Parshal couldn’t remember ever being this nervous before a mission before. During his time in the city guard, he had gone on several raids that were a lot more dangerous than this one was supposed to be, and had been fine beforehand. There was something about this mission, in particular, that was making him uneasy. Could it be that his goddess was giving him a warning?
Most people of other faiths would scoff at the notion that the goddess of chaos would give glimpses of the future. “Telling people the future,” they would argue, “gives it stability, finality.” Parshal himself had believed that too, until he had a talk with Fragiel.
“Telling someone the future is filled with chaos,” Fragiel had told him. “When you know the outcome, there are three things that you can do: work to ensure that it happens, work to ensure it doesn’t happen, or do nothing. Because the future is constantly shifting, choosing any of the three puts you in danger of changing the outcome. If you work to ensure that the event happens, you might accidentally do something to make it not occur. If you work to stop an event, you might accidentally make it happen. If you do nothing, then you might make the event not happen because you were supposed to do something to make it happen. No, my acolyte. Knowing the future is not the stuff of order. It is the will of chaos.”
After reliving the lesson of his High Priest, Parshal looked once again at Fragiel. Suddenly, the High Priest threatened his life. Parshal hadn’t even been aware that he had been asking the same question over and over again. The acolyte was about to apologize when he saw a hand reach out of the shadows and place a dagger at Fragiel’s throat. A voice accompanied the dagger, but it was too low for Parshal to hear. Amazingly, the High Priest merely shoved the blade aside.
“Are the theatrics really necessary,” he asked in the direction of the dagger.
From the shadows, a dwarf appeared. It was a dwarf unlike any that Parshal had ever seen before. Instead of a long, bushy beard, this dwarf had a neatly trimmed goatee. This dwarf also had a slight build, as opposed to the normally stocky physique displayed by most of the dwarven race. Taking a closer look at the dagger, the acolyte immediately recognized who the dwarf was.
“You’re Kerven Blade, aren’t you,” he asked.
“At your service,” the dwarf said with a mock bow. Everyone in Qyooniba knew who Kerven Blade was. He was once a member of The House of Hond. While he enjoyed the work he did while in the mercenary group, he didn’t like that he had to answer to clan hierarchy. Soon after, he left the group. When The House of Hond was kicked out of the city, Kerven stepped in and began to take all of the jobs that used to go to them. Word around town was that his former clan was not too happy about that.
Turning his attention back to the High Priest, Kerven asked, “You sent for me. What can I do for you?”
“I’d like to hire you. I want you to lead the two of us to Kanasa City.”
At this, the dwarf began laughing. “You’re crazy, priest. Mishaken is in the middle of a civil war. Both sides have declared the borders uncrossable. That means anyone, and I mean anyone, who is caught crossing them will be put to death. No questions asked. On top of that, you want me to lead you into the heart of The House of Hond. I can’t show my face there ever again. The rumors you’ve heard about them not liking me anymore are true. If I go there, they’ll kill me.”
“You don’t have to lead us inside of the city. You just have to lead us to the city.”
“Did you not hear what I said, priest? They have the borders closed. The only way I’d take this job is if you had a king’s ransom, and priests aren’t exactly known for being rich.”
“I wasn’t planning on trying to bribe you with treasure. I was planning on offering you something else: something nobody else in this city would be willing to offer you.”
Kerven raised his eyebrow, intrigued. “Oh, really? And what is that?”
“I will give you control of my vote on the Council of Seven.”