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Oru
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Oru
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Joined: March 10th, 2011, 3:32 pm

March 2nd, 2016, 3:19 pm #11

During her flight back, Jade took a detour. She looped around in the sky, hoping to avoid detection. She peered down at the sands rolling past the large outcropping of rock, and spotted a few ragged shelters haphazardly clinging to the outside. Several white-haired figures caught her eye, and when she made to wing away - one standing atop the rock waved at her.

She almost swerved away in outright panic, wings beating to remain level. Gazing at the woman -an older woman - from here, she swallowed a dryness in her throat. How did she miss one old woman climbing the rocks? It wasn’t THAT dark. Scolding herself, she looped around again and sure enough, the old woman waved. Again. Jade waved back before she could stop herself.

The old Kelkerry woman motioned for her to land, and without even wondering, Jade did so, alighting delicately at the other end of the outcrop of stone. No other Kelkerry made a motion to come up; they barely registered her existence. The old woman smiled and said in alarmingly clear Common Tongue: “I dreamed that you had companions, flying girl.”

“Oh. I…”

“No need to be frightened. I have dreamed about you. You are the sky, there is the day and the night, and the Earth Mother and her daughter, Spring.”

Jade blinked at her and the old Kelkerry nodded sagely. “And others. Others as well. But small. Not as grand. And more still.” She hesitated. “Well? You should go fetch them.”

And with that, The old woman turned and began to deftly (and quickly for a gal her age) climb down the side of the rock face, leaving Jade bewildered. After a moment she took flight again, winging back towards their softly glowing campfire. She contemplated the encounter as she flew and by the time she landed and approached her friends she had decided that the Kelkerry would never ever work for their tormentors and that going there might be the safest option for them!

“I just met some Kelkerry. They say they dreamed about us. They invited us to their camp, maybe three hours walking that way.” Jade pointed, an excited smile on her face. Shara mirrored her excitement, and Mid’gha made some sort of pious gesture, clasping her hands.

“Kelkerry shaman. They have truth-dreams.” Mid’gha confirmed. “But we eat first.”

Raka smirked over at the goblin, watching him gut the lizard. Whenever Boil looked over though, he would casually look back towards the rest of their companions. He pounded sand off of himself to, and reattached the chains around himself. He sheathed his scimitar and shook out his dreadlocks before taking his position opposite Walker, near to where Shara sat by the soup.

When Jade shared her tidings about the Kelkerry, Raka clenched his jaw. “I don’t like it. If this shaman ‘dreamed’ us, then she would know who we are. Why would she take the risk?”

Shara smiled over at him. “Because some people are just good.”

Raka scowled, crossing his arms over his chest. The look was of grudging acceptance - an expression the group would have grown quite used to in their time together. Shara giggled.

Jade and Shara both looked to Jade for the final say.

-----
Jacintha remained calm.

In her room next to Edgar’s, she was sitting cross legged, back ram-rod straight and eyes closed. She breathed slowly and surely. She used Edgar’s pacing as a metronome at first, but when he began to get more frustrated and edgy, the rhythm changed. But by that time she was in her meditations. She would spend an hour in this way, leveling her mind and organizing her thoughts. Still no word from Dima or Fiora. She missed her little flower.

Hopes of revenge prickled along her skin.

After the tunnels first bore her fruit in her search, she sent a discrete message through the trinket to Fiora, informing her of their location. After that she had stuffed the trinket away in her side bag without a second look. She awaited their summons home.

She remained calm.

Shout out to all those players I miss, and the new friends I make.
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Gigantor
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March 18th, 2016, 7:48 am #12

"Kel'kerri have been kind to us in the past. If dreams of us are reaching them, then perhaps there is a deeper connection with us and their kind worth exploring." Walker mused.

Boil jumped to his feet, belched then wiped an arm across his Grady mouth, leaving a visible streak of dirt behind. "Long talk for yes." He snapped then seemed to realize he who he was talking to, or maybe it was how Walker stood at the comment, but Boil immediately darted to the outer rim of the camp; strategically closer to Mid'gha and Raka.

"Goblins and sand elves hates each other. Bet Boil not in dream. Boil left croaked in sandstorm."

"That's a lot of scaredy talk for a no." Walker quipped back almost playfully.
*****

Daedalus and the magus stared each other down silently for several moments. Eventually, the Ifrit floated above his lamp and sat cross legged.

Finally it was the summoned being that broke the silence. "A wiseman, he who takes his time to ponder a question."

"You're bound by a rule of three." Dima pointed to the markings on the lamp. "They also state any who make a wish, sets you free."

With a growing smirk, Daedalus crossed his arms over his chest, allowing the magus a view at his bronze manacles. "If you know all of this, why haven't I heard a question yet?" The Ifrit complained and hovered toward the thin man.

Dima's ringed hand came up sharply, halting Daedalus. "My first question is this: I want to know the locations of the zodiac stones."

Daedalus threw his head back in a roaring laugh then tugged on his beard. "A collector or a player? No matter, I will provide the answer to your first question." He spread out his arms then clapped them over his head then rubbed them together; a large tapestry on the far wall of the Sulatn's many wives burned away in a flash to be placed by a map of the world. Glowing stamps appeared marking the stones and their locations.

Forgetting the Ifirit in his excitement, Dima ran to the map and rubbed his hands on the lines and studied it with awe. Some of the locations were in lands the Magus wasn't familiar with, in fact, there were lands on the map unknown to him. His question had stumbled him into a rare knowledge. But there was something wrong. He turned on Daedalus.

"There are only nine! Where are the other three?"

The Ifrit smiled viciously and his eyes lit up with glee. "It would be my pleasure to provide the answer to your second question. Cancer, Gemini, and Capricorn are inert and can't be located."

Anger bloomed like a burning heat at the back of Dima's neck that sent waves of fire up his scalp. He wanted to lash out and watch this demon quake in fear at the powers of a human, but there was little point. He still had accurate information to work with. His eyes drifted down to the markings on the lamp. It wasn't long before his trained eye found the pattern in the magic markings.

"Now, for my third question: Who did your true master send you to kill?" It was Dima's turn to smile. Daedalus lost his mirth.

"Tul'an vi Kandar. The current Sultan."
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Oru
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March 26th, 2016, 3:58 pm #13

Shara couldn't help but giggle at the interaction between Walker and Boil, and Mid'gha favored the goblin with one of her own kindly smiles. She efficiently doled out small bowls of the home made soup and as they ate in relative silence, the night remained calm around them.

Finishing quickly, Raka began the simple task of replacing their camp on the back of the black steed. It tossed its head impatiently, as if reading his tension. Stemming at once from his own personal experience in Dima's service, he was anxious about meeting these Kelkerry. Often enough in the past he had been part of raids on their nomadic tribes. Some of them knew him as what he was. Granted, he wouldn't be flaunting fireballs or lighting himself on fire, but still... he realized how unique he appeared. The stubs of horns were slightly more pronounced now, having been unable to adequately file them in he past Months of their escape, and his hair was still in blood red dreadlocks and he was still wiry and taut. And there was the chain and the sword, and his general demeanor that were pretty obvious....

Jade helped Mid'gha quickly tidy up after their meal, and she excitedly skipped on ahead with Shara as they started to make their way over the sands towards the outcrop of rocks she had seen.

Sure enough, they came into view, back lit by the brightness of a half moon and a sky full of glimmering stars. Not a cloud was in the sky and the sands gleamed like quicksilver. Raka was quiet and broody (as per usual, which made SHar aand Jade chuckle behind their hands together) and Mid'gha hummed a quiet tune as she surveyed the area around them.

Apearing out of the shadow of this outcropping came the old woman, flanked by a dozen spear-armed Kelkeryr hunters, all stoic and subservient in posture. As opposed to the old woman who smiled broadly with arms outstretched by her sides.
"Welcome to our camp, strangers. Welcome. We have seen you in the summer smoke, and I have dreamed your coming." She fixed Raka and walker with two separate stares - still grinning - and then looked pointedly to he spot that Boil hid among the small throng of escapees. "All of you."

Jade smiled shyly. "Hello... I am -"

The old woman nodded once and raised a hand. She replied, " -The sky. That is what you are. And you are the Night -" She nodded at Walker, with a hand gesture that spoke of reverence. She looked at Raka, "....And you, The Day." She nodded to him. She then bowed at Mid'gha and Shara, "Earth Mother and her daughter the Spring."

Jade glanced at the others with a rising flush in her cheeks. SHara too smiled shyly at the grandness of the introductions.

The old woman concluded with, "Your names are not needed among us here. You may call me what you like, although the people here call me Shaman. Welcome."

Shout out to all those players I miss, and the new friends I make.
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Gigantor
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April 25th, 2016, 4:08 am #14

Instinct made Walker take careful note of the new visitors. He counted the guards, their weapons and type and paid close attention to their stances. Though weapons were ready, most of the Kelkerry stood flat footed and straight legged. An easy position to be caught off guard if one were to rush. But also, it meant they weren't serious about attacking in any major way.

His cloak flapped in the breeze, the folds pulled away from his hands as he held them in salute to the approaching shaman. "We greet you with peace." He spoke seriously. His last encounter with the Kelkerry had been a brief one but he liked the people and found the way they lived in the rocks and sand fascinating. He hoped this meeting would continue the positive streak.

Boil felt no love for the sand elves but he kept quiet. He was surrounded by enemies old and new. The shadow would certainly dispatch him for the slightest of mislooks and now there were the Kelkerry. The shaman locked eyes and smiled prettily at her but Boil remembered when they killed his uncle Red Gus when they stole a few children. his only friends were Baba and maybe Raka. Maybe.

No, it was better for Boil to be a good goblin. He didn't like the way the Shaman saw him when they locked eyes. It was like she knew things. A lot like Baba, the goblin thought but chased it away with visions of stalking Kelkerry with swords coming for him.

He deftly sidestepped closer to the area behind Midgha's skirt.

A large pair of lidded eyes disturbed the sand only in the slightest amount. A few grains rolled away as the large orbs blinked once then began scanning the area. The lizard watched the gathering unknowing of the significance but possessing the knowledge of what his master created him to do. Wretch watched and Dima knew.
****

In the sultan's vault Dima was standing at a nexus of vital knowledge. The Ifrit had just spoken of an assassination plot while his spy was beginning to sound him glimpses of his stone wielders. Flashes of Kelkerry speaking with the group kept trying to invade his focus as he stood face to face with a denizen of the hells. Before speaking to the creature, Dima turned and took the map off the wall pointing to stone locations. He rolled it up and slipped it into a case which disappeared in the folds of his robes. The actions gave him the necessary time to control his faculties while Wretch continued the flow of reconnaissance.

"our bargain is complete. Back inside your lamp." Dima thrust a finger downward. Daedalus laughed then hopped into the air and floated above the spout.

"You amuse me. I'm not normally cast back so soon. Usually, they ask for more." The Ifrit commented.

"Three answers were enough. I have much to consider and new steps to take." He began scratching his chin as he thought over the true meaning of an assassination plot on the Sultan. He head hardly a force, more of a figure head. He had to stop the cycle of thoughts to look at the Ifrit who was still staring down at him.

The Ifrit smiled a knowing smile, winked then said, "I'll be seeing you soon." Then his body became incorporeal and eh shrank out of sight, falling in the direction of the lamp.
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Oru
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April 29th, 2016, 4:22 pm #15

Shaman smiled at Walker's manners, her appraising eye encapsulating him and placing him thoughtfully aside in her mind for later perusal. She noticed The Day's moody silence, and his watchful, fire-light-flickering eyes as they danced over the sands. She noticed The Spring's constant glanced in his direction; worry, concern and something far deeper there. She noticed The Sky smiling at the Shadow, and could almost feel something in the air between them. She smile to herself.

She noticed too that the Earth held her gaze with unwavering certainty. She nodded her head to the older woman who nodded back. Then, the Shaman turned and began to descend the rock via a narrow, treacherous path discreetly carved into the side. Half way down, a passage seemed to appear and she beckoned them all inside with her, to where dim lanterns glowed, and thin curtains veiled alcoves and other passages. In and down she went to a larger chamber - her own - covered with mosses and lichens, and with a large bowl of water settled in the middle.

Formally, she went to the bowl and ladled out small cups of refreshment for each of them.

Jade accepted with a polite offering of thanks, as did Shara and Mid'gha. Raka refused. Then Shara jabbed him in the ribs, and he murmured a thank-you before grudgingly accepting the cup. She handed the last to Walker.

"I can hear questions on your soul, Shadow."

Shout out to all those players I miss, and the new friends I make.
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Gigantor
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May 27th, 2016, 4:05 am #16

Walker took the offered cup of water and raised it to his lips. The cool liquid sent a refreshing chill down his entire body and invigorated his mind, momentarily allowing him to forget the blazing heat of the desert. The shaman caught the shadow by surprise when she addressed him. If anything, he expected the conversation to take place with Jade. She inspired wonder and awe upon everyone that looked upon her. And yet, the shaman looked passed her at him.

He placed the cub on the ground before him after taking the smallest of sips. His parched throat, now soothed, caused him no irritation when he spoke.

"I have more concerns than I do questions. We're under constant pursuit by men and women so consumed by greed and power they've lost the ability to recognize the value of other living things." He finished and cast his eyes to Jade letting his eyes linger on her wings so that the Shaman would catch his meaning.

Boil tried to sit still and silent. Doing both was difficult for the goblin. He quickly drained his cup of water then began looking around the Shaman's dwelling. There was many things that caught his eyes but they belonged to a Kel'kerri and had no value for the goblin. He noticed that Raka had little interest in his cup of water. Boil sidled over to him and when Walker started talking, drawing all attention to him, he filched the cup, threw back the contents and placed it back by Raka's knee.
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Oru
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May 27th, 2016, 1:32 pm #17

The Shaman listened with the expression a grandmother would use when their grandchild was sheepishly confiding in them. She nodded delicately and patted Walker's knee. Her eyes turned sad, d she cast them to the low fire against the wall. "Such is the nature of humanity. Although, not all are as they are. Not all yearn for riches or power. Some simply yearn for peace."

She looked over at Jade, who smiled shyly back at her. The Shama took a quick glance at her wings, and then over to Raka. She held his eyes with a steel glare until he looked down at his refreshment. It was empty. Raka scowled.

The Shaman glanced over Shara and Mid'gha as if lingering there was too painful. Shara and Mid;gha exchanged brief glances, but then returned their attention to their mysterious host.

The Shaman sighed. "You may rest here. It is safe for now. Shore up your strength.... And you..." She looked back at The Shadow. "I have dreamed this. There is something you should see." She finished her drink with ease, and then rose back to her feet, offering her hand to The Shadow.

Some prophecy was meant to be shared.

Shout out to all those players I miss, and the new friends I make.
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Gigantor
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June 2nd, 2016, 7:06 am #18

Dima returned to his tower to meditate on the information he'd been given. But it wasn't the map leading to the zodiac stoned that filled his thoughts.

Who would want to murder the sultan? The man was a puppet and held no real power. Even his most feared weapon was actually a trap to kill the man. It didn't make sense. He was only in a seat of power because he was a childhood friend to the warrior king Vladimir. Dima held few people to a higher level to himself and his own skills, but King Vladimir was one of them. So thinking that someone was making a move on the sultan to strike at the King was suicide. The sultan was too pathetic to have made any of his own enemies, that was a poor likelihood.

Suddenly it felt like the threads of politics had become far more intricate than he realized. The magus could sense a deeper move being made here. He was discovering more questions than answers which was beginning to trouble him. It was time to collect his weapons. He lowered himself onto his bed then lay flat and his eyes rolled up into his head. His mind shot out from his tower, across the sands and entered into the crowded skull of his familiar. The lizard called Wretch was scratching at some rocks jutting out of the sand. Dima fed the creature some magic and the rocks rattled and shifted revealing a crack leading to a hidden tunnel. Wretch with dima's mind slithered through then chose to crawl along the ceiling and descended into the earth.

Wretch wrapped around a stalagmite as Walker stepped out following an elder kel'kerry woman. When they passed, Dima directed Wretch to search for Raka. The lizard warned his master of danger from a goblin. The absurdity of it was quickly ignored as the lizard was compelled further.
****
Curiosity moved Walker passed any hesitations he felt. Dreams were an important belief in Dei Lunathi culture. Walker's grandmother had been a dreamer and held deep knowledge gained from her experiences from a skill at predicting natural disasters, births, and had a particular affinity for moonsinging; the art used to communicate with the moon during the ceremony of sigils, like the one that set Walker on the guardian's path.

"You put yourself in danger by staying near us. We are marked creatures." He told the Shaman indicating the mutely glowing yellow stone in his wrist.
*****
Fiora crept the stairs of Dima's tower while dressed in one of her finest, and tightest, green dresses. Her hair was raised up intricately with jewelled pins and gems nested in the curls. She wore a bracelet of emeralds matching three rings on her right hand.

With all her protections, planning, and studying, she was still nervous as she stepped up to his door. Three emeralds on the bracelet drained of colour as three trap spells were triggered to end her life. She hadn't even touched the door yet.

The bracelet was useless by the time she entered the magus' private chambers. She felt a buzz as a ruby in her hair traded its beauty for her life. She almost fled.

"Stupid girl. He'll know someone has been here. Get it done." While keeping a close count of her remaining wards, she searched the rooms.
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Oru
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June 2nd, 2016, 2:44 pm #19

Shaman led the way through the lichen-lit passageways, although even then they were dim. It eased Kelkerry eyes to be in darkness. Although they could see well enough to get around, one of their greatest gifts was how they could see so clearly in the blazing desert sun. But the Shaman's eyes, especially of late, much preferred the cool darkness of these caves. She knew her time would be coming soon. It gave her a sort of calm as she walked with The Shadow down the twisting cavern tunnels.

"Every turn in these tunnels presents danger, Shadow. If I hear a cry for help around the bend, will I stop walking towards it because it is dangerous?" She shook her head and looked over at him. "There are some grains of sand that need to be plucked and examined, and some that need to be left out in the sun. This grain of sand is one that needs to continue to wear without interruption."

She turned another corner and the cavern began to open up a bit. She cut off the previous discussion with new words, a smile of distant lore-memory lingering in the corners of her mouth. "Many, Many years ago our clan was blessed by the Moon. She brought us one such as you." Shaman swept her hand out and forward to present the cavern to her guest.

****

Almost as soon as Walker was out the door, Raka was up and pacing in the cushioned confines of the Shaman's room. He tried to chart out the distance from the Sultan's city, how far Edgar would have to travel to catch them, how strong the winds had been and if it would clear their tracks for them in the night. He clasped his right wrist with his left hand and felt the warmth there, just under the surface.

He was wary, so wary. Why hadn't Dima pulled any of his tricks? Why hadn't he felt a pull, or a slap, or something like that time he had been punished before? Why hadn't Jacintha or Fiora been sent after them to kill them in their sleep? He refused to believe they had gotten away, regardless of how... free they felt. Of course, these thoughts usually floated to the surface when Walker wasn't there to calm him down.

A gentle hand touched his elbow, and Shara smiled up at him. "Don't worry. It will be all right."

Raka felt something twist pleasantly in his chest and he smiled tight-lipped down at her. At least he had this.... thing here. This connection. He'd never felt the like. And he found he enjoyed it very much.

Shout out to all those players I miss, and the new friends I make.
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Gigantor
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June 6th, 2016, 2:26 am #20

The scroll marking the locations of the zodiac stones was left open on Dima's desk. Fiora's searching brought her to it in a short time, and though the map lacked appropriate markings to indicate what she was looking at, she recognized importance when she saw it. Carefully she took some parchment and coal and set to work duplicating the map.
*****

Dima sought out the Sultan and found him in his bedchambers. His wives were standing, sitting, and lounging around him. Four of the women were massaging him while two large guards fanned them with large palm leaves.

Upon seeing the man, the magus had a sudden thought that perhaps a jealous, spoiled nobleman wanted the Sultan dead out of principle. It would serve him right. He cast suspicious looks at each of his wives and even spared a few for the guards but he couldn't sense anything duplicitous with them. Their lives were soft and indulgent.

The Sultan looked up and began to roll off the bed to greet him. One of his wives was laying beside him and had to scramble out of the way of being flattened.

"Dima! I hope your time in my treasure room was fulfilling?" He asked, throwing a robe over his shoulders but not tying it in the middle. Dima wondered if he could tie it around his girth at all.

Dima favoured the Sultan with a convincing bow. "You have truly blessed with further knowledge. I have much to ponder and prepare. In fact, I can now retrieve your lost faculty and my warriors. You've certainly been patient and now it's time for that to pay off for you."

The Sultan took Dima's hands into his and kissed them with slobbery lips. Dima resisted the urge to sneer in disgust and quickly pulled his hands away with a quick wipe on his robes.

"Dear Magus, don't let me impede you any further. Go! Go with haste and my blessing."

Once the magus was through the doors he left with haste to find Fiora. He would need Jacintha's handmaiden to track Jacintha down. He may need her physical prowess if the zodiac wielders managed an ambush for him.
*****

Walker's breath caught somewhere between his throat and his chest as he stared at the tableaux chiseled with skill and care into the walls of the cavern. It felt like he'd been transported home. There was so much detail to take in that he could spend days and still not have the complete story. In the far corner was a long rotted cot with a chest at the foot and shelves carved into the stone walls beside it.

He moved away from the murals to the shelves where he found small animals carved out of various stones, some precious and some not but each work was detailed and beautiful. He picked up a tiny wolf cut in a howl at an unseen moon. He put it back down and picked up a carving of alabaster and the creature was one from his home. The tusks he carried with him came from this type of beast and it was a creature Walker's was deeply fond of. He put it back and looked at the Shaman with a thankful smile.

He knelt down to open the chest. It was locked but the metal was so old and rusted that it was a simple matter to pry it off. The chest opened with a creak that made the skin shiver and forced him to wince. Inside, he found several objects. The first was a satchel with a hammer and chisels, the blades of which had been worn down and would need to be sharpened if they were ever to chip stone again. He put it aside and then picked up a book of sketches with occasional pages of notes written in a delicate hand. Images of scenery he recognized from his home flipped by, more animals, and images of people the artist knew, including some Kelkerry.

With a grin Walker turned to the Shaman and held up the book with a picture of a younger version of herself on the page. "Your beauty hasn't faded." Walker complimented then flipped through some more pages until he stopped on something else he recognized. The man he'd seen in the goblin caves, Caleb Cross, was sketched and on the back of the page was a letter to the man. With a quick perusal, his cheeks grew red with embarrassment as he caught snippets of romance. He closed the book without finishing and returned to the chest.

Something under the bed caught his eye before he delved into the chest, he knelt down and reached, feeling something round, and metallic. Beneath the bed was a sword as long as he was tall. The scabbard was dusty with age and the wrappings around the hilt were rotten. When he drew the blade free, the gleaming metal almost hummed in the air above his head. The blade was perfect, it's edge maintained over decades. The tip of the blade was flared into a diamond shape, giving the tip more weight, Walker suspected the diamond tip would provide more momentum when swinging this weapon. And piercing a foe with it would cause a grievous wound.

HIs mind was working through wonder, questions, and homesickness which made him incapable of speaking. He leaned the sword against the cot and reached into the chest once more, finding the owner's sigil.

It was a guardian sigil.
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