The start of a journey

The Dog and Mintor studied the map of Maoeté with Absellah. They stood placing markers where armies or battles were, according to the latest dispatches received when Insah-Bolo and Yopo entered the map room.

‘We got news from Arthmus,’ she said. ‘The latest on what is happening.’

‘Please share it with us,’ Mintor invited them over to the table. ‘All news now is welcome.’

Absellah nodded his agreement. ‘The news from Arthmus may be later than the letter I received from secretary Okdan.’

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The two beast-men looked at the map and the markers. Yopo moved General Fingers’ army to the fortress on the border and General More’s  army to the city where they were ready to attack. Then he picked up a small puppet of black-armoured men and put it on the shore.

‘They landed there,’ he said. ‘Nearly two-thousand strong.’

Mintor whistled softly. ‘Right between two major harbours. Will they move inland or try to take the harbour?’

‘That’s not all, there’s more bad news,’ Insah-Bolo began. ‘Arthmus sensed it in his scrying ; magic. The spell of the Hooded One is spreading along the border region. He suspects that statuettes are being placed in the border region towns that had been liberated from the Hooded One.’

The Dog squinted. ‘That places General More’s army in a very dangerous position. His soldiers may fall prey to the spell and turn sides.’

‘I fear that there is little we can do about that,’ Mintor spoke sadly.

‘I will send a pigeon to secretary Okdan right away,’ Absellah said with a worried frown on his face.

‘Those black-armour landed on the coast?’ the Dog asked. ‘Where did they come from?’

Insah-Bolo shrugged her shoulders. ‘We don’t know. We know that they didn’t come from the north.’

‘Erdoín,’ the Dog called. ‘Can you get the admiral to come here, please.’

‘Right away sir,’ it sounded from a small room, followed by a door being closed.

‘Your highness,’ Insah-Bolo urged, ‘not wishing to be rude, but we should go.’

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