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PostPosted: Tue May 3, '11, 4:19 pm
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The journey out of Aridia wasn’t much unlike the trip there, except that Layla had suggested that they take a mountain pass to the northwest that would take them straight to the North Country.

“Since most people from your land do business mainly with those from al-Qatif, this particular pass has been all but forgotten,” the homunculus had explained as they treaded the cool desert sands.

The trip took them the better part of a day, but by noon the next day, they had emerged from the pass into the cool, green foothills at the southeastern end of the valley. Na’il suggested that they head back in the direction of Landan and Satiri to ascend the plateau into Elesvaram, but Layla had another idea.

“At the shore of the great waters is a lonely fisherman. If you pay him handsomely, he will gladly take us across the sea.”

“Layla, please forgive your humble servant for asking,” started Mah, “but how do you know so much?”

The tiny human gave a toothy grin, her teeth looking like tiny diamond grains. “My dear Mah, a homunculus is a very special creation. Not only are we miniature people, but the alchemy used to create us is so powerful that we are born with extraordinary powers. And having the spirit of Layla, the fairy queen, in me, I am exceptionally blessed.”

“Come,” interrupted Na’il hurriedly. “We shall have plenty of time for that during our trip.”

As Layla had predicted, there was a lonely old fisherman sitting by the shore mending his only net. Na’il approached him and solicited his services in exchange for a single bag of gold that Layla had directed of him to take from the cave of wonders that she had been found in. The old man gladly accepted to take them, and soon they were crossing the great bay. When they reached the other end, Prince Na’il told his party to rest for the night. The fisherman provided them with a dinner of fresh fish, crab, and mussels, the best meal Na’il and Mah had had since leaving Landan.

The ascent up the plateau was only slightly less exhausting than braving the extreme temperatures of Aridia. While the trail often went up at such an incline that the Mah and the prince often had to stop to catch their breath, good weather and cool winds helped ameliorate the strenuous physicality of the task. Like their trip from al-Qatif to Aridia, the danger of rockslides was ever-present, so the two humans did their best to not talk and walk lightly, which was a bit more difficult for Shahren.

The Plain of Elesvaram was an enormous carpet of green that extended to the south and west further than the eye could see. The air was significantly cooler than it was down in Landan and the old expression about the “grass being greener on the other side” was quite appropriate to describe this cliff-top paradise.

The prince and his companions arrived at length in the town of Divya, where Aliyah was being held captive. Rather than seek an audience with the king upon their arrival, Layla directed Na’il to stay the night at a caravanserai, or inn, and go in the morning. While dining at a local restaurant, Na’il noticed that his golem companion was earning his party more than their fair share of stares and astonished looks.

“Strange things have been happening here these days,” commented their waiter.

“What sort of phenomena do you speak of, kind sir?” inquired Na’il innocently.

“Our great king recently captured Aliyah, the legendary princess of the skies,” the man whispered, looking around suspiciously. “They say she had come down from her palace in the heavens to walk among us mortals. The king, hearing legends that whoever could capture her would prosper more than he could ever imagine, took her and placed her in his dungeon.”

“If she lives in the heavens, doesn’t she powers to escape?” asked Mah.

The man narrowed his eyes at the redhead, surprised that someone dressed the way she was—for she wore the clothes of a commoner now, instead of a harlot—would speak so freely in the presence of royalty. Letting out a loud sigh, he answered, “It is said that the king ordered that her cell be decorated on the outside with charms—charms that prevent her from using her magic to escape.”

The waiter would’ve said more, but an angry restaurant owner shrieked him to stop neglecting his duties. The young man skedaddled away, leaving Na’il; Mah; Layla, who was hidden among Na’il robes; and Shahren, who stood beside the table, to discuss their plan.

Last edited by H-Man on Wed May 4, '11, 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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