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  1. They had set the table at the eastern side of the vast rotunda, near enough to an opening that they got plenty of light, but not so near that the wind would blow all their charts and maps away. Here they spent many hours each day, deliberating on designs and consulting the records they had dug out of what seemed to be a library, several floors below them. This tower was the largest in the complex, ancient beyond all reckoning, and yet largely unspoiled by the long northern winters and the harsh salt winds that blew off of the Bay of Storms, and so it had been selected as the center of their operations as they went about exploring the rest of the ruins and establishing facilities to house, feed, and outfit the new garrison. Makny and his cousin Kjell looked over the many parchments again as Kjell reported on the latest surveys. "We have taken full account of the lower districts along the water, but only a portion of the central ruins have been fully charted. Of the openings in the cliffs in the upper district, we have found many, but I will not yet say that all have been discovered, nor have we had men enough to spare to determine how these caves and tunnels connect." "Thank you cousin," Makny replied, "It seems that we will need to request further resources from your father. How has work progressed to clear the pass?" The entrance to the bay was a narrow track that wound through the rocky hills of the Burial Isle in the south. In many places it had been obstructed by landslides or washed away by long-gone rivers, so that it was difficult to follow on foot, and nearly impassable to a wagon and a team of oxen. Supplying the settlement had been difficult in the summer months, and with winter approaching it would be nearly impossible. "Work along the trail is slow," Kjell admitted tiredly, "It seems that the only travelers it has seen these past years have been game." Makny rubbed his eyes and bent closer to the maps, as if on their thousandth viewing they would reveal some new path into the cove that had yet gone unnoticed. Suddenly they heard footsteps and heated words from below, and Makny turned as several men reached the top of the stairs across the room. At the front came a rough looking man with an air of importance, followed closely by several of his guards, and trailed by one of Makny's hapless lieutenants. "Sir, I've told you, the commander is busy!" the lieutenant puffed. He had obviously been trying to stop the men for several floors now, to no avail. "And I've told you, your head of the household guard can make time for a Rigr who is here on the Jarl's business," the man snapped back. Makny waved the lieutenant off as the visitors swept onward, and mustered up the most hospitable tone he had at his disposal. "My lord Hammel, welcome. It is good of you to come visit us in our new quarters." "Enough of your jests," the man cut in sharply, "We are both busy men." Makny's face hardened. "Indeed we are. I see your guards have come with you to these chambers; am I to bear this as an insult or to take it as a threat?" Hammel advanced toward the table, though his men kept their distance. "You are to see my men as the warning that they are. Word moves quickly in the north. Whispers abound that the Stromvakt seek for themselves a mighty stronghold, a seat from which to carve out their own lands." Makny nearly snorted. "Surely a man of your position and esteem would not believe such idle gossip. We are here at the order of my uncle, the Lord of Førstlys. After the city nearly fell to Raavage's forces, he saw the need for a place that might keep his people safe in a time of even greater peril." "I would expect you to have a good story to justify your presence," Hammel retorted, "But your words do not hold weight. The guild is wary of your work here." by "You speak of the guild as though we are not a part of it. Have you forgotten already who broke the siege of Duergvenn and rescued you and your garrison? And which colors do you see behind you on that standard? This is my uncle's land. He may do with it as he sees fit, as is his right, as is the right of any lord in this guild, in order to keep it secure against those who would do him or his people harm." "Do not speak to me of Duergvenn as if it solidifies reputation," Hammel sneered, "No victory serves only one cause. Your loyalty has yet to be truly proven." "Is that why you are here, then? To test our loyalty by telling us to leave?" "No, young lordlings," he said derisively, "I am here to present you with a summons. Your loyalty will be tested far from here, along the banks of the Antler and the shores of the Winter Lakes. The remnants of the enemy have crept from the shadows and gathered in the heartland, and now they threaten the Capitol itself. In the aftermath of these wars Chorian cannot gather enough men from his lands alone, so each true guildsman is called to go and eradicate this menace once and for all. If you indeed fight for all of Mitgardia, you are to sail for Northridge in a fortnight." Hammel ended with a smug smile. "If that is the case, I look forward to riding with you once again." "Indeed," Hammel scoffed before he whirled and swept out of the room. Makny waited until the Rigr was gone, then turned back to his cousin. "That was a strange visit." "Yes," Kjell nodded slowly, "I would have expected my father to send word of these happenings himself. The guild might have sent out the call to arms, but we may only go at his command. Of course, that is if the Rigr even speaks the truth..." Makny came around the table and the two walked towards the edge of the high battlement. "I am loath to send you away while your help is so sorely needed here, but I feel that we need to know your father's will on this matter." Kjell nodded silently. Makny felt a strange anticipation rising within him, while out over the bay the first high clouds of the afternoon drove landward. I didn't have the time to finish this before the Challenge 1 deadline, so I guess it's going to be a freebuild. My first attempt at an all-Lego scene, I still need to work on my lighting. C&C welcome on everything!