After voicing Kyros’ Edict and feeling its magic infuse the valley, I decided to continue looking at the Disfavored camp before I traveled farther afield. There I could glean insight into how the war was progressing for the front line, though I knew by the severity of my purpose here it was not going well enough.

The camp’s smith, Isotanis, lamented a lack of good, workable iron. Shipments had been due but recent “troubles” near the Matani river had cost the Disfavored the raw material necessary for their arms and armour. I was not pleased that the Archons failed to mention this to me and that I had to hear of it only through my own investigation. I told the man that, should I find myself near the Matani, I would attempt to find his missing shipment, for the good of the army. Winning the war would require strong armies, and having a valuable asset like iron fall into enemy hands could be disastrous.

Rumor around the camp was that Radix, head of the Disfavored’s mage-corps “the Earthshakers” had promised his most competent followers in order to break the valley’s stalemate, but they were days late, which was very uncharacteristic of his kind. The Scarlet Chorus were well-known for their magicians, usually focused on befuddling the mind of their foes or setting them aflame, but the Disfavored’s elite group were not to be discounted. If they were inside the valley when the Edict closed it off, their addition to the assault would be overwhelming. I told the garrison I would see to the missing mages if I came across evidence on my travels.

Knowing time was of the essence, I traveled toward to the Scarlet Chorus’ camp to see how their preparations were coming along. Halfway between the camps however I was stopped by Tiersmen, under the blue banner of truce. They called down to me from a high cliff, undoubtedly an intentional, unspoken suggestion of their pride. After customary pleasantries they asked after several of their number who had not been seen of late. One I knew had been sent to serve the Scarlet Chorus, after a raid on a nearby encampment, while the other I saw slain after he attempted to take a Disfavored officer hostage. They accepted the news with stoicism, which spoke well of them. These people were used to war.

They did not volunteer their names during our exchange, but seemed to know mine, and the position I held within Kyros’ strict hierarchy. They departed as quickly as they had come, leaving me to my thoughts as I turned once more toward the Scarlet Chorus’ camp, considering whether or not my movement was being watched by enemy scouts.