Squire Paladini's Stories

Chapter 01 - The summoning

It was an unbelievably scorching afternoon in Thunder Bluff. Squire Paladini was just unwinding in the tavern, belting out the classic tune “Myrkul’s March.”


He was making the most of every moment of relaxation because he knew the night ahead held new battles.

As he shut his eyes and belted out, “Undead Lords! Undead Lords! Forever we may hold… Our banner high! Die! Die! Diiiiiiee…aieee?!”


A temporal fissure cracks open and swiftly sucks the squire into the void, hurling him through different dimensions until the fissure abruptly reaches its end, tossing him from the ceiling of a large room. It appeared to be the squire’s inaugural summons.


They say the initial summoning is unforgettable. Squire Paladini lies unconscious on the floor, while other squires pay homage to Lady Salina, who summoned them.


After detailing the sudden summoning and its purpose, all squires promptly agreed to the mission… except for one who remained unconscious on the floor.

Lady Salina turned to the other squires and quipped, “Looks like we’ve got a newbie, don’t we?” The room erupted in laughter for several minutes.

Lady Salina informed everyone to rest for the day, mentioning the extra quarters available in the castle… but reminded them not to forget that their important journey begins tomorrow.

“Infiltrate the enemy, learn everything possible, and, most importantly, find out how Lord Srathor manages to keep the two feline deities hostage in his castle,” Lady Salina instructed.

With reverence for Lady Salina, everyone headed to their quarters. After a few minutes, footsteps echoed again in the grand hall.

Squire Huxley, Zotics, and Chief Sarcan rushed to aid Squire Paladini, who remained unconscious, carrying him to the quarters generously provided for the night.

As Squire Paladini opened his eyes… the room reverberated with raucous laughter.

While all the squires cheered, “Welcome, newcomer!” It took just a few minutes for the new squire to regain his footing.

They swiftly outlined the mission’s specifics. Each squire would venture in a different direction in this new world to expand the exploration area, relying solely on basic supplies and a communication artifact to relay their findings.

With all the details at hand, the prospect of exploring a new world sharpened the minds of every squire. Would there be more knowledge to gain? More Souls to reap? The journey still unfolds a foggy veil of mystery, as does the mind of each squire. Everyone retired for a good rest.

The sun’s first rays illuminate the morning, indicating that the desert’s arid climate won’t be forgiving.

Everyone gears up for the journey. Squire Paladini returns to the grand hall to pay homage to Lady Salina, offering apologies for yesterday’s incident.

Lady Salina remarks, “I hope your journey is blessed by the dark lord, Squire. Bring me good news.” With that, Squire Paladini bids farewell and sets off for the most desert-like area available, the heat and scorching sun feeling like a lash against his back.


As far as the eye could see on the horizon, there were only dunes stretching to infinity. Being the newest squire, lacking survival experience led to quickly depleting the water supply in just three days of walking. The thirst felt like a hand gripping his throat, hallucinating mirages during the relentless sunlit trek.

The solace came in the nights when he could ease his thirst by collecting dew in his canteen.
After enduring five days of relentless sun and thirst, a rocky formation came into view on the horizon.


Despite the frailty of his body, feeling that with every drop of sweat, it wasn’t just water evaporating into the air… but a piece of his soul dissipating too, Squire Paladini ended up collapsing halfway through, only regaining consciousness at night amidst murmurs and whispers around a campfire. To his surprise, this appeared to be his initial encounter with the inhabitants of this planet, a band of nomads traversing the desert.

A towering figure with a lengthy beard, named Sir Wizlem, upon noticing the young soldier had awakened, approached him to inquire about this lone traveler navigating through the most unforgiving deserts of Arrakis.


Sir Wizlem appears to be amiable and highly skilled in desert survival, not to mention he leads the nomad convoy.
As soon as Sir Wizlem approaches Squire Paladini, his eyes widen with a smile creeping onto his lips.

Sir Wizlem: KeK

The language seems like gibberish to the Squire until Lady Salina’s blessing takes effect, clearing his mind and enabling him to understand new languages from Arrakis.

Squire Paladini simply chalks it up to “magik”, unaware that the blessing was part of the Summoning ritual since he was unconscious during the meeting. It’s known as the “gift of communication,” bestowed upon every Squire to aid in quickly assimilating and comprehending their surroundings on this new planet.

Sir Wizlem: LOL

Squire Paladini: Ah, now I understand you, sir. What’s so funny?

Sir Wizlem: You were lucky we found you, little soldier. You must have a screw loose in your head, don’t you?

Squire Paladini: What do you mean, sir? I’m exploring this desert.

Sir Wizlem: Look here, folks, I told you this recruit is nuts, who explores this desert without a convoy? LOL

At this moment the entire group of nomads bursts into laughter and returns to their tasks.

Sir Wizlem: Your luck is that we’re near the rocky village
**he points in the direction of the rocky formation **

Sir Wizlem: we’ll take you there with us. Just consider that you owe me a favor, alright?


Squire Paladini: I appreciate your help, noble sir.

Sir Wizlem: “Sir? You can just call me Wizlem” he giggles

Squire Paladini: Understood, Sir Wizlem.

While Sir Wizlem returned to the rest of the group to organize the remaining tasks, Squire Paladini took the opportunity to quickly observe the surroundings.

It was a medium-sized group, all tall and very strong, with giant bisons as mounts. It was incredible that beasts of such size existed in this land. But what caught the Squire’s attention the most was not the bisons themselves but the cargo crates attached to them. They must contain an absurd amount of items, as they could easily fit 4-5 giants inside them. Plus, rudimentary machinery could be noticed too, as if it were something for digging mounted on some bisons.

The sight stirred a sense of wonder and curiosity within him, tinged with a hint of excitement at the mysteries that lay within those crates.

After a few hours, Sir Wizlem seemed to round everyone up around the campfire as night descended. A delightful aroma wafted from the cauldron in the fire’s center, tantalizing everyone’s senses.

It seemed that some traditions held strong, regardless of whether they belonged to a different nation or planet. This was the moment when everyone socialized and shared meals, with laughter echoing around the fire.


Squire Paladini found himself at the center of attention, his greenish skin piquing everyone’s curiosity. With his foreign appearance and belongings, he stood out like a sore thumb. Nevertheless, as the meal was served and questions exchanged, the atmosphere became jovial, and soon, everyone’s bellies were full.

Various details quickly taught the Squire an important lesson: he should not attract too much attention while exploring this world and should learn to blend in with the locals more quickly.

Squire Paladini: “Sir Wizlem, I see you have majestic, strong mounts… but what’s the purpose of that machinery on the last bisons?”

Sir Wizlem: His eyes widened with amusement, and he burst into laughter. “Oh, you’re a curious one, aren’t you? I told you, this little soldier is a riot, everyone!” Laughter erupted once more around the campfire.

Sir Wizlem: “Those machines are Spice plows. We use them for harvesting.”

Sir Wizlem: “Indeed, young one, Spice is more than just a commodity; it’s the lifeblood of Arrakis, shaping its politics, economy, and even its culture. It symbolizes power, wealth, and the delicate balance of life in this harsh desert world.”

Squire Paladini, captivated by the wisdom shared, eagerly takes notes in his notebook, realizing the profound significance of Spice in Arrakis’s society and history.

Wurm = Danger = Phat loot?

Sir Wizlem imparts his wisdom on the young squire, explaining that while fear of the Giant Sandworms is essential for survival, true wisdom lies in understanding and respecting the delicate balance of nature in Arrakis. As Squire Paladini makes his notation, he realizes that humility and reverence for the land are key to navigating its treacherous terrain.

As the evening draws near, Squire Paladini bids farewell to their gracious host and retreats to a quiet corner to rest, knowing that the convoy will depart early the next day for the rocky formation.

With each passing moment, the sun and the Squire seem to grow closer, the dawn’s first light and warmth determined to rouse Paladini from slumber as the nomadic convoy begins dismantling their tents, preparing for departure. Sir Wizlem, already breathless, issues urgent instructions in all directions, signaling the imminent departure.

“Soldier,” Sir Wizlem commands, his voice tinged with concern, “if you don’t wish to be stranded here for a week, I suggest you rise and move swiftly. Our scouts have warned of an approaching sandstorm, and we must hasten to reach the village near the rocky formation in time.”

“Yes, sir,” Squire Paladini responds promptly, a flicker of worry crossing his features as he rises and brushes off the dust from his clothes.

With determination, the convoy sets off to the northwest at a brisk pace. Despite the strain on the bisons from the enforced speed, there is no time for respite, for to be caught in the sandstorm would be akin to wandering blindly. Pressing on, the convoy maintains its swift pace, the rocky village looming into view on the horizon.

The sandstorm approached with ferocity, appearing determined to engulf the entire convoy… enveloping everyone within, the grains of sand scraped against their skin as if they were sandpaper.

At this juncture, there was nothing to do but entrust the bisons not to lose their sense of direction and cover the remaining short distance, hoping the rocky village noticed the convoy before the sandstorm. Trumpets echoed through the air incessantly. These trumpets never ceased… whoever played them seemed to possess boundless breath. Unable to discern anything within the storm, Squire Paladini suspected it to be an ominous sign of attack, swiftly drawing his sword despite the impossibility of seeing anything ahead.

As the bisons valiantly pressed through the sandstorm, the sound of the trumpets intensified, growing louder… until a resounding wooden crash reverberated, and the bisons finally breached the gates of the rocky village, securing the safety of the entire convoy. Relief washed over Squire Paladini as they emerged from the chaos of the storm, finally finding refuge within the sturdy walls of the village.


The sandstorm persisted for nearly a few more days, granting Squire Paladini ample time to venture through the rocky village, meticulously exploring its structures, and delving into the nuances of the local culture. The inhabitants appeared peaceful, primarily comprising merchants with minimal military presence, presenting no immediate threat to the Squire’s objectives. Instead, it served as a captivating hub for exploration, offering an opportunity for discovery and immersion in the unknown.

Sir Wizlem: “Soldier, the sandstorm has finally passed. Now’s our chance to cash in.” Chuckling, his eyes glinted with the promise of riches.


Squire Paladini: “I’m not following, Sir Wizlem… what does the sandstorm have to do with profits?”

Sir Wizlem: “The sandstorm churns up all the desert sand, revealing large caches of Spice, but it also attracts the dreaded Giant Sandworms due to the disturbance in the soil.”

A portion of the convoy, accompanied by basic machinery, heads towards a dune to the northwest of the village. This particular dune appeared distinct, boasting a vivid reddish hue. Midway there, the sound of engines reverberates through the air…

Squire Paladini couldn’t help but wonder, “Could there be goblins and gnomes in this land as well?”

Scanning the skies for the renowned zeppelins, nothing recognizable came into view. However, an unfamiliar spectacle caught Squire Paladini’s eye—an object unlike any goblin or dwarf technology. It appeared far more advanced than zeppelins, crafted entirely from gleaming metal, hurtling through the air at great speed with a payload suspended beneath it.


Reacting swiftly, Squire Paladini seized his notebook, his hand trembling with surprise as he jotted down notes:

This world has Betta metallik Zeppelin = FAST and OP

The metallic zeppelin slices through the sky, its ominous presence casting a shadow over the convoy of bisons. Without warning, it unleashes a volley of shots, raining danger upon the nomadic group. In a frantic scramble, they retreat swiftly to the rocky village, seeking refuge from the onslaught.

“Damn! Curse those Atreides!” Sir Wizlem curses, his voice tinged with urgency. “They’ve come to seize our spice!”

As the dust settles, the carrier airship positions itself menacingly above the spice dune, its harvester poised to strip the precious resource from the land.

“What in blazes is that, Sir Wizlem?” Squire Paladini demands, his voice laced with apprehension.

“That,” Sir Wizlem replies gravely, “is an Atreides carrier airship—a harbinger of danger and plunder, equipped with a harvester to pillage our spice.”

The Squire found it intriguing; in this world, there existed a significant technological gap between different races and factions, leading him to realize that this mission would require more careful planning than he initially anticipated.

As the harvester busily collected all the spice from the dune, a rumbling akin to an earthquake echoed through the air, signaling imminent danger. A massive volume of sand surged forward, hurtling toward the harvester with alarming speed.

Sir Wizlem’s laughter rings out maniacally, filled with a sense of vindication.

“Curse those Atreides,” Sir Wizlem declares, his laughter punctuated by a chuckle. “They’ll get what’s coming to them. LOL.”

Squire Paladini, bewildered by the unfolding events, watches as Sir Wizlem points emphatically at the harvester, his heart racing with excitement and joy…

Suddenly, the ground beneath the harvester splits open, and the infamous giant sandworm emerges, devouring both the transport ship and the harvester in a matter of seconds. It was over in an instant… everything vanished… an earth-shattering explosion echoes from below, causing the entire dune to replenish with Spice.


“Come on, you lot! Move it!” Sir Wizlem barks, his urgency palpable. “Let’s gather our Spice before the Atreides realize they’ve lost their equipment.”

With a sense of relief, the group quickly mobilizes to collect the Spice, grateful for narrowly avoiding disaster.

The bisons gleefully dug into the ground, their movements resembling an excited treasure hunt as they collected the Spice.

Eager to play his part, Squire Paladini dashed to the highest spot, his heart racing with a mix of excitement and the thrill of the unexpected.

Meanwhile, Sir Wizlem, with a mischievous grin on his face, skillfully gathered all the Spice, his movements almost dancing with joy as he returned triumphantly to the rocky village.

“Squire Paladini,” Sir Wizlem chuckled, “the reason I wasn’t attacked by the giant sandworm is quite simple. You see, technology comes with a price. While those contraptions they ride offer speed, they also generate significant ground vibrations in the process.”

Sir Wizlem: “Spot on, young soldier. Sometimes, technology can work against us rather than in our favor.”

Squire Paladini: “Indeed, Sir Wizlem. It’s fascinating how nature’s simplicity can outmatch our advanced machinery.”

Sir Wizlem: “Absolutely spot-on, young soldier! Now, let’s paint the town red! Everyone, to the tavern! Drinks are on me tonight!” Sir Wizlem walks away chuckling heartily at the situation.

After a night filled with merriment and feasting, the squire made his way back to his rented quarters. With valuable information in hand, it was now time to compile a report for Lady Salina.
Squire Paladini rummaged through his pockets and retrieved the communication artifact—a spherical device with a prominent red button. As the saying goes, akin to an Orc’s instinct, if it has a red button, you press it! It’s practically a WAAAGH law.


Upon pressing the button, the artifact undergoes a startling transformation, morphing into a beetle with a compartment in its abdomen for storing report notes. As Squire Paladini inserts the notes, he watches in amazement as the beetle seals its belly and unfurls its wings, quickly departing for the planned destination.

Delving into his memories, Squire Paladini recalled something that had caught his attention while at the tavern—it wasn’t just the abundance of booze and food, but also a rudimentary map affixed to one wall. It appeared to depict the entire region of the planet. Recognizing its significance, Squire Paladini knew acquiring this information was essential for gaining a better understanding of the surroundings.

In a sprightly manner, Squire Paladini leaps from his bed and dashes over to the tavern. He playfully waves down the attendant and jokingly asks if she could fetch him a copy of that map hanging by the kegs.


Tavern Attendant: “That eyesore that’s been cluttering my wall? You can take it for free. Consider it a favor, and I’ll even throw in a complimentary drink! Just don’t blame me if you get lost in those squiggly lines!”

Squire Paladini promptly removes the map from the wall and observes that this planet is indeed vast, with numerous territories and domains of four major factions… plus many minor factions as well. The next step is to determine which faction Lord Srathor belongs to.

Sir Wizlem: “I see you’re curious about the regions of Arrakis…”

Squire Paladini: “Indeed, Sir Wizlem… It’s like unraveling a mystery, exploring each corner of this vast world.”

Sir Wizlem: “This green region here, pointing to the West on the map, belongs to the faction led by Lord Gannonthorpe.”

Sir Wizlem: “And this one,” his voice lowering as he gestures with his finger, moving it across the surface of the map to the south, “this vast domain is said to belong to the undead. No one dares to venture there directly… they say the sands of that place are cursed.”


Squire Paladini, chuckling to himself, thought, “This is where Lady Salina summoned us… the sands there must be cursed from how blistering they are.”

Sir Wizlem takes a deep breath, his eyes brimming with tears and sorrow…

Sir Wizlem: “This one,” he gestures to the east of the map, “was our former home. The Atreides betrayed us and seized our lands. One day, they will face the consequences.” His voice trembles with a mix of nostalgia and sadness as he reminisces about the lost homeland.

Sir Wizlem: “And this last point here, pointing to the north, is the territory you should avoid at all costs. It’s under the control of Lord Srathor. He has an alliance with Lord Gannonthorpe, making them the most formidable force in terms of warfare on this planet.”

Squire Paladini furrowed his brow, a tinge of concern creeping into his expression as he processed Sir Wizlem’s words.

Sir Wizlem: “What Lord Srathor wants, he takes… there’s no mercy for the weak… after all, is there any mercy in this world? They’re all the same… Atreides, Harkonnen, all lords desire to dominate everything to collect Spice. And those who stand in their way often face dire consequences.”


Sir Wizlem: reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small packet “This gift is for you, soldier. I hope it helps you in your journey because I see in your eyes the same passion I had when I was young, to explore the vastness of the world.”

Squire Paladini: “Thank you, my friend. Your wisdom and generosity mean a great deal to me. I’ll make good use of this gift. I’m retiring to my room now; I could use some rest.”

As Squire Paladini enters the room, he quickly leans over the map that was shown to him.


Drawing some trajectories to determine the destination of each Squire, he muses aloud, “Looking to the West… if I remember correctly, that’s the direction Huxley went. NorthWest was Chief Sarcan and I, North… hmm, was it Zotics? So who went to the Atreides in the east? Ah, yes, Strife and Stakk.”

Squire Paladini added, “So we’ll have reports on the lands of Lord Gannonthorpe with Huxley. Chief Sarcan and I will explore the border between the alliance of Lords Srathor/Gannonthorpe, while Zotics will practically infiltrate directly into Lord Srathor’s lair, and Strife and Stakk will venture out to gather crucial information about the other power that can challenge the two lords.”

Remembering the gift offered, Squire Paladini retrieves the small package from his pocket, carefully unwrapping it. To his surprise, it contains a generous amount of Spice. As he examines it, a sense of mystery envelops him.

Squire Paladini remarks, “This spice has its own glow… it seems to emit some hidden energy, or perhaps there’s more to it than meets the eye?”


Squire Paladini: “Perhaps I’m overthinking… it’s very late, and I’m feeling exhausted. I should get some rest because I plan to head to the border tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be fortunate enough to encounter Chief Sarcan there.”

– End of Chapter 01 –

------------------------ CHAPTER 02 – THE RECALL ----------------------

The sky is clear, tinged with the reddish hue of the Arrakis atmosphere. With no time to spare, Squire Paladini swiftly packs his backpack, checks his supplies, and makes his way to the courtyard of the rocky village in hopes of finding his esteemed friend, Sir Wizlem.

Squire Paladini: “Sir Wizlem, I’ll be setting out today to continue my journey.”

Squire Paladini opens the map, pointing to the region of mutual trade between the lands of Lord Gannonthorpe and Lord Srathor, a bustling area teeming with cultural diversity and wealth, as both peoples and cultures intermingle, absorbing the best of what each nation has to offer.

Sir Wizlem: “Hmm… this region sure is bustling, known as the City of the Iron Hand. Keep your wits about you, as it’s also crawling with Atreides spies. Try to steer clear of Atreides, as they’re regarded as public enemies in these parts.”

Squire Paladini: “Got it… but how do I easily spot an Atreide?”

Sir Wizlem: “It ain’t easy, they’re mighty good at hiding… but their tongue’s sharp… and their eyes, a turquoise-blue, they’re a dead giveaway. They might try magic to mask that eye shine, it’s a unique trait… but they can’t hide their idealism and sharp tongue.”

After soaking in the details that could mean the difference between spotting the enemy quickly or being mistaken for an Atreides sympathizer, Squire Paladini swiftly grabs his notebook and jots down some notes.

The trek to the border on foot will be tough, a solid 15 days of trudging through the desert. But this time, Squire Paladini seems better equipped, having learned the hard way the vital lessons of survival.

Sir Wizlem: “Since you’re dead set on going there, don’t walk it… hop a ride with that caravan,” he nods towards a group of merchants with camels.

Sir Wizlem: “But they ain’t gonna let you hitch without giving something in return.”

Squire Paladini: “I will use some of the Spice you offered me, Sir Wizlem”

Sir Wizlem: “Right, but just 2 small Spice stones will more than cover your journey. Don’t offer more than that.”

Squire Paladini: “I’ll carry with me the friendship forged in both sorrow and joy, my dear friend. One day, we’ll avenge your pains and spare your people. Until then, stay safe and at peace.”

Sir Wizlem: “I appreciate the company, little soldier. Your words have a hint of mystery… a mystery that gives a slight chill, much like that region where no one dares to go… send regards if you arrive safely. Our friendship will endure, no matter the distance.”

Sir Wizlem: “Right, but just 2 small Spice stones will more than cover your journey. Don’t offer more than that.”

Squire Paladini: “I’ll carry with me the friendship forged in both sorrow and joy, my dear friend. One day, we’ll avenge your pains and spare your people. Until then, stay safe and at peace.”

Sir Wizlem: “I appreciate the company, little soldier. Your words have a hint of mystery… a mystery that gives a slight chill, much like that region where no one dares to go… send regards if you arrive safely. Our friendship will endure, no matter the distance.”

Squire Paladini swiftly bids farewell to the nomadic people, expressing gratitude for their hospitality and the lessons learned. He strides purposefully through the courtyard and approaches the merchants near the camels to arrange passage to the border between the two nations.

The negotiation proves to be tough as the merchants scent opportunity. They eye the squire from head to toe, recognizing that he is no ordinary local; there’s something more to him than meets the eye.

Merchant: “Pay us 10 stones of Spice, soldier. Then, and only then, we’ll consider letting you ride with us to the Iron Hand border!” His tone carries a hint of arrogance.

Iron Hand is the name of the border city forged in the heart between the two nations of Lords Srathor and Lord Gannonthorpe. Much like other regions with peculiar names, the name Iron Hand already implies to people that the law of the strongest alliance prevails there.

Squire Paladini: “I only got 2 stones of Spice, merchant. And I damn well know that’s more than enough to cover the fare…”

Upon hearing his offer rejected, the merchant’s tone shifts… his eyes flare with rage and hatred because what Squire Paladini offered was indeed the rightful fare for the journey. The merchant quickly assesses the situation as someone is informing people and cutting into his exorbitant profit margin from unsuspecting travelers.

Merchant: “Alright… alright… 7 stones of Spice, and that’s the end of it, Soldier. Not every day you’ll get a deal like this, eh?”

Up until this point, Squire Paladini had been listening to the outrageous offers of the merchant with a smile and calm demeanor… his words dripping with greed and disdain.

The merchant, sensing he could seal the deal quickly, embraces the squire, pushing for the bargain, causing Squire Paladini’s expression to turn serious, making him look directly into the merchant’s eyes.

All the arrogance and greed in the merchant’s gaze quickly dissipates, replaced by a great terror and obedience… had he wagered too high a price to pay? As he looks deep into the squire’s eyes, he feels as though his soul could be taken… he senses the same terror that emanates from that forbidden land… his family could be in danger… and his caravan might not reach its destination… the mere glimpse of an uncertain but certain future, where death loomed, turned all his haughtiness and arrogance into obedience and servitude.

Squire Paladini: “Merchant… I reckon you’ve grasped the message from your vision… where I hail from, I follow the Dark Lord’s commands… if you obstruct our path, this will be your fate… but if you’re willing to aid and serve, you can continue your journey unscathed.”

Once again, the squire queries the merchant…

Squire Paladini: “Will 2 stones of Spice suffice for my passage?”

The merchant, stricken with fear after the vision, struggles to find his voice. His previous arrogance and disregard fade away, replaced by a chilling silence. After a moment, he manages to nod, his expression betraying his dread, signaling his acceptance of the offered payment.

While the rest of the merchants watch in disbelief as their leader accepts the soldier’s meager offer, Squire Paladini leans in close to the merchant’s ear, uttering a few words…

Squire Paladini: “Hope this secret… fades with time and wind, 'cause loose words riding the breeze… lose their soul.”

The merchant swiftly gets the message, swearing never to bring up the matter again.

Directing his caravan to prepare for departure, he gestures towards a camel for Squire Paladini to travel with the convoy.

Merchant: “Mr. Soldier, we’ll reach the Iron Hand border in 3 days… if you need anything, just give us a holler.”

Squire Paladini: “Thanks, Mr. Merchant, let’s keep moving.”

The gates of the rocky village swing open with a loud boom, announcing to all that someone is leaving. The merchant convoy, with its multitude of camels, sets off towards the Iron Hand border, taking advantage of the clear weather with no sandstorms in sight, ensuring a swift journey without any hindrances.

After three days of blistering sun, the walls of the frontier city loom into view. It’s a colossal and imposing sight, almost like a mirage in the endless desert.

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As they enter the city, the merchant convoy makes its way to a bustling trade square and begins to unload all of its cargo and passengers.

Merchant: “Mr. Soldier, as promised… we’ve made it to your destination. I hope your journey continues smoothly,” the merchant says, his voice trembling.

Squire Paladini dismounts from the camel, shaking off a bit of sand from his cloak, ready to explore this new city in search of the other Squire who was already there, Squire Chief Sarcan.

As he strolls through the narrow streets, shops, and squares, he notices a bustling crowd gathered near a fountain. There’s clearly something significant happening as people eagerly listen to someone speaking. Squire Paladini calmly makes his way towards the commotion, catching snippets of the enthusiastic shouts from the person who seems to be attracting all the attention… it sounds more like offers of products, with people eagerly clamoring to make purchases.

Carefully observing the array of products at the stalls, Squire Paladini notices the high quality, ranging from small jewels to delectable foods… something catches his eye, reminiscent of the skillful work of his colleague Chief Sarcan, known for his expertise in crafting and cooking. Without hesitation, Squire Paladini looks towards the mysterious merchant and lets out a hearty laugh.

Squire Paladini: HA HA HA, I knew it! It had to be… HA HA HA.

The uproarious laughter of the squire catches the mysterious merchant’s attention, causing him to turn towards the direction of the laughter. In the merchant’s mind, it’s inconceivable for a mere mortal to laugh at his products, to mock his artistry and mastery… With a mixture of surprise and fury in his eyes, he quickly locates the source of the laughter.

Merchant: “Paladini?!” he exclaims, his voice tinged with surprise.

Squire Paladini: “I was sure it was you, Chief Sarcan. Ha ha ha. You’ve practically already embraced and mastered a large part of the local culture, haven’t you, buddy?”

Squire Chief Sarcan: “AH HA HA, absolutely. It’s fantastic to find another one of us here.”

As the two Squires chat, a beetle streaks across the city skies at high speed, weaving through people, darting through streets… even through windows… in search of its target.
Squire Paladini hears the fluttering of wings in the air and, turning towards the fountain, he sees it hovering there… the beetle floating at eye level. Without hesitation, he extends his hand for the beetle to alight.

Squire Chief Sarcan: “What’s that, Paladini? Did you acquire yourself a pet?”

Squire Paladini: “This beetle is a special find from my journey. It allows us to deliver our reports swiftly to Lady Salina.”

Squire Chief Sarcan: “Interesting…”

As the beetle lands on the squire’s hand, it promptly unfurls its wings and spits out a piece of paper. It appears that Lady Salina has sent an urgent message.

Squire Paladini and Squire Chief Sarcan read the message.

“Squire Paladini. A new discovery has been made. I was finally able to communicate with Lord Srathor. He is not in possession of Myrkul and Mystra! In order to keep all squires safe from the traps laid, you are instructed not to proceed close to Lord Srathor’s lair.”

Squire Paladini: “Didn’t Squire Zotics head directly to Lord Srathor’s lands?”

Squire Chief Sarcan: “Yes, but it’s been weeks since I received any message from him… he’s practically disappeared…”

Both squires understand they must swiftly return and inform Lady Salina. Therefore, they prepare to journey towards the lands of Lord Gannonthorpe, hoping to locate Squire Huxley to alert him of the change of plans and promptly return to the grand hall.

--------End of Chapter 02--------

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