Chapter 20: A Day in Court

"Why do I speak to a lapdog of Minist?! Is there no priest of the Eternal Song here?!" Scurra sneered at Kezodel. She knew it was a mistake to issue such an insult. What could it win her? But after being ignored, mildly castigated for her petitions, and set aside for the better part of a week, she now faced flat out insults – and for a moment, she lost her cool.

"Your brother is not among us," Kezodel replied in a bored tone. "Nor is he in our prisons or cemeteries – as much as he may belong among them."

"As I have told you, my brother is in the lands west. Let me go there and investigate!"

"And why, dear cousin? What will happen if your brother does not return?" Kezodel yawned. "There is a war on, and I distinctly remember banishing him. If he is in lands west, he gets what he deserves."

The various sycophants and lickspittles about the large room chuckled. Scurra's eyes reduced to slits.

"Besides, I have warned your brother not to return to my lands. And what should he do? He returns," Kezodel shook his head. "But I will take mercy on your brother," he finally continued. "If we should find him – and we will make a most immediate inquiry – we will return him safety to the border." Kezodel leaned forward on his throne, as he continued to lecture. "To the west, a war rages out of all control. Immorality and delinquency tear at the very fabric of this kingdom, and you ask me to locate a petty vagrant among so many dangerous criminals," Kezodel shrugged. "To the last man they are liars and deceivers. Even if he admits who he is, it shall take some time to find him."

"Should I be surprised you cannot find one man among your labyrinthine prison system?! It is quite apparent a reformation of court and council is in order!" Scurra snapped.

"Now, now. I do not prescribe how the JIndleyak handle their internal affairs, I will not have you..."

"Your people flee to our lands by the thousands!" Scurra cut in. "They flee with nothing but terror in their hearts and a few shreds of hope in their hands! As brothers and sisters, we provide succor and refuge at great cost! And what standing do you have to complain of Jindleyak affairs?"

"Enough!" Kezodel snapped. "You verge on contempt!"

For several seconds, Scurra stared and fumed at the man. Finally she spoke. "Alas, I am done," she said in a calm manner. "Find my brother. That is all I ask of you," she said with a steady gaze. "Find him and return him."

"Yes, yes..." Kezodel shrugged her aside. "I will hear no more of it! If he is among us, we will find the cripple and we will send him running. Now I will take no more of your abuse," Kezodel leaned forward. "Unless you should like to abuse me in private," He said with a lewd gesture.

Several of the audience chuckled.

The woman turned from him in disgust. The Jindleyak delegation followed as she marched from the center of the floor.

In the corridors of the Great Court, Scurra turned to Traust, the head of her Jindleyak escort. "I apologize. I feel I have wasted your time," Scurra huffed.

"This court is usually a waste of time. At least with you it is an entertaining show." Traust smiled. "Now that you've exhausted the courts, what shall you do?"

"I shall go west to find my brother..."

"I have to advise against such a thing," Traust interrupted. "The western country is anything but safe."

"I will go to my brother – but first I must write letters. Will you see them posted?"

"In this land, we run our own mail," Traust said. "When you go west, let me send a few men with you. Bouge lands are no place for a lone traveller, especially not a lady."

Scurra considered the offer as they continued their slow march toward the door. She thought to deny Traust, that such a thing might be unnecessary and a bother to his men. Yet, as they walked the halls of the Court, she noted the subtle hostility that rippled from Kezodel's guards. Perhaps it was best if she agreed. She opened her mouth that she might answer, but clamped her lips shut as she noted a steward approach.

"Lady Scurra! Sincerest apologies," the steward stopped in front of her. Several of the guards noted the interaction and turned in interest.

"What is it?" Scurra asked, her manner curt.

"You must come with me," the steward replied. "His highness requires your most immediate return."

Degorouth guards heard the command and moved to cut off her exit. Despite a dozen Jindleyak militiamen, armed to the teeth and formidable, there were far too many of Kezodel's Degorouth to refuse. A shiver ran up Scurra's spine. "Very well," she said and took a step back toward the audience chamber.


Meu kissed Wenifas some hour before. She also kissed the shaman that they might share thoughts. So it was that Wenifas had some idea of what transpired as they made their way through town and into the great courthouse where everything preceded in a foreign tongue. Although she welcomed the kind thoughts of the shaman, they were not constant. Indeed, Wenifas found herself able to share particular thoughts. She could hold back as much as she wanted. She could shut out the others if she liked – which was appreciated, as she had things to hide.

Baet and Carringten were not so lucky and had to rely on the constant interpretation of Toar. Yet, as they entered the main audience chamber where Kezodel held court, the immediate petitioner spoke Ministrian, and the court responded in kind.

"Your worship," Gliedian called to the Muaha. "We have captured an enemy general! We ask that he be condemned and given a public execution, that the people can share in our triumph!" Gliedian gestured to a Saot gentleman bound in irons: Creigal berDuvante.

Baet hissed and ribbed Carringten. He pointed at Gliedian's entourage, at two figures that stood near the back, old comrades in arms, Garf and Banifourd.

Carringten pointed Baet toward the throne, "Look at that sword!" he whispered. An impossibly large weapon rested next to the throne. It could be nothing more than decoration. On the other side of the throne was an equally preposterous shield. Although Kezodel was large for a man, these instruments were far too big for anyone to lift. And to think of fighting with them! Impossible! Still, it would not matter. There were hundreds of men armed and dangerous in the court, and most of them were loyal to the Muaha.

As the others concentrated on Gliedian and his most unfortunate prisoner, Meriona approached the chamberlain. "Are there many cases to be heard?" she asked.

The chamberlain looked up at the lady and noted the slight pin she wore – two fangs gilded in silver and gold – and since she was a person of standing, he answered her kindly. "There is enough work for the day, but it is not as hectic as some," he shrugged. "Do you have business to bring before the court?"

"I do indeed. I apologize for my hastiness, but it is a pressing matter," she gave the man a conciliatory smile.

"Immediate?" He asked as a frown stretched across his face.

Meriona shook her head. "I should not interrupt this business," she waved a hand at Gliedian and his hostage. "But if you can fit us in after the current gentleman, such an arrangement would be most fortuitous," She held up a gold sol, recently pressed, with the bright seal of Minist upon it.

A smile broke across the chamberlain's lips as he took the coin. He nodded emphatically. "Yes. I do believe we shall have a few minutes! Will you require long, or is it a straightforward matter?"

"I should think five minutes if the court is in haste," Meriona smiled. "Perhaps ten if we must take our time." Though she believed it would take most the day once Fedring's money was discovered. She imagined it would stall the entire day if he had half the gold she expected.

The chamberlain gave a nod. "Then we shall see to you promptly," he said with a smile.

Above the whispers of the Jay and the chamberlain, Kezodel leaned forward and spoke with a great voice, as he stared at Creigal and Gliedian. "A general, you say? What is his name? Would he speak? Is he agreed to his crime?"

"I speak quite fine, Lord Kezodel," Creigal began in Ministrian. "My name is Dandifrod, and I am incorrectly identified. I am but a traveler, looking for investment in distant lands. I have no army excepting two men and a guide."

"He is a spy. He has an elaborate alibi, Muaha Kezodel, and it is the only lie he speaks," Gliedian asserted. "But our sources have confirmed him beyond a doubt. His true name is Creigal berDuvante, Duke of Gaurring, and he means us no good."

"Gaurring?" Kezodel frowned. "This is a land far from our own."

"It is as far as the capital itself, your grace," Gliedian replied. "It shows how far our enemy will go to destroy us."

"He is a duke you say? This is a title of great weight among the Saot, is it not?"

"There is none above him but the King," Gliedian affirmed. He turned to Garf. "This man can identify him beyond a doubt. In exchange for nothing more than his honest word, we ask that he be granted his life and freedom."

"What is your name?" Kezodel asked the man.

"I am Garfindel Barx, your honor," the blond man gave a bow. "He is indeed the Duke of Gaurring, your greatness. Until most recently, I have served in his company."

"You are false!" Criegal sneered at Garf. "You indeed served in my company and know my name! Let 'em see your own papers and what company you are with!"

"I have unfortunately lost my papers," Garf held up his hands.

"Convenient," Creigal noted.

"It is war, and I had more important matters to attend," Garf gave a pious nod. "But I was your man. Although I have failed you, I have reason to live..."

Gliedian pulled a paper from his pocket and interrupted. "I also have this: a letter intercepted from Count Drefford of Wibbeley that identifies Criegal berDuvante and his lieutenants to us! The villainous Count hopes to rescue this man! "

Kezodel signaled to a court clerk and the letter was brought to him. He studied it for several seconds before he spoke. "Truly we have captured an important man! This is quite a blow to our enemies!" the Muaha gushed. "Still, a man of such title... must we execute him? To wash the streets with such blood... Can he not be ransomed?"

Gliedian hedged, "He is guilty of many crimes, your Grace. He is a scourge, a danger to you and your people as long as he lives. We think it best if he is dispatched immediately."

Kezodel frowned, "It is often hard to know the proper path..." he began.

"If you think a reward is in order," Gliedian cut in, "the Empire might be able to agree to such terms."

"I should think we cannot accept less than a hundred gold sols for ransom," Kezodel mused.

Baet shook his head. "He does not know Gaur at all if he thinks us such paupers."

"He is not looking to truly ransom the man, only to milk the Empress for doing her dirty work," Toar stated.

"No doubt Wibbeley will pay its fair share – on the King's behalf," Carringten added.

Demure, Gliedian backed a pace. "I think we can agree to such a sum," he acquiesced.

"Then I am satisfied," Kezodel continued. "An execution is set! This prisoner will die two weeks from today, at the hour of noon!"

"Are any terms given for release?" Creigal asked. "Although I am not a rich man, a hundred gold sols is not beyond my reach."

Kezodel sat tall on his throne. "To the prisoner, I offer these terms for his unconditional release: ten thousand gold sols to be delivered no later than the hour of execution."

"Well, that is more like it," Baet whispered.

"And why is so much demanded of me?" Creigal asked, aghast.

"Do you think enemies pay the same ransom as friends?" Kezodel sneered. "If you should survive, I will see you poor and buggered."

Creigal held out his hands to show the court nothing. "Even if I had such money, Do you expect I can have it delivered in two weeks?"

"Indeed, I do not," Kezodel answered. "I do not expect you to deliver anything, your grace. I simply expect you to die! If you wish to live, I suggest you petition your gods. Perhaps they shall save you. But tell them to be quick! Time is of the essence!"

A smattering of laughter broke from the assembled audience. Carringten frowned and checked the sword at his side.

"Do not be rash," Meriona huffed. "It is death to pull your weapon in the presence of Kezodel. Do you not see all the guards? All the men loyal?"

"Let it be done!" Kezodel banged a gavel against the stone of his throne. "And who is next, chamberlain?"

Gliedian bowed as a deep smile played across his face. He turned to leave and motioned for his men to bring Criegal.

Wenifas noted the dismay of Baet, Carringten, and Toar. For a split second, she though she should feel vindicated by their pain. But no... A man was sentenced to death, and she had no reason to believe he was guilty. The trial was so quick, and the evidence of wrongdoing was so very thin! There just one witness and only one letter?! What sort of court was this?!

"Meriona, Jay of the Empress!" the chamberlain called. Gliedian stopped and his men also halted. Everyone turned to see the Jay approach the throne.

"The court is thick with Ministrian affairs this day. Our cousins provide us no end of business!" Kezodel smiled. "And what can we do for Meriona, Jay of the Black Throne?"

Meriona approached the open floor reserved for the petitioning parties. None of the others moved with her – save one. Krumpus stomped into the half circle that marked the immediate audience of Kezodel, and made a sharp cut toward Creigal. Krumpus looped an arm under Creigal's elbow before anyone could think to stop him. He turned to Kezodel and waved his hands about. There was a wildness in his eyes and a petulant scowl upon his face.

"Your grace," Meriona began unaware of the man's antics. "I have captured the lieutenants of this doomed general..." she turned to see Krumpus and Creigal. Her words trailed into oblivion as she was confused by the wildness in the shaman's eye.

The shaman let all his thoughts through and Wenifas felt a surge of righteous indignation burn through her mind. She knew the feeling. It was the same way she felt as she lay with Derris and talked of the hypocrisy of the baradha – only multiplied and propelled by an iron will. Aghast, she took a step back, suddenly sure his actions would doom them all.

"Your highness?" The chamberlain began, but Krumpus pushed him out of the circle. Several men imposed with their weapons drawn. Krumpus ignored them. He turned back to Kezodel as he continued to wave his hands.

Carringten glanced at Baet. Baet hissed as men all around them checked their weapons. Swords, daggers, mauls, and bows. Kezodel turned sour and leaned forward with an annoyed expression, as he stared at the shaman. He held up a hand and the rest of the court stood still. For several seconds he glared as the mute waved his injured hands. "I know you," Kezodel squinted. His face became red with anger. "So it is true, despite your exile, you do return to my kingdom!"

Whispers grew among the audience.

"Quiet!" Kezodel snapped. "What is he saying?!" He yelled at the chamberlain.

The chamberlain shrugged and blushed. "It is Tallian Hand, your excellency. He speaks the silent language of Tronde."

"I know what he's doing, you imbecile! I wish to know what he says!" Kezodel glared about the room. "Well? I know several of you speak the Hand! Someone tell me, what does he say?!"

"It is his fingers," a decorated man called from the crowd. "They are twisted and weak! I cannot make out what he means to say..."

Several others grumbled and nodded their agreement.

"What of his sister?" Kezodel asked. "She cannot have gone far! Return her. Perhaps she can make it out!"

Several stewards ran from the room in various directions.

Kezodel glared at Krumpus. "While we wait for her, let us attend official business, shall we?" Kezodel turned to Meriona. "The Jay was speaking. I should like to see what she has to say about this strange collection of petitioners she has brought before the court. Am I to believe that some are the Duke's trusted lieutenants...?" He stopped as recognition once more stretched across his face. "Toar?" Kezodel spoke the name of Creigal's native guide. "Is that you?"

Toar stiffened.

"You are much older... Has it been such a long time?" Kezodel asked. "You look strong, becoming, and yet you return? There can be only one reason. Do you wish to beg back your position? Amilea will be most pleased..."

Toar glared at the Muaha and shook his head. "I will never return!"

Kezodel's eyes became slits as he glared at the Trohl. "After all the privilege and honors I gave you, do you return only to throw insults at me? What is it you do with these others?"

Toar snorted. "I remember everything you gave me! I remember everything you took!"

Kezodel was about to reply as a large group of guards escorted the Lady Scurra and the Jindleyak delegation back into the room.

"What is it?" Scurra snapped as she was pushed to the front of the room once more.

Kezodel pointed at Krumpus, "Your brother interrupts."

With a gasp, Scurra ran at the healer and gathered him in a hug.

"Yes, yes. It is all very sweet. And I have found him with irregular speed, have I not? Now tell us, what is this miscreant saying? Why does he interrupt and defend a condemned enemy of the state?" Kezodel asked.

Scurra turned to her brother as he waved his hands about in the silent language. "What is wrong with your hands?!" She asked as she stopped them from waving. She held his hands in her own and gently rubbed them. She turned on Kezodel, "What have you done to him?!"

"Me? Nothing! The injuries are his own," he insisted.

"His speech is sloppy and stiff because of it," Scurra frowned as she stared at his feeble fingers. She did not know what a miracle it was that he could move them at all.

"I want his words, not a rundown of his physical condition," Kezodel leaned forward. "Now, tell me what he says!"

"I cannot, it is gibberish!" Scurra huffed.

The shaman's righteousness flared in Wenifas, and bravery caught in her soul. "I can speak for the man," she said as stepped forward.

"And who is this?" Kezodel frowned. "My court is most cluttered with strangers today."

"Ignore her, your highness," Meriona spoke. "She is but a priestess, and a self-important one at that."

"I can speak for the man," Wenifas snapped at the Jay. "By the will of the gods, I can do it, and I shall!" she huffed. She allowed her own frustrations to fuel her as she pushed passed Meriona. Krumpus turned to Wenifas and signed in broken language – though she did not need his signal to know what he meant. She was connected through Meu's venom. She stood tall and began in a loud voice. "This court is a sham! You are an enemy of the people, and you draw the wrath of the one true god down about your ears!" Wenifas admonished.

"Blasphemy!" someone yelled. "Execute her with the Saot!"

Kezodel raised his hand to quiet the crowd. "Is this what you say?" He turned from Wenifas and stared at the shaman.

Krumpus stamped his foot, nodded his head, and glared at the Muaha.

"Then the soft God of Jeiju approaches? Am I to be scolded and shamed for my many crimes?" Kezodel sneered. "Don't waste your time with the tired tripe of your nine-fingered lord of peace! I serve the twin gods of the void, and know theirs is the true law!"

A wildness overcame Wenifas as heat and vindication streamed from the shaman. "Do not mock, Kezodel! You may have power among men, but you do not hold a candle to the true power of powers! Man as a race comes out of the deep dark ocean, like so many fishes! They no longer swim in schools of common interest, but must find themselves to be individuals, with the light of love in their hearts! Turn from your selfish interests and set your brethren upon the proper path, or you will meet a most immediate doom!"

"You threaten me?" Kezodel huffed and straightened on his throne.

Wenifas turned to the crowd as Krumpus continued to wave his hands. "All the false idols must fall! Gods, governments, the devices men use to enslave instead of enlighten their brother! We, the many fishes of the sea will become as Tronde, Rigel, and Jeiju before -– as the heroes of lore! We will become as the Odim Kalodim, bound to each other by sacred love! Now bow, Kezodel! Bow before the True God, or be swept aside for your deceptions and mockery! Ebertin belongs to the god of gods and will be restored to her proper virtue! If you repent, then you shall stand at her head. If not, you shall be swept into her sewers!"

"How dare you..." Kezodel glared.

Wenifas ignored his sneer as she turned and continued for the general audience. "It is now upon man to carry the water! God restores our role, and we must carry it out! All that will not, all that stand in the way, will be swept aside! We begin to understand, and it is you, Kezodel, that will lead this backwater hovel into the light! You will lead these people as god requires, or you will lie exposed for your sins at the foot of those you scorn! Choose, Kezodel! Choose now, for it is the time of your judgement!"

For several seconds, silence reigned in the room. The Muaha glared between the shaman and the priestess. He stood up and seemed to grow as he did so. He pulled the impossibly large sword from off the throne with one hand, and began swinging it about with ease and skill. He took up the shield in his other hand.

"Fine, I'll kill you myself," Kezodel stepped toward the two. He was no longer just a man. He must have stood ten feet tall and broad across his chest! The crowd backed away and formed a semi circle about Wenifas and the siblings. The priestess remembered herself. She blinked several times as she stepped back. Scurra drew her long knives. Krumpus stepped in front of his sister, brushed aside his cloak, and turned up the pointy end of his stick.

"STAHP!" Krumpus called in his broken tongue, his eyes wild. "DUM ABRUCHES!"

Kezodel smirked and raised his sword as he stepped forward.

A deafening boom sounded from above. The building cracked open. Lightning forked through the room. Heat and light rushed down from the dome. With a collective gasp, the audience closed their eyes and sucked in their breath. The force of rushing air pushed the crowd back and caused the doors to fly open. Krumpus was thrown off his feet. He bowled over Wenifas and his sister. The three crumbled to the ground as large chunks of marble fell from the roof. Several massive chunks fell on top of the bewildered giant, Kezodel. He lifted the shield, but to little avail. As big as he was, he could not stand against the crush of stone, and was immediately buried. Fragments broke and shot about the room. A piece of the roof glanced off Baet and put a gash in his head. Blood trickled from his brow.

As sudden as it began, the calamity was over. A haze floated about the room as a collection of groans and coughs broke the silence. Bewildered, the audience took stock of the situation. Dozens of people lay on the ground, injured, unconscious, dead. Cries, and moans echoed throughout the chamber. The crushed form of Kezodel lay under a mound of marble. His twisted form expanded into something grotesque. He was no longer just a man. He was no longer pretty by any standard. There were large talons on the crushed remains of a visible hand. There were wild patches of hair all about him. Small leathery wings jutted from his back, twisted in the rubble. Many of the audience stared, unable to understand what had become of the man.

Meu was the first to notice the transformation. Awed by what she saw, she knew what it was. Wenifas caught Meu's thoughts, and one word bounded to her mind. "Chimera," she said, as she recognized Kezodel's true nature. Wenifas repeated it as she stood to her feet. "Chimera!" She pointed at the dead form of the Muaha.

The term caught and was repeated about the room. Chimera. Chimera. Chimera. The trickle of people that slipped from the hallway thickened. A full on exodus from the grand chamber commenced.

"Dark magics are upon us!" Gliedian roared. He pointed at Krumpus, Wenifas, and Creigal. "Kill them!" He ordered his men. "Kill them all!"

Birds of every sort dropped in from the broken ceiling. Robins, jays, finches, magpies, hawks, eagles, owls... They flew in the faces of the men that moved against Creigal.

"God is with us still!" Wenifas yelled. Although she could not sense the shaman's mind, she was still infected with his wildness. "She sends all manner of beasts against her enemies! Flee before her or perish!"

The birds caused confusion and panic, but did little real damage. As the priestess admonished her enemies, it was enough. Several of Gliedian's men broke and ran from the room. Others followed. Only Gliedian and a handful of his Ministrians remained.

Carringten pulled Bence's short sword. To a man, the Jindleyak delegation pulled their weapons. Baet didn't bother to pull a weapon. He struck Banifourd with his bare fist. The Saot esquire fell back as blood ran from his nose.

Gliedian pulled Thunder Maker from his belt, and pointed the musket at Baet. "I kill the first man that follows!" He roared as he lifted Banifourd to his feet.

Meriona grabbed Celesi's hand. "We must leave!" she said as she pulled the girl.

Celesi dropped her hand. "No," she said, and glared at the Jay.

"After all that we have given you, you abandon us?" Meriona sneered and spit at the girl. "Then be a Trohl once more, you ingrate!"

Meriona turned to Wenifas. "Come now, you fool!" She snapped at the priestess.

Confusion caught in Wenifas as she looked about the room. She stood with the men that murdered Derris, and although she felt the shaman was justified in his wrath toward the court, she could not see herself continuing with him. Meu was no help. The wyrm had closed her mind and was distracted by the dead form of Kezodel. The priestess turned about, unsure what she must do.

Celesi held her hand out to Wenifas, her face filled with compassion and pity. "Stay with us. She has nothing for you."

Wenifas longed to return to her people, to ways and customs she found familiar. She thought perhaps a sense of normality could return to her life. She no longer needed to be a priestess. She could quit the church and dedicate her life to her children in a place that she was accustomed. Wenifas lifted her hand to the Jay. She hesitated as she stared at the cold calculating features of Meriona.

"She knows," Celesi continued. "She knows you robbed Fedring. She means to see you punished."

Wenifas saw the truth of it in the Jay's eyes. It was only there for a split second, before Meriona hid her true intent. Shocked, Wenifas recoiled from the Jay.

"Traitor!' Meriona spit at Celesi. She turned on Wenifas. "And you are a blind fool! If either of set foot on Minist ground again, I'll see you hanged – or worse!" The Jay spun around and ran after the retreating Ministrians.

Claiten clutched at his mother's dress with one hand as he brandished his dagger in the other. Shock and confusion made his eyes wild. Wenifas ruffled her son's hair as she glanced over the various men and women that still occupied the room and witnessed what they did. Scurra cradled the fallen form of her brother. Carringten and Toar smashed the irons from Creigal's wrists. Meu inspected the corpse of Kezodel as she carried Evereste in her arms.

Sweet Naharanha! Wenifas thought. I almost left without my babe! Wenifas ran to the wyrm and took her child.

The Jindleyaks sheathed their weapons as they took stock of the near empty chamber. With the irons fallen from his duke, Baet noticed something on the floor, and bent down to retrieve it. "Balls..." He whispered as he picked up the item.

"What is it?" Wenifas asked as she stood nearby. She carefully stepped about the rubble as curiosity bested her scorn for the man.

"It's a rock – a rock from the sky," Baet said as he showed the meteor to Wenifas. The stone was about the size of a fist, a pitted ball of blackest iron with glints of every color.

"A bit of the moon," Wenifas noted. She looked up as she realized this metal ball destroyed the roof and shot lightning through the room. Essentially, a bit of the moon dropped on Kezodel's head. She would not have believed it if she had not seen it for herself.

Somehow, the shaman knew before hand. How? Was it possible that the true gods warned him? The priestess could not know.

Indeed, Wenifas was wrong in her assessment. Though bits of the moon rained down on the world from time to time – and caused no end of trouble for the inhabitants – this rock was not from the moon at all. Not this rock. It was from much, much further afield.


Coming next: Creigal and his company continue on their way to Hearthstone – but the Degorouth, and their Ministrian allies, will not let them escape Ebertin so easily...

Also, love is also in the air! Celesi pursues Toar, as Baet's woman troubles continue to complicate... And who else might shack up?

Plus, where is the thief, Humbert? And what new villainy might Banifourd perform?

Who will survive? Who will perish? Who else will pick up the banners of hero and villain? Find out all of this and more in the second installment: The Last Journeys book 2: A Bit of Holiday!