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Will be published very soon
Will be published very soon
Will be published very soon
The Story of Naga Queens
of the
Bracada Snow Desert
by Lady Dragon
Chapter 6
Krewlod Awakens
The King was on his favorite chestnut horse with a well-sized army trailing behind him; all the procession was heading for Wolfgrad's Valley, the place most favorable among the Darthenwood Clan leaders.  There their Keep and the main base of operations was located under the well-put name of Wolfgrad.
"Send heralds ahead." - King Kilgor ordered. - "May the traitors know of our coming."

After the messages have came from the few secret spies in the city of Wolfgrad, Kilgor's patience ended. It was either to teach the rebels a lesson, or stay cowardly behind the walls of the capitol and be proven as an unworthy King. Of course, Kilgor wanted first to ask the leader of the rebellion out for a talk. Perhaps there was an understandable reason for all this, but still Krewlod's alliance was still with Bracada, and the King didn't quite wish for trouble to begin yet. Especially with the eternal snow in those damn wizards' lands  where it was always cold, instead of the furnace hot deserts that the Barbarians were used to.
Kilgor shuddered. For all his wits he couldn't understand the Clan's reasons for this breaking out... Why had they desecrated the pact between the clans and, moreover, between the lands? Why?
These questions were constantly asked by all the court members (if one could attempt to fit such a word to those that followed the King - ogres, goblins, and other creatures of not much less colorful attitude) aloud or in the privacy of their minds, and yet no answers were given yet.

Barbarian Outpost
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"Your Majesty." - a messenger-orc ventured, disrupting Kilgor's thoughts. - "Wolfgrad is in sight.  We have reached it."
Kilgor nodded, sending the orc away to scout farther along the way. After a few minutes, the head of the army reached a rocky passage, guarded by an outpost of the rebellion Clan.
It let through the King and an escort of three hundred. The rest of the army stayed behind.

After the passage that led downward into the valley ended at last, a magnificent view opened in front of the King and his escort. After

seeing that, there was no way at all that one could say that the Barbarians had no concept of beauty, and lived to go all their lives through battle and bloodshed only.
After the passage that led downward into the valley ended at last, a magnificent view opened in front of the King and his escort. After seeing that, there was no way at all that one could say that the Barbarians had no concept of beauty, and lived to go all their lives through battle and bloodshed only.
A monstrous brown-and-white fortress stood in the center of the gorge and its gigantic shadow covered half of the valley grounds.  Eight towers looked out from the giant walls; the head of the fortress was in the shape of a wolfish face with a pair of menacing fangs shown to the rest of the world.
An alley with the trees in the very midst of their bloom, led from the Gate Entrance to a plaza with two big figure fountains intertwined as one.

They stared at each other, the stone shapes of a gargoyle and a harpy locked in a fight that would never end at least until the sculpture would crumble down. Small rivulets poured peacefully down from the dish in the center, bathing the feet of the stone creatures in warm, welcoming waters.
The plaza was the very center of the city, people and other nonhumans as well, walking the streets; the merchants' cries still sounding from the trade section of Wolfgrad, disregarding the obvious late hours of the day.

Kilgor knew that this town was the headquarters of the present leader of the Darthenwood Clan, but he had no knowledge of what had happened to Brui Darthenwood, why it was now his sister in charge.  It looked like Brui was gone for good. ''Gone'. A frequently mouthed word these days.'  Kilgor thought angrily.
Admitted behind the inner citadel gates without even a single question, the King rode to the front door and stepped down. He gave the reins to the stable boy nearby and patted lovingly his favorite battle horse. His Majesty loved riding. Especially into battles.
Kilgor knew that he could pass here without trouble; the only rule was not to offend the other Clan's property, unless if if at war, of course. But he was King of Krewlod. It was still his land.

Kilgor's escort silently faded away, melting into the Keep's background, carefully checking every possible corner.
The King stopped in front of a great marble door. Motioning with a sign for the remaining guards to stay behind him, he and his General, Lord Ghen, pushed the door open, and stepped into the room.
A small, square-shaped room it was, a slab of white stone in the center serving for a table, and two wooden benches by each side. Not much of any decorations was inside.
As he looked over the Hall of Jabarkas, Kilgor's eyes stopped at the female shape, sitting on one of the benches.

Long, brown hair, cascading down in waves, partially woven into braids, a meagerly full face with shining raven eyes, a sharply outlined nose and a smile on thin lips. The person was familiar to the King.
As Myra rose to welcome him, her armour became visible  all of leather, and with long stripes of some animal's skin hanging down from the sleeves, chest, and belt.
Her attitude was seemingly easygoing as they exchanged brief welcomes, and sat down by the table. Her Mage was standing behind her back.  A minute or so and after polite phrases were exhausted a grave silence hang In the air. Then the King spoke, perhaps, rather rude:
"Where is your brother?"
"Dead." - Myra calmly replied. - "The snakes killed him, and then burned the body."
"Who is in charge, then? You?"
"Yes."

After another brief pause, the Battle Mage said:
"If his Majesty is wondering of our activities, then sadly I can't say anything on the issue, except that a large sum of gold is involved."
Kilgor's face reddened, and he motioned for the General to leave. When the door closed, he slapped his hand sharply on the stone:
"No money gives you the right to break the Alliance! Your clan pledged!"
"Not my Clan. My brother did." - Myra made a half-grin. - "I am free of the pledge."
"Do you really want to say that again?" - he growled. - "Perhaps you'd rather think over?"
"War is not necessary to cover the conflict. Blame it on me, and you'll be free of trouble. But I can't stop anything either way. Even if I could, I wouldn't." - Myra blinked a starting tear. - "I can't tell you anything. Just blame it all on me. I'll give you of half the money I'm receiving for this."

Kilgor started to speak, then halted.
"One wrong move in a different direction, and you'll be wiped off the face of this land for good!" - he spoke, and then moved to the exit.
He halted before the door and turned to her.
"Do whatever you want. You'll be responsible of the consequences that will come. I don't care what happens to you, not after that betrayal of yours." - his face showed no emotion, but as he turned away, Myra saw a look of regret.
The door slammed violently behind the King, and seconds later, the sound of horses galloping away filled the courtyard.

As the sounds died away in the town hall of Wolfgrad, Myra stood and tore the intricate chain from her neck. Next moment she just disappeared from the audience hall without a trace and returned to the Raven Valley. The spell of Beaconing ended, and with it ended the welcoming warmth of Krewlod's barren deserts. The magical transportation wasn't good for Myra. She stood for a couple of minutes gaping and waiting to become used to the thin cold mountain air. 
This night it would be the final attack. All forces counting down, it would be 26 thousand foot and 14 thousand of winged and wolfed units. The army of forty thousands was to attack Nagabaz by the daybreak. They would break the walls by sheer force of the impact
Yet, there was still one problem. The city seemed completely deserted, not a sound, not a single light coming from behind the walls and gates.

Finally the time of waiting passed. Myra watched the slowly appearing beams of sun light with a rising satisfaction. As the sun came out, the army charged; the walls wailed and crumbled beneath the heavy stones of the barbarians' catapults.
No defenders manned the walls against the chargers, none was there to throw off the ladders and not a single person throw burning torches and other even worse things Nobody shot from the towers. No sound was made when the gate shattered. No resistance was made, for that matter.
But most importantly, nobody waved a white flag of surrendering. The barbarians successfully captured the town without any losses.

Myra rode into the city calmly looking around.
The city was as deserted inside as it appeared from the outside. There wasn't a single soul of the damned Nagas. Only empty homes, left food and war equipment spoke that someone actually lived here. It was a ghost town.
Myra rode through the cobbled streets to the Plaza in the center of the town, where snow was peacefully descending on the stones. She let out an inhuman cry, neither of pain or grief, but of fury.

She wheeled her horse back and shouted, galloping out of the city:
"Burn it! Burn it to the ground! The first to touch their things will have his arms cut off, I swear it by my own life! Curse on these damned snakes! Burn their city as they burned my brother's spirit!"
The cry echoed in the mountains, startling everyone, either a bird, an animal or a barbarian. Or a Naga.

This morning Kiya looked at the sun too. Later she watched her hometown burning down through the better part of the day as the stones of Nagas' towns were not easy prey for the flames She had the perfect view of the valley and everything happening there from the secret hidden place high in the mountains and standing behind her was all the city's population. Finally she turned and signaled to march. She tried to discard the blazes from her mind as she left the small ridge and crawled in the direction of Nevegro, the long line of other Nagas trailing behind her.

"Through the mountains, snow, and blood, to the city of Nevegro, to meet the Loremaster and perhaps, even the new Empress."
Will be published very soon