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Prologue "The Fall of Faith" penned by Lailinarel / Joringil / Vaelith ----- Lord Commander Vaelith Steelheart. What number is this now? The third? No, that's not right, not three. Whatever. Sylennis Windstar, head of intelligence for the guild Sword of the Morning, rolled her eyes slightly and sighed to herself. Ever since Jori's accident, the Sword couldn't seem to hold on to a Lord Commander for more than a few months. Now, the latest one had gone missing and she had apparently drawn the short straw... not that she ever drew any other. "I really oughtta resign this intel gig. Nothin' but trouble." The rogue muttered the words under her breath to no one in particular as she flew over the plains of the southern barrens on her way to Northwatch. "What was that?" The rumbling of the drake's voice from beneath her was something of a surprise. She had assumed he was daydreaming again, like he always did during long flights. "I wasn't talkin' to you, Arast, go back to sleep." "In flight?" "You know what I meant." The netherdrake's wings beat heavily a couple of times and he surged forward with a bit more speed. His reply. Syl rubbed her left arm, feeling that old phantom pain that seemed to turn up whenever she was troubled. He shouldn't have been away this long. Fel, research isn't even dangerous work. Well... unless you're Giggy. ...or a goblin. She was disturbed from her thoughts by the faint scent of smoke and her head swiveled toward the source. Fire! A big one too, in the hills to the sourthwest. Looked like... The rogue strained her eyes. ...small farm maybe; or a house. She reached out and thumped Arast on the neck. "You see that?" "You mean you're actually concerned?" The dragon's low rumble could have been a chuckle. "Let's say intrigued." "Right." "Just take us down there, numbnuts." Arast banked hard toward the smoke and picked up speed. Syl shook her head, wondering why she was even bothering. This was, at best, a distraction, and at worst, a quagmire. All her instincts screamed at her to ignore the fire and continue on to meet her contact. She did not call to the netherdrake to cease his advance. I must be gettin' soft.