A Missive for an Empress

My Empress,

I will freely admit here, that situations flew beyond my immediate control while we met with you. I was so impressed with your poise and condescension that my tongue ran away from me and I quickly found myself in a position I never dreamed I would be.

This is not, it any way meant as a slight to you or your country, nor is it with regret that I intone these words. As mentioned I simply did not dream of acceptance so quickly anywhere, and me a wanderer now, where just months ago I had been settled, if not accepted.

I praise Ra for this acceptance for it was only through his choice of me to accompany CrIsis that I truly came to your august attention. It is not my habit to gush. Simply ask U’Selekma should you question this statement. Give me another sixty years of familiarity and I’ll be insulting you just as I do him.

He is the most constant and important individual in my life, so let me simply say that I insult him because it is how I show my deep affection.

As my task wasn’t to tell you what you already knew, but to keep you informed as to the actions of CrIsis I will endeavor to relay to you these actions, to the best of my memory, and from the information relayed to me by my companions.

We had just begun to rest within the market stall that we’d procured when an officious, if not odious, man intruded upon our consciousness. He in no way meant to insult us, and we did our best not to offer insult. His reason for impinge upon our good graces was so that we could pay the market fee and name our space. There were numerous names bandied about, and in the end, with a payment of no less than 6 dragon coin, we were named Turnips in Time.

The other members of my group said something about it being a play on words, but I’m personally unsure as to the reference. Something about turpentime being a solvent. Not having been one to mix paints for art or industry, I simply don’t understand what they’re talking about.

As soon as Officious ben Odious left, Xer’xses wrote a missive to friend of CrIsis Sir Quixis Ote. I did not get a look at the contents of said missive, but as many of these find their way into the hands of the scribe, I am sure that it will come to light by and by.

About this time we were accosted by one Helara Hopner. She of the fur coat and the continuous stream of vacuous syllables tried to get Overkill, he of the tongue trips and misspoken words, to make a statement about why he was seen entering a Karowyn’s as opposed to Gold Coast Trading Company, where he would be sponsored. She wouldn’t listen to me in stating I dragged him in there, and we tried to tell her that we had there residing the proceeds of our books, which in fact CrIsis does receive a portion of…

I believe this is the first time we’ve ever mentioned that the books actually assist us in chasing after the pieces of the Severed God. Well, they do. We are not enriched by these proceedings as adventuring is an expensive proposition, but we do profit by them, and use those profits to continue.

Ever one to attempt to please, while doing everything in her power to prevent herself from being removed, Miss Hopner would not depart from our presence. I understand the draw that CrIsis has upon the lesser minds, but this was beyond ridiculous. There was a suggestion of casting befuddle upon her, which suggestion was overruled by our leader. Apparently even non-lethal magics as these are considered aggressive in polite company. CrIsis is anything but polite, but in this instance we are on our best behaviour in front of so many eyes and the gossip hounds.

Xer’xses, ever the forceful one, informed us the moment that her obsequiousness left that we would be leaving for the tower to drop off the torch. Not being in any sort of rush myself, and having been starving for the entire trip from Sekti Abtu, I declined, forcefully. It was time to eat, not time to go off on more adventures.

It was either Azariel or myself that suggested we split into two groups at this point in order to accomplish both tasks. That having been agreed upon, we divided ourselves into these two groups. Azariel, Overkill and I would see to the food and the other three, Xer’xses, Indaris, and newcomer Caminata, would see to the torch.

The following is from accounts by Xer’xses, Indaris, and Caminata pieced together by myself: Night began to fall as the crowd of heroes made their way through the simulated daub huts and colorful tents of the Grande Bazaar. Xer’xses carried aloft the false torch while Indaris retained the true in hiding. This proved to be something of a problem, as later events soon proved this to be a fools errand. They passed by the Hippodrome on their way to the Tower of Angels, said tower being where we understood the torch to be delivered, and remembered by Caminata through the use of her Total Recall spell.

The night was not dark. Even in cities, darkness falls as the sun descends and the moon and stars arise. Not so in Lopania, a city which is truly a glory to Lopan. In Lopania, as night falls, the streets are lit by a gentle light. This light is greater than a candle but less than a bonfire. It is gentle enough to allow for sleeping beneath the glory of the stars.

In this gentle light our Heroes made their way to the Tower of Angels and there met a guard. This would not be a shock to my reader, as guards do their namesake in many places of Lopania. He wore the red badge of the LGC. At first, our heroes attempted to enter through subterfuge. They claimed to be aligned with Dio Regellant, or more specifically to be part of the preparatory team for him. Even still, the guard would not allow them access.

It makes me wonder, knowing as I do now that the guards work for the execrable Sir Thurgoon Andress if the latter events were not an attempt by the guard to confess, but knowing that soon no one would listen to anything our priest had to say. There is nothing so ignored as a disgraced priest. As with the rest of us they are imperfect, but are held to the standard of perfection.

I digress. We were not yet ready to be admitted, specifically as there was not yet a person there to whom we were tasked to deliver the torch, by which I mean you, your highness. This gave Xer’xses the idea to cast upon the air a pigeon to you. It, of course, failed to arrive while addressed to Lopania. This was an obvious outcome when any of us keeping tally, specifically those who believed the guard when he stated that you weren’t here, as you most certainly were not.

As relayed by his compatriots, Xer’xses was heard to exclaim at this point, “I’ve gotten defeated by food.” What specifically he meant by this, I did not know, but I felt it of enough humorous content to include. At this point, I was informed of something that I’d never before realized, which knowledge I will preface.

In my travels, and in the stories I have heard tell, and have told myself no doubt exaggerating in the telling, Druids can shift their shapes. This is something that I’ve heard tell so frequently that it becomes, at least for me, common knowledge. Having met Xer’xses, I assumed this shift in shape was a surface conversion only, meaning that the clothing and equipment of the being were not changed even though the body was. Under this understanding, I had the belief, and so too did many of my companions over the years, for some of the stories, primarily involving female druids and male rangers, could get quite bawdy.

What would you expect when a woman appears in front of you wearing nothing but a smile and the clothing she was born in? Naked wolf in, naked elf out, or so the logic goes.

However, that being said, it was not in fact the case. Something about their frequent use of the alternate form has provided the druids with the ability to take their clothing with them, and not only their clothing, but their equipment as well. So, while my friend Xer’xses would be naked changing from his common animal form into his less bestial Minotaur form, Caminata doing the same resulted in a fully clothed elf who proceeded to present the rings of CrIsis to the guard.

Still, he was not swayed to allow them entry.

At this point, he mostly denied that we were CrIsis. Xer’xses mentioned, in the open, that the Oriflames were dying. While not secret news, it is news. The Defilers had been with us for centuries. Their stories were used to frighten Kobold children in my home town. Personally, I didn’t find anything to fear in those stories. Possibly that is what first caused me to dissent.

If they are, even now, beginning to age, to die, what will that mean for the future of all Palladium? This is not news to be shared to a lowly guard. This is not a tale of woe to be passed over your cups of ale.

Again, my commentary leads me from relating the story at hand. Still the guard denied entry for he still denied that we were, as stated, CrIsis. Xer’xses gave his copy of the 7th book of CrIsis to the guard, who began to peruse its contents. In there he truly realized that Xer’xses, a minotaur, had been chosen of the gods to help in the completion of this quest. Xer’xses offered to change into a minotaur in front of the guard to prove it, but he declined. And still, though he now believed the group to be from CrIsis, he still denied them entry.

Here, my Empress, is the full account of the story that was alluded to earlier when we met. The guard requested that Indaris speak with him alone. Once alone, he began to tell Indaris such a tale of woe as to soften the heart of the most hardened villain, of which number Indaris could not be counted. The guard mentioned that he had a multitude of children, and that his wife was the only one who could take care of them due to the hours he worked. He mentioned that he had been approached by a shadowy individual, a woman, who offered him riches. He repeatedly mentioned that a guard does not earn all that much. When he finally allowed Indaris to wheedle the sum out of him, and I now believe that this was all staged by the guard himself to get not one but two princely sums for the commision of one crime, he began again to say what a large sum it was that he was being offered. Indaris gave the man two dragon coins, a value of ten thousand eastern, and he didn’t bat an eye as he again mentioned that he was being offered one hundred thousand eastern, a sum he was to be splitting with the other guard on his watch.

Indaris mentioned at this point that anyone who took a bribe would be subject to execution. The bribe stated he would never be caught. Indaris returned with a statement of using truth spells to ascertain the truth of the matter. The guards next words lead me to believe that he knew what was about to happen between CrIsis and the guard. He said that it would be an internal matter for the guard alone. He was so smug, that guard, even in the face of what could be construed as threats by Indaris, a man so oblivious to the implications of his own statements that he didn’t realize he was condemning the guard to execution, that he, the guard, didn’t bat an eye.

At this point our heroic trio left the Tower of angels and made their way back to the campsite where the rest of CrIsis were to have been preparing dinner. I make it seem here that they weren’t preparing dinner, and this is true from a certain point of view, but then again, since they collected the food from a tavern across the way…but here I’m getting ahead of myself.

Shortly after the first group left, Azariel, ever to conscientious travel companion, thought to provide me with the remaining living doves that he had purchased…for whatever reason he chose to purchase them. They were in a fine wicker cage and he’d, to this point, taken good care of them.

At some point between our stop outside the city and this moment when he went to look for them, they disappeared. I’d blame the reporter, Ms. Hoppner, if I wouldn’t have seen her carry such a large cage off with her. Now that I think about it again, however, how can I be sure that she wasn’t acting as the bird-dog?

As this concept may not be familiar to an Empress, as it is something used in the more rural areas of the world than the build up, let me explain. There are men in certain places in the world who train dogs, by which I mean the four legged variety, to charge into the brush and spook geese, ducks, and other fowl. As soon as these birds take to the air, they use their crossbows to shoot them on the wing.

It is considered a feat of prowess to take the birds in this way, and they also feed their families well while doing it. So, while the dog acts as a distraction, the hunter takes his prize. The very fact that Ms. Hoppner is so famous actually aids this thought more than it prevents it. She is the perfect distraction with her ability to insinuate herself into any conversation and her penchant to twist words to her favor. It focuses the attention and disarms other suspicions.

She is a criminal mastermind, or at least could be, and no one would even question her. While it likely isn’t true, all the evidence is circumstantial at best, it is something to think on.

The real issue, of course, was that I had been on an enforced fast for a great number of days, being the only member of our group requiring fresh sustenance, and I was beginning to feel the effects. I begged off heading to the raucous tavern that was conveniently enough across the way from our humble stall. My weakness was telling at this point and I cast chameleon and simply sat down next to the wagon while Overkill and Azariel made their way through the crowd. Kupyr, my faithful companion, was sent out with my eyesight linked to his talisman.

The tavern was named the Lover’s Leap and was decorated within and without with all sorts of images of people leaping and competing in the games. It seems to me that this tavern is a main-stay of the games and is likely here every three years with clockwork regularity. The crowd within would seem to support this theory for they were packed to the rafters with people in a jovial state. Azariel, being the diplomat he is, ordered drinks for everyone in the name of Turnip in Time and food for our party. Well, for all the members of our party who eat meat and vegetables burnt beyond all recognition over a fire. The crowd surged at the mention of drinks being purchased and began patting Azariel and Overkill on the back. In fact, they were so…exuberant that they pounded him into the ground. Overkill saw someone messing with Azariel’s bags while he was on the ground, but the press of bodies prevented him from doing more than trying to draw his swords.

The thief exited the tavern and walked directly into my line of sight as he began to look at the scroll he’d stolen from Azariel. It had is naming ribbon still on it. I cast befuddle upon the wouldbe cutpurse and with a thought sent Kupyr to retrieve the scroll. Seeing no-one around, and having just been befuddled and robbed by what he could have sworn was a huge lizard, the failed filcher ran off into the gloaming.

Azariel returned to the camp with the piles of steaming charcoal that you surface folk call food and Overkill and he set about organizing it into portions for the members of our group that eat that kind of thing.

Appearing from thin air, I said, “Your scroll, sir,” and offered it to Azariel over bended knee. He laughed and knighted me with it, thanking me for my service. We had a slight laugh at that until I questioned where my food was. We made a quick stop back for my favorite meal, and finally I got my fill after so many days of fasting.

Now, truth be told, I can subsist on water for a while given my girth. It is a safety net I have gathered about myself knowing as I do that my dietary habits are loathsome to most surface dwelling races, and many of the subterranean ones. So, while we summoned milk during our journey in the wilderness, and I could choke down at least a little water, I was looking forward to a real meal.

The half gallon mug had a pleasant aroma of burnt iron about it. The liquid within was a deep crimson color and there was a slight froth around the edges. The warm liquid steamed into the night tempting me nearer just by the seductive vapors it let free.

My first sip was pure nirvana and reveled in the sensory explosion it represented. Having sampled the bouquet, I swirled it around my mouth, fully experiencing the flavor before finishing my consumption. There was a mixture of pig, chicken and beef in the flavor with a slight smoky taste that I wasn’t sure of. It was obvious that the cook for the Lover’s Leap was not using prepared cuts of meat, but was slaughtering the animals himself, as this was fresh. I was truly grateful that we now had a ready supply of blood for the duration of the games.

I sent up a silent prayer of thanks to Ra and finished off my meal, savoring every moment of it. From the sounds coming from the rest of the group, as they ground up the burnt bits of tissue, grinding it with their jaws and swallowed it down, forcing the unnatural mixture of spit, ale, and flesh down into their gullets, they were enjoying their meal as well.

While we ate, Caminata perked up, pointing with her nose at the Inn. She didn’t think it was funny when we asked if Timmy had fallen down the well. She changed back into her human form, something I am beginning to think of as her shape change, and not her wolf, and told us that the healer was taking a meal in the tavern.

As she was thus speaking the Hoppner woman appeared out of the soft light that surrounded the market district. Before she could be turned away, Caminata invited her into our stall. The lamprey attached herself to Overkill and refused all attempts to pry her free until Azariel, seeming to appear from nowhere, suddenly began to fascinate the ‘good’ reporter.

She continued to attempt to turn the conversation to Overkill’s supposed abandonment of the Gold Coast, but we wouldn’t have anything of it. Unfortunately, since she’d already been invited into our space, we couldn’t eject her without appearing rude. In the end, we agreed to meet her at her hotel room to provide a personal interview.

Xer’xses, at this point, was becoming physically uncomfortable. He was moving about the camp, trying to move things along, but Ms. Hoppner would have nothing of it. We proceeded to explain that there was now a Minotaur in CrIsis, not to mention that said minotaur was now in CrIsis since his human guise was about to fade leaving him tall dark and naked in front of the entire world.

I handed my copy of CrIsis book seven to Ms. Hoppner so that she could peruse, at her future leisure, the changes to the composition of CrIsis. Then, unable to contain himself any longer, and having mentioned it would happen, Xer’xses exposed himself. His member was flying like a flag in the slight breeze and was directly in the line of sight of Ms. Hoppner. She was dazed to say the least.

Azariel accepted a powered Eye tile from Xer’xses and presented it to Ms. Hoppner, following much subterfuge where neither Azariel nor Xer’xses wanted to outright say that they were placing a television upon her person. This ended leading us down the rabbit hole of who Xer’xses is, and where he came from. This isn’t normally a rabbit warren of conflicting ideas and concepts, but it was this time due to the fact that Ms. Hoppner, that viper and sneak, attempted to turn everything that he said into something dark and twisted.

At first, she wanted to state he was the only good minotaur, and then that his people had been saved by the dwarves, and then that his parents were forced into a marriage to purify their bloodline…well, you can get the picture.

Mostly I stopped really paying attention about the time that he got into bloodlines. That is something I have an issue with, and it is something I should get over, but I can’t. Having been disowned by my people, something for which I praise Ra daily, I find myself out of touch when other people talk with compassion about their own relations.

After finishing his story, Xer’xses found himself pushed aside as the amorously inclined Hoppner began to realize that the rough looking exterior and often gruff demeanor of Azariel contained a heart that was bigger than the entirety of Lopan. She began slipping one of the shoulders of her gown down a bit revealing the distinctive stitching and lacework of a Kobold’s Secret Miracle Bra. I’d never personally seen one quite that large before, as they’re normally only made of a size wearable by my own diminutive race, and Ms. Hoppner is taller than many elves I’ve met. I might have been enraptured by the architecture of the great edifice but Azariel wasn’t distracted at all.

Eventually, with many assurances of our being there the next day, the Hoppner woman made her leave of our group, leaving us to turn in for the night.

As everyone else sacked out, Xer’xses and I began our watch. We sat in companionable silence while we allowed the sleeping town to go by. Toward middlewatch there was a commotion that I heard coming from the Heal for a Steal next door. Xer’xses was oblivious to it, so I began using my story of my sneaking into the Pontiff’s, then the Bishop’s, office and getting thrown in jail.

Well, he wasn’t understanding, and when he finally did, he yelled loudly enough that the dead arose, let alone our companions. We gathered and began to try to come up with a course of action that would allow us to best deal with the situation, but we ran into an issue. Our normal method of dealing with those that transgress is to take action. I wanted to drop a cloud of slumber upon the group of forty people, per Caminata anyway, but something told me that we would be taking the law into our own hands, something I didn’t feel we should do at the moment. Cami scented the forty and knew that she would be able to track them in the future. We decided for the moment to leave them be and settled down. I decided that now was a good time to relate the story of when I snuck in to said pontiff’s office. As I haven’t recorded this elsewhere, I should record it here now.

I entered the town of New Haven on the 31st of Pegasus. This date is important, for it was on the next day that I chose to talk to the Bishop of the Church. The 1st of Set has always been a day I have marked through my long life, but not always for the reasons that my ancestors would have. On this particular 1st of Set, at the beginning of my Forty-Second year of life, I thought it was high time that I spoke to a leader of the church.

My purpose set, and my goal in sight, I walked into the church district of Haven. It was less richly appointed than it is today, but it was still a truly rich sight to behold. The sun shone brightly on that day, and I squinted into it’s brightness. It was blinding to me, but others, mostly the humans wandering the squares, thought it a beautiful day.

Being at heart a simple soul I walked up to the church tower. It was so tall that I simply had to ask if the Bishop was to be found here. Before that moment I’d just headed in that direction because it was the tallest building in sight. When the guard laughed and pointed up to a window near the top. He told me that Bishop U’Selekma could be found up there. I, of course, asked to meet the bishop. The guards barred my way.

I had climbed from the depths of my mountain home up to the sky through an air shaft. A building shouldn’t be much more of an issue. I cast a spell to hide myself from view and another to enhance my ability to climb and I began the ascent. It was a slow and tiring process. Many times I stopped in empty offices to rest. More than once I was accosted by birds on my way up without the means to fight them off. I was a very tired kobold when I finally reached the heights where U’Selekma kept his office. He was there, sitting in his desk, much the same as he is today, while I was something of a young kobold.

“Hi, my name is Asher,” I said, ”and I’ve walked from Avramstown to meet you.” I was, of course, promptly arrested. If this letter makes it’s way into the next book of CrIsis then I shall of course have just given would be assassins a way to attack the bishop of the church…if that way is still open to them here almost sixty years since the day that I myself did that.

Not long into second watch a flare of magic alerted Indaris to a sudden influx of supernatural beings to the hovel next door. Again, I offered to cast cloud of slumber, and again I was rebuffed. If we could not take the law into our own hands, then it behooved us to call upon the law to take it into theirs. After, Xer’xses bellowed again for the guard. A single guardsman appeared and at the mention of our name called for reinforcements. While they ignored our statements that supernatural evil was in the room adjacent the guards were jovial enough and stated that we were wanted. Well, not one to turn down a cordial invitation we followed the guardsman to his captain.

It would appear that not everyone is aware of our willingness to submit to the laws of an area. We were escorted to the presence of one Sir Thurgoon Andress who proceeded to accuse us of breaking every law of Lopania. He was pompous and full of himself, but reading between the lines of book entries written by past members of CrIsis he was poorly treated by members of the group who were with us in the past. Only one member of CrIsis remains who dealt with Sir Thurgoon, and from his vitriol, it would be obvious to any what actually happened. He was called up short. Whether or not this was a warranted action is beyond the point. Sir Thurgoon is that peculiar bird the popinjay. He looks good on parade with his fellows, but when expected to stand forth and be counted, he finds another to do the dirty work.

We insulted his self image when we reported him to the Duke, and with his unholy anger given an outlet he let fly upon us, because aiming at the true cause of his demise would require him to change, and as we know a popinjay never molts.

Truly, I do not blame the tool for acting in accordance with it’s purpose. I blame those in our past who didn’t recognize Sir Thurgoon for what he was and take all necessary precautions to protect the quest from his eventual return.

And return he did, with vengeance in his eyes and blood in his nostrils. He sentenced us to death, something even the laws we might have broken did not warrant and was fully prepared to dispense with us. The group, over my express objections, teleported to Sekti Abtu. We ran, committing a definite crime. My heart died within me as I realized that I was sinning against my God and wouldn’t be able to continue upon the quest further until I had asked for forgiveness before gods and men.

Xer’xses was at this point compelled to change into the form of a hawk. Remember previously where I mentioned the differences between a druid and all other shapeshifting casters? Well, all of the items that Xer’xses was carrying fell upon the ground as he changed, save only the leg of Osiris.

We were required then to carry the belongings of our massive brother. It would seem that we got the short end of that deal. At least he didn’t chose to carry all of his items with us when we went to confront Sir Thurgoon, as that would have left us with even more to carry. Compared to our immense friend, we are quite diminutive and that would have been a significant burden.

As soon as we passed the diminutive portal, hence the reason our minotaur was a bird, two priests who were on watch immediately ran in opposite directions as if the hounds of hell were on their heels.

At this point, having no idea of where to go, Azariel took his last Magic Pigeon scroll, the very scroll I had saved from the thief, and sent a message to U’Selekma. We followed in the direction that the pigeon flew. This is a trick we’ve often used in CrIsis to attempt to find out way out of situations we’ve found ourselves lost in.

We walked through the hallways and it was, as if with a sudden understanding, that Overkill exclaimed that we were in an ancient dwarven city. Sekti Abtu is build upon the bones of the dwarves. It is an interesting thought to me. We all build upon the past, even when we wish to distance ourselves from it. Each action that we take predicates the action that follows.

I wonder if Set realized what he would be putting into motion when he dismembered Osiris.

We ran into Forenque on our way to see U’Selekma. I tried to throw myself upon his mercy, feeling strongly that we had broken the law by fleeing, even if we hadn’t broken the law as far as I knew before. We explained to Forenque the cause of the issue, or more specifically who was to blame. When we explained that he had condemned us to execution he took us back to the storehouse. In there he gave us a cantaloupe sized crystal with the ability to record up to fifteen minutes of conversation! We saw Ms. Hoppner with one, and this explained her weird behaviour with the rock. Azariel, ever the capable leader of our group, picked this moment to request the laws of Lopania. It took Forenque two hours to find the relevant scrolls. It took him very much less to relate the fact that we could not have broken laws 1, 3, or 5. This was where we got the information for our conversation with you, upon which we are soon arriving in my tale.

I will mention that the holes in the repository caused by certain artifacts that we carry have been mostly patched since the last time we were amongst the piles of gold, jewels, and artifacts that the church gathers unto itself.

We requested a boon of Forenque before leaving the temple, because he had also told us that we would be late to sign into the games were we not back in Lopania by the 9th of Ra, which was this very day. The boon we requested was a set of scrolls to take us to your palace and a set to take us back to Lopania.

Before using the scrolls, it occurred to me that appearing in the midst of alert guards could be to our detriment, so I chose to cast a couple of Charismatic Aura spells, one on our Leader and one on Caminata. Your guards, while I am sure they are usually much more capable, were dazzled by the brilliant beauty of the two strangers who appeared in their midst and they immediately ran off to tell you of our appearance.

You, of course, appeared without a hair out of place and fresh as if you had spent a full night of uninterrupted sleep. What sort of impression must we have made upon you, since we had been running all night long, and had suffered from nothing but interrupted sleep. Our dwarf seemed in need of a euphemism to relieve his suffering for he was stamping his feet and biting his lip. It is true that we’d not had use of the facilities in a couple of hours, but you’d expect a dwarf to be able to hold his liquor.

We appreciated the news you had to tell us about only spending a single night in jail. As the arbiter of justice in this land, I can’t argue, nor would I want to, with your judgement.

Your choice to allow me entry into this country is also one that I welcome. I will spread the glory of Lopan abroad and continue to send you these missives providing an insight into our quest. May the gods of Light forever grant you wisdom and health.

While honor feeds the soul, it does not fill the belly. Even now, it seems strange that these words could have come from me, and I would be more than honored for you to take them as your own.

I’m coming to the end of this missive, or more specifically to one end, since the beginning is long past. When we had our leave of your presence we returned to Lopania not two stalls from where we’d begun. We are apparently in quite a central location in the grande bazaar.

However, not all was as we’d left it. We found a collection of beasts and men milling about in our spot. I’d finally had enough. They had stepped into our place with beings of evil. That was an overt act if ever there was one. The guard had proven itself unwilling, or unable, to handle them. I dropped a cloud of slumber upon them, and prayed to Ra that it would succeed. As a whole, the entire group fell into a deep sleep.

We slaughtered the demons where they lie. The men we left to sleep. The witch, for that is what she must have been, came out of her hovel and looked surprised. Apparently she’d attempted to cast some strange magic upon us and was startled that it’d had no effect. Again, we were blessed of the gods and I said a short prayer to Ra.

Azariel stepped forth and confronted the witch and she began to spill her secrets. She revealed nothing new about the Agent, but she did reveal that there were other servants of the Agent here in Lopania. It would seem that we will have our work cut out for us if we seek to claim the prize.

Now, I apologize for the delay, but I come to the true reason that I would send you this message. We received more information regarding the bribery of guards here in Lopania since we spoke not ten minutes ago. It would seem that eight of the locations for the games are compromised. these locations, where bribes were accepted and paid, are: Horus, Juggernaut, Lopanic Bowl, Alliance, Hippodrome, Ippodrome, Dragon’s Breath Range, and one of the underground arenas, the Fighting Training Arena. While we were talking, her fascination with Azariel faded as soon as she realized we had the true torch of Isis. We were forced to send her to Anubis in order to protect the secret of the torch. We only hope that by the time a non-god speaks to her that we have had opportunity to deliver it to you here in Lopania.

And so, in closing, I send my devotion and thanks to you, and for the first time sign Asher of Lopan.

Picture from The Quillcards Blog
 

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