The road to Tyrannos was fraught with danger. Highwaymen haunted every dark, forested and every remote stretch of road. It had been that way for decades or, at least, since the current emperor took the throne. There were no sentries patrolling the roads. No sheriffs to guard the byways.
Lawlessness had overtaken the four lands, replacing the order that had persisted since the wars of the gods with chaos. But Niobe was wise. She cast a spell of stealth to hide them as they made their way. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.
Still, stealth wasn’t going to keep them hidden. It would only help them sneak past any who might be listening for approaching troops. Thyrakos knew that. Thus, she had attached herself to Niobe’s retinue. Breathing a cloaking spell to add to the group’s protection, she slipped among the ranks unseen. As the retinue moved toward the gates, she looked around one last time. It would be a while before she saw Yndarr.
All in the group knew that it was time to reclaim the lands from lawlessness after all, it was for this very purpose that the Guilds had been created—to maintain order by legitimizing and organizing those otherwise seen as criminal. But those who haunted the roads had snubbed the Guilds. They worked for no one. They had no true purpose.
So they would have to be hunted and exiled from Sudia. The movement had to be begun. First, Sudia. Then, Estryn and Nordia. From there, it would be far easier to wrest the empire away from Kyrzhad. Far easier for the Renge to be freed.
Frigaana stood upon the road to Tyrannos. It had been ages since the last time she had stood upon the soil of the Renge, but she had been sent to do an errand. One of seven messengers, she had been sent to Sudia to deliver the request of the gods to any who would listen. A goddess herself, she had been excited to be the one picked. She had long wanted to return to her homeland.
Being a warrior, she could handle those that wandered the roads and byways beyond the cities with no problem. At the moment, she waited at the midway point between Yndarr and Tyrannos. She would wait here for Niobe and her retinue. But she was not alone. Beside her stood Sobahn.
He had wandered aimlessly southward after being released by the twin mages. Though he had known who he was to find, he’d had no idea where to find her. It was by mere coincidence that he met the goddess on the northern borders of Sudia after her appearance. He knew that.
Still, their mission was one and the same. Sudia had to be united. Only through the uniting of Sudia could they possibly unite the Renge. He smiled. Macha had indeed been kind to him.
Now, together, goddess and soldier awaited the one chosen to unite Sudia. The gods had seen Niobe’s sudden change. It had surprised them that she could become the complete opposite of what she had been in the capitol. Lotus had been banished from her life as well as her city. Deviance, sexual or otherwise, was not allowed.
Kyrzhad had a thirst for blood. He loved pitting his governors against one another. He loved to create feuds between otherwise amicable dukes and barons. It kept them from trying to overthrow him and assume control of the Renge. It kept their armies busy and the populations down of both the cities and the four lands.
He was the master puppeteer. Everything went as he planned it. Nothing every went any other way. But now, things seemed to be falling apart.
Niobe had Sudia. The region was slowly falling away from his control and there wasn’t anything he could do. He had promised not to interfere or send any of his generals against her. at the same time, there were very few old governing families left in Sudia. This meant he had few allies left there, maybe none.
His promise kept him from sending Hadrax as well. But he hadn’t made a lifelong promise, just a passing promise. That meant, in his mind, that he could send his armies against her after she dropped her guard. He smiled. Yes. He would wait for the right time to get his vengeance.
“Sire,” a voice brought him out of his thoughts, “Golmagug is here to confer with you. He says it is urgent.”
“Yes, yes,” he responded, uninterested, “send him in.”
He straightened up on his throne as he waited. What did the Master of the Inquisition want? He could think of no reason for the visit.
“Your Highness,” the demi-mage stated respectfully as he entered, bowing.
“To what do I owe this visit, mage?” Kyrzhad demanded.
“I come offering you an alliance,” the demi-mage replied, “and a plan to keep your hold over the lands.”
“Do tell,” Kyrzhad responded, smiling at the thought of retaining his control.
“What the lands need is a great revival,” the demi-mage smiled, “one that is preceded by a cleansing or purification of the lands. I, Your Highness, am willing to be the head of that cleansing and revival.”
“And those found impure?”
“I will see to their…cleansing,” the demi-mage stated.
“Good, Good,” Kyrzhad smirked, shaking the demi-mage’s hand, “I like your plan. Yes, we have an alliance. For now. Do what you will in the name of your belief.”
Golmagug bowed in respect and took his leave. Kyrzhad watched him go. He would remove the demi-mage when the time was right. He would have Golmagug killed when he had served his purpose and diminished the population.