Chapter 1 - A Gathering of Many, A Choosing of Few
Each dark shape arrives in their own particular manner, crossing over the soft dunes on their way to Hlaungadath. Some can clearly be seen on horseback, and a few arrive on their own feet. One floats in as a bird, her feet as clean as they day she was born. Another travels on the back of a strange beast, not quite a horse yet still capable of holding a rider. Regardless of how they arrive, they all see the same thing as they get nearer to the fort.
Stone and mortar rise high above your heads, reaching up towards the clouds. It isn't the most beautiful building you've ever seen, but it looks to have stood for hundreds of years, and seen countless battles waged for it. There are gaps in its face, yet they seem to add character to it, rather than weaken the structure. Sand and dust billows in front of the behemoth tower, obscuring it slightly and making it seem all the more formidable.
A sturdy stone wall lies in your path, and the tops of several other structures can be seen peeking up behind it. To your left, you can see the outline of small buildings in the distance, though whether they are real, or simply a mirage, you cannot tell. Other than that, there is little to be seen. This place seems designed more for function than for form, though in this harsh desert climate, that stood true for most everything.
As you near the wall, you can see two armored figures standing by it, though no gate is in sight. In one hand they wield tall spears, end sharp and gleaming, and in the other they each hold a small necklace, its appearance foreign to you. As the various travellers head towards them, nearly a dozen in all, they raise their spears and extend them outwards, speaking only a single word in unison.
The guards look you over, then slowly lower their spears.
"State your name, and your purpose. Speak only the truth," the first guard says, his voice deep and hoarse. He is clearly older than the second guard, whose face is as hairless as the legs of the finest harlot.
The first guard turns to the figure on the far left, who begins to speak.
"My name is Elonsa, I am here to join the Order. I saw your summons and was intri-"
"Enough!" the second guard shouts, rudely interrupting her speech, before turning to the figure on her right, a silver-haired being of enormous height carrying a long, thin blade.