Chapter 2 (2nd of Alshu in the year 6184)

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Earoni blesses only a few with the gift of the birth of twins

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Earoni blesses only a few with the gift of the birth of twins. The event is sacred among all of Earoni's people. It is rare as the falling star and the blessing is infinitely more precious.

-Book of the Gods 9:6

-Book of the Gods 9:6

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*Six Years Later*

Beneath the canopy of spring leaves a coach traveled along the uneven road. It rumbled and bounced in haste, protected on all sides by a company of knights on horseback. The formation was so tight that at the speed they traveled a misstep or slip by any of the mounts would have been disastrous.

The stage had been stripped bare of all identification. The once colorful placards adorning the sides had been removed, and all that remained of them were the metal hangers and darker, unfaded wood beneath that had not seen much of the sun or elements. The voids left a silent testament to the importance of not announcing where one had come from.

Even the armor of the knights had been scrubbed of any distinguishing markings. Ground out and then buffed smooth, the metal was as close to pristine as it could have been.

"Aurthur," a woman's voice called from inside the stage. The driver turned his head slightly to hear the words that followed. "Aurthur, the girls are getting rowdy. Perhaps we should stop for a few minutes?"

"Eliza," the driver responded, raising his middle-aged voice enough to be heard over the wheels striking the loose stones of the dirt road. "Could this not wait? We'll be within the safety of the elven borders by nightfall."

There was a slight pause before the answer came. "I think we should stop."

Aurthur sighed. "Alright." Raising his fist, arm in a rigid ninety degree angle at the elbow, he signaled to the troops. Once the order was confirmed as being received by the entire contingent, Aurthur pulled hard on the reins and forced the team of powerful Fimmirran horses propelling the carriage to a reluctant stop.

Uncertain about the reason behind the sudden cessation of their pace, a knight bearing the short golden plume of a commander trotted up alongside. "Minister Stormband? Why are we stopping?"

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