Frank put the scope to his eye. “The envoy has arrived. And it’s fanceeeeee.”
“Great,” mumbled Iricah. “I wonder who it will be this time. Maybe a queen dressed up like a chef?”
“Oh, I doubt it,” said Zy’an. “I’m sure this DM has already done that before.”
As it turned out, the envoy was royalty indeed. This time, however, he in the bright shining armor was not in disguise. Standing regally at the fore, his hand at his side and atop his sword, stood none other than Prince Genoran himself. Heir to the throne, Genoran was first born, and well known. He was a legend in the flesh, by far the most popular subject of teller tales the realm over, besides only Lord Borindin.
The cheers from the docks below rose as his form became clearer and clearer. This was the sight of a lifetime. The Prince of Cellinor himself, come to Areia’s Landing. It was something to tell children, and grandchildren, to mention over an ale. Over every ale.
“An ocean away and I can’t keep this asshole from chasing me down,” sighed Iricah.
“I take it you know this Prince?” asked Frank. Iricah could never tell, but whenever Frank got a bit sarcastic it struck her that his eyes burned a little in their corners. She wondered if maybe the teifling side of him was where the humor came from.
“Old boyfriend of yourssssss?” Asked Thrak. He remembered how Frank had teased him about the female warrior he had fought in single combat. It didn’t strike him as funny. Thrak said it simply because he picked up on common phrases sometimes.
The others looked at Iricah. She didn’t answer, instead staring out at the approaching ship and regal form of the Prince at the prow. She let out a disgusted sigh and disappeared back into the manor.
“I guess that’s a yes,” said Frank. The corners of his eyes flashed red.
“You are delayed, m’Lord,” said the dockmaster. “How was your journey in from Silver Shore?”
“We had company,” he answered, “Did my griffon not make it to shore?”
“The entire flock is roosting out in the courtyard, Your Majesty,” answered the man. He bowed.
“Excellent,” said the prince. He nodded to the man, waving for him to rise. Then, he extended a hand. The dockmaster looked around confused. Then he too extended a hand. The prince took it happily and shook it vigorously. “I’ve always wanted to visit the isles,” said the prince. “Here, there are no nobles. Only able bodied men.”
Before the dockmaster could close his mouth, the prince swept his cloak back, and made his way up the cobblestrewn streets to the manor. His security detail ran to catch up.
Commander Genoran entered the manor. The staff had seen him approach and so Nana bowed, but gave a little swipe to a last bit of dust. Before him, stood the Lords of the Manor, and of Areia’s Landing. As per Celn custom, each was present save one. Iricah.
“I have heard things about you lot. My father tells me you saved him in Silvershore. More than he actually. The account of the ordeal was….” his face belied a small grin, “interesting to hear.”
“I believe there is another Lord of this manor. I do not see him. Is he occupied elsewhere.”
“Indeed, m’Lord,” said Frank. “She will no doubt return shortly.
Genoran nodded. “I see.” There was something in his eyes. Whatever it was, he didn’t show more than a slight annoyance. He moved a hand to dismiss the other attendants. They rose and left, leaving Thrak, Zy’an and Frank alone with the prince.
“I know you have met my friends, Taryn, Mesilla, Bolvist. They are currently setting up their quarters with your staff. Taryn has assumed command of Naval forces and will punish the Sassers via battle soon I wish to extend to you my help building a port here for his majesty’s navy, this will shore up resources and a rendezvous point to then make incursions if the battle is successful. We plan to launch an offensive! All of this is with the utmost secrecy and urgency. We also seek a group of stealthy individuals. expendable in nature. Portia Treeleaf, who I believe you are also acquainted with will lead this expedition. Her job is to investigate ties to the sea elves, the lizard folk and the Atauhn. Can you tell me the location of Ulua, their princess?”
Zy’an gave the prince the news that Ulua had gone missing. The prince did not seem pleased.
“For myself, I am here looking for no less than my brother, and half the Western Fleet. We have it under good authority they are to be taken to the place that Radagar, my advisor, has informed us of. His discovery is like that of a miracle. We believe the troops have limited time, and will on the equinox be loaded onto the larger Sasser ships and taken to the Circle where they will be ritualized, connecting to the host. This will swell it’s ranks condemning these noble men and women to a horrid doom. I plan to make sure that does not happen.”
They waited. The prince poured himself a drink from the side table.
“Do you….do you still maintain the light of Yggrassil?”
Frank answered, “It was taken from us. Along with Areia. Our companion. A giant dragon.”
“That is a terrible blow. It is only more imperative that we find the light. For without it, your rise is….,” but the prince seemed lost in thought now. He lowered his voice, it grew grave with concern. “The Host is believed to be in possession of one of the Lanthorns of Yggrissil as well.” He downed his drink, changing the subject. “The Challenge of Champions is to be held in Cellinor this year. The last as you know was held at Black Hollow, just before Lord Taryn and Andril were taken. The King has requested you to voyage East in the Spring. Should you wish to join his majesty. He would be most obliged. If the Light holds, and our wars in the South, East and here in the West go well, my father wishes you to celebrate with him. If not, your attendance at the War Council will be appreciated.”
The prince walked to Zy’an. Zy’an stood waiting, unblinking.
“My advisor was once connected to the host. For some reason, the connection would not hold. It was never supposed to be that way. He was supposed to join. He found myself on a scouting mission to the East. That is where his memory is lost, found by Lord Canton and Mistress Portia. What he knows is like a dream. He believes there is a place. He believes it is the place that Garondin will be now.n Do you know of the place that he means?”
“I know it not,” answered Zy’an. He said nothing more.
Genoran thought about the response for a moment. Then, he smiled, speaking to them all. “You seek the path. I can tell. My father knew this. But by the Light you are now on the path!” He clapped, “Bless me but I’ve been lucky enough to know your like. If all men and women could be so lucky….”
The prince walked to the side table once more and poured another drink. “My but the reports of this Kill Devil’s Rum are not exaggerated. Good stuff.”
“Areia likessss it too,” grunted Thrak.
The prince walked back to the outer doors. “A wise mentor once told me that it is not who we are, but what we do…”
That matters,” finished Frank.
“Aye,” said Genoran. “Thanks for the help Frank. You know, my father tells me that you may know something of our enemy? Is that true?”
“Aye,” said Frank.
“Good. If we free Ulua’s tribe, we gain the island’s natives as an army. The Ata’ah pledge themselves to her. We may work to free her peoples, but without her I do not know that we can bring them to our fold against the fight to come! The lizardfolk natives will aid us.
“Perhaps, if we too do our part, we will defeat this enemy after all. It is a pleasure to meet you. Please give my regards to your archeaologist.”