In Celebration, the entire town of Sea Meet held a great feast for all. Jugglers and fire eaters entertained the children, and musicians played traditional wedding songs. Aurelia enjoyed the scene. Zinjo drank in every last second.
Aurelia raised her hands for silence as she and Zinjo faced the crowd. She cleared her throat, "In a few short days, I will be your queen," she opened the parasol, slung it over her shoulder, and twirled it while she paced. "I have decided it is time for Shadowfen to change. For too long, we have isolated ourselves and hid from the world. I intend to change this."
She motioned for Lord Nian to come forward, "Lord Nian will be assuming the role as our minister of defense. I have seen the discipline of the far east and feel Lord Nian make our soldiers a force on the continent."
Lord Nian bowed, "I shall do my best to meet your expectations," Lord Nian gave a slight bow and stood next to his family.
"We brought some refugees from
Aurelia and Zinjo awoke early the next day. They opted for a good night's rest, above an evening of passionate lovemaking. They both made a silent agreement to hold off until they achieved their goals. Nian and Tang Sai met them outside the inn. Aurelia inhaled the scents of home. The familiar aroma of bread and laughter of families around the breakfast table strengthened her resolve to bottle up Lebende. Zinjo's new armor allowed him more freedom of movement. The helmet and neck guard added a layer of protection to his neck, which provoked gratitude in Aurelia. "Sojobo flatters me with such a gift," He commented. Nian walked around Zinjo, "I have seen such suits on Tengu before. Many a great swordsman ended a duel with A tengu because the armor is difficult to pierce." "Pfft," Tang Sai scoffed, "What do a bunch of birds know about ground fighting. Now, if you want solid protection, ask Han Xin. He used to be a blacksmith before the Clockwork guild stole our
The border guards allowed them to roll through. The guards still had hope, but Lebende's influence remained a dark cloud over them. They did thorough checks of the cargo. When they found the ornate urn, A rat-faced guard held it up, "What is this?""A gift for the emperor. It is an exceptionally rare urn. I traveled the world to find it," Aurelia's regal tone held the guards in thrall, "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have diplomatic relations to establish," Aurelia motioned for Zinjo to take the urn."How do we know you aren't here to assassinate the emperor?" Another guard asked. He approached Aurelia with his hand on his sword-hilt.Zinjo's partisan barred him access, "I would think twice about drawing your blade. You might make us nervous," He gestured to lord Nian who brandished his curved blade. He obscured his face with a silk cloth.The guard caught sight of Nian's fierce anger-filled eyes and took a step back, "Forgive me, your majesty, things are bl
The search for the demonic horse proved to be more difficult than Aurelia realized. Lord Bathory had no references to the creature. He asked the team to keenly observe it so he could add it to his creature compendium. They questioned everyone around all three taverns in Venmere.Zinjo leaned against a wall and sighed, "I don't get it, dark princess. I would've expected a demonic horse to have a local legend. It's as if the horse didn't exist.""What does the culture of Kianzangi say about demonic presences?" Aurelia leaned next to Zinjo. She held his hand and stared at the handsome face. She promised to dedicate herself to the marriage once they dealt with Lebende."The demons collect souls, and they often choose families to torment. Back home, a Hyena warrior named Rashid encountered a demon named Mbulu. Like any person, he challenged Mbulu to a fight. Mbulu promised Rashid great riches if he won, and if Mbulu won, he would possess Rashid's soul."Aureli
Aurelia and Zinjo held each other as night fell over the city of Venmere. They both knew this would either herald a new age for Shadowfen or end in their death. The entire plan hinged on the greed of the Cheval Mallet herd terrorizing the outskirts of Venmere."Do you think the accursed beasts will come for their victims?" Zinjo caressed Aurelia's hair and held her tight.Aurelia laid her head on his shoulder and stroked her husband's chest, "If they don't. I have a backup plan. You won't like it.""You plan to lure them using the Anzu form?" Zinjo chuckled, "I know you too well, dark princess. You will try to save everyone, as always," He kissed her."I don't see a better way, do you?""Nian and I could taunt them, but I suspect they will sense we are not easy prey. Your idea is much more workable. Nian's men will signal us when the herd arrives."Aurelia steadied her nerves. Everything she accomplished along the way had prepared her for th