Chronicles of Azvar: Supplies Running Low
Heat’s Rise, 29 SC
“You cannot be serious.” Henoc glared at Ikram with visible contempt, “The treasures of our people should not be traded away so idly.”
Ikram knew Henoc’s opinion of the Nemertingi, but he had not expected such a fierce reaction to his suggestion. Ikram took a slow, measured draw from his mug of ale before continuing.
“Our people are on the brink of starvation, Henoc.” Ikram gestured out towards the town laid out beneath them. “The Ester has shrunk to but a trickle and the skies offer us no respite. All but a quarter of our crops have failed. What are we to do come winter?”
“We will find a way to survive. We always have.” Henoc’s mug creaked and groaned as he clenched it tightly. “Charity does not suit us.”
“This is not charity, my friend. The Nemertingi have something we want and we have something they want. What use is our knowledge if we starve to death?” Ikram knew Henoc was more a soldier than a scholar, though he hoped his compatriot would recognize reason.
“We are talking about the secrets of our people. The magic of Azvar should not be traded away for grain. I will not stand for it.” Clearly reason would not be sufficient.
“How do you think we came to be here?” Ikram could feel his own anger bubbling within. “By the grace of the Nemertingi we were given fertile land for our people and food to survive the winter, yet you act as if they have done nothing to earn our trust. What more would you ask of them?”
“I would ask that they not delve into matters they do not fully understand.” Henoc began to pace the parapet of the tower. “The Nermertingi know much, but it took our people centuries to master the safe use of our magic. What if they open a portal and fell beasts spew forth? They could bring about the end of times with the careless carving of a rune. It is the same short-sightedness that led to the fading of Azvar. I will hear no more of this madness.”
Ikram stood by helplessly as Henoc stormed off. Tensions from the drought had finally come to a head. Ikram leaned on the parapet and slowly finished his ale, savoring it to the last drop. Small luxuries would not last another month, let alone through the winter. Without gold to trade for food, the grace of the Nemerting was the only hope his people had. Ikram let out a long sigh. What had taken the fell beasts a century to unravel in Azvar had taken but a single drought in this new world.
Ikram had seen no sign of Henoc until three days later when a messenger handed him a sealed letter.
It is a shame that our last words in some time shall be those said in anger. I only wish to do what is right for our people and the promise of Azvar. I have taken a score of our brothers with me into the service of a mercenary company. We will have set sail before this letter reaches you, so do not try to stop us. I have negotiated an upfront payment for our services to be delivered to Esterbank. It is no great sum of wealth, but it will be enough to see our people through the winter. The contract lasts for three years, so it is likely we shall not return for some time. I know not where we shall be called, but know that I shall carry the pride of Azvar with me always. May this letter find you well.