by Kalman Farago
As we were discussing our next move — we intended to leave the City of Vultures behind for a while, at least until the disarray over Khojar Mirza’s death and the slaughter of a patrol settles down –, we spotted a mighty army heading for the city. While the others chose to remain hidden behind the hills, Burzasp and Ambrosius went and, pretending to be travellers of no importance, took a closer look. They learned it was the army of Lord Khair Rabani Daneeshwar, returning to the city after collecting taxes from the nearby town of Avendar. They also received information about two travellers accompanying the army, who were recently rescued from a sandstorm and who were looking to join up with likeminded fellow spirits. These two — Marasura Aamir Nazar and Yar-Shalah by name — were taken back to the others for introductions, and they decided to travel with the rest of us for a while. Yar-Shalah was a nondescript traveller in a ragged, torn burnous, armed with spear, scimitar and composite longbow; the other also seemed to be a drifter, lean and muscular. Both had been waylaid by the robbers of one Razi Yazeb, who had let them go without much harm, but left them to the mercy of the elements.
“And this terrible sandstorm we got trapped in, it tore the bone and skin from the meat… I mean, it tore the bone and the meat from… no, wait.. the skin and the meat…”