“Back off, boy,” Kerven threatened.
Parshal kept coming forward slowly, sword drawn. The dwarf repeated his threat, but Parshal still approached. Suddenly, he was grabbed from behind by his armor and roughly thrown to the ground.When he looked up, he saw his High Priest standing over him.
“What do you think you’re doing,” Fragiel demanded.
The look on Parshal’s face went quickly from rage to confusion. “He killed their captain,” the acolyte protested. “We needed to question him about the location of their remaining patrols. That is information we need to do what Accura has asked of us.” Turning his anger back on, he looked at the dwarf and yelled, “He’s trying to thwart the will of Accura by keeping us from accomplishing our mission.”
Fragiel backhanded his acolyte across the face. “I’m in charge of this mission! You don’t do anything until I tell you to do it!”
“Not until I tell you,” he yelled, backhanding Parshal again.
Parshal watched his High Priest walk away as he rubbed his sore jaw. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kerven smiling wickedly at him as the dwarf rummaged through the dead captain’s pack. Kerven found what he was looking for and brought it out. The object landed at the acolyte’s feet. He picked it up. It was a scroll containing a map of Mishaken, including patrol routes.
“All patrol leaders carry them,” Kerven explained. “That’s why I didn’t need to keep him alive.”
Embarrassed that he had lost his composure, Parshal was about to apologize to the dwarf when Kerven disappeared. Suddenly, the acolyte felt the twin tips of Kerven’s daggers poking him under his arms at the back, where the armor didn’t cover. “The only thing holding me back is that killing you might cost me my payment,” he heard the dwarf whisper. “If you ever do anything like that again, or ever do anything else that even remotely makes me angry, and I’ll finish what I started here. I’m pretty sure your High Priest will believe me when I tell him it was an accident.”
The acolyte remained perfectly still and stayed silent. As soon as he felt the daggers move away from him, Parshal relaxed. Trying his best to make it seem like the dwarf didn’t frighten him, he fell into line behind the other two as they began continuing on their trek through the forest.
They kept walking until just before dark, when Kerven called for a stop. Through a gap in the trees, they spotted a solitary mountain standing in the distance. Pointing at it, the dwarf informed them, “There it is. Kanasa City is in the base of that mountain.”
“Why are we stopping,” Fragiel asked. “It looks like we could make it there tonight if we kept walking.”
“A few hundred yards ahead the forest ends and turns into very rocky terrain. The rocky terrain is the start of the dwarven territory and it has very little in the way of concealment.”
“If there’s no concealment,” Parshal dared, “wouldn’t it make more sense to cross during the cover of darkness?”
“No,” Kerven answered. “The dwarves that patrol this area come from Kanasa City. They’re used to living underground, so their eyes actually work better in the dark than they do in the light. Dawn is the best time to cross. The rising sun plays tricks with their eyes, so most patrols usually take breaks around then.”
The trio rested for the remainder of the night. At dawn, Kerven began leading them towards the mountain. Once they started walking over the open ground, both priests became incredibly concerned for their safety. Even though the dwarf assured them it was safe, as long as they remained quiet, they were still skeptical.
Kerven called for a stop at various points along their journey. Fragiel wanted to ask why they were stopping, but, remembering the dwarf’s warning about staying silent, he refrained. A few minutes into each stop, the dwarf signaled for them to move forward again. They were making progress, but it was slower than Fragiel liked.
By the time the sun had fully risen, they had made it to within a few hundred yards of the entrance of Kanasa City. Settling in one of the few areas of concealment, a rocky overhang, Kerven sat down. “This is as far as I go,” he announced.
Parshal wanted to protest, but Fragiel held up his hand to stop him. “If I’m not back by this time tomorrow,” go back to my temple and take what you deem worthy of your payment.”
With that, Fragiel stepped out into the open, with Parshal following him, and walked towards the gates of Kanasa City.