Wrathmolten scowled at the backs of the Qendarian troops as they marched through the streets. The light glared blindingly off their steel helmets and breast plates, and their shields shone like miniature suns. People pressed themselves to the sides of the street as the soldiers passed. Those moving too slowly were simply shoved aside. Wrathmolten stepped from the doorway in which he had taken shelter and again entered the stream of people in the street. Even after three weeks, he was still amazed by the submission of the common people to the whims of the military. The Qendarians revered their military, who in turn treated civilians like the lowest slaves.
Shaking his head, he ducked down an alleyway and entered a nondescript rear garden. In the summer's heat, the garden was little more than a collection of yellowed stalks, but in the cooler seasons it sprang into a multitude of flowers in every size and colour. Rare beauty, even in the cruelest land possible. Wrathmolten removed his heavy veil and headpiece, tossing them on to a stone bench before he lowered a bucket into the well. Taking a long drink from the water, he emptied the bucket carefully over the plants. He was returning the bucket to the well when he heard the figure drop into the garden behind him. Wrathmolten spun, the dagger appearing in his hand poised to throw. He relaxed as the figure stood up and unwound the veil from its head.
"Tes, don't do that. I almost buried a blade in your throat."
"Wrath, I've seen your aim. I'm not too worried." Tes smiled as she removed the heavy veil everyone wore as protection against the heat and the dust. Her short brown hair and tanned face were still covered with a thin film of the red dust, present everywhere in Qendar.
"Funny. What did you find out?"
"Not much. Some of the Sky Navy brass were crowing about some great victory. No details though. They were just out of my hearing."
Wrathmolten nodded. If she couldn't hear them, then no one else was going to. Tes was one of the Feryl. A race of people originally from the forests of the Yerdi delta, they possessed keener senses of hearing and smell then any human. The Feryl were widely sought as scouts and spies, since their appearance was almost human as well. Tes looked like a lovely young girl with short light brown hair and brown eyes. Only the tapering of her ears and the slightly elongated canines hinted at her true origins.
"They have been planning something for a while. I wonder where they struck?" Wrathmolten mused. "Do you think they went after the Dikolos islands again?"
"Not with Triton's Peak so close."
"Lucivious will know. We have to get back to Tierceron soon, Tes."
"I think the government will want to know of the buildup of forces by Qendar. And it has been too long to keep explaining our presence as 'visiting faculty' to the Qendarian officials."
"Makes sense to me. At least I can get a proper bath again." Tes stretched out on the stone bench and pillowed her head in her arms. "When do we leave, boss?"
"As soon as I talk to Lucivious." Wrathmolten smiled as he walked past her. "Start packing. I want to be on the trail by mid-afternoon."
"Sure, whatever..." Tes's voice trailed off as she drifted into sleep. Wrathmolten rolled his eyes and laughed. The Feryl were notorious for stretching out like cats in the sun and napping. Tes had spent most of her days here in Qendar asleep on the benches in the garden. Wrathmolten slipped into the house, and sat to wait for Lucivious. The government must know, he thought. The danger of Qendar was far greater than ever.