Book Two: The Lone and Level Land
CHAPTER ONE:
“We Came, We Saw, We Rocked...”

Berrona Umberselunday

An account by Arek

Fiat Lux

As Arek clambered down the last rung of the slightly swaying ladder of the airship, he was already deep in thought and never noticed how he got from the courtyard to his room in Uncle Ogre’s Monocle. The last few minutes, not to mention his afternoon meeting with his cousin Leonid, had given much to ponder. Arek removed his armour and thought of Domaldi again. His heart still ached as he thought of his friend’s lonely demise. What a strange and sometimes cruel course Fate has laid out for all of them. No one has been spared so far, no one. Tis a high price we are all paying here.

After having lit a small lampion on his small end table, Arek sat on the floor to meditate and offer a prayer to the Soulforger. His thoughts then started to flow to more immediate concerns. Corporal Pickett, Arek still had trouble imagining the honest but green militiaman as Grand Inquisitor Quinn, had given his group of friends much to think about. While Arek knew and deeply felt that their quest was linked to the gods, Pickett had revealed the dangerous aspects of what they had gotten involved in. Domaldi’s fate had underscored the political power plays they were now part of. And that was just within the knights of Hieroneous. Magnus Mohr did not want to see Tallum return from where she had been taken and would take the necessary steps to prevent this. On the other hand, Woden was determined to get his “apprentice” back and the party had struck a deal which left them no choice. Arek grimaced. It’s not enough to be part of a godly mystery, we have to be involved with two of the Sunterranse Federation’s most powerful and influential men, as well as being sought by the Keepers and the Unspoken. I do not like the odds here.

Arek got up and slid into bed, still deep in thought. But instead of Woden or Pickett/Quinn, he was thinking of Dakar pipe weed his uncle Ulgar used to smoke. He imagined Ulgar’s shield riddled with holes. Frankie’s tale about her previous research endeavours had tied in with Leonid’s account of Ulgar’s death. Again a connection I wish we could have avoided, Arek whispered to himself. Could the Horde have much more of these weapons? Were the Federation, the Maddock and his people facing a danger beyond any previous war or battle? How could Arek and his friends help? Clearly Frankie knows of these weapons, perhaps she can devise a way to counter their effectiveness? But that would have to wait. Arek blew out the lampion. Their priority was the South and time was running out. Another day in Cauldron for supplies and information and they would get closer to Tallum and perhaps to other answers.

***

If Arek had been worried the previous following their meeting with Pickett/Quinn, this time he was shaking as he closed the door to his room. We are on a quest to save the sanity of a God! Moradin help us. Arek sat down, sighed, and stared at his readied pack on the floor. They would be leaving shortly for House Golgadin where Tiberio and his band would perform. But he had to take a few minutes to digest what Nimbus had just told them. Surely there are others on Sentar better qualified for this task? There are certainly more powerful warriors, wizards, and…priests. Arek’s meeting with Leonid had given him a sense of purpose, a mission that he thought he could handle. Rebuilding the Claimers and helping the Maddock was feasible. But this? How the blazes were they supposed to help St-Cuthbert? How to find him? Tallum was the key to many things it seemed. The earthly political implications seemed very insignificant now to Arek. Light was being shed on their adventure and he could see what they had to do. But he still had his doubts. He sighed again and took his pack. First things first. Out of Cauldron and then we shall see.

For the moment, Arek had to prepare mentally for his next task: security for the band. He would have to ask Tiberio a few questions along the way about how security was handled in previous shows and tours. The only reference to band security he vaguely remembered was an ugly outcome a few years back at the Altamont Chariot Track when things had gotten out of control with some members of the Nine Hells Angels. He hoped things would go smoothly this time. But considering how things had gone in the last few weeks, it probably wouldn’t.

Next!
Frankie Finds Another Clockwork

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