FROM: General Debinani Rahl
RE: Chapter Eighteen – Silent”s Story
Kishara is not the kindest of mistresses.
The recall of the Five Armies so many millennia ago was not
the end of their stories. Even after Spirit’s entombment in
Westergard, many of The Sackcloth Rose returned to the
island of Tablenhelm to wait until their time would come
This is where my story begins. I was born into The
Sackcloth Rose. Or perhaps I should say I was born because
of it. You see, to build the armies, the strongest and
fastest of the soldiers are sent to the slave pens to pass
their seed. The children then become the soldiers and the
support staff of the future. I was one of these children.
My father was a Lieutenant in the army, my mother a
nameless face in the pens. I never saw either. I was raised
by Stranglers…The Priests of Kishara, those who do the
ceremonial killings to bring about The Age. They taught me
all about Kishara, about how the wonderful mistress locked
up on the tower that looms over us all will soon be free
and the world will be ours.
I don’t particularly know why, but I never really bought
Because of my genes, I had been selected to become one of
The Sackcloth Rose’s teith-ambul, commonly known as the
Shadowalkers. We were some of the best archers, woodsmen
and assassins that Kishara had to field. Thus training
became my life. Day after day we worked. My Sergeant always
believed that one day we would march again just as we had
in the Age of Legends. The Stranglers always reminded us of
Early in my childhood, when Spirit returned to Tablenhelm
there was much rejoicing. Everyone believed the prophecies
would come true with Spirit’s leadership. I really began to
fear for that enigmatic world that lay beyond the mists.
But that world was not Spirit’s primary target. He wanted
The Black Rose Society. Every day he would curse the
traitor Mengst and all who came after him.
I suppose I should go into some greater detail in case this
ever becomes tactically necessary. Tablenhelm resides on a
volcanic island approximately one hundred and thirty square
miles in size. The entire pace is surrounded by Kishara’s
Shroud, which makes it impossible for anyone besides the
Ringbearers and a few select Stranglers to even find the
place from the outside. About half of the island is used to
grow foodstuffs, the other half used to house its
inhabitants. Eighty percent of the population of Tablenhelm
is composed of soldiers, all constantly in training,
another five percent of priests, and the rest support
personnel. It is not a great place to live. I think the
priests use some sort of drugs on the population to keep
everyone in line, but I don’t know that for a fact. The
center of the island is taken up by the Tower. This thing
is probably the most defensible structure ever built. There
are no windows lower than the clouds, only a few doors and
battlements for more traditional defenses. It’s incredible.
It looms over the lives and deaths of every person on that
island. And we all know that at its peak above the clouds
sits The Lady…waiting….
My story isn’t a very exciting one. I went through the
motions like every other soldier, but I’ve come to believe
that the drugs that the priests may or may not have been
using on the population don’t work on me. I was never
content. I never grew complacent with the atrocities that
were commonplace there. It wasn’t until much later after
Cyan Marinetta, the Ringwielder of Water slaughtered her
army and left the island that my role in the grand scheme
of things became important.
One day my unit was brought before Spirit for a mission
assignment. He instructed us that we were to kill the
current Captain of the Black Rose, one Debinani Rahl.
As Spirit guided our boat through the mists and across the
ocean, I began to wonder. We had engaged The Black Rose
Society before, and defeated them several times over;
Tablenhelm resides between the shards after all, and Spirit
did not like those soldiers at all. But what if this was
the last? What if these guys were the last chance the world
had to defeat Kishara? I wasn’t sure I wanted to see what
The Age of Reckoning would be like. I sure as hell didn’t
want to cause it.
When we landed, my unit moved to find this Society. We did
with little or no trouble. We sat on that block of ice
watching that smithy for days just seeing who went in and
out. When the time finally came to take out Rahl we moved
on the cabin. I took up the rear.
Well, I don’t much like talking about so all I’ll say is I
neutralized my comrades and went to the house unarmed. The
Captain answered the door. I said I wanted to join. Hell, I
figured if Spirit hated these guys so much it had to be the
best place I could hide right?
Rahl stared at me for a moment. Then he leaned over and
wiped a drop of my comrade’s blood off my face. He had to
notice my wince. He looked at me for a while longer and
then invited me in. And there I’ve been ever since.
Things have been acting up lately. Marinetta dead. That rat
Daithomir dead. Stonehand talking to Shade and saying he’s
stayin’ out of it. Looks like Kishara’s not doing too good.
But we still have her two greatest champions to take care
of. I hope we’re up to it.