"A New Day"
by Daniel Gray
The day dawned bright in Gryrax. The sun’s rays burst through the clouds and
bathed the streets of the Principality’s capital city with warmth. It was a
nice respite from the rains that, for the last few days at least, seemed
Merchants scrambled to open their shops, and residents and adventurers alike
swarmed the streets searching for the latest buys and good deals. The familiar
smell of bacon wafted through the air as the inns stoked their cooking fires
for the breakfast hour. The jingle of coins began to sound and the day in
Gryrax was officially at its start.
Almost unnoticed, however, puffs of black smoke began to flow from the left
most tower of the royal palace. Slowly the smoke rose into the air, only to be
diffused by an ever strengthening breeze.
Soon, the tower bells began to sound as well, and hundreds of heads turned at
the sound, awaiting the message therein. The ringing slowed to an almost
painful cadence, and the people in the square began to murmur. Some of the
merchants sought each other out and grasped hands as they began to pray, and
one adventurer, visiting Gryrax on what was to be a day of rest from his usual
travails, took note of a gnomish woman on her knees in the square, wiping tears
from her eyes as she murmured prayers to some unseen God.
“Excuse me, milady?” he asked, touching the gnomish woman on the shoulder.
The gnomish woman looked up through her tears, her eyes red and puffy. “Aye
stranger, what is it you bother me with?”
The man blushed. “My apologies. I do not mean to be a pest, but what of the
bells? Mere moments ago the streets were awash with joy and a healthy spirit
and now, they are filled with sorrow.”
The gnome pushed herself to her feet and touched the young man’s hand. “My
apologies, traveller. I should not have laid my sadness at your feet. The
bells ring in Gryrax to announce news of the Prince. The news this day is not
happy. The slowness of the bells, and the smoke from the tower show bad news.
A tragedy has befallen the Royal Family.”
The adventurer lifted his head to stare at the smoke as it billowed from the
tower and bit his lower lip. Tragedy? What could have befallen the family of
the Prince? They had endured so much…surely the Gods would not give him more
of a burden to bear…would they?
Within the throne room of the Royal palace, Prince Olinstaad Corond paced
slowly. His headache had returned, but that was almost expected these past
weeks. His hand rubbed his temples and he muttered a curse as he sat in his
throne, closing his eyes against the light from the windows, hoping to defeat
the pain with darkness.
For long moments he sat in silence, until the door of the throne room opened.
Without lifting his head, the Prince opened his eyes and looked toward the
door, where Patriarch Cedric Rocksoul, High Priest of the Keepers of the
Soulforge had entered.
The Prince sighed and sat up. “Well, Cedric?” His tone was a mixture of
impatience and uneasiness.
The high priest frowned a bit. “I-I’m sorry, my Prince. There was nothing we
could do. We tried everything. The child simply was born too young. It did not
sit long enough in his mother’s womb...”
The Prince lifted a hand to cut the Patriarch off. “Enough! Out of my sight.
Know that the House Corond is one less strong today, and you were unable to
The Patriarch took a step back, swallowed a bit, and after a moment, bowed
slightly. “As you wish, my Prince. I will put the word out. The young prince
Kroclobam Corond is dead.”
After the Patriarch had gone, the Prince returned to his throne and took a deep
breath. Too many of his family…his line, had died. Perhaps Dawn Marie was
right. Perhaps it was time to move against the Pomarj and take back what was
His thoughts were interrupted by the door again. He looked up and smiled
Soft steps glided across the throne room floor. “Milord, have the headaches
“Aye,” the prince answered, nodding. “Aye.”
“I thought so. This death must weigh heavily on you, my Prince. Allow me to
make some of my tea for you. It always seems to work.”
“Yes, thank you,” the Prince answered. “Thank you.” He sat back in his
throne. “You know, my friend… I was thinking. This war has gone on for so
long, perhaps we should –“
“Shh, my prince. Shh…Do not think about that now. Here, have some tea. Relax.
It has already been a trying day.”
The prince nodded and accepted the tea, taking a long, slow sip. Almost
immediately, his headache started to lessen. “Thank you, my friend. I’m
feeling better already.”
But while the city of Gryrax and the royal family mourned, the mood elsewhere
was much, much different.
With a cruel smile, the elven woman brushed her long silver tresses and stood
before the mirror, evaluating her appearance. She brought forth her dagger and
touched the steel with a soft kiss.
"Do you hear, my Prince? The blood of Corond grows thin..."
With a low-throated chuckle she sheathed the blade and walked towards her
Principality of Ulek Triad
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