Storinth Raike and Scul Ravenheart traveled north from the Battleshard. Storinth, a renowned swordsman, had befriended the Gelven warrior in his youth when both had worked as sell-swords under the command of the royal guards in the Sea Kingdoms. both had fought valiantly in the pirate wars against the armada of feather-ships that had mysteriously appeared in the southern sea.
Now, they had both been selected to be a on the alliance council that was forming in Sudis. A small contingent of soldiers had been afforded their diplomatic mission. These soldiers were to guard them as they did their work on the council. It had been decided that these soldiers, like the diplomats they guarded, would rotate out of service in Sudia and return with the delegates they were sent with. Only if the delegates were voted in again would those soldiers remain.
But it had also been decided that the delegates could only be elected to their posts for a maximum of two terms. After that, they had to either return to the Battleshard or rotate to one of the other cities as consuls to the governors. This position was rotated when needed. should a governor request them to remain, they would be obligated to do so for as long as desired—even if it meant the rest of their lives. Or until the governor died.
Unlike Scul, Storinth was not Gelven. He was human. He had been born in Muspel, but had begun to wander at an early age when his parents were murdered by a rogue mage. A sword-mage had taken the nearly starved boy under his wing and taught him almost all he knew. At least, he thought his teacher had been male. With mages, it was hard to tell. Most of the time, they preferred genderless titles and their garb tended to keep their true gender a mystery.
Not that they needed to worry. Not too many cutthroats or assassins dared to confront a mage. Even fewer of the remaining criminal element-rapists, brawlers, crime syndicate enforcers, etc.-risked life or limb either. The few who had been stupid enough had ended up as little more than ash piles on cobblestone. Not a favorable choice to life.
Storinth knew a bit of magick, having been taught well enough to cast warding spells and defense spells, that he had no worries in any fight. He was far better with a blade, though, and preferred blades to spells. And he had no equal. Deadly, accurate, and cool, he won every duel and helped win every battle in any war he fought in.
Scul had been born in the Battleshard. Magick was in his blood. It was second nature to him. No words needed to be uttered, no gestures made. He merely had to think and it was so.
His elven blood was apparent in his pointed ears and height, but the goblin showed in his hair color and wiry appearance. All the same, he was stronger than he appeared even though he was not as slender as his elven brethren. He preferred the Goblin axe that was slung across his back to a sword, but was proficient with any weapon he was handed.
With Storinth, he was unstoppable. And vice versa. They had become quite the team. They were like brothers.
It had been a surprise when they had been jointly nominated and elected to their posts. It had not been their purpose to become a part of a political coup d’état. But now there they were, a part of a council that had been formed out of defiance to Austryn’s emperor—the same emperor who’d been emperor of all four lands until his sister openly rebelled.
Ells Dilnisl, Derkek, and Chadarn made their way north from the Saidome. Ells had been a part of the Renge’s history as well as its present. The last of his kind, Ells had gone south after the rise of the nobilis. His migration didn’t mean that he had abandoned his duties, it merely meant that he had decided to move out of harm’s way. Being the only one left of his people, he had sought allies. And the Saidome had offered those allies.
The fire archers also offered training. Goblin fire archers were the deadliest known to the kingdoms. their training started when they were wee tots. It continued until they retired out of the core or died in battle. Derkek and Chadarn were two of those archers both were deadly. Both had been seasoned in battle.
Swarthy, dark, and dusky, the duo had become Ells’ teachers and had marveled at how quick the ancient outlander had learned the lessons. Both had become fast friends to Ells, offering to accompany him when he had received the letter calling him back to the Renge. The masters of the Saidome, agreeing to the two men’s decision had made them the permanent ambassadors to Sudia in return. Instead of electing, they merely appointed.
Ells was pleased that they had been sent. He would have felt out of place with any other companions. He smiled. Soon, they would be in the Rengelands. Soon, he would be home.
He didn’t care that he would be making his home in a newly built city or that he was now to take his place as elder member of the newly forming councils. All he cared about was that he was going home. Immortality had served him well.
He only hoped that he could defeat Eyrykon this time. Then he could focus on ridding the Renge of the stench of Braqanzhat and his scion, Kymrazat Grut. All three were as evil as the Renge was old. All three were allied to the Inquisition and the King of Demons, Bulranth. Ells shuddered at the thought of the demon-king.
Then, there was The Head, a floating disembodied head that followed the demon-king everywhere. Not to mention the demonic general, Ryggyr Mortys. The Renge had barely survived their last visit when the Black Ring held power. The gods had been lucky to bind them and send them into exile, sealing the way shut through the use of a ward shield set around their prison island.
Rumor had it that the ward shield was failing. After all, it had been over two thousand years since it had been created and the magicks were old. Old magicks tended to fail. Ells only hoped that they would hold long enough for the gods to return. After all, only a god, or one chosen by the gods could ever hope to kill a demon.
But there were no chosen paladins. No one could hope to stand before Bulranth’s demon hordes. Ells had not heard of any prophecy promising the coming of a paladin either. And the Dark Ring had outlawed the Status of Sorcerer Supreme 400 years ago, upon the ascension of Olgath. The lands were doomed.
Delegates were beginning to flood into Sudis. The residences were quickly filling and it looked as if there wouldn’t be enough to go around. Smaller teams were created so that more villas could be built as needed. Cyrcadian knew they would have everything ready for the first meetings. What had been thought to be a small town had grown into a city that rivalled even Tyrannakos, the empire’s capital. In many ways, Sudis would become Sudia’s capitol.