After using the two spires to traverse miles and miles in mere minutes, we walked the rest of the way to the edge of the Stone Sea. What was once called the land of Azure now lay in ruin, with choking rivers and collapsing roads having replaced the rolling landscape of fertile fields – all a result of an Edict Kyros used to subdue resistance there during our initial storming of the Tiers.
Voices of Nerat is supposed to be here, at a naturally-defensible position known as the Cacophony. As we made our way up the windy, treacherous path, we saw evidence of the Scarlet Chorus’ handiwork – staked and impaled corpses of those who would not join them lining the road and mountain ridges. It seemed that all of the Scarlet Chorus tribes had representatives here, even the Beastmen, watching closely any who would come and go. The presence of their Archon was presumably the only thing that kept the chaotic horde organized, or at least away from each others’ throats.
Tremors and earthquakes plagued these lands, periodic rumbling and shifting of the earth beneath our feet proved dangerous on our ascent up the mountain. If the entire Tier was subject to these constant rumblings, it would be a marvel if any permanent structure remained standing.
The Chorus’ camp wasn’t much different from the one I stayed at before the siege of the spire; chaotic, boisterous, and bloody. Every small gang seemed determined to kill their leader, if for no other reason than to have a bigger share of loot. It seemed each wanted my opinion on some matter, trying to save their own necks or draw a blade across another’s, all the while appearing blameless because “the Fatebinder decided it.”
Some cases were straightforward, such as the gang who disagreed on the split of loot after having killed their former leader. Some were more obtuse, like the oathbreaker soldiers who came to the camp to surrender, and having to determine whether they should be thrown in the fighting pits or given to an elite unit. All of the camp’s problems would have been solved just fine without my involvement, but appearing to shirk my duty, particularly when directly asked, could possibly sour the reputation for all of Kyros’ adjudicators. Not something I would have happen on my watch, particularly with the wild and rambunctious Scarlet Chorus – they needed to know that Kyros demanded some measure of structure within his ranks.
After making a slow tour around the camp, allowing Verse to greet old allies, I approached the throne that Voices of Nerat had fashioned for himself – behind which hanged the bodies of several Disfavored soldiers. I decided not to mention the decorations.