“We handled the dragon scare, ten seasons ago,”Thane Locutus had commented calmly, looking at her almost condescendingly from his throne. “I understand that, great Thane, but Warlords kill dragons with ease. They are cruel, bloodthirsty, evil creatures. I have seen them in action. And like it or not, they are coming. This city is exactly the kind of settlement they prefer to target. Your men should be ready. Please.” “Madam Zaiabel, thank you for your concern, but my men have this entirely under control.” “At the very least, post more men around the walls and raise the militia.” “Thane, that would be unnecessary at best, and most likely paranoia. The last Warlord that attacked was killed by a joint effort of only ten of our men. We only lost two with five injured.” Captain Xintus interjected calmly. “Yes, that was one. And he was weak compared to many others of the Warlords. They occasionally attack in groups, and they grow more powerful every cycle!” Zaia retorted angrily. Lives were at stake, and even this idiot's attempts to trivialize the matter were a reminder of the danger. There were murmurs of agreement among the lords and ladies of the court, but none with enough strength to openly support the outsider's position. “Madam, you have been shown great respect in our city, and you are welcome as a guest. But you are no military strategist. Leave the defenses of this city to those who know them best,” Thane Locutus answered calmly. It was clear that was the end of the discussion, and any more argument would result in Zaia being “escorted” out. Zaiabel's plum-colored skin shone in the light as she left the mid-sized city of Wenari for the Asuria wilderness. The people had been kind to her, but they seemed to greatly underestimate the danger of a Warlord attack and she knew it would be their downfall. Her stormy gray eyes glared up at a beautiful blue sky and she wondered if there had been anything she could have said to change the Thane's mind. Probably not. Some people, especially humans, were just stubborn after all. She grasped her expertly crafted bow that she had inherited from her former teacher, and adjusted her pack, which held a couple of daggers, some magic books, and even a sword that she was still working on using. For some reason Master Kilan had not seen fit to train her to master the hand-to-hand arts. No, she had been trained as a creature of stealth, to encounter her enemy and have him shot down before he even recognized her presence. It all went well, she would not even need to see her enemies long enough to engage in hand to hand. The warlord huntress wandered along the road, deciding to try the next city and see if its Thane would be more receptive to her pleas. Ideally, she needed allies, to find other hunters and work in teams to find the dreaded Warlords. She only wished that Master Kilan had taught her a Warlord locater spell before she died... but he had claimed there was no such thing. One simply had to wander and wait, and hope that you did not mistake an every day citizen for being one of these Gods of Death.