Story: Erathor's return home was not as joyous as it should have been, for something was troubling him. After leaving Arondor he'd ridden straight home with his Loresii soldiers and Allaeus, but as they approached Sarenhold they'd had to take a longer route back. A large patrol of Galainir's soldiers where scouting the area, searching for the missing Allaeus and the man who'd rescued him from the depths of prison. This concerned Erathor greatly, for he knew they'd soon arrive at his home and would stop at nothing to take he and Allaeus captive. This was all in Erathor's mind as he rode into Sarenhold, but it was put aside as Eleanor, his beautiful wife, ran towards him. They embraced lovingly. It was too long since they'd seen each other, much too long. "I've missed you, Erathor!" Eleanor exclaimed. "And I have missed you." Erathor gazed into her eyes for a lingering moment. "What's wrong, Erathor?" Eleanor looked up at her husband in concern, noticing a flicker of worry in his face. "Is your father here?" Eleanor nodded. Her father had come to live in Sarenhold since passing on his lordship duties to his son. "He is, but I don't see why that matters." "You'll see soon enough, Eleanor. We must meet together in private, in the Map Room." Erathor turned to a servant. "Send for Dormyn Sadurel and Sir Allaeus. Tell them to meet me in the Map Room on urgent business." The servant bowed and hurried away.
The three people in the Map Room with Erathor listened with bated breath as he recounted his tale to them. Allaeus had heard it many times before, but there was no problem with hearing it again. He had, of course, been with his lord as they made their daring escape from Galainir’s dungeons. “You did well, Erathor,” said Dormyn proudly. “I’ve had many adventures in my time, but yours equal some of the worst.” Erathor smiled, but he soon looked concerned again. “There is something else I must tell you. I have noticed, and heard, many things on my travels, and some of them are quite disturbing. There has been talk amongst some of Galainir’s men of the man who broke Allaeus, the Loresii knight, out of prison. When I have secretly overheard them they have mentioned a man in Loresii riding over much of Roawia, vanquishing much evil as he goes. I fear spies have seen my recent actions and have led the soldiers here. We saw them only a day ago, interrogating villagers. They will soon be at Sarenhold’s gate, and that is why I must leave.” "You can't leave," said Eleanor softly, "not so soon." "But I must. Those soldiers will stop at nothing to take me captive, and Allaeus too." "I'll come with you, Erathor," Allaeus said. "A couple of Lion-Born sould accompany us too." "Only a couple," Dormyn put in. His previously white hair had been recently shaved. "We'll need most of them here if the soldiers break in." Erathor nodded, then looked at his wife's anxious face. "You'll be fine," he told her, and I'll come back. I can promise you that."
It was three days since Erathor, Allaeus and two Lion-Born had left Sarenhold. They were heading southwards towards the Shade in an attempt to evade 'Queen' Galainir's angry soldiers. She did not like prisoners escaping from her dungeons.
"Look, my lord." Sir Royce, one of the two Lion-Born, pointed towards a long, low building with battlements like a castle. "I see a castle, Royce, nothing else," put in Allaeus quickly. He removed his helmet and squinted against the sun's glare. "You missed it, Allaeus. A man went in through the door, dragging a chest and bearing a strange sigil on his surcoat." "What sigil?" Erathor too peered towards the building, suddenely alert. "A scorpion sigil. Black, I think it was." "A black scorpion. I've seen that somewhere else recently, though I can't recall where. Ah, yes, I remember. A man had it tatooed on his arm in one of the villages we passed through a couple of days ago." "It seems strange that you should see it twice in a couple of days when the two locations are manty miles apart." Royce scratched his head, then replaced his own helmet. "I say we find out more." "As do I," said Blyke, the second Lion-Born warrior." "Then find out more we shall," responded Erathor. "Royce, you come with me. Allaeus, Blyke, stay here and wait for our return" Before they could answer, Erathor and Royce had dismounted and were heading towards the castle.
"What do you make of this?" asked Royce. The two men were silently making their way down a long corridor, the walls of which were unadorned except for a scorpion-emblazoned banner here and there. "I'm not sure, but whoever these scorpions are they obviously come here often." Erathor suddenly froze. "I hear voices. Listen!" "I don't care what Saylon said," came a gruff voice. "I want nothing to do with him!" "You don't understand," a second voice said. "He's your master, and it's your duty to obey him." "No one's my master except myself. Saylon abandoned us to go wandering around Roawia." "He was trying to get us money, he said so himself. It isn't his fault we ain't got any. It's that old man's fault, he said so himself." Erathor and Royce crept closer to the door from which the voices were coming. "My spear's still on my horse!" Royce exclaimed, though he managed not to be loud. "You're a Lion-Born," reassured Erathor. "You're not limited with the weapons you can use." "What old man?" continued the gruff voice. "The old man he fought in a duel. It wasn't fair, though. The old man cheated, he said so himself." "So what?!" "So Saylon wants revenge! He says the old man's probabably a Loresii, so that makes our job easier. We must find him and kill him in an unpleasant way." "I like the sound of this! By the way, I never meant those things about Saylon. I've had a bad day that's all." Erathor leant against the wall, listening to the conversation intently. He would have to stop whatever crime was about to be committed, and he felt sure that this 'Saylon' was no good man. Suddenely Erathor span around, followed swiftly by Royce. He had sensed a man sneaking up behind them, and his senses were correct. A dark robed figure wielding two knives was there and he slashed towards the Loresii. Erathor backed away, knowing that he and Royce must not be heard. He succeeded in dodging the vicious blades and touching his sword on the man's throat. "Who are you?" he demanded in a whisper. "You killed my son, evil scorpions, and I'll kill you." "We're no scorpions. We're Loresii! I'm Lord Erathor Pridenar, and this is Sir Royce. We mean you no harm, and were ourselves listening to the converstaion of two men in that room. They are scorpions, but you will not touch them now. Come with us, and we can prevent these men committing more evil deeds." Erathor wasn't sure why he so spontaneously offered the man a place on his journey, but he trusted him and wanted to help him. "Will you avenge my son?" The man lifted his bowed head. "We will do whatever's right," assured Royce. "Then I'm coming with you." The dark figure began to walk back towards the door, and Erathor and Royce just raised their eyebrows.