Fruit of the Fallen

Questions of Merit

Corruption and Redemption

Part 6 of The Adventures of The Split Falchion

Four Days Later, Outside of Lathleer

The Split Falchion rides out from the city of Lathleer, having stopped momentarily for fresh supplies and horses. The group appears haggard, such as is every traveler who rides the roads of Aundair without pause.
Having left Fairhaven, the band had driven south, back the way that they had come. “I want to avoid Merrick knowing about our approach, if possible,” Vargard had explained, once outside of Fairhaven, “The Eyes will know, nothing we can do about that, though I’m doubtful they’ll be in a rush to inform Merrick. If we avoid the rails, then we have a better chance of reaching the city unannounced.”
“What will we do when we get there?” Marwyn responded, Fairhaven disappearing behind him.
“Merrick is obviously involved in whatever happened at the warehouse. We’re going to find him, get him alone, and find out what he knows,” Vargard said, determined.
“Not that I’m hesitant about doing this, but why exactly are we doing this?” Marwyn asked.
“That’s because… you see,” Vargard stalled, searching for a lie.
“We have been paid to track down Blue Cloak by the same people who hired us for the initial warehouse job,” Lesani lied, cutting in, “That was what we were discussing in the inn before we left in such a hurry. They are interested in the artifact he acquired from it, just as they were in the Brelish artifact we stole.”
“Oh,” Marwyn said, satisfied, “That makes sense,”
“Well, if you don’t mind, Marwyn, I’m going to ride ahead with Cletus and plan our next move,” Vargard had said, and did, four days ago.

Now, Marwyn looks back at that day, jealous of the soreless muscles he once had. The group rides for the rest of the day, and makes camp by a small stream near the road. Marwyn, aching after the forced ride, hadn’t even attempted verse or archery for two days. The crew started the same process they had gone through the past few days, securing their valuables and preparing to sleep, as the sun set over the plains. Marwyn, however, sits up, bothered by something.
“Vargard,” he eventually says, as the fighter was laying down.
“What is it Marwyn?” he says, trying to be patient but letting slight gruffness into his voice.
“I, have a confession,” Marwyn says, hesitantly.
“What, did you manage to piss off most of the bartenders in Passage in the day before we scooped you up?” Jorduna yells, annoyed.
“Jor, the sooner he gets this off his chest, the sooner we get to sleep,” Vargard mediates tiredly. Jorduna grunts, then turns away, “What is it Marwyn?”
“The guy Lesani sent me to see, Ner. He told me to ask you about Merrick,” Marwyn says, ashamed,
Jorduna turns back, “Oh come on, that’s what you were worried about? I figured you out when you tried to covertly nod at Les, and didn’t sing any epics of your wit after that. I’ve just been too tired to care. More to that end, will you shut up now and let us sleep?”
Vargard sighs, “Yes, lad, it was pretty obvious, and Lesani did mention it to us covertly before we left. I just figured I’ve give you the chance to tell the whole story, and I’m glad you did. Especially before Passage,” he adds, grinning, though Marwyn is not sure exactly why, “Just forget about it and get some rest. We’re riding at dawn, like always.”
“Yes Vargard,” Marwyn says, laying his head down on his folded shirt, and trying to sleep. In doing so, he misses the small amount of gold that Jorduna and Lesani slip to Vargard.

The next day started like the rest, Lesani woke the others after her watch, the group quickly packed what little they had spread out, and within 5 minutes they were on the road again. The road was lonely, the few travelers passing quickly in the opposite direction, whether they be knights bearing the dragonhawk, or simple peasants moving from local hamlet to local hamlet. They eventually happen upon a small break in the land, where a now gone river had worked its way through the plains, creating a short ravine. A bridge leads over it, and as the party moves to cross, a confident voice cries out, “Now!”

The bridge collapses, its supports being knocked out by several humanoids, running out from underneath. The horses immediately stand up, and start bolting. The fall does no damage to The Split Falchion, however that is not their concern. 6 bandits now surround them, 5 in front and 1 behind, moving aside slightly to allow the horses to pass. Most draw bows, another readying a wand, and the last, she who started the ambush, addressing the group, “I want your horses, your gold, and any magical items in your possession, starting with those cloaks,” she states, no excessive malice or theatrics in her voice.
“Counterproposal,” Jorduna banters, “You have your men each stick an arrow in you, so we don’t do it for them,”
“Jor, not the time,” Vargard says out the side of his mouth.
“Cute,” the bandit replies, “I think I’ll take your clothes too. Ugly, but I think there’s a goat somewhere that could make them work.”
Vargard holds out a hand, “Please, let’s be reasonable about this. There’s 6 of you against the 5 of us, but I’m willing to bet we’re the better skilled. You attack us and at least some of you will die.”
“That’s the leader,” the bandit tells the others, “take him out.” All four archers fire at Vargard. His plate absorbs some of the damage, but two arrows punch through, and he grunts with the pain. The wizard raises his wand, and Marwyn feels his sores and travel weariness intensify. Lifting his head with great effort, he can see the rest of his group suffering similar effects. The bandit leader draws a greatsword, and charges Vargard, cleaving into him.

“Focus on… the wizard,” Vargard grunts, “Marwyn… Don’t worry about me…” He pauses briefly, focusing, and seems to shrug off the effects of the wizard’s magic, his strength returning. His armor glowed briefly during this, and stops as he takes a swing at the bandit leader, giving her a scratch across her leg as she deflects the sword downwards. Cletus goes down, seemingly unconscious.

Jorduna steps into the center of the position, absolutely no cover, and pauses, trying to gauge distances. She stops, smiles, and whispers to herself, “Gotcha, hehe,” She reaches to her belt, and pulls several daggers from it, throwing them one at a time from both hands, aiming at each of the bandits. She manages to at least wound all but one of them, and strikes 3 of the archers and the mage directly in the forehead, deep scratches that causes blood to flow down their faces. They scream, dropping their weapons and trying to staunch the bleeding.

Lesani stands behind Vargard, and starts whispering disturbingly towards the bandit leader, Marwyn trying not to listen. The bandit leader’s confident gaze breaks, and she turns, running a short distance as if from a flood. She stops, right next to Jorduna, and continues dodging from what seem to be imaginary sword strokes.

Marwyn barely manages to keep conscious, and reaches for an arrow, fumbling somewhat from exhaustion. He focuses, repeating the mantra, “fire flight, fire flight,” melodically to himself, as the end of his arrow sparks, then ignites as he draws it back. It doesn’t harm the bow, however, its fire meant for one specific target. He releases, striking the still blinded mage in the chest. He screams as the fire burns his flesh, as well as his armor. His release was quicker than normal, and the bandits sprawling allow him to take another shot. He flashes a quick sign to Jorduna, her eyebrows arching in surprise but nodding in acceptance. The next arrow, seemingly mundane, flies towards the confused bandit leader. Her movements perplexes Marwyn’s aim, but the arrow strikes true, a sudden lurch to the side bringing her into the path of the arrow. The pain, combined with the dark thoughts running through her mind, forces her to completely drop her defense for a moment, allowing the prepared Jorduna to drive a knife through her sternum.

The bandit archers, all but one of whom blinded by the blood pouring down their faces, attempt another shot. One, the unharmed bandit, whose placement on the other side of the now collapsed bridge saved him from Jorduna’s daggers, shoots at the exposed Marwyn at the back of the formation. The arrow strikes him in the calf, and Marwyn screams, clutching at the wound. The other archers all fire blinding at where they believe Jorduna to be, missing both her and the bandit leader. The leader recovers slightly, her movements and manor returning to what they were before, save for the occasional ducking from an imagined arrow. She screams a battle cry, and rushes at Vargard, completely ignoring Jorduna, who tries and fails to swipe at her with a dagger while the leader charges Vargard. The point of her sword bites deep into his chest, damaging the armor somewhat. He holds a hand to the wound for a moment, and sees blood flowing smoothly.

The wizard forms a sphere of fire in his hands, still slick with blood, and attempts to hurl it towards the cluster of four right under the bridge. His blindness, however, causes him to overshoot, and it lands above the ravine. A soft foom as the fireball erupts above, and Vargard yells “Duck!” through the pain of his injuries. The battle pauses momentarily as everyone ducks, fire raging above and over the battle. It ends, and Vargard resumes the battle with a cut towards the leader’s legs. The strike cuts deep into the flesh, and when he removes the blade blood spurts out from a cut artery. The leader clutches at the wound in a futile attempt to stop the bleeding, and then falls to the ground, dead.

Jorduna eyes the caster, in the middle of the majority of the archers, and signs to Lesani, who quickly returns. She flings a dagger at the mage, who had just managed to bind torn cloth to his head wound, and he takes a dagger to the leg. He drops his guard to pull it out as the archer’s eyes are drawn to him momentarily, and when they return they are surprised to see Lesani standing in her place, Jorduna now behind Vargard.

Lesani raises a pair of pipes to her lips, created of ice pulled from the air, and a horrible keen begins wailing out of it. The wizard, and to a lesser extent, the archers around him, start shivering. The wizard falls over, frozen to unconscious, and the pipes melt back into the environment. Marwyn recites a quick version, exchanging his bow for his lute, and Vargard’s bleeding stops, the rest of the wounds healing as well. The archers look around, and one of them, the more experienced by the looks of it, shouts “Screw this, the guild ain’t getting paid enough to throw us into the fire after them. Run boys!” He drops his bow, as do the rest, and they run.

“Les, go check out that wizard, see if he has anything interesting,” Vargard orders, “Jor, go encourage those archers to keep running. Don’t stray too far.”
“With pleasure,” Jor says, chasing after the three archers who fled to the south.
“Marwyn, see if you can rouse Cletus. He’s already missed the fun, he’ll never forgive me if we take up the loot without him,” Vargard finishes, recovering his breath. He kneels next to the body of the bandit leader, her foot nearly torn off by his last stroke, and examines her greatsword for a moment, throwing it aside afterwards. He then turns to her pack. Marwyn, finishing the extraction of the arrow in his leg and magically healing the wound, prods Cletus until he awakes. He stands up quickly, looking around, and then relaxes when he doesn’t see any enemies.
“They all gone?” he asks Vargard, who stands, finished with his search.
“Those who survived. And would you look at this,” he holds a piece of parchment out to Cletus.
He takes it, murmuring, “’effin wizards.” He sits against the ravine wall, reading.
“I have found something!” Lesani shouts over the Vargard, holding a small stone in the air. She walks over to Vargard, and holds it out.
“A dragonshard,” he says in slight awe, looking it over once, “See what you can make of it, Marwyn,” he tosses it to Marwyn.
Before, Marwyn would have been lucky to identify the dragonshard as such, however the week and a half of magical training he had undergone had already begun enhancing his arcane senses. With the knowledge of its identity going in, he could focus on the specifics of the dragonshard. He reached out with his mind, isolating and feeling the aura surrounding the small rock. A minute passes, and he then feels a rush of cold air, not on his skin, but in his thoughts. Not wind of the surface, but of the sky, the air that chills the mountain tops and pushes the clouds across the horizons. “It’s of Siberys,” he reports, eventually, “I think… it amplifies cold magic,” He hands back the stone.
“Correct, Marwyn,” Lesani tells him. “I do not believe we have any items which could use such enhancement, however.”
“I’d have to double check with Jor, but I believe that’s the case,” Vargard agrees, “We’ll keep it for now. No sense selling it if we don’t need the gold, we might find something that can use it.” He places the stone in a small pouch, which he then attaches to his belt. He turns around to the sound of footsteps and sees Jorduna returning.

“They scampered off like whimpering dogs,” she reports, gleefully, “I gave them each something to remember me by. What’d we find on the dead ones?” she asks, now interested.
“The woman was carrying around 100, which we can split evenly. The greatsword is unmagical, but could still be worth something. The wizard, still alive by the way, had his spell stuff, as well as a dragonshard. Low power, unusable as of now. I suggest we try and sell his spellbook, and keep the stone.”
“Sounds reasonable,” Jorduna said, then turns to Marwyn, “I have to admit that you did ok, kid. Keep it up and I might actually use your name once and a while.”
Marwyn was surprised, Jorduna had given him an actual compliment. He didn’t say anything, not wanting to spoil the mood. Unfortunately, Cletus did that for him.
“There’s also this,” he says, holding out the parchment Vargard had handed him earlier, “They were paid to ‘delay’ us.”
“Who paid to have us rubbed off?” Jorduna asks, bewildered.
“Merrick,” Vargard seethes, “They were told to kill me and take the rest of you in, if possible. I was going to let Merrick go after our talk, but now…” he ends, ominously.
“’t’s not all bad, Var. This gives us an opening,” Cletus says, holding out the second piece of parchment attached to the first. Its writing is too faint for Marwyn to read from the distance, but it bears what appears to be a seal.
“True, good thinking Cletus,” Vargard answers.
“How does this give us an opening?” Marwyn asks.
“They were told to bring us directly to Merrick. If, say, that freezing wizard over there could be persuaded to bring us to Merrick under guise of completing the contract, it could give us an opportunity to get him in a shady part of town under minimal guard. I highly doubt the captain of Passage’s guard wants to be seen in public, paying off a bunch of hit men,” he walks over to the wizard, examining him, “Yes, that’ll do nicely.”
“There is one problem that we cannot solve, however.” Lesani says.
“What’s that, Les?”
“The horses are gone.”

Five Days Later, Passage

Night falls once again on Passage. The rails that feed into the city are still active, but the trains that run on them pass by the city, only a rare few stopping inside, the crews that run the railyards reduced during night hours. This makes the yards both the busiest and calmest parts of the city, and it is in this seclusion that three men walk. They walk around the front of a halted train, the elementals that usually drive it put into a magical stupor, their energies contained until they are needed tomorrow. They cut through another such train, opening the cargo doors on either side quietly, and then closing them. They exit the other side, and in between two trains sitting on identical tracks is a nervous man, waiting by the cargo door of the opposite train.

“Where the hell is Vanarra?” asks the human leading the two others asked, “I deal with her, not the second in command.”
“She’s dead, you bastard!” the other man responds, “You didn’t tell us how much heat these guys would be packing.”
The other speaker remains calm, but ice enters his voice, “Do not dare speak to me in such a manner, or I will have you gutted here and now, and save myself the trouble of paying you,” the other men carry torchlight, revealing the single man to be the wizard from five days before. The same light illuminates the face of the leader of the three, as his men move to surround the wizard. Captain Merrick, dressed in black, steps closer to the wizard, “Now, do you have them, or will I need to start cutting the information out of you?”
The wizard, intimidated, opens the door behind him, “It worked just as you said. The guards completely ignored the carriage after I gave them the papers,” he shows Merrick the inside, cloth blocking off a small section of the inner carriage. Four silhouettes of kneeling figures can be seen by torchlight, “the other is in one of the crates. I didn’t want the guards getting a look at it, even with your writ of passage,"
“You did all this by yourself?” Merrick asks, suspicious, and not stepping into the carriage.
“I.. I..” the wizard stammers under Merrick’s gaze, “We hired some of the archers from their guild to help take them, using the money you gave us up front,” he forces out, “They helped me load the body and the prisoners into the train car. Just north of here, then they split. That’s how it happened, I swear,” he adds, somewhat pleading.
“Well, I’ll want to see the body up close. As well as the prisoners, though I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunity to see them as they rot in our cells,” he motions to the two by his side, and they step up into the carriage.
The wizard quickly steps away from Merrick, and before Merrick can question him, a deep voice says behind him, “Hello ugly. I think we need to have a little talk,” Cletus appears out from under the train that Merrick approached from, jumping up and pushing him inside of the carriage. The door slams shut after him, pushed from the inside.

The curtain on the inside falls, revealing four crudely assembled mannequins. “What the hell is this?” Merrick shouts into the darkness, Cletus pinning him to the ground. His two men stand near the mannequins, back to back.
“Its many things, Merrick, but I’d like to start with payback,” a gruff voice answers, and the room is suddenly bright with the light of a sunrod. Marwyn, Vargard, and Lesani stand, each guarding a door out, weapons ready, “Now, you two there in the middle have a choice, die with your leader, or put yourselves in line for a promotion,” Vargard says menacingly.
They look at each other, and one of them answers, “Sorry Merrick, but I ain’t dying for you.”
“Cowards!” Merrick yells, struggling to break free from Cletus’ grip. Vargard lets them out the other side, hurried footsteps evidence of their departure. “CALL THE GUARD!” Merrick shouts at the top of his voice, before the door is closed. He starts laughing, “You people will never get out of here alive. The guard’ll surround this train, and by dawn you’ll either be dead or in prison, which, considering I’m Captain of the guard, will amount to the same thing.”
“See, that’s where you’re wrong,” Vargard calmly explains, “We didn’t just steal the guard captain of this city. We stole one of its trains. Conductor Jor, I think we’ll be leaving now,” the last statement addressing a small stone he holds in his hand, “I have to thank you for allowing to get all of our equipment into the city without any hassle either. Real courteous of you.”

Lightning crackles as the elementals held beneath the carriages are awakened, and the train begins moving in reverse, towards the North. Merrick screams in defeat, and resists even as Cletus binds him with rope. The train begins to move towards one of the gates guarding the trainyard, leading directly to the outskirts of the city. Guards posted to the top of the gate start shouting at the train, uselessly, as the main engine is located on the tail end. The end of the train smashes into the gate, ruining the last carriage, but breaking through. The train keeps moving, most of its elementals intact. Riders are dispatched after the train a minute later, although they are too slow to keep up.

About an hour later, the train, halfway between Passage and its first stop, slows, coming to a halt. Seven figures exit, one being thrown, while the train begins to slowly crawl forward, back towards Passage. One starts moving north, while the rest of the figures run towards the Duskwood, the forest close to the tracks. After some time, they stop, resting against trees.

Vargard takes a deep breath, recovering from the run, and then says, “This should be far enough. Let’s get to know one Merrick of Aundair. Ungag him, Jor.”
“Gladly,” she replies, still wearing the conductor’s hat she had found in the front of the train. Merrick remains mute, an infuriated look on his face. Vargard sits in front of him, peering into his face.
“So, Merrick, what exactly motivated you to take a hit out on me?” he asks, his voice cold, angry. Merrick remains quite, to which Vargard responds, “Nothing? I thought you would at least threaten me, maybe bluster. We’ll get it out of you, one way or another you know, and my ‘hobgoblin friend’ as you called her is itching to try it her way.”
“This all ends the same way, criminal,” he shoots back, “I’m going to hunt you down after you flee here.”
“Oh, that’s funny,” Jor says, “You’re assuming you’re going to be able to walk after this.”
“Give me your best shot, hobbo,” he spits at her, “I’m not giving up anything.”
“Var?” she asks, barely containing herself.
“I’ll give you one chance before I let her loose. Tell us about Blue Cloak.”
“Who?” he asks, evasively.
“The warehouse, where we first met. Why where you there, and why was it empty. What do you know!?” Vargard shouts at him, pushing him against the tree trunk.
“Can’t a man enjoy sitting on a rooftop in his city?” he asks, then laughs in Vargard’s face.
Vargard turns, and asks Cletus, “Got that fire ready?”
“Aye,” he responds.
“Go to work, Jor,” he says, as she holds the blade of a dagger over the fire. Merrick, able to see this for the first time, widens his eyes slightly, but tries to hide it. Lesani takes Marwyn’s arm and leads him away slightly, while the rest remain. They walk over a nearby hill, some distance away, and sit. Marwyn looks out at the rails, still somewhat visible from the forest. He tries to ignore the screams of pain.

“He deserves it, Marwyn,” Lesani tells him, seeing his pained expression, “He tried to have people kill us. He gave out a death sentence without a proper trial, and that is against the law. One can only imagine his other transgressions, how many innocent people lie in Passage’s prison.”
“I know, Les. I just don’t like it,” he pauses, bracing himself as another scream echoes across the forest, and then continues, “I’ll be fine,” he gazes out, then hesitantly asks, “What did you do to that bandit leader, Les? I heard some of what you said while casting the spell. It was…. disturbing.”
“I hold dark power, Marwyn,” she explains, softly, “Though it may seem unsettling to you, that is the way of things, the path I have chosen, despite my temperament. However, I am still the Lesani you have travelled with thus far,” she pauses as another scream, weaker than most, rings out.
“I just, I didn’t expect something like that from you. Jor, sure, especially considering…” he trails off, grim faced.
“We are all lethal in our own ways, Marwyn. I manipulate minds, and cast dark visions over people, put this is no different than your newly found ability of enhanced archery. That is not to say that you are a bad person, Marwyn, as it does not imply that I am, either. We both simply work with what is given to us; it is the use of our power that defines us, not the nature of it.”
“I… believe I understand,” Marwyn replies, still hesitant, but his voice clearer.

“Good,” Lesani says. “Speaking of your archery, I have not had a chance to appraise what Ner gave you. Would you mind?” She asks, changing the topic.
“Sure,” Marwyn says, handing her the book Ner had given him.
“Ah, the tome of Rathmandi.” Lesani says, taking it, “Ner told me about this some time ago. He was quiet pleased when he acquired it. I’m honestly surprised he offered to give it to you.”
“So it is valuable, then?” Marwyn asks, a little surprised.
“Who told you it was not?” Lesani returns, a little confused, but then waves the question away, “Nevermind. It is not of material wealth, nor magical. These techniques are somewhat common place now. Rather, it is the history of this book.”
“What history?”
“Ah, Rathmandi was a mage of old, who studied obscure magics. As legend has it, he gave this book to a bard, Veilgilard. He, the bard, was a good friend of Rathmandi, and at the time these skills were fairly new. Some speculate that Rathmandi himself invented them, though I highly doubt that.Unfortunately, as fate would have it, Veilgilard lost it in a card game shortly thereafter. Surely you saw the inscription on the first page, that was how it was authenticated.”
“Yeah, I didn’t know it was that old though,” Marwyn says, slightly in awe. Lesani hands the book back.
“You are fortunate. If you have not done so already, I would hide it when in towns. People would kill for the silver alone,” she says, referencing the rune on the front.
“Oh right,” Marwyn says, remembering, “I meant to ask you about that. I thought it was magical at first, but I couldn’t sense anything.”
“I admit I inspected it as well,” Lesani responds, “Though I too found no trace. Likely it was a preservation spell that deteriorated over time, though the symbol is foreign to me.”

The conversation stalls as neither have anything left to say. They both look out for a few minutes, avoiding each other’s gaze, until they come to the realization that they hadn’t heard Merrick in some time.
Vargard’s voice carries over the hill, “Les! Marwyn! Get back here.”

Marwyn and Lesani return to the smell of burnt skin. Merrick sits beneath the same tree, a defeated look on his face. Some injuries are still open to the air, although the more serious ones are bandaged with simple cloth. “Jor, I think he deserves some rest,” Vargard says, and Jor knocks him out. He turns, and says, “Jor got him to talk in the end. I have to tell you, Merrick was a piece of work. I let her go for a bit, after we got what we needed, just to find out the extent of his evil. He has entire cells full of political enemies, people who have personally offended him, as well as a few held at the behest of several wealthy patrons.”
“What of Blue Cloak?” Lesani asks.
“He never met him, or Redmont directly. Didn’t even recognize Les’ sketches. He said he was paid to keep the warehouse under guard, but have the interior empty. This violates the city’s promise to guard all magical artifacts and other valuable cargo stored in their warehouses, so Merrick personally stocked the guard with others he trusted with keeping their lips shut. Here’s the interesting bit. The payer was a Brelish businesswoman. He didn’t know much besides that and a general description, but,” he pauses, smiling, “that was enough for me. The bribe was paid by one Evalyn Guilihart of Breland. She owns a large business, running enchanted armor and weapons from Zilargo through the rails, across the continent. Before the Treaty of Thronehold, she was one of the main suppliers of the Brelish war machine. There’s a good chance one of her weapons has nipped me at one time or another,” he finishes.
“You fought in the war?” Marwyn asks, distracted.
“Oh, yes. I left the service years before the Mourning, however, and that’s all I’ll say about that,” he replies.
“So we’re going to Breland then?” Jorduna asks, cleaning her dagger with a rag, “Should I finish him?”
“No, we’re turning him over to the proper authorities,”
“Back over to Aundair?!” Jorduna asks, incredulous.
“Not exactly,” he says, “You’ll see Jor. They’ll be here soon,” and Vargard remained quite after saying that, impervious to Jorduna’s displeased curiosity.

A few minutes later, a man steps into the clearing, seemingly melting away from one of the trees. Others soon follow, dressed in the garb Marwyn knows to belong to the Wardens of the Eldeen Reaches.
“Wardens,” Cletus nods to them, in greeting.
“Lesani Windhailer, Master Oalian has heard your call,” a shifter, supposedly the leader, addresses Lesani, “We thank you for delivering your prisoner to us. It is our pleasure to dispose of the corruption of this world.”
“It is my honor to release this prisoner to you, Ralfast,” she then adds something else, in a language Marwyn doesn’t understand. The shifter returns the gesture in a similar tongue, and the Wardens take custody of Merrick, walking back west. The crew watches in silence as they leave.

“Well, not that that was weird or anything, but I guess that takes care of Merrick,” Jorduna finally breaks the silence, “But how are we getting to Breland?”
“There’s a nearby town, within few hours’ walk of here. I have a friend, meeting us there. He’ll take us to Breland. Let’s just say he owes me a couple from the war. Don’t ask, I want to keep it a surprise,” he starts walking towards the forest edge, beckoning the rest of his team to follow.
Lesani catches up first, whispering to Vargard, “I am not aware of any former comrades of yours who has the means to transport us across Khorvaire.”
“Ah, Lesani,” Vargard says, smiling, “I never said my friend was Aundairian.”

Several hours later, The Split Falchion stands outside of a small hamlet, the second most interesting visitor that day. The first rests in an open field, barren from the recent harvest. The elemental airship, The Asarclane, worn slightly from its years of service in the Last War, but still as magnificent as any other of its kind. “I guess you could say I have friends in high places,” Vargard says, finally answering Lesani with a smile.

Continued in Part 7, The Armsdealer in Ardev – Heroes and Villains

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