You are probably wondering what all of this has to do with my quest for godhood. It began much more humble, you see. Ambition grew alongside success, for once men taste the first drop of power, they thirst for more. Like so many others, I fell for the temptation. And I paid the price. Unlike many others though, the loss only bolstered my determination.
The past, my past and that of others, drives the choices made in the present. And when men seek guidance, history is always a willing councillor. In Kyst, history is kept by the bards and they are considered wise men. Through storytelling, they relate the past victories of brave heroes over wicked villains to the aspiring heroes of the present. The history of the bards is treacherous though, for who knows where fact ends and fiction begins?
Avarron shifted uneasily in his saddle. Today, their trip to the border would become a lot more difficult. Not including the complications of yesterday, he reminded himself. Tonight, Asratorix would tell about the assassin and make an attempt to shed some light on their current situation. In the meantime, he had another question on his mind: What does my father have to do with all of this?
He had decided not to wear the black crest, keeping his own on his shoulder. He kept it in a pocket, close by. The real question of course was not whether to wear it or not, but rather how it had ended up in his hands. That was the question he now put before Cullean and Asratorix.
“I think I agree with Behr on this. It’s not one person we are dealing with, but rather an organized group,” Cullean voiced his opinion.
“Or the crest was stolen in advance,” Asratorix added.
“Then it would have happened before we left. Avarron would have received word if something was going on at Windvale.”
“I think it likely that he, or they, would be aware of our mission or at least our departure and direction. That makes it possible to perform the theft with proper timing, making the messenger miss Avarron at our departure,” the bard argued.
“Possible but unlikely. It makes more sense to assume there is a group working against us,” Cullean said.
“On that, I agree,” Asratorix admitted. “But I think we should keep the possibility open and re-evaluate at every clue.”
“Let’s assume we are dealing with multiple people now. That gives them more options to take whatever action they want. They could have agents anywhere. If we assume that, why did they choose to take the actions they did?” Avarron pulled the discussion along.
“What you are asking now is how the murders and whatever happened at Windvale are related,” Asratorix translated the question. “However, we have no clue at all as to what happened in the north. It’s impossible to answer your question now.”
“But what I am supposed to do, then? I am expected to be a leader here.” Avarron asked. So far, neither Cullear nor Asratorix had been able to provide much advice. Before any of them could reply, he continued: “Sure, I can double the watch for tonight, but that doesn’t solve the problem. I need to take some kind of action.”
“More often than not, being a leader means having to make decisions based on little more than guesswork,” Asratorix tried to explain.
“One things is certain,” Cullean said calmly as he stepped towards Avarron, reigning in his horse. Wrapping his fingers tightly around the knight’s wrist and looking the knight straight in the eyes, he told him: “Listen to me, boy.” he rarely used that word, but when he did, Avarron knew to listen.
“The two events of yesterday have one thing in common. They both unnerve you, which is more than likely exactly their goal. They’re using scare tactics, in an attempt to weaken us. That means they fear to attack us head on. They hide in the shadows to avoid retaliation because they fear it. And because they fear us, they try to make us fear them.”
Avarron nodded understanding. “So, how do we counter such tactics?”
“With resolve and endurance. Double the watch like you suggested. They will expect it, thinking the lack of sleep will wear us out. Let’s prove them wrong.”
Avarron looked gratefully at the old warrior. “You are right as ever. We will be vigilant. Asratorix, can I count on you to dispel whatever illusion they are trying to weave?”
“Of course. I would be a poor bard if I allowed superstition to spread.”
Cullean let go of his wrist and patted him on his thigh. “That’s more like it. Just remember that the success of this mission is a responsibility that rests with all of us. You should not bear the burden entirely on your own.”
“Don’t worry. You’ll get the credit you deserve,” Avarron gave the two of them a grateful smile.