"Master Jutsin," Crozan said as he entered the large, dark room and kneeled, "I have returned from the mission you assigned me."
"Is it done?" The sinister voice came from the looming darkness that stretched before him. "Has the island been conquered?"
Crozan hesitated. "Yes... master, it has."
There was a long, uncomfortable silence. Crozan could almost see what Jutsin was going to do to him if he knew the truth.
"Do you take me for a fool?!!!!!!!!!" Crozan crept backwards. "Do you really think you can come in here and lie to my face?!!!"
Crozan managed to whimper, "No, sire."
Then why do you do so, why do you think you can deceive me?!!"
Crozan yelped, "There is more... more than the loss of the island."
There was another pause. The emperor calmed his voice.
"Oh really? Surely, this news is not as bad."
Again, Crozan hesitated to say anything. He did not dare mention the, all too familiar name.
"Well, I'm waiting."
"I cannot say, for I fear for my life if I do."
"If you do not tell me now," he said as he grinned in the shadows, "I will make sure your punishment is worse than death!"
Crozan, out of fear, spoke... or more or less squealed, "Moskovin is alive, and I... saw him on Mosatusahn."
Crozan waited in the silence for the emperor to react. As he did so, he felt pressure on his skin, as if someone had wrapped a light cloth around him. He suddenly felt a sharp, agonizing pain, pulse through his entire body. He rolled on the ground trying to shake it off, but it just kept getting worse.
"I thought you said you took care of him!!!!!!!"
Crozan screamed in pain!
"He fell.....off...the cliff...so I......thought......he was dead!!!"
"Well I guess you thought wrong!"
"Please... master.........spare me.... I will not fail you again!"
The pain left Crozan just as fast as it had come. He looked up.
"Leave my sight."
Crozan lifted himself from the ground, then scurried out of the room. Jutsin arose from his throne and made his way towards a candle. He said a couple of strange words, and then suddenly the candle was lit. There was a burst of color. Browns, blacks, reds, and other dark colors flooded the room. There was a large table piled with food, and a throne made of silver, with a crimson, silk cushion. There were also two guards standing at the large door that Crozan had just walked out. He started to pace back and forth beside the table. Flipping a knife in his hand that seemed to come from nowhere, "Where did I go wrong?" he whispered to himself. "Why can't I get rid of him?" "He is the only thing standing in my way."
The emperor paced, and pondered about what he should do to get rid of this thorn in his side. He walked over to his chair and sat down. He thought about his situation a little bit longer then threw his knife right above one of the guards’ head, lodging it into the wall. The man just continued to stand without even blinking as the knife quivered in silence. Jutsin motioned to the guards to bring Crozan back into the room. The guards opened the door and stepped out for a moment. When they came back, Crozan was slowly scuffing his feet across the ground. He had his head down, and seemed to be crying. The guards closed the door behind him then returned to their posts. Crozan stopped in the middle of the room and bent down on one knee.
"You called for me master?" he grumbled.
"Yes, I would like to discuss something of great importance with you." He gave Crozan a large smile.
Roskuel was sitting in a wooden chair across the room from Moskovin who was standing up, leaning against the wall of the house. Tancileen had gone to the other room to calm herself. There was perfect silence, other than the noises that could be heard from outside. Roskuel had his head bowed, looking at the floor. Moskovin just stood there, glaring at him. Thoughts raced through his mind. Why was this guy even here? Moskovin knew everyone on the island, but had never even heard of this man. *Maybe I'm over reacting.* he thought. *Maybe this guy isn't so bad.*
"So," Moskovin said, trying to break the all too eerie silence, "how did you meet Tancileen?"
Roskuel lifted his head and looked Moskovin in the eye. He was wondering if Moskovin was serious. He sighed, and then bowed his head again. "It's a long story."
"We've got a lot of time."
"Very well," He raised his head. “It starts back a few years ago. Somehow along the line I ended up stranded on Tunris.” Moskovin gave him a look as if he knew this story was going to be longer than he thought.
Roskuel was straining for air as the cold made his lungs shrivel up. His muscles ached. There seemed to be no way out of this blizzard. He walked lifting one leg at a time with the hope that the next time he placed his foot down there would be solid ground. His arms were going numb and his face burned as the harsh wind continued to blow. He had never experienced such a powerful storm in all his life. He grew weaker by the second.
*Why me?* he thought. *Why must I be the one who has to put up with this?*. His feet started to drag. His arms were now completely numb. He was getting dizzy. He could no longer take the pain. He blacked out and fell to the ground.
Roskuel's eyes fluttered as he started to wake up. He felt as if he were in motion. As he came to his senses, he realized he was no longer in the terrible storm, but in the underbelly of a ship. As he sat upright, he found it hard to move. The storm had put a great strain on his body, but why couldn't he move his arms or legs. He looked down and realized that he was bound by a rope from his shoulders, down to his ankles. He looked around the small room for something sharp so that he could cut the ropes. As he did so, he spotted a small fragment of glass on the ground. He slid himself off the wooden bed and crashed to the ground, nearly landing on the glass. He struggled to sit up, and with his right hand, grabbed it. He then slowly started to cut himself free. He suddenly heard a faint thud coming from outside the door standing straight across the room from him. The door slammed open and a scrawny, old man, stepped into the room.
"So," screeched the old man, "you finally woke up. We were beginning to think you were a dead man." The old man strained a laugh which resulted in a violent cough. "I bet you were wondering how you got here." Roskuel just sat on the floor staring at him. The man laughed again, as if trying to keep from coughing again. "There you were, just lying on the ground," the man started to say, "a lifeless bag of skin, just waiting to be picked off by the snow buzzards." He laughed once more and started to cough again. "Stupid throat." he grumbled. "Where was I, oh yes, the snow buzzards. Luckily, our crew found you there, and saved you."
"If you saved me, why am I tied up?" Roskuel quickly replied.
"Well," said the old man, "now ‘a days you don't know who's who. You could easily be a member of the Reltih clan."
"Well I'm not, so untie me." Roskuel snapped.
"Not so fast. I will only untie you when I know for a fact that you are not... a Reltian."
"A Reltian. It's a word for Reltih clan members. It's a lot easier than saying, Reltih clan member." the shriveled man explained in an annoyed tone.
Roskuel raised his eyebrow. "Oooooo k."
"Ah shut up." the old man said in a raspy voice. "Evidently you are not a Reltian."
Roskuel snickered. "That’s enough," the man yelled, "it's not funny!!!" He started into another violent cough.
"Look, are you going to cough all day, or are you going to let me go?"
"Just for that, I don't think I will." said the old man as he crossed his arms and smirked.
"Let him go." said a deep voice. The voice came from outside the door. A large man almost big enough to be considered a giant, thudded his way into the room. He had short black hair, a short beard, and a large, golden blade chained to his side. "Hello," said the large man," I don't believe we've met."
"Sir, why do you treat him as if he were a friend, he could be a Reltian." the old man croaked.
"He's not Reltih, now leave, and stop saying that word it sounds ridiculous." The old man sagged his shoulders and limped out of the room grumbling to himself. Roskuel, again, raised his eyebrow. "Don't worry about him." said the giant. "Joe's just a lonely old man who thinks the rest of the crew will respect him if he makes up new trends."
"Joe?" Roskuel said in surprise. "That's his name?"
"It's just that, I thought his name would be a little more... sinister."
"Nope, it's just... Joe."
"Well, putting... Joe, aside," Roskuel said as he looked up at the man, "could you possibly untie me? Not that these ropes aren't cozy, it's just..."
"Oh, yes, very sorry."
The giant walked over to Roskuel and pulled a small knife from his oversized boot, and cut the ropes. Finally free to move, Roskuel stretched out his legs and arms as he sighed in relief. He stood up. To his surprise the man was even bigger than he thought.
"Thanks." Roskuel coughed out, still amazed by the size of this man.
Roskuel looked up at the man's face and stared in awe. The large man had a feeling he knew exactly why Roskuel was staring. Roskuel caught himself, and regained his composure.
"No problem, happens all the time."
"So, uh, what's your name?"
"Tigan. What's yours?"