The NUAC Headquerters

Greeting to all the NUAC members. I hope one day to be fighting along side you on a front against Illuminat, Sungods, and Grimoire. My slogan is from the shadows of others we shall rise and conquer. Together we will march up the front door step of every Overlord from here to Pesty, and then the head of the snake himself. Who is with me?
The NUAC Headquerters

Greetings. Please, please come in. The only way you recieve this message is if you are a member of the Shadow Rangers Coven on Thirst of Night. And if you would please, sign into chat while you are in the lair. Thank you

Working together and cordinating. Get a team of 6 to 9 together, If you would permit, I will send one of my Cptns to you to help train your team with the swarm strike. We just left Blood Red, AC2 Overlord, with nothing but a dead gargy in his city, that was a team of six. If we can get the rest of NUAC trained on the swarm strike taticed, then we can set up three or four waves a day of 6 to 9 covens 6 to 9 mbrs strike team. Complete and total seige for as long as we continue to deploy our waves.

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    The Realms of Kios Book one The Mystery of Larna Part 2

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    Xavier Micheals
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    The Realms of Kios Book one The Mystery of Larna Part 2

    Post  Xavier Micheals

    Chapter Seven
    The War is Over
    “Now we may send word to our elders that they may return. After fifteen years, the war is finally over.”
    “Yes Malikie, we have indeed defeated Vestrel. The rest of his forces that are left are sailing out of Jacobs now.”
    “Do you think they will return to Liotta?”
    “I do not know, I do not care, they are no longer in Corsica, and they are no longer destroying our lands.”
    “Do you think we have heard the last of Vestrel?”
    “I do pray so, now leave so I may write my father.”Malikie leaves to head back to Vita as Larkin begins to prepare a letter for his father.
    Dear Father,
    We have fought long and hard. We have lost many good men, but we have prevailed and been victorious. Vestrel and what was left of his army has been forced from Corsica. It is safe for you to return home, and to your throne. I hope to see you soon father.
    In victory we rejoice
    Larkin A. Diarwood.
    Larkin gives this letter to Tannin to take to his father. It will take seventeen days before he returns with any word from Larna. After Tannin leaves Sorna, Larkin orders the laborers of Sorna to go into the kingdom and help the settlers begin to rebuild their villages and farms. It will take some time to return Corsica to what it was before the war. The forests where great oaks once stood are burnt and charred stumps and ash. The grassy plains are carpets of smoldering black ash and amber. Parts of the river flow crimson red with the blood that has soaked the ground.“It will take years to return this land to what it was Larkin.”
    “I know Saphira my love, but Corsica was not built in a day either.”
    “True my love, I’m just thankful that Lander was not harmed.”
    During a three month period with no fighting, Larkin took a wife named Saphira Arkain. They had a son they named Lander that was now the age of a year. He was born on his grandmother Larna’s birthday.
    A New King
    Fifteen days pass, and Tannin returns two days earlier than expected. Tannin has urgency in his pace as he enters the throne room and approaches the young prince Larkin.“Tannin, what is it?”
    “My lord, I have grave news from Larna.”
    “Speak Tannin, tell me your news.”
    “In the cave passage to the city there is twenty empty wagons. Everyone in the city is dead, but has no injuries. There is no sign of a fight or battle everyone lays where they seem to have fallen dead. Men, women, children, animals, everything my lord is dead.”
    “My father and the other elders?”
    “They to as well, dead…..Sire.”
    “Take me to Larna now Tannin so I may see this with my own eyes.”
    Tannin leads the young new king to his father’s hidden city. They arrive in the morning eight days later. They have brought a guard of fifty men with them as well. Larkin sees for himself what Tannin has told him to be true, “Where is my father?”
    “I will take you to him sire. Your father and the other elders are in the orb chamber”
    “Very well. Guards, begin digging graves. This will be the final resting place for all the people of Larna. Including my father and the other elders. I want tombs built for them.”
    “This way sire.”Tannin leads Larkin into the orb chamber, but the orb is no longer there. Only the bodies of the elders, and magic users lye on the floor of the chamber.
    “What is that in Maric’s hand?”
    Tannin pulls the partially translated scroll from the mage’s hand.
    “It is a scroll sire. The untranslated writing matches that which is on the wall.”
    “We will take this to our priests in Sorna. We will see if they can translate the rest of the writing. Now let’s leave this place, and return to Sorna. We will leave the guards to lay the soulless shells of these people to rest.”With the scroll in hand, the new king and his man at arms make their way back to Sorna. With a heavy heart, Larkin tells the sergeant with the guard to bury the bodies and then seal the entrance when they return. Tannin and Larkin head out of the valley.
    A month of time goes by and there is no sign of the garrison left in Larna to lay the bodies to rest. In this time, the priests of Sorna are able to translate the rest of the relics written on the scroll found in Larna.
    In fear that the same fate will happen to anyone who enters Larna, Larkin orders a group of four rangers be posted near the entrance of the passage to Larna and no one be allowed near the entrance. This group of rangers is instructed to kill anything that attempts to enter the cave to the valley. They are instructed to not enter the valley themselves. Entering the valley themselves or allowing anyone to enter will be considered treason and punished by death at the king’s own hands. The city of Larna is lost, never to be occupied by the living again.
    Chapter Eight
    The Lone Survivor
    Twenty Years After The War
    Cuross, the man at arms for king Alexander’s army in Larna was left blind the night of the blinding light that happened when Alexander touched the orb. He started having visions of the dead walking the streets of Larna. These visions begin to drive him mad, so he flees from Corsica. He flees to the realm of Dikiny, and the visions stop. He now is a story teller of the legends of Larna. He tells his stories of Larna in a tavern in the city of Brom.
    Five adventures enter the tavern. Xavier, Galbator, Solara, Terish, and Noric. A band of friends that have excepted Noric into their odd group easily. Xavier is an elven man, Galbator a dwarf, Solara a half-elf, Terish a Halfling, and Noric is a human. They are an odd bunch indeed.“I think I am going to go listen to Cuross’s stories.”
    “Suit yourself Xavier. We have all heard the same stories thousands of times.”
    “Yes Galbator, but they are always a joy to hear, just as are yours for the thousandth time hearing them.”The other four members go to a table and order food and drink. After they eat, they continue to sit and talk amongst themselves. Xavier hears the end of tonight’s story and he heads to the table with his other friends. As he gets closer to the table, he hears Galbator telling a battle story he has heard thousands of times before.
    “And there I was, my body melded into this boulder while the dumb orcs got pushed thru the gorge by my wall of mud.”
    “Sounds like we all need another drink. Otherwise Galbator will never reveal the fact he hid in the boulder because he was naked.”
    “Xavier, that was told to you in confidence you pointy eared trader.”The whole group lets out a hardy chuckle as Xavier heads to the bar to get them all another round of ale. While he is at the bar, a young treasure hunter named Revale comes in and approaches the bar.“Barkeep ale,” Revale orders as he throws a silver piece on the bar.
    “Hello Revale, rob any old ladies’ tombs lately?”
    “Ah, Xavier, been a while old timer. I’m actually on the trail of a greater treasure then any man in Kios has ever laid eyes on.”
    “Are you going to find some way to break into Conreed’s threshold?”
    “No, even I have seen that amount of wealth. It is nothing compared to the treasure I seek now. This treasure is somewhere in the realm of Corsica.”
    “Are you referring to the treasure in the lost city of Larna? That is just some story told by that old blind elf in the corner there. There is no proof that it is or ever was anything more than that.”
    “Then explain this.”
    Revale hands Xavier a gold coin. On one side an elven king on the other side an elven queen. The names Alexander and Larna stamped above the heads.“The man who gave that to me says it is straight from the threshold of the city of Larna.”
    “And who was this man you have received this information and this coin from?”
    “A half-elf named Vestrel. He said he was close to finding the city before the king of Corsica ran him and his search party from the realm.”
    With this, Xavier returns the coin to Revale, and then returns to the table with his friends and ale. Galbator is in the middle of yet another one of his battle stories.
    New Evidence
    “Excuse me my fine vertically challenged friend, excuse my interruption. But, did you all see the young treasure hunter, Revale, come in?”
    Once pointed out, Solara speaks, “What of it, is he pedaling some jewelry he has stolen from an old lady’s grave again?”
    Xavier relays what Revale shared with him to his group of friends.
    “Another foolish treasure hunter seeking a treasure in a city that doesn’t exist, he’ll find the same thing as all the ones before him. A folk tale we all heard as children. There is no Larna, no abundant wealth, and no orb that can give any of that to you. It is but a story made up by that blind elf in the corner.”
    “I don’t know Solara, he has a strange coin. He said he got it from a man named Vestrel who claims to have found the coin in Corsica right before the king’s army forced him from the realm. It has a picture of an elven king and queen on either side of it, and has the names of the king and queen that old blind story teller speaks when he is telling his folk tales of Larna.”
    “Xavier, what is this Larna you speak of.”
    “ Glad you asked young Noric, it is actually what and a who.”
    “Great kid, now I’ll never get to finish my story!”
    “Now Galbator, we’ve heard this one a thousand time. Once the goblins got into just the right spot, you struck your great war hammer of Larimie upon the ground and sent them to their grave as you cast land slide to fill the crater in on top of them.”
    “Buried them alive I did, filthy creatures.”
    Another hardy chuckle was let out by the group as Xavier goes into his story of Larna.
    “Legend has it……” Shortly, Revale comes to the table and asks if he may listen in to the rest of the story. The group welcomes him to set and listen. After the story, Revale asked if there might be some kind of writings of history of Larna. Xavier offered to go with him to the library to see if they could find anything. After Revale ascends up the stairs to retire for the night, Galbator speaks out.
    “Be careful what you go looking for old friend, you may find things you wish you had not. Things that should remain where they have been buried.”
    In disgust, Solara speaks up.” Not that again Galbator!”
    “ What is that about Solara?”
    “The legend says that Larna became lost only five decades ago. This old dwarf swears he was there as a boy when his father, a cleric, went to Larna to help the cleric there translate the relics that are supposedly found on the walls of the orb chamber. Supposedly when that blind story teller left, and the city became lost, Cuross there entrusted Galbator’s father with the scrolls that had the translation of the relics on it.”
    “Don’t forget the map my uncle Sabastian hid leading to the entrance.”
    “Supposed map you sawed off runt.”All but Galbator chuckled. He had started mumbling under his breath as he often does. About this time, the old blind story teller, Cuross, comes to the table. He puts his hand on Galbator’s shoulder and speaks to the group.
    “This Dwarf speaks the truth. There is only one map in existence, and it was in my journal. His uncle Sabastian removed it and hid it somewhere in the city of Sorna. The only literary writings you will find of Larna is my journal. That witch you will not find anywhere in Dikiny.
    You will have to travel to the city of Bravado in the realm of Corsica. In the library there, you will find my journal. There are clues left by Sabastian in my journal as to the location of the map. Mind you, the city of Larna is better lost and never found again. It holds great evil, death, and destruction. Nothing good can come of its rediscovery. But you may do what you will with this information. But know you have been fairly warned.” He turns and walks out of the tavern. The group looks around the table at each other with a dazed confused look on their faces. Noric is the first to speak.
    “So are we taking Revale to Corsica?”
    The group chuckles and Xavier says,” I’m up for an adventure.”
    “It would be nice to see my homeland again.”
    “Why not, there isn’t much we haven’t seen of Dikiny. The change of scenery may be nice.”
    “Even you Terish, the silent one speaks on this. You are all fools. I will go to the harbor master in the morning and acquire places on the first merchant ship heading for Corsica.”

    Chapter Nine
    The Return to Corsica
    This now band of six board a merchant ship, the Chelsea, to travel twenty five days to Corsica. The merchant captain informs them that he is putting in at Jacobs. They will have to travel by mount or foot if they wish to go to Sorna. Xavier asks him how far from Sorna, and Bravado is Jacobs. He informs Xavier it is roughly twelve days travel to Bravado, and six days travel to Sorna. Xavier asks if the people in Corsica are welcoming of out realmers. The captain assures him that he will not find a more hospitable place then all of Corsica. The captain tells him they practically give an outrealmer the full first class treatment, as if they were royalty themselves. This sounds very interesting, and unnerving to Xavier all at the same time.
    For Solara and Noric, the trip seems to take much longer than twenty five days. Neither of the two have ever left Dikiny. Galbator spots something familiar as the North Western shore line of Corsica comes into view.
    “There it is, home sweet home. It has been years since I have seen the land. I wander if it is closer to being the Corsica it was before the war as I remember it from boyhood.”
    “Calm down Galbator, your rocking the whole ship!”
    “No Solara, as we have told you a thousand times on this trip, it is the ocean that is causing the ship to sway you land loving pointy eared idiot.”
    “If my stomach was not a knot at the moment, you would pay for your comments you sawed off runt.”
    The ship pulls into the dock and Solara and Noric are the first two off. Solara jumps over the side of the ship as soon as it is close enough to the dock for her to clear the gap. Galbator comes down the boarding ramp laughing at her. The band of six makes their way from the dock to the middle of town, and goes to the nearest tavern. They get rooms and inquire of the bar keep as to where they can get horses, tackle, a wagon, and general goods so they have rations for their travel to Bravado. They will travel there first to retrieve the journal of Cuross. As the group sets at a table to discuss their travel plans, Xavier ask them to all dibby up on the gold, and he will find the merchants to purchase the supplies they will need. “Excuse me wagon smith, I am in the market for a pack horse, and a cart large enough to hold twelve days worth of provisions.”
    “I have the perfect rig for ya mate. She’s a twelve footer that seats three on the bench. Has a ten foot tongue. If need be I can change the double tongue out for a single horse tongue. That part is up to you.”
    “Is there a price difference depending on which tongue?”
    “Oh, about fifty gold mate, the price difference between one pack horse, and two of them, and of course the cost of a second yoke.”
    “The single horse tongue will suffice. Will a single horse be enough to pull a twelve foot wagon with say up to eighteen days of rations for six people?”
    “If you only put one guy in the drive seat, sure, but I wouldn’t go more than about four hours at a time with more than one person in the seat.”
    “Sounds fair enough, how much do I owe you?”
    “For the cart harness, common cart, large storage chest x2, canvas tarp, reins, and pack horse your total is four hundred eighty two gold and thirty silver.”
    Xavier pays the man with exact change. Between the six of them, There is only thirty two hundred gold total to be spent. So he needs to spare as much as possible. After hitching the wagon, he ask the wagon smith were the closest general merchant is located. “Oh that’s easy mate, take the alley down two buildings. You’ll have to walk around to the front to get in. But, they would prefer you to have your wagon pulled up to the big double back doors. Easier to load ya up it is.”
    “Thank you, you have been most helpful. I may be coming to see you again soon.”
    “I’ll be here, live just up the stairs.”

    Have We Met?
    Xavier gets on the wagon and goes the two buildings down and puts the wagon directly in front of the big double doors. He walks around to the front of the building and enters the shop.“Welcome to Jacobs’ This and That, what can I do ya for?”
    “Hello, I need twelve weeks of dried rations total, five pounds of figs, nuts, raisins, and a two hundred fifty gal water barrel. As far as consumables go, then I need twelve days of firewood, an iron pot, two hooded lanterns, three flasks of lamp oil, fifty foot of silk rope, flint and steel, a pavilion sized tent, one small tent and four dozen sheaf arrows. And that will do it in less you sell material components as well.”
    “Your total with me will come to three hundred twenty nine gold, seventy four silver, and one copper. For your material components, for casting, you will need to walk thru that beaded door there and speak with my wife. She will be able to fix you up with just about anything you could possibly need.”
    “Thank you, do I need to help you load the supplies into my wagon, I parked in front of the double doors in the alley.”
    “No my sons and I will have you loaded in about thirty minutes. If you get my wife to talking, you will be there twice that time.” The man turns and walks to the back room with a grin on his face. “Larse, Damon got an order to load. Hop to boys.”
    “Yes father” the two boys reply in unison.
    Xavier walks thru the beaded curtain into the other side of the shop. “Hello” he calls, and a tiny little voice answers back. “Hello Xavier, what can a get for you today? Perhaps a pound or two of the animal scales for your scale skin spell, or some clay for the creature illusion spell you have been dying to try since you learned it last spring. Or maybe a few yards of animal fur for your transformation spell. What will it be today?”
    Xavier looks at the woman amazed. “Do we know each other from another time or place.”
    “No, I am Ardriena. I know all, see all, and tell all. The quest you and your friends are embarking on is a dangerous one. Your dwarven friend is right. Some things should be left buried where they are.”
    “Well, since you already know what I have come for, how much will it be?”
    “Let’s see for two lbs of scales, one pound of clay, and two yards of grey wolf fur it will be one hundred eighty gold.”
    Xavier pays the exact change amount again. “Here, this is on the house, tell your Half-elf “friend” to mix this in a cup of water and drink it. Her upset ocean stomach will settle in about five minutes after she drinks it. And then she can clobber the sawed off runt.”
    “Thank you Ardriena. I will definitely come back to see you before we leave Corsica.”
    “Only if you head this warning Xavier, Do not try and enter the city of Larna, or do not be in the city of Larna after the sun has set and the moons have risen to their highest point in the sky.”
    “So Larna does truly exist? Where is it? How do we…..”
    “I will not tell you those things. It would be the same as signing your death warrants myself. Head my warning Xavier, and see that the rest of your companions head it as well. Good travels and my Nartok be with you all.”
    She turns and disappears thru a door in the back of the shop. Xavier turns and goes out the door. As he rounds the corner of the building into the alley, he sees the two boys strapping the tarp down over the wagon. “You’re all set mister. Be safe now, and watch the road south of Thai. Heard there is a group of bandits robbing anyone they get the chance to.”
    “Thank you boys, I will keep that in mind.” He throws each one of the boys a silver piece as a tip for loading the wagon. He returns to the tavern and secures the wagon in the alley behind it. As he walks into the tavern, Galbator looks at him with a strange look.
    Xavier snaps at him, “Get out of my head runt!”
    “Xavier, is everything alright?”
    “Don’t let that old witch Ardriena get to you Xavier. She has been pulling that on everyone who passes thru that see can tell is in search of what we have come to find. A mage she is, but she uses her power at times to interfere more than assist.”
    “Galbator, how would you know this?”
    “I had a run in with her when I was in training. She too was in training at the time. Though, she never had to learn the mind read spell, she seem to have that gift naturally, she did learn quickly how to use it for manipulation of others.”
    “So what of her warning?”
    “That, yes Xavier, head that at all cost.”
    “What warning?”
    Xavier tells the others the words of the old human woman. They all look at each other and kind of just stare. They all decide to retire, and worry about buying the riding horse and tackle in the morning. They all awake at the same time in the morning and meet in the tavern down stairs for breakfast.“Eat up boys, its dry rations and whatever we kill from here on for a while.”
    “I did get ingredients to make a trail mix also Solara.”
    “Great, might as well just strap on a feed bag and eat with the horses.”
    The group chuckles at this. After they eat, Solara asks the bar keep where they can go to buy riding horses and tackle. He points them in the direction of the stable at the south end of town. The group heads that direction with Xavier bringing up the rear with the wagon and supplies. “Sure hope this place don’t cost an arm and a leg.”
    “We’re not in Dikiny Solara, it wouldn’t seem as though this realms tax policies is quite as strong as that of Dikiny’s.”
    “Xavier, how much of that thirty two hundred did you end up spending?”
    “About fifteen hundred less then I would have for the same twelve day journey in Dikiny.”
    “Hmm, a lot cheaper then home.”They find the stable and the stable master. Solara inquires about four full size riding houses and one pony, the pony for Galbator of course.
    “I actually prefer to walk.”
    “Okay sir, sorry that will be just four full size riding horses, and the tackle to go with them. The runt prefers to walk. ”
    When the stable master appears from around the corner, the dwarven man speaks, “Very well, four riding horses, four bits and bridles, four block and tackles, four riding saddles, and only two sets of large saddle bags. Your total will come to five hundred seventy two gold pieces. And you may go and pick your horses. They are all broke and ready to ride.”
    Solara a little embarrassed turns and slowly walks out of the front door of the stables. Galbator begins to laugh the hardiest laugh the group has heard in years. Xavier pays the man, and they head out to the stable to pick their horses..

    Chapter Ten
    Thai
    The first village they come to is Thai. It is a peaceful little village with not much in it. It has a tavern, a general merchant, and a few cottages kind of spread out. It does appear that at one time it was a much bigger village.“Barkeep, we need six rooms, and six meals and drinks.”
    “The rooms are five silver apiece. The meals and drinks will be two gold apiece.”
    “So what is the name of this little village?”
    “This is Thai, and it didn’t always used to be this small. Our village was once as large as Jacobs and Bravado. Until the war that is.”
    “Do you speak of the war five decades ago.”
    “That’s the one. Say, where are you and your friends from? I don’t recognize a one of ya. And since you came from the north, I know you are coming out of the port city of Jacobs. Know most everyone who comes thru here from those parts. Bein’s we are the first village for days.”
    “We came from Dikiny. We have friends in Bravado and Sorna we are going to visit.”
    “Ah Nartok, more of ya, You always have the same things to say. Damn that Cuross. Why can’t he just forget those old stories and let the legends die.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “You all are here lookin for the city of Larna. I see probably twenty groups like yours a year. Always the same old thing, they have friends in Sorna to see, the Bravado thing is a new one though.”
    “So why do they always say Sorna and nothing about Bravado.”
    “That crazy old coot Cuross tells them that hidden somewhere in the city of Sorna is a map that leads to the entrance of the lost city of Larna. But good luck trying to get into the walls of the palace, he doesn’t tell them that it is within the palace walls, not just the city walls. These days, the gates to Sorna are open always. The gate to the palace walls, well, in less you have an appointment by personal invite from King Larkin himself, you aren’t getting inside the palace walls.”
    “Why is the king of such a hospitable land so stingy about allowing people inside the palace walls. You would think he would welcome you to visit the palace.”
    “He used to, until about five years ago. Someone said that he started receiving letters of a threatening nature from someone in his past. The letters said that this person will be back and he will have his revenge. Since then, it takes a personal invite by the king himself to get into the palace walls much less the doors of the palace. Then, if you do get lucky enough to get in the palace gate, all your weapons, even your widdlen knife, has to be checked with the royal guard in the shack outside the gate. Somethin has had King Larkin scared, and scared good.”
    “Thank you for the information. I will have to keep that all in mind.”
    Solara turns from the bar and goes to join her friends and relay the information the bar tender just gave to her. “So you all still want to go thru with this?”
    “Of course Solara, more wealth then you will ever see, then anyone in all of Kios has EVER seen. Of course I want to.”
    “I didn’t ask you Revale, it is up to the rest of MY friends. If they say no, then you go it alone from here treasure hunter. Well, everyone?”
    “I’m in”
    “Me too. I may be able to get us that invite. After all, my father still resides somewhere behind those palace walls.”
    “ I’m with you guys. No way am I going to try and go anywhere without you guys in a strange land.”
    “Xavier, how say you?”
    “If I left you and Galbator alone Solara you would kill each other in a day. We continue on.”
    “Fools, runt you had better be able to get us into that palace, or I will string you up myself.”
    “Don’t you worry your pointy little ears humelf, my father hasn’t seen me in two decades, and it will be a breeze.”

    The Followers
    The group finishes their meals and retires for the night. Xavier however seems to be having trouble getting to sleep. He gets up and goes outside to pace and think as he does when this happens from time to time. He hears something from the side of the tavern where he secured the wagon. He walks to the corner and piers around it. “Who goes there!” he shouts at two figures that have their heads and hands up under his tarp. The two figures start to run when Xavier cast a spell of hold persons. It is as if he has just glued the two peoples feet to the ground. He walks up to them, “May I ask why you was getting into something that does not belong to you?”
    “How do you know it doesn’t belong to us old man!”
    “Well for two reasons really. First, when I said something to you, you attempted to run. Second, and probably the most important reason, because I am who parked that wagon there this afternoon when my friends and I arrived into town. So, I ask again, why were you getting into something that does not belong to you?”
    “I told you we should have just kept walking. But no, you just had to try and see if the treasure hunters had already found anything. We’ve been following them since Jacobs, and you just knew we missed seeing them find something.”
    “Shouldn’t you two be helping your father mind the store?”
    “We wanted to come with you, but we knew if we asked you, you would say no just like all the others before you. We have heard stories of Larna since we can remember. We have set out to find it a few times on our own the last five years, but always come up short of anything. We thought this time instead of asking, we would just follow, and actually find something.”
    “And all the stories of the others that have come here to find Larna and came up empty handed as well I’m sure you have heard. So what makes you think you stand any better of a chance following us then any of those groups?”
    “Honestly mister, because of what you ordered for your supplies. All those guys always ordered only three days of rations. They already knew they were going to Sorna first, and that Thai was in between. After we loaded twelve weeks of rations, we knew that you had to know something they didn’t. Then when we over heard the half-elf inside talking to Malice about Bravado, we were certain you know something the others didn’t. But, we didn’t know if you had found something between here and Jacobs that told you to go to Bravado also and not just Sorna.”
    “Very intuitive the two of you are. How old are you?”
    “I am Larse, I am twenty one, and handy with a bow. I know how to ride, and ride well. I can also fight with a long sword decent enough to hold my own.”
    “And I am Damon, I am sixteen, and I can do this.” The boy points a finger at a stack of hay bales in the alley, and they ignite into flames. Xavier cast water cloud over the top of the fire and dowses it out.
    “Impressive. None the less, I cannot permit you to travel with us. I do not want to be held responsible if something happens to either of you. I would not be able to face your parents.”
    “We knew that, we asked our mother. She said it was up to Xavier.”
    “I am Xavier. I will have to discuss it with my companions. If one of them says no, you two are heading home straight away.”
    “Yes sir.”
    “And we don’t have the extra rations to feed you on the journey.”
    “Yes you do, I loaded an extra twenty eight days worth. And two hundred and fifty gallons of water, well, that will last a group of fifty soldiers a month and a half.”
    With an eyebrow cocked towards Larse, “Intuitive indeed. Can you pay for a room?”
    “Already done, and our horses are stabled. We was here about an hour ahead of you getting here.”
    Xavier chuckles, and turns to walk away.
    “Hey Xavier, would you mind.”
    Xavier snaps his fingers and the boys can move freely again. They follow him into the tavern. The three of them head to their rooms. Xavier is able to sleep peacefully for the remainder of the night. The two boys and Xavier are the first to come down for breakfast in the morning. They are setting at a table eating, and talking. Solara and Terish appear next. As they come toward the table, Xavier is letting out a hardy chuckle at something one of the two boys had said.“Good morning Xavier. Who are your new friends?”
    “Good morning Solara, this is Larse, and Damon. They are the store keeper in Jacobs' sons. Seems they have been following us. I caught them snooping in the wagon last night when I was having trouble trying to sleep.”
    “Sounds like a couple of boys after my own heart.” A voice comes from the stairs.
    “Good morning Revale,…..”
    “And you set and joke with the two little thieves. I would have had their fingers as charms on a new necklace by now.”
    “Now Solara, they were not planning on stealing anything. I have talked to them, and neither of them lie about their intentions. Calm down, and have breakfast.”
    “Only because you say they can be trusted Xavier. But I had better not catch them near my coin purse.”
    Xavier, the two boys, and Revale all chuckle. “What is with all this pointy eared laughing so early in the morning?
    I swear, you elven folk are more chipper then a forest full of wood fairies on the first morning of Contra.”
    “Good morning to you too Galbator, so nice to see you are your chipper morning self this morning.”Galbator begins mumbling under his breath. “You must excuse my dwarven friend boys, he isn’t always this pleasant first thing in the morning.”
    The whole group chuckle, and Galbator just scowls at Xavier. “I’ll give you chipper you over grown fairy.”
    Xavier tells the boys to step outside while he talks to the group about them traveling with them. He explains to the group what the conversation from the night before was, and he also tells the group that the boys left Jacobs three hours after they did, and still arrived in Thai an hour ahead of them. He thinks that they would be a good asset as guides. Xavier would also like to teach Damon a thing or two.“I’m not babysitting them. They can come with us, and help in whatever way they can, but I’m not their keeper. Just because I am the only female here, don’t think I have any kind of a motherly instinct.”
    The group chuckles at Solara’s statement, and they all agree to let the boys travel with them. Xavier gets the boys who are patiently waiting on the porch steps of the tavern. He tells them that it has been decided that they may travel with the group, but that they must also hold their own, and pull their own weight. The boys agree, and rejoin the group inside. “You know, if we cut crossed country a little we can shave almost two days off the travel to Bravado.”
    “With the wagon I don’t know it would be possible for us to travel cross country Larse.”
    “It is Xavier. There is a wagon trail thru the woods that the farmers of Dowel use to get their goods to Jacobs. Once we get past the forest, it is all hills and open plains. I’ve traveled the way plenty with my father taking supplies to Bravado.”
    “Very well, we will travel cross country. Anything to help us save time, see Solara, they are a help already and we haven’t even left town yet.”
    “Like I said, I’m not babysitting.”The group lets out a chuckle as they walk out the door of the tavern. They all go to the stables to retrieve their mounts, the group of eight now ride starting out on the road leading North East out of town.
    “Thought you said you were going to lead us cross country boy.”
    “Yes Solara, we must travel the road for about half a day. We will be at the trail to go cross country by dinner time tonight. We can camp there and then go on in the morning. Of course that is if you approve.”
    “That one has a bit of wit to him doesn’t he Xavier.”
    “Yes Solara, you two should get along splendidly.”Solara grins, and prays no one sees her do it. Xavier chuckles, he canters the wagon up to be even with Solara’s horse. “He is the same age as you my daughter.” He chuckles as he rides on past her. She straightens her face quickly as he rides past her, and then turns her head back in the direction of Larse, and gets a kind of half grin expression again.

    Thru The Woods,
    And Over The Hills.
    They reach the wagon trail leading cross country at dusk, just as Larse had told Solara they would. Xavier and the men start setting up the pavilion sized tent while Solara sets up her small tent. Once the tents are set up, Xavier prepares a meal, and they all set around the camp fire talking far into the night. They retire to their tents a little past one am. Around three am, Solara comes into the pavilion tent and wakes the men.
    “There is something circling the camp.”Everyone jumps to their feet, and gets armor on. They grab their weapons, and out into the camp they go. Damon is the first to say anything as they all watch for an outline of the presence circling their camp.
    “Dire Wolves. Four of them, no make that five.”
    “They must have smelt the food cooking earlier in the night. And now they have come to scavenge.”
    “So if we just let them eat our left over dinner, they will go and leave us alone?”
    “Oh no Galbator, now that they know we are here, Dwarf is their favorite meal.”
    “Not this Dwarf, by the power of Larimie.” Galbator raises his hammer above his head in readiness to strike.
    “Light of Amora” Xavier cast his spell, and the whole camp is bright as day. In front of the group are five dark grey and black wolves, each standing six foot at their shoulders on all fours. Their teeth bared, as they snarl and drool rolls from the corners of their mouths. Terish and Solara both ready their bows with arrows, and Noric stands poised with his battle axe prepared for the wolves’ first charge. Revale stands trembling with the tip of his broad sword in the dirt. Larse is next to Noric with a long sword that has a blue tinted blade. Young Damon holds his hands apart with a ball of fire dancing between them. All at once one of the wolves lets out a deafening bark type howl and the wolves begin to charge.
    Terish and Solara let arrows fly that strike their targets true and an explosive impact knocks two of the wolves to the ground. Larse charges a third and makes a successful called shot to the wolves’ neck delivering a blow with his blue sword that removes the wolves head. Damon releases his fire ball, and the fourth and fifth wolf both dodge it, Noric catches one of them in the stomach with his wooden battle axe that tears thru the wolf’s gut like paper.
    The fifth wolf, the leader of the pack, makes it to Galbator who delivers a blow to the side of the head with his hammer. The wolf falls to the ground for a moment, and then gets to his feet and lunges at Galbator. “Magic Missiles” Xavier casts a second spell and five missiles strike the wolf in his side. “Flame Arrow” Damon cast a second spell and hits his target this time with a flaming dart to the side of the wolf’s head. Larse comes running toward the wolf, as he leaps into the air he yells, “Talok Kaloose.” And his sword seems to begin to glow a bright blue. As he delivers his blow to the wolf’s neck, an explosive impact not only takes the wolf’s head off, but it incinerates it into dust.
    The group shaken turns and looks at one another. A deep hardy chuckle starts to come from the camp site in rejoicing victory. “It would seem you were correct and not exaggerating your sword skills Larse.”
    “No, I just didn’t tell you what long sword I wield.”
    “Let’s go back to bed. We have a ways to go tomorrow. The stench of these five will bring ten. They feed on their own when they can’t find any other food.” Xavier goes to one of the corpses and pulls out his knife. He skins about two yards of this dire wolf’s fur and tucks it into his bag of holding.
    The group returns to their tents and goes to sleep. This was the first time the original five friends have had any kind of confrontation with any kind of creature. They were shocked by what it was they defeated, but as always after a fight, they chuckled in victory with the knowledge they live to fight another day.
    As Solara walks past Revale on the way to her tent she says to him, “You can put your sword away now grave robber, not that it did any of us much good with the tip of it in the dirt. Next time, if you aren’t going to wield it and fight, just find somewhere to hide and stay out of the rest of our way. Or I will run you thru with your own sword.”
    “Solara, enough, go back to bed! We have a long journey ahead of us in the morning.”
    “You’re lucky Xavier is here to save ……..”
    “SOLARA!”She walks on past him with a look of disgust on her face. A man who wills not fight or that freezes up when faced with a challenge is a waste of skin to her, no matter what the race. And if her father had not been there to save the grave robber’s hide, she probably would have carried on until she worked herself into frenzy and taken Revale’s sword from him and ran him thru where he stood.
    “Revale, get back in this tent and go to bed.”
    In the morning when they group awakes, they understand what stench Damon was referring to. The smell of the dead wolves burns their eyes and puts a strange taste in their mouths. “We need to get as far from here as we can before night fall. Xavier, if you have any incense you would be wise to leave a pile burning on the beginning of the trail we take from here. Otherwise they will track the scent of the horses and we will have twice as many to contend with tonight.”
    “I understand Larse. I will leave a good sized pile burning.”
    Xavier makes of pile of the scented powder he has left that is about eight inches tall and a foot in diameter. As soon as he gets the wagon past the pile, he simply flicks a finger towards the pile and it ignites and begins to smolder. The group takes out across the grassy plain. They can see the forest that has medium sized and semi large trees growing in it now. Closer to the center it looks like much larger oaks have made it to full maturity. “That looks a lot better than I remember it looking right after the war and right before I left this realm.”

    Ironic
    “Yes, the forests have begun growing much more densely then they were. It may have actually been a blessing that the creature army who attack Corsica built the grass lands and forests. Even the farmers have had very abundant crops since all the regrowth started. I have even heard some of the farmers when they are selling their crops in the trade office thank Vestrel and his creature army.”
    “Excuse me Larse, did you just say Vestrel?”
    “Yes, that was the Half-elf controller of the orc, ogre, and urgal army that raided these lands to start the war. Legend says he was here to eliminate two family bloodlines that had wronged him shortly before he overtook Liotta. The off spring of the two men that wronged him came here and built Corsica. The kings Alexander Diarwood, and Richard Sartan, they had siblings with them as well, I forget the names, but it was a man and a woman.”
    “What else can you tell us of the legends you have heard here?” Xavier asks, as he now glares at Revale.
    “Well, it’s said that shortly after Vestrel and his army of creatures invaded Corsica, King Alexander had a group of his rangers go in search of caves and caverns they could go to until Vestrel grew tired of looking for them and left Corsica. The rangers only found one cave, and it wasn’t large enough to build a city in. But the valley it opens into in was vast enough for a city the size of Sorna.
    In the few months before the king and his other royal friends went to start the construction of the hidden city, about forty percent of the Corsican women were struck by a strange illness and passed. The king named his hidden city Larna, after his wife. Then as the royal leaders, the true kings and lord and lady, made their way to the hidden city, they put their sons in their place in the throne rooms of the four palaces. Alexander and Richard even told their four sons that took the places on the throne to use their mother maiden names.”
    “Alexander and Richard was the only on with offspring?”
    “Yes, the lord of Leon and the Lady of Vita never married, nor had offspring. So four of the six sons between Alexander and Richard, took the place on the thrones of Corsica. It’s said that Alexander did this in hopes that Vestrel would get discouraged not find any elders in Corsica with the Diarwood or Sartan name, and he would leave and take his creature army with him.
    But Prince Larkin, Alexander’s oldest son and on the throne of Sorna still to this day, was visited by a refugee from Liotta that was able to tell the prince of Vestrel’s plan. Even after Prince Larkin and Prince Malikie revealed there true identity and started pushing Vestrel and his creature army out of Corsica, Vestrel and his army never even attempted to take the walls of any of the palaces.
    It’s said that fifteen days after the war ended, the true kings and the lord and lady was found dead in the city of Larna. No one has since attempted to settle the city. Of course, they would have to find it before they could attempt to settle it. Three people for sure that still calls Corsica home know the location of Larna, and how to get to it. But two of them have locked themselves away in the palace of Sorna, and the third will not speak to anyone who even slightly breaths the words, lost city, Larna, Alexander, or abundant wealth.”
    “That is very interesting, would you agree Revale?”
    “Yes Xavier, I would have to say I do, strange and ironic really.”
    “Ironic indeed,” The rest of the group is far ahead of the three, Larse, Xavier, and Revale, so these three are the only three who hears Larse’s tale of Larna, and the rest of the conversation.
    “What’s so ironic fellas?”
    Revale canters away at this moment and catches up to the others.”It seems we either have a spy or a patsy among us.”
    “What you mean Xavier.”
    “Well Larse, young Revale there claims that he was told of the existence of Larna and given a strange gold coin by a man in Dikiny by the name of Vestrel, an elderly Half-elf man. This man told him that the strange coin came from the threshold of Larna.”
    “Impossible, part of the legend says that no one ever made it out of the city with any type of gold or treasures. What did this coin look like?”
    “It has an elven king’s head on one side, and an elven queen’s head on the other. The names……”
    “Alexander stamped above him and Larna above her. The royal seal of Corsica, two gold coins overlapping each other, with the king and queen of Corsica, the first king and queen, faces and names. Legend says the seal was made from one of the coins, only two like it ever made, by Larkin from the coin he retrieved from his dead father’s hand. When he went to his mother’s tomb on one of the Sorna islands to retrieve his mother’s coin, her tomb had already been opened and the coin was gone along with her crown of fine gold and jewels.”
    “It appears that we have found the missing coin from Larna’s tomb. Now I wander what Vestrel is up to? Maybe Revale and I need to have a talk.”
    “I think I would like to be in on that my friend, if you would permit me of course.”
    “Of course my young friend, we will do it tonight after everyone is asleep.”
    “I have a plan.”
    Interrogation
    The group travels until dusk and sets up camp just on the edge of the words. Larse ask Xavier when and what they are going to do with Revale. Xavier tells him it will be after everyone is asleep. And then he will know what and when. “With the confrontation of last night, I believe it would be best if we took watches tonight, two at a time, two hours each.”
    “I’ll take first watch.”
    “I will take it with him”
    “No Solara, I will take the first watch with Larse tonight. You can have second watch if you would like.”
    “Whatever, I guess just wake me when it is my turn.”The rest of the group retires while Xavier and Larse set at the camp fire and talk. Once everyone is in the tents, Xavier goes to the wagon and gets the rope he purchased in Jacobs. He lays it on the ground next to him. They wait about an hour, then Xavier tells Larse it is time. The sound of Galbator’s snores finally have no more protest from Noric, everyone is asleep.
    Xavier picks up the rope, and Larse starts to head to the door of the tent. “No Larse, watch what I can do, and I plan to teach your brother.” Xavier holds up one end of the rope. The tip of the rope appears as a snake. He lays the rope on the ground, and it slithers to tent and up under the corner where Revale has placed his cot. There is a little bit of a tussle from inside the tent, and then the head of the snake appears thru the door of the tent and the rest of the rope is securing Revale with some of it making a make shift gag. The snake rope drags Revale to the two interrogators feet.“Now, Revale, I will remove the gag part of the rope. But if you scream you will surely wake one of the others. And the conversation we are going to have you do not want the others to know of. Solara is quick to anger, and quick to run a man thru, and she already doesn’t like you very much. So, will you be quite?”
    Revale shakes his head to say yes. Xavier removes the part of the rope that is acting as a gag. “What is this Xavier? And what conversation do we need to have the others shouldn’t hear.”
    “Larkin, why don’t you begin with the questioning?”
    “With pleasure, tell be Revale, what is the first thing you think of when I say the name Vestrel?”
    Vestrel glares at Xavier with a slight hint of fear in his eyes. “Answer his question Revale, and it would benefit you to be honest.” Unknowingly to Revale, Xavier has cast a detect lie spell. The transformed rope begins to slightly tighten with the words from Xavier.
    “I think of an elderly half-elf that told me he was a treasure hunter such as myself and had come close to finding the lost city of Larna.”Larse looks at Xavier who nods to identify he has told the truth.”
    “How did Vestrel tell you he came across the coin you have in your possession that supposedly came from the threshold of Larna?”
    “He said he found it on a battle field from war the army of Corsica had been fighting a band of creatures with three races fighting side by side.”
    Again, Xavier nods. “So he has not sent you here to help him find the lost city of Larna, or the information to lead him there?”
    “No, he told me about the city and it peaked my greedy treasure hunting interests. That is why I have come here, for my own personal gain. Why would you think it was anything else?”
    Larse repeats the story he told Xavier, and filled him in on the conversation that took place after he cantered away. Revale is in shock at this. He tells the two if Vestrel has any type of plans to try and use him to find Larna, he has no clue of it.
    “Well treasure hunter, it would seem as though you have been picked as his patsy.” Xavier says to Revale as he has the rope unwind from around him.
    “So it would appear so. So what do we do now?”
    “First, I need to see that coin again.”
    “Sure, here you are. I have kept it in a pocket since Vestrel gave it to me.”Once in his hand, Xavier cast detect magic, the coin glows a bright gleaming light. Xavier takes the coin and places it in his pocket.
    “I cannot risk any other person finding this coin. I will hold on to it until we get somewhere I feel safe disposing of it. It is how he is tracking you from Dikiny. He has known your every location move since the day he gave it to you. He is using you to do the hard part of finding the city, and at the same time is probably using a view pool to watch everywhere you go. That will give him the ability to teleport himself to anywhere he has seen thru the viewing pool. He could appear right here in front of us at anytime.”
    “So why hasn’t he?”
    “We haven’t found Larna yet.”
    “Why would he wait until we do?”
    “He wants the power that the city is said to posses by way of the orb. With it he would surely be able to fulfill his plan of eliminating the bloodlines he has tried to do twice before.”
    The three of them decide it best they not say anything about this discovery to the others just yet. They go to bed and wake the next two watch men. The night goes uneventful from that point on. The group continues on into the forest in the morning and travel for another day. They decide to go ahead and go to the city of Dowel.
    The city of Dowel is somewhat larger than the village of Thai was, but you can tell it is run by farmers. That is pretty much all you see in the streets.
    The group stables their mounts then goes to the tavern to get rooms and meals. Xavier tells them that they are low on some provisions so he is going to go find the mercantile to restock.
    “It looked like we had plenty of everything to me Xavier.”
    “No Galbator, I am running low on trail mix. I want to get the ingredients so I can make another batch.”
    “Well, I will come with ya. Help ya carry something.”
    “No, I will be fine. I will return in a bit.”
    “Suit yourself, just thought I would offer.” Xavier turns and leaves the tavern. He is heading toward the south edge of town where he saw a water well when the group came of the supply trail, this in the opposite direction of the mercantile. He reaches the well and picks up a stone from the ground and drops it into the well. He counts as the stone falls until he hears it hit the water. By rule of thumb, for every second he counts to the impact is about fifteen feet of fall.
    He counts to thirty, so he knows the well is at least one hundred fifty feet deep. He takes the coin from his pocket and drops it into the well. He waits to walk away until he hears it splash into the water. Then he turns and walks away and returns to the tavern. Everyone is setting around the table talking about the battle with the wolves. They talk for awhile, and then they all retire for the night.
    Larse tells them once they leave Dowel, it is close to four days and they will be in Bravado, another day and a half thru the woods, then a day of travel thru the hills. Then the last day will be spent crossing the plains the farmers of Bravado have their fields in.



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    The time is near to destroy all enemies of the coven
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      Current date/time is Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:37 am