The first group we encountered upon arriving at Lethian’s Crossing were some very irate Earthshakers, well-versed in who I was and why they not to be cordial. Put bluntly, diplomacy failed and both sides drew their blades. It seems my arrival was not only expected but prepared for – more than one group of Disfavored were ready to attack, as we met small band after small band who wanted to test their mettle. Soon the Sunrise Market was a battlefield.
Though he has little love for me at this point, I have to praise Barik’s sense of duty. His brethren-in-arms committed two grave sins he could not forgive – one that they raised weapons against a Fatebinder, and two that they did so against the man he was sworn to protect. Though marked with the same bold logo and purple trappings, Barik stopped seeing these particular Disfavored as kin as soon as they made their intentions known. I admit a fondness for people who can see beyond their own individual loyalties and look at the world through the eyes of the Empire. Perhaps one day I could be redeemed in his eyes, though so long as he performed his job, namely keeping me alive through this journey, he would be a welcome addition by my side.
Lethian’s Crossing, located on the shores of a great river and having a tall spire, not unlike the one I “claimed” in the mountains, was used to attacks and extended sieges. The town was built in layers, and each layer could raise the ramps that lead upward, ensuring that anyone hoping to take the city would have to take it tier by tier, building their own ramps while defenders rained hell down upon them. Very tactical design, and I could appreciate the forethought and planning that went into its construction. It certainly made things more difficult when we last visited, leading the vast army of Kyros to these same ramps.
Eventually the local garrison was put down, and the townsfolk, merchants mostly, came out from hiding. They expressed great discontent at the continued presence of the Disfavored, and though I was the one who put them in charge here, I understood their pain – if our welcome had been any indication, the detachment that stayed to protect the Crossing had grown idle, complacent, and scheming. None of which would do well in a leader or governing body.
At least – for now – peace had returned to the markets of Lethian’s Crossing, and my investigation into the Archons, and the tall Spire which stood arrow-straight into the heavens, could begin.