Finally, one of her useless informants had turned something up. Anahel cut an imposing form in her bright red cloak over the traditional Paladin’s armor. She wasn’t a fan of the gaudy gold lining or the large red fist that was carved into the chest of the armor, but she could only make so many changes without getting herself deposed.

Besides it seemed, in Kothar at least, everyone in the city understood what the armor represented and was quick to make way for her. Normally she’d travel in coat and discreetly meet with her informants but this particular worm was being closed-mouthed and she needed to strike fear into him without making a show of her powers. The non-human Paladin’s in this city frowned upon any action that involved summoning the ‘sacred flame’.

She was in a nicer part of the city; in the distance, a tall black tower rose above the height of even some of the tallest buildings of the city. This world was such a strange place. In some ways, she observed that they were advanced, and in others, mostly warfare, they were greatly lacking.

She had her informants asking around for things like gunpowder, or any explosives for that matter and they were dumbfounded by her request. Assuring her that only Ascended beings were capable of such feats of power.

A part of her admired those in power that quelled the weak into believing such lies, but another part, the part that had seen explosives used in their very lair, was furious.

She rounded past a pair of guards who tapped their caps in her direction and entered the small eating establishment she had scheduled her meeting with her informant.

A quick scan of the overly decorated room and its occupants revealed she had beaten him here.

“Have a seat and I will send ole Bes’ to grab your order!” A burly man behind the bar called out to her, not lifting his head from his glass. He obviously didn’t know what she was otherwise he would be guiding her to a seat himself and beg for a chance to serve her. Such were the ways of Kothar.

Anahel didn’t need the extra fawning though and made her way to a table, sitting as best she could in all her armor.

It wasn’t really that the armor didn’t provide a free range of movement, more than sitting while covered in metal plates wasn’t the most comfortable.

“Now aren’t you all shiny and ready to go,” A stout man in dark leathers sat down across from her. It was not her informant, but he looked very familiar. She had seen him before…somewhere.

“If you value your life,” Anahel said in a low whisper leaning towards the man, “I would suggest you leave now.”

“You see here,” The man said leaning backward in his chair, “I do value my life, but I’m not sure I have much to fear from you. My name is Golder and I know where to get something you need to find.” Golder winked several times and laughed to himself as he put his hands behind his head and continued to lean backward.

“I know you!” Anahel said shooting to her feet, her chair fell to the ground behind her in a loud crack.

“Now, now,” Golder said putting his hands in front of himself, “Don’t burn your britches up. I’m here to help.”

“You helped that vile insect escape! Why shouldn’t I kill you now?” The fire inside of Anahel screamed to be released and despite her efforts to hold it back, she could feel her hands begin to warm.

The room had gone quiet and several of the diners began to make for the door. Out of the corner of her eye, Anahel noted the barkeep had finally looked up from his glass and noticed her armor. His face had gone pale and he was slowly making for a door that must lead to the back of the restaurant.

“Just because the Paladin’s server the King in Kothar,” Golder began to say as he stood and stretched out behind the table, “They assume they must be the strongest and mightiest of all Ascended.” Then he disappeared.

Before Anahel had a chance to draw breath in surprise a sharp blade pricked her neck.

“To answer your question,” Golder’s voice whispered in her ear, “You shouldn’t kill me now, because you can’t.” And an instant later Golder was back across the table.

“I could burn this entire building down,” Anahel said, it was taking noticeable effort to control her breathing as she spoke, “Are you fast enough to avoid that?”

“Can we stop with the measuring already,” Golder said sitting back in his chair, “I’ve come to offer a deal. Will you hear me out?”

“Speak quickly,” Anahel said still standing and keeping her flame ready to strikeout. She knew exactly were to shoot her flame if he tried that trick again. He would find cutting her throat difficult when burning alive.

“There is a certain item that my benefactor requires,” Golder said, “You will find it in the possession of the Paladin’s inner sanctum under guard and in a place, only a Paladin can set foot. If you get that item and return it to us, we will give you the boy's location and means to get there.”

A smile spread across Anahel’s lips as she listened. Things were finally going her way.


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Bio: I am a writer, father, and husband. I love to share my stories and hope you enjoy them!

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