Part 1: Old Acquaintances
Alena breaks through the northern treeline and sees the city of Ikath from afar. The ancient stone grey ornate spires of the city loom in the distance. There is a great clearing between her and the wall where centuries ago lizardmen fought the jungle back to make room for the great city. The upkeep of the gap is now done occasionally but the signs are obvious that the jungle is fighting back. Nature always fights back. All the elves know this, it’s the other races that seem oblivious to it.
She has been travelling now for weeks through the jungles that surround the city of Ikath. She could have gotten there earlier but she had time before she had to meet Mahin. Time best spent hunting. Hunting clears her mind. It allows her to focus on the life she is trying to regain control of. It allows her to numb the pain of her loss. Of her people’s loss.
The road appears before her. There are a number of farmers moving back and forth along it. Most of produce for this city comes from trade on the Kalayan sea. It is a big harbour and there is not much that comes out of the jungle: those trails are perilous. Not many would dare walk them. Alena wouldn’t have dared a year ago. How things have changed for her in the past year.
The gates of the city approach. Serpent motifs are present everywhere she can see. The facades looks to be carved snake heads, the pillars of the gates end in open snake mouths with their teeth and most of the detail having disintegrated by the weather over the centuries. The walls stand strong but there are signs of them being patched up over time. There are stories of an undead wizard that walked these lands once. Alena never believed them, but after the things she saw six months ago she is more inclined to keep her mind open. The signs of destruction of the old walls also makes her think that there could be some credence to the stories. But then again, humans have been fighting over this city for centuries as well. Humans are always destroying beautiful things.
She passes through the gates. The guards look very relaxed and are distracted by the goings on inside the city. The streets are dirty. The people here are raucous. She seems to have walked straight into a party atmosphere.
“You’re a strong looking one!” a pretty, young, black haired and olive skinned lady approaches Alena grabbing her buttock and smiling. Alena is taken aback. “I would give you a discount…” she says over a salacious grin. Alena mumbles something unintelligible back and wanders away. She thinks that maybe she could get to like this place…
An hour later, after only punching two people, Alena sees the Serpent Head Inn ahead of her. She lost count of the number of “Pleasure Districts” she has walked through to get here. Seems like there are a lot of things you can spend money on in this city of Mahin’s.
The inn is a two story stone building that looks like it has been half rebuilt a number of times in different architectures. It sits at the end of an alleyway with a number of shady looking characters skulking around it. But the most interesting character that she spots is Kar being harassed by a group of men half way down the alleyway. They are making a lot of noise and saying something about it being him and aggressively pushing him.
“Fight me!” Shouts one, and then another says “He doesn’t look so big. We can take him fellas!”
At this point from the entrance to the tavern steps two hooded figures who look like they should certainly not be trifled with. Alena instantly recognises her companions, no, her friends, even with their hoods up.
Since Alena's time in her village she has learnt a new trick. A mist appears surrounding the men and from it steps four bears...