The Banner of the Crimson Emperor


The manacles snapped.

Morghul’s mind raced, instantly unaware of what he should do. The idea was to struggle a little and have the others put him down. It would reinforce both of their positions.

“Shit. Well, I can’t just stand around, can I?” So he ran.

He waited for the sharp sting of an arrow in his back or the wind to be knocked out of him by a Sir Thanel or Kael tackling him to the ground. It never came.

He ducked into an alley and just barely vaulted the low stone wall separating it from a butcher’s yard. Morghul paused to catch his breath and regain his bearings. This had been an unexpected turn of events.

Two paths stretched ahead of him as he breathed in the heavy scent of stale blood. Perhaps it was the reminder of home, but Morghul suddenly felt very chaffed by his recent human incarceration. He had taken Thanel at his word that if he ran, that it would be the end of him. The orc had assumed that the human was strong enough to back his words, but now he began to doubt. “And I was concerned that I’d have to worry over you.” The words bit hard, they came back and brought his deeply seeded orcish temper with them.

“No. We’ll see if Thanel can so callously dismiss me.”

Renewed and with purpose, Morghul once again began his flight from Irongate. He headed for the gate. It was guarded well, it looks like news of his escape had traveled quickly. A grim smile split his lips as he traced several arcane sigils in the air and runes began to swirl around him. Arrows flew as men drew swords and leveled spears in his direction. An arrow sunk hard into his shoulder and several of the runes flared and began to pulse angrily. A wild bellow erupted forth as Morghul charged through the guards. He earned a number of wounds, lessened by divine symbols protecting him.

Then he dove off the bridge followed by a final volley of arrows and bolts.

The seconds stretched as his stomach churned from the fall. Morghul though back to Kael, Aura, Sarena, and Pippin. They had been good and strong companions. He felt comforted for a moment knowing that they would easily survive without him. Morghul’s work lay elsewhere, and if this Crimson Emperor was a real threat, then his time was short.

His eyes widened as he thought of the dog chewing his way through the bag containing his life’s work, then the river swallowed him.


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