Old Tolot the Toothless had come down from his tower in the Minarets of Dust to spend some quality time with some old friends, drinking quality tea in a reputable spice bar. The bar was awash with winter spices – cinammon, nutmeg, vanilla – and, of course, the stong coffee of the Tamasheq patrons.
Many tales and stories crisscrossed the room like flies aroud a corpse in summer. Some lingered, some buzzed quickly in one’s ear and then receded. Not all were true but not all were false. Some were inciteful. Some were outright lies. The emeperor’s daughter walking around at night? Ach! She died years ago! An army of dragons flying in from the North East? Some people still smarted from the old days and the Mharoti Invasion. Somewhere in this tale lay the dividing line between vigilance and paranoia, thought Tolot.
He turned to his spice bar companion, Ahmed Singh: “What have you seen with your own eyes, my old friend?”
“Well, I saw the burned and broken body of Ahebek the Lucky before it was taken to the Necropolis for burial.”
“A terrible sight, by all accounts…” surmised Tolot. “Any theories?”
“Some talk of a terrible discovery at some Oasis near the Sands of Sorrow,” Ahmed replied, “but these are just whispers. Nobody knows, really.”
“And what of the Northerners,” Tolot asked, “Any news of them?”
“They’ve been quiet since they returned with tales of that library. Some of them even may have left the city, I hear. The were-lion’s been seen a lot at the Temple and I believe that dark dancer pops in and out of Old Ralph’s place quite a bit. But otherwise, not much!”
“Ah, well…can’t say I’ve missed their music much. I’m not one for all that screeching. Give me the sonorous tones of Peter Lafayette anyday! More tea?”
“Yes. I’ll call the porter.”