Chapter 45 - The End of a Voyage

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I apologize for the late update my friends! My dog got sick yesterday and so I got completely distracted. Have a great week!

Dragonfire Sea

Captain Bennett looked out over the dark blue waters of the sea and beyond. If one sailed far enough west over the Dragonfire Sea, one would find Oshea. It was far enough away that the two countries rarely interacted. Bennett himself was from Oshea, though he believed few in these parts could claim such. His parents had taken him away at the dawn of an Oshean civil war (one of many in Oshea's bloody history), or so he was told. He never knew his parents; he was told they had died during their journey to settle in a new country. He could only guess wildly as to how he ended up in Dragonwall, or if that was the country they intended to flee to.

Ever since learning about his past, the sea held new fascination for him. It was part of why he became a ship captain. He hoped to someday see Oshea with his own eyes. For now, he had more important concerns. They were less than a day away from Kastali Dun, but their journey had not been without its excitement—not at first anyway.

With Drengr escorts, the Lady Faith was untouchable. He discovered this fact two days after departing from Fort Squall. It was no surprise when pirate ships were spotted in pursuit. A triple blast of the horn gave the warning. His men reacted with fear; memories from their previous battle were still fresh in their minds. But then the Drengr took flight, jumping from the deck of the Lady Faith and transforming mid-air into giant beasts. Bennett's men had forgotten their protectors because of their fear. When they saw the dragons, they gave cries of excitement and victory. And what a sight it was!

Bennett had watched the whole confrontation with his spyglass. The Drengr confronted the ships. The used their strength to rip apart whole masts before belching flames. It took less than an hour before all four ships were torched. Nothing spread faster than dragon fire. Finally, he knew this saying to be true. He'd witnessed it with his own eyes. And on that blessed day, the Drengr escorts demonstrated their worth ten-fold.

"Port ho!" came the cry from the crow's nest. Bennett snapped out of it and turned his gaze from the west, from distant Oshea, to the ports of Kastali. He was eager to bring this voyage to an end. The sun was quickly falling from the sky. Soon the darkness would swallow them up. Ahead of them, a lively evening in the city awaited.

Beaky had taken flight at the sound of the warning and circled the ship from above. His men worked hard to prepare the ship for mooring as they sped along, steadily approaching the Bay of Bandu. Night was upon them long before the anchor dropped. From the moment he laid eyes on Kastali Dun, it was clear that something odd was happening in the city. Even from their distance, he could see that the streets were alight with the glow of many torches.

Keenan, one of the Drengr escorts, stood on the deck beside him. They watched the activity together. After a while, he felt Beaky's familiar presence on his shoulder as she joined them.

Bennett had grown up in an orphanage in the Pauper's District. He lived there until he was ten. He knew Kastali Dun well enough, though he often saw it from a deck these days. The streets and buildings of the vast capital were located on a massive hill, which rose from the water steadily sloping upwards towards the Great Keep. Along the thoroughfares, many of which were switch-backs, lights moved to and fro, glowing like hundreds of fireflies in the distance.

"Something isn't right," he said. "What could be happening?"

Keenan was silent for several moments. When at last he spoke, his voice sounded troubled and far away.  "A lady is missing—a royal lady—King Talon's ward."

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