Stoneshade Keep - Great Hall

“Nonsense, Frespit,” declared the Duke with a dismissive wave, as though he had concluded that Tarmen's report of the hammer held little to no value.

Sir Zane, however, stood with a quizzical eyebrow arched high, discerning a hint of deceit in Tarmen’s peculiar tale about the elusive artifact.

“Have your ears failed you, or are you dull?” the Duke continued, his words laced with sternness and a hint of concern. “Look around. We require your presence, both yourself AND Greyriver. More urgently than ever. A journey to Sentinel, under the fairest skies, Pillar’s willing, would at the very least consume six days. That’s without factoring in your proposed fool’s endeavor of playing parley with the Sentinel natives. By that point, the Ozainae will certainly be upon our gates, rendering this artifact no avail. So I hope you have something better to report”

His gaze turned slightly piercing as he addressed Alexis. “As for the their leader, this Helian. The same girl chosen for Slivikhi's sacrifice, I'm told. A friend of yours, Greyriver?”

Before Alexis could interject in her own defense or rebut the Duke's accusation, the distant echoes of horns resounded over the stout walls of the keep. All present turned their heads in unison, save for the unyielding Purger, who kept his unwavering, ruddy eyes fixed upon the two companions.

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