so that all the musicians could hear. stop.

“Not at all. They also complimented Rana on her exceptional playing and she in turn shared her good opinions of their performances. using his wand and his strong baritone.perhaps nine bars before it ends .“Good. The players in turn congratulated each other as they packed up their instruments. Rana. stopping the musicians after playing through the passage four times. let us now go back to the end of the verse section . As she fastened the clips that held fast the protective case which wrapped around her harp. “I am still filled with wonder when I listen to you play. One more signal from the conductor and the feel of the music changed again as the time signatures of the instruments were altered.” Etoliysth complimented. The orchestra followed his cue and began the final phrase of the verse. Alright. when the Grand Ducal Heiress put her fingers back on the strings of her harp and began to fluidly play the ancient melody.” Rana blushed. The resonating staccato of the cellos began as well as the counterpointed messo-piano arpeggios of the violins. “Your playing is an inspiration to us all. nine bars before the end of the verse section on my mark…” The Mæstro began to count in. good. Now . a dramatically rolling melody played over dense harmonies and a subtle bass line. The tension of the piece had been built up to this moment.and attempt the transition into this section. At the appropriate time. The entire song had come together at last and Axuzith Etoliysth congratulated the assembled musicians on their hard work.” he continued. “You have a natural talent which allows you to feel the music as it should be and express that feeling within your playing. Axuzith. The cellos and double basses began to drone long deep notes while the violins played a short series of repeating notes. she looked up to see Axuzith Etoliysth standing nearby. Etoliysth signaled for the transition and the cadence and rhythm of the music changed. good.” “You are too kind.” the Mæstro acclaimed in his deep baritone. “Now you all have a feel for the proper timing. my Lady.

or they would have to find some alternate means to return to the Palace. She reached out and took hold of the handle of the harp case and lifted it gently off the ground. may Ethone wash your worries. I will not miss the next rehearsal.” Rana intoned. which was richly decorated with paintings of famous musicians and conductors as well as statues of some of the most famous composers known to the Empire. Either the way would be clear.remember. Etoliysth turned and walked away to attend to other matters and Rana looked around the concert hall. Rana fell into step behind Pairan as they neared the main entrance of the concert hall where the Ducal Carriage waited outside. they entered into the foyer. having gone through such procedures countless times during her life knew that she was to wait inside with her harp until her bodyguard returned. but we made great progress today. my Lady.” the Mæstro replied. Pairan put the harp case down and then stepped through the main door. Rana. watching as the other musicians slowly filed out. Rehearsals are necessary to prepare for performances and as such. Pairan came walking up to where the young woman was standing. we have another rehearsal next hyung. Together. You know I will not miss an opportunity to play for the citizens of the Duchy. my good friend.” “May he wash your worries as well. “We have some work yet to do. Axuzith. At the threshold. the tall black haired warrior re-entered the foyer and motioned .” the red haired woman opined. She followed the golden skinned Chaotic Lord down from the orchestral stage and up along the main aisle of the concert hall.” the black leather clad warrior noted. “It would appear that the group is well prepared for the performance. We will be putting the finishing touches on the Amosyl Etos so it will be ready for the Etashycu celebrations. “Until then.” “Very good. having been watching the rehearsal from one of the first rows of seats beyond the stage.” “I will be here. After a few Koasyxe.

The door was closed by the carriage driver who had been standing in the perfect position to complete this exact task. your safety is my primary duty.and concerning such matters. Pairan. the driver appeared and gingerly placed the harp case into the storage area at the rear of the carriage and then climbed up into the drivers seat at the front of the vehicle.” the red haired woman sighed. her bodyguard was always correct. Pairan rolled her eyes. to follow any procedure I believe will keep you safe. “You are the one who keeps saying that foul winds will soon come upon us and someone dear to you will be killed. taking the seat opposite her charge. Rana sat down on the seat facing the front of the carriage and looked out the window. “If I feel that something or someone might threaten you then I am perfectly within the authority granted to me by your father. She watched as the carriage driver entered the concert hall and retrieved the harp case under the watchful eye of Pairan. Of course. mesmerized by their . “I still think all of that is a little much. the carriage began to move up the street in the direction of the Palace.” Rana complained once they had been moving for a few blocks. Pairan was right . Do you not think then that such precautions are wise?” Rana was silent. With a sudden lurch. She then lifted her left arm and rapped strongly on the wall of the coach. across a short expanse to the step of the waiting carriage and up into the open door of the coach.” Pairan explained for the thousandth time.to Rana.” The young woman looked into the eyes of the Richethi. Pairan opened the door of the coach and climbed inside. The Grand Ducal Heiress wordlessly followed her protector’s command and stepped through the doorway. the Grand Duke. “I just wish things would be less complicated.” “I know. A moment later. “Rana. indicating to the driver that they were ready to depart. who stood at the base of the carriage steps scanning the street and the people who were present.

What their exact mission entailed. taking a few steps and sitting down next to her. It had been a few ycun before Pairan and her unit of Chaotic Lords were set to depart Noch Geongechuth on some military mission her father had ordered for them. She noted the windows and doorways of each building. she saw the tall golden skinned warrior standing nearby. Turning. the face of her bodyguard filled Rana with a sense of security and of love. But the familiar vision of the streets of Noch Geongechuth faded from her consciousness as she silently remembered that night not long ago when the two woman expressed their love for each other. Her feelings for the often blunt Chaotic Lord ran deep.” Pairan smiled.which was most of the time. Silently.not even her parents. the top of a small hill that overlooked the Crimson Strait beyond the north wall of the Palace grounds. her black cloak flapping in the wind. in fact they were feelings she shared with no other person she knew . watching the red roofs and stone facades of the buildings pass by. The Chaotic Lotuses were to be taken by merchant ship to a little known cove on the Zïrilï Shin coast. “I don’t mean to. out into the waters of the strait beyond the wall. some were shops whilst others were residences of the citizens of the city.but Rana surmised it had to do with the ongoing power-struggle to control the Crimson Strait. Rana had been sitting in one of her favourite spots. “You have been avoiding me. As always. the warrior adjusted the scabbard of her sword. She loved Pairan deeply and this passionate feeling was shared by the often inquisitive warrior. “My race has served your Empire since . Her brown eyes looked off into the distance. “I know.constantly shifting colours.” the red haired woman put in. unclasping it from her belt and laying it reverently upon the green grass next to her. Pairan would never tell .” that familiar voice broke into her thoughts. Rana. Rana sat back on the carriage bench and looked out the window. The young woman had been trying to come to grips with the strange feelings she had been experiencing whenever Pairan was near .

We were created to ensure that the Empire is safe and prospers. The warrior saw adoration and fear in those young windows of the soul. How will you do that if you are so far away?” Pairan’s eyes . My duty to him in this regard takes precedence over my duty to you.” “Not your only purpose. she returned her gaze to the sea deeply pondering her next words.” The Richethi’s eyes turned a deep lavender colour and she brushed back a few strands of her black hair which had fallen into her face because of the wind.” the Richethi started. returning a hyung later safe and sound. After all.looked deeply into the green eyes of her charge. I am sorry. who is my commander. Yet in all that time we continue to faithfully fulfill our purpose. Quickly. on the other hand. flinging herself into the arms of her protector. Rana was never so happy to see her protector and the two of them had . this is the purpose for which I am here. “You were also commanded to protect me. Rana’s face lifted up and deeply kissed Pairan fully on the lips . she gave in to her own passions and fully embraced the young woman. She had often noted how Rana’s demeanor had changed recently when the Chaotic Lord was present.the days of the Demon Wars.” Rana interjected. “Your father has commanded such. “Your father. but I must go. returning her passionate kisses. however. was only mildly surprised by the sudden outpouring of passion. Pairan” the young woman wailed. At that exact moment. “I must lead my unit on this mission. In the end.now blue . Rana began to cry on Pairan’s shoulder and the Richethi simply held her close.no matter what may come of them. Pairan had departed with the Chaotic Lotuses. I am happy to follow these orders . Without a thought.” “I don’t want you to go. has set before me a task which follows the spirit of my purpose. The Chaotic Lord. Rana. The two individuals on the hill top stopped the passionate kissing and took deep breaths.the young woman let her passion and her fear consume her completely. But Pairan was torn between her own feelings and her overriding sense of duty.

as Rana sat in the coach watching the buildings go by. The vehicle then came to a stop as the Palace guard interviewed the driver. “We finally made progress with the Amosyl Etos. “How was the rehearsal. She would always be safe because the Richethi loved her and that love was stronger then the Chaotic Lord’s deep sense of duty. my Lady. Ivych. The sound of the horses drawing the carriage changed as their hooves began to tread across the wooden planks of the drawbridge which connected the old city to the Palace Gate. the Warden of the Gate. “Indeed. The Ivych’s blue eyes scanned the coach quickly then centered on the face of the Richethi. I always enjoy your performances and I am really looking forward to hearing you play for the Etashycu celebrations. He had medium length curly orange hair and a full beard. my Lady. “An orderly trip.” Pairan reported in an equally formal tone. “Ycu quæth. She knew she was safe and always would be. my Lady?” the Ivych turned and asked the Ducal Heiress.” “Ycu quæth.talked for a long time about what had happened on the hill. There was no power in existence that could come between them. “I am pleased to hear that. The carriage was beginning to slow and Rana looked out the window and recognized the large open park which occupied a large area before the gates of the Palace grounds. Pairan stood and opened it revealing the chain armoured figure of Ivych Munesa Efuhue. Munesa.” Munesa quirried in a formal voice.” the young woman replied. Enjoy the rest of the ycu. Now. I trust Immosehon. A few moments went by and a polite knock was then heard at the door of the coach. noting the eight other .” the Warden called as the carriage began to move. Munesa.” Rana intoned as the orange haired man signaled to the driver that he was cleared to enter the Palace Grounds. even if Pairan was away on some mission set forth by Rana’s father. she looked over at Pairan and into her deep green eyes which were beginning to turn a lighter shade. The young woman watched out the window of the coach.

a black raven with wings unfurled. too. Their crimson surcoats displayed the crest of the Grand Duke.” “The visions?” Pairan’s voice was laced with more worry. my love. Pairan stood and opened the door of the coach. “My instincts are telling me the same thing. After a few moments. she signaled to Rana and the young woman rose from her seat and exited the carriage.” the Richethi scolded. “I believe it will be a good thing for me. look forward to your performance. They wore shinny chain mail shirts with steel greaves on their arms and legs.” Rana replied. coming to a gentle stop with practiced precision. four on each side . Again.” she continued. the young woman looked out the window. and the steel pommels of their swords hung at their belts.” the Richethi told her. “It will give me a chance to perform before my solo for the Munammeren Celebrations. Next. four on each side of the gate. seeing the hedges of the labyrinth coming up on her right. looking again at Pairan.” The Grand Ducal Heiress looked again out the window. What she saw next was the stonework of the gatehouse tunnel as the carriage drove through the fortified entrance. darling. “Rana. “No. their commander. “You know better then to lie to me.guards of Munesa’s unit. The Chaotic Lotuses were formed up along the grand stairwell. “Everything deep within my soul is telling me that the Munammeren Celebrations will bode ill tidings for us all.” “But we have the power to change our fate. the carriage and the surrounding .” “Are you worried about your solo?” Pairan asked. stepping down the ladder and onto the cobblestones below.keeping a practiced eye on the Grand Ducal Heiress. the green expanse of the Grand Ducal lawns opened on either side of them and Rana sat back in her seat.” “Do we.” the young woman lied. “It is more then that. “I. a concerned tone filling the Chaotic Lord’s voice. Pairan? Do we indeed?” The carriage pulled up in front of the entry stairwell of the Palace. so much so that Rana could sense her protector’s fears.

statues and various trophies which celebrate the long history of the Grand Duchy. The Hall was decorated with tapestries. my Lady. but that the Iperatesi call Emoteqyr. “I have been ordered to inform you. including the time when it was an independent kingdom under the rule of the Crimson Kings. As Rana and Pairan approached the Ivych of the unit saluted and took a step forward. turning right and walking eastwards .” “Thank you. Pairan and Rana passed them without a word and as they ascended the stairs the Richethi they passed fell into a tight formation all around them. forged from the magical metal the dwarves call Rhäzakheani. were a gift from the Dwarven King. paintings.” “That’s great news!” the young woman beamed. Like Pairan.” he began. Morgrim Ironside VI to King Munammeren a few years before the Siege of Noch Geongechuth. In a few moments.” Rana replied. These massive gates. They passed through the Entry Hall and into the main corridor beyond. It was a massive room that measured one hundred and twenty feet wide and one hundred and forty feet long. they arrived at the massively ornate silver door of the Palace and into a long passageway protected by a second ornate silver door at its far end. “The Grand Duke asks that you go directly to the War Room where you are to be formally introduced. “That the new Richethi Warlock arrived at the Palace while you were at your rehearsal.environment. ready to defend Rana from any hint of danger. they were garbed in black leather bustiers and kilts. A unit of Palace Guardsmen stood at attention at the far gates which were open wide. It's ten foot ceilings gave it a truly monumental feel and its crimson. Pairan and the young Grand Ducal Heiress passed through the second gateway into the Grand Entry Hall of the Palace Of The Crimson Kings. Each had their hands on their swords. Ivych. black and gold coloured decor gave it a regal feeling that immediately presses upon the visitor the power of the Grand Duke of Ravenstone.

or any Military Commander. At the corner. the Erupuan Empire and the entire surface of Nytheun.towards yet another corridor which encircles almost the entire floor. Rana and her guard ascended the spiral staircase up to the fourth floor of the Palace. surrounding areas. the War Room Command Post was located here overlooking the model. where this main artery turned to go westward. The second area of the War Room comprised the tactical command center. was one of four stairwells connecting the various levels of the Palace. It acted as a meeting room for the Duke and his Military commanders as well as the tactical headquarters where the Duke can command all of the Ducal Military Units in times of War. The Warlock had short black hair and the typical Richethi gold coloured skin and colour-shifting eyes. Rana and Pairan found the Grand Duke as well as all of the Military Commanders gathered at the planning table. giving the Duke. This model had the ability to magically display the location of all Ravenstone Military Units as well as any other sort of Military Force located within the model's boundaries and known to Ravenstone's Military Command. A number of small posts are located around this tactical model whose purposes are to continually update information displayed on the model. the smallest of which was the strategic planning area. A large model of the Grand Duchy and surrounding territory was located here. the ability to watch any unfolding military operations & communicate strategies and deployments to units in the field. This large room was the strategic and tactical nerve center of the Grand Duchy. they turned down the hallway which lead directly into the Grand Ducal War Room. The room was divided into two areas. Also. The Richethi’s face was very angular and pointed. giving the Warlock an almost menacing appearance. A large section of the wall next to the round table was covered with detailed maps of the Grand Duchy. There was also a short Richethi garbed in the gold coloured robes of a Warlock sitting at the table as well. This section of the room was furnished with a large round table used to discuss military planning and strategy. Once at the top. .

bowing her head in respect. they ascended up one more level to the Grand Ducal Apartments where Rana spent most of the afternoon contemplating her meeting with the new Richethi Warlock of Ravenstone.” “Indeed. Moothequ. “May I introduce to both of you the new Richethi Warlock for the Grand Duchy. I trust our people have been kept on the path while a Warlock has been absent.” the Grand Ducal Heiress put forth in the most self-assured tone she could muster. Offa.” the Warlock returned.” Moothequ turned her attention to Rana. “You’re father has told me so much about you. Moothequ. Offa. her violet eyes looking deep into the young woman’s own green eyes. allow me to present my daughter and heir. “I am glad to hear that.” “Ycu quæth.” “As you wish. Pairan. And greetings Pairan. “Ycu quæth. Moothequ. Ecrana Geongechuth and the Immosehon of the Chaotic Lotuses. Moothequ.” Pairan replied.“Rana. it has been a pleasure to at last meet you. .” “As it has been for me.” Moothequ intoned.” “A pleasure to meet you at last. my Lady. my Lady. my Lady. Pairan. I am so glad you have arrived at last.” the Warlock replied. For the first time. “We must meet later to discuss matters of import to our order. Rana began to feel a little uneasy under the glare of the Warlock. Pairan followed Rana out of the War Room via the same path they had entered. “As I said.” the Grand Duke greeted them. Once reaching the stairwell. Gocach.

“Are you ready to go. The young woman was tired for her sleep of late had been disturbed by nightmares revolving around her father’s prophesied death. Rana sat on a chair in the first aisle of the concert hall. namely the Etashycu Concert and her solo for the Munammeren Celebrations. However. The warrior had a feeling the vision had gotten worse and she feared for the young girl.Chapter 5 The Tournament’s Begun It was two days before Etashycu. Axuzith Etoliysth’s orchestra had just completed their final rehearsal before the concert which would take place on the night of the equinox. Pairan knew better. As such.” Rana replied. the staff at the concert hall were working very hard to prepare the premises for the influx of people who would soon be gracing the hall for this annual event. Each dream was different and the circumstances of his parting from the world changed as well. These nightmares had been haunting the young woman for a hyung and every ycu she seemed to wake up more tired than she had gone to bed. Beside her was Pairan – ever present in her duty to protect the young heiress. Her parents and friends believed she was feeling the pressures of her upcoming performances. almost in a daze. “Yes. the spring Equinox. . just below the stage. Axuzith was expecting a large crowd as the citizens of Noch Geongechuth saw the Etashycu Concert as one of the highlights of the celebrations surrounding the equinox. Pairan. Rana?” the Richethi asked in a concerned tone. She knew about the haunting vision of doom that her charge had been suffering.

Those who knew better however were well aware of the number of knives and daggers the thief had hidden on his person.” “You will just have to come to the performance then. dark colours and somewhat nondescript .simply pants and a shirt and a wool cloak. He wore no perceptible jewelry and appeared to be unarmed. “Do not bother the Mæstro with the petty wants of a common thief. keeping an eye on everyone and everything around him. He was short. “Perhaps. shorter then both Rana and Pairan .” Ekythibier insisted. just like all the times before. As well.” . no. The expression on the Chaotic Lord’s face was one of disgust. He had pink eyes that seemed to constantly be moving. will be pleased to sell me a ticket. “What are you doing here?” “I wished to hear your rehearsal. But this was not his most striking feature. His name was Ekythibier Aluceacha. Rana. snapping out of the daze.” the white haired man mused.a characteristic of his mixed Erupuan and native lineage.” Pairan stated. His clothes were of drab. Pairan re-entered the concert hall foyer with a man beside her. Together they walked up the main aisle of the hall and out into the foyer. Here again there were a large number of concert hall staff cleaning and preparing for the concert. almost pink.” “I could speak to him…” “No. she had agreed to allow him to talk to Rana. “Ekythibier!” Rana cried in surprise. Axuzith. Pairan followed her security procedure. But whatever Pairan’s feeling towards the man. However. “but it would appear that I am a little late.” the thief replied in a baritone. on this occasion. always scanning his surroundings. skin and white hair that seemed to glow in the sun. first checking that the street was safe before allowing Rana to exit the concert hall and climb up into the waiting carriage. indeed the young man was an albino with pale. “I doubt however that your friend.” the young woman laughed. standing up and then picking up the girl’s large harp case.“Alright then.

a sheepish smile crossing his pale lips. Pairan. Somebody could use such relationships against you.” the thief agreed.” “Yes.” “I am not offended by Pairan’s description.” “Still. “Oh. she had known Ekythibier since she was a small child. Pairan.” Pairan put in. then. At one point. Rana. after all. “May Ethone wash your worries. When at last they were settled and Pairan was satisfied with all the security measures. She quickly found .“Indeed.” Rana replied. “You know how Axuzith feels about criminals. They had been friends for most of her lives. we were just on our way.” “No I suppose it is not.” The Ducal Heiress sighed. understanding Pairan’s words and the reason for them.” Pairan lectured. turning to look at the Richethi. Rana had gotten separated from the Warlock in amongst a large crowd. “And may he wash your worries as well. How could she not talk to him? Her mind slipped back to the moment they had first met.” Rana returned her gaze to the passing buildings. But still. “I’ve known him forever.” the thief admitted. They had spent the day shopping and exploring the large variety of goods and foods that were available.” the young woman sighed. “You really should not be seen with such people as Ekythibier.” Rana preceded Pairan out of the main door of the concert hall and up into the coach of the waiting carriage as they had done many times before. She had been six years old and had been out of the Palace in one of the markets of the city with Aheneko. Ekythibier. “How I provide for myself is not entirely lawful. you are my friend and it is not nice to speak ill of one’s friends. “You will be heading back to the Palace then?” “Yes. the carriage began to move and Rana again watched the buildings of the city pass by through the windows. but you can’t afford to be seen associating with criminals.” Ekythibier bowed his head respectfully. “I wish you wouldn’t say that about Ekythibier.

“Where are your parents?” “Back at home. his eyes stopped scanning his surroundings and focused solely on her face.” “What is your name?” he asked. “What does this nanny look like?” Again. “Rana. Rana was unsure of what to say. I want to help you get back to your parents . noting her rich clothing. For once. Ekythibier.as she had been taught by her parents and many members of the Palace Staff.” he warned her. his eyes were constantly scanning his surroundings . hoping that Aheneko would appear in the crowd and she would be saved from having to give this strange boy information which might allow him to guess who she really was. She just wanted to stand there and watch this strange boy’s pink eyes constantly flash from place to place. “She is sort of like my nanny.” she had answered in a fearful voice. “You won’t last long in these streets dressed like that.” he started in a soothing voice. They can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing or what to watch out for.a quirk that Rana found almost hypnotic. “I have lived on these streets for as long as I can remember. Ekythibier had been thirteen at the time and had seen the small red haired girl lost in the crowd. listen to me. trying hard to figure out the best way to describe Aheneko without giving away her own identity .but in the end it had been the boy with the white hair. He recognized immediately that she was lost and went strait up to her. She just looks after me sometimes. She looked around nervously. knelt down next to her and put his right hand on her shoulder. sensing the girl’s distress and fear.herself lost.” the white haired boy replied. “How about yours?” “Ekythibier. pale skin and strange coloured eyes who had rescued her. or even a City Guard to help her .” she told him. I know them better than anyone who lives around here. She had searched desperately for Aheneko. but not really. “Then who are you with here in the market?” Even then. “Um…” she stammered. alone and very scared. his pink eyes still darting around. “Rana. trying to calm her fears.

let us begin our search for your nanny at Ollufin’s stall.” Ekythibier replied undaunted by the smiths aggressive demeanor. boy?” Ollufin sneared. she has become separated from her nanny and I am trying to help reunite them. The man himself was massive with arms which betrayed his strength to all who could see.” the boy thought out loud.” “Do you remember any other stalls that were around this fruit stand?” The young girl thought for a moment.” Rana sighed in a frustrated voice. “Some new ploy to get your mitts on one o’my daggers. I guess. You need to tell me what your nanny looks like.” “Black hair and yellow skin. “I know it well. But I can not help you unless you help me. “You know the stall?” the Grand Ducal Heiress cried excitedly.” Ekythibier smiled.” “Ollufin’s. “This is Rana. Come.” . “She should be easy to spot then. “Not at all. He looked down at the white haired boy standing before his stall and scowled. his primary tool. In his massive fist he held a large hammer. She says she last saw her nanny near here and I was wondering if perhaps you might have seen her. His brown hair was curly and his eyes green. “We had been walking away from a stall selling fruits and we got separated in the crowd. And there might have been swords too.” Rana described.because you are far too young and far too beautiful to get sucked into the ugliness of street life. “She is about normal height for a woman. an odd look washing over his pale face.” “She has black hair and yellow skin. the sword-smith.big long knives.” The white haired boy lead the young girl by the hand up a row of stalls that were busy with large crowds of shoppers. He turned left at an intersection and continued down this new aisle of merchants until at last they stood before the black canvas covered stall of Ollufin. Where did you last see her?” “I do not know. “There was someone selling knives . Master Ollufin.

The man’s scowl deepened. Rana. “Just tell us if you have seen such a woman. “Did you see which way she went?” “I saw her go over to Egeablas’ fruit stand.The sword-smith’s scowl did not lessen. “I did see such a person.” the sword-smith answered. It was then that she felt something in one of those creases which she quickly pulled out.” the white haired boy shot back. Now as Rana remembered that fateful day. “What does she look like.” “Thank you. Master Ollufin. dear?” Ollufin asked Rana. in Egeabls’s fruit stand they found Aheneko. who was grateful to the young man for helping find Rana. she smoothed the front of her green dress as she thought of the young thief and the friendship they shared. She wore gold coloured robes and did ask me if I had seen a little girl with red hair. The large man took two steps forward and then put his hammer down on a wooden chair that stood at the entrance to his stall. It was just a little while ago. interrupting Rana before she was able to reply. “Come along then. “I asked the girl. To Egeablas’ stall. Ever since that time. it brought a smile to her face. It would seem that perhaps you have found the girl the woman is searching for. He looked from the strange eyes of Ekythibier to the green ones of Rana and then back again.” he spat. It was years later that he discovered that she was indeed Ecrana Geongechuth. his suspicions of the young boy still at the forefront of his mind. “Black hair and yellow skin. stuck to the material of . But their friendship had grown from that first meeting. Absently.” Ekythibier answered.” Ekythibier bowed his head. the young man kept in contact with Rana.” Indeed. his scowl becoming softer. A small piece of parchment revealed itself. all those years ago. the heir to the Grand Ducal Throne and that she in turn discovered that he was a thief.

” the young girl replied. “You just need to trust me. This is exactly the sort of situation I was worried about. Pairan. “It is a note from Ekythibier.” “How does he propose to relay this ‘information’ to us?” the Richethi inquired. “It says he will contact us when it is safe.” Rana returned.” “I do not like this.” “I have trusted him with my life in the past. Rana. Pairan. “This is important. The Richethi looked deeply into the green eyes of the Grand Ducal Heiress. then I have the authority to intervene. If I think something you are doing will put you in danger. “Well.” Rana sighed. I have a feeling about this note. Turning over the parchment.” “You do not have to trust Ekythibier. She immediately recognized it as Ekythibier’s handwriting and was curious as to how the thief had managed to attach the note to her dress without her noticing.her dress by some adhesive. “He says he has some information about certain Palace Staff that I need to know. “One of ‘those’ feelings?” .” the Chaotic Lord replied.” Pairan was quiet. the Richethi’s voice betraying a hint of unease.” Pairan stated in a flat tone.” Rana ignored the Chaotic Lord’s snort. she discovered a note scrawled upon its surface in green ink.” “I do not trust him. “I get the feeling he wants to warn us about something. what does it say?” Pairan queried. suddenly noting the paper in Rana’s hand. her colour shifting eyes rolling ever so slightly. “My duty is to protect you. “What is that?” Pairan asked.” “No. I have told you before that consorting with criminals could be dangerous. “What does a street criminal know about people in the Palace. It had been hidden unseen under the crease of a pleat and now could be found in the palm of the young woman’s hand. “I do not know.” Rana stated in a authoritative voice.

For this Etashycu. to be given to citizens of the city who could find better uses for them. the spring Equinox were underway two ycun later.” “Nuac. “But if I think you are in danger you will follow my commands without question.” There was extra emphasis placed on the word ‘your’. Pairan. That is why we need to get this information from Ekythibier. going through their vast store rooms of items. rose above the horizon. were beginning to clean out their houses and repair broken tools or other household goods. as well as the Palace Staff.” “Alright. Just before sunrise. the sun. A great procession . Rana. a short red haired girl who was nine was selected and immediately draped in the ceremonial golden robes of her station. including those living in the capital.” Celebrations for Etashycu. This is serious. The Grand Ducal Family as well participated in this yearly cleansing ritual. When the brilliance of Otelo. Citizens of the Grand Duchy.” the young girl intoned.” “I know. the sound of women singing. Even in the Palace of the Crimson Kings. imitating the inflection of a soldier. A great cheer arose from the gathered worshipers as ancient hymns welcoming back the warmth of the sun were sung. “We will find out more from your friend. The Ammakiysh of the Priests of Awash.“Yes. “Do not mock me. staff were busy cleaning out the dust and grime accumulated throughout the cold winter months. Immosehon. Everywhere one went. the Ammakiysh turned to the gathered children and selected the chosen Ehoycas. tools and goods and readying things that were no longer in use by the Grand Duke and his family.” Pairan conceded. a gathering of children aged seven to nine assembled within the Temple of Awash in Noch Geongechuth. the Sun Child. god of the Earth. men working and children playing outside was predominant. knelt in prayer before the altar seeking inspiration from the Lord of the Mountains.

Tall black ridding boots and black kilts covered the legs of the nine members of the Chaotic . the Warden of the Gates. Flanking them on their right was the entire unit of Grand Ducal Guards lead by Avuth Efoguen Apluploish. Their destination was the gates of the Palace Compound where the procession halted upon the order of Ivych Munesa Efuhuen. Through the streets of Noch Geongechuth the procession paraded. Messenger of Otelo. the Annakiysh of Awash replied in an equally formal tone. Its deep undulation rippled across the air three successive times and could be heard throughout the city. The Grand Ducal Guards shone brightly in the early morning sunshine. Awaiting their arrival some three yffun from the Gatehouse.then formed up and marched out of the Temple and into the streets beyond . “The Messengers of Otelo.” was the reply. the guards to the left of the Grand Ducal Family were garbed in their own traditional formal attire. “I will announce your coming then. allowing the procession to pass out onto the lawns of the Palace Compound.” Evawhoich Eggyzith.” Munesa announced. When at last the reverberations ceased. sat the Grand Ducal Family upon a dais which had been specially built for this occasion. their armour and weapons having been polished for this formal event. in their finest formal garb. By contrast. the Warden of the Gates smartly saluted the Annakiysh and stood aside. “What business does Otelo seek with the Crimson King of Ravenstone?” “To bring back Otelo’s warmth to the world. being joined by groups from the temples of the other gods who were dear to the Erupuan. “Who seeks passage through the Crimson Gate?” the soldier bellowed in a formal tone. At that exact moment.at its head was the Ammakiysh with the Ehoycas at his side. Their red surcoats displayed the family arms of Geongechuth while their red capes and great red plumes on their helms rippled in the gentle morning breeze. the sounding of a great horn was heard from the top of the parapets of the gatehouse.

The procession spread out in a semi-circle before the Grand Ducal Family and their guards. bowing low before the Grand Duke and then presenting him with a collection of flowers which had been picked that morning by acolytes from the Temple of Awash. coming to stand next to her father. From out of a golden box she had been carrying. “What message do you bring before the Crimson King?” “Great Lord of this land. Kneeling gently.” his Grace. “I present unto thee the Ehoycas of Awash so that thou might fulfill thy promise to the great god and unto thy people. When at last everyone was ready. to all arrive and be in proper position. who sat elegantly next to her mother. Ethithung Geongechuth bade the cleric. the Grand Duke stood and addressed Annakiysh Evawhoich Eggyzith of the Temple of Awash.” “Bring forth then the Ehoycas of Awash so that I might judge whether she is worthy. the young woman withdrew a small rose . Black leather bustiers with gold reinforcements covered their torsos while in each of their hands they held massive golden glaives which were attached to black metal handles and each had a broadsword hanging from their hips.” The girl in the ceremonial golden robe stepped forward three paces. Turning his attention back to the dais he called for Rana. I bring thee tidings of Etashycu!” Evawhoich replied.” Rana stood up and stepped down from the dais. Their black capes also rippled gently in the breeze while they stood at attention under the command of Pairan. daughter. It took quite a while for all those who had come with the procession. “Speak Messenger of Otelo. he picked up the flowers and made a great show of inspecting each one. “By the light of Otelo’s newborn rays I judge that this girl is worthy to be Ehoycas of Awash. Ethithung stepped down from the dais and came to stand before the Ehoycas.” the Grand Duke announced. so that we might fulfill our promise to the great god and unto our people. either participating in the parade or simply watching the ritual unfold. “Bring forth the Rose. bowing low before the Grand Duke.Lotuses.

With the exchange completed. “that I.” Rana whispered to the little girl. the young girl stood motionless not moving to take the proffered Rose from the Grand Ducal Heiress’ hands. Snapping out of her reverie while blushing from her hesitation. blushing a deeper shade of red. Let Awash’s hand guide you in the planting of your fields and let this single Rose be the symbol of our promise.” she whispered. A single Rose was set to grow at the summit of this hill as the sign between the Erupuan and the great god.” Rana reassured her.” the Grand Duke continued the ritual. the Ammakiysh again raised his voice for all to hear. Awash. When all was again ready. When all stood at the proper place. they walked further into the Palace Grounds. of our dependance upon his powers and our respect for his will. Once again we have congregated upon this spot to fulfill our promise to Awash. to the east of where the dais had been constructed. Let the Rose be planted!” . “Upon this hallowed place our ancestors first planted the symbol of our people. “Sorry. “Take the Rose. it happens to everyone. the girl took three steps back and stood again next to Ammakiysh Evawhoich Eggyzith who patted her reassuringly on the shoulder. smiling fondly.plant and offered it to the small girl who stood mesmerized before the Grand Duke and his heir. dear. So mesmerized by their presence. “I offer for all to see. my Lady. Grand Duke of Ravenstone. Coming to a small hill overlooking the Labyrinth and Palace to the north. “Do not worry. “Thank you. a smile coming to her small face. the procession made a ring around its base.” the Ehoycas intoned. Ethithung Geongechuth.” “Awash be praised!” Evawhoich exaulted. the little girl took the pot containing the Rose plant from Rana’s hands. have fulfilled my promise to the great god and unto my people. A great cheer arose from the gathered crowd as the procession began to form up yet again.

When the hole was deemed deep enough they took a step back and the young girl stepped forward and placed the pot into the opening. She offered a silent prayer of her own and then dutifully stepped back so that the acolytes could fill in the hole. the clerics retreated back to the circle at the base of the hill and were replaced by the Ammakiysh. The celebration on the Hill of the Rose would last most of the day and the people enjoyed every moment of it. as drums. “Immopobosit!” Evawhoich commanded in one of the languages of magic and then sighed in ecstasy as glittering droplets of magical water showered down from his open palm onto the plant below. a cheer arose from the gathered throng and soon afer a song began to flow from the lips of many who celebrated there. the three clerics began to dig into the earth. “Awash has blessed this beautiful Rose as his sign that for another year he will guide the hands and hearts of the people in order to grow a wonderful bounty. Rana took part in the festivities. The tall cleric knelt down next to the plant and placed his right hand above it’s tallest branch. the Rose had doubled in size and the gathered celebrants were silenced with awe. When the task was completed. By this time.” Again. a lute and a harp carried here by musicians who had accompanied the procession began to play an ancient melody. Her parents looked on. All who watched began to see the rose grow as the magical water washed its green leaves. Once at the top. whispering a prayer to Awash. . Around mid-morning. enjoying watching their daughter celebrate with the people.The Ehoycas started up the hill. After a few moments. followed by three acolytes in brown robes who carried shovels. Rana and one of the musicians began to dance together to a great cheer from the crowd who clapped their hands to the rhythm of the drums. lending her voice to the ancient songs and even her talent to the harp at one point. He closed his green eyes for a moment. Some of the people began to dance. For her part. ritualistically taking turns pulling the fresh earth from the ground. the flow of liquid ceased and the brown robed cleric stood up. A circle of onlookers formed around the two dancers as they celebrated the moment to the best of their abilities.

Pairan.” “Thank you. “Pairan. more to keep the bright sun from damaging his skin then for any other reason. the young woman ran ahead into the gateway of the hedge maze.” . Rana’s feet were sore and she grew tired.you were really wonderful helping the Ehoycas in her moment of fear. “Indeed.By mid day.” “How long have you been here?” Pairan asked. I have that information I promised you. but stayed seated on the edge of the fountain looking deep into its waters. stopping there to allow the Richethi to catch up. “Rana. “Stop treating him like a suspect. He did not move when Rana and Pairan entered the clearing.” the thief replied in a soft and respectful tone. “I came into the Palace grounds with the rest of the procession. “You have not answered my question.” the thief returned. as they passed the path leading to the entrance of the Labyrinth. “I quite enjoyed the ceremony . He was wrapped in a light grey cloak. “I am sorry. They then wandered the passages through the maze until at last they came upon the large clearing in the center and the fountain with its salmon.” “What sort of information is it?” Pairan demanded. She bade the people good day and accompanied Pairan back along the road towards the Palace door. “I have been expecting you.” Rana smiled. they found they were not alone in this sanctuary of peace in the depths of the Labyrinth.” the young man explained. turning at last to look at her. After whispering her intentions to Pairan. I came here about a kosh ago with the suspicion that you might wander in here before retiring to the Palace. Ekythibier is here to help. To Rana’s amazement. Sitting on the edge of the fountain was a familiar white haired young man with pale skin. However. her suspicions mounting. Rana had a sudden urge to go sit by the fountain.” Pairan pointed out in a stern voice.” Rana interjected. “Ekythibier?” Rana ventured.

But the expression on her guardian’s face made the young woman re-think her initial reaction.” the albino sighed. is a wizard of some power and who operates a shop here in the city that supplies the implements and tools used by sorcerers to practice their art. surviving by my own means.“That is fine. I feel I should explain how I came by it so that perhaps you can judge its value and authenticity for yourselves. that this group has an active chapter here in the city and that they are trying to influence the Court of the Crimson King. It is from Eppeychis that this information was given to me for he understands the gravity of its import. But even someone like me needs friends and allies in order to stay alive. my friend Eppeychis came into contact with a man named Eqüncaun through the dealings of his order. At any rate. One of my oldest friends is a man named Eppeychis. This man. Pairan. through investigations of my own. She did not know what to think. “Quite some time ago. And you are correct that I am here to help. . “Pairan is perfectly right in her opinion of me. The Richethi’s next question added to Rana’s sense that Pairan knew more about this mysterious group of magicians then she was letting on. who normally seemed disgusted at the mere presence of Ekythibier was for once looking at the young man with a very serious expression.” “Alright. He has since become a respected cleric of that great order. However. But first. Rana. “I have lived on the streets for as long as I can remember. or so I am told. the entire tale seemed so far fetched that she almost wanted to laugh.” Pairan allowed. Therefor. Eppeychis tired of the constant struggle and challenges of the street life and found shelter in the monastery of Ethone.” Rana looked from her friend to Pairan. He is quite well known by those who practice magic. I have since discovered. Eqüncaun. I am listening. Eppeychis discovered that this Eqüncaun was a member of some order of sorcerers who are dedicated to seizing control of the Empire from its rightful rulers. I will share the information I have for you and let you be the judge. who at one time survived on the streets like me.

when the time comes for you to sit upon the Grand Ducal Throne. But then. “I do not have the authority to divulge this secret to you.” the Richethi replied in a formal tone. “But you will be told everything I know . “Bring him to the Gate to the Palace Grounds tomorrow and tell the Warden that you are here to see me. “He might. “Will you please tell me what is going on. Rana. perhaps it is good that you learn of this threat now before you come to the Grand Ducal Throne.” the thief replied. Pairan?” “I can not tell you. Have the Warden send for me and I will meet you at the Crimson Gate and then we will meet with the Grand Duke. I have not told him about coming to you with this information. Tell no one else of this or measures will need to be taken to ensure our security.” “I understand Pairan.and certainly a whole lot more .” “Talk to him as soon as possible then. “I would have to talk to him and explain to him how you came to know about all this. Pairan?” Rana demanded.” “How many secrets are you keeping from me.” the Chaotic Lord replied in a humble tone. the Richethi’s eyes changing from a bright green colour to a one of sea-blue.” Ekythibier mused.“Would this friend of your be willing to meet with the Grand Duke to discuss this matter?” the Chaotic Lord asked in a deadly serious tone. my Lady.” the Richethi commanded. Pairan looked at the young woman. Ekythibier. Already you know too much. “You will have to talk to your father.” .

In fact. a conversation with Menino. However. enjoying the relaxing feeling and the steamy air of the large cellar room. I should think. Rana was quite upset with Pairan. . Though it happened at times. Rana and Menino often lounged in the warm bubbling waters of the Grand Ducal Baths. “I guess all people have secrets. it was rare for the two young women to be alone in the baths.” The Grand Ducal Heiress contemplated that answer for a while. Pairan could not share all of her secrets with her young charge. The conversation with Ekythibier revealed to the young woman that even though she shared all of her thoughts and feelings with the Richathi Chaotic Lord. It was this dissatisfaction with the Richethi that hovered around Rana’s consciousness for many days.” Menino replied. “Whether it is good or bad would depend on the person and the secret. almost absently. Often there were any number of Palace Staff enjoying the waters. “Do you think it is good for people to keep secrets?” Rana asked. her feelings began to change once she sat down and thought about the situation in its proper light. on this day they found themselves alone and were enjoying the solitude. She leaned back against the side of the pool allowing the warm water to wash over her naked shoulders.Chapter 6 The Purple Piper Plays His Tune For a long time after Etashycu. However. her lady in waiting helped her come to terms with the simple truth. It happened one day while she sat in the baths in the first lower level of the Palace. my Lady.

not you. Rana had gone to the Grand Ducal Library after one of Master Wycheren’s classes. The project centered around the coming of Uthetuite Amoga’s arrival in Noch Geongechuth and his effect on society. “When you become Grand Duchess she will then serve you.” “I suppose so.” the brown haired girl concluded. He was not one of the Palace Staff or anyone else she seemed to immediately recognize . She had seen the man somewhere before but could not quite place him. Uthetuite Amoga was the founder of the Ethone Efoan.” Rana sighed. She did say something of the sort…” “Well. Pairan serves your Father .” “No. I would not either. I guess it might be possible that she needs to keep things secret from you in order to keep you safe.but still he looked familiar.” Menino contemplated her friend’s words and what she knew of Pairan.” the young woman agreed.“It is just that I had always believed that Pairan and I shared all of our secrets. Her duty is to keep us all safe.” the Lady in Waiting mused. “Perhaps there are things she has to keep secret in order to keep the Grand Duchy safe. my Lady.” Rana complained. Rana had been sitting in a chair at the catalogue looking up possible books on the subject when she noticed a grey haired man wearing a plain green shirt and brown leggings enter the library. the order of clerics dedicated to the sea god Ethone. “Then she will have to tell you everything. As he walked past her she caught the sent of burnt sage and recognition . It was several weeks later. there you have it then. Menino.” “Maybe. “After all. She had come to the library in order to do some research for a project she was asked to prepare for her tutor. “I still do not like it. “But I have found out that there are many things she is not allowed to talk to me about.” the younger woman noted.

the festival of the air god.taking with her the small parchment she had been jotting notes on . turning at a corner and retracing her steps up the next aisle. He opened up the book. She had seen him once when the Grand Ducal Family had attended ceremonies at the Temple of Soshowor during Soshoworemme. especially when it concerns old battles. Ethon. “Doing some research?” “Yes. my Lady.” “My pleasure.” Geonzith returned to reading the book while Rana walked further down the aisle.and quietly followed the cleric. seemingly at random. the commander of her Father’s Army quietly reading the very same book. she quickly made her way back to the book hoping to read the note. He was a priest of Soshowor. holding up the book for her to see. Rana saw that the book was called Erupuan Tactics & Strategy During The Demon Wars. my Lady. and as swiftly as he had come. the god of air. What was he doing here in the Grand Ducal Library in ordinary cloths? Quietly. returned the way he came and exited the library. “Greetings.” he said softly. then placed a small piece of parchment in the open page and replaced the book back on the shelf. But when she drew close she noticed Ethon Plashenna Geonzith. Rana did not follow the man down the same aisles. . He had been one of the lesser priests helping Bishop Giachesa Icacheko perform the rituals. Rana was fascinated by this strange activity. He then quietly. Thank you. she got up . After watching the cleric depart. from the shelf before him. “I have always been a little bit of a history buff. but took a path on a parallel aisle so she could watch him through the books and be less likely to be noticed. “Myself as well.” “I will keep that tome in mind if ever I need to do a project on the Demon Wars. The cleric journeyed all the way to the back of the library and then he selected a book. Ethon. addressing the man by his rank.” she replied.dawned on her. He looked up from the pages as she approached and smiled in greeting.” Geonzith smiled.

though. passing some guards. Lush crimson coloured curtains hung on each side of the windows and could be drawn by the servants any time the Duchess so desired. the room had a warm. friendly air and often smelled like tea. their scenes depicting ladies picnicing in the woods or enjoying tea together. The Grand Duchess' Sitting room was a large space two and a half times longer then it was wide. sit down and enjoy the time spent here. honey and sugar for use in the teas that were often served. honey?” Ekomuni asked as her daughter sat down in a comfortable chair opposite. which invited all guests to come.” Rana was quiet for a moment. All in all. “Something is troubling you. These windows shed the light of the morning sun and the Duchess often enjoyed having her morning tea in this room with her ladies. librarians and other palace staff along the way. In light of this. Geonzith?” “How well do you know Ethon Plashenna . The chairs were made of oak and often faced the windows while the table usually presented milk. I can see it in your face.” “A worthy part of our history. Rich tapestries decorated the wall. A small fireplace built out of marble slabs occupied the north wall with a large fur rug at its foot.She suddenly found that she no longer had the desire to do research for her project.” Rana replied. She went up two levels to the apartments of the Grand Ducal Family and found her mother relaxing in her sitting room. Along the eastern wall were a number of windows which looked out over the lawns beyond the Palace walls. There was an arrangement of chairs around a short round table in the middle of the room. she departed from the library and made her way to the stairs at the on the far side of the building. “How are you doing.” The Grand Duchess looked deeply into her daughter’s green eyes. “How were your lessons today?” “I am starting a project on Uthetuite Amoga. “I am alright.

that you begin to learn how. When Rana had finished. He himself has served since he was old enough to enlist. pondering her daughter’s revelations.hearing the whole tale without interruption. but then I remembered him from the Soshoworemme celebrations. when your Father gets in . “His family has served in the Grand Ducal Military for generations.” the Grand Duchess instructed in a serious tone. “Just some strange behaviour I noticed earlier today.I want you to tell him everything you have told me. I believe that you are coming to realize that our fair Palace often hides many shadowy plots and schemes. the Grand Duchess sat quietly. . I will admit that this is something your Father and I have tried to shield you from.” Rana lied. That’s all. “Tonight. the time has perhaps come to open up and teach you about some of the things that go on at court. her mother was silent for quite some time. the lady with the fire-red hair sat listening to her daughter .” “What sort of ‘strange behaviour’?” Rana looked around the sitting room nervously.” After a silent pause. “This is what I want you to do. perhaps. she sighed loudly. When she returned her gaze to her mother.after all the servants have gone for the night . this is a natural occurrence given the importance of the Court. It is best.” Again.“The Ethon?” Ekomuni replied in surprise. One day you will sit upon the Crimson Throne and will have to deal with these sorts of things. All through the tale. It was at that moment that she told Ekomuni everything that had happened in the Library. I had not recognized him at first. Rana. Plashenna is well liked by his men and your Father values his knowledge and advice. “You are quite certain that the man in the green shirt was a Cleric of Soshowor?” Ekomuni attempted to clarify after a long pause. taking her daughter’s hands. Unfortunately. Ekomuni smiled reassuringly. At last. “As I said. the Grand Duchess pressed further: “What is troubling you regarding the Ethon?” “I am not certain. However.

The second largest fleet in the Imperial Navy is at the Grand Duke’s command as well as a the largest Ducal Military allowed in the Empire. you will tell him what you have told me when he comes in this evening. the Ammakiysh of the Icafosh.” Ekomuni continued. Also. However.” the young woman replied dutifully. with all of this power comes a lot of influence .” the Grand Duchess replied. Why would he plot behind our backs?” “I am not certain. As I said before. They come to the Court Of The Crimson King. “The Grand Duke is the only Imperial Officer allowed to negotiate with foreign nations. what about the Ethon? He is supposed to be loyal to us .commanding our Army. the Grand Duke enjoys powers independent of the Imperial Throne which no other region in the Empire can claim. In the Empire. “Your Father is one of the most trusted Imperial advisors. We are also the only Duchy in the Imperium to have our own order of Knights. .” Rana reasoned. he is second only to the Emperor himself. It probably stems from some plot devised by Giachesa Icacheko. “But there is more to our influence then just this. “Influence at the Imperial Court for one. “I know that he is a devout follower of Soshowor. Your Father will have to know.” “Yes.“The Crimson King is one of the most powerful offices in the world.” “What sort of influence?” Rana asked. obviously. other then the Emperor himself.and many people and other nations wish to influence the Grand Duke in order to further their own desires and needs. Obviously this note involves the Icafosh in some way or form. they need not go to Eruplong.” her mother admitted. When our allies and foes wish to discuss things regarding the Crimson Strait or the Grand Duchy itself. This power comes from the control of the Crimson Strait. because of the Munammeren Treaty.” “But that explains some of the plots. which you understand well enough. Mother. “However.

lost in his own thoughts.It was long after the Grand Ducal family’s dinner. As such. because we are all still individual within society. as Grand Duke. “You handled the situation like a true heir of Miashich Geongechuth. we still have individual desires and needs that are above and beyond what society often can collectively provide. interests and needs. Ethithung. This is the foundation of all human society. my dear. “You will find as you get older and get to understand the mind of man better that every individual has their own desires and needs. When we agree to work together it is often in the pursuit of some common goal. the founder of our dynasty.” Ethithung complimented his daughter. Unfortunately. when they were sitting around the large fireplace enjoying the late evening together. But I do not wish to get philosophical with you. When she was finished he asked her a few questions in order to clarify a few points. The air seemed to become thick with unease as Rana waited to hear what her Father would say. many people seek fulfilment in their own way taking what help from others they deem worthy and helpful. Rana. we form relationships with others based on similar desires. It also means . sat quietly listening to his daughter’s tale with no interruptions. the priests of Ethone. It was good of you to let us know this. I must tell you that I have been aware of some of the plots designed by the Ammakiysh of the Icafosh for some time. “Now what does this mean for us as the Grand Ducal Family of Ravenstone? Well.since their aim seems to be the discrediting of the Ethone Efoan. Most of them are harmless to the Duchy and to us . “I am very proud of you. I have to be careful with how much I trust the people who surround me. Even those who have sworn allegiance to me and to our family. that Rana told her Father about the Ethon. this is not a bad thing in fact it is fundamentally important for every individual to have their own purpose. But the involvement of Plashenna is somewhat more troubling to me. Ideally. Suffice to say that everyone must have their own purpose and that this individuality is a good thing. it means that we are in charge of achieving the common goal of our society. However. like his wife. At its essence. But then he was silent.

I greatly value his skills and advice. “So what will you do. Perhaps he believes the Icafosh can help him in this regard . Something about his expression .when we fail to achieve the goals of our society.” she replied. be found.” Ethithung smiled. she felt like a prisoner . at all possible. But we must understand what this purpose of his is.” Rana replied. Rana?” “Yes I do. curious as to how her Father would deal with this problem.” “Would you fire the Ethon.” the Grand Duke frowned.trapped by tradition and the power of her Family’s position. the individuals who make up that society may elect to find fulfilment by their own means. “Perhaps that is what the Ethon is doing. amazed at the depth of her Father’s mind and the importance of their duty. Do you understand all this.and perhaps they can indeed. “Plashenna is a gifted soldier with a keen mind for strategy .” the Grand Duke mused. no .which we have sworn to lead and protect. Plashenna is too important to the Duchy to have such unease between us. Father. And there it was again . They will investigate these Library notes between the Icafosh Priest and Plashenna. No. then?” “I should hope it would not come to that.there are those in my service who are tasked to handle such things discreetly. On the other. in order to see if this path he has chosen to follow is a threat to the common good of our society . they will advise me and measures will be taken to protect the Grand Duchy. Father. “No.their duty to their people. On the one hand it made her feel proud. “Perhaps there is some goal he seeks that he feels society can not help him achieve. The everpresent duty which seemed like fetters to her. If there is something truly troublesome. But in her mind’s eye she pictured again the face of the Icafosh Priest as he placed the note in the book. “Such a tactic would cause strife between us. His green eyes looked deeply into the fire. Some equitable solution should. leaning back in his chair. confront the Ethon?” Rana asked.” “I hope so too.

Rana could hear whispering voices which seemed to harbour menacing thoughts and deeds barely perceptible to her straining ears. which seemed darker then they were in reality. for suddenly through the reverberating bells a voice cried: “The Crimson King is slain!” Then the lighting seemed to shift and the bells ceased their tolling. For the first time she noticed that the whispering had ceased and the shadowy figures were ominously silent. When she thought she was at the point of absolute frustration. though she could not make out any faces in the dark haze. The entire room plunging into darkness save for a small halo of light in which a black robed figure knelt. Her gaze shifted to the windows and the grey skies beyond. she let her thoughts sink deeper into her mind. Suddenly she found herself in the concert hall. Somewhat filled with fear. the cowl that had covered their head fell back to . Everywhere she turned she could hear the conspiratorial whispers. The mournful ringing of the bells reverberated in horrific frequencies through her nightmare. or perhaps rage. The same morbid chimes from the vision. yelling at the faceless crowd that surrounded her.utter terror consumed her entire being. She found herself wandering the hallways of the Palace. The only sound that filled her ears was the tolling of those bells. she gently touched the person’s shoulder. Hand shaking. Rana cautiously took a few steps forward towards the kneeling figure. Rana’s dreams were filled with terrors. As the person’s body swung round. Almost in surprise. The person’s back was turned towards Rana and she could not see who it was. Her heart began to race and she spun round. In stead. the black robed figure spun round to face her. It was at that moment that her worst fears came to fruition. From within all the foreboding shadows she passed. surrounded by shadowy figures. but also relief at the sudden quiet of the room. Her Father and Mother had begun talking about other things and she did not want to interrupt.bothered the young woman. she froze in place . That night.

“You knew he was going to die. At long last Rana’s mind cleared of the nightmare and a single thought remained. through the antechamber and foyer and down the stairwell to the floor below. At last her mind fixated on a single thing. heedless that she only wore her nightclothes.its shoulders revealing long fire red hair which Rana recognized . the image of her Mother kneeling in those black robes. “Right now. She ran from her door. “My Lady!” the startled soldier cried. the fear and frustration billowing through her soul. her heart still racing and tears flowing down her cheeks.” . through the main chamber of the apartments. one of the Ducal Guards. Pairan would know what to do… Without any further thought. even in this waking moment. “What are you doing? It is the middle of the night and you’re running around in your bedclothes. “You could have stopped him!” Ekomuni screamed in an accusatory tone. Pairan.even before her Mother’s tear-streaked and piercing blue eyes bore into her soul. Pairan would help her. Rushing into the Ducal Guard Room she came face to face with Keythech Cashoth. “…I…” Rana awoke with a start. Thoughts would not stay clear in her mind. Demanding why Rana had not saved her Father when she knew he was going to die. Pairan would protect her. they simply flew by so fast that she barely was able to notice thinking them. The look in Ekomuni’s eyes tore a deep wound in the young woman’s soul and it pained her to think that her Mother would ever curse her with such a glance. I…” Rana stammered. Rana jumped from her bed and rushed out her bedroom door. And all the while the ethereal bells seemed to continue to toll.” “I need to see Pairan. She clutched her blankets close to her and wept. Why didn’t you stop him? Why?” “Mother.” Rana demanded.

” she instructed in an authoritative tone. half-plate armour with the crimson coloured surcoat emblazoned with the arms of Ravenstone over the left breast. “Come with me.” A few minutes later Pairan entered the guard room. He was a tall man with greying brown hair and green eyes. turning to the right at its end and then passing by two doors on the right hand side. or Sargeant. Until then. He wore the uniform of the Grand Ducal Guard. The Richethi and the Erupuan woman passed through the War Room to the far side and exited through the main door.” the Ivych informed her in a soothing voice. Pairan produced a key and proceeded to unlock the door. coming into the hallway beyond. He lead her to a nearby chair telling her to sit while he sent for Pairan. Inniesa Wheychezo. She opened it up and motioned Rana to enter. the Ivych. The Richethi took one look at the Grand Ducal Heiress and then looked around the room. . The large chamber was mostly quiet at this hour of the night. It is very important. attempting to calm her down.” Rana breathed. Ivych. my Lady. By this time. coming into the War Room. though she carried her sword in its scabbard. though there were a few soldiers on duty keeping watch. “I just need to talk to Pairan. The young woman simply nodded and followed her protector through a doorway near the entrance to the stairwell. They followed this hallway for a while. is there anything I may be able to assist you with?” “No thank you.“Slow down. “Pairan has been sent for. my Lady.” the soldier replied. “She will join us momentarily. on Duty had been advised of Rana’s sudden appearance in the guardroom. At the third. She was dressed in a black robe. They walked for a little while and went through another door. A few looked up to see who had come in but quickly returned to their tasks when they saw Pairan. Rana.

Rana told Pairan everything she could remember from the awful vision and the Richethi listened attentively. the first of which was a living space which was furnished with an oak table and chairs as well as a small black leather couch. When Rana had related all that she could. At long last she shook her head. it depicted the Battle of Crystal Falls Pass when Rana’s ancestor. gold coloured trim contrasted the dark decor.the last Crimson King of Ravenstone . Pairan looked deeply into Rana’s green eyes for a few moments. desperately remembering all the details of every vision she had regarding this event. A great tapestry hung on the wall opposite the door. But none of her recollections seemed to indicate anything they had perhaps missed. what is going on?” The young woman took a deep breath. “Something vile is inspiring these dread prophecies and I must admit that I am beginning to fear their portent. sitting on the comfortable sofa next to the Richethi. tears running down her face again.” the Chaotic Lord noted after a long silence. King Ekotai . It would seem that your Father is in grave danger and we must do everything in our power to keep him safe.” Pairan reasoned. The second area was the sleeping areas and had Pairan’s large oak bed with an oak night stand sitting on its right hand side. patting the seat next to her. “It was a nightmare. we do not know what sort of danger stalks him. However. . Pairan sat down on the couch. Rana followed suit. “Tell me Rana. The room was divided into two main areas. “I do not believe I have ever seen you this terrified.” she admitted. The walls had been painted black and everywhere one looked. Is there anything at all in any of the visions that might give us a clue?” Rana thought for a long time. Her golden skinned face twisted into a deep frown as Rana’s tale went onward.The Richethi’s personal quarters were richly decorated. “There is something menacing in these visions. the two women sat in silent contemplation for a few moments. seeing the fear and stress in the young woman’s soul.ambushed a Nochtiachi force and utterly destroyed them.

The vision was truly beginning to become troubling to the Richethi. she would begin an investigation into this matter. Pairan returned to her room.” Pairan invited. She ordered Sargent Wheychezo to inform the Duke that Rana had experienced some nightmares in the night and was sleeping in Pairan’s quarters. Pairan left the room to inform the Ducal Guardsmen that the young woman was sound asleep in the Richethi’s quarters. . pulling the young woman into a warm embrace. With the information passed on. They sat like that for a long time until at last Pairan told the Ducal Heiress to crawl into the Chaotic Lord’s bed and try to get some sleep. She determined to look into all possible threats to the Grand Duke and make this her number one priority.“Come. Starting in the morning. sitting down on the leather couch keeping a silent vigil on her charge. Once Rana was comfortable.

Standing naked before the doors of the opulent house was the merchant’s eldest daughter. there were two incidents of note which. the sixth month of the year.that she was the servant of Moothequ. Even those who lived in Noch Geongechuth did not seem to notice anything remarkable about that particular day. a strange and startling sight was discovered in front of the home of Alasa Puenghy. The second incident of note on that first day of Ashoniung was the arrival by ship of a Richethi Chaotic Lord named Ethikein. were quite significant in regards to the events which began to quickly unfold from that day forth. Messages were sent to .Chapter 7 The Choir Softly Sing Historians looking into the events of that year would perhaps later miss the significance of the day that followed Rana’s nightmare as they looked through the records and annals of that time. seemingly in some deep trance chanting verses in what later would be identified as the Iperatesi tongue. Eplier. As the sun rose on the first day of Ashoniung. when seen in the light of the Grand Ducal Heiress’ vision. When this newly arrived Richethi presented herself at the Crimson Gate. the Palace Warlock. In fact. However. however in the following weeks its significance would become apparent.the Warden of the Gates . the only record of Rana’s nightmare that survived those chaotic times was a short note in Sargent Wheychezo’s duty log from that night. for life seemed to proceed almost normally. This scene initially garnered little notice beyond the neighbourhood in which it occurred. she informed Ivych Munesa Efuhuen . a prominent merchant in the city.

only a few blocks from the Temple of Soshowor. the merchant dismissed the servant and looked at the officers of the Duke who stood near the door of his study. The Richethi was alarmed by the incident at Alasa Puenghy’s house and she went along with Rishækun Duycheblon. the Constable of Ravenstone. Rishækun?” Puenghy demanded. though his girth betrayed his fondness for food. So it was that Ethikein. Puenghy had made a fortune in the gemstone trade. his house was opulent and rather garish. At last. The house of Alasa Puenghy was to be found in the old quarter of the city. When Pairan.the Palace and it was confirmed that Moothequ was indeed awaiting the arrival of a Chaotic Lord named Ethikein. He was bald with blue eyes. especially in sapphires and emeralds mined near Wheyethenably in the eastern reaches of the Grand Duchy. the Constable and the City Guardsmen were lead into Puenghy’s study they found the man fuming with rage. both purchased in the rich markets of the Zïrilï Shin Empire to the west of the Crimson Strait. Of both incidents. “My family is prominent in the affairs of this city and to have my daughter paraded around under some vile spell is unacceptable. I want those who are responsible found and punished to the full extent of Imperial law. The master of the house was of average height. “Can you begin to imagine the humiliation I have suffered this morning. by Moothequ herself. His face was red and he was talking severely to one of his servants.” . and a few of his men when they called upon the house to investigate further. The former one came to her attention when Ivych Munesa Efuhuen reported the incident in his morning briefing regarding events that transpired in the city during his watch. shortly after her arrival. He wore a rich silk shirt of deepest crimson and soft black silk pants. a dark complexion and a face which gave him an air of untrustworthiness. the Chaotic Lord came to reside in the Palace of the Crimson Kings. Her awareness of the later one was obvious for she was formally introduced to Ethikein. Pairan was keenly aware. As such.

“Why does a Richethi take such interest in the matters of common citizens?” Puenghy snorted. Alasa. Master Puenghy. We will find those responsible for this heinous act. “I agree.” The merchant looked from the Constable to the Richethi standing just to Rishækun’s right. “Do we have your permission to talk to your daughter?” “Of course. The servant bowed respectfully and then turned and exited the study. or perhaps things that are missing?” “My head servant reports that everything within the house itself seems untouched.Rishækun was a tall man with short orange hair and intelligent blue eyes. Let me assure you that I am personally looking into this matter along with Pairan. “Tell Eplier to join us. that this incident is crude and embarrassing to your family. A golden broadsword with golden hilts hung at his waist. turning his gaze back to Rishækun. a tall brown haired beauty wearing a green silk dress entered the study. Alasa. A few minutes later.” Puenghy reported.” Pairan replied. have you noticed any other strange things in your house.” Puenghy clapped his hands loudly and the servant who had been waiting on his master when the Constable and Pairan had arrived returned. . “I will send for her. not phased by the man’s obvious dislike of her race.” Rishækun smiled. The Constable looked around the room quickly and then turned his blue eyed gaze back to the blue eyes of Puenghy.” the merchant ordered. but otherwise he appeared to be unarmed.” “That is good to hear. “Tell us. He wore a steel breastplate and greaves over the crimson uniform of the City Guard. “No other members of my household seem to have suffered the ill effects of this spell.” the man replied in a curt tone. “My knowledge of Magical Lore will aid the Constable with his investigation. She had blue eyes like her father and a face that reminded some of the immortal beauty of Elvan maidens. his Grace’s Richethi Chaotic Lord.

“I honestly have no idea how I came to be standing outside. opening the front of her flowing white gown and letting it fall from her shoulders.” Eplier mused. Father?” the woman asked in a beautiful voice. but she turned her blue eyes to look at the face of the Constable of Ravenstone. the water level was just below our .“You sent for me. She was chanting the same words over and over but I did not understand them. a language I have no knowledge of. my hand in hers . Constable. Into the warm pool I stepped.” Rishækun replied. my Father’s servant.” The woman’s cheeks turned a slight shade of red at the mention of the incident. I followed her willingly. his face becoming a mask of stoicism. We stopped in the middle of the pool. And then she took my hand and drew me towards the water. Lady. “Eplier.” she greeted him. “A pleasure to meet you. “Indeed. It was then that she reached up and pulled on the bow of lace which hung at her bosom. surrendering to her spell.” Eplier replied in a soft voice. The next thing I remember is being wrapped in a blanket being lead into the foyer of the house by Munfon. “What do you remember about this morning?” “Not very much beyond what Father and the servants have told me.” “Do you remember anything strange about your dreams?” Pairan asked. Her skin was milk-white and she was beautiful beyond imagination. without any clothes of all things! The last thing I remember before coming to my senses was falling asleep in bed last night. not taking her eyes from Pairan.all the while listening to her chanting those words over and over again. “It is strange. She was sitting on a stone near a pond in the clearing of a forest. My gaze was locked on her green eyes and she slowly stood up as I approached. “He would like to ask you a few questions about this morning.” Puenghy introduced. The young woman turned as if seeing the Richethi for the first time. A smile crossed her red lips and she seemed to blush a little bit more. “I remember dreaming of an Elvan maiden dressed in a flowing white gown. now that you ask. They were obviously in her Elvish tongue. Well met. this is Constable Rishækun of the City Guard.

The young girl had searched everywhere for her mistress and had almost given up hope when she spied the brooding Ducal Heiress sitting in one of the reading chairs near the center of the library. sitting down across from Rana. “I need to talk to the Iperatesi Ambassador. The Lady In Waiting was concerned. Thank you for your time. When they were outside the house and making their way back towards the Palace.” Menino had found Rana in the Grand Ducal Library that morning. If this has something to do with the Elves. .” “Good idea.” the Constable replied.” “Find the one who did this to my daughter. as if ashamed of something. for she had heard from the Grand Duchess that Rana had experienced nightmares during the night.” “What happens now?” Puenghy demanded. “It is alright. “I will update you with information as I am able. “What do you make of the girl’s story?” “Magic was at work here. my Lady. I still heard her beautiful voice singing those magical words…” Eplier’s voice faded and silence hung in the study.” Pairan stated. “Your courage in recounting your dream has aided us immensely. “I promise you that we will. his voice still filled with tinges of rage. “Good morning. Thank you.” the merchant reiterated.” Rishækun replied. Eplier. he should be able to help us. Seeing the look on her mistress’ face did not dissipate the fear the young girl felt.” Pairan reassured her in a soothing voice. Rishækun. It was then that I noticed that I too was as naked as she.breasts.” Rishækun informed him. “We will continue our investigation. Rishækun turned to Pairan. She had not taken her eyes off of Pairan the entire time she recounted her dream but now she cast them downwards. And as the vision faded. “I will send men around to Puenghy’s neighbours to see if they noticed anything out of the ordinary. We may also return with further questions.” Menino whispered.

” Menino replied. but simply sat in the hot water enjoying the peaceful feeling. my Lady?” the brown-haired girl asked in a worried tone. “Your mother told me. blushing slightly.“I have had a horrible night. Menino. “I feel the need to take a bath. slipping out of their clothes and into the hot waters. “I woke up shortly after Pairan left and came immediately here. going down four levels to the first cellar of the Palace. I went looking for you there but could not find you. my Lady.” Rana confirmed.” Menino tried to sound reassuring. “Let us not brood upon such dark thoughts.” She stood up and started walking towards the front of the library. Her whole demeanor seemed to change. Suddenly Rana’s face brightened.” “What is bothering you. Menino quickly following along. They did not speak. “Nightmares about horrible things happening to the Duchy and to my Family. Last night was the worst of them yet . let us find something to do with ourselves. How about you?” “Yes. It was just after breakfast time and there were quite a number of people in the baths. “You are right.” “But they are just dreams. worry still etched in her voice. Rana and Menino found a quieter corner of the baths.” Rana sighed. At first Rana did not reply. Menino. “I believe a bath would be a good idea. . “I have been having terrible nightmares.” “I am sorry. They turned to their right and walked to the stairwell.” The two young women made their way out of the Grand Ducal Library and into the main hallway.” she at last admitted. but she could tell by Rana’s voice and the expression on her face that there was more to these nightmares then her friend was willing to share. They walked down the short passage from the stairwell and into the baths. Come.” the girl replied. “She also told me you had stayed the night with Pairan.” the red-haired woman pouted. of course Menino. though Menino suspected it was just an act.and I think they will not get any better. A shadow seemed to cross her face and she looked quickly away.

As the words left her mouth. Her short black hair seemed to shimmer and Rana marveled at the Richethi’s exotic beauty . the physical demonstration of their race’s hermaphroditism. her golden skin almost glowing in the torchlight of the baths. “Allow me to introduce my Chaotic Lord. my Lady. “Ethikein has just arrived this morning in the city and wished to bathe. the anatomical feature that stood out most was the phallus dangling at the Richethi’s groin. bowing her head in respect. the Richethi Warlock.” “I heard Pairan is investigating some strange incidents down in the city this morning. How was your trip. Ethikein. a second Richethi appeared and climbed into the bath. may I present her Grace.“Good morning. She had short black hair and the familiar golden skin. sitting next to Moothequ.” Rana replied in a guarded tone. However. .” an unfamiliar voice interrupted Rana’s reveries. feeling suddenly ill at ease amongst the two Richethi.” Moothequ interjected. And like the Warlock. changing the subject.the heir of Ravenstone.” the Chaotic Lord declared in an alto. my Lady. She had just entered the waters. The Warlock’s companion was much taller and also displayed the tell-tale attributes of her race. Ecarana Geongechuth . Rana seemed to be enraptured by this Richethi’s exotic beauty and large bosom. Ethikein.” “A pleasure to meet you. “The voyage was uneventful. Ethikein?” Rana asked. “We had good weather and calm seas.” Ethikein shrugged. “Good morning to you. Moothequ. A warm smile crossed her face. so as to clean herself after the long journey from our homeland.” Moothequ acquainted the Ducal Heiress once Ethikein had sat down in the water.finding it hard to keep her eyes from the Warlock’s large golden-skinned breasts and their burnt umber coloured nipples and areolæ. She opened her eyes to see Moothequ.

The Warlock’s colour-changing eyes bore deeply into Rana.” “I see. She began to lather herself and Rana found that she could not take her eyes off of the warrior’s exotic body. “She had departed from the Palace before I was awake. As if under a spell. bringing Rana back to her senses. She watched in fascination as Ethikein turned her back. it almost seemed sinister. As the Richethi bent. Rana’s head turned back to look at Ethikein. my Lady. We Richethi are proud of our bodies and enjoy sharing them with anyone who enjoys them.however it did not brighten Rana’s feelings towards the Warlock.” Moothequ replied. The sight sent strange feelings rocketing throughout Rana’s body. her own groin began to feel warm. “Do not be embarrassed. her colour changing eyes contemplating the red-haired woman that sat before her. Rana noticed for the first time the puffy lips of the hermaphrodite’s labia. The Warlock was leaning back against the side of the bath. The Chaotic Lord was rubbing the bar of soap around her large breasts. In fact to her. Rana could feel the heat of a blush well up through her cheeks. teasing the burnt umber coloured nipples to attention. Rana quickly stole her eyes from Ethikein’s body and looked at Moothequ. Another warm smile was painted on the sienna coloured lips of the Warlock.” Rana told a white lie. that warm yet sinister smile still painted on her sienna lips. “You seem to admire my servant’s physique.” Moothequ almost purred. Ethikein stood up. “Look now. Standing up again. “I have not seen her today. The tall Richethi was now running the soap along the shaft of her flaccid penis.” Moothequ’s smooth voice cut through. building up the lather with each stroke. bending over and placing the soap back on the tray. Ethikein turned . my Lady. her left hand teasing her own left nipple. turning and reached for a bar of soap which sat in little trays all along the sides of the baths.” There was a long pause as Ethikein continued to lather her body.

When they reached the landing for the first floor. The Chaotic Lord.” “I know. sighing loudly as she sat back down in the water next to Moothequ. washing the lather from her large bosom.” Rana sighed. pouring it onto her groin and washing the lather from her legs and genitals. Ethikein. Menino.” Menino’s voice seemed to break the spell. Eshhewain Obuzythe and his personal guard Efierhuen Luusheta.” the Warlock agreed. Rana’s gaze snapped from the erotic scene unfolding before her to the white face of her Lady in Waiting. Rana and Menino quickly got dressed and exited the baths the same way they had entered. Menino.” The two young women stood up and climbed out of the bath. “I really miss Aheneko. “I too always feel much better after a bath. Efierhuen was the count’s cousin and also a kinsmen of Rana. The Warlock reached out and began to squeeze her servant’s left burnt umber nipple.” Moothequ leaned over and kissed Ethikein on the lips. my Lady.” The Lady in Waiting did not reply as they continued to climb the stairs back up to the third floor of the Palace.” she stammered. leaving the two Richethi. . putting her left hand on Moothequ’s shoulder and pulling her closer. exciting it even more. my Lady. She bent and filled the bucket a second time.around holding a small bucket. Rana’s uncle and the Count of Luusheta. When at last they were in the stairwell. “You are quite right. accepted the kiss. “Indeed.” the young girl confessed. “I always feel so much better after a bath. they encountered Ezokiich Luusheta. Menino started to speak. for her part. “I do not care for the new Warlock. “I believe you have a class to attend.” Ethikein commented. “There is something wicked about her. She dipped it into the water and then proceeded to pour its contents across her chest. He had just entered the stairwell followed by his seneschal. “Yes.

I must get to my classes with Master Wycheren. Rana. running into the Count’s arms. In fact. He is expecting me. let us go. Uncle. They traveled along its path. Menino turned to the left.” The group took to the stairs. coming at last to the doorway of the classroom.” “Very good. Uncle. embracing his niece warmly. She stood aside for two Clerics of Ethone on the landing for the second floor and then continued on her way . “At least to the third floor. I must of course present myself.” the count replied.” Rana gave the tall strawberry-blond haired man another warm hug. Rana bade Menino good day and entered into the room where Master Wycheren was waiting. “Why are you here?” “Has your Father not told you?” her Uncle laughed. “There is to be a Grand Session of the Court. “Rana. It has been such a long time since I last saw her.” Count Ezokiich beamed.” she smiled. Menino was left alone in the hallway. “Uncle Ezok!” she cried. looking deeply into his niece’s green eyes. my dear. I was on my way upstairs to see them. “Come. entering the stairwell and descending down the flight of stairs. climbing up to the third floor where Rana and Menino gave their goodbyes to the Count and his men. The two women left the stairwell and entered into the main hallway of the third floor. Well then. “It appears that you have not been told. She continued along until it came to a crossing: left into another stairwell and right further into the Palace.” “Why? What is happening?” Count Ezokiich thought hard. but it will be so good to see my sister.” she informed him. “How have you been? “I have been well.Seeing both of them dispelled the malaise she had been feeling since encountering Moothequ and Ethikein in the baths. “I will come up with you. All the functionaries will be there. I will leave the privilege of telling you the details to your parents.

” “Thank you. She came at last to the landing for the first basement level and immediately headed for the corridor which lead to the female staff quarters. chairs and benches for relaxing and a small open space for multiple recreational purposes. for many of the daytime staff had already left the room and had gone to work. “But I am looking for Cuaresh Eveceuthe. some who were off duty and relaxing between shifts and others who were preparing to go to work in various positions throughout the Palace.downstairs. With frustration beginning to creep into her head. As . The female staff quarters was a massive chamber with multiple rows of bunks along the edges of the walls. But then I saw her get up and go towards her bunk. Coming to the door of the room. she took a deep breath and then entered. there were a small group of women relaxing.” she broached politely. Menino looked around for quite some time but could not find the person she was looking for. Menino turned to one of the women close by. She was here just a moment ago. searching for a woman she knew should be here. Have you perhaps seen her?” The brown haired woman nodded. Her face was round but pretty and she had a petite frame. She walked over to where Cuaresh’s bunk was located and found the young woman changing out of her Servant’s uniform. “Yes. Cuaresh was the same age as Menino and had long brown hair and blue eyes. A few of the women lounging in the common area took note of Menino but said nothing.” Menino bowed. “Excuse me. the small woman was just pulling a white tunic over her torso and she had her back to the Lady in Waiting.each of which contained the personal belongings of the individuals occupying each bunk. When Menino first saw her. The quarters was always busy with women. There was a large common area in the middle of the room occupied by tables for eating. For her part. At the foot of each bunk were two large trunks . the Heiress’ Lady in Waiting looked around the room. At the moment Menino entered.

” “I am scared of her as well. I will do my best. but we need to protect Rana from whatever game Moothequ is playing. Menino checked that no one was within earshot and then turned her attention to her friend. “Thank you.” Cuaresh affirmed. “I fear my Mistress may be in danger. “Moothequ?” the other girl shuddered. almost startling the girl. What happened was very strange and terrifying. “What are you doing here?” “I need to ask you a favour. “My Lady and I were in the Baths this morning and Moothequ and her new Chaotic Lord came and sat with us.” “I will try. Menino. It seemed as if the two Richethi were bewitching my Mistress. Do you want me to tell you anything I overhear?” “Yes.” She went on to quickly relate the events in the bath. Menino. Cuaresh.” Menino admitted. “Menino!” she exclaimed. “That is horrible. Then she looked deeply into Menino’s brown eyes. “Have you seen the new Court Warlock?” she began quietly. Tell me what is going on. “I would not normally ask you to do something that could be dangerous. “But what do you want me to do?” “Can you keep an eye on Moothequ and her Chaotic Lord?” Menino asked in a humble tone. Quickly.” “Her Ladyship?” Cuaresh gasped. sit on my bunk. Menino cleared her throat.” .” “Alright.” Cuaresh flared in a shocked voice.” Menino started.” the Lady in Waiting nodded. “Something about her scares me. “Come.Cuaresh’s hands bent to the belt which held fast her black uniform skirt.” The two young women sat down on Cuaresh’s bed. that sort of thing. “And anything strange that might help us.

Pairan was entering the office of Thysphitph.” Pairan replied. but she had never found the right opportunity to inquire about it. no doubt. shorter then Pairan. It is entirely possible. sitting down in one of the oak chairs which had been proffered by Thysphitph. A small circular table sat in one corner and on its surface sat a wooden bowl filled with water. He sat quietly in one of the chairs sipping a mug of hot tea. “Pairan.” Thysphitph smiled. There are quite a number of my kin as well as members of the other . “While investigating the incident. Ambassador Thysphitph was short for an elf.” “Rightly so. the Iperatesi Ambassador to the Court of the Crimson King. The purpose of this bowl was always a mystery to Pairan. It is nice to talk with you beyond the confines of the Court. my dear.Chapter 8 Three Lullabies In An Ancient Tongue As Rana had been leaving the baths. The office was richly furnished with three large and comfortable oak chairs which were set in a semi-circle in the middle of the room. Ambassador. “So good of you to stop by.” the Iperatesi almost sang. What do I owe the pleasure of this visit?” “There was a disturbing incident this morning in the city. The ambassador wore deep purple robes and simple black sandals. I have discovered that elvan magic might be involved I have come to you to see if my suspicions may be allayed. Pairan. He had black hair that he kept shoulder length as well as sparkling blue eyes. “I infer from your words that you believe perhaps this incident might have something to with the Æhæsitesi then.

the dream is the work of Æhæsitesi spell craft. Ambassador?” “Certainly. He placed his tea mug on the table and then moved his left hand across the top of the bowl. “It would seem that there is at least one Æhæsitesi in Noch Geongechuth who is involved. facing Pairan again.” the Ambassador frowned.” Thysphitph smiled. his blue eyes intent on the words the Richethi was sharing.” the Ambassador mused. It is quite possible that some Ayrtesi plot may be unfolding. “Perhaps I can aid you more then you had hoped.” “It seems very likely. Tell me about this incident. They will see that I receive them. he sat for a few moments in quiet contemplation. At last. “The Iperatesi are always happy to help our Erupuan friends. he ran his hand over the bowl again and then turned around. “Could you perhaps give me a copy of these Lulabies. Indeed. When she had finished. but then . Ambassador Thysphitph sat quietly. I will have one of my staff drop off the verses to your office. For a few moments he stared deeply into the bowl. He walked over to the small round table in the corner with its bowl of water. I find that very odd. “Perhaps the woman in her dream was chanting the same verses.” “The girl told me that she could not understand the words of the Elvan woman in her dream. It was an ancient Iperatesi lulaby . including Eplier’s dream of the Elvan maiden.this entire incident is strange.one of the three Lulabies of Sylaipæ.” “If I am not there.not to mention agents of the Ayrtesi posing as my own kin. please give them to a member of my unit.” Pairan noted. He then took a sip of his tea and then stood up. listening to every detail. I was able to view the incident in my bowl and I can tell you what the young woman was chanting.” .Æhæsitesi tribes present in the city . as if searching for something.” Pairan related everything she could about the incident at Puenghy’s house.

Mother.” It was early evening and Rana had just completed her class with Master Wycheren. the young Grand Ducal Heiress took no notice of their remarks or the faint laughter that trailed after the guards as they continued on their way. she hurried around the bend in the corridor and raced down the hall. watching Rana sit down in one of the comfortable chairs. Thank you for your aid. excitement boiling over. the tallest amongst them muttering a common saying about adolescents. She opened the oak door and stepped through the threshold into her Mother’s sitting room.the Duchess’ Lady in Waiting. The two women were enjoying biscuits and tea and the entire room smelt of freshly steeped camomile.” Rana replied dutifully.“Very good. She brushed past four off-duty Ducal Guardsmen who stared after her and then shook their heads. “Be careful Pairan. sitting with Duynerese Kuenene . Rana saw nobody there and immediately turned to her left. dear?” Ekomuni asked. “Did you see Uncle Ezok?” . She ran quickly up the stairs. through the Ducal Guardroom and then up one more flight to the Grand Ducal Apartments. She rushed out from the tutor’s classroom and rushed into the main corridor of the third floor of the Palace. “How were your lessons today. She sipped gingerly from her cup.” The Ambassador’s face grew serious. I sense more is at work behind this incident then perhaps is first apparent. Ambassador. Coming to the north-west corner of the Palace.” “I will. However. Her voice then changed. going to the closest door on that side of the large room. Through the foyer and ante-chamber she passed and out into the main living chamber with its large open space. Ekomuni was there. “They were good. Rana came at last to the north-east corner of the Palace and entered the stairwell that was located there. The Grand Duchess looked up to see her daughter rushing in.

“It has been so long since he was last here.” Ekomuni asserted. I know he was quite fatigued from the voyage. Uncle Ezok. Rana had run out the door. She heard her Uncle’s voice answer.” Rana gushed.” Ekomuni smiled.” “He did.” “Yes. he stopped in. it has been.” “Indeed.” Rana quickly stood up and made to leave. “Uncle Ezok mentioned something about a Grand Session of the Court.” her mother agreed. “No. “You have raised her well.” the Duchess noted.” Duynerese Kuenene opinionated. “She is growing up very fast.The Count’s sister laughed warmly. Just be back here before dinner. “It is Rana. almost absently. your Grace. your Father will tell you all about it after dinner. “She will make an excellent Grand Duchess one day. however he will be happy to see you. “Yes. . “Alright then. You no doubt wish to see him. She turned back towards her Mother.” “Can you not tell me now?” the dark red haired girl demanded. “Yes. Your Father was not here. he was busy working on something. did he?” the Duchess laughed. “He is probably down in his quarters or his office. but suddenly she remembered something her Uncle had said. The young woman frowned.” “Well.” she replied through the door. maybe I can get Uncle Ezok to tell me.” A little while later Rana found herself knocking on the door of the offices which the Counts of Luusheta had always used when they were in the city on Court business. However Ezokiich and I had a nice visit. “Yes.” Before Ekomuni could interject.

Uncle. especially since Aheneko passed onward. no doubt. No matter how many times Rana saw this painting. “She also told me you have been out of sorts of late.” the Count lamented. Its decorations were simple: oak furniture. his blue eyes looking fondly at his niece. looking at Rana with a serious expression.” her Uncle laughed. “It has been such a long time. “You must be very excited. she marveled at its beauty and the talent displayed by the artist.” the red haired girl sighed. He paused for a moment. her Uncle’s home in the city of Noch Luusheta which was located north-east of Noch Geongechuth. She fought the urge and finally won. On the wall directly behind the Count’s desk was a beautiful water colour painting of Oakhill Tower. sitting down in the comfortable chair in front of the desk. “Your Mother tells me that you will be doing a solo performance for the Munammeren Celebration. The office was the same size as all the other staff offices located in the Palace. It was indeed one of the infamous sloops often used by those northern men in the wild waters of the Ethesh Whyonqü and it seemed as though the Grand Ducal Ship was chasing it down.” “It is still a niung and a half away. It will be the big event of the summer.” The young woman’s face became dark and she tried not to look away. “That will give you lots of time to practice. crimson coloured rugs. Rana!” the Count cried and she happily opened the door. Count Luusheta sat behind his desk. A signet ring on his left hand was the only jewelry he wore.” Ezokiich related. Two ships were to be seen in the picture. For his part. He wore a simple forest green tunic which complimented his strawberry-blond hair. the . keeping her green eyes on her Uncle’s face. and brown painted walls. “I have really missed you.“Come in. one flew the red standard of the Grand Duchy with its black Raven crest. The second ship flew one of the green banners of a Jufuovhofin pirate.” she replied. Rana. The stone tower stood tall with the blue waters of the Ethesh Whyonqü in the background. stepping inside the room beyond.

“It is almost unbearable when I need to go to Axuzith’s Concert Hall for rehearsals. Rana did not know how he would react if he heard she had been having visions of ill omens and that her Father was in grave danger. Rana. there was something deeply troubling the young woman and she did not seem to want to talk about it. I felt the same when my Father. “It just gets tiresome. Is she still watching over you like a hawk?” “Of course.” “Someone has to keep you safe. “We all know how much Aheneko meant to you and we were all saddened by her passing.” Ezokiich noted with a wry smile. though inside his worry deepened. I am young and my whole life stands before me. not wanting to reveal the true cause of her malaise to her Uncle. Though she knew he cared deeply for her. especially after the long conversation he and Ekomuni had shared regarding Rana. She had not noticed the package when she first had entered the room . he stood up and walked over to a small package which had been sitting on a table against the wall to Rana’s right. he let the matter drop. I still miss him greatly.Count was saddened by his niece’s reaction. so much.” he tried to comfort her. It worried him a great deal. “I really do not mind it. “How is Pairan? I have not yet seen her.” Rana simply shrugged. I wish I could just be normal and not have to worry about all this security that she is so obsessed with. Uncle. However. Suddenly. However.” she admitted. Ekomuni was right.” Rana’s face brightened noticeably at the mention of the Richethi’s name. The feelings you have are only natural. “You’re right. passed into the Halls of Eræron. “Do not be afraid. I must move forward. your Grandfather.” The Count was silent for a moment as he looked fondly at his niece. quickly changing the subject . though it has been fourteen viyas since he left us.hoping to dispel the gloom which seemed to have set itself over the room.” Ezokiich smiled. “I will probably always miss Aheneko.” she replied sadly after a few moments.

She found herself falling through the air then splashing into the sea. Rana’s consciousness shifted.” Gingerly. However. “It is called the Ethonvesh.but worry and fear were still clearly painted across his face. “something that has been in our family for as long as anyone can remember. she was sitting again in her Uncle’s office.” she cried. was a silver ring with a hexagonal aquamarine set in its face. sitting back down in his chair behind the desk. Uncle. Ezokiich had risen in alarm when his niece’s face went blank. The discovery amazed her. “I love it!” “Good. Then just as suddenly. The ring has been passed down in the house of Luusheta from woman to woman. I am glad. he stopped shaking her . she understood the source of the magic. . “A little gift. but looking at the glowing gem set in the ring.hoping to break her out of the trance she seemingly had come under. It fit perfectly and looked absolutely radiant on her finger.” he explained.” Rana slowly pulled off the lid of the small little box and pulled aside the cloth which protected the contents within. For a moment. He had rushed around the side of his desk and was knelt down next to her. There. she was panicking seemingly unable to breathe and having been completely immersed under the water.and was surprised when Ezokiich handed it to her. for the beauty of the ring amazed her. sitting gleaming on a tiny cushion. but she has instructed me to give the ring to you.” The Count informed her. “It once belonged to your Grandmother. Rana caught her breath. Suddenly. she quickly noticed that the blue gem on the Ethonvesh was glowing and this strange phenomena shocked her into calmness. “Oh thank you. shaking her gently . When at last Rana’s green eyes focused on his face. The water was cold and it seemed to be churning as if in a storm. It was to be your Mother’s. Rana found herself floating gently beneath the waves and able to breathe as if she was on land.” he replied. Rana took the ring out of the box and tried it on her left hand ring finger.

where are you?” The door to the Duchess’ sitting room flung open and Ekomuni rushed out. turning to go perform the assigned task. Bring them to Rana’s room. “Muni!” The Count called out to Rana’s Mother when they at last entered the apartments.” she admitted. “Muni.” “I will be fine.” he told her. are you alright?” he demanded. Rana did not argue.” “Are you certain?” “Yes.“Rana. Uncle. “Duynerese.” “At once. “Perhaps a good nap would do me good. They exited the Count’s office and made their way to the Grand Ducal Apartments. “What happened?” It took a moment for the girl to reply and when she did her voice was almost a whisper.” . “I think there has been a little too much excitement for me this past little while.” Duynerese intoned. “I slight fainting spell. it has passed.” Ekomuni continued.” the Count replied. retracing Rana’s route.” Ezokiich prevailed. “I do not want you fainting on your way upstairs. “I will come with you and that is that. “What has happened?” she demanded in a worried tone. “Come Rana. “Rana had a fainting spell in my office just moments ago. Duynerese Kuenene. but I believe she needs some rest. She had no more visions or even a hint of faintness on the way. “Nothing too serious.” Ekomuni looked at her daughter and then turned to her Lady in Waiting.” The Count helped her to her feet.” the young woman protested. That is all. followed by her Lady in Waiting.” Rana leaned back in her chair. Uncle. go and boil some water and fetch three leaves of Tithelo from my herb cabinet. “let us get you into your bed. Rana’s Mother immediately noted the worried look on her Brother’s face. I hope. “I will come with you. She seems better now. your Grace.

“I have been having visions. Ekomuni turned her attentions back to her daughter. Replacing the lid. If you would like. sitting back down.” “Very well. However.The Grand Duchess and the Count led Rana into her room and helped her crawl into her bed. Muni. who left the room in silence. The Duchess took the lid off of the pot and gently put the three leaves into the boiling water. I will make sure of it. she had very little choice. “You will drink the Tithelo tea when it is brewed. I would see some trivial event happen and then it would come to pass. Ezok. “Then you will rest until dinner time. a tea mug and a small plate with three large green leaves. Rana. given the imposing glare her Mother was bestowing her. She felt trapped and she did not want to reveal her powers of vision to her mother. then. “There is no one better suited to care for the sick then you.” Ezokiich replied. “What really happened. she continued: “She will be fine.” Just then the door opened and Duynerese entered carrying a tray with a pot of boiling water. she turned and dismissed Duynerese. The visions were always . I will see you at dinner. Rana?” Ekomuni asked. “Well.” Turning to look at the Count. “At first they were simple.” she started in a subdued tone.” Ekomuni instructed. At last. Ekomuni sat down next to the bed and put her hand on her daughter’s forehead. turning to go. Rana? You did not faint in Ezok’s office. The young woman’s face was a mask of uncertainty. You need to rest and relax. Ekomuni stood up and took the tray from her Lady in Waiting and then put it down on Rana’s night stand.” And with this last word. There is no reason for you to be under such stresses. Tell me the truth. Rana relented. Concentrating for a few moments. the Count exited the room. please join us for dinner and you will see how much improved Rana will be after a little rest. the Grand Duchess closed her eyes and then intoned the word “Ropwala” The red haired woman’s eyes opened after a few moments and she looked deeply into her daughter’s green eyes.

but I knew this sort of thing could be dangerous. “Here.” She turned then and began to poor the sweet smelling Tithelo tea into the mug.” Ekomuni was silent for a few moments. but then I noticed the gem on the Ethonvash glowing. “She is the only one who has known. “And you had one of these visions in Ezok’s office just now?” “Yes.correct. Steam rose from the brown coloured liquid as Ekomuni passed the mug to Rana.” Rana admitted in a quiet voice.” she instructed.” the young woman confessed. “What was the vision?” Ekomuni asked in a loving tone. I was panicking at first. lifting her left hand and looking at the Ethonvash on her finger.” The Grand Duchess smiled warmly at her daughter. I stopped panicking and soon found I could breathe normally underwater. They always accurately predicted what would happen. Putting the mug back on the tray. “It started as soon as I put on Grandmother’s ring. “I came to and Uncle Ezok was shaking me. I am so very proud of you.” .” Rana noted. “Rana. “Who else knows of this?” “I have only ever told Pairan.” “And then what happened?” “That was all. She felt her worries lessen and calmer then she had been in a long time. I began to foresee important things that would effect the Duchy. It was the oddest sensation I have ever experienced. “I was falling through the air and then I crashed into the sea. I needed to tell someone. Rana sipped the sweet tasting tea and immediately felt its warmth course through her body. “Quite a number of viyas ago. The visions remained trivial for a long time. you continue to amaze me with your maturity and understanding.” “When did this all start?” her Mother asked in an awed tone. but then they began to become more serious. she lay back down and returned her attention to her Mother’s face. have a sip. Dutifully.” Rana sighed.

” the tavern owner reported. a pig faced man named Edagach Liyably whom Pairan had first met on her voyage from Tor Keisoryse to Noch Geongechuth.” . “Yes. Placing the glass before the Richethi. taking it off and handing the ring to her Mother. She stood up and headed for the door. It was quiet because it was located far from the docks. After he retired from a life at sea. “But no one seems to know anything. in an out of the way corner of the Port Quarter. There were only five people in the tavern and they seemed to enjoy the quiet. Silently he poured some hot cider from a decanter which sat at the end of the bar into a tall glass. “But why?” “I have an odd idea that I would like to test. All of them sat at one table near the back of the room and seemed to be engrossed in a game of dice.” Pairan stepped through the door of a quiet tavern called The Dolphin’s Repose in the Port Quarter of the city. Mother. “I’ve heard there’s been a few enquiries about a magic using elf.” Ekomuni explained. “Yes. “ Drink some more of the Tithelo tea and try to get some rest. Edagach looked her in the eye. he had opened The Dolphin’s Repose and often saw Pairan as a patron of his establishment. “Can I borrow the ring?” she asked. enjoying the mystifying colour changes.” Pairan replied. “The usual.The Grand Duchess looked curiously at her daughter. He had been the first mate on the ship and took an instant liking to the Richethi. I even talked with some of the thieves and they don’t seem to know anything about an elf causing mischief. lass?” he asked when she came over to the bar. Behind the bar stood the owner. I will send Menino for you when dinner is served.” “Yes.” the girl replied. Edagach.

She then turned east and rode for two blocks to the main avenue of the Port Quarter. I do not have any problems with brothels or the people who frequent them. then?” Pairan verified. I take it. “Thank you for the drink and the information.” Edagash shrugged.” Pairan laughed. Once out in the street. We Richethi are very open minded about sex. though. some woman found naked in the streets chanting in the elvan tongue. and rode north to an intersection. Edagash.” “That’s good to hear. which she had hitched just outside the door of the tavern. if you know what I mean.” “This establishment is a brothel. She mounted her horse. “Just outside The House Of Radiant Flowers down here in the Port Quarter.“I am not surprised. The old sailor turned even more red. “It’s down near the north dockyards and is usually frequented by ships officers. leaning closer. do not be so embarrassed.” Edagash sighed. “Yes. Seems the woman in question was one of the girls working there. taking a sip from the cider. She turned north again for another two blocks where she turned east .” Pairan returned. Pairan finished her cider. The prices are a bit much for common sailors. “Edagash. Pairan wrapped her black cloak tighter about her body. looking relieved.” “It can be found near the north dockyards. then?” “One of the classier ones. “I have a feeling this elf is going to be hard to trace.” Edagach continued. Edagach.” “Where?” the Richethi demanded.” “I do have a lead for you.” She stood up and put a gold coin on the bar.” “Happened just like you said. The old sailor quickly grabbed the coin and watched the Richethi walk out the door.” Edagash’s face turned a little red. “You have been there. “Go on. “Seems there was another incident like the one you were telling me ‘bout.” Pairan’s expression turned to one of surprise.

“Oh course. but then he nodded.one last time. Many would not answer her. Just as Pairan had noticed the complexity of the patterns. There were a number of chairs as well as a small pine desk near one of the tall windows. After a few short moments the door was opened by an elderly man dressed in dark blue clothes.” A quick look of fear washed over the man’s face.” he opened the door wider and led Pairan into a sitting room which was located just to the left of the foyer. “May I help you. a servant of his Grace.” Pairan replied in an official tone of voice. “Make yourself comfortable whilst I fetch the Lady of the house. I am here to investigate an incident involving one of your household earlier today. She was perhaps in her early fifties and had long red hair which was beginning to grey at its roots. “I wish to speak with the owner.complex gold patterns woven into the dark blue fabric. “I am Pairan. The room was a fair sized and decorated with paintings of beautiful young girls who seemed to be draped in silks and other flimsy materials. the Grand Duke. He had sparse greying hair and small green eyes which looked at Pairan with curiosity. friendly and inviting. The first glints of dusk were beginning to appear on the horizon when Pairan knocked on the door of the house. She wore a white silk robe which accentuated her slender build.” Pairan sat down on one of the comfortable chairs. do come in. Her smile was warm. my Lady?” he asked in a strong voice. Her bright green eyes surveyed her latest guest with interest and some amount of curiosity. At last Pairan found herself in the area of the north dockyards and she began asking people in the streets for directions to The House Of Radiant Flowers. An expensive rug covered the floor and Pairan marveled at its intricate designs . however an old boat captain at last gave her directions and she soon found herself hitching her horse outside the door of the brothel. . Expensive gold ear rings hung from her ears and similar rings sparkled on her fingers. A necklace of pearls hung about her neck. a tall woman entered the room.

” she began in a sweet. yes. “May I offer you refreshments while we wait. “How did you know?” “Eraremsar is the second victim of this foul magic.” “And when she stopped singing.” she introduced herself.” Pairan informed her.” Ekœrach explained. “Eraremsar is half Iperatesi. bowing slightly.“Welcome to The House Of Radiant Flowers. “Yes indeed. Immosehon. If this has happened to more then one person then where will it stop?” Ekœrach walked to the door and called to the man who had answered to door. It is the least I can do.” “How do you know it was elvan?” Pairan asked suspiciously. Immosehon of the Chaotic Lotuses. “she had no idea how she arrived outside and why she was naked.” the red haired woman admitted as they both sat back down.” “May I speak to her?” “I will send for her. Immosehon?” she asked as she returned her attention to her guest. . even me.” “Why. It was one of the three Lullabies of Sylaipæ. yet authoritative voice.” “Can you describe what happened?” “I am not certain what caused it. “But one of my girls alerted me that Eraremsar had run outside unclothed and was chanting something in the elvan tongue. He appeared a moment later and nodded at the woman’s instructions. How may I be of service to the Grand Duke?” Pairan stood. “I have heard her sing that very song many times in her Mother’s language.” the madame exclaimed in a shocked tone.” she gasped. “My house is empty and I fear for my business after what happened this afternoon. “It has been reported to me that one of your women might have come under the effects of a magical spell which is of great interest to the Grand Duke. “I am Pairan.” Ekœrach’s face turned pale. “Would she be willing to talk to me about what happened?” “I am not certain. “I am Ekœrach Eshpeuthe. She has refused to talk to anyone about it.” Pairan continued the story.

I have been charged to investigate them and bring the perpetrators to justice.” Pairan cut in.” Eraremsar replied shamefully. bowing her head. “May I introduce Immosehon Pairan. Eraremsar. you are not alone in being a victim of this foul magic. Eraremsar. “I tried to resist it. I need your help to do that. And then the dream began…” Eraremsar’s voice faded at this point. However. however it was too powerful. Mistress. cleansing her of all her fears.” “I wish not to talk about it. her voice having a small hint of the singsong quality of the elves.” Pairan continued. Mistress.” Ekœrach smiled.” The half-elf’s head rose and turned to look at Pairan. “In fact.” she began. The Grand Duke is concerned with these events. Though. the same height as Pairan. “It was Æhæsitesi magic. She was slight of build and had beautiful round face more in line with her human heritage. She had the long black hair of her Mother’s people and their sharp blue eyes.” Pairan declined. The Immosehon is here investigating the incident earlier today and would like to ask you a few questions. . Your knowledge will aid me in finding those who are responsible for doing this to you. Immosehon.“No thank you. her ears were pointed. demonstrating her elvish blood. “Yes. They waited in silence for a few minutes until at last Eraremsar entered the room.” the girl began.” The girl looked uncertain for a moment and then resolve seemed to wash across her face like a river. clearly Eraremsar’s muscles in her arms and legs were powerfully built and they added to her overall beauty. “I am not?” “Indeed. Mistress Eshpeuthe. “Early this morning another girl suffered similar circumstances as yourself. The half-elf was tall. “You sent for me. “There is no shame. It was as if my consciousness was pushed aside and I seemed to watch helplessly as this other mind took control of my body.

Earlier in the day. calling upon Vaonera to protect me from this foul sorceress.” the half-elf replied.” “Very well. Pairan shook the feeling off and then stood up.” “You are certain the maiden was an Ayrtesi?” Pairan interrupted. I may be a rosqyn. shaking off her own shadows. I attempted to cast a spell of silence within the dream.” Pairan accepted. handing the parchment to Pairan who quickly read it. A few minutes later she had completed the task and stood up. “Yes. Soon I found myself in a clearing with a pond at its center. her tale shocked both Pairan and Ekœrach and there seemed to be shadow that had descended in the room. “Could you write down the words of the Lullaby the Ayrtesi was chanting for me. She stood tall and began to open her gown.” the venom in Eraremsar’s voice was thick. However my power was no match for hers and she simply continued to sing. but I can still perceive the Taint of Ephashra. She walked over to the small desk and began to write on a piece of parchment with the quill that sat on the corner.“You found yourself in a forest?” Pairan probed. please?” “Yes. “What was the Ayrtesi doing?” “She was chanting one of the Lullabies of Sylaipæ. letting it fall from her white shoulders to the shadowy grass at her feet. she had received the translated verses from . “There is no mistaking their kind. “She could not hide the shadows of her soul from me. The sow continued to chant those words and I went under the water with her.the shadows were thick and menacing.” the half-elf replied sadly.” Eraremsar was silent then. On a stone near its edge I saw an Ayrtesi sow dressed in a flowing white gown. It was then that I began a battle of wills with her. chanting louder still and beginning to glow with a white aura. hoping to break the Ayrtesi enchantment and her control over my mind. I prayed to Vaonera to protect me in that evil grove. “However there was a darkness all around . The Ayrtesi took hold of me and pulled me into the pool with her. I began to scream. but it was to no avail.

“She was as tall as I am. I did notice. “She had short black hair and blue eyes.” Pairan stepped out the front door and into the street. Not good at all.” the madame frowned. “Could you give me a description of the Ayrtesi in the dream?” She asked.” Pairan replied sadly.the first incident from Ambassador Thysphitph and she immediately noted that these second verses were different from the first set. Night had fallen and she looked around the neighbourhood. He had told me that people throughout the Port Quarter were talking about it.” Eraremsar began. as such.” “Thank you for coming. she wore a white gown. she had a scar on her upper left arm. Immosehon” Ekœrach stood up. A sudden thought entered her mind and she quickly mounted her steed and rode off in the direction of the Palace. I came here as soon as I heard. Eraremsar. I will do everything in my power in order to catch those who have caused this. Immosehon.” “I am sorry for that. I assure you that myself and other officers of the Grand Duke are taking this matter very seriously and we will bring the perpetrators to justice. She had the long pointed face of the Æhæsitesi. though. As I said. noting the closeness of the wall separating the Old Quarter from the Port Quarter. As I said. how did you hear of the incident?” “A friend of mine informed me earlier. “However. . “May I just ask. “Oh.” “People throughout the port are talking about this. do not hesitate to contact me at the Palace. I was already investigating a similar incident. walking Pairan to the door. this is not good for business. If you remember anything else or there is another occurrence. Mistress Eshpeuthe. I may return if I have more questions.” “Thank you for your help.” “Thank you again.

The rest and herbal tea had relieved many of the stresses the Ducal Heiress had been bearing. The whole family was silent while they ate. Ekomuni had been watching her daughter very closely. Duynerese and two other servants cleared the table. “However.” Rana’s face brightened. “I am much better after the rest and Mother’s tea. “You will know most of the functionaries. . “Yes Uncle. It will be an excellent opportunity to meet them and see how the Court functions. she felt refreshed and in better spirits then she had in months. When at last she came forth and took a seat at the large dinning table. It will be a special ceremony. As Menino. However. It is to commence the ycu after tomorrow.” her Father added. “Yes. I have an exciting surprise which I hope will dispel some of your malaise. enjoying the flavours of the meal as well as the companionship of being all together.” “I am so happy to hear that. Your Uncle has already told you that there is to be a special session of the Court. taking a small piece of cake from the plate Duynerese had brought.” she replied. shrimp and garden salad. as her husband and brother began to speak of other things. I think we were all a little worried.” Ethithung smiled warmly. Rana?” Ezokiich asked after taking a sip of the sparkling wine. Count Ezokiich had joined them for the meal of fresh lobster. she stood up and then knelt down on the floor next to Rana who was happily eating a piece of the spice cake.The sun was just beginning to set when Menino woke Rana. Every member of the Court of the Crimson King will be on hand to formally acknowledge your claim and to swear their allegiance to you. Duynerese brought white wine and a spice cake and then left the family to enjoy their time together. I was really worried earlier. the Grand Ducal Family and the Count of Luusheta retired to the chairs and sofas near the fireplace.” All this time. but there will be some you have never met before.” confided the Count. my dear. “I am to attend a session of the Court?” “Yes. thank you. “Are you feeling better. one which is held once a generation to formally announce the heir to the Crimson Throne.

” Rana meekly replied.” the Duchess began. It is very important that I understand what is going on with you.” Ekomuni hugged her close.“I am happy you are feeling better. “It would seem the Tithelo tea has helped you quite a bit. Rana.” “Yes Mother. . Ekomuni lowered her voice: “We will speak more regarding your visions. “I am very proud of you. especially given the importance of the investiture ceremony.” Then. I understand.

“Everything went as planned. The figure made its way to a small side door and proceeded to retrieve a key from within its dark cloak. She appeared to be unarmed. We expected the City Guard to take note. There was a desk area with three simple wood chairs. “I am quite pleased. the figure then stepped through the threshold.Chapter 9 For The Court Of The Crimson King In the deep hours of that same night. well built and had short red hair and green eyes. Putting the key into the lock and turning.” the woman reported. who remained standing despite the fact that it was obviously would be waiting for someone. but not the Immosehon of the Chaotic Lotuses. “Well. However. a darkly cloaked figure found itself outside of a warehouse in the Port Quarter of the city. other then the cloaked figure. with or without the concealed weapons she carried. an office attached to the warehouse. She was tall. and so is Hyshænn. The woman wore a simple green blouse and black leggings. but the figure knew better. what of the day?” the figure asked in a strange tone of voice. The woman was dangerous. one of my women noticed that the incidents are being investigated by the Richethi Pairan. closing the door as it passed.” . Just then a woman appeared. sitting in the chair behind the desk. The room had wood paneled walls which had a coat of fading green paint washed over them. one behind the desk and two out in front. The room which the figure entered was small. There appeared to be no person in the room. It was lit by a small wall sconce that hung to the figure’s right.

from her unit. She walked from behind her desk to the door. I will see to it that Pairan does not interfere. Within moments the figure had faded into the shadows of the night. “Continue with the plan as scheduled. Once back in her office she had rolled open the map and began to inspect it. Pairan began making mental notes as she calculated the distance between the two. “Where did this latest incident happen?” . the black hair and the colour changing eyes. leading her to the desk and the map spread out on its surface. She had woken up quite early and had gone down to the Grand Ducal Library to retrieve the map. She had quickly located the Puenghy House as well as The House Of Radiant Flowers. She opened the door to reveal Plasefu. a large map of Noch Geongechuth spread across her desk. Plasefu wore the uniform of the unit.” Pairan motioned the Ebeguen inside. Plasefu?” Pairan enquired.” “Very well.” it announced at last.or Corporal .” the red haired woman smiled. “Constable Rishækun Duycheblon has informed us that another incident involving the Lullabies of Sylaipæ has been reported down in the city. the Chaotic Lotuses. The darkly cloaked figure turned and exited the way it had come. Noting their locations. locking the door of the warehouse’s office when it left. then.The figure did not immediately reply. “I will take care of Pairan. “Yes. The Ebeguen was a little shorter then Pairan and she dispalyed all the characteristics of the Richethi race including the gold coloured skin.” With those words. the black leather bustier and kilt. It was during these calculations that Pairan heard a knock at her door. the Ebegeun . On her feet were tall black leather riding boots. vanishing into thin air. It was just before dawn on the next day and Pairan sat in her office. the woman promptly disappeared again. “I will leave her to you.

Pairan then went over to a locked cupboard located to the left of her desk.” The Immosehon looked closely at the map again.not locking it again . cross referencing the locations of the other incidents. palm flush against the oak wood. an old dwarf named Uninkanek Ironfist. Lifting her palm from the face of the wood. Concentrating deeply.” Pairan looked at the map and noted the location of the barracks. . Frustration began to mount in Pairan’s mind as she realized she was not getting any closer to the source of this magical terror. god of Chaos. the image of a huge black axe appeared and it came swinging downward. She placed her left hand on its door. She now did not see a pattern. she sent out a summons to Yryas. “When did this latest incident occur?” “The owner. however this latest occurrence was on the far side of the city. an idea came to her. Pairan looked up and quickly gave a few orders to Plasefu. who nodded in understanding and then turned and left the office. In her mind’s eye. the door directly across from her office opened and Ethikein stepped into the hall. splitting a multicoloured stone. It is located near the South Gate not far from the City Guard barracks.” Plasefu reported. At the very instant that the sound of the magical command dissipated in the air she heard a click from the door. He reported that the victim was one of his bar maids and that she began to pull off all her clothes and sing one of the Lullabies right in the middle of the tavern’s drinking room. as she stood looking at the map. The first two incidents had happened within a short distance of each other. to give her power.“Down in the New Quarter. Pairan then opened her eyes and intoned the word “Voghe” and released the magical energy which had flowed into her body from her deity. told the Constable that the incident began just before closing time early this morning. As she stepped into the hallway. She picked up the bundle and closed the door .and proceeded to the door of the office. However. “At a tavern called The Ivory Unicorn. she opened the door of the cupboard which revealed a large bundle wrapped in a black cloth.

” “May he give thee strength. The room Pairan had entered was the barracks of the Chaotic Lotuses.” Pairan returned. noting the large. However. “Yes.” Pairan replied. Ethikein watched her go. “The beginning of a new era. “Yryas greets thee. Pairan turned and walked to the end of the hallway and then entered the door which was located there. . “I will not. I have work to do and must meet with his Grace in a little while.” Ethikein put in as Pairan turned to her left. Ethikein. giving personal space to each member who had then decorated their designated section to their taste. The other Richethi half turned and looked back at Ethikein. the similarities ended there. It will be a glorious day for Rana. One area was painted black with swords and shields decorating the wall. Pairan. The room was divided evenly.” the other Chaotic Lord replied. she turned to her left and departed in the opposite direction Pairan had gone. while another was painted brown and had various pots of different sizes all growing a multitude of different plants.” came the reply. wrapped bundle the other Richethi was carrying.” “Indeed. “I must hurry. Each of these areas had a bed as well as trunks to store personal items.“Yryas greets thee.” Ethikein greeted her with a warm smile. May Yryas give thee strength. She stood for a few moments.” “Do not forget the ceremony tomorrow. The barracks were as unique as the people it housed. I suppose one could say that. Ethikein. lost in her own thoughts. Unlike the barracks of other military units throughout the Duchy. Ethikein. then? How are the investigations going?” “They proceed. alone in the hallway. All this time.” Pairan looked at Ethikein for a moment before she made her reply. Then. one could say. Pairan. intending to go. “Another busy ycu. this room showcased the individuality of each member of the Unit.

” the short Richethi replied. meaning they made sure that the line of powder was continuous. into the center of the rug. Pairan knelt down and placed the wrapped bundle in the middle of Yryas’ symbol. Carefully. The two Chaotic Lords were very careful to keep the circle of powder complete. Pairan. A common central area used for a multitude of purposes was located in the middle of the room and it was in this central space where the eight other members of the unit had gathered. The members of Pairan’s unit awaited her further orders. however she was silent and walked past them. She lifted the cloth from the stone and then withdrew to the edge of the rug. One of the Richethi was moving in a clock-wise direction while the other moved in the opposite direction until at last they met at a spot close to where Pairan stood. A large round black rug denoted the borders of the central space. awaiting her orders to commence the ritual. placing the black sheet on a nearby table.” “Yes. Turning back to the circle. which was about the width of an average human palm. That was good. It was important that they all understood the power which resided in the stone and how quickly it could consume everything in its path if it were ever unleashed. They were all stoic. she unwrapped the black cloth revealing a large tourmaline stone. begin forming the protective circle. Sewn into the circumference of the rug was a ring of gold. However. she quickly observed the faces of the Chaotic Lotuses. she detected a hint of fear in some of their colour-changing eyes.The other personal spaces of the Chaotic Lotuses were just as varied. The Richethi warriors stood on this golden ring. Pairan took her place in the circle of Richethi and turned her attention to the senior of the two Ivych of the unit. motioning to two subordinates who quickly began walking around the back of the circle of warriors pouring a fine light blue coloured powder from small glass vials around the perimeter. The two completed their task. “Ilesguen. closing the circle of light blue powder and . Once there. In the center of the rug was the symbol of Yryas: a great golden axe cleaving a multi-coloured stone encircled in gold.

Yryas! Ethemæb rahemem mæcdi sacro ezsomme mæcdi rotno mithto emem mæcdi sacro Richethi. miwne reda eshiw obel ropli mothto. The tourmaline stone began to glow with a faint multi-coloured energy.returning to their places in the circle. Yryas! Exalted master of the forces of chaos and lord of the Richethi. Yryas! 2 1 “Come forth watcher in the stone! Come forth and do our bidding. you bless this holy space by bringing your power to bear upon this simple circle in order to protect us. Pairan lifted both her arms and silence again fell within the barracks of the elite unit. we ask that by your leave. Yryas. the glow around the stone intensified. Yryas!1 At the conclusion of this evocation. Silence followed and each of the Chaotic Lotuses fixated their gaze upon the tourmaline stone in the center of the circle. In a loud. As the chanting continued and the Richethi poured their energy into it. Yryas. ropli acoprebdo ezathivpazræ. the light blue powder that surrounded the Chaotic Lotuses began to glow faintly. The gathered Richethi began to chant the name of their god. calling his name and feeling the energy of the ritual build until Pairan sensed its apex and held up her left hand. concentrating hard and chanting the name of their deity. Yryas. Yryas. It was at this point that Ilesguen began to chant in one of the strange tongues of magic: Yryas. When the moment was right. his gæad bazra bonde ewed obel pitnoe ropli rannvæ ænnim ati rotmipenpi bazra olod hedni næs odol ænnim osom afed. your faithful servants. growing stronger and brighter. servant of Yryas! . Each Richethi poured their own magical energy into the stone. Yryas. commanding voice she called forth: “Othip sonnoër hythnïlop næs sacro efæl! Othip sonnoër mithto ætel orov rinër athivpazræ mæcdi Yryas!2“ “Yryas. Yryas.

“Do you accept our Authority over you?” The Chaos Demon growled menacingly in a deep baritone. “We seek information.” Again. It’s three-faceted eyes peered horrifically around the circle. Is there anything you might be able to tell us regarding this terror. However. It had long razor sharp claws and sharp carnivorous teeth. The form was human in its shape. though shorter then the gathered Richethi. Richethi. Beware this hidden power. “Rowægep!” Pairan boomed in a commanding voice. At last. . for evils greater then the nightmares of Humans will result. however its other attributes were terrifically alien.” the Demon purred dangerously. slowly a form began to appear within the confines of the sphere. “For now. with full breasts which sported dark brown nipples as well as the tender folds of a hairless labia between its well muscled thighs. “There is a Shadow Elf who stalks the dreams of the Humans. Rowægep turned its attention to Pairan. “Dark dream magic is at work within the city and is being used to instill terror within the citizens. It growled again. The being was naked. Yet her coven of Humans is being manipulated by an outside force which once inhabited my Plane. but it knew its confinement in the stone kept its true power from manifesting itself in the material plane.” Pairan told Rowægep. Rowægep growled in defiance. searching for a weakness in the protective circumference of glowing blue powder. It had hairless grey skin and three-faceted yellow eyes. This Ayrtesi resides in the mansion of a dead merchant. The being was tall. She poses as a kin of Aquishæwo and seeks to bring suffering to Noch Geongechuth. The glowing energy was at first a swirling mass of colours blending with each other.The aura that surrounded the tourmaline stone began to grow and form into a swirling sphere of energy just above the apex of the stone. the feeling of its anger filling the room.” “Who is this hidden power?” Pairan demanded.

go down into the city and see if you can find any more information regarding this Ayrtesi who is the source of this terror. a full beard and green eyes. “I must go meet with his Grace. Rana stood on a short stool in the middle of the office.” Rowægep growled. Richethi. There were three tailors making adjustments to the garment under the knowledgeable instructions of Master Munaplata and Rana stood patiently letting them do their work. Rana and Menino were down in the office of Poserun Munaplata.“Too late. and wrapped the large tourmaline. he was in charge of all of the household work within the Palace that did not involve cooking and he reported directly to the Grand Duchess. Pairan walked into the middle of the circle. As Chamberlin. “Your time to demand answers from me has passed. She wore a beautiful flowing gown of green silk which was richly decorated with gold leafs and crimson trim.” Ilesguen replied.” “Yes Pairan. a hint of laughter in its demonic voice. but one day I will escape and seek payment for these demands you make of me!” Suddenly. after retrieving the black cloth. “Ilesguen. I return now to my prison. The . Master Munaplata was one of the oldest members of the Palace Staff and had been appointed as Palace Chamberlin by Rana’s Grandmother long before the young woman had been born. The sergeant began to give orders to the other Richethi as Pairan left the barracks to return the stone to its place in her office. the Palace Chamberlin. He was an average sized Erupuan man with short white hair. Pairan turned to Ilesguen and gave her orders to break the protective circle which was done quickly and efficiently by the same two Richethi who had laid it. the swirling mist of energy dissipated and the tourmaline lost its glow.” she informed her unit. A collective sigh was heard running through the ranks of the Chaotic Lotuses when the presence of the Chaos Demon was gone. Try to find out if there are any elves living in merchant’s houses.

The fitting and the final adjustments of her dress continued without further incident. what did he say. The Chamberlin’s response was quick and direct. Rana turned to look at her friend. Just then.’” . my Lady. a look of anger crossing the old man’s bearded face.” the Chamberlin replied. “What do you mean?” “I was close enough to hear what that servant was telling the Chamberlin. “That servant was reporting no usual problem. but she could tell from his voice that something was going on.” “Well. Rolling his eyes in annoyance. the other two discussed the proper fit at the waist with Poserun Munaplata. when Rana and Menino had departed the Chamblerin’s office. Menino looked around to make sure there was no one close by who could overhear.” Menino started. “The servant said: ‘The Grand Magus has seven red fish and wishes that you prepare them for the feast. my Lady. Afterwards. “Is there a problem.” the Lady in Waiting admitted. Rana could not hear what the servant was saying. though Rana sensed a good amount of anger and worry in the elderly man’s voice. Master Munaplata?” Rana inquired. then?” Rana demanded. The servant quickly turned and rushed away as Master Munaplata closed the door. While one of the tailors was quickly sewing up the hem of the dress. an urgent sounding knock was heard at the Chamberlin’s door. Menino confided in her mistress. opening it to find a crimson uniformed servant who quickly made some report in hushed tones. “Nothing the staff can not handle.two young women had arrived in the Chamberlin’s office shortly after Rana had finished her breakfast and had spent the entire morning having the dress adjusted for the perfect fit. “It was a strange message and had nothing to do with any problem regarding the ceremony tomorrow. the white haired man excused himself from the discussion and went to the door.

go and find that servant. Try to find out who gave him the message. returning the man’s smile. “Looking for Pairan. my Lady. however there was still no response. “What sort of strange code is this?” “I do not know.” “Yes. “I am not certain. The tall silver haired man smiled when he saw her. She continued on in the direction they had been heading. She went back to the door to her left and tried knocking again.” the Lady in Waiting replied dutifully. she saw a robed figure turn the corner at the end of the hall.Rana looked dumbfounded at Menino. “Greetings. my Lady.” “Do you think perhaps it involves the ceremony tomorrow?” The Grand Ducal Heiress frowned. I am Ahenthair.” she stated in an authoritative voice.” she replied. She turned and scurried off down the hallway back the way they had come. Rana watched her for a few more moments and then made a decision. She knocked and when there was no answer she frowned.” “Yes. “However the feast is some sort of special occasion. my Lady.” “Yes. He was obviously on his way to his own office or quarters which were located at the end of the corridor.” she at last replied. Who is this ‘Grand Magus’ the servant mentions?” Rana thought for a moment.” Menino whispered. “Menino. my Lady. “It had better not. Rana paused to think for a moment. She passed by four sets of doors and came at last to the second last door on her right.” “And do not mention this to anyone. are you?” Seeing her nod. “I expect you are quite excited for tomorrow.” he called in his commanding voice. Ahenthair Ycashiosh walking towards her. he . turning down the next intersecting corridor. However. Looking closer she immediately recognized her father’s Grand Vizier. The old mage looked at the door Rana had been knocking on moments before and then back at the girl before him. “It does not make any sense to me.

continued. “Well, she is upstairs meeting with your Father. In fact, I have just left them. It seems there is an Ayrtesi creating havoc down in the city. Pairan has been investigating the matter and she wanted to report it to myself and to your Father.” “An Ayrtesi, here in Noch Geongechuth?” Rana replied, somewhat startled at the thought of an evil elf in the city. “Oh, there is probably more then one.” Ahenthair mused, stroking his full beard, his green eyes looking deeply at Rana. “Spies mostly. However some stir up trouble that we have to deal with from time to time. It would seem this Ayrtesi is just such as one. I was on my way to my office to do some research into the matter. We do not want anything to interfere with tomorrow’s ceremony, now do we?” “No, we do not.” Rana replied. Ahenthair bowed politely and made to continue on his way. However, Rana suddenly had a thought. “Ahenthair, have you ever heard of someone called ‘The Grand Magus’?” The Grand Vizier stopped in his tracks and turned slowly, looking back at the young woman with an emotionless face. “No, my Lady.” he faltered. “Why do you ask?” Rana looked at the old man and was surprised at his reaction. “I happened to see the term in a book I was reading.” she lied. “It seemed to refer to some sort of magician or sorcerer but it did not really explain. I know you are familiar with magical lore and thought perhaps you had heard the term.” “No, I have not.” Ahenthair reiterated in a firm tone. “However, if you could tell me which book you saw the term, perhaps I could look into it for you.” “It is not important.” Rana brushed it off, worried that she might now be caught in a lie. “I was simply curious.” The Grand Vizier looked long at the Grand Ducal Heiress. “Very well, my Lady. May Ethone wash your worries.”

“May he wash yours as well, Ahenthair.” she returned, watching him go to the end of the hall and enter his office.

It was the day of the ceremony at last. The Court of the Crimson King was fully gathered to participate in the ritual. Servants and Palace Staff had been preparing for weeks for this momentous occasion and everything was finally in place for the grand event. Rana had awoke early and ate a large breakfast, for she would not be eating again until the grand feast in the Palace Banquet Hall that evening. Menino, Poserun Munaplata and a number of servants had then helped her get into her dress. When at last she stepped forth from her bedchamber she looked beautiful, regal and powerful. Her parents, also dressed in their formal garb, were amazed at how their daughter looked. Ekomuni even shed some tears which were quickly wiped away on a handkerchief furnished by Duynerese Kuenene. Avuth Efoguen Apluploish arrived shortly thereafter accompanied by two of the Grand Ducal Guardsmen. The three soldiers were also dressed in their formal uniforms and their plate armour was freshly polished and in pristine condition. The Avuth bowed formally to the Grand Duke and Duchess. “It is time, your Grace.” he informed them in a formal tone. “Very well, Efoguen.” Rana’s Father replied. “Lead onward.” The Grand Ducal couple took up a position behind the two guardsmen - who were now standing at attention behind their Captain. Rana came up behind her parents while Menino and Duynerese stood behind her. The procession began to march towards the antechamber of the Grand Ducal Apartments and then made its way down the stairwell. As they passed the landing for the fourth floor of the Palace and the guardroom beyond, the procession was joined at its rear by Ivych Inniesa Wheychezo and two more Grand Ducal Guardsmen.

The procession descended down to the first floor of the Palace, exiting the stairwell at the first floor landing and marching out into the main hallway. They marched to the right of the stairwell door until their turned left into a short corridor which separated the Throne Room from the Banquet Hall. Halting in a small anteroom just outside of the doors of the Throne Room, the members of the Grand Procession waited as the Avuth stepped through the open doorway into the Court of the Crimson King. Through the threshold, Rana could hear the loud, commanding voice of Efoguen announcing their arrival. “Gathered Courtiers, Palace Staff and distinguished guests, I present to you, his Grace and her Grace, Grand Duke Ethithung Geongechuth and Grand Duchess Ekomuni Geongechuth.” At this signal, the two Guardsmen began to march into the Throne Room followed by Rana’s parents. She watched as they walked in a very formal manner from the doorway to the far end of the hall, climbing up a small dais and sitting comfortably in the two thrones located at its top. The two soldiers that had lead the Grand Ducal couple took up positions on either side of the two thrones. The gathered functionaries and guests then sat down and the Avuth introduced the next member of the procession. “Her ladyship, Ecarana Geongechuth.” Efoguen continued. Rana began to walk forward, attempting to imitate the grace and the speed of her parents. The two Ladies in Waiting followed and the remaining Guardsmen brought up the rear. Slowly the procession made its way to a position just to the left of the dais. Three chairs had been placed here and Rana sat down in the middle one, flanked by Menino on her right and Duynerese on her left. Ivych Inniesa Wheychezo stood behind her chair and the other two Guardsmen stood behind the chairs of the Ladies in Waiting. Once they were seated, Efuguen marched smartly to the dais and ascended the short steps. He took up his position on the left hand side of the Grand Duke. The legendary Court Of The Crimson King was the ultimate gathering place of all the individuals who believed they might have some sort of influence on the day to day

operations of the Grand Duchy. The massive room had ten foot tall ceilings which gave it a truly monumental feel. Its crimson, black and gold coloured decor give it a regal feeling that immediately pressed upon the visitor the power of the Grand Duke of Ravenstone. The walls were decorated with tapestries, paintings, statues and various trophies which celebrated the long history of the Grand Duchy, including the time when it was an independent kingdom under the rule of the Crimson Kings. The room's focal point, of course, was the Throne Of The Crimson King which sat upon the raised dais at the western end of the Court. It was an ancient seat crafted by the dwarves of the Eagle Mountains and made especially for the Crimson Kings of Ravenstone. Flanking it were two smaller and less ornate thrones, one for the Grand Duchess on the left and one for the Grand Ducal Heir on the right. Along the north and south walls of the Court were rows of benches which were occupied by the members of the Court, along with their personal aids and a number of special guests who had been invited for the occasion. To the right of the dais, on the north side of the room, stood all nine of the Chaotic Lotuses in their formal black and gold kilts and bustiers. The tall Richethi warriors stood at attention and Rana had seen Pairan smile warmly when she had entered. Suddenly, Rana was beginning to feel nervous. The ceremony had not even begun and she was mysteriously having fears and doubts. She looked around the room, noting many faces she recognized and some she did not. At last, her gaze fell upon the face of Moothequ. The Warlock was sitting next to her Chaotic Lord, Ethikein, as well as the Grand Vizier, Ahenthair Ycashiosh. She was talking quietly with the old mage, however she turned and looked at Rana when she sensed the girl’s attention fall upon her. Smiling, the Warlock turned back to her conversation with the Grand Vizier, seemingly ignoring Rana’s gaze. The Grand Duke stood and looked around at the gathering of the Court. “We assemble here on this day, as my ancestors have done in the past. Today I formally name the Heir to the Crimson Throne in accordance with the Grand Duchy’s traditions. You are

present to bear witness and swear your allegiance to the Heir as you have sworn allegiance to me. At this time, I will call forth my daughter, Ecarana Geongechuth, to present herself before the Throne of the Crimson Kings.” Rana stood. She felt every eye in the room on her as she slowly and gracefully walked the short distance to the foot of the dais. She looked up to see her father smiling down on her and some of the fear and unease began to fade. “Ecarana Geongechuth.” the Grand Duke continued formally, “Do you swear to rule the citizens of the Grand Duchy of Ravenstone with love, understanding, compassion?” “I do, your Grace.” she replied in an equally formal voice. “Do you swear to protect the realm through careful guidance of the Grand Ducal Army, the Grand Ducal Navy and the Grand Ducal Ranger Corps?” “I do, your Grace.” “Do you swear to continue to fulfill these duties until the day in which you pass onward into the Halls of Eræron or you pass on your title and power to your successor?” “I do, your Grace.” “I then proclaim you as my True Heir!.” Ethithung announced. “I pledge to pass on my tittle and full power on the day in which I pass onward into the Halls of Eræron or at some other time of my sole choosing. May Ethone guide you to fair seas when you shall reign over our great Duchy.” A great cheer arose from the members of the Court and the gathered guests. Rana’s face darkened at her father’s words. She thought she heard those tolling bells and someone shouting that the Crimson King was slain. But she shook herself, casting the darkness from her mind. Rana turned and faced the Court, again focusing on the smile of Pairan. “I now call upon the members of the Court Of The Crimson King to pledge their allegiance to the Grand Ducal Heir.” the Grand Duke continued. One by one, a procession of Court Functionaries came forward to pledge their allegiance. The first of which was Rana’s uncle, Count Ezokiich Luusheta as well as his men. He was followed by Count

the Richethi continued along the line. my Lady. When it was Moothequ’s turn. The Grand Ducal Guardsmen followed the commanders and they were in turn followed by Pairan and the Chaotic Lotuses. greeting the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess in turn.the general of the Grand Ducal Army who had been exchanging notes with one of the Priests of the God of Air. Rana was unsure what to expect. including Plashenna Geonzith . The Counts were followed by the commanders of the Grand Ducal Military. . “As I have pledged to protect the Empire from evil.Keiketh Yggyma and his retainers. “I pledge to give you recourse to my full powers in order to serve you in whatever means you deem necessary. Moothequ. my Lady. telling her how proud she was. “I look forward to working very closely with you.” Rana breathed.” the Warlock began. When it was her turn.” “Thank you.” With that. Pairan hugged Rana closely. The procession continued on as each Court Functionary and Palace Staff member swore their allegiance. The two Counts were the only vassals of the Grand Duke and quickly offered their allegiance to Rana as well as their congratulations.

PART 2 .

stark naked and singing in the Elvan tongue. Women were so afraid of .Chapter 10 The Keeper Of The City Keys A week after Rana’s investiture.was a two masted sloop carrying goods and passengers from Pläsh Yggyma. This dramatic incident. approaching the point where the Atiliysh. The Huwoth . when suddenly one of the passengers appeared on the main deck. The bewitchment of the woman startled the superstitious sailors and they attempted to throw the trance-ridden woman into the icy waters. Pairan had found no further leads in her investigation into the Three Lullabies of Sylaipæ mystery. She was saved by the quick orders of the Huwoth’s captain who had wrapped his sea coat around the woman and taken her to his cabin. The ship had been out in the currents of the Crimson Strait. The young woman in question had been aboard a ship which was just arriving in the port and Pairan was at a loss as to how a spell caster on land was able to affect a victim out at sea. There were even some reports of Elves being attacked in some of the seedier parts of the city. Magic users and Elves soon found themselves unwelcome in most city establishments. The Richethi’s original method of attempting to find a geographical pattern to the attacks had fallen apart with the second of these three new victims. or the Eagle River. a city on the southern shores of the Duchy. coupled with rumours of the other incidents had incited waves of fear and suspicion through the population of the city.as the ship was called. flows out into the strait. Three other young women had fallen victim to the Ayrtesi magic in that time.

However. The Grand Duke had approached the Iperatesi and Ronithæ Ambassadors to the Court hoping they could give an account of the Elves who were in the city. Even the information she was given by the demon Rowægep had not turned up anything. Apothecaries found that they were making a small fortune on any herbs or compounds which had sleep deprivation properties. With all the strength and pride he could muster. but the guardsmen under the Ivych’s command whispered amongst themselves.rushed out into the street and quickly covered his daughter’s nudity from the terrified and curious eyes of their neighbours. Other women were doing everything in their power to stay awake at night. However the soldier denied . Ivych Munesa Efuhuen . the house could be anywhere. There were simply far too many merchants in the city and locating the mansion of one dead merchant had been fruitless. the Ivych carried his daughter back into the house bellowing at his eldest son to bolt the front door once they entered the residence.the Warden of the Crimson Gate .being bewitched in their sleep that some had begun to tie themselves to their beds. Before the front door of a City Guard Officer’s house located near the Crimson Gate. The paranoia of the citizenry grew in proportion to Pairan’s own frustrations. it soon became apparent that there were more Elves in the city then either Ambassador was aware of. The woman’s father. In the dawn hours of the twelfth day of Ashoniung the next victim of the crime wave was revealed. Not a word was said of the incident. When news of this latest incident came to Pairan. Without knowing when or how the merchant had died. well out of the hearing of their commander. An hour later the Ivych departed from his home without a word and arrived at his station in time to inspect his men. It seemed every lead she discovered was a dead end. she immediately went to the Warden’s office in the Crimson Gate to interview the man. a young orange haired woman stood naked chanting in the Elvan tongue.

Ivych. looking out at the city below. I am an officer of his Grace’s City Guard and you question my word?” The Richethi scowled. Pairan. “What is going on here. She turned. You can not deny that this happened. “You should be prosecuting them. my Lady. There are witnesses to the incident. Quickly. You have sworn to protect this city and its citizens. yet here you are hampering my investigation into this grave matter. Frowning. A fresh breeze blew from the northeast cooling the skin of the two women. “Get out of my office!” “Very well. Menino handed a small piece of parchment to Rana. Munesa? There is more then your family’s honour that you are attempting to protect. “I have a message for you. Menino found Rana sitting on the balcony of the Grand Ducal Apartments. It was mid-morning and the heat of the day was beginning to rise.” “Get out!” the Ivych stormed. She stood for a few moments in the early morning sun contemplating the man’s reaction.or anyone else interview his daughter. “you need to help me with this.that the incident had even taken place and refused to allow Pairan . The very security of the city is at stake. left the office and exited the gatehouse via a door which opened up on the Palace side of the wall. Rana was eating an apple. I know it was your daughter and I know it was outside of your house this morning. “Munesa. she turned and went through the gate and out into the city beyond. She turned when Menino came out onto the balcony. The note had been given to the Lady in Waiting by a City Guardsman who had told her to deliver it to the Grand Ducal .” the young girl informed her mistress.” “Rogues bent on soiling the honour of my name!” the Ivych proclaimed with a hint of venom in his tone.” Pairain acquiesced.” the Richethi pled.

She walked the halls.” “Very well.” Kiichgon smiled. The young woman looked at the cover and noticed the golden Elvan script which read Nin Efiti.” “Very good. Kiichgon was an elderly lady with medium length silver hair and wise blue eyes. tucking the tome under her arm as she followed the silver haired Librarian to the far side of the Library. The Book of Iperatesi Verse. standing up from her desk and leading Rana out into the Library. Five doors were located . Would you prefer a book written in Erugioth?” “No. my Lady. The librarian had a round face with a high brow and a kind expression.and entered into the Grand Ducal Library. my Lady. my Lady. entered into the Grand Ducal apartments and disposed of both the apple core and the note in the massive fireplace. “The three lullabies can be found within this codex. Shall I open a private reading room for you?” “Yes. She wore a cyan coloured dress and black leather slippers. the language of the Iperatesi Elves. the Head Librarian.” Rana began. “I want to read them in their original language. “The whole city is terrified of the Lullaby incidents . Kiichgon. Looking up from reading the note. how may I be of assistance?” Kiichgon asked in a sweet voice. handing it to Rana.” the Librarian replied. The Lady in Waiting quickly departed to fulfill the task. Kiichgon. Rana finished eating her apple and then stood up.” Rana replied. Rana instructed Menino to find Pairan and tell the Richethi to meet her at the fountain in the Grand Ducal Maze just after lunch. The young woman followed the elderly Librarian into the section of the Library which housed the collection of tomes and scrolls written in Qathso. passing servants and a few court officials . “We have a number of books which contain them. She departed from the apartments and descended down to the third floor of the Palace. “My Lady. The Librarian searched the shelves for a few moments and then retrieved a small green-leather bound tome. thank you Kiichgon.” Rana answered. She made her way to the office of Kiichgon Ethezith. “I want to read these Lullabies which are causing all these problems.all of which greeted her formally .Heiress.

opening the book to the table of contents. excusing herself. Inside was a plushly decorated room with various comfortably appointed chairs and a number of small tables. Rana contemplated the history of these lullabies and marveled at how they were now being used to instill a fear of sleep in her people. The three lullabies had been composed by Sylarrö. She understood the suffering the Iperatesi had suffered at the hands of the Ayrtesi throughout the æons . Sylaipæ. Nine wall sconces provided ample lighting to read by. When she was at last satisfied. She put the tome down on one of the chairs and began to adjust the lighting to her taste. The lore of the Elves held that Sylarrö’s daughter. the greatest of the Iperatesi Bards. my Lady. a quill and inkwell also could be found against one wall where library guests could make notes on any books they were reading.” the elderly Librarian bowed. Rana entered the reading room and closed the door behind her. She quickly located the page containing the first lullaby and began to read.as well as the suffering of humans. often had problems sleeping after the nights of murder in which the Ayrtesi first brought strife to the Elvan Kindreds in the ancient Elvan home of Æratesi. their luminescence could be controlled by small dials on each lamp so that the guest could create whatever ambiance they desired. Soon. these three ancient songs were being used by all of the Iperatesi to sleep and to ward off the shadows of the Ayrtesi. she picked up the tome and then sat down in one of the chairs. they would fall into a deep sleep. Rana knew the history of her people and of the Iperatesi wars with the Ayrtesi well enough to be sickened by the . “I will leave you to your reading. The terrifying irony filled her with a sort of rage.along the wall here and Kiichgon unlocked one of them for Rana. It was said that for any being to hear an Elf sing one of these songs. Sylarrö composed the lullabies to alleviate these fears and help his daughter to sleep. A small oak desk with a stack of blank parchments. She feared the knives of the Ayrtesi would take her life in the darkness of the night. There was a short introductory note which seemed to be written by whoever had compiled the tome.

twisted use of these ancient Lullabies. Nothing happened so she turned the page to the second Lullaby: Osyl opine æshæoir totyt Oqyla æshapoir oqænenti Ishæe nornti othesh esisho Wæthipær aæthti emmisiqish oroen Ofan rath æhæs rolsoqænene Mint eqo æweswifl emmisa4 3 Qathso: “Stars shine their firament divine//The light their light such might//Through darkness they bring light//Giving eternal hope to the night” 4 Qathso: “River running endless movement//Transporting boundless memories//Cascading crevices power pulsates//Salmon searches knowledge shown//Still the child remembers//What was already known” . Testi emote æshor phomrath næsothesh Rath æwo æshor æwo phæpsh enit Iwy ayresher lann imyo æwo Syre æshæoirrettn ammæt pe rath aphit3 Rana re-read the verse again. Returning her gaze to the tome in her hands. she began to read the verses written in Qathso. the ancient Iperatesi tongue. This feeling filled her with a deep desire to help Pairan and bring the perpetrators of this evil to justice.

Awe filled the young woman’s whole being and she took an unconscious step backwards as the great fish leapt from the water a second time. It was at this moment she heard a great splash from the river. The water from this last burst splashed from Rana’s immediate vision and she suddenly spied leather boots standing on the far shore of the primal river. His garb was of natural colours. She suddenly found herself to be very thirsty and instinctively knelt down. she drank in the cold liquid which began to course through her body. sending waves of warm energy through her veins. Quickly turning her head. including the brown cloak which hung about his broad shoulder. Rana realized it was the great salmon depicted by the fountain statue in the center of the Grand Ducal Maze. Raising the water to her lips. A cool breeze began to blow against her skin and she thought she could hear the cawing of a raven. . were bright green and burned with an inner fire of ancient knowledge which seemed older then the man’s apparent age. she saw a tall man wearing weathered cloths. He appeared unarmed. for no weapon or tool hung from his brown leather belt and he carried no staff or spear. Looking around. Looking up. Rana noted the river ran through a dense and ancient forest of conifers and mixed deciduous trees. the light returned to her sight and she found herself on the banks of a river whose cold water rushed past her at a dizzying speed. however. a third time. she immediately noticed that every tree had a white aura surrounding it and Rana was dumbfounded by the essential beauty on display before her. The man’s eyes. cupping her hands into the cold fast flowing water. It dove back down into the river only to leap forth again. He had long black hair and a face which had seen much hardship. her senses seemed to become more astute and she seemed to be able to hear every noise in the forest. As the last drop of water passed her lips. Just as suddenly as she had been surrounded by darkness. Looking up. As the massive fish dove back down into the rushing waters. she watched as a majestic pink salmon leapt from the surface of the water and arced through the air.Suddenly Rana’s vision became dark and in the distance she could hear the rushing of a river.

She opened her eyes and looked again at the small green leather bound tome which sat in her lap.” he began in a deep and mysterious tone. Ecrana. dreading what it might reveal. There was one more Lullaby to read so she turned the page. Eraph phylne ishæe rols Æmmytho æmmythimys enasa irryrawi Awi læ phesh iwy eraphishæ Iwy rath orre rath eraphys aræth Ipith iwy irryeash etarë hyns Æquinen mapth eshesho qolls5 5 Qathso: “Water rushes plummets over//Dropping droplets washes boulder//Stone of fate in waterfall//Through the gate the water’s wall//Deep in cavern ancient lore//Immortal raven flying forth . trying to grasp a meaning from the enigmatic message. Tell her that the Yellow Jester does not play but gently pulls the strings. She let out a cry of frustration as her vision cleared and the plush adornments of the Library Reading Room once again imposed their reality upon her consciousness. however the man had disappeared and darkness had begun to cloud her vision yet again. you will remember who I am and the name you once knew me by. “For now I simply have a message for you that you must give Pairan. Rana laid back in the chair and closed her eyes.” “What does that mean?” Rana demanded. however no answer was forthcoming.“In time.

Closing the book. a cobblestone road went westward towards rows of barracks which served as the home of the Army units stationed within the city. As she walked past the main desk on her way out of the Library. she asked one of the Librarians for the time.Rana sighed with an ounce a relief. The path was lined with short rose bushes tended by the Palace Garden staff. returning the tome back to its place on the Library shelf. Rana watched as he reined in his horse and leapt off the saddle only to dash up the stairs . Sitting atop a brown Erupuan horse was a white-robed priest of the Icafosh. The young woman had only gone a short distance along this easterly path from out of the courtyard when she heard the sound of a horse coming up the main road. A second road went south towards the Crimson Gate and served as the main through fair for traffic within the Palace compound. the priesthood of the god of air. Nothing had happened this time. It traveled for a short distance in an easterly direction until it turned south ending at the Grand Ducal Maze. yet she still felt no closer to a solution. fruits and bread Rana left the Grand Ducal Apartments and made her way to the entrance of the Palace. These beautiful plants were in full bloom and their fragrance hung thickly in the air as Rana passed. Soshowor. Walking out into the sunshine to the cobblestone court that lay at the base of the grand entry stairway. she stood up and exited the reading room. Curiosity forced her to turn and see who was approaching the Palace. The young woman informed her that it was almost mid-day. To her right. However the road to Rana’s left was the one which she intended to use. Rana thanked her and then returned upstairs to the Grand Ducal Apartments to eat her lunch and contemplate the events of the morning. After a lunch of cheese. Rana basked in the warmth of the afternoon.

my love. She looked around the garden and saw no sign of Pairan. and Rana turned to see Pairan standing near her. Immediately she thought of Plashenna Geonzith. only a lone falcon perched upon the top of one of the maze’s hedges to the east of the fountain.” A dark look came over the golden face of Pairan. intent on the young woman’s words . She picked up her pace. finding herself within the shadow of the giant salmon as it leapt forth from the waters.of the Palace. Pairan. and made directly for the fountain at the labyrinth’s heart. she lifted the pure water to her lips and drank deeply.” she heard Pairan’s voice behind her. She explained how she had wanted to read the Lullabies which were at the heart of the terror spreading through the city. “Tell me everything. Cupping her hand. Rana stood and then sat down ont he edge of the fountain. Pairan listened quietly. “Much that you need to be aware of. however it passed quickly and the tall warrior sat down next to her charge on the edge of the fountain. a new awe filled her. the general of the army and what plot he might be embroiled in. she stole her gaze away from the Palace stairs and set her sights upon the Grand Ducal Maze. Rana.though her senses did not become more acute as they had in the vision. though as she gazed upon it now. With sudden inspiration. “Much has happened this day. Rana found the fountain the same as she always had.” The Grand Ducal Heiress began with her experience in the Library reading room. smiling at the Chaotic Lord. she felt a warmth course through her body . she knelt down next to the fountain and reached into its waters with her left hand. Then she related the vision she had received after reading the second Lullaby. for the security of the Grand Duchy may be in peril. As in the vision. “You asked me to meet you. However. The sudden sound of the Richethi’s voice brought her out of her reverie.” Rana began. She quickly made her way to the edge of the fountain.

It is a place called The Dolphin’s Repose.” . Pairan sat deep in thought for a few moments. I try to think of his name. “Someone is manipulating many events. you do not remember his name?” she asked. “Though he seemed very familiar to me.” “There is something else. “No.” “Very well. Hoepfully the meeting will bring us some much needed answers.” “I know of it.” Pairan frowned. “Who brought this message?” “One of the City Guardsman gave it to Menino to deliver to me.” was the Chaotic Lord’s conclusion.” the golden-skinned warrior instructed. Even now. “No. “Meet me in the Palace stables just after your dinner. “However.and the forest realm she described. “Did the note say why the Ivych wished to meet with both of us?” the Richethi inquired. When Rana had finished her tale.” Rana continued. Yet a shadow seems to lay upon it and I am unable to cast a light upon the knowledge. deep in thought.” Rana answered.” Rana replied. Pairan?” Pairan paused again. He has asked that you and I meet with him at the end of the third watch in a tavern in the Port Quarter. “This morning a message arrived for me from Ivych Munesa Efuhuen.” “Then we shall meet him. “We will ride to the tavern and meet with the Ivych. I do not yet know who this ‘Yellow Jester’ may be. Otherwise you will not come at all.” she replied at last. Pairan. you will go in a disguise. Pairan. it did not. The note states that you know the establishment. “Though.” Rana agreed. What does his message mean. “This man who came to you.

Pairan was pleased to see that the tavern was not busy. and Rana . They rode silently through the streets with passers-by only taking note of the Richethi and not much note of the Palace messanger who rode with her. There was a palpable tension in the air. They made good time through the crowded streets of the city.” Edagach smiled. Rana met Pairan in the Grand Ducal stables. closing the door after he left. finding the Ivych seated inside at a small table which was the only furniture in the room. Pairan tied both horses and then lead Rana into the common room.” Edagach informed them when they came up to the bar.” The pig-faced former sailor lead them out of the common room and into a small hall which ran behind the bar. The Richethi had a black cloak as well as a uniform of a Palace messenger for her charge to change into. “Yes. There were only a few patrons enjoying the spirits of Master Edagach Liyably and they took little note of Pairan and her companion.As she had been instructed. Once they were set. “Shall I bring you your usual drink. As with her last visit. save for a few chairs. as it had done many times previously. she and Pairan mounted two horses: Pairan’s own warhorse and a non-descript brown horse used by the Palace staff to carry messages throughout the city. Once Rana had put on the clothes. motioning for Pairan and Rana to enter. Pairan sat down across from Munesa and Rana took a seat to her right. Rana followed Pairan as the Richethi’s warhorse made its way to The Dolphin’s Repose.” “Very well. A few paces down this hall was a door and Edagach opened it. Pairan?” the tavern-owner asked. Not a word was spoken until after Edagach had brought two steaming mugs of apple cider and then quietly left his guests to their discussion. “Follow me.” the Richethi replied. “And the same for my companion. the two women rode out of the stables. They did so. passing through the gates that seperated the Old Quarter from the Port Quarter. “The man you are meeting is in my private room. Pairan. Once outside the tavern. across the Palace grounds and out through the Palace Gate into the Old Quarter beyond.

that the High Priestess of Vaonera . “And so I have come.though I wish to protect that as much as I wish to protect this city. Pairan. the merchant’s daughter I spoke of first was none other then the young woman who was the first victim of these terrible spells terrorizing the city.” the Ivych replied. she was part of a club of young women who regularily get together to have sex in groups.” “You are saying that your daughter.” came the ashamed reply. Munesa. I see Edagach has taken care of you.” “I can respect that. You are right. realizing that Pairan was somewhat cross with him after their meeting earlier in the day. has had sexual liasions with Eplier Puenghy?” Pairan asked. “About a year ago I found out that my daughter. “But there is more. He was a man who had sworn to protect the city and by extention her family .yet she suddenly felt afraid of this city guard whom she had known all of her life. Cashre. Pairan. She also told me. “I understand why you would want to frequent this tavern. However.” Munesa took another drink from his larger.” “He is a noble host.” “Edagach is a very old friend of mine.felt uncomfortable being in the presence of the Ivych for the first time in her life. Munesa. “Yes. there is more at stake then my family’s honour . Pairan. a note of impatience in her tone. To my knowledge she has not participated since. was having sexual relations with the daughter of one of the city’s most prominent merchants.” Pairan began. “I am sorry to have to go to such lengths. I was at first disgusted and I confronted her. this morning after the incident. “Cashre has told me that many of the victims were members of this group.” she replied. Cashre. In fact.” the Chaotic Lord allowed. “You asked to meet me. I forbade her from attending any more of these orgies. Munesa took note. The Warden of the City Gates took a long sip from the pint of larger that sat before him on the table and then he began his story.

Munesa.” the Richathi announced at last. How could they find the perpitrators if each time a victim appears the plot thickens? “It was good of you to tell me this. Rana sat amazed at the many layers of this problem.herself has sometimes participated in these orgies and that perhaps these attacks are aimed at her.” Pairan said nothing for a few moments. Rana. why tell all this to the Grand Ducal Heiress?” Munesa turned and looked directly into Rana’s green eyes. sipping her hot cider. she simply sat deep in thought. So tell me. All the while. “I can understand why you would want to keep this information quiet. The elf said: ‘Tell Ecrana that she will never sit upon the Crimson Throne. “Cashre told me that the elf-woman in her dream called your name. Ivych.’” . I do not understand why you wished Rana to be present for this discussion. However.

Chapter 11

Put Shutters On The Dreams

The very next morning Pairan departed from the Palace, again accompanied by Rana in her disguise as a Palace Messenger. The pair rode through the old quarter until they reached the Temple of Vaonera which was located in the temple district of the old quarter. All of the major temples of Noch Geongechuth were located there, except for the Temple of Ethone which was located within the Palace grounds. There were a number of smaller temples and shrines located throughout the city, however these five temples were the seats of the highest ranking clerics of each order. The Temple of Vaonera was not as grand a building as perhaps the temples of Soshowor, god of Air; or Awash, god of Earth. However, there was a certain unique air to its architechtual style and decoration that made it stand out in its own way. The temple was eleven egin wide and six and a half deep - or about thirty six meters by twenty one meters. There was a grand staircase carved out of limestone which lead to the massive doors which were carved of ivory and set with rubies. Two tall muscular guards stood to each side of the doors, a ruby encrusted mace forged from a gold-alloy in each of their capable hands. Rana and Pairan reined in their steeds, tying their harnesses to a nearby fencepost. Once the horses were secured, they began to climb the limestone stairs of the temple. When they reached the top they were stopped by one of the two guards. “You ladies are not congregants.” he noted, “What business do you bring to our temple?”

“I am Pairan, servant of the Grand Duke.” the Richethi introduced herself in an authoritative tone, “My companion and I bear a message for Pluanvaon Ekoxeyth, the High Priestess.” “Very well.” the guard answered. “Come with me.” He lead them through the ivory doors and into the entranceway of the temple. The room was a fair size, decorated with rich carpets and ivory statues of the Vaonera, goddess of love and fertility. Upon the walls were paintings of scantily clad or naked men and women in all manner of erotic positions and scenes. Rana had never seen such blatent sexuality so openly portrayed and it made her blush in embarassement. There were ornately carved wooden double doors directly infront of them, the carvings of which protrayed more erotic scenes with the smiling face of Vaonera overlooking each scene. On each side of the room were two wide staircases which lead upstairs and the guard lead them up the stairs to their right. The stairway opened up onto a balcony which ran around the perimeter of the snactuary. Rana peered over the rail into the sanctuary below. The space was large and filled with more expensive carpets as well as a great number of pillows. More statues and erotic paintings decorated the walls. There was a large pool located in one corner of the room whose water must have been quite warm, as steamy vapour eminated from its liquid surface. A wide altar encased in gold and encrusted with rubies occupied the central position of the room atop a small circular dais. Upon its top surface was painted the symbol of the Priestesses of Vaonera: a ruby topped golden scepter on top of what looked like a cave mouth painted in tan colours. The young heiress was shocked to see couples and small groups of people sprawled throughout the sanctuary engaged in various sorts of sexual activities. There were some who simple sat, naked or semi-clothed, drinking a bright red wine and watching the erotic deeds going on around them. Shocked and embarassed, Rana peeled her eyes away from the debauchery down in the sanctuary and focused on the balcony which the guard was leading them along.

Near the end of the gallery, before the balcony turned to follow the perimeter of the snactuary, the guard halted before an oak door enblazoned with the symbol of the order. He knocked politely and then opened the door after hearing a simple “Enter” command from within. Stepping inside the room, the guard closed the door behind him, forcing Rana and Pairan to await his return. While they waited, Pairan whispered to Rana: “Do not be so embarassed, love. Sex is a natural activity for all living things. We are fortunate that we are a species that can enjoy the pleasures it offers.” Rana was not sure if these words, meant as reassurance, made her feel better or more embarassed, however she did not have much time to contemplate them. Just then, the door opened and the guard appeared, motioning them inside. The room which they entered was lavishly decorated. Like all the other areas of the temple in which they had passed, it was heavily carpeted with expensive rugs. There was one statue of Vaonera between the room’s two large windows and the other walls were decorated again with erotic scenes. Great bolts of white silk were drapped from the ceiling in various places, giving the room the appearance of being smaller yet a little mysterious. There were plush pillows strewn about the room in almost random positions and a small pool was located in the corner to their right, opposite the outside wall. Pluanvaon Ekoxeyth, High Priestess of Vaonera in Noch Geongechuth had shoulder length silver hair and passionate green eyes, which looked upon her guests with a hint of mild curiosity. Her face was beautiful, as was her body, which lounged languidly amongst six pillows propped up near the statue of her goddess. Pluanvaon was scantly dressed in the see-through white silk robes of her order and she wore a priceless gold collar, encrusted again with numerous rubies, she wore around her neck. The High Priestess was not alone, one man and one woman - both naked and sleeping - lay next to her, nuzzled up in the warm embrace she offered them.

“It is odd that you would come to my Temple, Pairan.” Pluanvoan began in a saultry voice. “But then, you Richethi are not embaressed by eroticism. Still, your god is one of chaos, and not a god of love. So then, Pairan, what brings you and the Grand Ducal Heiress to my Temple?” Rana should not have been surprised that the High Priestess recognized her. After all, it had only been a little over a week since Pluanvaon had pledged her allegiance to Rana during her investiture ceremony. “Yryas has much love for those who understand his ways.” the Richethi replied. “But, I did not come here to engage in a theological discussion, your Holiness.” “So I imagined.” the silver haired woman countered. “Myself and her Ladyship have been investigating the incidents of the elvan lullabies. Our investigations have uncovered that all the victims are members of your congregation and were also members of a special group of women you have overseen.” Pluanvaon’s beauftiful face was stoic, an odd expression for one who had dedicated her life to the goddess of love and fertility. However, this revelation did not seem to surprise the High Priestess in the least. “I was already aware of this fact, obviously.” she returned, her sultry tone seemingly dropped for a more business-like one. “I first noticed the pattern two ycun ago. However, there is very little other information of insight I can offer you, Pairan.” “You could give me a list of all the members of the group in question.” the Chaotic Lord pointed out. “That information is confidential.” the cleric of Vaonera retorted. “Our congregation trusts their clergy to respect their privacy. There are many people in this city - and throughout the Empire - who do not understand our devotion to the goddess and who believe in twisted rumours and misunderstandings - not to mention out right lies - about our spiritual practices. I could no more divulge their names then you could tell me any of the secrets you hold in confidence in order to fulfill your duty to the Grand Duke.”

Pairan’s expression was impassive. The High Priestess’ argument was valid and there was little she could do to argue against it. “Very well, your Holiness.” Pairan continued, hoping to try another tact, “Have you or the Temple received any threats in the last little while?” “You would be surprised how many threats we receive.” Pluanvaon sighed. “There is a reason we have guards here at the Temple.” “Very well.” Pairan breathed, seeing that her options were beginning to look very limited. “Have there been any disgruntled individuals that have left your congregation and perhaps harbour vengeful thoughts against you?” The cleric’s lusty green eyes narrowed and then filled with a measure of sadness and longing which took Rana by surprise. “There is one young woman I lost, about a viysh ago.” came the reply, a deep sadness in her voice. “When she first came to us, she said she was a street child who had grown up in a life of crime. She had been the lover of a powerful gang leader who had recently been murdered. But the life in the street seemed dark and dangerous to her - she knew those who had killed her lover would probably kill her too. And so she sought solace within our sisterhood. She wanted to become a priestess and live in the light of love - not in the darkness of crime. So, we accepted her into our order - she became an initiate and began to learn the ways of our Order.” Pluanvaon paused for a few moments, her eyes becoming dark. “Her name was Theunyryti.” the cleric’s voice was thick, “It was her idea - as part of the work she need to complete to become ordained within the Sisterhood. She first brought together the group of young women involved in these terrors.” “What was the purpose of this group?” Pairan asked. By this time, both she and Rana had found comfortable places to sit on the floor, near the High Priestess and her sleeping acolytes. “Our Order focuses a lot of its energies on men.” Pluanvaon explained. “We believe that men cause much of the strife in the world. As such, it is our belief that if we can show

It was a great time. They began to meet here at the Temple every hyung.. Theun disappeared... We became lovers of a greater sort then simple companions within the congregation. a time that could not last..the Longing Hope. the High Priestess’ voice broke and a single tear streaked down her beautiful face. And the coven was a great success. So I gave Theun every resource I could to aid her in forming her coven. in a room I gave them to use. She quickly wiped it away. “And during the darkness of the night.men that love is more enjoyable and profitable then war or other examples of suffering. They began to have an effect within their families and amongst their friends.why she left or where she might have gone. I saw her as a messenger from the goddess herself. the sadness in her voice thickening. They soon began to develop their own rituals and practices and I monitored their development with great expectation and pride.” at this point. Theunyryti believed that women needed love just as much as men and so she wanted to form a coven of women who could enjoy each other’s love and share that love with the men in their lives. There was a deeper connection between us. However. She said it would be a way to expand the message beyond those who were congregants. there was one disturbing thing about her . we can make the entire world a better place. I heard of how one of their member actually stopped a street fight between her brother and another man through the use of one of the coven’s techniques and some minor spell-craft. “I thought it was a wonderful idea.women who were not already part of our regular congregation. pushing her silver hair out from in front of her eyes as well. “About a viysh ago. I do not know what happened . Theun found a group of women willing to join . “And I loved Theunyryti deeply because she had brought this insight to our Sisterhood. I had congregants looking for her throughout the city but no one could find a trace of her. Theun shared my bed. “Theun called the coven: Chishounon . “Or so I believed. She was simply gone from the Temple and no one seemed to know where she went.” the High Priestess continued.

my Lady. the Chisounon continues its work throughout the city.” the High Priestess’ voice trailed off. “Bring all of them to the temple. But for now. “They have all sought my guidance and I do not know what to tell them..” Pairan offered. “I have not disbanded it. Isolate them from the rest of society until we find who is at the heart of these attacks. left next to Theun’s robes. Perhaps Theun was not the individual the blessed goddess wanted to lead the group. Keep them in this room you have set aside for them to use. the coven has achieved great things. No. There was a single piece of parchment paper with words written upon it.presumably the same as was on the dagger.” .” “One of the Lullabies of Sylaipae. since Theun departed. but not the altar itself. Indeed. “How have they affected the coven?” The silver haired woman turned her green eyes towards the young heiress.disappearance.” “‘Still the child remembers what was already known. another tear streaming down her face. or perhaps there is more to be seen from her. “Yes. Those words. They had been folded delicately and purposefully. dispelling some of the gloom that had overcome her normally passionate demeanor. if that is what you are asking. “The second Lullaby. The final two stanzas were written in blood .” Rana recited. “What of the coven?” Pairan inquired.” “What of the Lullabies?” Rana asked.” Pluanvaon admitted. We found her initiate robes upon the altar in the sanctuary. “Yes.. And from its cold blade dripped blood .. The words were written in Iperatesi in the form of a poem.” “I have an idea.” Pairan deduced. A single dagger had been stuck through them and into the heart of the altar. the Chishounon does excellent work and I did not believe the loss of its founder would hamper its ability to perform its task. “There is fear amongst them. I myself have taken on its leadership.” Pluanvaon nodded sadly.which stained Theun’s perfectly placed robes. Pluanvaon shook her head.

“Perhaps you are right. standing up .” she at last answered. “None that I ever knew. “I will continue my investigation. The Grand Duke will be extremely pleased. Now she had something to report. and followed Pairan out the door. Menino was in the female servant’s quarters talking with Cuaresh Eveceuthe. This information has been of great help. revealing her full breasts. . “I look forward to seeing you more often at court. Rana turned round. If I can track down this Theunyryti. my Lady. feeling her face flush again.” Pluanvaon called as they neared the door. as Menino had asked of her. They two young servants were sitting on Cuaresh’s bed out of the earshot of the other women who were not on shift working somewhere within the Palace. Rana quickly turned round. The later had some news to report regarding the new court Warlock and her Chaotic Lord. Vaonera will protect them. we can keep an eye on them and keep them safe. Ethikein. “Perhaps. “Very well.Rana following suit. your Holiness.” she thought. shocked to see the naked woman sitting up and pulling open the cleric’s robe. “I thank you for your time.The cleric considered the Richethi’s words. absently stroking the naked left breast of the woman who lay with her. Cuaresh had kept her eyes and ears open for any nefarious plots concerning the two Richethi.” “In the mean time.” the Chaotic Lord continued. The woman tilted her head and began to kiss the High Priestess’ hardening right nipple. If they are all here. Two days later. just as the naked woman began to wake up. Did Theun have a family name?” Pluanvoan thought hard. perhaps we will be closer to those who are causing these incidents.” Pairan concluded.” Rana and Pairan turned to leave the room.

“At last he nodded his ascent. What do you think it means. I will tell her Ladyship immediately. yes we do. Curious. Master Ahenthair’s office door was slightly ajar and I could hear him arguing with someone.” .” “Yes. Thank you for this.” the young girl promised.” Cuaresh was relating. right across from the Grand Vizier’s office. And then she said the strangest thing: ‘Either you recruit me. “I had just finished cleaning up in the office of Constable Rishækun Duycheblon’s office on the fourth floor of the Palace.’” Menino was shocked. awash in his fury.” the Lady in Waiting replied. he simply stood there.” Cuaresh continued. I crept quietly across the hall and peaked in through the crack in the doorway.” “Yes.“It was yesterday morning. Grand Magus or I must fulfill my duty to his Grace.” “I will keep watching. It was then that she and her servant began to leave the office. but she did not let her face show any emotion other than confusion. hiding myself from their view.in a very wicked sort of way. “He did not reply for quite a while. “What did Master Ahenthair say?” she asked. Moothequ.almost wickedly. “Well. I do. I quickly rushed back into the supply room. her heart almost stopped. Cuaresh. Menino?” “I do not know. I was putting away my cleaning supplies in the supply room next to Pairan’s office . which made the Warlock’s smile grow even bigger . “We need to help keep her Ladyship safe. Master Ahenthair’s face was flushed with anger and I could tell he was having trouble controlling his emotions. Moothequ was in there along with Ethikein. on the other hand.you know the one.” Menino acknowledged. I was putting things away in the supply room when I heard shouting from the Grand Vizier’s office. “However. I poked my head out of the supply room and looked out across the hall. Menino. as I said. was smiling .

The Palace seems a much darker and more dangerous place to me now. And what of the Priest of Soshowor and his connection to Plashenna Geonzith. All these people who swore alleigiance to her and to protect the Duchy all seemed to have alterior motives and plots. “I am sorry.” Rana shook herself. Menino was telling her Mistress that she had important news to tell her.” Menino cut in quickly. Her Lady in Waiting was accompanying her and the two young women were whispering to each other. It seems everyone has their own agenda. Mistress. . Menino began to report everything Cuaresh had seen and overheard just outside the Grand Vizier’s office. as well as dark elvan spies and agents posing as Iperatesi.who seemed to be none other than one of her father’s oldest and most trusted advisors.as well as all the other plots and threats that seemed to be everywhere in the city and around the Palace. The few Palace staff they passed assumed the two young women where engrossed in the idle chatter of teenagers. The two young girls quickly rushed to the Grand Ducal Apartments and into Rana’s bedroom. Alone at last and far from the ears of any Palace Staff. How did her father deal with all this intrigue? “Mistress?” Menino asked. Rana did not speak for quite some time after Menino had finished. Who do I trust? Who can my father trust?” “You can trust me. her tone full of concern because of the dark look on Rana’s face. Rana stepped out of Master Wycheren Edoshesh’s classroom and began walking down the hallway towards the stairwell leading up to the Grand Ducal Apartments. “I was lost in thought about this whole issue. she simply contemplated the story . Menino. the head of the Grand Ducal Army. What group was he the leader of? What were they up to? And then there was the Chisounon and the Lullaby attacks. and now how she was connected to the Grand Magus .A short time later. There was her unease with Moothequ. However. hatching plots of their own.

“that each time you ask me to meet you here. dear Menino. You two will be my spies. I feel like you are the only two people I can truly trust .” she decided. We have to find out everything we can about all of this.” That evening. “What new information do you have for me.” She sighed deeply. “As for you. And as always Pairan seemed to appear out of nowhere. I do not know what I would do without you or Pairan.other then my own father and mother.” Rana answered. keep your eyes and ears open. I think I need to be in a place like this to help me deal with all these things I have to tell you. Mistress. “Thank you so much. “I will talk with Pairan. “I do with all my heart. my love?” she asked at last. “This place always brings me feelings of peace and safety.” “What do we do about this. Rana thought for a few more moments.” Rana thought deeply again. She is like me. Mistress.” the Richethi began. . Menino?” “I do. “I know.” Rana smiled. you have important information for me.” “We will do everything we can. I fear that it might be a great threat to the Grand Duchy.” “Very well. she was fascinated by the salmon as it leapt forth from the water. Rana stood by the fountain at the centre of the Grand Ducal Maze.” “I am being forced to take on the role of Grand Ducal Heiress in more ways then I had imagined possible.” the brown haired girl replied. Mistress?” Menino asked.Rana smiled. As always. interrupting her silent meditations. “Do you trust this Cuaresh.” The Chaotic Lord contemplated her charge for a few quiet moments. “Tell her to continue to watch and listen. she does not wish anything bad to happen to you or your parents. “It would seem to me.

or at least part of it. Her golden skin and her long. She suddenly realized that this exchange had become ritualized and that she needed to follow the ritual to feel safe. as she had many times. The Grand Magus is the leader of the that group of sorcerers who want to control the Empire. In fact. “Explain yourself. raven-black hair. “Great sails of Ethone!” Rana swore. you have to stop him!” Rana almost screamed. what pain it was that Pairan kept locked away from the world? “What do you know about someone named ‘the Grand Magus’?” Rana inquired. she was again struck by Pairan’s unique beauty. And he was one of her father’s most trusted advisors. as she had done countless times.” Confusion suddenly washed over the Chaotic Lord’s face. it all made so much sense suddenly. “Do not answer that. The ones Ekythibier told us about.the day they had met Ekythibier Aluceacha here in the Maze and he had told them about a group of sorcerers who were seeking to control the Empire. “Calm down Rana!” she ordered..” Pairan smiled with pride and was about to say something when realization again overcame her charge.. Pairan’s eyes became very serious. Rana remembered the last time the Richethi had that look on her face .Rana sat down on the side of the fountain. Her tone was deadly serious when she spoke: “What about the Grand Vizier?” Pairan demanded. yet they hid their own depths of mystery and pain. Athithair was the Grand Magus. I think I have figured it out . Rana wondered again. he wanted to help take control of the Empire. Suddenly realization overcame Rana. Looking up at her guardian. “Pairan. “You have to stop him!” The Richethi took hold of the young Erupuan woman’s shoulders and gripped her tightly. Rana was still in a state of complete shock. “That means Athithair.. And the colour changing eyes so open and passionate.” . “Wait Pairan!” she shot.

You are now the Grand Ducal Heiress. “I do not doubt that Menino was telling the truth as she believes it. not wanting to bother him. only the most powerful spell casters. “You doubt Menino’s story?” Rana asked.not overtly. in fact I had never heard of her before you told me about her just now. “She called him the Grand Magus. somewhat shocked by Pairan’s statement. I am not as certain about Cuaresh. Cuaresh. “Rana. Namely because I do not know the girl.” “It all makes sense then. “Athithair is the Grand Magus.” Rana mused.” Pairan began in a gentle tone.” the Richethi clarified. but quietly manipulating decisions behind the scenes. “No. This information was damning.Rana took a few deep breaths and then told Pairan everything Menino had told her about the argument in the Grand Vizier’s office. Right now she had to calm down the shaking red haired woman that sat at her side.” Rana concluded. However.” Pairan pointed out. I declined. There is very little that we or any other group in the Empire know about them. you have a right to know just as much as your father does about this matter. mages and sorcerers are accepted into their order. “The group of sorcerers are known as The Cult of Eqünera. And there is one final thing we know about them. But now I know why he was so evasive.” By this time. We do not know their leaders. Pairan had taken a seat next to the shocked Heiress. the validity of the story would have to wait.including here in Noch Geongechuth. What we do know is that they seem to have chapters in just about every major city in the Empire . but the Richethi was not ceratin how much she could trust the story of this servant girl. when they first started opperating or what sort of resources they have at their command. It concerns the safety and security of us all.” . However. We also know that their purpose is to take control of the Empire . He even asked me where I heard it and told me that he could look into its meaning for me. “I will have to tell you everything I know. my love.” “If he is indeed the leader of the local chapter. “I once asked Athithair about the Grand Magus and he claimed he had never heard the term before.

“Leave that to me. Firstly. what is Moothequ’s interest in the group? Is she attempting to infiltrate it in order to gain more information about its structure and activities? Or is she joining for another reason?” “How do we find out the answers without putting ourselves in danger?” Rana asked.” Rana continued.” Pairan replied in a tone that closed the subject for debate. “Where does that leave us?” “Well. there are two questions that need answers. is Athithair the Grand Magus of the local chapter of the Cult of Eqünera? Secondly.“Very well. . then.

. It felt as if her entire body was vibrating in synchopated time with the melodic arpeggios both she and the lark were singing. its sweet melody like an aspect of some anceint tongue long ago forgotten by man. Its perfectly grown grass was of the deepest emerald colour. The energy continued to grow. Somewhere in the distance a lark sang.Chapter 12 Waiting Outside The Pilgrim’s Door The field was idylic . As the melody repeated itself. The warmth of the sun filled her entire being with an ethereal energy which heightened her senses and made her feel more alive then she had ever felt before. she began to hum along with the song of the lark.. rounded to perfection by the force of the ever present current. building to a climax she could sense. ever onward to the sea. watching the waters flow by. the power of which she knew would be amazing beyond description. The skies above were of sapphire and the sun. golden in its cosmic might. keeping some ancient watch only they perhaps understood. Small stones. Almost unconsciously.upon its invisible currents the salty taste of the sea was faintly perceptable.stylized perhaps. enjoying its pentatonic melody which seemed imbued with its own energy. she felt the energy coursing through her body become stronger and more powerful. A gentle breeeze blew from the south . Through the center of the field ran a river. Rana stood on the western bank of the river. There was a primeval calm that permeated everything and the young Grand Ducal Heiress felt her cares and worries fade. pristine in its quality and cold in its temperature. stood like sentinals along the river’s course.

As the fish arced through the air. Even images of ideas could not portray the thoughts. Rana returned her gaze to the salmon. At first she was saddened and felt lost. The sparkling photons captured Rana’s attention and she watched in pure wonder as the giant salmon rose higher and higher in the air.of some greater need that was to be measured beyond the mundane desires and problems of mere mortals. When it reached the apex of its flight through the air. the golden light of the sun glimmered off of its silver scales. . She felt as if anything was possible and that nothing could stand in her way from fulfilling her destiny. For brief moments she had an understanding of some universal purpose .as well as many places beyond the bounds of Nytheun.Suddenly a silver scaled salmon leapt forth from the rushing waters of the river.all the old mundane stresses and worries began to affect her again. However. Yet. it was impossible for her to put this understanding into words. its large tail flapping like a bird’s wing to propel it further across the sky. arcing higher then she believed possible. a great shadow began to cover her. ideas and experiences she could sense at that particular moment. it seemed as if the lark’s melody reached its climax. all the while chanting along with the lark as the various elements of the scene seemed to meld together in an intricate energy matrix which appeared to orbit her body. yet originate from the core of her being at the same time. creating a dazzling illumination. so it just as quickly faded. Rana continued to stare in abject awe at the salmon leaping before her eyes. A feeling of ecstasy overtook her senses and she felt weightless and fully connected with the world around her . her memory of the insight she had experienced began to be clouded. there where she stood on the banks of the river. She felt suddenly cold and fearful . just as suddenly as the feeling of ecstasy had filled her being. As if this sudden change to her mystical psyche was being physically manifest. Distracted by the sudden change in the illumination. its main theme resounding throughout the field. What she saw shocked her and sent waves of terror through her soul.

A terrific roar bellowed forth from the beast’s razor-sharp jaw and its silver eyes gazed upon Rana with an expression of intelligence and cunning.it began to change its shape. She simply stood. She clambered up the slick rocks.its great mouth open in a twisted smile. The cold. aghast at the stark change which had taken over the land.as if in slow motion . Yet now she stood looking upon one as it finished leaping through the air and dove back into the icy waters of the river. the Sea-Drake dove back into the water. The body became elongated and six appendages began to grow from its torso. In curious terror she spun round and watched the great magical monster leap forth from the water again. icy water splashed Rana with a force that threw her to the ground. frozen in fear and expectation upon the dying grass of the field. The legs of the beast extended down to powerful flippers. As she watched the fish descend . From behind her. She had heard stories about Sea-Drakes many times while growing up. The head grew larger and more reptilian in its anatomy. sending another massive wave of water that covered a large radius. A sense of deep foreboding filled her and she wanted to flee from this place. . Yet her feet were stuck. The silver scales became a dark blue and more metallic . Sounds of laughter filled her ears and she was again struck by the intelligence in the monster’s eyes. Rana’s gaze took in the scenery. The sun was hidden from view by dark clouds which brought with them a hint of a great storm. back onto the grass and was horrified to see the blades of grass turn from their spectacular emerald green to a sickly yellow-brown.The salmon had began its arc back towards the waters of the river . designed to propel the beast through water.stronger and harder. she was unable to make her legs move. Again. Even the waters of the river seemed dark and dangerous now that the great Sea-Drake was known to inhabit its depths. The land all around Rana had become brown with death. The massive splash which accompanied the Sea-Drake’s re-entry into the water sent a curtain of water in all directions. the sound of the Sea-Drake leaping from the water reached her ears.

. At first. tried to hug her and comfort her but the Duchess pushed her daughter away. Rana. “And I could not save him. clanging in the distance. tears welling up in her eyes. for Rana instinctively knew it would be her mother again .It was then that she first heard the sound of the tolling bell. Rana did not want to turn around but felt she did not have a choice. her heart threatening to stop again and her breath caught in her throat. “He is dead Rana. the cries were very distant . she first detected the sound of a wailing woman. the emotions shooting through the Duchess’ body. is that you knew and you did nothing to stop him. putting her hands on the older woman’s shoulders. Those same bells that had plagued all of her visions. Slowly she turned round.so great an influence the sound of the tolling of the bell.” the Grand Duchess shot. fear and anger. making her convulse in pain. You knew!” Her mother collapsed. Nothing at all. She caught her breath and felt her heart stop for a moment . However.as it had been in the last vision. A great sadness filled the young heiress and she knelt down next to the prone body of her mother. until at last it originated from a point directly behind her. You could have stopped him from going. The bell that sounded announcing doom and destruction. In order for this twisted vision to end she had to witness all that it had to show her. “Mother. wailing even more. knelt on the ground directly behind Rana. Ekomuni’s blue eyes were red from the tears and her normally compassionate face was etched in pain and anger. Rana tried to hold her mother. The woman’s hands were shaking and Rana could hear her wailing still. “You must stop. A woman wearing a black robe. her head covered by a black hood.” Rana whispered. as time passed the sound grew nearer and nearer. sadness.barely perceptable. What is worst. the black hood falling from her face. and her heart began to beat in a slow synchopated pattern. Your wailing is breaking my heart. As she began to breathe again. You knew. the sound of which pierced the young woman’s soul.” Her mother looked up. She did not need for the woman to pull back her hood.

the bell began to toll again. His eyes were closed. their eyes dark . Even their armour . With a heart wrenching cry. seeing a sad procession of men . she stood up and began to run towards the men who were marching steadily towards the stone strewn bank of the river.Avuth Efoguen Apluploish lead them. Yet again. pulling back the shroud to reveal the face of the person laying underneath. However. It was then that her gaze fell upon the burden they bore. showing through his slightly parted lips. sending terror through Rana’s soul. As she approached. wailing upon the yellow-brown grass. as the doom that surrounded her seemed to have already pushed her beyond the brink of sanity. It appeared as if failure was etched deeply into the lines of his handsome visage. standing next to the litter. their faces were ashen. the need to experience the whole vision pushed her to her next action. She looked up from where her mother lay.which normally was polished to perfection . A human figure. the feeling of terror and sadness becoming almost unbearable. His chiseled jaw was set tightly and his teeth.was tarnished and rusted. Rana’s heart sank even more.yet their expressions were stoic. hidden by the crimson shroud. There were three at the head of the line.“You could have stopped him from going!” Ekomuni screamed. covered in a crimson shroud bearing the coat of arms of the Grand Duchy lay upon the litter. however they were clenched tightly in pain. she noticed that all the men wore the uniform of the Grand Ducal Guards. Upon seeing the procession. were clenched. as if their sense of duty was all that carried them onward in their task. its macabre timber reverberating through the sky. She recognized the faces of each of the men . Ethithung’s dark . Grand Duke Ethithung Geongechuth’s face was the mask of a broken man. Four more brought up the rear.nine in number. The procession was making their way towards the river from a point to the south-west of where Rana knelt next to her mother. She knew who lay upon the stretcher.if such a thing was even possible. yet their tunics were torn and splattered with blood. She stepped forward. with two in the middle carrying a stretcher of sorts. Just then. Her heart sank even more .

it remained matted with blood and dishivled from the melee which had taken his life. “You could have stopped me. The four adults . The green pupils which stared up at her were filled with pain. The reverberation of the sound danced through Rana’s mind and soul and she shook in terror as she watched her father’s dead eyes open wide. The pain and sorrow that had been welling up in her soul throughout the vision seemed inconsequencial now.red hair had not even been brushed. heriess of the Grand Ducal Throne of Ravenstone was struck dumb by the sight of her father’s face. Rana was numb.” the Grand Duke croaked in a macabre voice.” The scream filled the Grand Ducal Apartments. Rana. the main door of the apartments burst open and two Grand Ducal Guards rushed into the central room. The moments passed by . its terror stricken tone chilled the souls of all those who could hear it.so traumatic and painful as it appeared. “You could have stopped me. its timber seemingly shaking the very foundation of the world. Ecrana Geongechuth. for the Grand Ducal Guards had stopped moving. Suddenly the bell tolled once. Completely and utterly void of any emotion or thought. This was followed moments later by the opening of the Grand Ducal bedchamber door. her own numbness adding to the surreality of existence at that particular moment. Ethithung’s head turned towards his daughter and his hard set jaw began to move.. the wind had stopped blowing and everything was unnaturally still and silent. Her eyes stared at the face of her father. She could not process the image before her eyes .. disappointment and anger. the Grand Duke and Duchess rushing out in their bedclothes. The guards turned to their liege for a command and the Grand Duke simply pointed towards Rana’s bedroom door.as if time itself had stopped. Almost immediately.

I will send your father back to bed. indicating that he should keep silent. “I am sorry to have distrubed everyone. “Let me in. may I come in? Just me. Dark circles hung beneath her green eyes and her face was pale. Once the men were gone. Rana walked over to her bed and sat on its edge.” . demanding entrance. “Rana. Muni. simply putting her right hand on his chest.” the young woman replied in a calmer tone. He motioned to the two guards and then followed them across the room and then back to his own sleeping chamber. Go back to bed. the Grand Duke himself banging on its wooden frame. “I have forgotten it.” Ethithung looked at his wife. what is going on?” her mother asked in a concerned voice. A moment later. I will make sure she is alright. The tension began to mount again and the Grand Duke’s face became dark with worry. concern etched deeply in his face.” “Very well. her bedclothes drenched in sweat and her dark fire-red hair disshivled. Rana. mother.” her mother instructed. “I can not. Ekomuni turned back to her daughter’s door. Within the frame of the door stood Rana. She simply put a finger to her lips. Ekomuni heard her daughter shuffle out of bed and then toward the door. “Do not come in!” Rana’s terrified voice shouted from within. “Tell me about the nightmare. her face cast downward at the shadows on the floor. Ethi. A single candle burned on the bedside table and Ekmuni sat down in the chair next to it.” she asked in a calm tone.” Rana replied. “A nightmare. “You have a busy day tomorrow. “Send the guards back to their post.rushed to the heiress’ door. His wife said nothing. she saw the door handle turn and the door itself begin to open.” “Rana.” she instructed in a voice loud enough so Rana could hear.” the Grand Duke replied. “I am unharmed. closing the door once the Duchess was inside. She stood to the side and allowed her mother to enter her room.” There was silence for quite a long time.

only to retrieve her night robes. “We will talk more about these visions soon. Yet Rana was certain that the visions would come to pass.” “You are certain what you have seen will come to pass?” “The visions have never been wrong. Ekomuni was shocked by her daughter’s prediction. “There is too much darkness.” she noted. the Duchess stepped back out of their bedroom and made her way to the entrance . looking into the darkness of the night beyond the window of her room. Rana.” Rana replied. closing her daughter’s bedroom door after she left. She could not imagine any situation in which their relationship could be compromised in any way. “Rana. “I can not talk to you about them because they are visions of you and father. Rana.” Ekomuni replied. I can not.” “Yes. Now I want you to sleep well and do not dwell upon anything these visions have portrayed. “Good night. “We both need to get some sleep.. you need to tell me more about these visions you have been having. “You will blame me for what will happen. “Did this nightmare depict some of these horrible things?” “Yes. mother. I can not tell you. He would find out everythign he needed to know in the morning.” she prophesied at last..” Ekmuni’s face darkened.” Rana turned her face away from her mother. Concern for Rana washing through her mind. The Grand Duke had fallen back to sleep. content in the knowledge that his wife was taking care of their daughter. mother. and to me. She crossed the room to her own bedchambers..” she explained. Quietly.” “And you will not tell me what you saw?” Rana was silent.The Grand Duchess looked for a long time at her daughter’s downcast face. Horrible things will happen to both of you. however she knew there was very little to gain if she kept asking Rana questions. laying back in her bed and pulling the covers up over her body. The Grand Duchess had a lot to think about.” “Good night. I can not help you if I do not understand what is going on.

” “Then help me. Ekomuni weighed her next words very carefully. . your Grace. Pairan. She was uncertain how to begin.” “An assassination. indicating a seat across from where she sat. “You wished to see me. she sat down in her favourite chair and waited for the Richethi’s arrival.” the Grand Duchess asked. not quite sure what to expect. Once inside. However the visions indicate that his Grace will not die of natural causes.” Ekomuni replied. She wore her usual black leather kilt and bustier.” “Yes. With her command being executed.” “Come sit down. “Ekrana’s visions seem to suggest that the Grand Duke will die. I do not know. she entered the guard room and quickly instructed one of the guards to ask Pairan to meet the Duchess in her sitting room immediately. “She has also told me she has been having visions of the future.” “That is understandable. A gentle knock sounded at the door and the Grand Duchess replied with a simple: “Enter. her broadsword hung from her hip.of the apartments. closing the door behind her. I too fear the consequences of the visions. or what even to divulge. then. Just that they involve the Grand Duke and myself. your Grace.” The door swung open and Pairan stepped in.” Pairan confirmed.” Ekomuni responded in a matter of fact tone. “Rana has been having nightmares. She tells me you are the only one she has confided in. “By what means.” Pairan began. And I fear for the safety and health of my daughter. “Tell me about these visions. I fear that these visions might have severe consequences for the security of the Grand Duchy. The Chaotic Lord sat down. your Grace. she returned to the Grand Ducal apartments and went directly to her sitting room. Pairan.” The Richethi thought deeply for a long time. “She has told me very little of the visions themselves. Beyond the door.” the Grand Duchess began.

” Pairan agreed. I have been searching for signs of any sort of plot that might suggest the Grand Duke is in imminent danger.” Ekomuni looked deeply into the colour changing eyes of the Richethi Chaotic Lord.” The Grand Duchess looked at Pairan. your Grace. However. If she is receiving portents of her father’s death.” “Then I must get her to warn the Grand Duke. a sadness in her blue eyes. “Amidst my other duties and investigations. However. Beyond the dream-lullabies that are plaguing the city. She felt as if she was betraying the trust of the young woman who had confided in her. To my knowledge. how would I come to blame her if it should come to pass?” Pairan was getting uncomfortable. “Something else troubles me.” Pairan agreed in a meek tone. “A sensible solution. “Then what do you suggest we do?” “I do not know. “On the one hand. “Rana had a vision where you chastised her for not warning her father . I hope she soon has a vision that will reveal what it is his Grace must avoid. “However. I wish for Rana to never have another vision. In the vision you tell her that she could have prevented the death of the Grand Duke.for not preventing something from happening to keep him from being killed. Even these incidents with the lullabies are not a direct threat. The only direct thing Rana has told me about these visions is that I will blame her for what happens. no vision has revealed to Rana what the Grand Duke must avoid in order to stay alive. On the other. your Grace.” The Grand Duchess pondered the Richethi’s words for a few moments.“Most likely.” Ekomuni concluded. she knew there was a lot at stake and perhaps the Grand Duchess could aid them in preventing these visions from becoming true. the motives of those behind the incidents are still unknown.” the Richethi answered. there is one fatal flaw. For the thousandth time she marveled at how Pairan’s eyes changed from one colour to . Pairan. there is no overt sign that his Grace is in immediate danger.

” Ekomuni ordered.” Pairan replied. Ekomuni invited Rana into her sitting room. In one way. In the morning Ethithung asked her what she had talked to Rana about. “The day will be hard. She had been forced to drink a soothing tea which cleared her mind and finally put her back to sleep. “Pairan. knowing that at some point in the day she would have to further explain herself. she too sought out her bed.” “Good night. after a short time.” “Now go and get some sleep. standing up and leaving the room.another. Once the Grand Duke departed the apartments to tend to his work. She sat for a few more moments in silence. We shall both need our minds and bodies to be fully rested. the subject did not come up. However. At breakfast. “I do. The Grand Duchess thought for one more moment before she next spoke. the effect was unnatural and disconcerting. you and I will speak with her about all of this and we will then do everything in our power to protect the Grand Duke. your Grace. Ekomuni had found that she had trouble getting back to sleep after her conversation with Pairan. your Grace. you love my daughter. Tomorrow she would deal with her daughter’s visions. “Good night. which were waiting for the two women once they entered . She had told him that she was still dealing with it and that she would give him a full accounting that evening.” “Tomorrow. Yet in another. Currently Pairan’s eyes were a deep shade of lavender and they betrayed her fears and her doubts about Rana’s visions. Pairan. though Rana looked wearily at her parents.” “Of course. it was very beautiful. your Grace. contemplating everything that had happened that night. do you not?” she asked softly. She had Menino and Duynerese Kuenene prepare tea and some biscuits.” the Grand Duchess replied.

Her heart and mind were torn.. “In your stead. Rana’s mother poured the tea and offered her a biscuit.” she forecast. She had no idea how it would happen. “because she knows about your visions and she is also concerned with the security of the Grand Duchy . Suddenly she saw the masts of the flagship of the Grand Ducal Navy as she plowed through the waves of the sea. I have the feeling that your visions pertain to dangers that might effect the entire realm. However.and the Empire. I am unsure of what course I would take.” “Have you seen how he is to die?” her mother asked after a long pause. and not of natural causes. Rana could see a dark shadow lurking under the waves.” “Yes. “He will die soon. His death will bring about chaos and uncertainty to the Duchy . She felt uncomfortable because she knew her mother wanted to know more about the visions. “I wanted to have Pairan here.as well as the Empire. trailing the ship.. your father and I need to know what is going on. Rana could feel the tension in the room mount. Rana.” the Grand Duchess continued. Perhaps even war.” Rana took a long drink from her tea. Rana just knew that her father would die and her mother would blame her. “Father will die. As she . taking a seat next to her and accepting a cup of tea as well as a biscuit from the Grand Duchess. There was a storm far behind the ship and it seemed to be sailing into fairer seas. “Do you have any idea how we can prevent this from happening?” Ekomuni continued. she was shocked when the door opened and Pairan stepped in. Yet. As such. however she was afraid of how her parents would react. contemplating her mother’s words. thankfully I have not.” Rana replied in an even tone.the room. yet she made a quick decision. As she sipped the hot drink.” Rana sighed.. “No. mother.” Ekomuni began. The young woman’s face became dark. She knew she had to share the visions. However. “I understand why you wish to keep these visions from me.

to renew his alleigiance to the Emperor . In stead she explained the meaning of the vision: “When father leaves for his annual pilgrimage to Eruplong . She was glad to have Pairan waiting with her.his ship will be attacked. Fear. my dear. .” “Do you think he will believe me?” Rana asked in a worried voice. uncertainty and a deep sadness clung to her soul and seemed to grow stronger as the moments passed. “Of course.looked closer at the shadow she recognized its shape: a sea drake. the Grand Duchess and Pairan simply stared at Rana for a long time. “There is but one course of action to take. her tone not betraying the fear she felt. Realization and understanding filled her and then she was back in her mother’s sitting room again. “Another vision?” Pairan asked.” her mother replied. “You father loves you and cherishes you. The red haired girl nodded. To Rana. “We will tell your father everything we have learned and let him be the judge. explaining the visions to her husband. Rana took a deep breath. however she did not tell them.” Later that day Rana and Pairan were waiting outside of the Grand Duke’s sitting room. though the Chaotic Lord had said very little since they had arrived outside her father’s door. it seemed an eternity that her mother and father were discussing their daughter’s visions. “Rana?” Ekomuni was asking in a worried tone. He will take these visions seriously. The Grand Duchess was inside. It is then that he will be slain. shock from the realizations preventing her from speaking.” Silence filled the sitting room.” she announced. smiling fondly. At last Ekomuni cleared her throat. “What did you see?” her mother demanded.

as it compells all of us. comfortable reading chair sat near a fireplace and three other chairs were arranged nearby.” Moments later. she knew that with the Richethi at his side.” Rana told the Richethi. the Grand Duke would certainly stay safe. the city and other interesting points throughout the Grand Duchy hanging on the walls. her hopeful voice masking her uncertainty and fear. looking worried and tired. His green eyes were heavy with the weight of his responisbilities.” Rana predicted.” Rana agreed. Rana’s father sat in his chair. However. My unit and the Grand Ducal Guards we will see that his Grace arrives in Eruplong safely. Pairan. The Grand Duke’s large. Pairan. Rana saw her father as he actually was . “The Chaotic Lotuses will protect him. “That is what we must tell him. The room itself was laid out much like that of the Grand Duchess.” Pairan concluded. “A sea-drake will attack jis ship.” “Perhaps he can survive whatever assault ge will face. Duty compells him. “She has told me of your premonition regarding my . “Your mother has told me about these visions you have been having. We must get him to bring you and your unit along for the trip. Pairan.” Pairan suggested.just a man.” “Then I must go with him. She was torn. Yet. Rana. The heiress always felt lost when Pairan was away. A mere mortal who had the same frailties as any other human. “Yes.“It will do no good.” he began after they had all sat down. otherwise our treaty with the Empire is forfeit. There were large painting dipicting the Crimson Strait. She motioned for Pairan and Rana to enter and the two women dutifully followed the Grand Duchess into the room. It is far too late for him to arrive there in time by any other means then by ship. “He will fight bravely and songs will be sung about his final stand. “He must go to Eruplong.” Rana thought about that for a minute. the door to the Grand Duke’s sitting room opened and Rana’s mother stood in its frame. my father will not be able to overcome the dragon’s power. For the first time in her life.

.” Rana replied.” .” The Grand Duke smiled warmly at his daughter. Rana. “Take Pairan and the Chaotic Lotuses with you.. “They will help to keep you safe. I heed your warning and believe in your prophetic power.” Rana implored.upcoming voyage to the Imperial Capital. as you must understand. Do not do this for me. there is not. “You will make an excellent Grand Duchess when the time comes for you to take the throne. “Duty compels us to do many things and we must always strive to perform our duties. overjoyed that he seemed to understand. “Is there no other option?” he implored.” Rana pointed out. Do this for the safety of the entire Grand Duchy.” “The time will be soon. You must understand this. “The Lotuses will have to stay here. if you do not heed my warning. Pairan will be in charge of your safety as well as your mother’s.” “Are there no other options?” Rana demanded. The Grand Duke looked sadly at his daughter. “You make me so proud. father. There are not enough berths aboard the ship and they will take up the Guards duties while we are away. Believe me. lest those who rely upon us lose faith in our intents and abilities. “Unfortunately. Ethinthung’s face became dark. Rana. Rana. I have seen this gift in another. I must present myself to his Imperial Majesty in order to fulfill our requirements under the Treaty. “Yet Duty compels me. father.” he beamed.” her father replied.” “All of the Grand Ducal Guards will be accompanying me.” “I do. tears welling up in her eyes.” Ethithung’s eyes became sad and distant for a moment.

He had green eyes that had weathered many storms and commanded the respect of his men as well as his superiors. black pants and black leather sea boots. as well as the Grand Duke himself.Chapter 13 Insufficient Schemes The Grand Ducal flagship. the Geoneblise. Emperor Efowheun IV. His officer’s sabre hung from his left hip in its bronze scabbard. noting the progress that his men and the ground . It was the early morning of Ashoniung the twenty third and already the ground crew and sailors of the warship had been working many hours preparing her for the long voyage ahead. For. preparing to set sail. officers. marines. was pressed and clean. Ethezith Plashane. Avuth Erenablash Coothgoite was a tall man with short cropped brown hair and a full beard. He surveyed the quai. Her crew counted two hundred elite sailors and officers from the Grand Ducal Navy. His naval officer’s uniform: the crimson sea coat. the ship’s captain arrived on the quai. Also aboard were the eighteen members of the Grand Ducal Guard. in a little less then one month’s time. A little after dawn. who acted as Flag Officer aboard the warship. It was but once a year that such a distinguished retinue of sailors. This expert crew was joined by the Admiral of the Grand Ducal Navy. the Grand Duke was required to present himself at the court of his Imperial Majesty. as per the terms of the Munammeren Treaty. as well as one hundred and fifty elite Grand Ducal Marines and their officers. was a three masted ship of the line with a displacement of one thousand tons. guards and nobility found themselves upon the Geoneblise. The Geoneblise was berthed in the Naval Ship Yards of the Port Quarter of the city.

crew were making preparing his ship. he then made his way to his cabin. They carried the young woman towards the stern of the boat as the Avuth continued to bark orders at his men . enraptured by the dark magic that controlled her. Satisfied that his commands were being carried out. “Oy! Look at that!” one of the ground crew shouted suddenly. Satisfied. they carried a blanket which they quickly wrapped around the young woman. dispatching a messenger to the Palace once he arrived on the main deck. sir. She stood. Avuth Coothgoite turned to look in the driection the man was pointed and was shocked by what he saw. The young woman was perhaps twenty years old.” “Aye. Erenablash followed them up the gangplank. The cleric of Ethone was a weathered man. taller then Erenablash. seeing that they were all in perfect order. As with all the other victims of the twisted magic. aye.” the Avuth ordered the two men. Tell him to meet me there. Avuth Coothgoite got to the door of his quarters just as the Duish arrived. He had heard the rumours of the horrible events in which young women in the city had been bewitched. “Take her to my quarters. he began to walk towards the gang plank. They followed his command and carried the young woman on board the vessel.” both men answered. blue eyes and a . Her round face was set in an expression of ecstasy mixed with fear.” he instructed his men. He had grey hair. stark naked in the middle of the quai. “Get something to cover her. “And then get Duish Efonliysh. “Carry her on board. His eyes rose to the main deck of the Geoneblise and he noted her lines.telling them to search the quai to see if they could find the mage who had put the girl under the enchantment. Two men rushed down the gangplank of the ship. however seeing it happen right before his eyes was shocking beyond measure. by Ethone!” Erenablash bellowed at the men who stood gaping at the woman. She had long red hair and passionate green eyes. she was singing one of the Lullabies of Sylaipæ in the Iperatesi tongue.

full beard. He wore the blue sea coat of his order with the standard Grand Ducal navy’s black leather pants and leather sea boots. “The men told me waht happened, Erenablash.” the old cleric informed him. “I assume she’s in your quarters.” “Yes, Duish.” the Avuth replied respectfully. Erenablash opened the door and lead the cleric into the room. The Avuth’s quarters were sparsely decorated, everything seemed to have a practical purpose. Towards the back of the room was the Avuth’s bed and in it lay the red haired woman, still wrapped in the blankets the sailors had brought. It seemed as if she slept peacefully, however both men imagined her dreams were far from peaceful. “Have you alerted his Grace to the incident?” Duish Efonliysh whispered, not wanting to wake the girl. “Yes, I have.” Erenablash replied. “Then perhaps it is best if we let her sleep.” the cleric suggested. “I will stay with her. She will no doubt be disorientated when she wakes. I can help calm her.” “Very well, Duish.” the Avuth agreed. “I will post men outside the door. If you require my presence, have them send for me on the bridge.” “I will.” the cleric smiled. He sat down at the Avuth’s desk and began to browse the nautical charts the captain kept there. Satisfied that all was well, Erenablash left his quarters and headed for the bridge. He ordered two men to stand guard outside the door to his quarters and then continued to oversee the preparations for the upcoming voyage.

Grand Duke Ethithung arrived an hour later, accompanied by the Grand Ducal Guardsmen, Etheshyffa Ethezith Plashane, the Admiral of the Grand Ducal Navy, and Pairan. His immediate concern was for the young woman, who still slept in the Avuth’s quarters. Avuth Coothgoite debriefed the Grand Duke, the Etheshyffa, the Avuth of the

Grand Ducal Guards and Pairan on the events of that morning. Shortly after this briefing, a marine arrived on the bridge to inform the officers and his Grace that the woman had woken up and that the Duish was requesting that the Avuth and the Grand Duke come at once to the Avuth’s quarters. The Grand Duke asked Pairan to accompany them When they arrived, they found the woman dressed in one of Erenablash’s uniform shirts and pants, sitting comfortably at the desk with the Duish. Both rose formally when the Grand Duke entered the room, however he gently told them to sit - not wishing to further upset the young woman. A steward had brought a breakfast of juice and fruits and all were seated, enjoying the food. “What is your name, my dear?” Grand Duke Ethithung asked the young woman. “Ziengeshy Awowain, my Lord.” she replied in a humble tone. “Do you live here in the city?” the Duke continued. “I am a Jewelsmith by trade, my Lord. I have lived here all my life.” “Do you live in the Port Quarter?” Pairan asked. Ziengheshy turned to look at the Richethi. “No, I do not. My shop is in the Old Quarter, near the gates to the New Quarter.” “Do you know how you came to be at the quai this morning?” Pairan inquired. “I wish I knew.” the red haired woman replied in an embarassed tone. “Have you ever met a woman named Theunyryti Aggoeton?” the Richethi asked. Ziengheshy’s embarassed face turned a deeper shade of crimson. “What does she have to do with all of this?” the red haired girl demanded. “We are not certain.” Pairan admitted. “However, no one seems to know where she has gone and she seems to be connected to all the women who have been enchanted by the same spell as you were this morning.” Ziengheshy was quiet for a moment. “I know where she lives.” she admitted after some thought. “I still make jewelry for her. However, I have only seen her once since she

left the Temple. We have not spoken beyond a courteous ‘how are you’. Usually, I only see her servant who pays me for my wares.” “You could tell us where she lives then.” the Grand Duke pointed out. “Is she in trouble?” “We hope not.” Pairan clarified. “Hopefully she can help us catch those responsible for these attacks.” Ziengheshy nodded and then proceeded to tell them exactly where Theunyryti Aggoeton could be found, even describing the large mansion where the woman lived in the Old Quarter of the city. “You have been of great help, Ziengheshy.” the Grand Duke smiled when she was done. “I assure you that I am doing everything in my power to catch those responsible for these attacks.” Ethithung turned his attention to Avuth Coothgoite. “Avuth, with your permission, I think our guest should rest up here in your quarters until she is feeling herself again.” “Of course, your Grace.” Erenablash replied. “Then, two of my guards will escort you home, Ziengheshy.” the Grand Duke continued. “Thank you for your kindness, my Lord.” the red haired woman replied humbly. “And if you need any further assistance or you have any other information you think might aid us in our investigations, go to the Palace and ask for Pairan.” Ethithung instructed, indicating the Richethi. “She is in charge of the investigation and will do everything she possibly can to help you.” “Thank you again, my Lord.” With that settled, the men exited the Avuth’s quarters and returned to the bridge. Once they arrived there, the Grand Duke ordered that the Geoneblise would set sail on the following morning. The officers agreed and the Grand Duke and his retinue stayed on board, reviewing all the preperations for the voyage. Later that afternoon, two of the

Grand Ducal Guards escorted Ziengheshy back home while Pairan departed in order to find Theunyryti Aggoeton. The Richethi Chaotic Lord rode her horse through the Port Quarter and up into the Old Quarter. She followed the main street through the Old Quarter until she came to the central square where the Old Market was held. She turned off onto a street leading east and followed it some ways until she came to a large mansion whose facade was carved entirely of oak. Even the stairs, which lead up to main door of the house, were built from perfect oak boards which had been stained with a transluscent coat of wax which gave the wood a perfect sheen. The rich facade did not impress Pairan, she tied up her horse on a post near the road and then walked up the stairs to the mansion’s door. The servant who answered the door was an elderly man with silver-grey hair and a sharp pointed face. His baritone voice had a hint of an eastern accent to it and Pairan had the impression that he was part Zïrilïan. “May I be of servise, madam?” “My name is Parian, I am a servant of the Grand Duke.” she introduced herself. “I understand that this is the residence of Theunyryti Aggoeton.” “Indeed it is, madam.” the butler replied. “Could I possibly speak with your mistress?” Pairan continued. “It is a matter of utmost importance.” “My mistress is away travelling at the moment.” the butler replied. “She is not due back until the next hyung.” “Very well.” the Richethi replied. “Tell her that I will come to see her next hyung then.” “Very good, madam.” the butler nodded. “Ycu Quæth, sir.” Pairan nodded in parting. “Ycu Quæth, madam.” the butler replied, closing the door.

The tall woman with the short red hair stood in the window watching the street below. She wore an expensive blue silk blouse and black silk pants, both imported from the Zïrilï Shin Empire. Her green eyes watched the Richethi mount her horse and trot away up the street. A gentle knock was heard at the door to the room in which she stood and she answered it with a gentle “Enter”. The elderly butler entered the room, closing the door behind him. “Did she say what she wanted, Quætuithe?” the red haired woman asked her butler. “Only that she wished to speak with you regarding a matter of the utmost importance to the Grand Duke, mistress.” Quætuithe answered. “Indeed.” Theunyryti Aggoeton frowned. “You told her I was away travelling?” “Such were your instructions, mistress.” “I will have a letter for you to deliver, through the usual means to the Yellow Jester.” “Very well, mistress.” the butler bowed, leaving the room. Theunyryti turned from the window and walked over to a large oak desk that was located in the middle of the room. She sat down and began to write a letter on a piece of parchment paper. A little while later Quætuithe returned, taking the letter - which Theunyryti had sealed in an envelope - and then left the room. The woman with the short red hair then returned to the window, looking out into the street beyond. She smiled to herself, satisfied with the days events thus far.

Pairan was returning to the Palace when she passed one of the central squares of the Old Quarter. She reigned in her horse, amazed at the large crowd that had gathered there. Looking around, she noted a large number of city guards, attempting to disperse the crowd. The Richethi looked closer at the scene and noted an oddly coloured covered

” “Bastard. Munesa. “I assume you have seen the crowds in the square?” he asked as she rode up to the gate. “Indeed. Munesa Efuhuen was waiting for her.” she replied. Ghysochef has a cure for this malady! For the small price of two Imperial Silver Pieces you can protect your women folk from this bewitchment. “However. “Come friends & neighbours!” shouted the motley man. Munesa?” she asked. He was rather rottund and wore a motley of colours which clashed with each other as well as the motley of colours that decorated his wagon.an elixir so potent that even in the Dream State the vile power of a witch can not touch the mind!” “A profiteer of fear. she turned her horse in disgust and rode onward toward the Palace. When she arrived at the Palace Gate. “Can we speak in private. “A potion salesman who calls himself Ghysochef. She watched a few moments longer as countless citizens lined up to purchase this Ghysochef’s elixir. I offer you ‘Deep Sleep’ . She dismounted her horse.” Pairan muttered in disgust. “I quite agree. passing the reins to one of the Ivych’s men. it might help to convince him to take his business elsewhere.wagon parked on the north side of the square. except for a long black mustache.” the Richethi replied.” . Ivych. “Is this about this potion man?” “Not directly. “Ghysochef has heard of your troubles! I have heard of this sorcery that bewitches your wives. The man was bald.” Pairan nodded. whose apparent owner stood tall upon the front seat of the vehicle beaming at the gathered mob. daughters and mothers. Profiteering off your daughter’s misfortune. Seeing that the gathering was orderly and that the City Guards were in full control of the crowd. How they are enchanted in their sleep and forced to walk naked through your streets in front of the eyes of your neighbours! Fear not friends.” the soldier swore under his breath. Most of the activity seemed to center around this wagon.

” “Good. looking out over the city. not entire certain where the Richethi was going.” the Ivych mused. It was now midmorning and news of the most recent Lullaby attack had spread through the city like wildfire. “Yes. “Good. In the distance she could see the masts of the various ships berthed in the quais and docks of the port.” Munesa replied. standing up and walking to the door. Upon seeing the crimson flag with itts black raven flying in the wind.” “The thief will be at the tavern tonight.” Rana stood on the balcony of the Grand Ducal Apartments.” “Is that all?” Munesa asked.” She smiled. “Is there a way you could contact him for me?” she continued. “Tell him to meet Rana and I tonight at the Dolphin’s Repose tonight around dusk. the flag of the Grand Duchy flying proudly from its main mast. The fact that it had happened on the quai where the Geoneblise was docked made .“Anything I can do to help. Pairan. “Some of my men could probably find him today. Pairan. Munesa.” “And how will that change things with the Lullabies.” Pairan smiled. turning and leading the Chaotic Lord into the gatehouse and to his office. She looked towards the south-east.” the gate keeper smiled. “He is known to me. “Are you familiar with Rana’s friend Ekythibier Aluceacha?” Pairan asked. in the direction of the Port Quarter of the city. The young woman recognized the Geoneblise. “Thank you for your help. the Grand Ducal Heiress sighed deeply and then looked away.” “I have a very good lead on who is behind all these attacks.

including a collar made of purple sea-drake scales and studed with three large rubies. Rana saw could not see the Yellow Jester’s hands or face. Yet. she began to make out the torso of a person. dignataries and officers were everywhere. trying to see what was above her and controlling the Court functionaries. It was dressed in the strange attire of a Jester . he had sent a message to the Palace saying that the ship would sail with the tide on the next morning and that he would stay aboard the Geoneblise to aid in the preparations for the voyage. though she kept hers short and she had dazzling blue eyes.like they were some twisted living puppets.even by Erupuan standards. Many of them had golden fillements attached to their arms and legs . The other elvan woman was much shorter . The first two were elvan women and the third was what appeared to be an human woman with long dark hair and who wore silver robes. After a long time.though the clothing’s colours were not motley. however she could sense that the Jester was watching her and pulling the strings of the members of the Court. She peered deeper into the darkness. She wore a blue-silver loin cloth and matching brassiere as well as knee high black leather boots. staring up into that blackness.Rana shiver with worry. The first of the elvan women was extremely tall . Suddenly. She also had jet-black hair. In her hands she wielded a large silver hammer which seemed to pulse with some sort of magical energy. It was then that the scene before her eyes became dark again.where the ceiling should have been . Her father had not returned from the ship. There was a great assembly of the Court. She wore a white gown and . Rana saw that the Jester now controlled three individuals. When the scene brightened again. Rana’s vision darkened and then she was standing within the Court of the Crimson King. except for three separate bunches of golden fillement.various shades of lighter and darker yellows. The colours of this Jester’s garb was yellow . In fact.about the average height of an Erupuan man. She had long jet-black hair and malicious green eyes. She looked up to see where the golden strings lead and was astounded to see that the Court had no roof. This elvan woman wore priceless jewelry . she noticed something strange. Above .was a great darkness in which all of the golden fillements disappeared.

concern painted across the young Lady in Waiting’s face. emptying half of the glass. Though they talked of idle things. handing Rana a glass of juice.” Rana took a long sip. It was then that she heard laughter: deep. dear Menino. Perhaps my fears for my Father’s voyage are getting the better of me. “My mind simply wandered. maliscious laughter. “I am sorry. she had the sense that the face was smiling. “have something to drink. At that moment she felt someone shaking her right arm and calling her name. . Let us sit and enjoy this time together. A tray of apple juice and oatmeal cookies sitting .” “Here. She blinked twice and found herself standing on the balcony yet again. worry still driving every action. Menino.” Menino cried. “You were not responding. Looking up she saw the Yellow Jester gently pulling the strings. placing the glass back on the table. “I am much better now. Though she could not see the Jester’s face. standing next to her. worry and fear the timbre of her voice. Menino. Looking back at the three women.” They drank the apple juice and ate the oatmeal cookies. Are you injured?” Rana looked around quickly and then moved to sit down on a nearby chair.on a table nearby.” she sighed. both felt a tension in the air. “My Lady.black leather sandals . the vision still etched into her mind. For Menino was awash in worry for her Mistress while Rana tried to grasp the meaning of this newest vision. Rana saw that the Jester was making them dance . I have been calling your name for some time now.a macbre dance which seemed almost unnatural for their limbs. “Thank you.as if they had been forgotten in a hurry .” Rana appologized.” Menino took charge. helped her into a comfortable position. She turned to see Menino.and something about her seemed familiar to Rana.

Edagach brought drinks and then left them to their conversation. His long white hair and pink eyes contrasting with the dark clothes he wore.” the albino smiled. Pairan had not told her who they were meeting at the tavern.” Ekythibier smiled warmly. I might accept the task you present me.The vision still burned in her mind as she rode. “It has been a long time. she tied her horse outside of the tavern and then stepped inside the common room. with Pairan through the streets of Noch Geongechuth. “Well then Pairan.” the Richethi replied. the owner of the tavern. I am quite surprised by you. Pairan. so she was very shocked to see Ekythibier Aluceacha sitting waiting for them. “We will discuss payment after. Though. “It is good to see you again. It was evening of that same day and she had spent the afternoon trying to understand what she had seen. I do not believe that it is you who requested this meeting. When they entered the room.” The albino thief turned and looked directly into the colour changing eyes of the Richethi. “However. Following her bodyguard’s lead. Rana. disguised once again as a Grand Ducal Messenger. I am well aware of your feelings towards me. As I do not normally converse with theives. “My personal feelings regarding you are unimportant. He then lead them back into the same private room as before. Right now. Ekythibier.bowing formally to both Rana and Pairan. After all. I need the help of someone of your background and skill set. the tone of her voice supporting that assertion.” Pairan countered.” “This is purely a business meeting.” “That is more then fair. you have gotten this job by default.” “You will be paid hansomely for your services. Rana recognized the path they were taking and was not surprised when the Richethi reined in her horse in front of the Dolphin’s Repose.” “Very well. In other words. I will tell you what I need you to do. he stood .” . Again Pairan went strait to the bar and talked quietly with Edagach Liyably. you are the only one I know and can trust to some degree. However.

Pairan. I know him. The butler informed me that his mistress was away travelling.” “Fifty gold pieces for your trouble. eyes will witness and may become suspicious.” “Pass along any information to the Ivych. Pairan. “Yes. “His commander is the Ivych of the Palace Gates. “However. Pairan.” .” she corrected. However. “I may be a thief.” Ekythibier agreed. This woman is hiding something and I need to find out what it is.” “I do not expect you to be peaking through windows. That means one day you will be Rana’s servant and it will be she who controls your purse strings. I saw her standing in one of the windows as I rode away.” Ekythibier pointed out. “Now you talked about payment.” “Peaking through windows goes against my ethical standards.” the thief smiled warmly.” “She is.” “Very well.” “The man who contacted you today was a city guardsman.” “You offer a fair price. She paused for a moment.” Pairan noted. He will deliver it to me. “I am but his servant.” the Chaotic Lord frowned.” Ekythibier agreed. I suppose you are.” Pairan explained. “With the possibility of more depending on the information you come up with. “I will watch her house and report anything I find back to you. I assume this woman is important to some investigation you are undertaking.” the white haired thief paused for a moment.” The albino thief grinned.” “Very well. Pairan.” “Yes.” “The Grand Duke offers a fair price. Munesa Efuhuen.” “I am certain there might be a few reasons why some people are afraid to talk to you. but there is even honour amongst us.“There is a woman who lives in the Old Quarter who I would like you to watch. gathering her thoughts. “Early this morning I visited the house of the woman in question and talked with her butler. “How would you like me to relay information to you? If we keep meeting.

“Legend speaks of a man named Duychnyen Eluewhong who had been a captive of the Ayrtesi for ten years. “And you always believed me to be just a common street thief. taking a sip from his drink.” “No.” he concluded. Now tell me who this woman is.” “You know her?” “I do. looking into Rana’s green eyes.” “And you are certain that this Aggoeton has this secret knowledge?” Pairan inquired. he secretly learned his captor’s magical secrets and used them to escape Aphitowor’s citadel. Ekythibier smiled warmly.” . Pairan. “I accept your offer.” Ekythibier paused. turning his attentions back to the Richethi. “I do not believe her Ladyship will ever have a problem with the expenses associated with the work I do. The power of the Nightblades spread from there.” “Her name is Theunyryti Aggoeton and we believe she is connected to the Three Lullabies of Sylaipæ crimewave which has taken over the city. “She is no easy mark.” “Aggoeton.” Ekythibier mused. While in captivity. “Theunyryti and I are students of the same mentor.” his frown deepened.” the albino replied confidently. you are charged with keeping her safe. “After all.” “You are trained in these Shadow Arts?” Pairan demanded. probably not. You have probably never heard of them. “I am.who is said to have been the first assassin in history. which had sat almost forgotten throughout the conversation. The Nightblade laughed in spite of himself. “She is trained in the Shadow Arts of the Nightblades.” the thief frowned.” “Where?” Rana asked curiously.Pairan smiled back. Very well. He suffered as a servant of the Ayrtesi Lord Aphitowor . “I have seen it for myself. Once he returned to the lands of his father’s people he began to take disciples and teach them the secret Shadow Arts. Pairan. where she lives and why she is important to you.

And if I can inconvenience a rival in the process: that makes it all the better.” Just before dawn on the next day. the bosun in charge of . destined for the port of Qüweyson on the eastern end of the Ethesh Whyonqü. changing its heading to a mostly easterly direction. at a little before midnight. For thirty six hours the storm ravaged the Geoneblise. the crew was quickly put to work. When the winds calmed to some degree. entering the sometimes unpredictable waters of the Ethesh Whyonqü. making repairs to the masts and sails.” he smiled.“Are you still willing to take the job. the sun appeared in the sky to brighten the spirits of all on aboard.as well as the Grand Duke. Because of the wind direction it took the Geoneblise four days to reach Noch Luusheta. However this aura of good weather and smooth sailing was shattered that night when. a great strom rolled in from the north. with a light breeze from the north-east. The weather was fair. From there. Ekythibier?” the Richethi asked. “Of course. On the eighth day at sea after leaving Noch Geongechuth. Caught in open water. This forced the ship to sail directly into the wind which slowed her progress greatly. On the eleventh day from Noch Geongechuth. the Geoneblise set sail without further incident. driving her off course and away from the safety of the Erupuan shoreline. the Count of Luusheta. “It would a be a pleasure to help Rana and yourself . the Grand Duke and his retinue would travel overland to the Imperial Capital of Eruplong. The ship took on a lot of water and had its masts and sails damaged from the winds. the Geoneblise departed Noch Luusheta. As the voyage progressed the weather began to worsen. the Geoneblise was forced to ride out the storm. where the Grand Duke and the officers of the flagship enjoyed the hospitality of the Grand Duke’s brother in law. On the morning of the fifth day.

Both the Avuth and the Yeoman hoped that there would be shallower water near the islands which would help to limit the sea-drake’s movements. The Grand Duke came on deck. fully armoured and accompanied by the Grand Ducal Guards and he was quickly informed of the situation and the tactics the Avuth was following. however the Avuth still hoped to reach the relative safety of the islands which were now directly in front of the warship. who was in charge of the ship’s navigation. Suddenly. The speed of the Geoneblise had slowed.an arrow cocked and aimed as the monster leapt out of the water and over the ship. Ethithung Geongechuth. ordering those on deck to rush to their battle stations in the hopes of defending the ship from the terrible monster. The blue-scaled drake clawed at the main mast of the ship. tearing parts of the sails and rigging with its massive claws. Yeoman Eblonichi Etheguen. Yet the Grand Duke was somehow able to resist the drake’s terrible aura and shouted the battle cry of the Crimson Kings: “Hyen ekon efot Ethone!6” He stood tall upon the bridge of the Geoneblise. his long bow in his hands . As it began its descent back into the water. and hit the monster in its soft underbelly.: “Ethone strengthen our hearts!” . due to the damage the drake had done to its sails. changed it’s heading and attempted to make for a small strait between the mainland and a number of small islands. the Geoneblise was moving too fast and there was not enough room 6 Er. A great cheer arose from the crew as they applauded their liege’s marksmanship. Avuth Erenablash Coothgoite ordered the ship to full sail as soon as he reached the bridge. Immediately he sounded the alarm. Grand Duke of Ravenstone let his arrow fly. his aim was true. a cry came from the crow’s nest: three Ayrtesi pirate raiding ships had been sighted just of the south-east shore of the nearest island. It was too late. It was at the moment that the dragon fear washed over the ship and most of the crew cowered or froze in fright.the midnight watch spied the unmistakeable form of a large blue sea drake swimming at a high rate of speed toward the port side of the Geoneblise.

Crying out their war cry. For like the shadow of a demon. When these privateers stepped upon the deck. their hooks digging into the railing of the Geoneblise. for he seemed to float effortlessly upon the air. As quick as the winds which brought the Drow pirates to her gunnels. great elemental bolts of lightning shot forth from the palms of those Ayrtesi mages who had boarded the ducal flagship. however their comrades were not deterred by the magical power of the drow. a gleaming elvan longsword . Before they could do anything. the Itisnun. At the onset of the melee. At that same moment a second Ayrtesi raider came alongside the port side of the warship. They had sailed right into the trap. four grappling lines shot forth from the Ayrtesi raider. These searing cascades of elemental energy decimated one of the units of valiant ducal marines. a lone figure stepped out before the charging Duke and his loyal guard. armoured dark elevan warriors and mages began to board the Geoneblise. The battle pitched upon the main deck of the Geoneblise as Grand Duke ordered his personal guard to follow him down from off the quarterdeck into the tumult on the deck below. the lead Ayrtesi ship rammed the Geoneblise amidships on the starboard side. And just as suddenly as he had appeared before them. determined to defend their proud vessel from Ayrtesi capture. What immediately caught everyone’s attention was that this vile drow assassin’s feet did not touch the ground. Grappling lines shot forth from this second ship and the crew of the Grand Ducal Flagship found themselves preparing to be boarded by dark elvan pirates.to maneuver. As the Erupuan crew reacted to this sudden onslaught. engaging their foes with the courage that exemplifies the Ducal Marine Corps. Those who had not felt the painful sting of the mages’ energy rushed forth. It was at this juncture in the drow assault that the true nature of the attack became clear to those in command of the ducal forces who were fighting so bravely on that sad day. the valiant ducal marines engaged their foes. causing minor damage to the hull.the member of the dread drow assassin’s clan. the Ducal Guards followed their Lord down onto the main deck. an Ayrtesi assassin .

In one final monstrous feat of magically enhanced agility. In pain and sorrow. Ethithung swung the Crimson Sword . The warrior instincts of Ethithung however. tumbling down onto the deck below. which he quickly thrust into the Grand Duke’s back. the elusive dark elf floated upwards into the winds. As fast as he had appeared. ordered the Ducal Guardsman to draw their bows & shoot down the Ayrtesi assassin. The blow was so swift and so expertly placed that Ethithung suffered its ill effects immediately. The Grand Duke was not to be taunted by a drow and set about climbing the rigging of the ship in order to attack the dark elf. but the foul magics of the drow allowed the assassin to live despite the numerous arrow shafts protruding from his body. out of the reach of the weapons of the Ducal Guards. he cried out into the winds “Ekomuni!”. Stunned. The Itisnun assassin simply continued his movement thru the air and maneuvered himself around the back of Ethithung.for one of their officers. The Grand Ducal Guards did not lose heart when he fell . With a roar. Amazingly in the same attack motion. The aim of his Grace’s proudest warriors was as true as any human bowman could have been. with his left fist stunning the surprised soldier & forcing him to drop his gleaming broadsword. Ivych Inniesa Wheychezo. could do for his men. In a sudden motion. the Itisnun assassin also struck the Grand Ducal Guard Captain. calling the name of his beloved wife and hoping her healing arts could heal his mortal wound. the swift moving drow simply stepped out of the way of the attack. were able to take over and he was able to parry the blow with the great Crimson Sword. there was nothing more Ethithung.materialized in his right hand which he immediately swung at the Grand Duke.which became engulfed in magical flames as it always does when used in battle. the vile Ayrtesi assassin leapt down upon the fallen body of the fallen Grand Duke. the valiant Avuth Efoguen Apluploish. a long dagger appeared in the assassin’s left hand. bleeding and slowly dying from this vile wound. heirloom of the Crimson kings of Ravenstone. However. impaling his long elvan sword .

the Ayrtesi assassin disappeared leaving the Ducal Guardsmen stunned and distraught. And with a shout of triumph. . This shout emitted by the Itisnun assassin was the signal for the other drow warriors to disengage. leaving the Ducal Flagship damaged and demoralized from this terrifying and swift assault. all of the Ayrtesi warriors and mages magically teleported themselves back to their ships which immediately disengaged from the Geoneblise and set sail for their evil homeland. For as soon as this victory cry was heard.into the very same wound he had caused with his vile dagger severing Ethithung’s spine and killing him.

. They were searching for someone. With your father away. Her mother? What about her mother? “Mother. Pairan?” Pairan sat down on the bed next to Rana. worry and fear filling her entire being. the bed disheveled as if it had been quickly vacated.” the Chaotic Lord began. Have you seen her?” “No. I currently have the Palace Guard searching every room in the Palace. she found the room to be empty. “Rana!” Pairan demanded again. “Where is your mother?” Understanding shot through the young woman. your mother is in charge of the Grand Duchy. the red haired girl was disorientated and couldn’t quite understand what the Richethi was saying. At first.?” “Yes. “Not since I went to bed. “That is what I have been asking you. hoping to locate her. She rushed in to make certain that your mother was safe. however Rana could not quite grasp who it was they were searching for.” Pairan replied exascerbated. then we have a serious problem. If she is missing. When she arrived.” “What can I do?” Rana asked. however it was quickly replaced by confusion.. Then her senses cleared and she began to comprehend that her protector was agitated.. .. “The Grand Duchess has disappeared. “One of my Chaotic Lords heard a scream coming from your parents bedroom. and it seemed the entire Palace had been woken.” Rana stammered.Chapter 14 The Black Queen Chants It was the middle of the night and Rana was woken up by Pairan. What is going on.

” He paused for a moment. “However. I have ordered the Gates to the Palace Compound. the Constable of Ravenstone who was in charge of the Palace and City Guard. “Might I add. who was onboard the Geoneblise with the Grand Duke. the safety of the Grand Ducal family is my responsibility. She stood up and followed her bodyguard out of her bedroom and across the centarl living space of the Grand Ducal Apartments.” Rishækun Duycheblon.” “Yes. Pairan then lead Rana into the large War Room where the various heads of the Grand Ducal Armed forces had already assembled. I will continue to oversee the search for the Grand Duchess. “There is still no sign of her Grace. that as senior officer.” Epyshef Eceshyply. “We are ready to deploy in any necessary way. reported. as well as the main door of the Palace itself. “You are the heir to the Grand Ducal Throne. I need to be in the War Room in order to organize a more extensive search for your mother if she is not found within the Palace. the head of the Army continued. in your parent’s absence you are in charge of the Duchy. “My men are on standby. to be sealed. As such. I should take command of operations here in the War Room.” “I respect your rank. “We are also inspecting all ships currently in the port. Ethon. Pairan. “The Palace has been searched. The only officer missing was Ethezith Plashane..” Plashenna Geonzith. No one is getting in or out until the Duchess is located. You must be kept safe at all costs. the Etheshyffa of the Grand Ducal Navy.” “I have units of Marines searching the city.” the young woman replied dutifully. Pairan.” . They exited the Apartments through the guardroom where two Richethi from Pairan’s unit were stattioned. You need to stay at my side at all times so that I can guarentee your safety. who was second in command to Ethezith Plashane.“Come with me to the War Room. They nodded at their commander as she passed into the stairwell which lead down to the fourth floor of the Palace.” Pairan replied in a respectful tone.” Pairan replied in an authoritative tone. aiding the City Guard. as well as any that are arriving.

but your Father. “As my Father is away and my Mother is missing. As such.” the soldier replied in a devestated voice. my Lady. and looked at the young red haired woman.” “What does it say. a terrible feeling filling her entire being.. I am afraid that even with her unsurpassed skill.” Plashenna began to argue.” There was silence around the table. I believe Pairan is right to continue to organize the search for my Mother. “I regret to inform you.” he conceeded after a moment’s thought. Your Mother magically teleported on board the flagship just after he was slain hoping to cure his wounds. with a sad face. “Etheshyffa Plashane sent the message himself from the Geoneblise. sir.” “Very well.” Rana interupted. you must understand. Pairan and a couple of the other officers smiled.” “Why would she do that?” Rana asked. the Grand Duchess has been found. “She is aboard the Geoneblise. The sailor turned. “Her Grace. “Very well. I am therefore acting Duchess. It contains both good news and bad news.” the sailor informed them. your Father’s soul had already departed and now resides in the Halls of Eræron. It seems she was able to magically teleport herself on board. The Ethon however was not pleased. handing him a message written on a piece of parchment. my Lady. the Grand Duke is dead.“Pairan. He stopped next to Epyshef Eceshyply. “I have just recieved a message from the Geoneblise.” Epyshef turned back to the military commanders who sat around the table. “Is this true?” “Yes.” . “Ethon.. Epyshef?” Pairan asked. One of the soldiers working in the War Room came up to the planning table where they all had gathered. The navy officer quickly read the message and then turned to the soldier.

I do not think now is the time.” she began. “Why do you keep calling me that. the only thing that kept repeating in her mind was “I told him this would happen. seemingly awaiting her next words.” Pairan explained.” Rana nodded. three Ayrtesi Pirate Raiding ships lay in wait hidden behind one of the islands. your Grace?” the sailor asked. However. The ship’s alarm was sounded and all hands followed proceedures to the letter.” the sailor corrected himself.Shock silenced the entire War Room. Epyshef. your Father was able to hit the monster with an arrow as it attempted to disable the ship’s sails. then turned her attention back to Epyshef. I told them both!” Pairan gently put her arms around her young charge. Your Father and the Grand Ducal Guards attempted to join the frey but weher intercepted by .. However.” Pairan consoled her in a soft tone. your Father. “The Etheshyffa reports that the Geoneblise was beset by a Sea Drake at just a little after midnight.” “No Pairan. “Your Grace?” Rana replied confused. Abuth Coothgoithe pushed the ship towards a small strait and a number of islands where he hoped he could minimize the maneuverability of the Sea Drake.” “Very well. “No Pairan. “Gentlemen. “I believe Her Grace needs some time to herself.” Pairan nodded.” “Rana. I need to know..” Rana reinforced.” Rana interupted. The Geoneblise was rammed and then boarded by Ayrtesi Pirates and fierce onboard combat ensued. your Grace. “Tell me what happened..” Rana confirmed. Pairan?” “You are the Grand Duchess now. came on deck accompanied by the Grand Ducal Guards. No one spoke. She looked at Epyshef. “I need to know what happened.. “Are you certain you would like the details of your father’s death. I will take her. my. your Grace.. In fact. “Very well. “Yes. His Grace. “Such is the proper way to address you..

“Yes. the Primate of the Crimson Knights suggested.” “The Ayrtesi killed his Grace?” Ethon Plashenna demanded bitterly. “There will be a great sadness and our political rivals and enemies will attempt to take advantage of us. “Yes. “His Imperial Highness will understand the unexpected circumstances. It was the first time he had spoken since Rana had .” “Very good. Ethone. “The Etheshyffa has ordered that Geoneblise return to Noch Geongechuth as quickly as possible.” “Then we must show a strong face to the world.” Pairan soothed. we must contact the Emperor and inform him of this terrible news. “This might be part of some wider Ayrtesi plan.” Rana was still reelling from the news. however she attempted to focus her mind on what need to be done.” the sailor replied.” Epyshef confirmed.” she nodded.” “The Treaty!” Rana exclaimed. your Grace.” “There is one further thing. “We will have to announce this assassination to the people.” Pairan agreed. “This is an at of war. “We can not afford to show any weakness. Epyshef.an Ayrtesi Assassin who slew his Grace and then disappeared. “Do not worry. I believe we shoudl send out a small floatilla of three or four ship to meet her and escort her back home. “Have four ships leave as soon as they can.” Ammatuith Atiebly. my Lady!” the army general cried.” Epyshef added.” “Who would threaten us?” Rana asked. “Indeed. leaving the Geoneblise to its fate. “First. the Ayrtesi boarding parties retreated to their ships and the three pirate raiders departed.” Pairan replied. We will worry about the Treaty ceremonies at some later date.” Plashenna noted. After he disappeared. leaving the table to relay the order to the ship’s Captains.

proud of how the young woman was taking command of the situation. “Put them in Epyachi.” the Primate smiled. Rana thought for a moment.” “Yes.” Constable Rishækun Duycheblon answered. She always found him to be wise and kind and she was glad he was here to help her deal with the situation.” Rana ordered. Not a word of the assassination is breathed beyond this room until I say so. “I think that is a good idea. At first light.” “Yes. bowing respectfully as she and Pairan left the War Room . your Grace. “Ammatuith. “We will keep you informed.” Pairan answered.” She stood up and all the military commanders stood as well. “How many Ayrtesi are known to be in Noch Geongechuth right now?” she asked.” “I want them all arrested. “I am aware of perhaps a hundred Ayrtesi agents.entered the room. “Also.” she nodded. your Grace. “There are probably much more.” “Yes Pairan. I want the Iperatesi Ambassador to meet with me in the Grand Ducal Apartments.” the Ethon hypothesized. Why do we not go back to the Grand Ducal Apartments and get something to eat. I will have Pairan deliver the letter to you personally. the Zïrilï Shin Empire might see this time as an opportunity to assert their control over the Crimson Strait. I want you to send two of your knights to Eruplong to deliver a letter to his Imperial Majesty from me. your Grace.” she continued.” the military officers intoned. “We need to send word to the Emperor. “I think you have covered the important things. They are to depart at lunch time. “Is there anything else I need to address right now?” she asked her military commanders.

of course Pairan. The visions have come true. and that is the Emperor. The politics of the court are sometimes complex and have grave implicatikons for the security of the Grand Duchy.” Rana broke down in tears again and the Richethi simply held her close. Proud of how you took command of the situation and put measures in place to deal with what has happened. “Made the more crueller when she reveals herself to me before hand. “I warned him. Rana.” “I do not wish to be Duchess. Exactly as I foresaw.” she smiled.” . The Grand Duchess of Ravenstone only answers to one person. Pairan!” Rana exclaimed. “The Duchy can not show any weakness to our political rivals.” “That is true. neither woman knew or cared.you are not.Once back int he privacy of the Grand Ducal Apartments. pride welling up in her again. I knew this would happen. As I have always said. you are free to do what you will within your realm.” Pairan told her.” the Richethi smiled. “And even though you might feel like you are a prisoner of duty and tradition . And I can not show any weakness to any one. “You are right in what you said. “I warned them both. Rana collapsed in one of the sofas and broke down.even the Sea-Drake!” “Sometimes fate is a cruel mistress. my love. How much time passed. “Yet he would be proud of you. However. Pairan gave the young woman some time and then began to speak: “Your Father may be gone. there are those you can trust and lean on for support. “You must lead by example.” Pairan noted. “You were born to be the Grand Duchess. letting the young woman cry. you will make a fine Duchess. Pairan simply hugged her close. And you will do great things.” The young woman sulked for a few moments and then turned her head towards her bodyguard.” she began. It was a simple moment of grief and pain which needed to expressed. You are now the Crimson Queen of Ravenstone. Otherwise.” Rana mumbled at last.

” he added. the Iperatesi Ambassador. you might come to find trust in some of the other people who serve you. “However. Thysphitph caught his breath for a moment.” Rana indicated a comfortable chair across from hers. Menino poured the hot green tea. The elf looked at the young Grand Ducal Heiress and immediately detected a great sadness and grief in her young eyes. “Sit down Ambassador. “Thank you.” “That may be.” Rana began. was lead into the Grand Duke’s sitting room. Ambassador. In fact. Pairan. “You are no doubt wondering why I am meeting you and not my Mother. She poured another cup for her mistress and then courtsyed before leaving the room. in time. The ancient elf was surprised to see Rana sitting in the chair of the Grand Duke. “Would you care for some wine or some tea?” “Tea.“I believe I can only trust you and my Mother. no . my Lady.” he replied in the sing-song voice of the elves.” Rana replied. my Lady.” Rana smiled. “This tea is fabulous.” the Richethi agreed. “The thought had crossed my mind. passing the cup to the ambassador..” It was not long after when Thysphitph. Thyshiph took a sip from his mug. My Mother was forced to leave the city very early this morning. :Something terrible has happened and I need your help. “Everyone else seems to have their own ambitions. smiling warmly at his hostess. realizing that this meeting would bear ill news. her lady-in-waiting standy nearby.” the elf replied after taking another sip from the tea.

Though. Her name is Thuqæsis Iguthrat and she is in command of the Ayrtesi city of Æji Nunarru. your Grace. killing my Father in the process. “It is known to my people that one of the Ayrtesi Pirate admirals has the ability to magically change her form into that of a Sea Drake. Your Father was one of the lucky few to have escaped with his life. “It is tied to the Crimson Sword you Father acrries. “You said the Ayrtesi are responsible?” “Yes.” “Dire circumstances there were.” “This power is only used in dire circumstances. “My Father has been killed by Ayrtesi pirates.” The ancient elf was silent for a moment. your Grace.” “The Ring Of The Grand Duchess.” she confirmed.” “Yes. “I do not believe this was an ordinary Sea Drake.” Shock flashed across the ancient face of the Iperatesi ambassador.” he noted. I imagine your Mother has been located aboard the Geoneblise. “Many men have been enslaved in the pits of Æji Nunarru.” the young woman replied. He then composed himself. “May Owehari protect him.” Rana replied sadly. With the aid of a Sea Drake. “Three Ayrtesi Pirate Raiding Ships intercepted the Geoneblise. She was able to teleport herself using some unknown magical means.” the young woman smiled.” Thyshiph prayed.one was aware that she had left.” “Thank you. “Thank you for explaining how she got there. she has. his face becoming sad and empathetic. “Yes.” Ambassador Thyshiph deduced. “I am deeply sorry for your loss. the Ayrtesi attacked and boarded the ship.” Thyshiph replied sadly. I .” “That is where my Father was enslaved!” Rana gasped. It allows the wearer of the ring to teleport to the location of the wielder of the sword. Ambassador. deep in thought.

that we return to the stars from which we came. There was little I could do to help your Mother heal your Father of the terrors that filled his dreams.for I know his life was hard here on Nytheun. knowing that he had lived hundreds of years and seen many things. he felt that ancient anger . I know your Mother talked to me many times.” Rana told him. is there anything your people can do to help us get to the bottom of why the Ayrtesi would have slain my father?” The ancient elf looked down at his right palm. hoping I could help her heal his mind of the terrors he lived with. he can find some peace at last. I wish Æzæmri had blessed me as much as she has blessed your Mother. He remembered the ancient elvan home which they had left thousands of years ago and he remembered the thousand years of war and suffering his kin and the ancesters of the beautiful young woman suffered battling that ancient foe. The ancient elf smiled.dare say the evil he suffered in the pits of that vile city never left him. She really valued his wisdom and the kindness he showed her.” “It is said amongst my people that peace. for she had never known her father’s parents and only had a few recollections of her mother’s father. Such is the fate of Mortal Men. he could feel the sting .” Rana flet a certain warmth when she talked with the ancient elf. Even now. Now perhaps. Alas. swearing vengeance upon the Ayrtesi.remembering the dread day when he placed his hand upon the blade of his king. tranquility and harmony .the symbol of the dread oath they took in the ancient days before mankind awoke. As his thoughts returned to the matter at hand and the thought of the foul plots the Ayrtesi could be pursuing. I pray your Father finds peace. “Ambassador. tranquility and harmony are to be found for those who go to the Halls of Eræron. Yet. “The Æhæsitesi do not travel to the Halls of Eræron when we pass from this world. It is believed by those of my race who contemplate such things. seeing the long red scar some of the Iperatesi bore . He had always seemed like a grandfather to her.

” he countered. I will find out what I can for you.” Rana beamed. and many of my kin have lived with as well. A doom I have lived with my entire life.” “Thank you.” “Then maybe we shall help heal each other. They placed the Grand Duke’s body within the chapel of the Chapterhouse and then sent a messenger to the Palace to notify Rana. her soft mortal touch helped lessen the pain eminating from his palm and lessen the fire of hatred that burned in his heart. taking his hand.” he replied at long last. “My people have agents in the lands of the Ayrtesi in order to keep watch upon them. it is you I must thank. your Grace. “I will attempt to determine what Thuqæsis Iguthrat is up to. hugging the ancient elf. They traveled through a secret underground tunnel that connected the Palace to the . The sad procession landed in secret atop the main tower of the Chapterhouse of the Crimson Knights. Thyshiph. “My ancient eyes have seen much sorrow and suffering. You have perhaps saved me from a doom that I once desired when I was young and foolish.” she smiled. “No. Thyshiph looked up from his palm and into the green eyes of the young woman who sat before him. something about this murder and our roles in its aftermath will help me heal an immortal wound of my own. Somehow. my dear child. However.and the sting of the scar in his right hand. Pairan and two of the Chaotic Lotuses accompanied Rana to the Chapterhouse. It took the knights a day to locate the Geoneblise and another day to return to the Grand Ducal Capital. the body of the Grand Duke as well as the Grand Duchess were brought back to Noch Geongechuth on the backs of the mighty war-eagles which were the famous steeds of the knighthood. The Grand Duchess followed the Knights as they carried the body of their leige into the Chapterhouse. At the suggestion of the Primate of the Crimson Knights.

” she ordered her two subordinates.” “I hope you can talk some sense into her. An alter stood on a small dais on the southern side of . your Grace. It was a shrine dedicated to Ethone and therefor its central feature was a large pool of water in the center of the room. He did not wear his armour. “Your Mother has not taken your Father’s death well. Primate Ammatuith Atiebly was waiting for her. They walked down a short corridor and then he stopped in front of a door on the right hand side. your Grace.Chapterhouse so that no one would know of Rana’s trip there. He was dead before your Mother arrived aboard the Geoneblise. Gently.” “I will. Ammatuithe. The chapel of the Crimson Knights was a square shaped room supported by four pillars. your Grace. he turned the handle and stepped aside.” Rana nodded her head. “I will stay out here.” “Take me to her. They nodded and took up positions on either side of the Chapel door. There was nothing she could do for him and I believe that is what is troubling her.” Ammatuithe turned upon his heal and lead them through a large set of doors. “Stay here. Then I will have to talk to her. “She is still convinced that she should be able to heal him. His orange hair gleamed in the torchlight and his green eyes were filled with sorrow and concern.” he told Pairan. allowing Rana. The knight sadly shook his head. help to calm her. Everyone is well aware of her abilities as a healer. I believe she is taking her failure to heal your Father rather badly.” the orange haired warrior answered. “Or at the very least. When they arrived in the foyer of the Chapterhouse.” “Yes.” the Richethi replied. in stead he was clad in a simply crimson robe which was tied around his waist by a heavy black rope. “Call me if you need.” the knight informed her in a concerned voice. Pairan and the two other Richethi to enter the chapel. Ammatuith. “Very well.” “Is there any chance?” she asked hopefully. “His wounds were mortal.

duty prevailed as it so often does.” “Mother. Ekomuni spun round. “Yet his soul has departed and none of my powers as a healer can bring him back.” Rana consolled. frustration and anguish filling her voice. The Grand Duchess stood next to her husband’s biar..the crimson field with the black raven . “I tried to save him.. You. We can not understand the fate of our mortality in the same way as the goddess. “How did you know?” “Mother. it was the wailing chants of her Mother that disturbed her. Everyone of us did what we could to prevent this from happening.. Now we must stand tall and strong and help Rana rule the Grand Duchy. She wore a black robe and her face was streaked with tears. The body of the Grand Duke had been placed on a small biar to the left of the altar. tears of deep pain and anguish. They are what they are and we did everything we could to warn his Grace. “Mother. “There is no explaining Rana’s visions. The sight of her dead Father saddened Rana beyond measure. pain painted across her face. it was his choice to depart. and I have failed. yourself attempted to warn his Grace.” Tears streaked down the Grand Duchess’ face. chanting in the strange language of magic. at lastg the terrors that haunted him and the stress of his duty had been lifted from him.. Rana was crying as well.the pool and rows of pews encircled the pew on all sides. “You knew this would happen!” the Grand Duchess cried. Ethithung’s face had an expression of peace and tranquility.. you did not fail.drapped across his inert body. In the end.. “The hand of Eræron intervened. that slowly turned to anger.” Pairan cut in.” Rana stammered.. I. Pain.. I have tried.. her own pain and anguish welling up from deep within her soul.. I have tried so hard.” Ekomuni almost whispered. In the end.. the flag of the Grand Duchy ..” “Your Grace. However.” .

past the Primate of the Crimson Knights who had entered the chapel behind the rushing Chaotic Lords. “Take her back to the Palace immediately. You need to give her time to deal with your Father’s death. my Love. “She is not thinking clearly. “Where did the Grand Duchess go.. I will be along shortly. Pairan. the Grand Duchess stormed out of the chapel. Seeing the look on her young charge’s face. “It is happening just as I foresaw.” “Of course.” “Would you?” “No.” one of the Richethi nodded. Ammatuithe?” Pairan asked once she was alone with the Knight. They led Rana out of the room. a sad look crossing his face. “Mother. “Two of my men took her to a room where she can be comfortable. “I fear she is not taking this well. “Her Grace is not feeling well. their swords drawn as if expecting a great danger within the confines of that sacred space. Pairan called for the two Chaotic Lotuses standing guard outside the chapel. “Let her go.” the young woman cried. “I suppose I would not.” “Can she stay here for some time?” The Richethi asked.“Damn Eræron to the Abyss!” Ekomuni swore vehemently. the long macbre timber of a single tolling bell began to ring.. The echoing reverberations sent waves of panic flashing through Rana’s body and soul. “Your Mother is grieving. “And damn the curse she has laid upon the soul of my daughter!” With that.” he replied. When they saw their lieutenant and Rana safe. as if the terrors from all of her visions and dreams had come to life.” Rana cried.” Just then.” the Richethi tried to explain.” Pairan explained. They rushed in. they took a deep breath. .” Pairan took hold of Rana’s shoulder.” he thought about it.

.” “Ycun quæth. the Richethi left the chapel and made her way back to the Palace.” Ammatuithe informed her.” he warned. Ammatuithe. “We must be very careful during this time of transition.” With that.” Pairan replied.” “Yes she will. I mean her Grace. Your loyalty to the Ducal Throne has never been in question.” Satisfied.” “I will worry about Rana. she turned to leave. Pairan.“She will be safe and cared for as long as is needed. “Rana. She is a very smart young woman.” “I gathered that. “If you could keep an eye on the other military commanders. “Ycun quæth. I trust you Ammatuithe.” the knight mused.” The knight’s face became serious. I know Rana does not trust the other military commanders. She will make a fine Grand Duchess. Pairan. “I must tend to Rana right now. “The way she stopped the argument between you and Plashenna. Then we all need to figure out how to announce this sad news. must be confident in her position and be able to project a sense of strength to both our allies and our enemies.” Pairan replied. “Good.

” Pairan suggested. Rana sat down and looked at the food. Rana had returned to her bed and cried herself to sleep. “Will you be guarding my door from now on?” “I will until I deem it no longer necessary. “You should eat something.Chapter 15 The Funeral March After trying to talk to her Mother in the chapel of the Chapter House of the Crimson Knights. She was woken up by Menino.” “Very well. “My Mother has returned. “I will sleep later.” the young woman sighed.” “Why?” Rana demanded.” her bodyguard replied stoicly. “Right now your safety is of utmost importance.” . They walked over to the dinning table where Menino had brought a breakfast of eggs and toast. This rationale was quickly dispelled when she stepped through her bedroom door to find Pairan standing guard outside of her room.” Rana noted. in the usual fashion and for a moment she thought the entire experience during the night had been a nightmare and nothing more. a fact which she was most thankful. She could not remember any dreams. “You have not slept. nourishment was the last thing on her mind.” “You are the Grand Duchess now.” the Richethi reminded her. “Today will be very difficult and you will need your energy.

indicating the spot where she needed to sign her name.” Rana replied. as well as some business that needs to be taken care of. She took up the quill he offered and began to sign her own name. . your Grace.in your case.Rana nodded and took a small bite of the eggs. I have brought with me the Tome of Miashich Geongechuth which records the names of all those who have sat upon the Throne of the Crimson Kings. they must sign their name in the book so that an accurate record of the rulers of Ravenstone can be kept.” The seneschal opened the large leather-bound book to a page he had marked. I have marked the place within the Tome where you must sign. King. Let me say it is an honour to serve you.” “Very well. He passed the book over to Rana. Grand Duke or . She noticed.” Pairan told her. I know of no other who has such character worthy to take his place.entered the apartments and made his way to the dinning table. “However there are some legalities that must be attended to. as she finished signing her name. Chyeshuish Ihoshapu her father’s seneschal . As each new Duke. a large and dusty tome and a scroll case in his hands. He bowed formally to Rana and then sat down next to her after a nod from Pairan.” the white haired man began. just below that of her Father’s. your Grace .” “Thank you. your Grace. However. Just then.” “I wish I could give you some time to adjust to your new responsibilities.” the seneschal continued in a sad tone. “Your words are too kind in this dark hour. “Chyeshuish has been informed of the situation. Chyeshuish.” “Firstly.Grand Duchess ascends to the Throne of the Crimson Kings. “Your Father was a great man and he will be missed by his subjects. that the dates from which each Grand Duke had reigned were written next to their names with a final signature next to each of the dates. As such. “I am deeply sorry for your loss. your Grace. “Whose signature is next to my Father’s?” she asked when she had finsihed.

“Indeed.” The administrator quickly completed that task and then set aside the Tome. . “Unfortunately. you will have to travel to Eruplong at some time in the future to sign the copy contained within the Imperial Records and pledge your alleigiance to the Emperor.” Rana stated. “A formal coronation within the Court of the Crimson Kings is the final legality you must undergo in order to fully take on the mantle of Grand Duchess of Ravenstone.” “What other legalities must we suffer?” Rana asked. Also.” Chyeshuish explained.” the seneschal indicated. It formalized our return to the Second Imperium and sets out the exact relationship we enjoy with his Imperial Majesty.“My predessor’s name can be found next to the year your Father began his reign.” “Now we must discuss your itinerary for the day.” “Pomp and ceremony. “I have taken the liberty of cancelling all of the appointments your Mother was to have had today. as all the other Grand Dukes have since the time of King Ekotai. The new Grand Duchess signed her name and then her clerk rolled up the scroll and returned it to its case.” Chyeshuish nodded his head in agreement. “I am glad to report that is the end of the legalities. then?” she sighed. your Grace. your Grace. Unrolling it. The seneschal then drew forth a scroll from the scroll case he had also been carrying. “Very well. “Very well. which I added to the Tome this morning before making my way here.” Pairan noted. “Where must I sign?” “Right here. he had Pairan help him hold it open. “This is the Grand Duchy’s copy of the Munammeren Treaty which is the legal document signed between King Ekotai and the Empire.” Chyeshuish bowed his head.” the seneschal continued. I will now add mine next to yours. along with your starting date as Grand Duchess. leaving it open so that the fresh ink could dry. You must sign it.” “A voyage we will have to be careful in planning. for now. “You will find mine next to his end date.

Chyeshuish. “It is a follow up to a meeting you had with him early this morning.” The white haired man bowed formally and then departed. I have scheduled the meeting just before lunch” Chyeshuish agreed.” Pairan noted. I have been told by Pairan that he is a friend of yours and that he is currently working for Pairan. “As such. Chyeshuish. “Indeed. that is good thinking.” the seneschal replied. I have kept your day open so that you may deal with events as they unfold. Chyeshuish?” Pairan asked. “As I said.” “That was fast. “That is all. “I do not think I am ready for all of this. “He will meet with you both just after lunch.” Rana agreed. “You will find that Ambassador Thyshiph is very efficient.” Chyeshuish explained. “The first is with the Iperatesi Ambassador. Both of which have been previously cleared by Pairan.” Rana muttered.” Rana confirmed.” Rana admitted after her seneschal had gone. “Your welcome.” “Is there anything else. I have told them simply that the Grand Duchess is not available today.” “Yes.For those who do not know the circumstances. The military staff will no doubt need you to meet with them and I suggest we contact the Counts and appraise them of the situation. Pairan.” “That is good. your Grace. “Thank you.” “That is correct.” The seneschal stood and gathered up the Tome of Miashich Geongechuth as well as his scroll case.” Rana looked at the Richethi who simply sat stoicly at the table. you have two meetings today. “The second meeting is with a man named Ekythibier Aluceacha. .” Rana commented.

“I always enjoy your company and the wisdom you share with us.” “You did not mention my Father’s assassination to her?” Rana asked. “I have given Pairan a list of all the known Iperatesi in Noch Geongechuth. . It was then that his face became business-like. He wore his usual purple robes with black sandals and his shoulder length black hair seemed to shine in the late morning light streaming in through the large picture windows. “your father lost both his parents when he became Grand Duke.” “There is just so much to think about.” he began in his sing-song voice once Menino had left the room and Pairan had sat down in a chair to the left of Rana.“I do not believe anyone is truly ready for the burdens they sometimes must take on. “I am glad to hear that. I have also taken the liberty of talking with Ambassador Mehthynira of the Ronithæ and have received a list of known Ronithæ and Sosithæ in the city from her.” “Just remember.” Rana smiled.” “I hope so. I also gave this list to Pairan.” the elf smiled warmly. His blue eyes bore a sad look.” Pairan smiled. And he has taught you everything he knows.” Ambassador Thyshiph was lead by Pairan into the Grand Duke’s sitting room which Rana had now adopted as her own. he humbly bowed his head and accepted the mug of hot tea from Menino. You will be an excellent leader for your people. Your parents would be very proud. “It is a pleasure to see you again. “So far you have done exceptionally. as did his pointed face. your Grace. As he sat down.” the Richethi reassured her.

From what my agent could determine.” “I believe it was a message. yet I learned them from others and from my own researches. “I have also received word from one of our agents in Ayrtthagiqus. Ambassador. They revel in fear and pain . Normally the Ayrtesi take all humans they encounter as captives and enslave them. Thuqæsis somehow discovered that your Father would journey to Eruplong and simply lay in wait for him.” Rana theorized.” “Indeed. Stories that put a fear of the darkness and what lurks within the shadows into the souls of our children. “The Grand Duke’s yearly pilgrimage to Eruplong is common knowledge.” the elf nodded. “What I do find troubling is that Thuqæsis left the Geoneblise afloat after the Grand Duke was killed.” Thyshiph mused. “He has confirmed that the Ayrtesi Pirate Admiral Thuqæsis Iguthrat is responsible for the attack on the Geoneblise.” “An evil portent.” the Grand Duchess replied before taking a sip of her tea. I believe this Thuqæsis Iguthrat is trying to tell us that no one is safe from the Ayrtesi.” the black haired elf replied.” “Thank you.enjoying spreading terror amongst every living soul upon Nytheun. My parents never told me those tales. your Grace.” Thyshiph continued. probably because my Father had lived them during his captivity.” Pairan mused. “There are ancient tales of the Ayrtesi told to Erupuan children at bedtime. such are the ways of my shadow-cousins.” . That at any time they can strike and take our most cherised from us. “Yet. The crew of the Geoneblise would have made great slaves in the pits of Æji Nunarru. “I understand that it is clearly not my place to be divulging such information to others when it has not yet been made public.“I have kept that knowledge to myself.” “I would imagine Ayrtesi spies here in the city would have provided her with the information.

Her name was Idongre . “I had never seen a creature quite like her . I often returned to their little village: an ancient place they had named Toeplyth .for I had never before heard one of the tongues of man. Idongre’s father was the village leader and he held a great feast in my honour for returning his daughter safely. seperated from her family and friends. I decided to aid her and so. The small village where her people lived seemed primitive to me. We could not communicate very well.that she had followed the light of Eqyrsph down to a river where she had bathed. “It was the place that the great warrior Elufong Foynefaf would travel to centuries later and battle the Shards of Susewhuzish. Yet she had been unable to find her way back to her people and had become lost in the woods.” Thyshiph’s face grew warm with the ancient memory.so I found out much later. bowing his head. thank you for your kindness towards me and my people. yet they all had pure hearts and were friendly and thankful to me. “I would surmise that you have. for it was situated upon the south shore of Lake Eruzyath in the ancient homeland of your people. one of many deeds that would make him a legend.” Thyshiph smiled. She was a young woman like yourself and she had become lost in the wilderness.” “I have heard of this village before.” . the dawn was beginning. we spent the next few koas locating the place where her people had settled.” “The Erupuan and Iperatesi have been friends for almost as long as humans have lived upon the face of Nythuen. “When we arrived. “And as always.and I expect I never shall again. I was able to understand .which in your ancient tongue meant “South-Lake”.” Rana affirmed. It was late at night and I had been studying the movements of Thypryrrm and Eqyrsph when she stumbled into the clearing where I had been sitting. except by expressions and gestures .” the elf smiled.after much gesturing . “I remember the first time I saw one of your ancesters. Ambassador.“Thank you for your information.” Rana interjected keenly.

” the Ambassador nodded and then departed from the room. save when Erupua acts. looking out the large picture-frame windows of the sitting room and contemplating the many things the Ambassador would have witnessed in his lifetime. accompanied by Pairan. etol asar Erupua yta. efip Phith. “Hym. “However.” Rana intoned the Qathso parting phrase.” the ancient elf confided.about seven thousand five hundred viyas old.. .” Thyshiph explained.“You were in Teoplyth before Elufong ever travelled there?” Rana gasped amazed.’ in Qathso.” Thyshiph induced.” Rana made some calculations in her head.’ “Thynnsa iwy rath æwo læ rath testi. your Grace: Etor elliæqæla iqæiwe. which meant: ‘Walk in the light of the stars. Humans and Richethi knew that the Æhæsitesi were immortal.” Even Pairan was shocked by the antiquity of the elf. however to have one so old sitting drinking tea with them was a great shock and a great honour. “Thynnsa iwy rath æwo læ rath testi. your Grace. “Then that makes you.” The young woman could not believe it.. I would surmise I might be even older. your Grace. She had never believed the elf to be so old.. “I met Idongre about three hundred and fifty viyas before Elufong was born. efip Phith. “.” Thyshiph bowed his head. “We Æhæsitesi do not keep track of our age. smiling warmly at his hosts. Rana finished her tea. “I am much older then you perhaps know. “Elufong fought the Shards of Susewhuzish a century before the founding of Eruplong!” Rana exclaimed..’” Rana translated from the Qathso. Thyshiph. “We Iperatesi have a saying.” “‘Time is of no great import. The Ambassador stood. saying: ‘Yes.

not unlike the gesture Thuqæsis Iguthrat made to us. your Grace?” Plashenna inquired. “Do you intend on beseiging Æji Nunarru. For her part. “I think we need to make a gesture.” the Chief of the Grand Ducal Rangers nodded. “I am treating this attack as an act of war and swift retribution is needed in order to show the world that the Grand Duchy is strong and that we take any sort of threat seriously. I need you to retrieve your mission notes and any other pertinent material regarding the Ayrtesi port-city of Æji Nunarru from when you rescued my Father. Rana had not had lunch. “Ambassador Thyshiph has confirmed that the Ayrtesi Pirate Admiral Thuqæsis Iguthrat is responsible for the attack on the Geoneblise.” Rana explained.” Rana answered.” “What of the army?” Plashenna demanded.” she began in a business-like tone. Rana sat demurely at the head of the table. “No. your Grace. Ethon Cashoth. .” “Yes. “It will need to be a coordinated effort between the Chaotics Lotuses. rather she had called an emergency meeting with the commanders. She looked around at the gathered men who sat around the table. the commander of the Navy in lieu of the absent Ethezith Plashane. awaiting her words to begin the meeting. wearing a black dress in mourning for her Father.” “What will this ‘gesture’ entail?” Epyshef Echeshyply. the Grand Ducal Rangers. the Crimson Knights and the Navy. They all sat around the large planning table of the War Room unsure of what to expect from the young woman who now commanded their loyalties. “I want a small force that can strike at the Ayrtesi Admiral herself. He stood up and left the room to retrieve the information the Grand Duchess had requested.The War Room was filled again with the commanders of the Grand Duchy’s military. asked.

“Now.” the sailor began.” Pairan responded. We could probably even retrieve the Chaotic Lotuses once they have completed their mission. your Grace. I believe that the Crimson Knights would be able to deliver the Chaotic Lotuses into the heart of Thuqæsis Iguthrat’s palace. “The Grand Ducal Rangers will then help youget back to and leave the city aboard the navy’s fastest warship.” the Grand Duchess continued.” Rana admitted.” . Pairan has two lists of elves residing within Noch Geongechuth that must be accounted for. should hopefully draw attention away from the Palace. Then we would just require a few ships to transport the infantry troops to and from Æji Nunarru. a diversion may be necessary. combined with our assault.” the Ethon nodded.” Rana nodded. “My Knights can deposit the Chaotic Lotuses at the Admiral’s Palace and then make strikes at the city.” “I see what you mean. “Yes. Epyshef. emotionless tone.” Ammatuith confirmed. “Very well. You will also need to account for any elves residing in the city who are not on these lists. “I believe for such an assault to work.” “I will have Constable Rishækun Duycheblon and his men begin this accounting right away.” Ammatuith caught on. “However. “Perhaps we should land an infantry force to the north of the Ayrtesi Port and use the Crimson Knights to attack the city from the air.” Rana ordered. “I want you to kill that Ayrtesi murderer.” Rana replied in a flat. Ethesheren. “May I suggest a few startegical points?” Epyshef chimed in. The infantry to the north. a little shocked by the coldness displayed by her young charge. “In fact. “What would you have us do once inside?” Pairan asked.“You will step up your vigilence and protect the Grand Duchy.” “We can. I am no military strategist.

The albino seemed greatly out of place here in the Palace.” the Ethesheren nodded. “And make sure the Geoneblise makes it home. Rana. it is not. your Grace?” Epyshef asked. Ekythibier. “To get troops on and off the ships takes time and this should be a fast. He wondered who it was that had died? “I have watched the house of Theunyryti Aggoeton. taken a little aback by Rana’s words. We should limit the scope of this assault to the Crimson Knights and my Chaotic Lotuses. “I mourn for the loss of a great man.” “Good. efficient strike against the Ayrtesi. I can confirm that she is not away travelling and has been inside the house since I first began to watch it. The Knights will take us to the Palace.” Pairan interceded. “What of the navy then. “However. “I will leave the details to you and Ammatuithe to work out. such is not the reason we meet now.” Rana agreed.” the nightblade replied.” the Richethi nodded.” “No. cover our exit point while we kill the Admiral and then fly all of us to safety as soon as the mission is complete.” the young red haired woman replied in a sad voice.” Rana thought. your Grace.” he noted as Pairan sat down.” “Yes. It was just after lunch when Pairan led Ekythibier into Rana’s sitting room. your Grace. as you have asked. yet he showed no sign of discomfort as he sat down in his friend’s sitting room.” . then Pairan.“That is far too complicated. “I do not believe I have ever seen you wear black before. His pink eyes did not stray from her face and she got the feeling that he knew something dreadful had happened. “Have your fastest ship near Æji Nunarru just in case.” “Yes.

“She was of an average height for an elf. Ekythibier.” “Did Ziengeshy leave?” Rana asked.” the albino confirmed. “A very upset woman with long red hair and green eyes. screamed when she saw the elf. Ziengeshy.” “The woman was Ziengeshy Awowain. “Just one. I would think.” “So the elf from the dreams is real. she was followed by an elf. “Most likely. tell me where this ally is. The elf drew a long sword and killed the woman.” Pairan surmised.“Has she had any visitors?” Pairan asked.” Pairan and Rana exchanged a glance. “How so?” Rana asked.” “The elf from the dreams. She berated Theunyryti’s butler about some sort of group she was a member of. “with short black hair and blue eyes.” Ekythibier reported. She demended to see Theunyryti. “She has gained a lot of trust in me. That was when I departed to come here and report everything to you. “The woman. however the butler told her the same story that he told you. leaving the thief and the Grand Duchess alone.” Pairan deduced. I must notify the City Guard of what has happened.” Rana noted. Pairan left the room. “She did. She wore a white gown and had black leather sandals. “Now she has killed one of the victims.” Ekythibier noted once Pairan had left. “What did this elf look like?” the Richethi asked. Armed with this information. I did notice a scar on her left arm.” Pairan stated. “She is the latest victim of the Lullabies and it is she who told me where to find Theunyryti.” the nightblade described. Pairan. “I followed them to an alley in the new quarter. “However. “Do you believe that she would have left me alone with you if she did not trust me?” .” Ekythibier continued his report.” The thief quickly told the Chaotic Lord where the ally was.

” she replied in parting.” the albino interupted her thoughts. Ruin etuas ewhot ling Ethone. “two of her Richethi warriors are standing guard outside the door. “Then I will be on my way.” “It is always good to see you. Rana.” she informed them.” was all she managed to say.” she smiled at her old friend. “The constable can then send out the City Guard to investigate the alley.” “Ruin etuas ewhot ling Ethone. “Perhaps.” Rana almost sighed with relief. She was not certain how she felt about it: elated by the freedom or fearful from the insecurity. The nightblade left in the company of Pairan and Rana stayed in the sitting room. reading a prepared statement which had been drafted by Rana and a number of her advisors. Thank Ethone she had Pairan. She knew it would take her a long time to ajust to her new responsibilities.” “Thank you Pairan. Ekythibier.” Rana nodded. Perhaps she still does not completely trust me. The Grand Ducal Messengers announced the bad tidings throughout the city. Just then. “I am glad I could be of service. but caught herself. the news of the Grand Duke’s assassination was made public. “I have told Ilesguen to bring Rishækun Duycheblon to the war room to meet with me.” Ekythibier stood. contemplating everything that had happened in the last day.Rana was suddenly shocked by the information that Pairan had left her alone. Rana. however she knew that Pairan would help her. “Perhaps some time we can meet under better circumstances. “But then. . Pairan re-entered the room.” he replied. “Yes. Just before diner time. It was the first time since her Father’s assassination that she had not had the Richethi following her every move.

“Your Father was much loved by his people.” Rana tilted her head into Pairan’s shoulder and cried. “I believe perhaps it is best that she does not. “I wish my Mother would come out and see this. she thought. Yes. Rana stood on the balcony overlooking the city.” Pairan interupted her thoughts. She was really moved by the love the people had for her Father and she hoped that they would someday come to love her in the same way. we could all use the Grand Duchess’ help right now. The Chaotic Lord simply held her tight.” “Yes.” The Richethi stepped close and held Rana tightly. a steady stream of mourners came to pay their respects and to see all the flowers and gifts they had left .as well as to add more of their own. The people left these in beautiful piles along the road which lead from the Palace Gates to the Palace itself. . “The Grand Duchess is in mourning and she feels like a failure for not being able to heal your Father of his wounds.” she commented at last. “Perhaps it would help her. letting the young woman’s emotions flow freely. Ivych Munesa Efuhuen allowed a stream of mourners into the Palace grounds.” Pairan was quiet for a moment. pondering how to phrase her reply.Mourners turned out at the gates to the Palace Compound to pay their respects. “I know my love. where she watched her people as they payed their respects on the road below.” she replied.” she whispered. “We could all use her wisdom and empathy. Pairan. Tears streamed down her eyes as she looked at the thousands of flowers and wreaths that had been placed along the avenue. Over the next few days. This stream of ravenstone citizens carried flowers and momentoes which reminded them of the Grand Duke. but I need her.

The enitre procession. down streets lined with citizens who had come to pay their respects to their murdered Grand Duke. the Palace Seneschal. It ended at the Temple of Ethone. The Grand Duke’s body was carried by the Grand Ducal Guardsmen.Chapter 16 The Cracked Brass Bells Will Ring The funeral for Grand Duke Ekithung Geongechuth was a large affair which was organized and executed by Palace Staff.followed by Rana. the Ammakiysh of the Priests of Air. to the Temple of Soshowor where the Grand Duke’s body was blessed by Giachesa Icacheko. In fact. This procession marched through the Palace grounds from the Chapterhouse of the Crimson Knights out through the Gates of the Palace Compound and into the streets of the Old Quarter. where the Puukiysh of the Ethone Efoan performed the funiary rites. much to the relief of Rana. It made its way. the Counts of Luusheta and Yggyma and then all of the Military Commanders in their formal dress. The procession then travelled to all the other temples within the city. her Mother. was of great political import. Rana later found out. She was glad she only needed to participate. A Funeral Procession was the highlight of the rites. having the Bishops and High Priestesses bless the body of the Grand Duke. most of her role in the funeral had been planed and choreographed by Chyeshuish Ihoshapu. She found out from Master Ihoshapu that the order of Temples to which the body of the Grand Duke .

then the Chapterhouse of the Paladins of Evuabla. the Counts and all the other dignitaries travelled back to the Palace for a sombre feast in the Great Hall. He had four other bandmates: a theorbo player named Geykeyef. followed by the Clerics of the Earth God. Fate had dictated that Ethithung was to pass onward into the Halls of Eræron. Once the funeral was over. She made a mental note to talk with the High Priestess soon after the funeral was over. and finally to the Temple of Vaonera before the final rites at the Temple of Ethone. The funeral itself was very regal and Ethonasash Mionedo.shirt.and played a harp. Their leader was a man named Ekunmoch Etacich. kept the proceedings moving along at a stately pace. an . His long narrow face displayed the first buds of a beard. The high point of the procession. the Primate of the Ethone Efoan. a band of travelling minstrels performed. During the feast. her Mother. pants and leather boots .visited was a subject of great concern to the Religious leadership of the city. but the other four religious orders vied for prominance in the order. Rana. at least for Rana. all through the ceremony and Rana was glad that the High-Priestess was helping Ekomuni in a way that her Mother used to help others. a drummer named Efowhuen. Zithyquon Whonybla hugged Rana’s Mother. then the Clerics of the goddess of healing and music. Awash. It was a given that the procession would end at the Temple of Ethone. the god of War and Soldiers. He wore all black . The final order which was determined was: the Clerics of Air. Zithera. was when they were at the Temple of Zithera and the High-Priestess. who was tall with short black hair and green eyes. The rites ended with the body of the Grand Duke being placed upon a briar near the temple altar where he would lay in state for a week. Zithyquon consolled her Mother. which added to his peculiar philosopher’s look. This time would be used by the citizens of the Grand Duchy so they could pay their final respects to the man who had been their leader for nineteen years. telling her silently that she had done everything that she could have to save her husband and that Zithera had not let her down.

Together they wove a thick tapestry of sound filled with rhythmn. skill and passion. herself a musician and harpist. was enraptured by the minstrel’s talent. harmonies. Rana. melodies and counterpoints which dazzled the gathered guests. One song in particular called Imathera Queen really spoke to her: In the distance time does tarry Slowly walking down the path Do you hear the lark sing merry? A memory that does not last Imathera Queen Lost in your dreams Wisdom in all your deeds Does the wizard know your desire In the alcove of his tower? Can you make the rain catch fire And kiss a fæ at the midnight hour? Imathera Queen Lost in your dreams Wisdom in all your deeds In the night your love pronounces Softly in the divine ear The morning courtier then renounces Unjust words he held too dear Imathera Queen Lost in your dreams Winsdom in all your deeds .organetto player named Nuuthzoin and a mandolin player named Effagey.

your Grace. your Grace. “I thoroughly enjoyed your performance. Though.” The black haired minstrel bowed his head in appreciation. Erunguen. Rana approached Ekunmoch to compliment him on the performance. I too wonder. “I do have one question. I have never seen so few musicians create such large and intricate sounds.one of his favourite passtimes. “Who was she? I have never heard of her before.” Ekunmoch bowed. hoping that her husband would return home safely. even after the band had moved onto other pieces. smiling broadly. it was he who composed the song you speak of. . “I am truly humbled by your praise. here is the tale . For she had immediately noticed how her own situation resembled that of Queen Imathera. Geykeyef. I too am a harpist.” he replied. “Master Ekunmoch. for he sensed a chance to weave a tale . However.” she continued. “You may know. After the band had finished playing and were putting away their instruments with the help of their wagoneer. he does insist that Queen Imathera did in fact live.The chorus repeated again and again in her head. for he was a knight in the Iperatesi armies that defended the Iperatesi lands against the goblins and the Ayrtesi.as Geykeyef tells it.” Rana smiled.” “Yes. your Grace?” “Queen Imathera. “Geykeyef tells us that Queen Imathera was the consort of Erupua’s grandson.” she began. your Grace.” “Again. Many nights she lay alone. Sonothera. Her lord was a away most of the time. “Your playing and that of your companions is exceptional.” The bard cleared his throat. She was mesmerized by the music and found that she could relate to the words. For you see. you humble us with your praise.” Ekunmoch’s green eyes lit up. “There are some nights I often wonder if she is some fancy dreamed up by my bandmate.

” the black haired man smiled.” “What do you mean by ‘disappeared’?” “Well.” “I am sorry. It is a true state of esctasy. It is almost like experiencing another plane of existence . your Grace. happy and connected to everything else in existence. one feels at peace. The limits of her mundane and corporeal body where no longer necessary and she simply rose above herself . “however.” .becoming pure light. could you please explain what the Mystical Flow is?” The musician smiled. It is said that Imathera never actually died. When one is fully connected.without leaving this one. Exÿlu himself described it in this way: Queen Imathera simply became pure light and joined with the Mystical Flow itself. “There is an energy that surrounds us all and the flows through everything in existence. such things are far too mundane and those attempting to use the Mystical Flow to that end will quickly find their connection lost.In those dark nights. returning to the story of Imathera. teaching herself to connect to the Mystical Flow.” Ekunmoch replied. Now I do not mean one can help oneself become richer or more powerful. No. her interest peeking. Master Ekunmoch.” Rana interrupted. It is much more subtle then the flows of essence which the wizards and sorcerers manipulate for their magic. “Prophetic ones. “One legend relates how she foresaw the death of her husband in a goblin ambush.” “What sorts of visions?” Rana asked. It was after that incident that she secluded herself from her family and from the rest of the people. Yet it is easier to feel and connect to. “It is said that while she wandered through these Mystical Trances she would see visions. She met a wizard named Exÿlu and lived with him in his tower until she disappeared. your Grace. “Now. she would often open up her mind and dream. Every individual has the potential of using the Mystical Flow to help themselves. She was able to ascend to some other Plane of Existence through her mastery of the Mystical Flow. The Mystical Flow allows you to experience and see the world differently. your Grace.

“I have an idea. a little confused.” . We are all musicians and I would love the opportunity to share my own musical talents with you. We have both learnt something.” “Your uncanny perceptions are always rather droll. you and your band will be my guests. indeed Ekunmoch. The elvan histories tell that they were once light beings . “Tonight. It seems our conversation is profitable for both of us.” the drummer. your Grace. philosophizing then when he is strumming his harp. Rana couldn’t help herself and simply laughed at the wit of the joke. your Grace. “Well.” the drummer laughed. “I had never thought of the connection. do you know how to confuse a travelling minstrel?” “No.” “You are correct.” Ekunmoch explained.” Efowheun smiled. though he smiled faintly at his companion’s joke.” “Profitable. I sometimes think he is happier “Ekunmoch enjoys old tales and deep thoughts. Master Ekunmoch.” the bard beamed. how is that?” she asked. I do not. Efowheun.stars in the sky . “Put two shovels against a wall and tell him to take his pick!” Ekunmoch rolled his eyes.” Ekunmoch noted.who fell to Nytheun into Lake Ezytesi and then stepped forth from the waters as the immortal elevs. “You have learnt about Queen Imathera and you have made me realize that her ascension is somewhat like the awakening of the elves. your Grace. “Do not let him befuddle your mind. it seems to me that this is the exact opposite process to which the elves suffered.” “Indeed. “Droll. “Master Ekunmoch.” she smiled. He had come to stand near them about half way through Ekunmoch’s tale. “Your Grace.” she announced. laughed. Master Efowheun.Rana thought about this picture of the ancient Queen ascending and it sparked a thought in her mind.” “It is quite simple.

especially given the sad circumstances of the gathering. Rana.” He Uncle looked relieved. “Again.” she replied.” “I know.” “Thank you.” the young woman smiled.” Pairan nodded.” he began. Pairan. “I have invited them to join me this evening so that we may all play some music together. Uncle. Rana. If there is anything you need. your Grace. The Richethi had been watching the conversation between her charge and the musicians from afar. Count Luusheta looked around the room. “I trust you enjoyed the conversation with the Minstrels?” Pairan asked when Rana came near. I am no longer just your Uncle.” . Uncle. was able to comfort her.” Rana replied in a sad tone. she quickly told him her plan and left him to make the arrangements with the band. When the white haired man arrived. “Rana.” he smiled. I was just about to go and talk to the High-Priestess about Mother. “This assassination has effected her beyond measure. “That is excellent thinking. At that moment. humbled by the opportunity. Rana’s Uncle. “You are kind and beautiful. I did note today that Zithyquon Whonybla.Ekunmoch bowed deeply.” “Very well. Now I am your servant as well. I do not believe she is doing very well. came over to where they stood. “Perhaps Zithyquon can help Muni cope. She turned and called over Chyeshuish Ihoshapu. She was happy that Rana was able to enjoy herself. alone in one of the alcoves of the Great Hall. “I did. Rana wandered over to where Pairan was standing. her Seneschal. as if seeing if anyone was close by.” Rana smiled. He lowered his voice. In fact. However. your Mother is not taking this well. the High-Priestess of Zithera. do not hesitate to ask. “Your Father was a great man and he will be missed by us all. Count Luusheta. She is putting on a good face in public .because she has to. and you humble us with this once in a life-time opportunity. I want to express my deepest condolences.” “A wonderful idea.

her other vassal. “May I offer my condolences as well as my allegience. “Of course. like her peers. She wished she could carry her away in order to keep her from being corrupted by the many plots in the Court.” she simply stated. “I hate to bring up matters of state during such sad circumstances. He had a round face with blue eyes and a large nose. “There will always be politics in your life from now on. my Love. “Why must everything involve Politics?” Pairan looked for a moment at the young woman in front of her. Rana.” Pairan warned. However. “Be careful with the High-Priestess.” Count Yggyma replied. She would have come to tell you in person.” the Count continued.” he bowed.” The Count bowed and then wandered off.” she hugged him.” Rana replied. she could not. “However. “And thank you for your support. He was a medium sized man with short orange-grey hair.” she replied formally.“You will always be my Uncle. Count Yggyma was dressed in a brown leather coat with dark blue pants and tall black leather boots. an elderly noblewoman who had always treated the young woman like one of her own grandchildren.as Pairan had a duty to Rana. have you given any thought as to how we as a Grand Duchy will respond to this heinous act?” . “She is well.” “Of course. Rana had a duty to her people . “She is a kind and empathetic woman. thank you my Lord. She got halfway across the Great Hall and then was intercepted by Count Keiketh Yggyma. “It is so good to see you again. your Grace. How is your mother?” Rana was very fond of the Count’s mother.” Rana’s face darkened. she too wishes to gain more influence in Court. Rana sighed and then wandered off in search of Zithyquon Whonybla. “She of course sends her condolences. however she has been battling a cold and the healers suggested that she should not travel. However.” “That is understandable.

your Grace.” Rana bowed. “Your niece seems to have everything under control. Turning slightly.” “I am so glad to hear that. . Luusheta. In fact. “Privilage built upon history does very little if one is not willing to do what needs to be done in the present. There are great dangers we face and she might be too young to be able to handle them.” the Count of Yggyma contemplated.” Yggyma glared at him.” Keiketh noted.” Keiketh stated in a flat tone.” the Count of Yggyma snapped. my Lord. let me know.” “Oh course.” “We all know our history.” “Then we must do our best to aid her in every way possible. Keiketh.“I can assure you. Keiketh?” “Do not forget your place. Ezokiich.” Luusheta sighed. your Grace. however the house of Yggyma is far older then Luusheta.” Count Luusheta smiled and then turned and left. We have been loyal vassals of the Crimson Throne since Miashich Geongechuth first came to these lands. would you not say. “Yet for the sake of your niece and the security of the Grand Duchy we need to work together to help her in every way possible. He suddenly noticed someone standing at his right shoulder. “Excuse me. tomorrow morning those involved will leave Noch Geongechuth to carry out a secret mission. he saw Count Ezokiich Luusheta.” “Perhaps.” the Count bowed and watched his young liege walk away. Keiketh?” the strawberry blond haired Count smirked. Keiketh.” “If there is anything you require of me or from my court. the orange-grey haired man’s face very dark. my Lord. leaving the Count of Yggyma fuming. Ezokiich.” “Of course. There is a plan in place to deal with the matter. “She has her Father’s intelligence and her Mother’s empathy. “You may be her Uncle. “Jockeying for position already. “We have never gotten along. “Time will tell.

” “I will do everything in my power to help her heal. “May I say that you are doing very well. your Grace.” Rana agreed.” “Yes. the Grand Vizier.” Ahenthair commented. The two fell silent when Rana arrived. “Of course. “Is there anything you can do to help her? I really need her help to deal with everything that is going on. I need to ask you a favour. your Grace. However.” Rana replied. I fear she may do herself . Ahenthair.” the white haired woman replied. in her current state of mind. your Grace. with his loyalty to the Crimson Throne in question. Your Father’s death has really affected her. thank you. Ahenthair. though she had been friends with him for as long as she could remember. “Thank you. He had always been kind and willing to teach her about magic and anything else she inquired about. she found she was apprehensive around him.or others .” Rana smiled.” the Grand Vizier then announced. “You have no doubt noticed that my Mother is not handling this situation very well. yet complex woman. both bowing in respect. “I believe you would like to talk with the High-Priestess. “She and I have been friends for many years. Yet now.” Zithyquon bowed her head.” “Yes. The short. “Zithyquon.harm. .” she began.” “Your Mother is a strong.Rana in this time had found High-Priestess Zithyquon Whonybla. “I will excuse myself. waiting for the older man to step out of earshot before talking with the cleric. your Grace.” she replied. “Thank you. your Grace.” the cleric replied. white haired woman was talking with Ahenthair Ycashiosh. Rana was not sure how much she could trust this man.

the musical theory behind her melody was seemingly beyond her ken. She looked down at her hands and watched in detached awe as they began to strum notes across the breadth of her harp. began to add sweeping chords while Effegey and Ekunmoch jumped in with short riffs which added colour to the song. What was strange was that they all had strange white halos around their entire bodies . she marvelled at their talent and passion and the way they were able to weave a dense tapestry of sound which she thought she could almost see. Yet this unconscious or sub-conscious playing felt natural and she never played a wrong note. she was seeing the Mystic Flow. simply letting her fingers make the music all by themselves. The alternating notes seemed to follow the speed of their heart beats. the drummer. Rana found that she was not thinking about playing. Rana and the musicians were playing. She also noticed it was flowing through her as well. who sat in one of the seats in the first row of the concert hall watching the musicians. She recognized that it was in a minor key and that their were counter-points played on the minor-fourth. Again. the organetto player.Later that evening. nodding his head to indicate that she should jump in. As Rana looked closer. It was as if she had not closed her eyes at all. Efowheun. Rana simply let the music flow from the Mystic energy swirling through the room and the . began a slow simple beat on his drum . Rana placed her hands on the strings of her harp and then closed her eyes. Rana found herself sitting in the concert hall on the second floor of the Palace. The melody she was playing cried out to her soul. She tried to imagine the Mystic Flow that Ekunmoch had talked about. What she invisioned at first shocked her. Pairan was there.accentuating the heartbeat speed of the music. for she could still see each musician sitting where they were. Other than that.even Pairan. she noticed long white streams of energy flowing between each of the musicians. she on her harp and they on their various instruments. He smiled broadly and looked over at Rana. playing their instruments. Nuuthzoin. as well as Ekunmoch’s minstrel band. yet it felt so familiar. She quickly realized. Geykeyef had started the song off with a simple two note rhythmn on his theorbo.

as if seeing her for the .as he cut down every last Ayrtesi warrior that he faced. her vision darkened and the music seemed to fade from her ears. It was beyond any experience she had ever had and she wanted it to last forever. “That is it. When they all lay as dead corpses upon the deck of the ship. He wore a strange green and black tartan patterned kilt with hints of yellow thread in the weave. Rana revelled in the sensation. their dark longswords gleaming in the dawn light. she watched . His fierce brown eyes were on the one hand hard.” she heard Ekunmoch say. the glory and the freedom she felt. She opened her eyes. hoping to ward off the impending vision of doom she knew was coming. He had long black hair and a beard. It was too late.as if she was hearing it being played in another room. She began to feel lighter. as if the weight of her body no longer mattered. your Grace. was executing amazing acrobatic feats while swinging a elvan long sword. yet they betrayed a measure of compassion and empathy which juxtaposed with his facial expression.spellbound . A single man. and her vision became sharper . A great battle seemed to be going on all around her and she watched in amazement as small units of elves dressed in black armour ran past her. Enraptured by the efficiency and the beauty of the man’s martial prowress. she found herself standing aboard a strange ship. For a shirt he wore the rags she once imagined her Father would have worn during his years of captivity and slavery to in that far away Ayrtesi citadel. She followed them. only muted . out onto the main deck of the galleon and what she saw amazed her beyond description. cutting down the Ayrtesi warriors that were attempting to subdue him. It was still there. Just then. through her fingers and out into the world via the melody. for some reason unafraid for her own safety.even though her eyes were still closed. he turned round . “You feel it! You see it! Let it inspire you!” She felt the Mystic Flow rushing through her and her fingers continued to move expertly across the strings of her harp.musicians who occupied it.

Master Ekunmoch. she heard the familiar. I thank you again for allowing me to play with you. not wanting to share the vision with strangers.” she replied with a warm smile. “Ecrana Geongechuth. The music at stopped and the minstrels .” she contiued. “It is hard to describe. for I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. However. “Often times we see symbols which are often hard to interpret. .” Ekunmoch replied. your Grace. your Grace. she left the room with Pairan as her shadow. “Well gentlemen. you may come to understand the vision.” Ekunmoch explained. Most people never experience the ecstasy like you have.” he bowed his head.” he called with a deep brogue inflecting his voice. Well. she thought.” “I will always remember it as well.” “No. With that.” she lied. “You are very lucky.as well as Pairan . Please stay here in the cocnert hall for as long as you wish and continue playing.” he smiled warmly.were all looking at her. Perhaps we will have breakfast together in the morning.first time. “I think I have had enough excitement for one day. You may stay here in the Palace tonight as my guests. it is our honour to play with you. A smile crossed his blood-stained lips and he lowered his sword. that was a conversation they would have later. I must take my leave of you. “In time. “ye be the heir o’the man I help’d save.” Ekunmoch deduced. standing and bowing with his band-mates as she stood up to leave. Rana knew that her bodyguard knew that she could describe the vision in great detail.” Just then. The servants will show you to your rooms when you are ready. “Thank you for an amazing experience I will always remember. An’I will be a’savin’ ye as well. I imagine they do not. “What did you see?” Effegey asked in a curious tone. terrifying sound of bells tolling and suddenly she found herself in the Palace concert hall again. your Grace. noticing Pairan’s worried and dark look.” she replied.” “Again. “You are indeed a great musician. “You had a vision.

The Richethi had never met the strange Hanoteac warrior.” Pairan answered after a moment. Fear and worry cast shadows upon the Richethi’s mind and she wondered how much the stress of being the Grand Duchess would bring on more of these visions. “Each different tartan is a symbol of each different family or clan. Yet she had heard the stories . “I know you had a vision. He simply danced with his sword and they had no defence against him. “You want me to tell you what happened. You saw an Hanoteac man?” “Yes. She chewed it silently for a moment and then swallowed.” Rana noted. Rana sat quietly eating.Once again she found herself in the sanctuary of the Grand Ducal Apartments. Menino had brought a supper of fish and potatoes.for it was this man who had helped Grand Duke Ethithung escape from his Ayrtesi captors so many . She only contemplated the young seeress who sat before her. He was all alone and was killing all of them. He said he had once saved my Father and now he was going to save me. an Ayrtesi ship.” the Richethi stated simply. “What sort of man wears a kilt with a tartan weave on it?” she asked. Who was the strange kilted warrior and what was he going to save her from? Pairan sat across from her at the table. Pairan was surprised. She immediately knew the man Rana had seen. Why was the girl having visions of a Hanoteac? “The Hanoteac are known to wear kilts with a tartan weave. The Grand Duchess took a bite of the baked potato on her plate. “We were aboard a ship. contemplating the vision and its portent.” Pairan was shocked into silence.” Rana confirmed. When all the drow lay dead at his feet. She did not know what to make of Rana’s question. not eating. for he had been in Noch Geongechuth long before she had ever arrived. he saw me. taking a bite of the pickeral she was enjoying.

No one has seen him or heard from him since. “Teoch Tuynüthe.” Pairan noted after a few minutes of silent contemplation.” she stated in a matter-of-fact tone.” Pairan’s face grew dark. “Yes.years ago. “I am told he left a few months after their return from Æji Nunarru.” “Is that his name?” Rana gasped in a shocked voice. Pairan stood up and reached across the table for a bottle of wine.” “I will be safe. the shock evident in her voice. sipping the tart liquid and feeling its fire rush through her body. contemplating the tale of Teoch. “What do you know of this Teoch. taken in completely by the tale. Teoch just about single handedly assured the escape of your Father and the other men who were lucky enough to get away.” Rana nodded. suddenly seeing the strange circularity.” Rana shrugged. She could not believe that Pairan had recognized the man from her vision. “And tomorrow I depart for that very same place. “I do not like this. “The Grand Ducal Guards will see to that. It was very unlike her to consume alcohol of any sort and the gesture shocked Rana as much as the conversation they were having. “Teoch. Pairan?” she demanded. I have never heard the whole story.” Rana ate some more of her fish. “He was one of the men who shared a cell with your Father during his years as a Drow slave. Your Father told him that he would always be welcome here at the Palace and that one day the house of Geongechuth would repay the deed. “There is something important going on.” “Do you know where Teoch is now?” the young woman asked. “Especially since I will be gone for the next week. She then poured herself a glass and then sat back down. “No.” .” she almost whispered. yet from what I understand.” the Chaotic Lord answered. to my knowledge. you do. Pairan took another sip of the wine.

” the Richethi countered.” “Tomorrow? Why?” “I do not know.“That is not what I am worried about. That is all. “What then?” “I have a bad feeling about tomorrow. “I simply have a bad feeling.” .” Pairan shook her head.

“I be knowing him a long time ago. However.” the man replied. He wore a pleated kilt with a green-black and red tartan weave as well as a simple black tunic. “I be coming to pay me respects to a great man. It was the same procedure that had been in place for thousands of years . Usually there was no one waiting outside the gates due to the early hour in which they were opened. on this day.” the Hanoteac replied in a deep brogue. “What is your business in the city.” . the Ivych was surprised to see a tall Hanoteac man standing patiently just beyond the gates. He had long black hair and brown eyes. “I be hearin’ th’Grand Duke is dead.ever since the founding of Noch Geongechuth . traveller?” the Ivych asked the man formally. The guards on duty going through the age old ritual of opening the city gates.and the Ivych knew that his two men would execute the daily ritual as they always had.” “You knew his Grace?” the gatekeeper asked in a shocked tone. The Ivych suveyed the two guards going through the process of disbarring the massive steel gates. “Aye. A large pack was strung across his back and a single long sword hung from the belt at his waist.Chapter 17 Summoning Back The Fire Witch The city gate opened promptly with the dawn on the next morning.

Teoch had shared a cell with Ethithung Geongechuth for nearly two years. All took note of him. though none said a word as he passed them by.” “The Grand Duke was assassinated. he came at last to a building he recognized.“Very well. in fact all the tables and chairs were just as the man remembered them. lad. The man smiled and began to walk through the streets.” The Hanoteac’s face darkened at the mention of the Ayrtesi.” the Ivych continued. . Once inside the city proper. He passed by a few people who were out early with errands to run.” “Thank ye. “Teoch Tuynüthe returns to Noch Geongechuth. His green eyes looked up from his work and immediately began to gleam with recognition. The bar itself stood at the back of the room and an old grey haired dwarf stood behind it happily drying pint glasses. The black haired man pushed open the well-worn oak door and stepped inside. After walking for a little less then an hour. It was a cozy tavern with an ivory coloured unicorn prancing on its sign. He was one of the few to escape during the daring rescue the Grand Ducal Rangers had performed to save the then heir to the Grand Ducal Throne. sir. The main room of the tavern had not changed at all. man?” “Uninkanek. the Hanoteac took in every detail about the people and the buildings he passed. Like the Grand Duke. What brings you back.” the Hanoteac nodded and then strode through the gates. The two men had grown to greatly respect each other. my old friend.” Uninkanek informed him. I hope you have a good stay in our city. “Rumours say it was a drow that killed him.” Teoch smiled warmly at the dwarf as he sat down on one of the stools that stood next to the bar. “By Krokri’s beard!” the dwarf swore. his brown eyes scanned the dawn sky. “I be hearing o’the Grand Duke’s passing n’came to pay me respects. Teoch had been captured and forced into slavery many years ago. In fact. For his part. finally setting their sights upon the Palace in the distance. “You are allowed to enter.

“Some elf has been bewitching the women folk.” Teoch nodded.” Teoch shrugged his shoulders and took a long drink of the cider. You just missed it. Teoch. There’s been many women in the city bewitched. “And she wasn’t the only one.” the dwarf replied. what kind of a host am I?” Uninkanek cried suddenly.” Teoch smiled.” The dwarf laughed.” Uninkanek continued in a dark tone.” “What do ye mean?” the Hanoteac asked.” the dwarf scowled darkly. “Her name is Ecrana and she is the Grand Duke’s only child. “It happened to one of my waitresses. “The Grand Duke was travelling to the Imperial Capital. a drow assassin came aboard and slew the Grand Duke.” The dwarf twisted his lips under his beard.” the dwarf explained.” he scowled. “I din nay mind ale. They start singing some song in the elf-tongue while they sleep and then run out into the street naked. a hearty laugh that shook through his entire stout body. She has a lot of responsibility. “On the way. You humans have such strange ideas. “I’ll never understand how you humans drink that. During the battle. “It’s never too early for a pint of ale. “Still. picking up another pint glass and beginning to dry it with his towel. “But it still be early. She is still young. “Ack. “Here you are and I have not even asked you what you’d like to drink!” The Hanoteac smiled.” Uninkanek paused for a moment. taking a sip of the cider.“Do ye ken what was a happen’ng when he died?” the Hanoteac asked in a sad tone.” “Who be his heir?” “His daughter. only sixteen years old. It’s . “Cider be good. his ship was attacked by drow pirates. “There’s only one drink that should pass one’s lips: ale!” The dwarf poured a pint of the golden coloured liquid and set it before his friend. there’s more going on in the city then the Duke’s assassination. “His funeral was yesterday. Uninkanek. Uninkanek.

Munesa also knew that the Chaotic Lotuses and the Crimson Knights had departed the city early that morning . however the Ivych knew better. It seemed to be another ordinary morning in Noch Geongechuth. I’ll be askin’ this Pairan about this for ye.” “You’ve made an old dwarf smile.on some mission to strike back at the . shocked by the dwarf’s tale. Looking around.” Teoch mused aloud. which were now becoming busier with people going about their business. my friend. Ivych Munesa Efuhuen stood at the gates of the Palace compound flanked by two of his subordinates. one of the Grand Duke’s Richethi. but there were a number of carts and wagons trying to navigate the busy streets.” “An’what be the city guard a doin’?” Teoch asked.” Uninkanek answered. Teoch. “She came here after my waitress was bewitched and talked with her and me. Yesterday had been the Grand Duke’s funeral and he knew the citizens of the Grand Duchy were still reacting to the news of his assassination. I haven’t heard anything since.” the dwarf smiled.before dawn .” “Let me know what you find out.terrorized everyone.” “Thank ye. “Pairan. has been investigating. “It be good to talk with ye again. he got his bearings and then continued on his way through the city streets. Teoch stood up and put a silver coin on the bar. handing the silver piece back to the Hanoteac. finishing his cider. finding himself in the street again. Most people were walking. “I be goin’ up to th’Palace.” Teoch bowed his head.” Teoch smiled and then exited the tavern. He was watching the traffic out beyond the gate as people went in every direction.” Uninkanek replied. “No.” “Well. “A drink between old friends is a drink on the house. Uninkanek. Fathers have locked up their daughters and women everywhere are buying elixirs and herbs that will keep them awake.

He wore steel breastplate and arm and leg greaves along with the uniform of the city guard.” Teoch smiled.” Munesa replied. He quickly dispatched the guard to the Palace to verify the Hanoteac’s story with Rishækun Duycheblon. lad.” the Hanoteac replied. the guard returned.” Teoch announced.Ayrtesi who had slain the Grand Duke. the Constable of Noch Geongechuth. accompanied by Rishækun Duycheblon himself. His green eyes surveyed the Hanoteac and recognition crossed his face. His long black hair hung loosely over his shoulders and his brown eyes were filled with a deep empathy that the Ivych noted almost immediately. The man was a Hanoteac and he wore the distinctive tartan kilt of those northern people. Teoch waited patiently near the gate. would you kindly wait while I verify your story. bowing his head respectfully. son of Moch. enjoying the warm weather and the morning air. The Constable was short for an Erupuan and he had short orange hair as well as a full beard. The Ivych was imagining what sort of things the Richethi and the Knights would experience on their mission when he noticed a strange figure step out from amongst the crowd and make his way towards the Palace gate. “Well. “I be once a guest of Ethithung Geongechuth.” the Hanoteac replied in a sad tone. . “O’course. “Halt. who comes upon the gates of the Palace of the Crimson Kings?” Munesa called out. For his part. “I have heard your name spoken before. ye’r former Grand Duke. “Why do you come to the Palace today?” the gatekeeper inquired. son of Moch. of the Tuynüthe. After a while. Munesa entered the gatehouse and found one of his men. “I be Teoch. “I be payin’ me respects to the Laird who so recently departed.” the Ivych asked.

The Constable lead the Hanoteac warrior through the foyer and into a hallway which began at the back of the large entry hall. Constable. You return to our fair city during sad times. The Constable sent a guard ahead to announce the arrival of the Hanoteac warrior so that the Palace staff could organize an audience with the Grand Duchess. . but you have not changed in the least. “And I must say that I am happy to see you.”: the Hanoteac bowed his head respectfully. Teoch.” Teoch nodded. and entered into a room he had once been in twenty years ago. The walk to the Palace was pleasent and the Constable and the wandering warrior talked of his travels and the places he had visited in the twenty years since Teoch had last visited Noch Geongechuth. I be comin’ to pay me respects to th’Grand Duke’s kin. I will escort you and present you to her Grace.“I was but a young city guard when you last visited the Palace.” “Thank ye. Rishækun Duycheblon lead Teoch up the stairs at the Palace entrance and into the foyer of the Palace itself. Come. Constable. “Yet I remember you as if it were yesterday. he was still awed by its majesty and the history and tradition that was associated with it. There were two doors on each side of the hallway and Rishækun Duycheblon motioned Teoch towards the first one on the left.” “His Grace decreed that you shall always be welcome in the Palace. with the Constable bringing up the rear. Teoch walked through the door. “I be hearin’ of the assassination. the Constable had lead Teoch into the Court of the Crimson King which now stood empty. Ecrana. Even though the Hanoteac warrior had seen the large room before.” “Aye. For. Teoch followed Rishækun Duycheblon through the Palace gates and down the main road that lead to the Palace itself.” the Constable continued.” Rishækun stated. You are older. The two men were the only occupants and Rishækun Duycheblon told Teoch to sit in one of the chairs along the side of the court and await the Grand Duchess.

” Rana replied in a strange voice. He is the man who helped rescue your late Father from the slave pits of Æj Nunarru. Master Teoch. he noticed right away that her face became slightly pale when she first saw him. “may I present to you Teoch.They did not wait long. lass. yet he noted that she quickly tried to compose herself as she went and sat in the Grand Ducal throne.” Rana smiled. “Nay lass.” Rishækun began.” “I know my Father would have been pleased to see you again. I am honoured to meet you. and he led the Hanoteac warrior to the foot of the dais where Rana now sat.” she began. “Your Grace.” “Tell me. “Master Teoch.” the Hanoteac replied sadly. Rishækun Duycheblon and Teoch both bowed as she passed them. The Constable then motioned for Teoch to follow. here in the ancient Court of her ancesters. He immediately saw the resemblance to her deceased father .he could see Ethithung’s intelligence in her green eyes. the Avuth of the Grand Ducal Guard and two members of the Guard. what brings you to our fair city in these sad times?” “It be th’sad times that be a’bringin’ me. “I have heard many stories growing up of your bravery and of your compassion. for soon after they had entered the court Rana entered accompanied by Chyeshuish Ihoshapu.” “Thank you. as well as Efoguen Apluploish. her seneschal. Constable. The Hanoteac was unsure as to the reason for this reaction. Teoch was amazed as the youth of the young woman who was now reigning over the most stretegically important duchy in the Erupuan Empire. “He always held you in very high esteem. She was shocked to see the man from her vision now standing before her. trying to keep her voice from shaking.” . son of Moch of the Tuynüthe.” Teoch bowed low. Teoch. “I be a hearin’ o’ye’r Father’s death an come to be a payin’ me respects. still with a hint of uncertainty in of her voice. Though. ‘tis me honour to be a standin’ again in this Court before ye.

” Rana sighed. Chyeshuish led Teoch out of the room and up to the fourth floor of the Palace. Teoch had changed to a clean shirt and had cleaned his body from . “I think we should invite Master Teoch to lunch. “May I offer ye me condolences. he sat down in a chair contemplating the young woman whom he would soon be sharing a meal with. “I be lookin’ forward to th’meal. Looking around. She stood up and made her way back to the door of the Court. “I feel this is far too formal a meeting for such a guest.and there was a sadness beyond that of a child who had recently lost her father.” the white haired man bowed his head in agreement. He then showed the Hanoteac to one of the many guest rooms. “Good. Rana sat at the table in the Grand Ducal Apartments as Teoch was led in by Chyeshuish Ihoshapu.” “Very good. her green eyes fell upon the face of Chyeshuish Ihoshapu. “I will see you at lunch then.” she told the seneschal. the sight of him caught her a little off guard.” Teoch nodded as he bowed when she passed.“Perhaps. There was something about her that seemed different . Once Rana had left the room.” Rana smiled.” Chyeshuish replied. Again.” Teoch smiled. accompanied by the three Grand Ducal Guards. once alone in his room.” she turned back to face the black haired man from her vision. Master Teoch. your Grace.” “Thank you Teoch. your Grace. Ye Father’s was a great man an he’ll be missed by many. “Give Teoch a guest room and have him meet me for lunch in the Grand Ducal Apartments.” “Yes. Chyeshuish. lass. for the first time feeling a little more at ease with the man from her vision. Teoch thanked the seneschal and then. lass. For his part.

“It be what me clan be famous for. Menino. He immediately noted that the Avuth of the Grand Ducal Guards stood not far away respectfully out of earshot but close enough to protect his liege. She was weighing her next words very carefully and then made a decision. all me life I be tryin’ to help people.” Teoch was a little taken aback by Rana’s admission.brought the food. now it seemed as if fate again was bringing him and Ethithung’s daughter together. He now looked a little more civilized then he had in the Court downstairs. “Lass. reasons I will explain shortly. He put down his spoon and looked at the girl. I do not wish you to think that I am some young woman scared to death and throughing myself on the mercy of the first person she deems able to save her. Master Teoch?” Rana asked. lass. fruit and bread with golden coloured apple juice to drink. Meals like this one were few and far between for him. “It be excellent. having lived on the road for so long. Fate had brought the Hanoteac together with Ethithung Geongechuth. The young Grand Duchess paused for a moment. “Teoch. Yet I know the respect my Father had for you.” .” he explained.the grime of his travels. “How is the food. setting it before Rana and Teoch. “It may be strange because we have never met before. However. He sensed something deeper was going on here and that somehow he was intricately involved. They ate a lunch of beef soup.” she began. looking deeply into the Hanoteac’s brown eyes. The seneschal indicated a chair to the left of Rana and the Hanoteac sat down. We be taught to protect them who needs protectin’ an to help them who needs helpin’. I am about to put my complete trust in you. the two Ladies in Waiting as well as the sensechal left the Grand Duchess and her guest to their repast.Rana’s mother’s Lady in Waiting . aided by Duynerese Kuenene . There are other reasons for my faith in you.” he replied. Once the food was served. The food was excellent and Teoch really savoured the taste.

” Rana took a deep breath. “I din nay ken what to be sayin’. killing any Drow who came close. however I know you are the one who will help when I need it. You told me that you had once saved my Father and that now you were coming to save me. I saw my Father’s death and I have seen other things. “You were on an Ayrtesi ship. son of Moch.“I need your help. Teoch.” The young woman paused and collected her thoughts. “Th’vision you be talkin’ of. lass. enraptured by her words.” The Grand Duchess paused for a moment.” he stammered. “Right now. “These visions always come true.” Th Hanoteac warrior was shocked beyond measure. That have come to pass as well.” she opened up in a low voice. It was almost as if you were dancing with your sword.” Rana intoned. “I recently had a vision of you. I am unsure as to what help you can provide. And now here you are. Once the entire crew lay dead at your feet. “Now you may understand why I was so shocked to see you this morning.a vision which showed the time twenty years ago when Teoch had taken on an entire Ayrtei pirate ship’s crew all by himself in order to ensure that the Grand Duke and the other slaves would finally escape the pits of Æji Nunarru. “I am about to tell you something about myself that only two other living people know. for the security of my realm may depend on it. “I have visions of future events.” “Aye lass. This must remain secret between us. His face had turned white while the young Duchess had described her vision .” Teoch was amazed that this young woman he had just met was opening herself up to him like this. Another of my visions have come true. you looked up and you saw me. still dumbfounded by Rana’s admission. ‘tis what was happenin’ when ye’r Father and I .” Rana admitted. However. then looked around to make sure that Munesa was out of earshot. he kept listening to Rana. I understand.

” . has been thouroughly investigating the matter and we are very close to finding those who are responsible.” “Yes.escap’d from th’Ayrtesi. “The enchantment revolves around three ancient Iperatesi lullabies. red haired woman smiled. He tells me one o’his waitresses be one o’the victims. Teoch. “I be pleased to again be a guest in this famous Palace. “I be havin’ one question.” the Hanoteac smiled. Yet. She took a long sip from the apple juice in front of her and composed her thoughts. also taking a sip from his juice.” she began at last. “I would like you to stay here in the Palace. as my guest. “I said earlier that I did not know how you were to help me. However I know you are meant to help me. “He tells me of some strange enchantment that be cast upon th’women folk o’the city.” she explained. lass. The conversation went silent for a few moments as they enjoyed more of the meal.” he started. After a short time.” Rana was shocked into silence. What do ye ken o’this?” Rana’s face grew dark. one of my Richethi servants. here he sat. lass.” “I am glad to hear that. I be fightin’ a whole drow ship by me self an I kill’d ‘em all. Teoch?” Rana enquired. “Teoch. lass.” “Thank ye. Teoch cleared his throat. “An old friend o’mine owns a tavern in th’city.” “You killed them all!” Rana cried. Just like yer vision.” he bowed his head respectfully. It be allowin’ a warrior to move faster then his foes an strike better as well. it be like a dance.” the young. tho.” she invited. Ye’r right. “I’ve been a trainin’ me whole life in th’ secret combat o’me clan. eating lunch with her. “How?” Teoch smiled. “Pairan. “Stay as long as you like. She could not imagine one single man taking on an entire crew of well trained and dangerous Drow. or until your aid is required.” “I be understandin’. This wild northern man who had once saved her Father by doing just that.

“Her name be Aheneko an she be a kind woman.“Where be Pairan now?” Teoch asked curiously. “I be sorry to be hearin’ o’her passing. “ he sympathized. I feel like the world has been chaotic ever since. But ye will always keep them in ye’r heart.” For the first time since he had met the young woman. “She was like a grandmother to me.” Rana informed him. “She is away on an important mission. “She was a kind lady.” Rana stammered. a little shocked at the notion. I am much closer with Pairan then I am with them. “I be rememberin’ when me own grandparents passed onward. “She has gone with her entire unit of Richethi Chaotic Lords. “Her death was a big shock to me. memories of the old Warlock flooding through her mind. She was replaced by a new Warlock named Moothequ. .” the Hanoteac mused.” Rana’s face became sad.” He noted a tear streak down her right cheek.” Teoch grabbed an orange from the platter of fruit that sat on the table and began to peel it.” “I be rememberin’ the Warlock. Though.” The way the young woman said the new Warlock’s name quickly indicated to Teoch her distrust of this important advisor. “The court Warlock and her Chaotic Lord are still here. he saw her smile. He realized that the famous Court of the Crimson Kings was probably filled with plots and intrigue. “No.” the red haired woman countered.” “There be no Richethi left to protect ye?” Teoch asked. “Alas. they departed this morning. In fact. suddenly realizing that he had not seen any Richethi in or around the Palace. “It be hard when ye be losin’ a loved one. his mind going back to the day he had first arrived in Noch Geongechuth after being rescued by the Grand Ducal Ranger Corps. however he felt sympathy for this young woman who was now at the heart of all of the politics that existed in and around the Court.” he professed in a reassuring tone. Aheneko passed into the Halls of Eræron.

Pairan and Ammatuith had spent all the time they could preparing for this mission.“Teoch. They had recently left the camp they had made deep in the forest which spread out below them. Flying in a tight formation were four other eagles on each side of them. Teoch and the other prisoners out of the slave pits and led them to safety aboard an Iperatesi ship where the Grand Ducal Rangers were . It was a feeling she loved and one she had experienced many times . They had departed from the Chapterhouse of the Crimson Knights in Noch Geongechuth twelve days ago and they were now finally nearing their destination: the Ayrtesi port city of Æji Nunarru. Tonight she sat aback one of the Great Eagles used by the Crimson Knights as their primary mounts. They had spent many hours with Ezisapla Cashoth. pouring over maps and notes from when the Grand Ducal Rangers had rescued the Grand Duke from the Ayrtesi slave pits. It was Edi who broke the Grand Duke. Much of the information had originally been gathered by a Grand Ducal spy named Edi Peuthewhon who had been instrumental in the Grand Duke’s escape.” she beamed. He had lived undercover. They had slept all day in preparation for the work that would be required on this night. I be glad I be comin’ back as well. “Aye lass. It was almost dusk and Pairan could feel the warmth of the last rays of the sun on her back as they flew north toward their destination. piloted by Crimson Knights and carrying members of the Chaotic Lotuses.” The wind flew Pairan’s hair and she revelled in the sensation of flight.” He smiled back at her. the Primate of the Knights. “I am so glad you came to the city. magically disguised as an Ayrtesi named Ivazætu for three years. the Chief Ranger.though not as often as she desired. you are a gentleman and a kind soul. Sitting in front of her was Ammatuith Atiebly.

” the Primate nodded. It was a port so there were extensive docks all along the shore of the Ethesh Whyonqü. even though she had studied maps of the city. “We now can not be seen. Ammatuith. a signal to the other knights. The runes etched upon the surface of the scrolls disappeared just as Pairan noticed shimmering globes of power appear around each of the Great Eagles. Pairan began to see the lights of Æji Nunarru off in the distance to the north. the great North- . As night began to fall across the land. “Ewælit rir ikom rynni owow inar ivohacone” the knights chanted in unison. “Indeed it is. They were created by the Grand Vizier. Pairan was surprised at the port’s size. It was to the palace that Pairan and the Chaotic Lotuses were headed. Pairan looked over at the nearby eagles and noted that the other knights had their own scrolls. Edi had drawn a map of Æji Nunarru as well as the palace complex at its heart. Ammatuith began to chant in the language of magic. Pairan could see the layout of the city. Yet she knew that there were sprawling passageways beneath the city where the slaves were kept and where the secret underground highways that connected all the cities in the evil realm of the Ayrtesi could be found.” Ammatuith announced.waiting for them. These bubbles shimmered for a few moments and then disappeared as well. He then proceeded to draw forth a scroll from a pouch that hung from his belt and he peeled it open. Ahenthair especially for our mission.” Pairan replied. reading the words on the scroll. Even in the darkness of the early evening. “Each Knight has been given three of those scrolls with the incantation etched upon their surface. Even from this distance. Primate Ammatuith held up his right gauntleted fist. They kept approaching the city. They now found themselves perhaps a league from the walls of Æji Nunarru.” “Stealth and speed are the key to our success. the silent wings of the eagles beating the air. she could tell that the city was large .almost as big as Noch Geongechuth. To begin to see it in reality truly demonstrated its large scale.

The other eight Great Eagles touched down next to her and their riders and passangers began to dismount. The base of the pyramid was about four hundred meters square. the largest in Æji Nunarru . In the center of the city. invisible to anyone who may look up into the night sky. which made the pyramid sixty one and a half meters tall. touched down on the south side of the pyrimid on the top terrace in the space between two of the statues. Ammatuith’s Great Eagle. the buildings there in the same architechtural style as down in the port. there were no guards . Next to the docks there seemed to be warehouses and various other buildings all of which were in the shape of pyramids or elongated diamonds. Pairan noted quite a number of Ayrtesi galleons and other smaller ships berthed in the quays and docks. the Vixen Pirate of the Ayrtesi.. The other knights followed the Primate’s lead. Ammatuith pulled at the reins of his Great Eagle. scanning the terraces for guards. atop a hill which rose up above the rest of the buildings. was a walled compound with the Palace of Thuqæsis Iguthrat. the one they were hoping to land on. A wall seperated this port quarter of the citadel from the main section of the city. going over the map of the Palace that she had memorized. She knew there was an entrance on the east side of the building and she . The main city sprawled out behind this wall. Pairan quickly got her bearings.West Sea. They approached the Palace Pyramid from the south and flew one complete rotation around it.simply a number of strange statues evenly spaced around the terrace’s perimeter. The Palace was a tall pyrimidal structure with seven terraces the encircled the building at each level. guiding the great bird downward towards the terrace. It was an imposing structure. They flew over the city. On the top terrace. Connecting these terraces was a wide staircase which started at the base of the structure and ascended to the top most terrace. spiralling down behind him in a tight formation. Munati.and it was the final destination of the Great Eagles and the men and women they carried. The wall had tall obilisc-like towers every hundred meters which Pairan was certain were filled with well trained soldiers.

to put the guards to sleep. again following the map she had memorized. bowing their heads in deep sleep. she made a motion to Keytënu. There were two armoured and well armed Ayrtesi warriors standing guard outside of what she knew was the Vixen Pirate’s private apartments. Pairan indicated a stop and she peared around the corner. They reached the triangular shaped doorway and Pairan held up her right fist. They walked for about twenty paces to a point where the corridor turned ninety degrees. they took up startegic positions around the room. Within moments. She knelt down next to Pairan and peared around the corner. At this corner. The hallway ran perpandicular to the door they had just filed through and Pairan lead the Lotuses to the left. There was another triangular shaped doorway opposite of the exit and Pairan lead the remainder of the Lotuses to this portal into a short hallway beyond. a short Richethi who wore a silver arm band on her left arm. came forward and peared around the corner. Alunyen. Pairan nodded to Keytënu and she began to creep slowly down the corridor towards the two guards. Alunyen nodded to Pairan. They would stay here in order to keep the unit’s escape route clear. Keytënu began to whisper a chant. Even the hallway was triangular shaped with its apex pointing towards the ceiling. looking at the two guards. Once they were all inside the small foyer. Pairan waved her hand and the Richethi began to file into the room while she stayed outside guarding the rear. Beyond the doorway was a small entry hall whose decoration was spartan. There were a few shields. swords and spears decorating the walls. They all drew their swords and followed their commander in a single file.silently indicated her Richethi to follow her. the shortest of the Chaotic Lotuses. Alunyen and Aplares took up positions on either side of the doorway. however the small chamber was otherwise empty. calling upon Yryas . Keytënu nodded and crept up to a position next to her commander. Ducking back behind the corner of the hallway. Keytënu and Pairan watched as the two Ayrtesi warriors slumped against the wall and slowly sat down. indicating that they should stop.the god of the Richethi . telling her that the room was empty. Pairan watched as the silver-banded Richethi checked the two .

Pairan nodded and the silver-banded Richethi stepped back into the formation with her peers. The Chaotic Lotuses took up positions outside of the doors as Keytënu checked them for traps.guards. At last. After a few moments. making sure they were indeed sleeping. Otherwise the room was void of decorations. Two of the Richethi. Pairan came through the door after the last of the Richethi and entered into the foyer of Thuqæsis Iguthrat’s private apartments.who was now floating magically in the air . Suddenly a long sword appeared in the hovering drow’s hand. “So the whelp of the Grand Duke has sent her nanny to slay me. the foyer was spartanly decorated . her broadsword at the ready. again guarding their escape route. the Chaotic Lotuses took up positions around the perimeter of the room. The Chaotic Lotuses began searching the rooms which were located off the foyer. Plasefu and Ghinres.” the voice of the Ayrtesi pirate stated in the common tongue.” Suddenly. Keytënu motioned to Pairan who then motioned to the remainder of the Lotuses and they all made their away around the corner toward the sleeping guards. leaping into the air. She then checked to see if the door was locked and then nodded to Pairan. Pairan immediately noticed that the elf . Again. . the body laying in the bed sprang up. Pairan stepped forward toward the bed. Ilesguen made a motion to Pairan and the Richethi all fell into formation again.was male and definately not Thuqæsis Iguthrat. stayed outside the door. “Poetic justice perhaps. The sudden motion dispelled the magic which had disguised the Drow that had been laying in the bed. It was the Vixen Pirate’s bedroom and she was fast asleep in bed. indicating that it was open and clear of traps. The bed was located in the center of the room and there were a few cabinets along the walls. Quietly. The commander then stepped forward and slowly opened the door and then motioned for her unit to file through. following their leader into the room Ilesguen indicated.as was all of her apartments.

” the Richethi reported. “You underestimated the power of the Richethi. “I doubt it.” she whispered into his ear. sounds of fighting erupted from the hallway and Pairan heard Plasefu shout a warning. watching the Drow.” .” “The Vixen will make you suffer for this. the admiral of the Grand Ducal Navy. The Richethi began to file out of the room and make their way towards the hallway. striking the Ayrtesi squarely in the chest. pointing her palm directly at the assassin’s chest. “You freaks of magic. wondering what his first move would be. a bolt of multi-coloured elemental chaos energy shot forth from her palm. She saw nine dead Ayrtesi guards on the ground near the doorway to the Vixen’s apartments. “We are far from impotent against you. Pairan was confident that the two Chaotic Lords guarding the door could handle the Ayrtesi guards so she kept her attention fixated on the assassin. The blast disintegrated the Drow’s abdomen and he dropped to the ground. “Yet here you stand. recognizing the Drow from descriptions given to her by Ethezith Plashane. looking around at the rest of the Lotuses. The sounds of fighting in the hallway had stopped and she made a quick motion with her left hand. He started to laugh. She watched as the Ayrtesi assassin died and then she stood up. And then. assassin. Pairan took a step forward and knelt down next to the dying elf. For his part. “We will have to make a hasty retreat. How weak you truly are!” Pairan smiled at the Drow. “We heard more guards approaching. Pairan brought up the rear. She turned her face to Plasefu.” Pairan smiled.” she raised her left hand.” the assassin grimaced. the power of your mortal Empire!” he mocked in the common tongue. All of the Richethi were standing at ready. impotent against a single elf. she intoned the words: “Rotno eter!” At this command. “It seems to me that you Drow underestimate other races all the time. the hovering Drow simply stayed up out of the reach of the Richethi’s swords as he looked around at each of the warriors in the room. in the language of magic.“The assassin!” Pairan hissed. exiting finally into the hallway. That is your weakness. screaming in pain. Just then.

Just then. slicing through the weak spot in his armour at his armpits. Turning she swung her sword at the Drow. “Ilesguen. who calmly parried the attack. beheading the guard in one quick stroke. Immediately it began to expand.tripping the warrior and sending him sprawling to the ground. so she pressed her advantage. three Ayrtesi warriors came running at them from down the corridor. Pairan and Keytënu turned to face the oncoming Drow. She bashed his sword hand into the wall. Though she wore no visible armour . Again. She could tell he was a little unnerved by his seemingly unarmoured opponent. stepping into him and pushing him back against the stone wall. reversed the motion of her blade and slid it up into the mid-section of the elf.like all Richethi . The thick blade of her broadsword sliced through the elf’s thin neck. Ilesguen motioned the rest of the Lotuses and they began to retreat back the way they had entered the pyramid Palace. his longsword swining dangerously through the air. Pairan. Looking up. She ducked down. his sword ineffectively trying to puncture her spine. The Ayrtesi guards .Pairan nodded.” her second in command replied. she parried the blade and then was able to get a better strike with her counter attack. Suddenly she felt a tap between her shoulderblades and turned to see the first guard back on his feet. disarming the guard.” she informed them. “Rivpi rotno!” she cried as a large ball of swirling multi-coloured energy began to form before her. The blow bounced off the guard’s chainmail armour. He tried to drop to the floor to retrive his weapon and she caught him with her own sword. tell Ammatuith that we slew the assassin but could not find the Vixen Pirate. Keytënu began to chant. “For Grand Duke Ethithung!” Pairan cried as she stepped in front of the first Ayrtesi warrior.the magical spells which bound a demon to her skin protected her better then any armour could. “Keytënu and I will cover the retreat.” “Yes. doubling in size every ten seconds. calling upon Yryas to give her power. yet she continued her motion by rotating on her left foot while swinging her right leg . parrying his longsword’s thrust. she saw a second guard coming at her. their swords at the ready.

Alunyen and Aplares were still guarding their retreat and they filed behind their retreating commander as she and Keytënu ran through the door and out onto the terrace. It was as if . next to their own mounts. Not only did they slay the assassin who had killed Grand Duke Ethithung. the Vixen Pirate. it simply disintegrated them.being careful to stay over the land as to best avoid the innevitable floatila of Ayrtesi pirate ships that would respond to the attack. Though the mission had not gone completely to plan. They had delt a blow to Thuqæsis Iguthrat. The other members of the Chaotic Lotuses had already mounted their respective Great Eagles along with the Crimson Knights who were guiding the great birds.saw the ball of elemental chaos energy and began to back away. Pairan breathed a sigh of relief in the cold night air. As it grew. keeping the ever-expanding ball of energy between them and the Drow. their swords drawn. When the ball of chaos was large enough to touch the stone walls. further south over the wild forests in the southern portion of the Ayrtesi lands. Yet as they flew ever onward. it felt good. They slowed their pace and began flying to the south . Pairan ran up to the lead Eagle and climbed into her seat as the Primate did likewise.damage that could possibly consumme the entire city of Æji Nunarru if the Ayrtesi were unable to control and dispell the elemental chaos that Keytënu had unleashed. it was still a success. Pairan and Keytënu reached the corner and the hallway and then made a mad dash for the door. but they had also done major damage to the Ayrtesi Pirate’s Palace . Ammatuith whistled loudly and all nine of the Great Eagles took to the air at the command of the knights. The large birds climbed into the sky at the fastest pace they could until they were high above Æji Nunarru. Pairan had more and more of a feeling that she needed to return to Noch Geongechuth as soon as possible. Keytënu nodded to Pairan and the pair of Richethi began backing away. Ammatuith and the remaining three knights waited. more and more of the structure was consummed by the elemental magic. Though the air was thinner so high up. Once he was in place.

Her gaze trailed off toward the rising crescent of Thypryrrm the red moon. “We will get back as fast as we can. “I just do. “Yes.” she called. Pairan had the feeling something was happening in Noch Geongechuth and that Rana would need her help. “Ammatuith. “We must return to Noch Geongechuth as quickly as possible. Pairan?” the Primate replied.she was receiving some distant summons to return.” “Thank you Ammatuith. slightly perplexed by the Richethi’s statement.” “Very well.” the orange haired knight nodded. somewhat relieved. The Grand Ducchess needs us. .” “How do you know?” the knight asked. Her unease and desire to be home again rising with the light of the red moon.” Pairan smiled.

Amosyl Etos: Ancient verse and song originally composed for lyre or harp by the legendary Iperatesi Bard Sylarrö.: “Wise-Mage Sun-Mountain”) Alasa Puenghy: Gemstone merchant of Noch Geongechuth. Æzæmri: Elvan name for the Goddess of Music and Healing.: “Red-Robe”). The Erupuan call her Zithera. (Er. Aheneko: Former Richethi Warlock assigned to the Court Of The Crimson King. Ammæchuth: Architectural style unique to the Grand Duchy of Ravenstone which first developed during the Crimson Kings Era.: “Wise-Mother”) Ahenthair Ycashiosh: Grand Vizier of the Court Of The Crimson King. better known as the Elves.: “Red-Stone) Ammakiysh: Rank within Erupuan Religious orders loosely equivalent to the rank of Bishop in Christian Churches on Earth (Er. This is the Elvan name for their race. He is the chaplain aboard the Geoneblise. Mæstro Axuzith Etoliysth composed a fully orchestrated version which his orchestra performs during holiday festivities. Amkün Efonliysh: Cleric of Ethone. (Er. (Er. the eldest son of Aquishæwo.: “Children Of The Stars”) Æpæniung: The seventh month of the Erupuan Calandar.Glossary Of Nyheun Names & Terms Æhæsitesi: The imortal Children of the Stars. He is credited with murdering Tesoæpi. (Qa. It was this .: “The Siren Of The Vein River”) Aphitowor: Ancient Ayrtesi Lord and first Assassin in history. His daughter Epilier was the first victim of the Sylaipæ Thirteen. Its distinguishing characteristics are the use of red stones and decorative mosaics. (Qa.: “Hurried Gold-Master") Alunyen: A Richethi and member of the Chaotic Lotuses. first King of the Iperatesi. (Er. Ammatuith Atiebly: Primate of the Crimson Knights.

Tesoæpi. Ayrtesi: One of the six major elvan kindreds.: “Eagle-River”) Avuth: Military rank in the Erupuan armed forces equivalent to the rank of Captain on Earth.: “The Earth”). The Atiliysh is the main link between the various regions of the Duchy and serves as the ideal highway to move people and goods throughout the realm.: “Dream-Song Forest-River”) Ayrone: Matron-Queen of the Ayrtesi. She lead her people from the Elvan Homeland and stirred up suffering and dissent amongst all the peoples of Nytheun. They created strife and division . Arrieniung: The third month of the year. Axuzith Etoliysth: Famed concert hall owner and orchestra director who lives in Noch Geongechuth. he forced his people to swear the dread Blood Oath to avenge the evils of the Ayrtesi. A great delta forms on the western edge of the duchy with its main tributary emptying into the Crimson Strait on the north side of Noch Geongechuth. It’s headwaters are found in the western Atïhosas Mountains.: “Hammer”) Awash: God of the Earth and the Mountains (Er. Aplares: A Richethi and member of the Chaotic Lotuses.murder that sparked the millenia long war between the Iperatesi and the Ayrtesi which would shape much of the early history of Nytheun. the Matron-Queen of the Ayrtesi. When Aquishæwo’s eldest son.: “Eagle Mountains”) Atiliysh: The great river that runs through the heart of the Grand Duchy of Ravenstone. (Er. Aquishæwo: First King of the Iperatesi Elves. This deed would lead to thousands of years of war between the two Elvan kindreds in which Aquishæwo would ultimately lose his life. The Ayrtesi suffered a shadowing of their souls in the time before the awakening of Humans. (Er. (Er. (Er. Ayrone still rules the Ayrtesi with a strong fist of political power and arcane magic. was murdered by Aphitowor of the Ayrtesi. Atïhosas Mountains: The mountain chain that forms the eastern border of the Grand Duchy. Aphitowor is also the prince-consort of Ayrone. Axuzith is one of Rana’s personal friends.

look up the man or woman’s name in the Book of Fates to make sure that they are mortal and are deserving of entering the blessed Halls of their mistress. Originally called the Ducal Court of Ravenstone. Chaotic Lord: The warrior class amongst the Richethi.amongst the Elves and were eventually exiled from the original Elvan home. a large tome kept by Eræron in her Halls known as The Book Of Fates contains the life records of every mortal man who has ever lived. They fought many wars against their rivals. the Ithamunzäs .who guard the gates of the Halls . The Chaotic Lotuses are currently commanded by Pairan. It is ruled by the Ayrtesi Matron-Queen Ayrone. It is said that when a human dies. . (Er. Cambions: The half human. Many of the Human cultures refer to the Ayrtesi as Dark Elves or Drow.: “Sage-View Mountain-Rain”) Court Of The Crimson King: The assemblage of Nobles. Battle Of Crystal Falls Pass: See Eblonraush Pass. half demon elite soldiers of Nochtiach who fought against Erupuan. Military Commanders. Chyeshuish Ihoshapu: Grand Duke Ethithung Geongechuth’s Seneschal. Chaotic Lords use magic that deals with binding and controlling demons within their weapons and thier own skin in order to enhance their offensive and defensive abilities. Staff and foreign Ambassadors for the purposes of aiding the Grand Duke of Ravenstone govern the Grand Duchy. the name was changed during the Crimson Kings era and has been used as such ever since. She was the fifth victim of the Three Lullabies Crimewave. Richethi and Ravenstone forces during the Demon Wars. (Qa. the Iperatesi Elves. the Sargeant of the Palace Gates. Chaotic Lotuses: Special Military unit headquartered in Noch Geongechuth composed entirely of Richethi Warriors.: “Dark-Stars”) Ayrtthagiqus: The Ayrtesi Matrondom located in the northern portion of the western continent. Book Of Fates: According to Erupuan tradition. Cashre Efuhuen: Daughter of Ivych Munesa Efuhuen.

(Er. Cuaresh Eveceuthe: Servant in the Palace of the Crimson Kings. The Demon Wars took place from 1124 C.E. Demon Wars: A series of battles between the Kingdom of Erupua and its allies against the Demon Armies of the Kingdom of Nochtiach. Crimson Kings of Ravenstone: The line of Monarchs who ruled Ravenstone as an independent nation during the Crimson Kings Era starting with King Munammeren.K. (Er.E.K. The Crimson Kings Era (abbreviated as C.) started in 3124 of the First Imperial Age and ended in the seventh year of the Second Imperial Age. It is said that Eluewhong was a captive of the Ayrtesi Nightblade Aphitowor and secretly learned the Ayrtesi lord’s . (Crimson Kings Era) . Drow: Human slang term for the Ayrtesi.Crimson Kings Era: Era of Erupuan history counted only in the Grand Duchy of Ravenstone and which roughly corresponds to the Dynastic Period between the two Imperial Ages of the Erupuan Empire. Cuaresh is the childhood friend of Menino Iplæta and the two young women often help each other in their Palace Duties. The Crimson Strait is one of the busiest trade routes in all of Nytheun and as such is also one of the most strategically important pieces of geography on the planet. Duish: Clerical rank equivelant to Priest on Earth. Crimson Strait: The body of water connecting the Ethesh Whyonqü in the north to the Ethesh Erupua in the south. the Great and ending with King Ekotai.: “Monk”) Duychnyen Eluewhong: Legendary first Erupuan Nightblade. These wars percipitated the creation of the Richethi as well as brought about the reunification of the Erupuan Empire. Their purpose is to rest control of the Empire by using the nobility as puppet rulers under the control of the Cult.E.: “Berry-Maid Marble-Cliffs”) Cult of Eqünera: Mysterious semi-religious order whose members are powerful magic users who live throughout the Empire.1130 C.K.

was the first engagement of Ekotai’s March.magic in order to escape slavery. The Battle of Crystal Falls Pass. he began taking disciples .teaching them the Secret Shadow Arts he had discovered. Ekotai’s March: The legendary series of battles lead by King Ekotai during the Demon Wars in which the forces of the Crimson King defeated the Nochtiachi.: “Farm-Hand”) Ehoycas: The title for the child selected to perform the Etashycu rituals by the Ammakiysh of the Priests of Awash (Er. (Er. Ecrana is the heir to the Grand Ducal Throne. a tavern in the Port Quarter of Noch Geongechuth and an old friend of Pairan’s. She is also a member of the Erupuan Order of Healers. Edagach Liyably: Owner of The Dolphin’s Repose. Ethithung Geongechuth and mother of the Grand Ducal Heiress. (Er.: “Great Sword”) Eblonraush Pass: Famous pass through the Atïhosas Mountains where King Ekotai ambushed a Nochtiachi army during the Demon Wars.: “Star-Glass Falls Pass) Ecrana Geongechuth: Daughter and only child of Grand Duke Ethithung Geongechuth. She is known as Rana to her friends. Grand Duke of Ravenstone. (Er. Ecrana Geongechuth. (Er. (Er. as it became known. “Child Of The Sun”). When he returned to the Erupuan Empire. Wife of the Grand Duke. a high class brothel in the Port Quarter of Noch Geongechuth.: "Strong-Sword Safe-Harbour") Egeablas: A fruit farmer who frequently sells his produce at the markets in Noch Geongechuth.: "Lady Mother of the White Pearl") Ekomuni Geongechuth: Grand Duchess of Ravenstone. King Ekotai’s forces . (Er. Efierhuen Luusheta: Cousin of Count Ezokiich and Avuth of the Personal Guards of the Count of Luusheta. Ebegeun: Military rank in the Erupuan armed forces equivalent to the rank of Corporal on Earth.: "Noble-Sword Oakhill") Efoguen Apluploish: Avuth of the Grand Ducal Guard. Ekœrach Eshpeuthe: Owner of The House Of Radiant Flowers.

one of the members of the Cult of Eqünera (Er. Erugioth: The language of the Erupuan. bringing suffering and evil into the world.: “The Shadow”) Epilier Puenghy: Daughter of Gemstone Merchant Alasa Puenghy and first victim of the Sylaipæ Thirteen. Eqüncaun: Owner of The Golden Rod magician’s shop and member of the Cult of Eqünera (Er. (Qa.: “Solace”) Erenablash Coothgoite: Avuth (Captain) of the Geoneblise. A childhood friend of Ekythibier Aluceacha and acquaintance of Eqüncaun. the red moon.: “Ghostly-Power”) Eqyrsph: One of the two moons orbiting Nytheun. Ephashra: Elvish name for the God of Shadows. now priest of Ethone. Used mostly in magical weapons. Emperor Efowheun IV: The current Emperor of the Erupuan Empire. Emperor Gycherun: Erupuan Emperor and last King of the Erupuan Dynastic Period. Eraremsar: Half-Elvan pillow-girl who works at The House Of Radiant Flowers.: “Street-Hope”).: “Rose-Speech”) . (Qa. Gycherun is credited with defeating the Cambions of Nochtiac and ending the Demon Wars as well as reuniting the Erupuan Empire and starting the Second Imperial Age. (Er. ending the Demon Wars. Ekythibier Aluceacha: Friend of Ekrana Geongechuth as well as local Thief. Emoteqyr: Magical metal ore known for its beauty and its toughness. armour and decorative elements. She is also the second victim of the Three Lullabies Crime Wave. Erespute: A Richethi and a member of the Chaotic Lotuses. (Er.: "Petal Gold-Master") Eppeychis: Former thief. Eqyrsph is the silver moon which always rises in the sky after Thypryrrm.eventually joined up with an Erupuan Army to besiege the Nochtiachi capital which was destroyed in a final battle. Epyachi: Grand Ducal Prison located in Noch Geongechuth. Ephashra is responsible for the shadowing of the hearts of the Ayrtesi.

He is known as Eraphri by the elves and is the god of water and the sea.: North-West Sea) Ethesheren: Military rank in the Erupuan armed forces equivalent to the rank of RearAdmiral on Earth. Ethon: Military rank in the Erupuan armed forces equivalent to the rank of General on Earth. Ethesh Erupua: The great sea to the south of the Crimson Strait.: "Book-Lover Happy-Vale") Etashycu: The vernal. equinox.: Erupuan Sea) Ethesh Whyonqü: The great sea to the north of the Crimson Strait.: “Sea-Lord”) Ethezith Plashane: Etheshyffa (Admiral) of the Grand Ducal Navy. Eruplong was originally built at the beginning of the First Imperial Age and is the oldest city in the Empire. the first Human to befriend the Iperatesi. Eshhewain Obuzythe: Count Ezokiich Luusheta’s Seneschal. The Erupuan Empire is the land of the people of Erupua. (Er. Arrieniung 31st each year. His symbol is the silver dolphin and his priesthood is known as the Ethone Efoan (Er. This astronomical event takes place on .: “Sea-Master”) Etheshyffa: Military rank in the Erupuan armed forces equivalent to the rank of Admiral on Earth. (Er.Eruplong: The capital of the Erupuan Empire and seat of the Emperor and his Court. Erupuan Empire:The Imperial State to which the Grand Duchy of Ravenstone belongs. (Er.: “Javelin”) Ethone: One of the gods of Nytheun.: Ethone’s Men). (Er. Erupuan Order of Healers: Order of Healers and Herbalists who practice the healing arts within the Erupuan Empire. Ethithung Geongechuth: Grand Duke of Ravenstone and former member of the Grand Ducal Ranger Corps. or spring. (Er. The Ethone Efoan is the primary religious order within the Grand Duchy and they are headquartered in Noch Geongechuth. (Er.

It is bordered on the north by the Ethesh Whyonqü. The Grand Ducal Capital is Noch Geongechuth located on the western most tip of the Grand Duchy. Though they have spread out from . Ghinres: A Richethi and a member of the Chaotic Lotuses.E.K. Ekomuni Geongechuth and is Rana’s uncle. as well as one hundred and fifty elite marines and marine officers. on the shores of the Crimson Strait. in the south by the Ethesh Erupua. & originally named The Royal Rangers Of Ravenstone. The Geoneblise is a three masted ship-ofthe-line with a crew of two hundred elite sailors and their officers. god of the Sea. Geoneblise: Flagship of the Grand Ducal Navy. Ezokiich Luusheta: Count of Luusheta. Grand Ducal Guards: The Elite Unit tasked to protect and defend the Grand Duke and his family. The rank of Grand Duke is the highest that can ascribed to nobles loyal to the Emperor and the Grand Dukes of the Empire are often the most loyal and trusted servants of the Imperial Throne. in the west by the Crimson Strait and in the east by the Atïhosas Mountains. Grand Vizier: One of three advisors who aid the Grand Duke in governing the Grand Duchy. Grand Duke: Rank of Nobility within the Erupuan Empire. He is the brother of the Grand Duchess.: “Ethone’s Men”). Ezisapla Cashoth: Chief of the Grand Ducal Rangers. Grand Ducal Ranger Corps: Founded in 3 C. (Er. Gocach: Title of respect amongst the Richethi (Er.Ehtone Efoan: The Priesthood dedicated to Ethone. Hanoteac: One of the original tribes of men. The Hanoteac hail from the north-eastern part of the eastern continent and live in a clannish society. “Dear-Girl”). The Grand Vizier is always a magic user of great skill and specializes in advising the Grand Duke on matters of magical concern. Grand Duchy of Ravenstone: A political division in the Erupuan Empire. the Corps is tasked with defending the wild eastern border of the Grand Duchy.

The Iperatesi are the people of Aquishæwo who swore the Blood Oath of the Iperatesi after Aquishæwo’s eldest son.: “NineWatchmen”) Ivych: Military rank in the Erupuan armed forces equivalent to the rank of Sergeant on Earth. the Icafosh seeks to battle the evil Ayrtesi. (Er. Ithamunzäs: The nine watchers who guard the gates of the Halls of Eræron. Icafosh: The religious order dedicated to Soshowor. Known as the Order of the Wind.especially the people of Erupua. Idongre: Lost Erupuan woman aided by Ambassador Thyshiph in the early days of Humans. The Iperatesi battled their evil kin. One of its passengers was a victim of the Three Lullabies of Sylaipæ crimewave. “Lady-Love”) . (Qa. see Appendix A. (Er.: “Battleaxe”) Inniesa Wheychezo: Ivych of the Grand Ducal Guards. in open war for a millennia before settling into an uneasy peace. Tesoæpi. “Noise Of The Ocean”) Hyung: Time measurement unit closely related to weeks on Earth. (Er. Iperatesi: One of the six major elvan kindreds. For more information on the Erupuan Time System. Fertility and Fire. The Iperatesi departed from the elvan homeland and chased the Ayrtesi across the world. god of Air. Ilesguen: A Richethi and a member of the Chaotic Lotuses. Goddess of Love.their original homelands. (Er. finally settling in the lands that would become known as Phohræwo. In these lands they first encountered humans .: “Lance”) Iymris: Elvish name for Vaonera. befriending them and teaching them many skills. Huwoth: A two masted merchant sloop. Immosehon: Military rank in the Erupuan armed forces equivalent to the rank of Lieutenant on Earth. the Ayrtesi. the Iperatesi are still the strongest and closest allies of the Erupuan Empire. was murdered by Aphitowor of the Ayrtesi. all the clans and nations still feel a common kinship with each other. To this day.

It was after this legendary battle that Ekotai and Emperor Gycherun began negotiations which would culminate in the signing of the Munammeren Treaty and see the Realm of the Crimson Kings rejoin the Erupuan Empire.: “Red-Stair”) King Ekotai: Last Crimson King of Ravenstone and first Grand Duke of Ravenstone in the Second Imperial Age. Munammeren declared independence from the Imperial Throne in order to safeguard the Duchy from rebel forces. King Munammeren. the Great: The final Duke Of Ravenstone in the First Imperial Age. King Ekotai aided Erupuan forces throughout the Demon Wars both by combating Nochtiachi Cambions in the Realm of The Crimson Kings as well as defeating them on a great campaign known as Ekotai’s March. Keythech Cashoth: A member of the Grand Ducal Guards.Jufuovhofin: One of the nordic peoples. (Ju. (Er.: “Midnight-Words”) Keytënu: A Richethi and a member of the Chaotic Lotuses. Their relations with the Empire and the Grand Duchy are cordial. Credited with building the Pläsh Gyisamma. Seeing the disintegration of the Empire in a great civil war and the isolation of his realm. The Jufuovhofin are one of many nations descended from the Hanoteac. famous for their hospitality as well as their seafairing and woodland culture. though often their penchant for Piracy is a point of contention. the Great and second Crimson King of Ravenstone. Munammeren founded the Realm of the Crimson Kings and put into place the institutions and military might which would assure the Duchy’s survival during the dark age between the Imperiums. one of the few Human Tribes that has remained friendly with the Iperatesi. . This legendary military campaign saw the Army and Navy of the Crimson King march across the eastern arm of what once had been the Erupuan Empire and finally join up with Erupuan forces for the siege of Nochtiac which finally ended the Demon Wars. King Eblonamma: Son of King Munammeren.

(Er.I. Menino Iplæta: Lady in Waiting to the Grand Ducal Heiress. Koas) Time measurement unit closely related to an hour on Earth. The Shadow Arts of the Nightblades were first developed by the Ayrtesi Lord Aphitowor shortly after the shadowing of the hearts of the Ayrtesi. It is now a devestaded wasteland haunted by demons and the undead. see Appendix A.: “Oakhill Castle”) Nochtiac: Formerly a Dukedom in the First Imperium. Kosh: (Plur. Noch Geongechuth is nestled on the shores of the Crimson Strait and is of an almost immeasurable strategic and economic importance to the Erupuan Empire. Koshyxe) in a Kosh (akin to an Hour on Earth). Nochtiac came under the control of Eqyrega. Mehthynira: Ronithæ Ambassador to the Court Of The Crimson King. For more information on the Erupuan Time System. Noch Geongechuth: Capital City and largest urban center of the Grand Duchy of Ravenstone. Munesa Efuhuen: Ivych and Warden of the Gates of the Palace Grounds.A. During the Dynastic Period. the Black . (Ro. see Appendix A. Kroki: Dwarven name for Awash.Koasyxe: Time measurement units closely related to minutes on Earth.the Sorcerer-King. (Er. (Er. see Appendix A. Niung: (Niuan plur.: “Castle Ravenstone”) Noch Luusheta: City in the Grand Duchy of Ravenstone and seat of the Counts of Luusheta. . god of Earth. There are ninety Koasyxe (Sing. For more information on the Erupuan Time System. For more information on the Erupuan Time System. Ecrana Geongechuth. Munfon: Servant of Alasa Puenghy.) Time measurement unit closely related to months on Earth.: “Loyal-Man”) Nightblade: A magic using thief and assassin. It is a port located on the northern peninsula which serves as entrance to the Crimson Strait.: “Star-Tear”) Miashich Geongechuth: Founder of the Grand Duchy of Ravenstone in 892 F.

The tower itself is mostly made up of the circular stairwell which leads to the Observatory Of The Crimson King. Nuac: Erugioth word for “Yes”. Ecrana Geongechuth. Master Poserun oversees the Palace Staff and reports directly to the Grand Duchess. Poserun Munaplata: Palace Chamberlin. the Priesthood of the God of Air. (Er. (Er.: “Iron-Man”) Offa: Tittle of respect. Personal Bodyguard and trusted confidant of the Grand Ducal Heiress. goddess of Fate and Death. Owehari: Elvan name for Eræron. Pairan: Richethi Chaotic Lord and Immosehon of the Chaotic Lotuses.: Gold-Robe) Qathso: The language of the Iperatesi Elves. Puukiysh: Clerical rank in Erupuan Religious Orders similar to the rank of Arch-Bishop on Earth. Plasefu: A Richethi and a member of the Chaotic Lotuses. (Er. for the sun.: “Lord”) Otelo: The Iperatesi name. Pläsh Gyisamma is constructed in the Ammæchuth architectural style and was commissioned by King Eblonamma. This term most often refers to military units from this kingdom . used by the Erupuan and the Hanoteac as well. Pluanvaon Ekoxeyth: High Priestess of Vaonera for Noch Geongechuth.Nochtiachi: A citizen of the Demon-Kingdom of Nochtiac.: “Speech”) . Nytheun: The world in which the story of Rana is set. He is a devoted follower of the Icafosh. (Er.: “Tower Of The Crimson King”) Plashenna Geonzith: Ethon (General) of the Army of the Grand Duchy of Ravenstone. (Qa.: “One-World”) Ollufin: Swordsmith known for his well-crafted blades. (Er. Pläsh Gyisamma: The tallest and most central tower of the Grand Ducal Palace in Noch Geongechuth.especially the elite Cambion Units which were greatly feared during the Demon Wars.

Qüweyson is the largest port in the Empire and serves as a vital link for goods coming in and out of the Imperial heartland. The second order are the Chaotic Lords. (Magical Language of Mentalism: “See The Body”) . Rana: Familiar nick-name for the Grand Ducal Heiress. Rishækun is in charge of the City Guard in Noch Geongechuth and reports directly to the Grand Duke. the first being the Warlocks . Richethi: Magically created race of human and chaos elemental crossbreeds. The Ronithæ are known for their preference for silver and grey garments and jewelry. They built a great underground citadel called Mewnazthet. Rhäzakheani: Dwarven word for the magic silver metal known as Emoteqyr by the Iperatesi. The Richethi were originally created during the Demon Wars to aid the Erupuan forces in their battles against the Cambions of Nochtiach. Physically they can be recognized by their golden skin. There are three orders within Richethi society. unsurpassed warriors who harness the power of chaos to protect them from harm as well as to accentuate their attacks.Qüweyson: Erupuan port-city located on the eastern end of the Ethesh Whyonqü. Ecrana Geongechuth. Ronithæ: One of the six Elvan kindreds. their colour-shifting eyes and the fact that they are all hermaphrodites. Ropwala: Incantation used by the Grand Duchess. Rishækun Duycheblon: Constable of Ravenstone. their black hair. The final order is a priesthood who are the masters of the process which creates the Richethi as well as the keepers of the secret rituals and knowledge which keeps the Richethi united and loyal to the Erupuan Empire. to assess a patient’s vital signs and to see if the patient is suffering from any medical threats. Ekomuni Geongechuth. They are sworn to protect the Empire and are headquartered at Tor Keisoryse. The Ronithæ are the people of Nallämyr Ronish and who are amongst the greatest Elvan magic-users. They left the original Elvan homeland in search of peace and solitude in order to discover more about the secret powers of magic.magic users who are adept at molding chaos.

the Great. Soshowor: God of Air. The Crimson Knights were taught the secrets of ærial combat from the backs of flying beasts by the famous Iperatesi Dragon Warriors. as well as composer of the majority of the ancient Iperatesi songs. It is often abbreviated as S.. The Crimson Knights employ Giant Eagles as their mount of choice. . the Book of Iperatesi Verse.: “Great Ruby”) Sylaipæ Thirteen: Coven of thirteen criminals who are adept at spell use. (Qa.A.I. Sylarrö: Legendary Iperatesi Bard. for whom the Three Lullabies were composed. He is the focus of the Icafosh.: “Ruby Song”) The Crimson Knights: Knightly order founded by King Munammeren. Ruin etuas ewhot ling Ethone: Erugioth parting phrase. (Er. (Qa. He is also the focus of the yearly festival Soshoworemme which is celebrated in his honour. They are the source of the mysterious crime wave that becomes known as the Three Lulabies Crime Wave because its victims are found naked and chanting the Three Lulabies of Sylaipæ after the coven strikes. They are the greatest human warriors who employ such tactics.Rosqyn: Iperatesi word for half-elves. Sylaipæ: Daughter of Syllarrö. Seytenyen: A Richethi and a member of the Chaotic Lotuses. the Erupuan Priesthood dedicated to his worship.: “Half-Blood”) Rowægep: Chaos Demon confined within a Tourmaline Stone called the Seytësh which is in the possession of Pairan and the Chaotic Lotuses. (Qa. The story of Rana takes place in 2745 and 2746 of the Second Imperial Age. Seytësh: Tourmaline Stone in the possession of the Chaotic Lotuses which holds the spirit of the Chaos Demon Rowægep.”) Second Imperial Age: Era of Erupuan history which begins with the reunification of the Empire under Emperor Gycherun. Author of the majority of the verse to be found in the Nin Efiti.: “May Ethone wash your worries.

As such. god of Shadows.The Emirites of Raivarivar: Collection of semi-autonomous tribal groups who occupy much of the territories to the south-west of the Grand Duchy. that brought about suffering and evil into the world. Three Lulabies Of Sylaipæ: Ancient Iperatesi songs said to have the power to put listeners into a deep sleep when sung by Elves. but many draw their lineage from the Pyabliat tribe of Humans. in recent years. Three Lulabies Crime Wave: Mysterious crime wave in Noch Geongechuth where victims are found standing naked in a trance and chanting one of the Three Lulabies Of Sylaipæ. . Also. This crime wave is performed by the Sylaipæ Thirteen and it seems to target all classes of citizens within the city. The Kingdoms of the Pliac: The Pliac are one of the only other original tribes of Humans who have kept close ties with the Iperatesi. It was this shadowing of the hearts of the Ayrtesi by Ephashra. goddess of Prophecy and Death. Theunyryti Aggoeton: Daughter of a Noch Geongechuth Wood Merchant. is becoming more and more powerful. Tor Keisoryse: Fortress-city which serves as the homeland and headquarters of the Richethi. they are the only original tribe of Humans to have never left their ancestral lands. many of the cities within the Kingdoms are the oldest Human cities on Nytheun. It is located on the magical island of Yen Richethi which is situated in the middle of the Ethesh Erupua. Their merchant ships travel the whole of Nytheun connecting a vast trade empire which. Leader of the Sylaipæ 13. The Halls of Eræron: The otherworldly land of the dead which is ruled by Eræron. The Taint Of Ephashra: An Iperatesi term referring to the shadowing of the hearts of the Ayrtesi in the ancient days before the awakening of Humans on Nytheun. The Pliac are a race of great merchants and seafarers. The people of the Emirites are a mixed stock.

: “Moon-Song”) Uninkanek Ironfist: Dwarven owner of the Ivory Unicorn Tavern. For more information on the Erupuan Time System. Yryas: God of Chaos and the deity worshiped by the Richethi. the Zïrilï Shin Empire is Ravenstone’s closest foreign neighbour. Ycu Quæth: Erupuan greeting and parting phrase. Ziengeshy suffered the Spell of the Lullabies on the morning that the Geoneblise was to set sail for the Imperial Capital.75 meters. One of his bar-maids was a victim of the Three Lullabies Crimewave. It means “Good Day” in Erugioth. Thyshiph: Iperatesi Ambassador to the Court Of The Crimson King. (Er. Yffun: Erupuan distance measurement unit which equals 265. Vaonera: Goddess of Love. Voghe: Magical command word meaning “Open”. (Qa. see Appendix A. see Appendix A. For more information of the Erupuan Measurement System. (Ancient Human: “Fire-Lady”) Vivas: (Sing. Both Empires vie for control of the Strait and have often fought wars over its possession. The Zïrilïan are a mystical and philosophical race descended from the Weyshploan tribe of Humans. Zïrilïan: A citizen of the Zïrilï Shin Empire. . Fertility and Fire. Wheyethenably: Mining center located in the foothills of the Atïhosas Mountains. She is known as Iymris to the Æhæsitesi. Thypryrrm is the red moon and always rises first in the nighttime sky. see Appendix A. Vivash) Time measurement unit closely related to years on Earth. Zïrilï Shin Empire: Located on the western banks of the Crimson Strait.: “Emeraldtown”) Wycheren Edoshesh: Master Sage and Chief Tutor at the Palace of the Crimson Kings. (Er. Ycun: (Sing.Thypryrrm: One of the two moons orbiting Nytheun. For more information on the Erupuan Time System. Ycu) Time measurement unit closely related to days on Earth.: “Chaos”) Ziengeshy Awowain: A jewelsmith of Noch Geongechuth and victim of the Sylaipæ Thirteen.

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When the Iperatesi first encountered the Erupuan and the other human tribes they taught them astronomy and astrology as well as their chronographic system. is 549. kosh). with an extra ycu added at the end of the niung of Wihniung (the second month of the year) every nine viyas to account for the leap year. or weeks. vich). The viysh is divided into twelve niuan (Sing. The Æhæsitesi used the motion of the planet Nytheun as well as the orbits of the two moons. or hours. while each koshyxe is further divided into ninety viac (Sing. Each ycu is divided into twenty seven koas (Sing. however. The basic unit of this chronographic system is the ycu (Plur. is composed of 549 ycun. koshyxe). or seconds. Each kosh is further divided into ninety koasyxe (Sing. viyas). . or minutes. Every niung has either forty five or forty six ycun. or viysh (Plur. The Nytheun year. or day. or months.11 ycu which has required that the chronographic system incorporate a leap year every nine viyas to keep the measurement accurate. niung). The precise number.Appendix A: Erupuan Time & Measurements A-1 The Erupuan Time System The system of measuring time was first developed by the Æhæsitesi as an aid to astronomical and astrological observations back in the age before the awakening of Man. This elvan system of measuring time has been in use by the Erupuans since this ancient time. hyung). ycun). which are composed of six hyuan (Sing. Thypryrrm & Eqyrsph to delineate their chronographic system.

The distance units are derived from items that were used in ancient times to mark off distances.5cm 364. The measuring system has units for distances.28084m 29. the measuring system used in the Erupuan Empire was developed over many millennia and with very little aid of the Iperatesi. These items included chains and long rods which were used in a similar fashion as ropes and rulers on Earth.1: Distance Unit Table Unit Erupuan Name Singular Speci Part Link Chain Rod Yard Erung Yxe Appo Egi Ezush Yffu Plural Eruan Yxen Appon Egin Ezuas Yffun n/a 9 Eruan 9 Yxen 9 Appon 9 Egin 9 Ezuas 4.5cm 40. Table A-2.53m 265.1 Chronographic Table Unit Singular Second M inute Hour Day W eek M onth Year Vich Koshyxe Kosh Ycu Hyung Niung Viysh Viac Koasyxe Koas Ycun Hyuan Niuan Viyas Erupuan Name Pluaral n/a 90 viac 90 koasyxe 27 koas 9 ycun 45 or 46 ycun.11 ycun. masses and volumes and these units are based on real world items commonly used for trade.Table A-1.54cm 3.75m Conversion M etric Equivalent . 6 hyuan 549. 12 niuan Length A-2 Measurement System Unlike the chronographic system.

The idea was that if the newly reformed Empire had one standard mass measurement system that was harder to manipulate.51km Mass units were originally derived from the weights of particular amounts of certain metals.17km 21.1g 261. Emperor Gycherun tasked his chief alchemist to devise more precise units to measure the weight of things. which equals the weight of 0.27mg 3. The basic unit of the Erupuan mass measurement system is the awash (Plur.37 milliliters of sodium or 359.23g 29. As such. these proved to be somewhat inaccurate & easy to manipulate. the larger units are then derived. Table A-2.91g 2.2: M ass Unit Table Unit Erupuan Name Singular Grain Tin Nickel Iron Lead Stone Tonne Awash Thiung Ytung Yllu Ereng Echuth Gœng Plural Awäs Thiuan Ytuan Yllun Erean Echuat Gœan 1 Voysh of Sodium 9 Awäs 9 Thiuan 9 Ytuan 9 Yllun 9 Erean 99 Echuat 359. awäs). From this base unit. the alchemist of Emperor Gycherun devised a unit system based on the mass of sodium.36kg 21.24kg Conversion M etric Equivalent . the Empire’s ability to control and profit from trade would be immense.39km 7. At the beginning of the Second Imperial Age. or Grain.21kg 2100.Unit Erupuan Name Singular Plural Ewias Edwias Icloan Conversion M etric Equivalent M ile League Sentry Ewish Edewish Iclong 9 Yffun 3 Ewias 3 Edwias 2. Over time.27 milligrams.

Table A-2. Larger volumes are also derived from the base unit.89ml 2.Volume.37ml 3.32ml 29.37 milliliters.02l 1764. like mass.88ml 268. has always been the base unit of volume in the Empire and it equals 0. or Drop.78l 196.3: Volume Unit Table Unit Erupuan Name Singular Drop Shot Cup M ug Jug Keg Cask Cistern Voysh Leong W hueth Ezi Yho Afu Eclush Rins Plural Voyas Leoan W hueat Ezin Yhon Afun Ecluas Rinas n/a 9 Voyas 9 Leoan 9 Whueat 9 Ezin 9 Yhon 9 Afun 9 Ecluas 0.42l 21. voyas). The voysh (Plur.18l Conversion M etric Equivalent . has also had a long and changing usage throughout the history of the Empire.

Appendix B: Maps B-1 Map Of Nytheun .

B-2 Map Of The Grand Duchy Of Ravenstone B-3 Map Of Noch Geongechuth .

its authenticity having long ago been verified by King Eimoteth. Each of these leaders of Men chose a territory for themselves and jealously guarded it against the other leaders. .the first elf-friend. relates the first meeting between Erupua and the legendary Iperatesi King Aquishæwo. the native tongue of the people of Erupua . The oldest known written example of Erugioth is a single manuscript kept at the Imperial Library in Eruplong. It is known to have been written by a scribe not long after the death of Erupua.” From Ymæd Eras Erugioth.Appendix C: Erugioth.one different from the other groups of men & the other leaders. but no evidence can actually be found to support this claim. This manuscript. Imperial linguistic scholars theorize that Ancient Erugioth was most likely derived from the proto-language that all Men spoke before the fracturing. is an ancient language dating back to the first fracturing of the human tribes. grandson of Aquishæwo. bidding them to speak but one tongue . The Erupuan Language C-1 A Brief History Of Erugioth “…there was strife among Man for some followed certain leaders over others and each of these leaders took followers. which is known as The Aquishæwo Scroll. Soon the followers of the leaders of Men came to give them great tittles such as ‘King’ or ‘Emperor’ or even ‘Overlord’ and the unity & innate freedom of Mankind was forever fractured.

Old Imperial Erugioth. These eras loosely correspond to the four major eras of the Erupuan people. Other then these current applications. Old Weshiothe became the language of choice in many of the rebel kingdoms’ courts. Erugioth became the speech of the nobility and of the various clergies. known as Old Weshiothe increasingly became the normal day to day language in most of the Imperium. In many ways it is similar to Ancient Erugioth. This renaissance saw a purging of . Erugioth was preserved in Eruplong and in Ducal Courts which remained loyal to the Throne. Middle Erugioth and Modern Imperial Erugioth. Middle and Low periods for the evolution of Erugioth. Within the two Imperial Ages. especially those spiritual manuscripts of the Order of the Wind. the First Imperial Age. However. The vast geographic span of the Empire meant that populations in different Duchies did not all speak the same language. even this classification is rather simplistic as these ages were lengthy in and of themselves with linguistic evolution happening throughout the course of these long periods. namely the Pre-Imperial Age. It can also be found in ancient magical tomes and religious texts. Low Old Imperial Erugioth saw a major disintegration of the language as local dialects became integrated in different regions. Erugioth began to fragment into more and more local dialects and even disappeared in some regions all together. However. A common tongue. Along with the disintegration of the First Imperium. however a large number of words have been borrowed from Iperatesi. These eras have been given the names: Ancient Erugioth. the Dynastic Periods and the Second Imperial Age. Linguists have further classified High.Erugioth has changed greatly over the course of the millennia but Imperial Linguists have divided the evolution of the language into four major eras. Old Imperial Erugioth is a dead language which sounds almost strange to modern speakers. Old Imperial Erugioth is still used at the Imperial Court for records and legal documents. Erugioth experienced a renaissance. Perhaps due to the overall desire to preserve Imperial Culture during the Dynastic Periods.

When Emperor Gycherun defeated the Cambions of Nochtiac and began to rebuild the Imperium. In general. this “golden linguistic age” began to falter as the Empire expanded its borders and influence.especially Modern Weshiothe. Additions of prefixes and suffixes on top of this double root combination has created some very long names which have become quite popular in the past few generations. founding the Second Imperial Age. Erugioth seemed to be as pure and in widespread use as it had been at the start of the First Imperial Age. C-2 Concerning Place Names And Proper Names Most family names and place names found throughout the Empire can be traced back to Old Imperial Erugioth. the most popular language to borrow from is Modern Weshiothe. are drawn from ancient and modern sources. but regional dialects are becoming part of personal names more and more. Personal names have evolved. as had happened before. This is due to the assimilation of certain words from other languages. In the distant past the trend had been to borrow words from Iperatesi. But again. but the current linguistic trend again finds more and more terms borrowed from the other human languages . proper names are formed by the combination of two root words.many foreign words and idioms which had cropped into the language during the final centuries of the First Imperium. as stated above. A common trend with personal names which has become quite prominent in the past century or so is to couple an Erugioth root with words from other languages. which Imperial Linguists term as Low Modern Imperial Erugioth contains many words and idioms which are not native to Erigioth. Again. Probably the most popular example of this linguistic trend is the proper name Amethesoffa which is a combination of the Modern Erugioth word for “Red” (amma). The modern language. the middle Erugioth word for “Sea” (ethesh) . often using Old Imperial roots and mixing them with modern prefixes or suffixes. These roots.

In this case the two root words are ethesh and offa and the prefix amma has also been added. Consonants b bl c ch cl d f ff g gg Hard as in “Ball” Softer as in “Able” Always hard as in “Cold” Similar to the Gælic “Loch” Hard as in “Club” Hard as in “”Drum” Hard as in “For” Breathy as in “Off” Hard as in “Girl” Soft & aspirant. “Juan” h j k l ll Hard aspirant as in “House” Hard as in “Judge” Hard as in “Kill” As in English: “Love” As English “L” but with extra emphasis. like the Spanish “J”.and the Weshiothe word for “Lord” (offa). m mm As in English “Mother” Doubled as in “Comma” sh t th v w wh x z s n ng nn p pl pp qu r As in English “Nothing” Always soft as in “Sing” Doubled as in “Inner” Hard & aspirant as in “Person” Soft as in “Supple” Doubled as in “Pepper” Hard as in “Question” With lots of roll as in the Gælic “Rory” Aspirant with a lot of breath as in “Serpant” Soft as is “Shift” Hard as in “Tell” As the English “This” Hard as in “Vast” Soft as in “World” As the English “What” Hard as in “X-Ray” Aspirant as in “Zipper” Vowels a As the English “Apple” e Long. C-3 Erugioth Pronounciation Guide The following is a general guide to the pronunciation of Erugioth words. as in “Bee” .

1 Erugioth Runes (Rough Draft 1) a b bl c ch cl d e f ff g gg h i j k l ll m mm a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t n ng nn o p pl pp qu r s sh t th u v w wh x y z u v w x y z B C D F G H I J K L M N O P .i Hard as in “It” o u y Round as in “Over” As the English “OO”: “Loose” Soft as in “Dry” C-4 Writing C-4.

join forces and destroy a large Goblin raiding party. the High King of the Iperatesi. The Petty Wars Of Steel.211 The Iperatesi arrive in the west and discover the Tribes Of Man and begin to teach them the Elvan langauge. & Hoteth Iqæqish. 212 219 . Erupua kills Zhozurak in single combat and the Goblin Nation is sundered.221 222 225 234 354 Erupua befriends Aquishæwo. 504 The Iperatesi first encounter the Rhysemen whom humans call Dwarves. Itthæat befriends Zhozurak and begins the corruption of the Zhozuraploan. The Zhozuraploan attack the Eruploan starting the First Goblin Wars. Many Iperatesi heroes die. Eazæwo becomes High King.Appendix D: Ravenstone Timeline D-1 The Pre-Imperial Age c. Many tribes begin to migrate further into the west hoping to find peace away from the wars between the Ayrtesi & Iperatesi. the Dwarven commander. including Aquishæwo. 355 490 Erupua dies. 513 The Heln Ofennafesh. Deckane Stoazmutz. The Battle Of Ælanesel Tÿr and the end of the First Goblin Wars. the Iperatesi leader. The Iperatesi erect Ælanesel Tÿr. 526 Ïrasusth Etilowor begins instructing the Iperatesi in the art of Dragon Riding. . The First Migration Of Man begins.

who is but 16 years old. They flee to the gates of Ælanesel Tÿr and report what happened to Eazæwo. 684 Yryas’ Wind fills the Erupuan homeland killing thousands. They sneak into the Ayrtesi citadel of Jitthavariniv and slay Ïrasusth’s Ayrtesi parents. the High King of the Iperatesi. Elufong is only able to escape with two other members of the Band. 606 Elufong is accepted into Etonesiac’s Band after killing the Shards of Midnight Vale and saving Etonesiac’s life. 608 . Men & Dwarves departs from Ælanesel Tÿr and lays siege to Vittratthuz. 607 Etonesiac’s Band travels deep into the Mountains of Hanoteac and discover the entrance to Ayrone’s citadel Vittratthuz and battle monsters and Ayrtesi Warriors. The legendary Dwarven hero Grat Unagurol breaks through the Gates of the Underdeeps at the same time that Elufong breaks through the Main Gates.585 588 The Etiltietor (Dragon Wing) is founded by Ïrasusth Etilowor. Elufong slays Issüviætu and a host of monsters and Ayrtesi warriors before being slain by Ayrone. Jitthavariniv is abandoned. Vittrathuz is destroyed and the Ayrtesi flee north into the icy wastelands. Ïrasusth Etilowor & Osylesoara travel to Ælanesel Tÿr and commence their Quest. Etonesiac is slain by Issüviætu.617 The Great Host of Elves. . battles two trolls as well as the troll warlord Kôzkûpáz and slays all three. Elufong is born. the Great Ayrtesi General. 604 Roving bands of trolls begin raiding Erupuan villages. Peace at last comes to the Iperatesi and their allies. Elufong. The Erupuan migrate across the Mountains of Hanoteac and settle in the Valley of Roses on the western side of the range. 601 Elufong discovers the Well of The Warrior’s Insight in the depths of a cavern complex in the Mountains of the Hanoteac.

Noch Luusheta is completed. Noch Geongechuth is completed. Beginning of the Second Goblin Wars. 312 The Siege of Eruplong. 427 528 Echuashy is built. The Edict Of Expansion. The construction of Pläsh Yggyma begins. 893 907 The construction of Noch Luusheta begins. 877 879 886 891 892 Pläsh Yggyma is completed. The construction of Noch Geongechuth is started.700 Founding of Eruplong. Gazátik’s goblin armies attack Erupuan settlements along the Iron Mountains. The entire Ravenstone Peninsula comes under the control of Miashich Geongechuth who is named Count Of Igo and Duke Of Ravenstone by the Emperor. A combined Erupuan and Dwarven Army defeats the Goblin Army. The end of the Second Goblin Wars. D-2 The First Imperial Age 0 216 Founding of the Erupuan Empire under Emperor Eruffa. The great western push begins as Erupuan Armies begin to take control of the wild lands of the southern shores of the North West Sea. 416 The Battle Of Blue Horn’s Pass. 869 Miashich Geongechuth leads his army into the Ravenstone Peninsula. . Miashich Geongechuth moves his base of operations to Noch Geongechuth. The Luusheta Treaty is signed between the Erupuan and the Sea Peoples. Echutheru II slays Gazátik the Goblin King in single combat.

(2 C. (Year 0 of the Crimson King’s Era) 3126 King Munammeren creates the Order of Crimson Knights who are trained by members of the Etiltietor.K.) 3127 Noch Geongechuth is besieged by the Rebel Armies.) D-3 The Dynastic Periods & The Era Of The Crimson Kings Note: The following years are counted according to the Crimson Kings Era reckoning and not the Erupuan Dynastic reckoning. (7 C. (6 C. This is the last year of the First Imperial Age.K. King Munammeren creates the Royal Rangers Of Ravenstone to patrol Ravenstone’s border regions and keep them secure against all hostile incursions. (3 C. The Rebel Armies flee back to their Dukedoms and Counties forming petty Kingdoms that would war amongst themselves and also with Ravenstone and what was left of the Erupuan Empire until the formation of the Second Imperium. Munammeren is crowned the first Crimson King of Ravenstone.3124 The Erupuan Civil War begins.E.E. Duke Munammeren of Ravenstone declares Independence from the Empire & creates the Kingdom of Ravenstone. Duke Enablaguen raises a rebel army and marches upon Eruplong to seize the Throne. .E.K. At the end of the battle.E.) 3130 Duke Enablaguen is slain in the Battle Of Unending Sorrows as well as Emperor Egegyish.K.E. All dates are C. The Emperor’s cousin Xoycheko takes the Imperial Throne at Eruplong.K.) 3131 Emperor Xoycheko dissolves the Imperium and commences the reign of Erupuan Dynastic Kings. the legendary Dragon Riders of the Iperatesi. The siege lasts a year and is finally broken when Lukeyth Atiebly leads the Crimson Knights on the Crimson Charge and routes the Rebel Armies.

1094 Eqyrega. starting the Efuplies Dynasty.7 The beginning of the Dynastic Period. The first Dynasty is ruled by the Xoycheko family. Efuplies takes the throne at Eruplong. The Pläsh Gyisamma is completed. advisors and closest allies and begins to lay out a plan to counter the power of the Nochtiachi Cambions. Gycherun takes the throne at Eruplong. 627 The last Atieretha King is assasingated by Enablaguen agents. King Gycherun VII meets with his military commanders. His cousin Atieretha takes the throne at Eruplong. starting the Gycherun Dynasty. 828 The last Efuplies King dies. 1118 Noch Ekunkeyth falls to the Nochtiachi army of Cambions who begin to march into the Erupuan heartland. The great Warlock Ikaodesh Oneng proposes the creation of a race of soldiers whose physical and magical powers would rival the Cambions of Nochtiach. The last Xoycheko King dies. 115 The great architect Olugiac Moush creates the Ammæchuth architectural style. the Black is visited by the Demon Lord Kyzkupz and they begin planning how to reunite and control the former Erupuan Empire 1115 Eqyrega. starting the Atieretha Dynasty. 1120 A Nochtiachi army lead by the Cambion General Atiatoch Uteniezeg takes control of the Kingdom of Eaglecrest which lies just to the east of . What remains of the Erupuan Army retreats to the fortified city of Noch Ekunkeyth. 121 129 259 Construction of the Pläsh Gyisamma begins. the Black becomes Sorcerer King of Nochtiach and begins invading neighbouring Kingdoms starting the Demon War. 1116 Nochtiachi forces invade the Erupuan Kingdom and defeat a massive Erupuan Army at the Battle Of Sunlight’s Pass.

1127 After many battles. Furthermore. 1122 The Battle Of Falcon Wing. ten thousand Richethi and twenty thousand Erupuan soldiers march into the fields of Püneshean where they are met by a Nochtiach army fifteen thousand strong. proving their martial prowesses. Two Richethi defeat the Royal Champions of the Knightly Orders. The Erupuan Army decimate the Nochtiachi Army in their first major victory of the war. The next battle on this legendary campaign is the Siege of Noch Atizith where the Navy of The Crimson King reduces the main defensive wall of Eaglecrest’s capital to dust before capturing the city. After that. This legendary ambush is the beginning of Ekotai’s March. a combined Erupuan. the Black after the Erupuan allied forces gain entry into the Sorcerer’s citadel. Richethi & Ravenstone force twenty thousand strong surrounds Pläsh Ethiera. the two Richethi then fight each other to demonstrate the full breadth of their potency. 1129 The legendary Richethi Chaotic Lord Ocis slays Eqyrega. D-4 The Second Imperial Age . 1123 Ikaodesh Oneng returns to Eruplong with a regiment of Richethi Chaotic Lords. Crimson King Ekotai makes a pre-emptive strike destroying Atiatoch’s forward army at the Battle of Crystal Falls Pass. the citadel-capital of Nochtiach. 1130 King Gycherun VII reunites most of the old territories of the Empire & declares the Second Imperium. A flight of Crimson Knights supported by King Ekotai and his Personal Guard as infantry decimate a Nochtiachi Army twice their size. The Siege of Pläsh Ethiera begins. The Demon Lord Kyzkupz is banished back to the Pale by the great Archmage Plikeoti. He begins to set his sights on the Realm of the Crimson Kings.Ravenstone.

1679 Shuises. along with the Erupuan and some of the Hanoteac and Pliac nations battle the Anapsiptti in a war to bring balance back to the Flows of Essence. 1190 1221 1444 First encounter with the race known as the Anapsiptti. 1450 After traveling the world in search of knowledge. 1445 Assæyrmë . 1446 The great wizard Miashunes forms the Epithecesh and gathers a band of heros willing to strike at the heart of the Anapsoptti lands. First encounter with the race known as the Phomifapti. Aheneko becomes the Warlock for the Court Of The Crimson King. The Crimson Storms. the great Historian. Miashunes builds the Tower of Glass and retires there to concentrate on his studies. He becomes the guardian of the magical tower once the great Wizard ascends to the Ethereal Plane. as a slave. Ethithung joins the Grand Ducal Rangers Corps.the War Of Darkness. The Epithecesh defeat the Anapsoptti Wizard-Lord Vapotawas while Miashunes closes the Portal Of Endless Fate ending the Assæyrmë and bringing the balance back to the Flows of Essence. Ethithung is captured in an Ayrtesi raid and taken back to Ayrtthagiqus. 2689 2697 2704 2722 2723 Ethiati Geongechuth is crowned Grand Duke of Ravenstone. Ethithung Geongechuth is born. the Phomifapti. the Ayrtesi Matrondom. . travels to the Tower Of Glass to document Miashunes’ life & knowledge. The Iperatesi. Massive magical storm clouds cover the entire surface of Nytheun disrupting the Flows of Essence and creating destruction and chaos world-wide.7 The Realm Of The Crimson King re-joins the Imperium under Grand Duke Ekoati.

2745 2746 Aheneko dies. Ethithung Geongechuth is crowned Grand Duke of Ravenstone. daughter of the Count of Luusheta. 2729 Grand Duke Ethithun Geongechuth marries Ekomuni Luusheta. crowned Grand Duchess of Ravenstone. Grand Duke Ethithung Geongechuth is assassinated aboard Geonblise by Ayrtesi Pirates on his yearly pilgrimage to Eruplong. 2727 Grand Duke Ethiati dies. Pairan arrives at Noch Geongechuth and takes command of the Chaotic Lotuses and becomes Rana’s personal bodyguard. 2730 2735 Ecrana Geongechuth is born.2725 Master Ranger Ezisapla Cashoth leads a daring raid into the depths of Ayrtthagiqus and rescues Ethithung along with a small number of other human slaves. Moothequ becomes the Warlock for the Court Of The Crimson King. Ecrana Geongechuth is .

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