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Crimson Chorus, From the Nine Kingdoms (Chapter 1)

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Crimson Chorus, From the Nine Kingdoms 

Chapter 1 

  

R. Merino 

  

  

 
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This is an English version of the original:  

“Canto Carmesí, De los Nueve Reinos (Parte 1)” 

ISBN: 9781310447433 

  

 
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Respected Deities! You took the Scratches of the Existence and prepared them to your divine whim: 

  

Oh, Hevenkee! You pact with the majestic Soluna: your wish was to give to your inheritors the opportunity to live in the Interior Scratch, near his face; 

Oh, Teradree! You were the one who won the Divine Bet of the Four, permitting to your grace to choose first: you chose the Anterior Scratch, the dry of the existence; 

[_Oh, Osea! You negotiated with Soluna to re-design the Posterior Scratch; it was how the silver waters of the ocean arose; _] 

Oh, Tenevla! You chose the boundaries of the spacious and calm Exterior Scratch; 

  

I accuse to your devout heirs who arduous of vital time, wisdom and will built the Nine Kingdoms: 

To the seducers of the harp and flute from the Kingdom of [_Mana; inheritors of the Teradreean Garden; _] 

To the ironsmiths from the Kingdom of Venea; inheritors of the Western Land; 

[_To the merchants from the Kingdom of Sandea; inheritors of the Northern Land; _] 

To the poor [_sufferers from the Kingdom of Arcteec; inheritors of the South Land; _] 

To the seas administrators [_from the Kingdom of Plateea; inheritors of the deep waters; _] 

To the Solunar [_Tools crafters from the Kingdom of Relampeea; inheritors of Soluna; _] 

To the islands builders from the Kingdom of Magma; inheritors of the [_surface waters; _] 

To the wise alchemists from the Kingdom of Celea; inheritors of the Celestial Gardens; 

To the unknown ones from the Kingdom of Sombreea; inheritors of the Netherplace; 

Divine caprice! 

  

*** 
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The Hundred Warriors of Vene, endowed with the Battle Art, had been immortalized in the history of Vennea Kingdom by his exceptional participation during the confrontation against the fierce[_ Doragarths_] and Ancestor, the Exiled. In this occasion, they were being led by Raco, the First One. It was in Carmine Valley, territory belonging to the Northern Lands. The enemy was the Raised Legion, as they had been named, beings without will that had been resuscitated by the wisdom of the Fallen, recognized in the Four Cortexes by his contradicted acts from the will of the Four Deities. Screams, it was the only thing in which both groups of fighters were alike. The duel had initiated in the second solunar golden hour. In the sixth golden hour, the screams calmed down. The result was gravestones gallery, which result after the decease of a being. Luckily, such spectacle was minimized by a leaden curtain of dust which was spreading along the whole field. In spite of the lugubrious panorama, above, Soluna was shining calmly inside the bluish cap of the Interior Scratch. 

In the middle of all this haze, there was one of the hundred, kneeling down that in spite of his doomed condition, had resisted to the petrification. All his body was decorated by wounds, fatigued, by the void possibility of moving. His tired look strained for seeing the situation, but only could see, vaguely, the graves of those that had been companions and enemies too. 

  

Rest…’ he thought inside his agony.  

  

In the distance, proceeding from no side, there were listened the singing typical of the Carmines, birds of multiple sizes which plumage resembled the reddish of the embers. It was their domains; and they were known as exceptional flyers. They were accidentally spectators. 

  

Finally… I will be able to rest…’ he thought again. 

  

A lugubrious scent (sweet, ferrous and bloody) proceeding from the graves that mixed with the fresh scents of the gray grass. In spite of the penetrating stink, the wounded couldn’t perceive it because his senses were suffocated.  

  

‘[_It’s so…’ _] 

  

He didn’t have another choice that to be guide by the promising peace, that restoring dream that like a last gift offered him the everlasting tranquility… Nevertheless, he felt happy because knew that his vital time wouldn’t end if the Teradreean Deity allowed him as prize of his heroism.  

  

Silence’ 

  

‘…’ 

  

SRA. SRA. SRA. The sound of the steps on the pasture; someone was coming closer. He woke up startled. He ignored the location of the one who was coming closer, but he knew that for every step the distance shortened between them.  

SRA.SRA… It stops. The unknown silhouette had painted on the grayish canvas of dust. 

A shiver crossed his damaged body. In spite of the low vision, he could see how that silhouette was outlining a malevolent smile while observing him passively.  

  

“There you are…” the unknown one said mellifluously. 

  

He laughed but without turning aside his sharp sight. He ordered to the wind with a whisper, and it blows aggressively dispersing the dust cloud. The warm solunar golden sheen caressed the damaged face of the wounded. The light bewildered him whenever he tried to open his eyes. In spite of his disadvantage, he suspected about the identity of the mysterious one who continued observing him.  

  

“Confess your name?” he asked him. 

  

Such a question resounded as echo inside his afflicted head. He had tried to think but couldn’t concentrate due to the incessant demand of his wounds; an unbearable pain that he tried to anesthetize himself with muted moans and static movements. Impulsively, he opened his eyes: a sparkle, a pain that broke all his body, a mental dizziness. Nevertheless, he had managed to focus his vision. Finally, he could see the author of the interrogation. It was the one which all knew as the Fallen.  

The wounded, with terror, tried to hide his glare but the paralyzed muscles of his neck didn’t let him. Resigned and limited, he closed his eyes. 

  

“Your name?” he insisted.  

  

Before the insistence, he tried to articulate a few words but he had his mouth dry, and his lips were agglutinated, “Fai… ble…” scarcely could express between sobs.  

  

“You are the last” the Fallen said. “All your comrades have perished. I can feel how your vital time is vanishing. Your deity has left you in spite of the fact that you dedicated your destructive will to positive intentions.  

  

The deceitful comments didn’t interest him, and simultaneously, they did. He was losing the focus for every counted second; his look was dilating. He didn’t want to banish but wanted to liberate from his agony. 

  

“I propose you a pact, that’s why I’m here. If my desire were to finish you then I wasn’t speaking right now. The truth is that I didn’t want that result for the Hundred, but the things left, a little bit, of my hands… This just will bring mishaps” he laughed. “I offer you what your deity denied to you: more vital time. It would be a shame that such a valuable being like you will finish like this. Don’t you believe it? The only condition: you have to put all your will to my service. A pact does with me and you will be able to get up again, like a new being…” 

  

‘ … ‘ 

  

His opened his mouth scarily and introduced his hand. He seemed as if he was choking while emitting disagreeable sounds for the tracheal movement. He stopped and substrate it. Extending his hand in the high, he was holding an elongated object similar to a cleaver that it fluttered as if it were a heart while residues of drool were slipping. 

  

“Your vital time will be supplied” affirmed the Fallen one and outlined again his crafty smile.  “You will form a part of my new creation, a new and improved race was proclaiming!” while he was brandishing the sharp object. “And you will live to my service! As a payment to my benevolence…“, with his free hand, he tore the shirt of the injured man, leaving him to the overdraft and spoilt his chest. “You will be reborn as a new being! ‘Crimson’ you will be!” he aimed he edge at a height of the injured man’s chest. “Also, I assure that you will be born with a new art. How will I name you…? AH! Yes! I name you, Bathin…” 

  

A light push was sufficient to cross the spoilt skin, penetrating until the palpitating and hot being touching. A drowned moan and a smile of satisfaction was the last exploit of that knelt down man… 

  

*** 
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“Tutor, is it the history’s finale?” the disciple inquired fascinated after listened the tale and with the desire of a continuation. 

  

The embers squeaked hotly disturbing the cold night. 

  

“No, it isn’t. This is how begins…” 

  

*** 
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The warm breeze blew and with a delicate caress stole particles from the sand to displace them towards an uncertain destination. Soluna was shining at his first golden hour.  

He had crossed a long way and finally he had found signs of the town that his tutor had talked about. ‘You must travel towards north direction, and cross the limit of both Scratches. Then, travel to the south until you find a marvelous city…’ It was the first time that he traveled without his tutor. Scarcely being an inexpert adventurer, he had achieved it. Nevertheless, it was not as he imagined, “great city”, like his tutor had promised him, was not precisely the correct epithet for that place that had more upbringing stables than houses and more tamed beasts than civilians. The stables sized hectares and the beasts who lived in were Eskareio’s: robust body beings with six strong legs and shell-armored backs, forehead and heads. It wasn’t the first time that he saw them; already, he had had the opportunity to know them in wild condition around the mountain chain Colmill, their domains. 

As he was walking along the principal avenue his doubts about his correct location increased. ‘Search for information. A right place is the tavern, there always circulate information of all kinds…’ he remembered another advice of his tutor. He zigzagged between the avenues looking for a tavern, but he just found more stables. So, he chose to approach to one to ask where a group of Tamer’s was. 

  

“Grateful day” he greeted the group calling the attention of all.  

  

“Welcome, adventurer! How many beasts you will need?” he was attended for one of the tamer’s who was next and doing nothing.  

  

“I haven’t come looking for beasts. I am looking for a tavern…” 

  

“Tavern?!” the tamer expressed amazedly and turned his attention towards his companions who stopped their shores to observe him like the same form. “Ah! For sure, just continue for the principal avenue to the south, go out this town, and then you must take directly way across the desert in west direction. Until you run up into the Capital. Surely there you will find numerous taverns. Here we just have stables” he ended the explication causing the laugh of his companions. 

  

“Don’t I be in Merchant City…?” the slightly animated adventurer said, thinking about the situation since maybe he had got lost. 

  

“Nope. But you aren’t far. You must follow the route that I’ve indicated you and you’ll find it. Approximately there is three hours way to hurried step. If you are hurry you can rent one of my beasts for only four copprou’s”. 

  

“I’m grateful for the information, I think… I will continue walking…”  

  

“The information is free. If you are lucky, you’ll find at the exit some caravan that leads you towards that destination.” 

  

He said goodbye and took the way that the tamer had indicated.  

He arrived at the exit. But there weren’t any caravans. He looked at the horizon, but he didn’t see tracks of the city, just dunes from the distance. 

 

“It seems to be that I’ll have to continue walking…” he said, sighing.  

  

He inclined to take a handful of sand, “towards the west” said in wind language; and blew. The golden sand particles took off towards the indicated direction; he continued walking. 

Soluna was shining at his third golden hour when he saw from the distance what seemed to be a caravan at the half of the desert. They were stopped. As he was approaching the group revealed themselves. It was only one wagon. 

  

“I don’t comprehend why. It’s supposed that we’ve just given him food…” the assistant was explained to the chief of the caravan. “Will it have been a joke from someone of those tamers?”  

  

The eskareelo who was pulling the wagon was leaned, and it refused to get up. The chief merchant checked the dark and crystalline eyes of the beast. He knew well to his beast but it didn’t present any anomaly. 

  

“I doubt that” the chief answered confused. “We already have lost a lot of time. To this step, we will not reach the golden crop. I do not like that idea…”  

  

“But if we reach to the copper, something to sale will come well also”.  

  

“Remember that we still lacking to register, it will stop us more time” the chief continued doing a gesture of irritation.  

  

The adventurer was observing them to the distance while wondered: “Have they stopped?”

  

“Someone approaches!” warned a female Guide who was on the wagon, alerting the chief and the assistant.  

  

“Does someone come? Maybe it’s a tamer…” the assistant said doing gesture of receiving him.  

  

“Or a mercenary with bad intentions!” the chief exclaimed, stopping his worried assistant. “The luck doesn’t smile us…” 

  

The assistant followed for the back to the chief.  

  

“Stranger, stop your march!” the lady sued the adventurer who after hearing her, obeyed. “Oils merchant Veleden is the owner of this wagon! Introduce yourself!”  

  

“My name is Ephesto, and I go to the west, towards the capital” he answered.  

  

“Your destination is obvious! I mean which are your intentions! Are you merchant or mercenary?”  

  

“Guess I’m just a traveler”.  

  

The three crossed wariness stares.  

  

“He doesn’t seem to be dangerous” the assistant said trying to lighten the tension.  

  

“Either a tamer… must be a simple guide” the chief added slightly interested.  

  

“Can I approach?” Ephesto asked, waiting for a response.  

  

“What I answer him, chief?” the lady asked. 

  

“His business doesn’t concern me. I have the own ones. Only have an aye on him, watch that he does not try anything weird…” the chief answered, returning where his load beast was.  

  

“I will monitor him, chief” affirmed the lady. “Adventurer, you can approach!” 

  

Ephesto approached attracted by the inquisitor attention of the lady, from the distant view she looked like a male but closely his feminine features betrayed her.  

  

“What has It happened, why you stopped?” Ephesto asked the lady who shows unfriendly by the question.  

  

“Do you carry with you something else besides doubts about our situation?” she inquired because Ephesto was hiding his face by a mask; therefore, she was well to worry since it wasn’t common to hide the face.  

  

“I just travel”. 

  

“And why do you hide your face? Do you always wear that mask?”  

  

“Well, yes. It’s part of my identity”.  

  

“Well, it’s strange… and I don’t think appropriate that you wear it!”  

  

“You can be calm Zoria” the assistant said, approaching. “My name is Reso, Assistant of Oil merchant Veleden, and she is Zoria, our guide”.  

  

“And I’m Ephesto” he repeated, approaching to Reso. “Forgives if I don’t reveal myself, It is part of me to wear the mask. I hope not to trouble you”.  

  

“Once explained, there is no reason” Reso said and immediately checked Ephesto’s eyes that were the only part exposed of his face. “I can see in your eyes that you still in young age”.  

  

“You are correct”.  

  

“As like Zoria and I. Therefore, we can omit formalities, Ephesto”.  

  

“It’s fine to me, Reso. And why have you stopped?” 

  

“Our beast…” Reso answered, sighing, and walked towards the beast; Ephesto followed him. “He has been grumbling the whole morning, since we leave Tamers Field. It’s strange because never had happened before… Chief, he has said his name is Ephesto”.  

  

“Greetings respected chief” Ephesto said respectfully.  

  

The chief Veleden was an elderly age being and enjoyed of a suitable position, therefore was well to speak with respect to him; like Ephesto’s tutor had taught him.  

  

“As for you, adventurer” the chief answered while was holding the beast from the face and checking meticulously his eyes.  

  

“Is there any problem if I accompany you to the capital? The way is long and…” 

  

“Indeed, only if you make walk to my beast” Veleden answered with irony. “Or if you do not have hurry, well…” 

  

Ephesto approached to the beast, inclined and imitated the action of the chief merchant: he inspected the animal.  

  

“He must feel confused” Ephesto said without separating his eyes from the beast. “Yes, it is. He wants to return but the order to continue doesn’t allow him. The dilemma causes the confusion”. 

  

“Maybe, that is because, we have been consenting him very much lately. We shouldn’t let him eat so much” Reso added as way of scolding his chief. 

  

“Reso… you know that I like to treat well to my assistants” the chief returned the scold to Reso, feeling relieved. “After all he deserved it. It was a trip without rest. I apologize, I have judged you wrong” he said to Ephesto. “After all, you were the tamer that we needed for our aid”. 

  

“My tutor taught me a bit about this art. It might not say that I am a tamer because I still don’t dominate it completely”. 

  

“But you know enough to help us… well, let’s not lose any more time! You can travel with us as gratitude. Get up, you will have more food when we arrive to the city, stop doing fits!” the chief shouted happily to the beast who issued a typical sound and got up on his six strong legs.  

  

The wagon began to be dragged leaving behind the wheels brands painted in the sand. Veleden went up in front the wagon to give direction to the beast, whereas Reso and Ephesto went up behind together with Zoria. 

  

“Hold up!” Zoria exclaimed without taking his own advice.  

  

The speed increased. The shipment jumped in synchrony with the wagon after sliding for the dunes.  

  

“Soon we’ll arrive! After all we’ll be able to get the golden crop”, Reso commented.  

  

“What is the golden crop?” Ephesto asked. 

  

“Aren’t you from here, right? It’s called to the eight hours more productive of the day when the sales rise up. It started with at fourth bronze hour till the seventh golden hour. After, the commercial activities go down, letting way to the copper crop” explained Reso. “That’s the reason why we’re hurry. And thanks to you we’ll make it”. 

  

 “I suppose that every day there’s a golden crop”. 

  

“Of course, but not always you’ll find the same clients nor the same merchants. One day there can be clients who need oils, another day no one. One day you can find one to four sellers of oil, another day you cannot find any. They are variables that a merchant always must consider. A day of sale lost isn’t good for a merchant who follows an itinerary. At maximum, you can stay three days in the capital, because you must consider that other oil’s merchants come behind you, with new oils, more items and possibly better prices”. 

  

“We had left Tamers Domain in the second bronze hour, accorded to the plan; we think that we would arrive in the third bronze hour. With the installation and the registration like misadventure, it would allow us to begin the fourth bronze hour. But not”, Zoria commented.  

  

“I got it, the time also is valuable”.  

  

“It’s the most valuable, if you know how administer it, you will realize”, Reso answered.  

 

The wagon was supplied with pots of three different sizes and design; just the smallest were different. They wagged across, hitting between them. The big pots were accommodated in four rows of five placed to the back part; the standard pots were in two rows of seven; and the smallest just found it eight, tied well, in four, in each of the corners of the frontal part. 

  

“And of what are the oils made?” Ephesto asked.  

  

“The big ones, there, contain palm-tree-fruit-seed-oil. The pots in the middle are of dry-tree nut. And the small ones are made of genesis-tree-fruit-seed”.  

  

“Is genesis-tree fruit? I thought those trees only grow in Teradreean Garden”.  

  

“And it does. It’s just that we obtain it in the mud cottages. There’s an artisan, a friend of our chief. He is who obtains the fruit and prepares the oil. We just sell it. He is a good crafter; also, he can prepare fruit juices and ferments. The pots also are obtained in this place. There can find a lot of artisans of mud and clay”.  

  

“I understand. You only worry in transport the items… And why isn’t she holding?” Ephesto asked, after saw Zoria standing without care about the bustle of the movements. 

  

“You should know it“, Zoria answered. “It’s supposed that you also dominate the Guiding Art. Isn’t it?”  

  

“I’ve never said that I dominate it. But, how do you know it?” 

  

“It’s easy to see it”, Reso answered. ”Not anyone travels across the Sea of Sand. Only the Guides who were the first ones in dominate the art or those who has learned can. That’s the reason why we’ve found out when found you. You travel alone. And besides the dominating and guiding arts, do you know another? Some crafts?”  

  

“My tutor has taught me many things, but I wouldn’t be able identify them. As for crafts…”  

  

“Does your tutor dominate several arts?” Zoria asked, interrupting him. “I had never heard about a tutor capable of dominating many arts” she ended with mind of incredulity.  

  

It was a troublesome comment for Ephesto. 

  

“I hope all are noble arts” Reso added to relieve the offense of her. “Well I am perfecting the trading art, and my tutor is the chief Veleden. Though I still a lot to learn, that’s why I still travel with him. Someday I will have my own caravan and will commercialize for myself”.  

  

“And where’s your tutor, why don’t you travel with him?” Zoria asked.  

  

It’s part of your training. You will put into practice everything what you have learned…’ he remembered the talk with his tutor, ‘And how will it know that I am doing well?’‘Because if you follow my indications, we’ll be in the correct place. Not being like that, we’ll never see us…’ 

  

“It’s part of my training…” Ephesto answered a bit worried.  

  

None of them understand. 

  

“I think…”  

  

Reso was going to say something when Zoria interrupted him: 

  

“Look, the city!” she exclaimed spirited.  

  

They follow her with the sight. 

Walled, there gets up majestically Sandean City, better known as the Trading Capital. There was a second wall shaped by the markets full up of eye-catching and variety items that was protecting; whereas the merchants proclaimed in a commercial language to attract the attention of passing by customers. All this mercantile gabble invited to introduce and discover the commercial culture that invaded his principal avenues, buildings, plazas and his people; everything and everyone were part of the ritual, which fuel was their currencies: the Copprou, the Silvqua and the Golsol

They had arrived, opening his way across the people markets, up to the east entry. They parked near the wall, close to other caravans. They all went down.  

  

“Take it, Reso!” Veleden said delivering, him a heavy looking cloth bag. “Go directly to the registration house, and do not lose more time!” 

  

“I’ll do it chief. See you later Ephesto” he said goodbye and went up to the entry, getting lost in the interior. 

  

Ephesto observed him confused.  

  

“Don’t worry” Zoria said. “He’ll go to register us. You should do the same if you have intentions to enter”.  

  

“Approach tamer…! “, Veleden ordered Ephesto, attracting his attention.  

  

Ephesto approached a bit more confused. There were many people around and too much noise; it was difficult to concentrate the attention in a single point. 

  

“You can have this”, he delivered him a bag like as Reso but smaller. “I am grateful being. I know well that our meeting was not a work by the luck, but by our respected deity. Uses those currencies wisely, it is not a great quantity but it will help you to familiarize with our art. But for that, before, you must register. Go directly to the Guild House, and ask for a visitor registration; that will allow you to remain inside the city during a lap. Do not forget it: visitor record. I would wish that you join to our caravan but I know that you have business to attend in this great city. If some day we met us again, and you decide to join us, you will be welcome”. 

  

“I’ll have it in mind, respected chief”. 

  

“Yes, yes, yes… Zoria put down those pots…!” 

  

Ephesto walked a few steps away, and he stopped remembering something: to look backward. Zoria observed him. He showed her a saying goodbye hand sign, and she answered him with the same gesture. He continued with his way crossing the entry. The people around walked in and out, some ones carrying bags and others holding two wheels wagons replete with items. All this activity extended across the wide and long avenue. While he was walking, observed the different markets, ones exposed his items in small tents placed out of the walking line, and others inside establishments. There were a number of diverse objects, from coloring fabrics, clothes, oils with and without fragrance, fruits, juices and multi-material-form crafts. Everything was attractive for Ephesto who had passed his vital time away from the civilization, and from this one only knew what his tutor had told him; ‘an introductory knowledge of usefulness’ like he called it. 

He approached to one of the markets where was offering mud crafts, but not for the attractive of these, but that he wanted to learn about the trading art.  

There was a sign placed to a left side of the shop, that said:  

  

‘[_Lodeleean Mud Pots, from nine to fourteen copprou’s’ _] 

  

The merchant was dealing with a client: a female sandean who alleged looking for a discount. She had chosen two biggest pots and that added up to 28 copprou’s, but she wanted to pay only 25, three pieces less of the stipulated price; lastly, the merchant closed the deal to finish without misadventures.  

Ephesto observed with attention how the female extracted a small cloth bag, like he was holding; she extracted twenty-five copper rounds (copprou’s) and let them to the merchant. He delivered the pots, adding gratefulness to the female, and closing the dealing. 

And what I‘ll do while waiting?’‘You must observe and learn from people behaviors. You’ll stay a lot of time in a big city, will see that there’s much for learning…’ he was putting in action the instruction given by his tutor. But also he remembered the warning of Veleden. 

  

“Does the client want to buy one of my pots?” the merchant asked him. “They are done by the best lodeleean artisans. His resistance isn’t compared with others, also, they preserve better the fragrance of oils and the flavor of juices” he winks. “I have different sizes; you can choose the most you like”.  

  

“I am sorry but I haven’t approached looking for a pot. Actually, I want to know where finds the house…” 

  

“The guild house?! “, he stole him the words. “Of course, it’s true; it isn’t possible to trade without a registration. I will explain you so pay attention. There are three guild houses. The correspondent to this neighborhood founds in the building of the Wall East Guild. You must continue through this avenue; you will find the East Plaza. There is a building adorned with flags with the emblem of a wall drawn. Have I been clear?” 

  

“Perfectly, just I must continue this path. I am grateful for the information” he said goodbye and continued for the avenue.  

  

“Don’t forget to buy me a pot when you obtain the registration!” the merchant exclaimed to his backs. 

 

He had arrived to the plaza. The place was free of sand-dust almost complete; the panorama was making him forget that was in the desert. The building that he looked was in the middle of two others. Outside, there were three men conversing between them; they wore capes with an emblem drawn. They were known as Watchers, members of the guilds which were the responsible for neighborhood safety. Ephesto approached with entering intention, ignoring them. 

  

“HEY! BUSSINES?!” one of the three watchers, that were guarding the entry, stopped him.  

  

“I’ve come to register myself. Is it the right place?” 

  

“You are-ee in the indicated place-eee!” exclaimed another watcher with vigorous appearance; he was speaking like sung. “It’s here-eee, the house of the Wall East guild!”  

  

“What kind of registration?” the first one asked, feeling a bit ashamed by the introduction of his companion.  

  

“I think it’s merchant …” Ephesto answered, confusing. 

  

“Merchant, mercenary, or visitor?” the first watcher added like he was giving multiple options. “If it is for merchant, you will have to register the kind and the total value of your goods, and pay the quota. For mercenary, you have to bring the contract where explains the art in service and the period of contracting; the payment will bill to the contractor. And as for visitor, only you have to pay the quota that is one copprou and register the information asked to you; this allows you to trade, to visit the public places of the three neighborhoods, and safety that the three guilds bring to you while being in the city”. 

  

“Then, my correct choice is visitor” Ephesto answered.  

  

“Indeed, you can enter. Follow me, I will guide you”. 

  

Ephesto entered, following the steps of the watcher, while the other two remained out. The lobby was wide and adorned by lengthened tables and chairs and more sandeans sat, wearing caps. One than other onlooker turned to see him. They advanced up to the end of the corridor, where the registration bar was; behind there was a female sandean, wearing cape.

  

Secretary Nolla, a visitor registration, please” the watcher said to her. “Aproach” he said to Ephesto and immediately he moved back.  

  

“Nice day, secretary…” Ephesto greeted.  

  

The female extracted a scroll and extended it on the bar, front to Ephesto; also, a feather and a ink flask. 

  

“Is your first time visiting the city?” she asked without observing him.  

  

“Yes”.  

  

“What is your name?” 

  

“Ephesto”. 

  

“Have you a recognized surname?”  

  

“No, that I know”. 

  

“Where do you come from?”  

  

“I’m… from Lodeleea”.  

  

“I got it…” she said observing him with mystery.  

  

She wrote on the scroll and took a few moments. 

  

“The payment is one copprou, but if you wish escort, it’ll be a silvqua per escort”.  

  

Ephesto opened his wallet. He only had ten rounds of copper, or copprou’s as they named. He delivered one round, and the woman delivered him the registration scroll. Ephesto took and hid it, after said goodbye, being grateful. He went to the exit.  And the female continued with her job.  

  

“Everything ready?” the same watcher asked him at the exit. 

  

“Yes” Ephesto said, holding the scroll. “Where can I find the tavern?”  

  

“I will not recommend you those of this neighborhood because the best is in South Neighborhood. Just continue for the avenue and you will arrive to Central Plaza then go towards to the south, walking along the avenue will take you to South Plaza. In that place finds the best tavern of the capital. Also, you can find inns around the plaza, if you look for one. If you take my advice you will find the Nectar‘s Desert Tavern; you will find out why is the best.  

  

“I am thankful for the information” Ephesto said, doing a gesture of leaving. 

  

“Wait!” the watcher stopped him, approaching. “I advise you not to wear for long time your mask” he said to him whispering. “It is not seen well to hide the face; it is a conduct just for outlaws. Everyone will think that you are one… aren’t you, right?”  

  

“No, I’m not” Ephesto answered incredulously, so he didn’t know what an outlaw was representing. “This is a part of me”.  

  

“I understand…” he said, snatching discreetly the scroll; he opened and read it. “Ephesto… Well. Then, try to take this with you, always” he returned him the scroll. “If someone with cape demands it from you, do not deny it to him, it is for your safety and for everyone”. 

  

“I understand. I’ll do as you say, and thank you for your help”.  

  

“Good luck”. 

  

*** 
p.  

Meanwhile, Reso had returned to his caravan, with a scroll in hand. Everything was ready to begin to sell. There were clients waiting, as a male sandean wearing cape who was one of the merchant’s coordinator.  

  

“Why have you come so late?” Zoria reproached him. “I had to do all your work!”  

  

“I was late because the neighborhood’s auctioneer has given important news”. 

  

“Loose it!” Veleden said, snatching the scroll from Reso’s hand. Immediately, he delivered it to the coordinator who checked it.  

  

“You can proceed with the sale” the manager said, returning him the scroll. “Good sale”, he leaved.  

  

“So what have you listened?” Zoria asked waiting for the news. 

  

“It seems today will be a judgment” Reso said loudly attracting the attention of the clients, and from the passing by ones too.  

  

Veleden was pleased by the play of his assistant. He was attracting clients. Therefore, the chief took advantage of the opportunity to expose the offering list of oils. But the people showed to be more interested what Reso would say. 

  

*** 
p.  

  

The central plaza was bigger than the east plaza; it was adorned with marblechoral pillars placed along the perimeter, and one than other floor tile sculpted with the same material. Just in the middle was an arched door-shaped monument constructed of stylized stones with chiseled symbols; it wasn’t fitting with other adornments. 

He was in south neighborhood, inside the tavern that the watcher had recommended him. The place wasn’t completely habited. Still, it was early for the tavern activity that as a rule began in the second copper hour. It was a site slight recommended for an adventurer who was hiding his face with a mask, as he was warned. He had called the attention of the majority of the presents, but he didn’t notice it. Without worry he approached up to the bar, concentrating his attention on the drinks menu that was hanging high, in a strategic position for a better perspective: 

  

[_Desert’s Nectar, 1 silvqua _] 

[_Palm Ferment, 7 copprou’s _] 

Rock Juice, 5 copprou’s 

South Water, 3 copprou’s 

 

 

He was insecure of what he would ask. He remembered the advice of the merchant Veleden, he didn’t’ have to waste his budget because he had to find an inn and was sure that wouldn’t obtain it for free. The bartender looked him while was cleaning a glass with a rag; he was the culprit of the tavern fame, because he was the only one who knew the secret recipe of his beverage. In no other place was possible to obtain it, many others had tried to copy the recipe without obtaining success, and the envious ones had tried to steal it but they all had failed. Ephesto untied his purse and counted the copprou’s, then related them with the price board. He placed three pieces on the table without say anything. The bartender saw them, guessing what he wished; he gathered them and immediately took an empty glass and placed it under the faucet of one of the barrels placed at the counter; he opened it and a liquid crystalline began to spill in the glass, frosting it while filling; when finished, he closed the faucet stopping the fill and placed the filled glass in front to Ephesto. A cold drop slipped down on the glass edge. It had stayed served, like an adornment on the table, alone, inviting to be drunk.  

Ephesto uncovered jealously his face, making sure that nobody see him, and with a precipitated movement, he took the beverage to the mouth. The sensation of the frozen liquid slipping across the throat and settling in the entrails: insipid and refreshing.  

A man had been observing him since his entry, even more he was studying him; the stranger decided to get up wherefrom was to go and sat next to him. With a discreet gesture, he did that those who were nearby clearing the table, remained just the two. 

  

“To be an insipid drink, you have made it seem tasty” the stranger said, interrupting him.  

  

Ephesto didn’t notice what had happened. He was wondering if taste another menu option after the interruption. He looked at him out of the eye corner and, without knowing what to answer him, remembered that his face was exposed; immediately he covered it.  

  

“The peculiarity of this water”, the stranger continued, “Is that always is cold. It’s the perfect choice for someone who comes from a great trip, but not the best of this place. Allow me to invite you a drink more pleasant, if you want”. 

  

His polite attitude bordered in the snooping. Ephesto had satisfied his thirst, but not his curiosity; he didn’t want to lose the opportunity to taste another option; he nodded.  

  

“Hector! “, the stranger called the attention of the bartender, that was his name. ”Serve us two of nectar!” 

  

The attentive bartender obeyed forthwith. He took two small cups and placed it in front of them. Then, he took a red crystal bottle that uncovered it and spilt his content to half fill, firstly in the glass of the stranger, and immediately in of Ephesto. But the liquid was not colorless, but yellowish, crystalline and lightly bright. The stranger invited him to taste with a toast, whereas he drank his. Ephesto imitated the gesture, uncovering his face again. Both drank almost in synchrony, delighting them with the liquid sweetness of golden bright, and finalizing the remaining flavor with the tongue caressing the smoothness of his lips; whishing not to finish with so pleasant experience. Ephesto really was delighted; at least, it made him forget the drink that minutes before he had thrown to his mouth. 

  

*** 

 
p.

  

“Everything is ready for the execution”. A notable member of the Wall East guild said who had met with the secretary Nolla. She was checking a few scrolls while was listening him.  

  

“But”, he continued. ”Our guild wasn’t summoned…” 

  

“What do you mean?” Nolla asked, stopping her activity. “It’s supposed that it’s a dangerous criminal and many citizens will be present. The safety is a priority, is a task of all the Alliance”.  

  

“I thought the same…” the watcher said. “We all did it. Not only our guild was exempted, also the South Legion guild”.  

  

“JA!” Nolla laughed. ”That’s a good new after all. I had liked to see the face of Garga after…!” she silenced changing her mocking accent into seriousness one after saw the scolding face of his partner. “Sorry… And, what position took our leader?” 

  

“As like leader Garga, she couldn’t object because it was a decision of chief Dolomeo”.  

  

“Then, who will it take care?!”  

  

“He will do it personally with the support of the Guard West guild”. 

  

“MMM… What a party. Alguasee doing reputation” Nolla said with sarcasm.  

  

“That is not all…” 

  

She observed him surprised, because she didn’t wait for another surprise.  

  

Judge Aquilha also will be present”.  

  

“Don’t joke?!”  

  

The three watchers that were in the entry walked towards them. Newly they had finished their turn and were going to register their break. One of them was the one that had helped Ephesto moments before, known as Seenan.  

  

“HEY! Nolla-aa, what happens?! What have-ee you-uu told her, Reenjeen?! “, the watcher with vigorous aspect asked; his name was Manoll, and was the one who spoke singing. 

  

“Report us Nolla!” another companion mentioned, his name was Ceeval.  

  

“You already know it” she answered apologizing because she didn’t desire to give explanations, and because of the three, Ceeval was the one that less pleased her. 

  

“I’m sure that it’s something about the news given by the auctioneer” Seenan said confidently.  

  

“IS IT?!” Manoll asked.  

  

“I consider that after all, you have to know” Reenjeen answered with resignation. “We will not participate in the safety of the next execution”.  

  

“What?” the three wondered at the same time.  

  

“But…”  

  

“Don’t ask why” Reenjeen interrupted Seenan before completing the sentence. “Just take the information like is. And taking advantage that you are here, take care of share the information with the other members…” 

  

*** 

 
p.

  

When Ephesto woke up of his pleasant confusion he covered his face again. The stranger was more interested in studying his rare behavior that in enjoying the delicious drink.  

  

“And which is the purpose what has brought you to the city?” the stranger inquired finely.  

  

“I’ve come to meet someone” Ephesto answered.  

  

“More it seemed that you are hiding from someone…” he said with a wink. “Do you?” 

  

“You say it for my mask. I always used it; it’s part of my identity”. 

  

“I see” he said with complaisance. “I know many others that do the same, the majority of them are mercenaries” he drank at one stroke his drink ending with a gesture of satisfaction. “Delicious don’t you think so?” he left the empty glass. “You don’t look like a mercenary… you are young, which seems strange to me. Hector, serve us two more… No, better leave us the bottle”.  

  

Ephesto returned to check the drinks menu, whereas the bartender was leaving the bottle in front of them.  

  

“What is the equivalent of one silvqua?” Ephesto asked. “Also I heard this word during my registration, but I didn’t dare to ask”. 

  

“Still aren’t you familiar with the trading art, isn’t it?” the stranger answered simultaneously that was taking the bottle 

  

“I’m learning…”  

  

“One silvqua is equivalent to thirty three times a copprou“, the stranger explained serving in Ephesto’s glass. “And twelve times a silvqua is equivalent to one golsol. These three are known as currencies of the Commercial Union. Actually, before…” he began to serve in his glass, ”it used the silvsol, that was equivalent to 132 times the copprou but that complicated a bit the trading” he invited him to drink. “To improve it, the union had to divide in four parts the silvsol what gave origin to the silvqua. This improved the trading and gradually the use of the silvsol went down until its coining stopped”. 

  

“I suppose that thing of coining is related to another art from here. Something like that, right?”  

  

“Yes, but not only from here. The coining art, also it’s dominated by the Plateeans and the Magmeets, which, together with the Sandeans, conforms the Commercial Union. The art was created by the Terarees, who designed a way of trading with the copper that they extracted, since theirs crafts were not very popular; have you ever listened to the phrase: As juice kept in a copper pot?” 

  

Ephesto denied it. The phrase meant that a bad idea brought bad consequences. 

  

“The chief teraree” he continued, “presented himself before king Sande offering to distribute copper rounds in the whole kingdom with the objective of use them as fixed units inside the commercial treatments. The idea was accepted and this way it began to use copper rounds or copprou’s. Later, due to the fact that the plateeans also learned the trading art, they wanted to coin their own unit but using the silver mineral: the silvsol, later the silvqua. The king agreed, sharing them the coining art. A bit later, the king himself approached to the magmeets to teach them to coin the gold mineral: the golsol; they learned to trade because they are charmed with the palm-fruit-juice. This way was like this city turned into the trading capital. And the use of the currencies in exchange for goods according to his equivalence became popular in three kingdoms. In the kingdom that I come from this art don’t practice. By the way, we still haven’t presented to each other… my name is Luca”. 

  

“I am…” he silenced thinking that it was better to show him the registration scroll.  He delivered it to Luca. 

  

“You are from Lodeleea and your name is Ephesto”.  

  

“Yes”.  

  

“It wasn’t necessary to showed it to me” Luca said, returning it to him. “These scrolls not always tell the truth. The written information might be false”.  

  

“I hadn’t thought it … is it possible?” 

  

“It’s difficult but can” he took it again. “The ink and the scroll are special” he extended it to show him, “there are some special items that are made for the guilds and only they can use it. And to make valid the registration, it must be signed by the guild secretary or a high range”, he pointed with his finger at the low part of the scroll where it was written: ‘This register was authorized by Nolla, secretary of Wall East guild’. “Who signs the scroll must corroborate that the given information is truth. It’s an obligation”.  

  

“And what does happen if someone finds some false information…?” 

  

“In those cases, both the register owner and the authorizer are penalized” Luca said, returning him the scroll, and then he drank. “You seem to be worried…”  

  

Ephesto discovered his face to drink. While he was drinking he remembered the female sandean who had attended him. He leaved his drink, but his face stayed uncovered. He observed the registration where her name was wrote. 

  

“Nolla… “, he murmured. 

  

“She was the one who authorized it. Is there some false information?” Luca inquired with perspicacity. 

  

“I must confess that… I’m not come from Lodeleea. Even I don’t know that city”. 

  

“It’s just a village” Luca corrected him, interrupting. “Still it is in development. I have been several times there and it isn’t very big, not as the copper city… do you know to which I mean?” 

  

“No…”  

  

“Then I suppose also you don’t come from there either. You don’t seem to be an artisan or miner. I mentioned it during my explanation, Terareea city”.  

  

Ephesto felt guilty.  “My tutor sent me here” he explained, “as part of my training”.  

  

“Which art is teaching you?”  

  

“Learn other arts”.  

  

“Anyone specific?” 

  

“No. He gave me the task to learn about the habits of the cities during my trip and this place would be the meeting point”.  

  

“That explains your arrival. But, your origin still is a mystery”, Luca served in glasses again. “Don’t think wrong about me. I don’t try to trouble your visit, and this isn’t an interrogation. As you will see, I don’t wear a watcher cape. It’s just curiosity; I like to know new people and exchange information. It’s just that”.  

  

“So, you aren’t from here?  

  

“My vestment betrays me”, he said with sarcasm. 

  

He was dressing extravagant, not with the typical sandean vestment: wide trouser and thin jacket of teradreean fabric. However, he was wearing a longed shirt of metallic mesh, a fitted belt where three saddle-bags were hanging on his sides, and an iron chest plate whose design was similar to the feathers of a bird.  

  

“Nether this city”, he continued, “even of this kingdom. I’m come from the main town of Venea’s Kingdom. I suppose that you even don’t know the place…” he waited, guessing the negative answer. 

  

“It’s to south direction from Carmine Valley” Ephesto answered safely for Luca’s amazement. “Crossing Emerald Plains, you were entering into Wild Forest, ancient territory of Doragarths. To the distance you will observe Fang Mountain, the place where rests Sereneetee. You will know that you are arriving to your destination when you see that the flora is less dense and aggressive. You will know that you have arrived to the main town of Venea’s Kingdom”, he mentioned.  

  

“Interesting… Well, I am from there”. 

  

“Then do you know how to craft metals?!” 

  

Ephesto had never been in Venea’s town but he had listened tales from his tutor. Also, he learned a bit about the most famous veneet art. 

  

“Are you talking about iron-craft Art? For sure!” Luca answered proudly. “The chain-shirt and the iron-plumage that I‘m wearing, are crafts of mine” he presumed. “But long ago that I don’t craft anything since I practice the diplomacy”.  

  

“Diplomacy?” 

  

“I represent my kingdom in this one, and the others. Precisely today will be an important event in the city, and my presence has been needed to be a witness. Do you know to what event I mean?” 

  

“I don’t know. I’ve just arrived”.  

  

“Well, the news also is recent. Only a few had knowledge since a few hours ago… Well, it’s going to be a judgment of a dangerous criminal…” 

  

*** 

  

Meanwhile, an event was about to start in West Plaza in West neighborhood. A couple of watchers, members of the Guard West guild, protected the entry of the Teradreean’s temple, and another group surrounded the plaza, positioned strategically to keep the residents away. It was the fifth solunar golden hour and the event would initiate at the first cooper hour.  

A hooded figure opened a path across plaza while was being escorted by another group of watchers, and between them was Dolomeo, chief of the Alliance of Three-Main Sandean Guilds. Size, force and resistance were the qualities that described to the Forts, one of three sandean tribal races; the ones who in the past were the managers of constructing the walls of the city; and he was a fort. 

The onlookers watched, trying to discover the identity of the criminal; but the escorts prevented it, opening their way; until finally they arrived at the entry of the temple. The chief Dolomeo entered with four of the watchers and the hooded figure, the others remained behind to form a body wall, and with their hoods being worn, they took a bellicose position. The mentioned behavior intimidated the onlookers making them move backwards to a reasonable distance. 

Inside, the Teradreean Prophet of Sandea received them. A goody-looking male sandean who received them, but all they stopped forthwith after felt an aggressive presence proceeding from another hooded figure that was positioned next to the altar, and who held a “bloody red opaque long pointy-sharped metal”: the coppering-steel spear.  

  

“Chief Dolomeo, we were waiting for you” the priest said affably.  

  

“Priest… so he also has come…” Dolomeo answered, distrusting of the capped with the spear. 

  

“He has been here since the first golden hour. Also I surprised” he whispered with Dolomeo and laughed. “I was cleaning the temple. But do not we have why to be afraid of him, right? We will not be the prosecuted… for the moment”, he laughed modestly.  

  

“From this distance I can fell his destructive will”.  

  

“Yes…” the priest said condescending. “So!” he went where the criminal was. “So he is the famous criminal…? And, his identity…”  

  

“Also I don’t know his identity” Dolomeo answered. “The only one who knows that is judge Aquilha”. 

  

“AH! Yes! Then it is true. I had heard about that he would be present during the judgment”. 

  

“Aquilha has much to explain, I hope that he has answers when all this has finished. Meanwhile, the criminal mustn’t be exhibited until the indicated hour…” 

  

*** 

 
p.

  

“And, who is the criminal?” Ephesto asked to Luca who were continuing in the tavern.  

  

Luca was thinking in a calmness that was being disturbed by the bottom sounds of the tavern: vibrating jars and the murmured volume of the conversations.  

  

“The answer to this question is the attractive of the event. Neither the identity of the criminal nor his crimes have been exposed. Anybody in this city knows it, not even the high ranks… well, only the judge knows”.  

  

“The Judge?” 

  

Judge Aquilha. He represents the king’s justice before the citizens. He’s recognized by this surname because he dominates the benevolent judging art. He… is wise with the judgments, that’s why results strange to me his mysteriously behavior. It’s slightly unusual… There must be someone behind, someone who is forcing him to act like this…“, he began to soliloquize. “But, who might have a high will…? The only one is the king, but it isn’t possible… Then, who is the criminal and why…?”  

  

Ephesto as well as the bartender dedicated themselves to observe how Luca was questioning himself. None of the two had the response but both were interested, as Luca, in discover it. They exchanged accomplice looks, deciding not to interrupt him. After a few moments he stopped, realizing what was doing.  

  

“I’m sorry. I have left myself…” he justified itself. He took the bottle but it was empty. “Well, it was not mattering”. From his belt, he took the copprou’s mallet. “Ephesto, if you decide to go, the event will be in West plaza, maybe we meet again”.  

  

He took out a golsol, a flattened thin round of brilliant gold, and placed it on the bar as payment for the drinks. Then he moved back without saying more; he disappeared after crossing the entry. The bartender was on the verge of seizing the golsol when Ephesto stopped him:  

  

“Is that a silvqua?”  

  

“No. This is a golsol, and costs twelve times more than the silvqua”. He took it, making it flies with style to return to seize it, and save it. “Not anyone operates with these. You are lucky to have known someone that does it”. 

  

“Is it difficult to get a golsol?” 

  

“So hard, but there are forms to do it” the bartender answered with certain malice in his voice. “An example, you could help the people with small tasks. Obviously you won’t be rewarded with golsol’s but with a few copprou’s that if you save carefully, slowly, one day you can exchanged them for a golsol”, he shared a sarcastic smile. “Also you could dedicate to craft items that you can exchange for copprou’s, of course, if you dominate one of those arts. As well, you won’t win a lot. And another option is to get a job like, MERCENARY“, he emphasized this last word.  

  

“It’s the fourth time that I hear this word. What is being a mercenary?” 

  

“It means to put your will to the service of someone for a stipulated price. Like many here does it, as result of don’t dedicate to trading or didn’t qualify to be a guild watcher. That’s an easy job and leaves good earnings… Are you interested?” 

  

“Not for the moment, but it’s good to know it”.  

  

“Anyway, to south direction finds Mercenaries Town. And those are the many ways to obtain rewards in copprou’s. I’ll give you a tip: the key is to do small jobs to earn the trust of the people, gradually”. 

  

“I think I understand…” 

  

“If you need more information you can come with me, gladly I’ll trade with you, but it’s’ not always for free. The information also has a price depending on its importance… if you know what I mean. Everybody here knows me as Hector, the Nectar’s Bartender. In no other place will serve you the delight that I serve here. They won’t even provide you with the information that here I offer you. And before leave, there’s a last tip… If you took direction to West plaza, don’t go through the passageways; if you don’t know them you will get lost because they are labyrinthine. Use the principal avenues, always”. 

  

“I’ll have it in mind; thanks again” Ephesto said, showing his wallet.  

  

“It’s not necessary” the bartender said with negative, “your friend Luca already paid”. 

  

*** 

 
p.

  

It was the eight golden hour, and the commercial gabble had calmed down more of the standard. The merchant Veleden had taken advantage of this peace to converse a bit with the glass seller; whereas Reso was waiting in the tent, rather anxious because there was no client. The place was desert…  

  

“HEY, Reso watch out!” 

  

He was scared by Zoria who had come for a blind spot. She was carrying four crystal bottles. 

  

“You scared me! Why have you been so late?! ” Reso said, reproaching her after incorporate.  

  

“I was investigating a bit” Zoria answered, been presumptuous. “Take it!” she delivered him one bottle. “It’s Fruit Juice… And this one is for our chief… So where has he gone?”  

  

“Front there, with the merchant of crystals” Reso indicated while was trying to remove the cork of his bottle. He opened doing a typical sound: ZHOOM. He tasted the smell.  

  

“Just wait…” Zoria said, stopping him.  

  

“Did you bring the Icing?” 

  

She showed him other another bottle that was lightly frosted. She opened and delivered it to Reso. He drank a bit from his bottle doing a bit of space, and immediately spilt a bit of the frosted one, cooling it. Zoria imitated him. The merchant Veleden from the other side of the avenue noticed the banquet of his assistants; he said goodbye to his companion merchant, tasting.  

  

“Zoria! Why have you been late?!” the chief scolded her after arrive, “Where have you gone for my drink?” 

  

“Here is chief, don’t bother. Fruit Ferment, like you asked it”.  

  

She delivered it. The chief took it and drank without spilling a drop.  

  

“As I already said” continued Zoria, “I entertained researching a bit. It seems that today won’t be any more sales, so don’t bother to claim for customers. Everyone are preparing for the main event.  

  

“And …?” Veleden asked, hurrying her. ”Did you discover the criminal identity?”  

  

“If I had that information, I would exchange it for a few golsol’s” Zoria answered, wishing to truth. “Nobody knows it”. 

  

“It is strange…” Reso added, thinking.  

  

“They have said that won’t reveal the identity until the judgment hour” Zoria explained, drinking from his bottle. “So…”  

  

“Chief, Will we stay for the event?!” Reso inquired with extreme interest.  

  

Veleden breathed heavily resigned.  

  

“We don’t have other choice… we haven’t sold even the half of the loot! We will have to remain up to tomorrow… 

  

*** 

  

The stone tiles of West Plaza had turned brown color due the day-set, and Soluna was in her coppering shine. The watchers limited the approximation of the anxious citizens who were doing pressure to the front, looking for a preferential place. Front to the temple, before the multitude, six individuals monopolized the whole attention. Four of them were celebrities of the city: Aquilha the judgeDolomeo the chief of the Sandean AllianceAlguasee the leader of the West Guard guild, and the Priest of the temple. As for the other two, were concealed their appearance. One of the pair was the Teradreean’s Executioner: a being with a powerful, destructive will, who dominated [_the prohibited draining Vital Time art _]and who only appeared when was summoned. And the last one was the mysterious criminal.  

Dolomeo had stood against all; his great size allowed him to be seen for the most. On his hands he was holding a scroll, which extended and began to read it:  

  

“In representation of the order that fortifies our kingdom, we are present to execute the justice established in the sacred laws! Anyone who dares to break one of these laws, it is judged and assigned to the convenient penalty!” 

  

It heard the murmur of the crowd.  

  

“Look… that is the Needle of Coppery Steel…” someone from the multitude mentioned after see the tool with which the Executioner would work. 

  

“This criminal is accused of use his will to commit three of the worst crimes! Which have given him the bad reputation that now enjoys…!”, after said, he thought that was a rather irrelevant comment because the identity of the criminal was unknown. “He dared to repudiate the benevolence of our king! To steal sacred relics of the Teradreean’s Temple of our city for later to exchange them as if were trinkets! Also, he conspired in order to alter the safety of our kingdom! Because of that, he will be executed by drainaction! His gravestone will stay as example for those that dare… 

  

The action of drain or “drainaction” was consisting of causing the deceasing of a criminal, thrusting the Needle of Coppery Steel for steal him his vital time. An art only dominated by the Executioner. 

At the conclusion speech, Aquilha gave order to begin the ceremony. Two watchers took the criminal from the sides and guided him to the front. The Priest did a sign to the Executioner who approached to the criminal and with aggressiveness behavior, withdrew the clothes that was covering him, leaving, before the expectation of the presents, exposed the identity that jealously concealed. A collective, silenced sigh was heard. By then, the copper hours were passing by, and the wind began to blow fresh in the neighboring darkness. 

A criminal provided with an insulting attraction: long and smooth hairs which resembled a waterfall of onyx threads contrasted by a pallor face adorned with crystalline eyes of purplish pupils, and nacreous lips. All that exaggerated beauty reflected a dispassion smile. His sculptural body was adorned by a dress of emerald color that was fitting to the perfection with his feminine size. 

  

“I present you…!” Dolomeo stuttered after crossed look with the woman, “the shades criminal…?” 

  

Between the crowds, there were masked that with perverse humor began to incite to the presents for exclaim to the unison: “Punish her! Punish her! “. Whereas the Priest mentioned an expiatory prayer and the Executioner prepared his tool. Despite such foolishness and that the woman was tied, that didn’t overshadow her beauty. Everything stopped in a silent illness that ruled the plaza.  

  

The torches squeaked disturbing the silence night… 

  

“Seconds been alike the eternity: this insignificant temporary space in which the life of a being hangs of the existential rope, it does not than an mute act of agony as part of the disconsolate victim whom first of all prefers proving herself indifferent against the silent laughs of those that wait from another side of the curtain… her extinction!” 

  

Someone had taken advantage of the anonymity that the darkness offered to rush in the climax with such words. Who had dared to leak like such way in respected event? Everyone were asking each other with exchange looks, and simultaneously, looking for the wrongdoer. The indiscreet looks were accumulating to a direction of the plaza, indicating, conceal him in the shaded curtain; and the only vision was his silhouette in the high of a roof, who after sees him discovered, raised, with certain cynicism, his hand, in significant gesture: I’m the one you’re looking!  

  

“Is he a bard?” Alguasee asked doubtful. 

  

“Which are the intentions of that bard?” the Judge inquired responsibly.  

  

“I do not know” Dolomeo answered listlessly.  

  

In the middle of the darkness, from his raised hand there began to go out a red steam that overflew above the multitude dispersing as if it was a cloud, but nobody noticed it.  

  

“It’s just a clever one” Alguasee assured presumptuously, “that wants to immortalize his words taking advant…  

  

At that moment, the cloud had reached great length above the plaza.  

The bard snapped his fingers and the cloud caught fire, initiating from where he was and finishing with the form of a roof conformed by scarlet fires with discreet golden flashes and blue sparks that illuminated the faces of the presents. They all pay attention onto the blaze and nobody could identify him. 

  

“What had it happened?!” the Judge exclaimed with amazedly face.  

  

“I do not know, Judge!” Alguasee answered, more worried than amazed.  

  

“It has been he! What are you waiting for?! Stop him!” Dolomeo ordered to the watchers, who doubted a few seconds.  

  

“What did not you listen?! Go after him!” Alguasee demanded in tone of reproach.  

  

One by one opened a path between the crowds towards the house on which the Bard was.  

  

“He has… has come for the woman!” Alguasee warned. “Don’t allow him approach!”  

  

He shot a second cloud of smoke, but this time it settled in a lower level, so that they all perceived it asking themselves: what was that? The whole plaza was paralyzed, including the watchers… 

  

“Again? Watch out, he will do it again! Protect yourself!” Dolomeo warned simultaneously that was kneeling.  

  

Those who were nearby imitated the gesture.  

The second blaze penetrated in the darkness to a level that the heat was burning the eyebrows of those who had not believed the alert.  

  

“Protect the citizens! Clear the plaza!” the Judge ordered without losing the sight to the Bard.  

  

In a few moments the plaza was dispersed, in a sea of disorder. Only the watchers had remained. As for the woman, was protected inside the temple together with the Priest and the Executioner.  

The cold wind founded with the serene night during the second silver solunar hour to steal sand particles and to displace them in a mystical dance that just the sea of sand could offer. 

Anyone had not been hurt.  

  

“I want you go and capture that civilian and bring him to me” the Judge said.  

  

“He is cornered; he will not be able to escape!” Alguasee affirmed. Correcting  

  

“I’ll take care of this” Dolomeo said, taking direction. “I won’t allow escape this criminal…” 

  

On the roof, the Bard, worried was looking for an escape route, without possibility for the watchers, who to the ambush for capturing him, had piled up boxes to go up, besides having surrounded him. He was cornered. He chose the only option that had: with his look focused at the far end, he ran taking impulse and jumped highly. But the distance was farthest; the jump force had not been sufficient, he began to fall down. Still in the air, rapidly he lowered his hands and threw two blazes that made him go up, and doing the watchers who observed below to protect themselves from be burned. He achieved to land on his destination. Without taking rest, he ran again and imitated his last action, achieving it successfully. 

The watchers observed amazed how he was moving away, but they didn’t remain standing, but began to follow him before the insistent demand of Alguasee. The streets were labyrinthine, and the houses were unbalanced. The bard, now fugitive, saw himself obliged to turn aside occasionally with the obvious intention of reach the wall. He had taken advantage, apparently, on the watchers, but his body fatigued began to reclaim him. It still remained a bit to arrive; gradually, he perceived the great wall that was becoming higher. 

With the speed that was going, he overexcited; over trusted, he jumped highly with direction to the wall. Stopped on the air, to a half distance, he felt that that was losing flight and feeling regretful of his action. He ended being crashed against a wall of a house and absorbing the fall by a pile of boxes in the yard. The disturbance had betrayed his location and alerted to the prosecutors. He stood up hurt and resumed the escape. Behind, the watchers listened coming closer. He zigzagged between the streets, getting lost; worried he ended in a dead end. He looked up, thinking that could use a maneuver to escape, but realized that it was very difficult, since he had knocked into the wall of the city, which height was considerable; his heroic act would not allow him to jump so highly. He was fatigued, afflicted and cornered. Worry was perspiring. 

The watchers came from all directions, blocking the rear. “Here is!” “He’s cornered!” “This way!” they were divulging as they arrived, and others threw torches to illuminate the location. The Bard assured his back against the wall as last resource. It wasn’t possible to identify him because had cloaking the face for a cloth mask…  

  

“You are cornered!” a Watcher threatened while was recovering from the race. “You don’t have escape… Either to oppose us is the answer, we surpass you in number. So give up!”  

  

He watched them alerted as a beast cornered and ready to counter if they dared to attack, on his look could appreciate it. 

  

“It will be better for you to don’t try anything wrong…” Alguasee said who had arrived and refuged behind the wall formation of watchers.  

  

The confidence of the victory detonated in the faces of all, but no one dared to give the first step, some for cowardice and others for act of caution.  

  

“Leader, let’s be careful, he has attacked us with a prohibited art” one of the watchers advised Alguasee.  

  

“Then, don’t approach until my command…”  

  

“Open the way! I will take care!”  

  

A figure exclaimed with authority, while opened a way for itself between the watchers. Such was the amazement of the fugitive, as if such obstacles were not enough to prevent him escape, after see the impressive figure approaching. He was chief Dolomeo. The others to his side looked squalid. Dolomeo immediately mocked after realized the situation. 

  

“Did your escape plan consist in run towards no direction, for later tries to jump the city wall, and then continue running across the extensive sea sand?” Dolomeo said with sarcasm accent, simultaneously was cutting the distance between them. “You didn’t consider that ours watch-members know every street and every existing short-cut in this city, plus, they are qualified to cross extensions of sand without rest. They had chased you up to your depletion. But the worst mistake of all was that you didn’t consider my presence…  

  

“You were caught from the moment in which you found yourself cornered!” Alguasee added.  

  

The offensive position of the fugitive didn’t pleasure to Dolomeo.  

  

“Will you try to use your art again? Do you believe that will help you? Try it …!” Dolomeo said, coming closer. 

  

“Why do you chase me?!” the fugitive exclaimed throwing a blaze of warning.  

  

Dolomeo stops it with his hand extended without taking damage. Immediately, taking advantage of the carelessness, he got him from the arm and threw him, without effort, towards a side, crashing him against the wall. For later, assure him against the floor, placing the enormous foot on his head.  

  

“Why do you do this…?” the fugitive complained, feeling the strong pressure on his head that thanks to the flatness of the sand wasn’t squashed, but he was impeded to breathe.  

  

The watchers observed with admiration the heroic act of the chief Dolomeo. 

  

“I will explain you why” Dolomeo answered: “You interfered in a sacred judgment, threatened civilians, tried to escape uselessly, attacked me using an unknown art that I imagine it is forbidden, and the worst of all… with these acts you tried to help to escape a dangerous criminal condemned to drenation. Still do you think that you deserve tolerance?”  

  

“I…”  

  

“Reveal the face!”  

  

With his enormous hand, he removed easily the mask. After that, he kicked on the chest, throwing him again against the wall and hurting him more.  

  

“Stop!” 

  

It demanded an authoritarian voice that paralyzed everyone. However, Dolomeo didn’t obeyed, approached to continue doing pressure with his enormous foot. The rows were opened again making way for the authority figure. It was the Judge Aquilha.  

  

“Judge…:” Dolomeo said, looking him with discretion. “It wasn’t necessary your presence here. I have captured the Bard already, he won’t escape! I have explained his crimes; I will give him the well-deserved judgment. We will execute him together with the woman for complicity!”  

  

“I have ordered to stop, chief Dolomeo” Aquilha repeated with authority. “First we must know the identity of the culprit. Let me see him”. 

  

“Che… check if he has some registration scroll with him” Alguasee added. 

  

Dolomeo turn him with the foot aggressively, placing him with the chest up side. A watcher approached him and revised in his clothes.  

  

“Here it is the scroll” the watcher said, giving it to the Judge.  

  

“Who are you?” the Judge inquired with authority and a judging look.  

  

“He won’t answer” Dolomeo said, “and I disbelieve that scroll serves as much. He is mercenary for sure contracted by someone to help the woman”.  

  

He placed the foot on the chest, pressing him again.  

  

“Wait! I know him! I know him!” there was listened a third voice that was making way for itself between the watchers.  

  

It was Luca.  

  

“Luca?! Explain yourself!” the Judge demanded. 

  

“The truth is, not much… just I knew him recently in the tavern Nectar. He said to me that he was called… Ephesto…”  

  

Aquilha who had the registration scroll, checked it.  

  

“Is correct, there says it … Also, he is Lodelian?”  

  

“He said to be a simple adventurer, and mentioned that he was looking for someone” Luca explained as pleading for him.  

  

“A simple adventurer doesn’t throw blazes from the hands” Alguasee commented. “It is obvious that it treats about a forbidd… Have you mentioned that he came looking for someone?! To whom more it might be! He has come for the woman! He has confessed, is her partner!”  

  

“I am not… his partner…” Ephesto scarcely could express.  

  

“Deny it won’t help you! Your actions have demonstrated the contrary! He has to be executed together with the criminal!” Alguasee said, suggesting. 

  

“It’s enough” the Judge interrupted. “We don’t know anything about him. And this registration does not help. It’s necessary to obtain more information and to discover about his relationship with the woman. He will be interrogated”.  

  

“It doesn’t seem suitable to me. This young dominates a prohibited art. Everyone here noticed how he shot those igneous plates towards the civilians. Who knows other tricks has…” Dolomeo suggested.  

  

“Seemingly, that how was” Aquilha said pensively.  

  

“But he didn’t do it with intention of damage them” Luca added. “There be a reason behind…”  

  

“Why do you defend him Luca? Are you with him?” Dolomeo asked.  

  

“ I just wanted to help the woman because seemed to me unfair what all of you were going to do her… - Ephesto said with great effort from the ground position.  

  

Luca approached him. 

  

“Remove your foot!” Luca demanded, challenging Dolomeo.  

  

“And if I don’t want it, what…?”  

  

“Both of you. It will be better to be calm” Aquilha suggested, controlling the situation.  

  

Everyone had felt the Aquilha’s dominant will.  

  

“I understand…” Dolomeo said, being bent at the amazement of everyone; he removed.  

  

Luca helped Ephesto, sitting him.  

  

“Are you fine…?”  

  

“I am sorry dear Luca I didn’t want to put you in problems…  

  

“You haven’t done it, but you have much to explain”.  

  

“I felt it, his will” Ephesto said in low voice, “like if there were two…”  

  

“Speak for all, criminal!” Alguasee demanded.  

  

“Judge, he has said that will speak” Luca added. “And that needs from someone to represents him. Sincerely, I don’t believe that he is a criminal, so I offer, if you allow me…” He held him from the arm “Can you get up?” 

  

“If he has something to say, then he should do it here” Dolomeo said. 

  

“NO” Aquilha interrupted. “It will not be here. We will take him to a suitable and secure place”. 

  

“Question him or forgive him” Dolomeo said angry, “that it isn’t my business; I already accomplished capturing him. The following thing falls down under your responsibility, Judge. It doesn’t matter for me. I will proceed with the execution…” 

  

“No, you will not” Aquilha said, stopping him. “We will postpone the execution until this clears on”.  

  

“BUT?! Judge?! Everything is prepared!” Alguasee said, reproaching. 

  

“The citizens have left scared the plaza” the Judge said, “they must be confused, it is necessary to explain to them what had happened before continuing; I am sure that they don’t want to go out of his houses. Without witnesses we cannot carry out the execution. Plus, the night has won us. Those are the reasons why we will postpone it. Have I been clear?” he said to all, nobody dared to question him. “Tomorrow will have time for explanations, that now we don’t have. For now, we will keep the woman in the prison. Take care of it, Dolomeo. Understood?”  

  

“I have understood” Dolomeo answered slightly energetic. “Move sandean watchers, there is much to do and the night cools!” 

  

He left together with the half of the watchers group; Alguasee and the other half stayed. The Judge approached up to where Ephesto and Luca was. 

  

“Stand up!” he ordered him. 

  

Luca helped him, supporting from the arm and resting it on his shoulder.  

  

“How do you call? And I refer to your real name” Aquilha asked, insisting with the look.  

  

“It is Ephesto” he answered securely. 

  

“Judge, I will take care to escort him to the prison” Alguasee proposed. 

  

“Be sure of taking him to the court”.  

  

“I understand…” 

  

“Aquil … Judge, I will help them to escort him” Luca proposed.  

  

“Why are you interest in him?” 

  

“Truly, I feel that it’s my fault his presence here…  

  

Aquilha observed both them with distrust.  

  

“Fine, you will explain to me during the interrogation”. 

  

*** 
p.  

Dolomeo had arrived hurried to the temple with the group of watchers. He was preparing to enter when was intercepted by a group of the Wall East guild, led by Reenjeen.  

  

“Chief Dolomeo, we have come at once when we find out” Reenjeen said.  

  

“It wasn’t necessary, everything is controlled”.  

  

“Controlled? This wouldn’t have happened if we all had participated…” 

  

“Keep your speech, Reenjeen” Dolomeo interrupted him. “Don’t forget our positions. Besides, why isn’t your leader the one who came to reclaim me?!” 

  

“I apologize, she is…” 

  

“Better to worry for know where your leader is. And make sure yourself that I don’t receive any more complaints about her acts. Now disperse! I don’t want to ask to the West Guard to oblige you”.  

  

He entered; assuring that the others not. The Priest was together with the woman and a pair of watchtowers.  

  

“Chief Dolomeo finally returns! What will happen with the woman, with the judgment? Because I am afraid that there has been another disadvantage… the Executioner has left.  

  

“As supposed…” Dolomeo said, showing him calm.  

  

“It’s anything wrong, Chief Dolomeo?”  

  

“There won’t be a judgment until a new advice. And the woman… I will take her to the prison”. 

  

“And what is the reason to such dramatic change?”  

  

“That question is for the Judge; I am just kept orders.  

  

He approached the woman, and carried her on his shoulder as if she was a package.  

  

“Stay calm, woman… I warn you” 

  

“Chief Dolomeo doesn’t you prefer to give us that task?” one of the watchers suggested.  

  

“No. I will do it, alone. I don’t want any more surprises. You make sure that nobody comes in”, he waits for the watchers moved back. “Priest…”  

  

“Yes, ask”. 

  

“Lead me to the emergency exit”.  

  

“Emergency exit?”  

  

“You know what I’m saying…”  

  

“AH, yes! I understand…” 

  

*** 

 
p.

  

Ephesto had been taken to the Justice Hall that founded in the Left Wing of the Noble Neighborhood, to north part of the Sandean City. It was an area restricted to the citizens; just for authorized people and the Sandean Militia: an independent guild organized by the best beings of the kingdom, which were the responsible of the high safety. 

  

“You will be fine in this place” Aquilha said. “You can speak freely. Luca had explained me that you are not from this kingdom therefore, I am conscious that you don’t be familiar with our laws. That doesn’t mean that you are exempt to them, but I will be considered with your punish depending on the information that you provide me. I hope that you will be clear and concise…” 

  

“Ephesto, if you have reasons to keep some information, It is better that you explain why” Luca advised. “I could help you but only if you trust. All the information you say here, will remain as Aquilha has said”.  

  

“I didn’t want to cause problems” Ephesto answered with shame. “I just wanted you to see the essence of that woman…”  

  

“Already we will come to this point” Aquilha said, interrupting. “First, checking your register… Is Ephesto your real name?”  

  

“I already have answered that question; it is correct… I don’t understand why I would change it?” 

  

“There can be many reasons. I see that your genesis is false. You are not from Lodeleea. How do I know it? Besides that Luca confirmed it to me, though it wasn’t necessary, the lodeleeans don’t like the arid lands, because they are accustomed to live in the marshes; they like the humidity, besides they cannot practice their art far from their land, and they are very bad merchants. What leave me to question: Where are you from?”  

  

“It’s truth that I’m not from that place” Ephesto confessed, unwrapping from his head the cloth knots, exposing his bloody-red hairs. “I’m from Carmine Valley. Where live the Carmines… I’m Crimson”.  

  

Aquilha initially didn’t understand but remembered something. 

  

“I have understood that the Crimsons are beings with reddish hairs which cover the most part of their body also have wrinkled skin as an elder. It is difficult to communicate with them since they behave as beasts…”  

  

“It is truth that the color of your hair is alike but…” Luca said.  

  

“That’s the reason that I never reveal myself. My tutor advised me…” 

  

“It is true, your tutor! You said that you were looking for him, that you would meet him!” Luca exclaimed. 

  

 “Your tutor, who is he?” Aquilha inquired.  

  

“His name is…” 

  

“The Dark Errant Dark…” Aquilha said, gaining him the words. 

  

“Is it true?! Do you know the Errant?! Now I understand… It is not luck that I have known you in the tavern. Something called me towards you. My kingdom has unsolved business with the Erra… I mean with your tutor. Aquilha, as diplomat of my kingdom I demand Ephesto’s custody for… 

  

“Be calm, Luca. Your kingdom is not the only one who is interested in the Errant…” 

  

“What do you mean?” Luca inquired like reproaching. 

  

“Your look and your arts betray you” Aquilha continued. “Definitely, you are disciple of the Errant, not only that, I can feel his powerful will on you. Why I didn’t appreciate before…”  

  

“I am the disciple of Arcbael. I don’t know any Errant, maybe you are confusing him”. 

  

“You can call him like you wish, but he’s the same. The important thing here is who you are. Do you know the importance of your presence in our kingdom?”  

  

“I don’t understand your meaning…” 

  

“Of course, he has sent you, isn’t it?” Aquilha said with a smile in his face. “Luca, I will deny the custody to you…”  

  

“Now what are you planning this time, Aquilha? I won’t participate if you don’t tell me”. 

  

“Be calm, Luca. ‘The time always says the truth’. But I won’t leave you out of this, for the moment I will assign his custody to you. You will be his escort”.  

  

“I don’t have thought to stay in this city” Ephesto said. “I must find my tutor”.  

  

“You will have to stay; this will be your judgment until we find your tutor”.  

  

“You mentioned that you would meet him here. Right?” Luca said.  

  

“I did”. 

  

“Then” Aquilha added, “I personally will take care to keep me informed of his arrival”.  

  

“How will you recognize him? The only who knows him, It’s me”.  

  

“You will describe me his signs. If any individual with similar characteristics enter to the city, I will tell you, and you will corroborate his identity. I want you understand the situation Ephesto, you are not a prisoner, but a guest, but I you cannot allow you go. As I said to you before, there are interests ahead even I assure you will benefit with all this.  

  

“I suppose that I cannot refuse…”  

  

“No, you must not. It is not a wise choice”. 

  

“I understand. But since I will be here for a time” Ephesto said changing his face, “I would like to obtain information that helps me to know more about your laws…” he exchanged an accomplice look with Luca.  

  

“What kind of information?” Aquilha asked.  

  

“Like, why has the woman been judged?”  

  

“The woman? You refer to the criminal… Do you know her? Has she some relation with the Errant?” 

  

“No” Ephesto said, negating. “But, I could see something interesting when I saw her. And I suspect that there’s something behind and you know about. She is different from anyone in this city. Am I correct? His will seems to be… mixed”. 

  

“Will, mixed? Explain it?”  

  

“It is creative nor destructive, neither passive. It is both simultaneously. A mixture. I never seen something equal…”  

  

Aquilha remained, thinking.  

  

“What do you know Aquilha?! “ Luca exclaimed pressing him to speak. “I know you well, and know that you are hiding something that goes in opposition to your will! You have to explain!”  

  

He remained doubtful. After a few moments, he relaxed his body, issuing a sigh.  

  

“You have reason, Luca. This woman is not guilty, of anything, and I have done badly in judging her. His only crime is to be who is… an abomination. A created being, not for the will of the deities nor for the will of another corrupt being, but of two… like Ephesto already has said it. 

  

“Then, who and why?” Luca inquired.  

  

“I thought that I could carry with this alone, that’s why I accepted and hid all the truth. But the truth is that not, my will has been reproaching me all this time. That’s why if I have I decide to tell both, it’s because I need your help with this load, becoming responsible of what implies knowing this information. I entrusted that you will put of my shoes. Have for sure that I tried everything possible for to not give that penance…” 

  

“There is something that it could do for help her?!” Ephesto asked. 

  

“I don’t have reasons to help her but” Luca said excusing him, “if you say that she isn’t guilty… I think it isn’t correct, knowing that she isn’t, to allow her to be judged like that. What I import to me is your position. You had asked for help from a beginning and we had looked for another way of getting rid of her…” 

  

“Well, that’s the first problem. I wasn’t who sentenced her, and neither his enemies. And the king knows nothing of this” Aquilha cleared. “That’s I accepted the whole responsibility…”  

  

“I got it… You represent the king’s justice before the citizens. That’s the reason why you decided to take the whole responsibility… Now I understand. That is the Aquilha that I know, admirable. And that’s the reason that I have changed my decision. I will help”. 

  

“As for me, I can help, judge Aquilha!”  

  

“Yes, yes, yes… it won’t be so easy for us, as I already said this is our first problem. The woman herself chose his penance. Do not ask me why, as same I don’t know the reason. Of all the options that I put in the table, she chose that. He didn’t choose for the exile, why would she do it? To where would she go? After all, she doesn’t belong to any race. She would be judged as here…”  

  

“Maybe, I could speak with her” Ephesto suggested with spirit.  

  

“I don’t want to be pessimist Ephesto but, I think that it would be a fruitless action” Aquilha said, believing himself his words.  

  

“I don’t belong to any race either…”  

  

“Explain your words! Are you a crimson, not…?  

  

“I know that I am one, but I don’t feel as one. I am different from all of them, I am, the guide…” 

  

You are the guide who will allow me to arrange them. With your help we them will be able to return to his normal condition. One to one, little by little, I will arrange this. But only I will be able to do it with your help …’ he remembered another phrase said by his tutor.  

  

“Maybe could persuade it. If it has I decide not to execute it …  

  

“As I already said that decision to execute wasn’t mine. If you could convince her…”  

  

“Let’s allow him to try, Aquilha; let’s trust him” Luca suggested.  

  

“Then will you allow me to speak with her?!”  

  

“I will, Ephesto, I will trust in you. If you convince her, I will owe you one. Not only will have saved the woman, also you will have saved me of committing an injustice, will have allowed me preserve my will”.  

  

“I will do it!”  

  

“I hope that you don’t disappoint me…” 

  

“First objective convince the woman, and then?” Luca asked. “You have said that she has enemies. How will we solve it? If you have agreed to sacrifice your will to protect the king, that’s say that they are important enemies. Now you are making me doubt myself…” 

  

“Believe me Luca, the will of his enemy is alike to my king but with destructive nature”.  

  

“Who?!” 

  

“I will let you to discover by your own. But now it isn’t the right moment, even you are not prepared. Just we concentrate on the first task. You will take care of obtaining success, and I will take care of the enemy; I should have done time ago, when I warned him. He and I have unsolved matters. I represent the justice of this kingdom, and nobody can be above this justice, anybody”.  

  

“And the whole city depends on this justice. And I trust in your judgment” Luca added. 

  

“Ephesto” Aquilha continued. “It had thought to take you as prisoner, but I have changed decision. I want you to trust in what I will do with you, just like that we will assure the success. Do you agree?” 

  

“I will attach to your desicion”. 

  

“The bad thing is that you know little about our arts and culture, that puts you on risk knowing that now we share an enemy. Luca doesn’t worry to me because I know that in case of traversing risk he can return to his land”.  

  

“You are offending my valor” Luca said. “I wouldn’t escape for any reason, I also possess a strong will”.  

  

“I would take measurements necessary to extract you from the city if I knew that you are in danger. You are my friend, Luca, of the few that I really have. Protect ourselves is the key to succes from this. That’s why I am protecting you not telling you the identity of the enemy. But Ephesto, I want you to learn and prepare yourself, because you will be a key piece of my strategy”. 

  

“I will do what you ask me. And you can be sure that my arts will be to your orders. I will be… like a mercenary?” 

“First, we must see the arts you dominate and how many are” Luca said. “Now knowing that you are the disciple of the errant, I am sure some of them  are interesting”.  

  

“For now abstain yoy from use the prohibited one, that of the fire…” Aquilha said. 

  

“Piromancy”. 

  

“Yes, that one and others of similar nature. Since I have decided that you will enter to the Sandean Militia”.  

  

“How…? Impossible. Do you realy think that he will be ccepted?” Luca questioned.  

  

“I will make it for sure. But that will be the second step, just if you manage to convince the woman. And before that, I must warn you about the special art of the woman…” 

  

*** 

 
p.

  

Meanwhile in Wood Jars Tavern, founded in East neighborhood; Veleden and his two assistants, Zoria and Reso, debated the happened. But not only were they; that place was replete for individuals who were discussing the same topic.  

  

“Did you see it?! It was amazing!” Reso exclaimed, captivated.  

  

Of the outburst he spilt a bit from his drink to the near one, causing him displeasure.  

  

“Do not get excited Reso” Veleden said, who was drinking calmly his favorite fermented drink. It wasn’t a especial taste, but that he liked any type of ferment or drink that produce him the condition of passiveness and confusion. “We all saw it…” 

  

“I know but, that should have been a unique art, never showed before, an art; an art…?” 

  

“A forbidden art” Veleden severed, throwing him a look to lowering his voice.  

  

“What…? Oh, I got it…” 

  

“So that was a forbidden” Zoria said, whispering. “Also I thought the same when I saw it. And what’s the deal with the woman, do you think that she is guilty?”  

 

“We are not who to know it. If she was there then there is a reason” Veleden commented, finishing with a slurp to his bitter drink.

  

“That is truth…” Reso said, keeping in mind something. “That lady… his look wasn’t demonstrating dread, nor repentance. Something in his eyes was calling me…” 

  

“Could you distinguish his eyes?” Zoria questioned a bit incredulous since the distance where they had been positioned to attend the event wasn’t completely favorable, as she remembered. 

  

“Yes. I mean, I’m not sure! Something did me…” Reso answered as waking up from confusion.  

  

“Luckly I do not have good vision” Veleden said, interrupting, “if not also I had been delighted as my absent-minded assistant”. 

  

 “Been charmed with?” both asked to the unison. 

  

“It was an art, pair of absent-minded being” Veleden scolded to his assistants. Have you ever listened about the Manits females Art of Being Charmed with Music Skill? Well, it is similar, with the difference that this woman used a forbidden art that has to be related to his eyes, or body… only the weak beings of will fall down on her enchantment” he watches scolding at his assistant, “as well as did with the pyromaniac. She bent his will to help herself. Luckly you weren’t he, if not, right now we would be put in a big one” he finished with the jar in the mouth, noticing that was empty. 

 

“So there is the reason of her anonymity” Reso commented, showing relieved. “Very clever those watchers”. 

 

“Then, can she escape using her tricks?” Zoria asked, continuing the conversation.  

  

“Well, that is out of our bussines” Veleden said rather disgusted. “For that are the watchers. Tomorrow we will kno… he fell down sleep on the table. 

  

*** 

 
p.

  

Luca and Ephesto had leaved the House of Justice, and were walking along the avenue with north direction, towards the Sandean Prison, whose structure could see it from the position they were. It gets up as a great stone tower located behind the castle. As for the castle structure, it was like an enormous spiral shell with small shiny perforations. There was another wall around it that limited its gardens with the north neighborhood. It was night, and Soluna was shining at her third silver hour.  

 

“Look, Ephesto” Luca asked, pointing towards a side of the wall. 

 

A tower of similar structure like the castle did pair to its side. The top of the palm-trees could be observed that surrounded in surplus.  

They were close at the entry of the prison area. But they decided to approach aside the wall.  

  

“Behind this wall you can find Suna’s Oasis. Had you ever listened about this place?” 

  

“No, never. What is this place?” 

  

“It’s an oasis; a garden in the middle of the desert. In the center there is a spring wherefrom sprouts crystalline water, which consumption lengthens the vital time, rejuvenates, increases the wisdom and strengthens the will. But, approach and consume this water is forbidden.  

  

“Forbidden?” 

  

“It’s one of many others laws of this kingdom, which you must learn and respect to keep the balance” Luca explained. “This place was a sandy land as every land around here” he stooped and cut a few emerald grasses that slipped between the soils of the wall. “But since the Sandea’s Gem was dedicated to the king, this place was re-designed in order that she lives in here. It’s a sanctuary, a sacred temple, and here finds the gem.  

  

“What is the gem?” 

  

“It’s not an object, is a being. The king’s inheritor, princess Suna. One of nine gems, delivered to each King from the Nine Kingdoms by the four deities, to offer them prosperity”. 

  

“Your wisdom impresses me”.  

  

“Your ignorance about this impresses me more, being the disciple of the errant”. 

  

“I think that is the reason why he sent me here. Yes, now I understand”.  

  

“Then take advantage of it. Let’s walk”.  

  

They resumed the march. 

Luca sopped before enter to the prison area, and following his step, Ephesto. The entrance arch was abandoned, and to the bottom was a path conformed by bonfires that were illuminating the way towards the entry of the prison tower. Luca indicated both ends, where found turrets as part of the wall structure, and on the top of them, a soldier was guarding the perimeter. Others two soldiers capped appeared in front of them. 

  

“Your pass” one of them demanded with authority. 

  

Luca snatched a scroll from his saddlebag, and delivered to him. After checked it, the soldier returned it and allowed them to enter. They crossed the way of torches, being intercepted by another soldier inside the tower and who also checked the scroll. He led them across labyrinthine interior, replete with closed doors; they went up for a few stairs, crossed another labyrinth, and went up for more stairs, to continue for a third labyrinth. Finally they stopped front to one of the doors.  

  

“Here is” the soldier indicated. “The register indicates that the red haired is the one who will stay”.  

  

“It’s correct” Luca said. “The judge demanded it. I don’t like the prison rooms. Ephesto, you will stay here, until your situation fixes”. 

  

The soldier opened the door, and Ephesto entered; the door was closed behind him. The room was dark partially, only the silver light entered through the crammed window painting itself diagonally in the center of the floor. Ephesto felt the presence of someone inside the room, but  he didn’t see it.  

  

“I will return at dawn, Ephesto” Luca Said, saying goodbye.  

  

The steps were listened moving away in the corridor. Ephesto approached to the window blocking the light. He looked to the exterior: the sand painted blue in the darkness.  

  

“I can feel your will” he said without changing position. “It isn’t destructive nor creative, and neither passive”.  

  

The silence remained.  

  

“My name is Ephesto. I’ve come to help you”. 

  

*** 

 
p.

 

  

  

  

  

This story continues in: 

  

  

[_Crimson Chorus, From the Nine Kingdoms _] 

Chapter 2 

  

 


Crimson Chorus, From the Nine Kingdoms (Chapter 1)

Before starts, allowed me to introduce myself… I am Balaan Legeel, an erudite adventurer of the Anterior Scratch. The history that you are for reading is only one of so many existing inside the open world of the Four Scratches and theirs Nine Kingdoms. In those days which I devoted myself to collect legends, histories and all kinds of anecdotes, I ran up with one that was especially of my pleasure, who talked about a being of minor importance… but why to focus my attention on telling the adventures of an insignificant character if exist others with more impact, of heroes whose magnificent profiles would swell the pages of any tale? Well, because for them will be other titles that with equal pleasure I will dedicate them. Or maybe you will find narrated by someone of my comrades… Like I said, I have decided to focus my attention on the adventures of this character with insipid reputation, which unknown name repeated, circumstantially, inside other histories led by heroic characters. The list is wide, but I just will name those of great impact; such examples: the white alchemage errant Yaibrel, and the dark alchemage errant Arcbael, both enigmatic figures; the inheritor teradreean king Sande and several of his more faithful serfs and... not so faithful. His participation managed to be a key piece of the existential complementary puzzle of Nine Kingdoms. Ah... venerable reader, is precise to warn that the words that you should find here mean more than a simple fantasizing tale. If what you look is a cheap tale as this, then, I suggest you to stop here your reading. But, if you decide to continue… then equally I warn that you will be seduced by the knowledge that I share you here. He was known by different mottoes but with the one that more emphasized him was: Ephesto. Let’s begin…

  • ISBN: 9781370571529
  • Author: R. Merino
  • Published: 2016-09-14 18:05:13
  • Words: 15321
Crimson Chorus, From the Nine Kingdoms (Chapter 1) Crimson Chorus, From the Nine Kingdoms (Chapter 1)