The text below is based on Guild Wars lore but is purely fan-fiction. Click here for Chapter 9 and 10. To better understand some of the newer additions or changes, check out the Updated Content post for easy access and more information.
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Chapter 11 – Winds of War
Raijin was pacing up and down in the palace’s war room. This circular chamber was called the conference room back in Kaineng Tah’s time and at its center sat a large, round table with the map of the explored world painted on its top. But after Yian Zho was inaugurated, a change in both purpose and name was in order: the former conference room started serving as a meeting spot for the Canthan leadership to discuss tactics and strategies in case of war, but most importantly, to plan out the grand expansion of the Dragon Empire – the one Princess Niya and Raiya inadvertently started with their endeavor to the north and the one that had become the obsession of the Lord Emperor since.
Raijin was troubled on multiple fronts. First, Ambassador Baigon’s daily letter had not arrived yet. He didn’t know what could have happened as Baigon was a precise man, and he wouldn’t be late with such an important piece of information as the state of the treaty.
But the source of his other concern was about something else. Just that morning, Kei Jii, Raijin’s most trusted scout and servant, reported about the events that had transpired on that day in the forest. When the General asked him to try and learn something about what might have happened there, Kei Jii talked with the stableboy who’d had to remain with the small group, tasked with looking after the prince’s and the soldiers’ horses.
What the stableboy had seen further proved that Zho was involved somehow in the mysterious events surrounding Kaineng Tah’s death… The then prince walked out into the wilderness all alone, in the depth of that night. Not even his guards knew where he was going. Then, the following day, when the group was about to leave for Raisu, the boy was sent out to fill the satchels with fresh water. And there, near a small stream he claimed to have found the carcass of a jet-black stallion… Kaineng Tah’s stallion.
The boy knew whose horse it was and was smart enough not to get into trouble by mentioning it to Yian Zho. He was right: the returning group with the prince at their lead stated that the horse was so terrified of something that it broke loose during the night and disappeared in the forest.
However, the most interesting thing the stableboy mentioned was that there was neither blood nor wounds on the carcass. Raijin suspected that it was magic that killed the animal, and the thought of that made him shudder.
Worry shrank his stomach and cold droplets of sweat slid down on his temple as his upset mind flashed from one disturbing problem to another disturbing problem; as if it was unable to decide which one was the graver of the two.
He stopped as he heard footsteps coming from the door’s direction. A man indeed passed in front of the room but continued on with his business after taking a short glance at the armor-clad general.
I can’t believe this! Raijin started walking around the table, examining the painted versions of Cantha and the Jade Sea. If Baigon has gone missing the Emperor will surely take actions, and this time I won’t be able to talk him down from doing something stupid.
Now numerous footsteps sounded from the corridor: the heavy clatter that metal boots made on the stone floor struck anxiety into Raijin’s heart: the Emperor and his guard escort headed for the war room.
So soon? He took a deep breath and prepared for the worst.
A moment later Emperor Yian Zho appeared with the usual smugness on his face, surrounded by four Dragonguard. Two guardsmen stayed outside, taking position at either side of the entrance, while the other two came in, saluted him and took their place at the inner sides of the door. The emperor strode toward the center and rested his elbows on the edge of the table, admiring the small figures on the map while Raijin finished his bow.
It’s just a game to him. He’s damn good at it, but he doesn’t see the people behind those symbols… the men and women who are willing to give their lives for their emperor and his grand vision.
“Report, General. What news did Baigon send today?