Four proud horses galloped along a worn road, their majestic ebony coats shone brightly with sweat. Their frame, although smaller than their northern cousins, were built for speed, a dark blur to any bystander trying to make out their haste. Their lean muscles bulged with the effort, but their riders softly urged them to greater speed.

Of the four horses only two were saddled. One rider was cloaked completely in black, his face barely visible under his hood. The other, in complete battle armor, also wore a cloak albeit attached to his shoulders, was visibly the larger of the two. They were on their way to the silver fortress of Sanction. They were tasked a fortnight ago, along with two other mages, with investigating a disturbance in the northwest region of the surrounding Ashen Forest called Mara’s Respite. Displeased and offended for being tasked such a needless detail, the four mages set out to quickly complete their assignment. However, what was supposed to be an such an easy task, had taken a horrible turn for the worse.

The smaller male, Nyloth of House Mizzrym, yelled into the dark sky, causing his hood to drift behind his head. His angular face was contorted in frustration. How was he to stand in front of the council and explain to them the death of one of his clan sisters, Anesha? 

Belrond said he saw her die, but where is he to recount what has transpired to the elders? I shouldn’t have let him run off foolishly after Anesha!

Belrond the Cunning, who was the mage in charge, had initially paired Anesha with Nyloth upon arriving at Mara’s Respite. They were to scout to the west while Belrond and Arwend, the battle mage riding alongside him, were to scout the east perimeter. One senior wizard paired with a junior wizard, or two wizards paired to compliment each other’s field of magic. Nyloth would have been fine with arrangement except Arwend insisted he accompany Nyloth. Detached and irritated, Belrond and Anesha set off at once, eager to document their report so they could begin the long journey back to the fortress. Belrond and Anesha were both high ranking wizards who were completely insulted by the council. There was a brewing conflict within the ranks of the fortress yet here they were prancing about the forest instead of putting their skills to use where it was needed the most. 

A flash of lighting broke Nyloth’s thoughts, bringing him back into the present. The silver fortress was in sight and there was much he had to answer to. Facing towards the lighting struck clouds his purples eyes began to glow softly.

 “Deliaz’t est Mizzrym!” Nyloth commanded into the night air, weaving the insignia of house Mizzrym, a purple eye, into the dark night. Beside it, Arwend had weaved a  burning blue sword for house Somnak. 

The sentry above the ramparts saw them and gave the order to open the gates. They slowed their mounts once they passed under the battlements into a steady trot and headed straight for the castle. They had to bring news of a fallen Anesha and of Belrond who pursued Anesha’s attackers.

He’s probably dead by now too, Nyloth thought bitterly. 

“Welecome home,” Nyloth spat.