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?"
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.