For a couple days, the criers had been urging us to meet at the Counselor’s Hall in Britain. It seemed there was to be a hunt for the Juka known as Kabur. Abby and I made our way to the hall, joining up with the usual crowd of heroes that came to such gatherings. To my surprise, the meer Captain Dasha appeared before us with news of what was to be done.
“So tell me, Britannians….Is it true that your Lord Blackthorn has returned, and that the abomination my friend Dawn slew was just a doppelganger?” Captain Dasha asked the crowd around her.
“Yes!” So many cried in return.
Personally I had heard only rumors, and though I had seen Blackthorn and even spoken to him, I was unwilling to just accept it first hand until I had seen more. In my musings, I uttered a sarcastic “So we have heard.” Dasha must have heard my remark, for the next thing from her mouth was asking for clarification of the rumor.
“Yes on both counts, or so you have heard?” She asked.
Eva, one in the crowd, spoke, “It would seem they are both true.”
Dasha, seeming somewhat more relaxed, continued.
“That is good…..When I heard that Blackthorn had returned, I was quite fearful, until I heard the other rumor. I think my friend Dawn would have been pleased that it was not the real Blackthorn who attacked you many years ago.”
“Well that would have made her death twice in vain,” I said. Dawn had recently lost her life during the battle against Virtuebane.
Captain Dasha nodded. “So…I am glad so many of you could come today. As you many have heard, we have found a way, finally, to track my old enemy, Kabur, the former Warlord of the Juka. As you may recall, Kabur has been exiled by his own people, and had taken up with the Mysterious Knights. When Exodus awakened, the timeline was altered in ways we still don’t quite realize. But one of them was to in essence reset, or rebirth, the ambiguous feelings the Juka had about Exodus. When that happened, Kabur, who was associated with Exodus, was considered a disgrace, and exiled. Partly because the Juka came to realize how evil Exodus was, and partly simply because he’d lost. And the Juka do not respect those who lose.”
“Last I heard of him, he was considered an excellent warrior,” I spoke aloud.
“He was…I fought him myself. But Exodus lost.” Dasha continued, “And, thus, Kabur along with him. Myself and the other Meer have finally been able to acquire some leads on where Kabur might be. There are three locations, but truth be told, the path I am sending you on, I think is the correct one. Though he has damaged both of our peoples….. I think he has damaged yours more. Especially since the evidence surfaced suggesting that Kabur, and the Mysterious Knights, were behind at least some of the raids on your cities. You may or may not have noticed that some of the raiders left behind Juka bows.”
I was somewhat annoyed by the thought of seeking out this Juka, but I knew that Dealthagar would have been eager to have his head as well, seeing as how Kabur had serve Exodus.
“Interesting, but I do recall the decay of Yew,” I quipped, nevertheless.
“A decay that would not have happened, unless the Juka and Exodus had attacked it to begin with,” Dasha argued.
“Or perhaps unless your Eternal had not cast forbidden spells,” I countered. I had already decided to lend her my assistance, but I wanted her to know that some of us had not forgotten about Adranath and his backfired spell so many years ago.
Captain Dasha sighed, and not pressing that subject further, she continued with the task at hand.
“There is one small catch to tracking down Kabur…. We have reports that he has been infected with the Necromancy that the Mysterious Knights have been using of late.”
This had just gotten more interesting.
“So, while I would love to have you just kill him, catching him, if not alive, then at least not quite dead, is really the only option available. You must find him, and overcome him in five distinct forms. I have made certain….overtures to his people. They wish to punish him themselves. And there is a very small, but real, chance… That a lasting peace could come between the Meer and the Juka, if Kabur can be beaten down, and I deliver his unconscious, undead form to the Juka.”
I looked to Abby, “I think you’ll be just fine.” It was a response to an earlier concern she had voiced of whether her skills with necromancy would be useful.
“I take it you are all willing to help with this?” Captain Dasha asked.
The crowd was roaring with agreement. Even I was interested. Necromancy was involved? Perhaps I would learn some new use of the dark magics.
“I will be gating you to the last known location of his camp. But I suspect strongly you will not be able to engage him there. You will be on your own after this gate….I will go to make arrangements for the gate. Watch for it…And good luck.” Captain Dasha opened a gate and we all poured through.
We found ourselves at the old blockade in the pass west of Britain. Immediately, we were under fire from renegade Juka. The battle did not take too long, and soon we found a trail of markers left behind by Kabur’s men. It led west into the woods and all the way to Skara, where we found information with the location of their camp.
A short boat ride later, provided by Queen Arya, and we were at the camp on Iver’s Rounding, an island off the coast of Skara Brae.