“Together We Worked Wonders…”

The Hidden Sanctum of the Hidden Gods was a work of majesty, a sliver of sky carved off of the heavens and brought down to earth.

Lapis Lazuli tiles coated the floors, walls and ceilings in tight, swirling patterns, shimmering a rich dark blue. Brilliant clear gemstones broke up the dark swirl, shinning like stars, arranged in constellation patterns—a bow, an axe, a rearing tiger.

 

It was not quite like the shining stars, hazy galaxies and deep void that the night sky held…but it was just as radiant.

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“You Made Just One Mistake…”

Minbarg the Quill-Keeper crouched behind a wicker basket, waiting to spring out and ambush the fleeing prisoners.

 

This was his moment! This was his day of glory! Once he defeated these pitiful criminals, Captain Zarth would see how faithful and loyal he was! He would be rewarded, raised up to the highest annals of Gnasher legend!

 

As soon as the prisoners showed up. Any moment now.

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“Everybody Needs Somebody to Hype…”

“My comrades!” Dragon Face exclaimed, rising up; his sculpted copper mask was warped and half-crushed, its molded fangs, nostrils and wings smashed into unrecognizability. “After exchanging blows with Captain Zarth, I’ve come to believe he might be stronger than me!”

 

Dragon Face smiled, revealing teeth stained with blood. “Isn’t it wonderful?”

 

All the Pilgrims stared at Dragon Face blankly for a moment.

 

“As long as you’re happy,” Corax said in a dry, bland tone, “that’s all that matters, Dragon Face.”

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“This is a Surprise Inspection…”

Minbarg the Quill-Keeper was not the ideal Gnasher.

 

He had no passion for upholding the law with berserker fury and bone-cracking crunches from his mace. His beast pelt always sat uncomfortably on his shoulders; the fur tickled and chaffed at his neck. And he always felt awkward spilling oxen blood in secret rites dedicated to their Hidden God.

 

Still, Captain Zarth refused to expel Minbar from the Order of the Gnashers, even when his advisors counseled him otherwise. “Nobody,” he  told Minbarg, “can command the Chimeras like you.”

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