“Robed or not, back to Puzzle-Tyric is a death sentence,” Carmen stated, watching the bright orange sunrise penetrating blindly through the dark clouds, starring at the 5 small men.

Jud agreed, saying “We are not nearly as capable as her,” adding, “If she says we aren’t going, we are not.”

Drud, Sad, Nud and Pitron all listened in amazement, now devoid of any thought of going back; they all thought Jud’s account was just another tall tale, but after hearing the huntress speak of the same and even more alien events, they were fearful of the uncertainty, although slightly comforted by the rising sun.

Peeling back the cloth, Jud exposed his hand, Drud asking “Well.. You know that won’t heal..”

Carmen stepped forward and ripped the long strip of cloth from Jud’s clasped hand, “Not with this… Dirt, sweat.. This cloth looks like a death sentence,” casting the black cloth to the ground below.

Jud closed and opened his fist, wincing, “It seems death surrounds us.”

Carmen questioned “Forests around the mountain are not safe?..”

Pitron laughed “Huntress, safe has taken on a new meaning, it seems.. Safer than the city, yes, from the sounds of it, but we’d still be dead, might not even make the trip without mounts.”

Sad kicked at the ground, “Mounts weren’t even spooked by anything.. They just.. Lost it.. All of them, as if their purpose since birth had been redefined.”

Nud added, “I tried to calm mine down, almost got trampled.. Never before, have those eyes saw a stranger in me, yet here we are, strangers all the same..”

Carmen reassured the Mason’s, “Mine did as well… Although there was a giant snapper nearby.”

Jud questioned her, “Huntress.. What are they?”

Sad added “Maybe a new species?”

Carmen replied, “Orbs.. They have some sort of ties to the orbs.. I don’t know anything of their power.. Although maybe finding out wouldn’t be a bad idea.. What are they.. I think maybe the real question is who..” She shuttered, captivating the Mason’s attention, adding, “I believe.. I saw one of those beasts use magic.”

Jud’s eyes widened, “Brutal.. Ferocious.. Those beasts chased me, knocking down trees like they were twigs.. Such strength, coupled with intellect.. Do you think they work under the cult?”

Carmen stated bluntly, “I watched that beast take orders from a white-robed hunter.. The orders were to smash through the wall of Puzzle-Tyric and it did, without hesitation.”

Nud recounted “We helped build those walls..”

“Yup..” All the Mason’s responded.

Carmen walked past the Mason’s, approaching the giant mountainside close behind, “We need a wall..” putting her hand against the Unjaryk’s side, adding “Like this.”

Following her back, Pitron said “Have you ever heard of the legend of the Unjaryk?”

Carmen continued starring at the mountainside, “Legend.. Last of all, we should be speaking of legend.. We need a plan..”

Jud, starring at his hand, following the two to join the conversation, said “Once, the orbs were legend, then one day, they were not and everything changed.”

Sad affirmed his perspective, “Legends should stay.. Legendary.”

Drud, the last to join them beside the Unjaryk, said “Some measure of truth exists in every legend.. This mountain, we have taken from it for our entire lives.. Built endlessly. Worldly, word of our craft spread across years of even those who came before us, came from anywhere but here, just to be here… My grandfather prayed to this mountain every day.” Falling to his knees, Drud picked up his heavy hands, raising them above his head, “Would you at least hear the Unjaryk’s truth, Huntress?”

Carmen watched Drud’s dedication to his belief, retorting,”Fine..”

Sad began, dropping to his knees, joining Drud “They say a great castle is inside this mountain.”

Nud joined his two friends in prayer, “Created by hands unlike any before or after.”

Jud remained on his feet, adding “Until one day, the castle fell under attack. Brazen, was the leader of the invaders, claiming he would leave the castle more mountain than structure, once he was finished with it’s inhabitants.”

Pitron walked up to the Unjaryk, placing his hand upon it’s side, as Carmen had a moment before, “And he did.”







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