**To read the rules and start this adventure from the beginning, click HERE**
You watch in awe as the two men battle before you. Their movements are so graceful it is easy to forget that you are watching a fight and not a dance. It is easy to forget that the curved blades of these men easy separate your head from your neck in a single, graceful slash.
The silken fabrics of the two combatants whisper and snap as they move as if alive; organic forms undulating in a counter-dance to the men who wore them.
Blades flash, casting ribbons of reflected sunlight over the crowd. They sing as they collide, humming in distinct keys. Wind whistles over them in a high-pitched shriek as the blades cut through the air.
The beauty fades quickly, however. A clever spinning step and the man in crimson brings his blade down to slash the man in black's thigh. Maroon blood sprays across pale paving stones.
Excited, the crowd cheers.
You watch as the man in crimson dances around the man in black as the latter struggles to keep his feet. The swords fly faster now and the man in black stumbles, leaving a trail of bloody footprints.
"You have interfered for the last time, mute!" the man in crimson snarls.
The man in black closes his eyes briefly and straightened. Pulling himself upright, his dark eyes bore into the man in crimson. It was not hatred that lit the dark fire in those eyes, but cold, unfeeling indifference.
Grinning, the man in crimson dances forward, certain now that the wound in his opponent's leg would render him imobile. He is half right.
The man in black does not move a single step. But he wriths and twists, ducks and spins. His hands move with a speed unmatchable and the man in crimson cannot breach such a defence. The frustration begins to wear on the man in crimson. His grin turns into a grimace. His grimace turns into a scowl.
And then, just like that, it ends.
The crowd gasps when the sword pushed through the belly of the man in crimson. How it had gotten there was anyone's guess. No one even saw the man in black move. And yet, he grips the hilt of the curved blade that now is slick with the blood of the crimson man.
A sharp whistle brought everyone out of their shock. As one, the crowd turned to spy the city guard running to them. They disperse. In the confuse, you feel your hand grabbed. You look up to find the earnest dark eyes of the man in black. Looking around, you find the man in gold has disappeared.
With nowhere else to go, and not particularly wanting to end up in gaol, you let the man in black lead you away. At a sprint.
You look down at the man in black's leg. He is limping, but that doesn't seem to slow his pace any. You have a difficult time keeping up with him.
The bright sun of the spacious marketplace vanishes as you bolt headlong into the city. A warren of twisting alleys greet you. Everything here seems grey. On and on you sprint into this maze, turning around more corners than you can possibly keep track of until finally, you reach a small courtyard. In the centre stands a tall statue of a woman in armour. Black silk adorns the statue, covering her face and leaving only her eyes.
The man in black collapses.
You rush to his aid, only to find yourself suddenly surrounded by men in black silks. The move silently, gently taking you aside so they can treat your wounded companion. Wordlessly, you are guided into a secret door hidden behind the statue by five men in black. You glance back at your companion before stepping through. It seems he is smiling at you.
You find yourself in a basket, lowered carefully down by one of the men who dragged you into the statue. No one speaks, and any attempt you make is quickly shut down with a scowl. It is an uncomfortable ride down.
When the basket alights gently on the ground, you find yourself in an underground room. Before you stands a beautifully crafted stone table. Three women in armour, wearing black silk revealing only their eyes stare down at a map on that table. One woman looks up, grey eyes crinkling into a smile.
The men in black deliver you to her and slip away down the various tunnels that led from the room.
"Ah!" the grey eyed woman says. "The mysterious traveller! It has been a long time since anyone has traversed the sky road. Welcome."
"You talk," you note, wincing at the stupidly obvious remark.
The woman's eyes crinkled again and you hear a soft chuckle.
"I am Saschana," she says. "Leader of the Black Blades."
"We were once the queen's guard. But there have not been any queens for a very long time. Now, it seems, we must work from the shadows to protect the bloodline we have served since the dawn of time."
Not sure you follow, you simply nod.
"But that is a discussion for another time. You are tired and injured. Let my healers look at you, and we will discuss our history more over some much-needed food, yes?"
You nod dumbly.
"Good." The woman motions and three men in black seem to materialise from the shadows. "You may choose which healer you wish to treat you."
"What's the difference?" you ask.
The woman smiles, but declines to comment.
"Am I being tested?"
Again, the woman smiles and says nothing.
You stare at the three men.
One man has a scar that mars his left eye. The eye is clouded, indicating he can no longer see from it.
"That is Jaquin," the woman says, noticing your gaze. "He was wounded trying to rescue an infant girl from a mage."
You turn to the second man. He seems perfectly fine. A closer look, however, reveals that he is missing a foot.
"That is Gammen," the woman informs you. "He was attacked by a grass dog on his return journey from the village of Himhimbah. It took his foot."
You turn to the third man. His exposed hands are pink and crinkled.
"That is Machi. His hands were burnt in a hearth fire when he pulled a child of twelve out from the flames."
You turn to the grey-eyed woman. "Who healed these men?"
"Ah. Well asked, stranger. Machi healed Gammen. Gammen healed Jaquin. Jacquin healed Machi. Who will heal you?"
You fold your arms and ponder. Who will you choose?
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