The Sword of Bothh

Game 8

Feather and Bone

—The Red Eagle, Moran and Thorax emerged from the basin of the waterfall, sputtering water out of their mouths, gasping for breath.
—Red Eagle was most happy to be free of the water, and he choked and gasped for air with a laugh of triumph before downing a swig of strong spirits to calm his nerves.
—As they pulled themselves onto the sun-baked stone encircling the basin, they cleared their eyes, and observed the Stormlands before them.
—A battlefield stretched far before them under the azure sky, covered in the dead. Orcs lay broken and burning in the sun, their bodies reeking of decay.
—The party members could clearly see that this battle was fought between Yatur’s forces and forces led by Wargoth’s army – the battle they had been headed toward just after the party had left to search for the sword. Banners fluttered in the wind over the dead.
—It became clear very quickly as the party members strode into the battlefield that the fight had ended over a day ago. There appeared to be no survivors.
—It was also very clear who had won the battle. The dead on the side of Grom numbered far more than those of Wargoth’s forces.
—Moran became puzzled by this, as did Thorax. Moran questioned aloud what had happened to cause such an imbalance of losses on their side.
—Just then, a hoarse voice called out. Moran strained to hear, and heard the voice call again. The voice was shouting Red Eagle’s name.
—Red Eagle heard it too, and immediately sprang into action, running forward and searching for the source of the voice.
—Moran and Thorax hung back, still assessing the aftermath of the battle around them.
—Red Eagle tore over the battlefield, looking desperately for the one who had called out, hoping desperately that it hadn’t been in his mind.
—Suddenly, he noticed that beneath him were familiar faces lying on the broken ground, eyes staring blankly at the sun.
—White feathers littered the ground around his clan members, the Cursed Dawn.
—Suddenly, a hand lifted and dropped, signalling to Red Eagle that he was alive.
—He ran forward, and heaved the body from beneath several others. The Orc that he pulled free from the pile of the dead was named Clutch, and had lost both of his legs in the battle.
—The Orc shivered, very pale in the sunlight. He looked very close to death, his blood staining his white feathers.
—Red Eagle shook with sorrow as he looked into the eyes of his companion.
—“…Our feathers are the same colour now…” Red Eagle said, almost in hysterics.
—Clutch looked up at him weakly. “…I fear my feathers will never be as red as yours, brother.”
—Red Eagle stifled a sob, but held his composure. “It is only a curse, brother. It shall pass.”
—Clutch coughed, sending droplets of blood down his chin. “That curse is on fewer shoulders now.”
—Red Eagle asked Clutch how many of the Cursed Dawn had survived.
—Clutch lifted an arm, and patted Red Eagle on his forearm, shaking his head. “You are the Cursed Dawn now, brother. You must carry this curse alone.”
—The news hit red Eagle hard. However, he knew that he had little time left with Clutch, and pressed him further for information. He asked how this had happened, how Yatur’s army had been defeated.
—Clutch coughed again. He told him that it had been a betrayal by the Chainspikes and the Stonesmashers. He revealed that they had attacked from within the ranks as soon as the battle with Wargoth’s forces started.
—Outraged, Red Eagle spat and said he would cut their heads from their shoulders.
—Clutch went on to say that that they had acted under a leader. Clutch said that Shamob the White Oracle had revealed himself a traitor, and led the army of Wargoth from within the ranks of Grom’s forces.
—With this, Red Eagle became enraged. He suppressed his fury to speak final words to Clutch, who began to gasp with the effort of staying alive.
—“The sun sets with me, brother…” Clutch said, his eyes fluttering.
—The Red Eagle became stoic and solemn as he stared into the eyes of his dying friend. “I am the true bird of prey.” He said. He then grasped Clutch by the head, and snapped his neck.
—Moran and Thorax stood a ways off, observing from afar. Red Eagle fell into despair, barely able to withstand the sorrow that overtook him. He kept whispering that he was the “true bird of prey”, and that he had “become the war”.
—Moran and Thorax knew these to be the ramblings of a man wracked with grief, and allowed him to feel his pain as they moved ahead to search for more survivors.
—They strode for over fifteen minutes across the battlefield and did not encounter another soul.
—They saw many banners erected flying Wargoth’s sigil – a green, feral hound with crab’s claws on a black background. As they walked, Red Eagle idly burned each banner he saw, reducing the symbol to cinders.
—They eventually came to a clearing. A circle had been left empty of bodies, and looked as though it had been wracked by a great wind from its centre point, radiating outwards.
—The group puzzled over it for a time before a voice uttered behind them.
—They turned to see General Yatur propped up against a banner close by. They rushed to his side, and saw that he had been beaten during the battle. He was missing a leg and an eye, and he had an ugly wound on his ribs. However, it appeared that Yatur would survive his injuries – he was clearly spared from death somehow.
—Moran approached, and looked at his former General with disgust.
—“I am sorry that you did not die in battle, Yatur.” Moran said with pity and disdain.
—Yatur looked up at him with shame. “I am sorry for this as well. I was robbed of my death by Shamob.” Yatur explained that Shamob intentionally left him alive, knowing full well that this would be a far worse fate than death for an Orc.
—Yatur had challenged him to single-combat and had lost. Moran asked what remained of Shamob, and Yatur told him that he had left after the battle had been won, the army in his wake.
—Moran made it very clear how little respect he had for Yatur and his decisions given the fact that Shamob had proven himself to be a traitor. Yatur seemed to accept these criticisms without defence. He understood that he had been robbed of his honour.
—Red Eagle approached at this, and told Yatur that he himself had lost his honour only days ago (in reference to the death of Gurshh). He told Yatur to stand and learn to live with his shame.
—Yatur seemed too defeated to respond in kind, however, and told them that he must live with the shame he had earned.
—Moran agreed, refusing even to provide Yatur with a quick death.
—They asked where Shamob had gone. Yatur told them that Shamob had cackled about using the Bloodspring to gain control over Orcish kind, and left for the mountains to the north.
—Yatur told them that with Shamob’s powers as an oracle, his powers using the Bloodspring would be incalculable. He told them that he needed to be stopped if the Orcs were to remain free. However, Yatur’s voice held no hope.
—Moran asked if they had sent word to Grom about Shamob’s betrayal. Yatur told them that they had attempted to send envoys as soon as the betrayal was apparent, but they could not tell whether any of them had made it, as the battle enclosed around them.
—Red Eagle approached, and told Yatur to observe the fact that they had recovered the Sword of Bothh.
—Incredulous, Yatur exclaimed that he had not thought it possible that they would have succeeded. Shamob had told Yatur before he had left for the Bloodspring that he had sent the party members to find the sword to rid Grom’s army of the strongest clan leaders and their prying eyes.
—Yatur told them that they must bring the sword to Grom immediately.
—However, Moran and Red Eagle disagreed. Red Eagle told Yatur outright that he had no intention of letting go of the sword. Moran told Yatur that he no longer gave orders to him, with the army defeated. Grom’s forces could do without the sword for long enough for them to confront Shamob about his atrocities.
—Yatur told them that Shamob would have an army with him, and would be difficult to defeat. However, Red Eagle showed him the sword again, and told him that they were capable of much more than he presumed.
—With that, they left Yatur to his shame, and strode away from the battlefield.
—Thorax, Red Eagle and Moran discussed what they had learned.
—They concluded that Grom’s forces in the south would not be aware of Shamob’s traitorous intent, and resolved that they must solve the issue themselves.
—Thorax brought up that he could bring the remaining White Wasps with him from their homeland which was not too far away. However he said it would take days for his army to reach them, especially since he would have to walk there.
—Red Eagle grabbed the small stone statue of the eagle , and threw it to the ground, where it became a giant eagle composed of red stone.
—He told Thorax to fly to his clan, allowing them to reach the Bloodspring more quickly. Thorax agreed, and bade them farewell as he climbed aboard and flew off into the distance.
—Red Eagle and Moran discussed what to do next. Moran calculated that Shamob’s forces would not yet have reached the Bloodspring, as the battle had ended a day ago, and the Bloodspring was two days away.
—Red Eagle and Moran agreed that they would cover more ground more quickly if they forced themselves to continue to run, and so they found the tracks of Shamob’s forces, and they took off at a sprint over the grassy hills and toward the mountains to the north of Drobaan.
—The first day went by with the two jogging under the baking sun. They covered a good amount of ground at the pace they ran, and needed to stop only once for a meal.
—They downed a gazelle that grazed on the plains using Red Eagle’s boomerang, and the two paused to feast and converse before travelling forward.
—The run seemed to be making Red Eagle hoarse, as his voice sounded more gravelly than normal. Moran began wistuflly laughing and joking, and brought up Red Eagle’s fear of water.
—Red Eagle was solemn and stoic, explaining that his first clan were drowned in water. He was the only one that survived, having gone on to join the Cursed Dawn.
—Moran had sympathy for his companion, and lamented the fact that Red Eagle was, once again, the last of his clan.
—The two finished their meal, and ran off after their quarry once again.
—They ran all through the night, and well into the next day before stopping. The sun baked particularly hot this day as they approached the hottest part of Drobaan.
—They were forced to stop due to their thirst, and plunged their faces into a stream. Moran drank deeply, gasping for air when he had drank his fill.
—Red Eagle had trouble with the water, his fears of it overtaking him slightly in his fatigue. Moran reassured him, and told him that he must drink if they are to continue. He then laughed, and splashed water at him, telling him that it wasn’t so much water.
—Red Eagle cooled his nerves, and drank deeply of the stream. He mentioned how cold he had gotten, and that the warmth from the sun did nothing.
—Moran became concerned at the tone of his voice and his darker demeanour. He closed his eyes allowing the stone in his forehead to see.
—He encountered nothing however, and opened his eyes normally.
—The two finished their drink, and then got to their feet to complete the journey.
—At long last they reached the foothills of the Bloodspring mountains. Night had just fallen, and in their fatigue they found a small cave and made camp. Red Eagle collapsed into sleep immediately, while Moran seemed intent on leaving the cave to scout ahead. However, he fell asleep immediately as well, unable to soldier on.
—They were awoken four hours later by the screeching of an eagle. Red Eagle was roused by the sound of his stone eagle alighting onto the floor of the cave. It scampered over to him, and stood on his arm as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
—The eagle spoke with him telepathically, and Red Eagle asked it a variety of questions. The eagle statue told him that The White Wasps were marching toward the Bloodspring, and that it would take them some time to reach them. It went on to tell him that Shamob was at the mountaintop, ready to perfom some ritual.
—Red Eagle allowed the stone eagle to return to its normal shape, and stowed it in his pack.
—Moran rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, and groggily stood, ready to move out. Red Eagle told him the information the eagle had given him, and the two decided that they must set out before Shamob was able to do any more to Orcish kind.
—The two left the cave, and started up the rough, dusty red mountain slope.
—Red Eagle marched proudly through the cliffs, while Moran took a more more hidden approach, staying low on the rocks overlooking the mountain pass.
—They walked for a long while, snaking their way up the pass toward the Bloodspring at the peak.
—After long hours of walking, they rounded a corner, and Red Eagle spotted a contingent of six Chainspikes standing ready near an archway.
—The Chainspikes saw him immediately as well, and the two paused for a moment before responding. Moran held his breath on the rocks above nearby, unseen by the soldiers guarding the arch.
—However, the Chainspikes made the first move. The six of them stood aside, and pulled their chains taut in attention. They then cried in unison “Warchief!” acknowledging Red Eagle.
—Stunned, Moran watched the scene below unfold. Red Eagle took a few steps forward. “Are you loyal to me?” He asked boldly, no trace of fear in his gravelly voice.
—“Yes, Warchief!” was the unified response from the Chainspikes.
—“And would you swear your loyalty to me?” Red Eagle enquired.
—The Chainspikes drew their spiked chains over their forearms in unison, drawing blood. “To the death, we swear your oath, Warchief!”
—Red Eagle nodded, and moved past them into the pass. The Chainspikes filed in rank behind him, leaving Moran on the cliffs, dumbfounded.
—As Moran followed behind up the cliffs, more Orcs filed in rank behind Red Eagle, or stood aside as he passed. Eventually, they came to the top of the mountain where the Bloodspring lay.
—Moran dropped down into the crowd, blending in with those around him, still observing Red Eagle as he moved ahead of them all.
—The Bloodspring was a dry, dusty basin carved into the earth, more than 40 feet in diameter, and ten feet deep at its deepest. All around the empty basin were gravestones, marking the resting places of fallen warchiefs.
—Moran closed his eyes to observe the ghosts of the warchiefs hovering over them. They noticed Moran do so, and each one pointed toward the basin of the Bloodspring.
—Around the Bloodspring were six specific stone grave markers. Five of them were large and grey, while one was small and jet black, engraved with a sword.
—All of the graves held the spirits of warchiefs, but the black grave was empty.
—Behind each of the graves stood priestesses, chanting with their arms outstretched. Their foreheads held symbols carved in red, which glowed in the firelight.
—In the centre of the basin was Shamob the White Oracle, who turned with his arms outstretched, garbed in red as Red Eagle approached the side of the Bloodspring. The Orcs encircled the basin, and fell silent as Shamob raised his hands up for quiet.
—“Welcome back, Bothh! Warchief of the Orcs!” Shamob uttered, pointing directly at the Red Eagle.
—The Orcs cheered and began chanting Bothh’s name.
—Red Eagle and Moran were equally stunned. Red Eagle became confused. “Half-Orc…I am here to make you answer…” He trailed off, his mind muddied.
—“You know me, my master, my Warchief. I am Shamob, and we are friends. We have always been friends, all through the great wars, all those years ago. Look upon me and know me, my master!” Shamob’s words seemed to awaken something in Red Eagle.
—“…You… Are… Shamob. You are my companion… I…”
—“…I am BOTHH!”
—Red Eagle shouted these last words, and he believed them to be true. Moran began forcing his way nearer to Red Eagle as the crowd around him surged and chanted his name.
—“Yes!” Shamob cried. “That sword you carry has bled into you, as I knew that it would! For you see, that sword was carried by Bothh himself so many years ago! It was passed on to the warchiefs that followed him until it was finally imprisoned away, and guarded by those vile Stormcallers!”
—He stepped toward Red Eagle “But now, it has found a new home, in you! And that is where my master will remain! I will use the energies of the Bloodspring to fully resurrect Bothh in your body, and my master will walk here once again – to lead us to our salvation!!!”
—The Orcs cheered again, and Shamob turned on the spot, his hand outstretched dramatically.
—Moran took this opportunity to run to Red Eagle’s side.
—“Red Eagle, you’re still in there! Remember who you are!!” Moran called to him desperately.
—The Red Eagle turned slowly, his eyes dark. “I… Am.. Bothh!! I am the Warchief! I am WAR!!”
—Moran shouted at him “That sword is what makes you think you are Bothh! If anyone carried it, they would feel the same effect! Fight it!”
—However, as he shouted, Shamob turned.
—“What is this?” Shamob said incredulously. “A friend come to save the Red Eagle? I am granting him a gift! He will be a god resurrected in body, and he will bring glory to Orcish kind!”
—Moran shook his head. “This is foolishness! If that sword were held by anyone, it would turn them into Bothh! So why must it be him?!”
—“It chose him! He was strong enough to claim it, and he is powerful enough to wield it. He has been selected, and the transformation has already begun!”
—Moran lunged forward toward Red Eagle, attempting to grab hold of him. “I’ll take it from you, and break the THING IN TWO!”
—However, the Red Eagle/Bothh stopped him, and shifted the grapple from Moran’s control to Bothh’s easily, forcing him to his knees before Shamob.
—Shamob chuckled and walked forward. “A non-believer? Before you stands the spirit of the first Warchief – the one true Warchief, and you spout blasphemy?”
—The Orcs around the clearing shouted cries of “Blasphemy!”. The priestesses began a low chant, which rose to a fever pitch as the Orcs joined in.
—“Any Orc could weild the sword, and become Bothh! I’ll shatter it into a thousand pieces so that every Orc might share this ‘glory’!”
—Shamob laughed again, and then bellowed “If you’re so sure, Ghostmarrow, then why don’t we make this attack official?”
—Suddenly, both Red Eagle/Bothh and Moran were lifted from the ground, and thrust on either side of the basin. Shamob walked into the air, hovering fifteen feet from the ground.
—“If you wish to challenge the greatest Warchief who ever lived, I will not stop you!” Bellowed Shamob, his eyes blazing. “Try it if you can, and you will die! Your death shall prove the might of Warchief Bothh!!”
—Red Eagle/Bothh stood facing Moran, drawing his twin flaming blades, the Sword of Bothh on his back.
—Moran shook his head, and stared straight into his opponent’s eyes. “You’re always asking me if I have the key, Red Eagle,” he said, tying a bandage over his eyes. He opened his third eye, and saw that Red Eagle was now engulfed by the spirit of Bothh, his ghostly body overlapping him.
—“Well, I’ve got the key. I’ll get you out of there, my friend.”
—The battle began with Moran running straight for Red Eagle/Bothh. Just as he closed in, he dodged to the right, and around to Red Eagle/Bothh’s back.
—As he ran, Moran attempted to attack the Sword of Bothh upon his opponent’s back, but was unable to hit as he moved.
—Red Eagle/Bothh attempted a strike as he moved past, and cut deeply into Moran with a heavy sword strike.
—Moran was wounded by the hit, and was therefore unable to get good enough aim on the sword for a second attack.
—Red Eagle/Bothh retaliated by spinning round and attmepting to grab Moran by the throat. Moran narrowly avoided his opponent’s grasp by ducking around him, reaching his back once more.
—He fired off a powerful strike with his fist, knowing that this one would strike true.
—However, when his fist collided with the Sword of Bothh, the sword turned black as night for an instant, and did not seem to bear any sign that it had been struck.
—Shamob laughed as he witnessed this. “Fool! The Sword of Bothh cannot be destroyed by anyone! Not even the spirits themselves could rend that sword apart!”
—Moran cursed and instead attempted to disarm Red Eagle/Bothh. He attempted twice to wrest the sword from his foe’s back, but he was shaken free by the powerful Orc.
—However, Shamob’s words jogged something in Moran’s mind. He looked with his spirit-seeing eye at the sword, and noticed that it seemed to have cords of ghostly energy running directly to the black grave that sat near the edge of the basin.
—Before Moran could act on his instincts, Red Eagle/Bothh grabbed him bodily from behind in an arm lock.
—“I am the true bird of prey…” Red Eagle/Bothh whispered in a saddened voice.
—Understanding that his friend was still in there, Moran broke free of the grapple, and ran full-tilt toward the black gravestone – Bothh’s gravestone.
—Red Eagle/Bothh let out a bellow, and drew the Sword of Bothh from his back. He pointed it at Moran, and charged at him, directly toward the grave.
—At the last moment, Red Eagle/Bothh swung the sword. Moran was ready, however, and leaped over the swinging blade.
—The Sword of Bothh collided with the black gravestone, and in that instant, the sword turned jet-black, and cracked. The gravestone cracked as well, white light spilling from it.
—Moran saw that he was right – the gravestone seemed to be the key to destroying the blade.
—In that moment, Red Eagle was freed from Bothh’s influence. “Kill me,” he begged Moran, knowing he only had so much time before the sword took him over again. “Kill me, or I’ll become him.”
—There’s another way! Let go of the sword!” Moran urged.
—Red Eagle felt the sword creep over him already. “I… I won’t… I can’t…”
—Moran looked at him sternly. “Then I’ll just have to take it from you!” He dove forward, and lunged for the sword held in Red Eagle’s hands. Red Eagle did all he could to loosen his grip as Moran grabbed hold and pulled it with all his might.
—Red Eagle’s fingers slipped, and the sword came free of his grip.
—Moran now held the Sword of Bothh in his hands, and felt Bothh sinking into his psyche.
—However, he forced himself to push the spirit in his mind away, and he watched as the ghost of Bothh was forced back into the sword in his hands.
—Freed of his curse, The Red Eagle turned towards Shamob, who hovered there in the air, watching with wrath in his eyes.
—Red Eagle ran around the side of the basin, whirling his grappling hook and rope in the air. He threw it with ease, and it struck into Shamob’s neck, digging deep.
—He then tied one end of the rope to his stone eagle figurine, and threw it in the air. The figurine transformed into the giant eagle once again. Red Eagle ordered it to pull Shamob with it closer to the ground where Red Eagle stood.
—Meanwhile, Moran stood over the black gravestone, the Sword of Bothh in his hands. He lifted the sword over his head, and stared down at his target.
—He swung the sword down in a massive arc, and struck the gravestone true.
—The sword turned black, and shatter-marks scattered down its length.
—Moran took this as a cue that the sword was close to destruction. With one final swing, he brought the sword down. It cracked the gravestone in two before it shattered into dust.
—In Moran’s mind’s eye, he stood on a plane of blackness. Before him ran Bothh, his sword raised high. Just as he brought it down toward him, Moran caught the blade between his hands, and snapped it in two.
—As he did this, he was jolted back to reality. Before him, the spirit of Bothh rose from the shattered sword and stared angrily into Moran’s eyes. Before he had a chance to speak a word, he was wrenched from reality in a burst of sound. The shock-wave rippled over the Orcs watching, and the spirit of Bothh was no more.
—Red Eagle pulled Shamob’s hanging face close to his. “I am the true bird of prey.” He whispered menacingly.
—Before Shamob had time to answer, he cut him down from his cord, and raised both his swords. Witha flurry of slashes, Red Eagle cut into the oracle, finally slicing his head from his shoulders.
—The head of Shamob rolled down the basin to the centre.
—The Orcs around the Bloodspring had fallen silent. Moran dusted off his palms, and rose to his full height. Red Eagle let the blood flow off of his blades as he turned toward the Orcs staring at the two of them.
—One of the Chainspikes stepped forward – the others all seemed too stunned at what they had seen to move. “…You killed Shamob… AND the spirit of the greatest Warchief who ever lived…”
—Red Eagle and Moran looked at each other, and then nodded at the Chainspike soldier.
—The soldier paused for a moment and then asked “Which side do you fight for?”
—Moran chuckled and shook his head. “We just saved us all from the downfall of Orcish kind. Are we not all Orcs? Let us shout victorious as Orcs!!”
—At this, the crowd shouted loud, bellowing a shared victory with Red Eagle and Moran. Evidently the old Orcish mantra still held strong – the strong hold the power, power rules the weak.
—“If only Grom could see what we did,” said Moran wistfully.
—“Perhaps he knows more than you think,” said a voice from behind them.
—The crowd grew silent as a figure moved up the pass, flanked by well-armoured elite guards.
—Warchief Grom stepped out of the darkness, his mighty beard flowing in the mountain wind. His face was covered in thorn-like scars, and he held a greatsword in each hand. His skin was a deep green, the colour of a forest of pines.
—“One of my scouts reported what was happening here as we approached. It appears that you needed no help after all.” Grom said, pride in his words.
—“Warchief,” said Moran, inclining his head. Red Eagle did the same.
—“Lift your heads. I will not have generals of my army pay reverence to me.” Grom said, tossing them the title of ‘generals’ without ceremony.
—Moran thanked Grom for the title, and Red Eagle seemed to be stunned.
—“We need no more words – all we need is ale. So, bring it forth! Victory to the Orcs!!”
—The crowd cheered, and the celebration began. Ale, spirits, and plenty of food were brought into the clearing of the Stormdrain.
—Red Eagle approached Grom. “While you are here, Warchief, would you care to take your crown?” Red Eagle motioned to the Bloodspring.
—“Not today,” Grom said. “The battle has not yet been won.”
—Moran nodded. “But a victory nonetheless, Warchief!”
—“Right you are,” Nodded Grom. “Feast and drink! You have earned my respect in your actions.”
—Red Eagle and Moran joined in the festivities, drinking heavily and enjoying the vitory with the rest of them. Even the once-mind-controlled priestesses came to their senses and joined in the revelry.
—At one point, Red Eagle charged at Grom and attempted a grapple with him. Grom easily overturned his action, and pinned him down under a massive foot. “If you hadn’t tried that, I would have stripped you of your title, general. Well done!” Grom laughed.
—Moran rushed forward as well, and Grom smiled as he held him back with an outstretched arm, chewing on a massive direboar leg.
—After a few hours, Red Eagle and Moran sat on the rubble of the black grave, driking spiritys merrily. They laughed and joked, and began to think of those they lost. Gurshh and Thurtog, and all the soldiers they had travelled with.
—When their minds turned to Thorax, they noticed that he stood nearby, having just arrived.
—They welcomed him to their side with open arms, and Thorax proudly thanked them for their courage and bravery.
—Red Eagle pointed to where Grom stood excitedly, telling him to go say hello (in a very drunken manner).
—Thorax patted his hand and told him that he had already spoken with Grom. He added that he had asked Grom to allow the White Wasps to be divided evenly between the armies of Feather and Bone.
—Red Eagle and Moran agreed, and forced a drink upon Thorax merrily. Thorax accepted it, smiling.
—The three of them laughed and drank until the sun rose in the sky, dawning a new day over the plains of Drobaan.

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