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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, '11, 4:06 pm
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Foren took but a single hour to arrive over the bustling city of Landani. I myself had never been there, but it didn’t take long to see that the stories I had heard of the so-called “cultural cradle of the North Country” were all true. I will not go into any more detail, as you, Na’il, already hail from there, but suffice to say I was in sheer awe of the city before me. Rather than to arrive without the city and make my way through the throngs of people that clogged the white stone streets, I had Foren take me directly to the palace.

The maids and servants fled in terror as they saw me, a green-haired fairy, on a flying carpet inlaid with bronze plates, burst into the hall without so much as a single warning. I felt sorry for their poor souls, but as war was imminent, I had to concern myself with finding Oraki first. I was soon surrounded by a contingent of guards and archers, the captain of whom, a man so tall as to give one the impression that he could scale a tower in but a few reaches of his arm, addressed me.

“Identify yourself, fairy!” yelled the intimidating predator of a man. “For what purpose have you intruded upon the resting place of the prophet Oraki?”

Remaining upon my magical transport, I showed reverence to the Captain of the Guard and replied, “If I have found grace in thy sight, I will speak and be heard of you. I am Aliyah, the Fairy Princess of the Kingdom of Dali-e. I have come on a mission of the utmost of importance, for my success may prevent an unnecessary war between my people and thine. But I request thy permission to speak with the prophet Oraki—bless his soul.” I added that last part to show how sincere I was in my request.

I feared lest the Captain of the Guard would declare me a spy and demand my capture. But he looked upon me thoughtfully for some moments before shaking his great head and sighing. “It is the will of the gods that this happens. Our beloved prophet and leader hath taken journey unto the cold lands of Frigidia to pay his respects to the Fairy Queen Layla. She had come to visit him and admire his riches and experiment his wisdom many years ago and now he hath decided to repay her courtesy.”

I knew it! I had been right; Ruh al-Akir had been nothing but a fraud and liar, the lowest common criminal one could imagine. It was through his black magic that he had convinced Ahun to war against Oraki. But my thoughts of punishing the evil man were soon forgotten as I came to the conclusion I must act quickly to stop the conflict.

“Good captain,” I said, addressing the fearsome, yet respectable warrior who stood below me. “How may I reach Aridia from here, I beseech you?”

“Fair Princess Aliyah,” answered the guard. “Thou wilt find him if thou travellest to the southeast until thou reachest a narrow mountain pass which shall take you to the hot sands of Aridia.”

I thanked the captain and took my journey on the carpet that was once the automaton Foren, flying over the great waters that fed the fisheries of the North Country. My flight was swifter than the East Wind, and I felt the gods smile upon me as I tore through the rocky canyon that had been part of the great prophet’s trajectory. I couldn’t help but feel for the people of Landani, for they were without their leader and, should my brother direct his forces toward Landani first, many innocent people would be needlessly slaughtered. As much as I loved my brother, he had my father’s temper and may the gods help the poor souls that fell into his angry clutches.

Bid by me to fly as fast as the typhon’s winds, Foren sped over the desolate crystalline sands of Aridia, leaving violent sandstorms in its wake. I vaguely recalled the location of the tunnel that led up into the frozen plateau of Frigidia, so I trusted in my instincts. As we made that desperate, mad dash across the desert, I thought for a moment that I saw the prophet and his servants trekking through the sands below us. I had considered stopping to warn him, but I had determined that if I were to get Layla’s attention and bring her with me, we could route Ahun’s forces before a single scimitar was drawn.

The automaton that carried me slowed down when we entered the mouth of cave, an evil skull-like gateway carved into the face of basalt cliffs. It was obvious that this particular tunnel, with inclined upward ever so slightly, had been designed and excavated by either fairies or mortal magicians, for torches magically sprung to life with exceedingly bright orange flames as we hovered through the place.

I soon felt the powerful gusts of skin-piercingly cold wind upon my fair skin and braced myself against the numbing blasts of air. The oppressive air currents chipped away steadily at my will to continue, but I took in a deep breath of the freezing air and put my own concerns aside; thousands of lives were at stake here. I simply could not give up. Bearing the discomfort I felt as well as I could, I continued encouraging Foren to move forward, fighting against the blizzard that had found its way inside the tunnel.

It was twilight when Foren and I emerged from the tunnel and onto the hostile plateau where Layla had made her residence. I will not bore you any longer with details of my flight across the frozen land, but suffice to say, compared to the horrible pains I had felt from the wind inside the cavern, what I struggled against in land of Frigidia was many times worse.

For more than three hours we fought against the bitter, stinging winds of the plateau, heading north to Frigidia. When we arrived in the fairy town of Mastak, I tore across the snowy ground into the Great Hall. It was, as you will soon see, but a bittersweet experience. Before I could have audience with Queen Layla herself, my strength had been completely exhausted from the cold and I promptly fell to the earth, completely unconscious.
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