9 Chapter 9: Lurking Danger

Following the birth of her two dragons, a great many things had changed for Thyris Lighborn. Revered by the Sand Riders as the 'Mother of Dragons' the young woman found her life no longer ruled by men but in charge of men, woman and children.

"We are running low on rations, the riders are getting uneasy. I don't think it is unwise to prevent them from plundering." Heared Typhis Sir Mortimer complainant as they ignored another town on the horizon.

Looking from her children flying above to the exiled knight by her side, Typhis explained already fighting her own judgement considering some riders had already lost a significant amount of weight. "We can't do that. Those people have their own mouths to feed us as we do. By plundering their grain and slaughtering their livestock, we only make our lack of food theirs. Also how long will their property last us? A day? A week? And than what? Do we continue to pillage and plunder till Ghis?"

"I understand your argument, but noble thought don't fill bellies..." Argued Sir Jordan back until he was interrupted by the Kal.

Still the uncontested Leader of the Riders and technically Thyris husband, Kane interjected in a deep unemotional tone of voice. "... Those that die first can be nourishment for those still alive."

"You can't be serious! We're no cannibals!" Shouted Sir Jordan Mortimer disturbed by the Horse Lords words.

"Stop it you, two..." Ended Thyris the argument before she stated matter of factly. "... Nobody is currently starving, so let's not talk about eating the dead or plunder innocent villages. Let's have some faith that it wouldn't come to that."

[...]

Despite now being named Lord, Marcus still had to act as bodyguard for King Westborn till his wedding. As such he had to silently endure one Council meeting after another. Cursing his luck that he had to spend his days with skeaming man like Lord Verris and Lord Bartholomew instead of his beautiful fiance, one particular piece of information suddenly quiped his interest.

"... Next on today's agenda, the death of the Lightborn Prince..." Read King Westborn out loud from a parchment and Marcus noticed every noblemen present let out a reliefed breath, they themselves didn't even knew they had been holding. "... And the Lightborn Princess's marriage to Kal Kane the Leader of the Stormriders..."

"We can't her allow to live and continue to be a threat for the Empire!" Loudly argued old Master Yuri, who joined the Council on behalf of the Imperial Archives.

"She is just a girl on the other side of the world! With all due respect scholar, you can hardly call her a threat to the Empire." Argued the Norman Northborn in his roll as Imperial Advisor.

"If you don't call a Lightborn with an army of Stormriders a threat to the Empire, than what will you!" Suddenly shouted Emperor Randall angrily as he stormed the council chaimber.

Slightly annoyed by his friend's unending hatred for the Lightborns, the King in the North argued back. "The Stormriders never sailed the sea or left the desert plains and I highly doubt they will do for that girl.

"I want her dead, Norman..." Coldly stated the Emperor determined before he asked his council. "... So, who we do we send to do the dead? Isn't the Lone Wolf available?"

And Marcus even started to doubt the Emperor's sanity since the man who kidnapped and raped King Northborn's sister, Lilliana Northborn, Randell's fiance was already dead.

"Your Imperial Highness, after the War, Sir Artorigus joined the Abysswatchers..." Humbly noted Lord Verris.

"Then who else do we have?..." Asked the Emperor before noticing Marcus behind Tristan Westborn. "... You wouldn't be volunteering your Mad Dog, would you King Westborn?"

Calmly but with a heavy sigh, the King in the West replied mournful. "Sir Strong is no longer just a knight but the Lord of Windhelm, my Emperor."

"Windhelm, doesn't that make him my brother's bannermen?" Asked Emperor Randall surprised and delighted at the same time.

"I guess it does, my Emperor." Replied Lord Bartholomew to Randell Eastborn's delight. "It's decided then, 'Lord' Strong will be task to kill the Lightborn bitch!"

[...]

Meanwhile up north in a remote part of the Empire in a town only known for its famous library, a young boy dressed in rags could be seen struggeing to carry a large empty bucked to one of only four wells inside the town. Dwarfing the humble town of Lacile were the gloomy towers of the Imperial Archives once inhabited only by those capable of magic situated inside a small mountain.

Eventhough the boy was clearly in over his head with an empty bucked not to mention how impossible it would be for him to carry a full bucked, neither adult nor child even thought about helping the poor clearly malnutritioned boy but instead eagerly witnessed his struggles as a perverse form of entertainment.

Finally lowering his bucked into the well by turning the crank handle anti-clockwise, he soon held the handle as his hands started bleeding from wooden splinter of the handle piercing his flesh. Having sucessfully lowered the bucked into the water, tears mixed with sweat, as the poor boy had to turn the crank handle clockwise to retrieve his now filled bucked from depths of the well.

Using his own weight to pull down the rank only to then push it up again, his knees buckled and his muscles started shaking for no reason, but the boy inexorably continued to crank.

Seeing the bucked get closer and closer to him, the young boy got further motivated and the handle moved somewhat easier. Expecting so see clear well water, the boy instead saw an unnaturally moving black mucus in it.

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Jumping back in fright, the young boy let go of the handle rendering his previous struggles futil. Hearing the bucket hit a hard surface instead of water, he looked up in horror only to notice the people entertained by his struggles to secreting black mucus from their orifices.

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