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Strangers in Uru'baen[]

Wren looked out through the window anxiously. Not a day went by that he couldn't stop thinking about the dragon that had terrorized Uru'baen. No one wanted to take responsibility for the attack. The Urgals shoved off the idea and considered it a threat. It was almost the same with Queen Arya and the elves. They felt the Empire had breached their breathing room once they began to interrogate individuals with close ties to the Dragon Riders. The Deathmarks were much more busy than before, enforcing a strict curfew and striking down impotent persons every chance they could get. It seemed the whole of Uru'baen was falling prey to the powers of hysteria.

He wondered if it was all connected, what with his father missing and the dragon attacks, so one gloomy afternoon he went over Uru'baen Keep to inquire about his father. The guards naturally let him in, and he walked quickly into the throneroom. As the doors were opened, he saw his uncle sitting upon a throne made of black rock being addressed by a shady man with hooded black robes. The moment they established Wren's presence, the hooded fellow walked over to the pillars as King Romulus eyed Wren differently.

"Hello, my nephew." he said, trying to be enthusiastic.

"Any news from my father?" Wren asked anxiously.

"None so far. Our scouts suspect a storm has fallen over Vroengard, and he may be unable to send a message for a few weeks. Why don't you visit your cousin Thalrus? He's over in Surda, and I hear he's been having a great time over there."

"I'm sorry for my rudeness, Uncle, but I don't care about Thalrus right now. He's vile and cruel, and cares nothing for me."

Shocked at his nephew's reply, Romulus stood from his throne and looked into Wren's eyes, and he wondered if his uncle could read his thoughts. "I know these times are hard for all of us," he said, putting one hand on Wren's shoulder and closing his eyes. "But we must be brave, my nephew."

Just then the hooded fellow approached the King and whispered a few words into his ears. Wren was an adept at reading lips, but he could only make out strings of words.

"... Marvel has found the Vault... must get to the Rock immediately... the dungeons have been sealed..."

Wren jumped from his position and asked, "What is the Vault?"

Romulus flinched and dismissed the hooded fellow, who removed the covering of his head and was revealed to be an elf. He smiled at Wren and quickly dissapeared into one of the throneroom's many doors, putting Wren's gaze back onto Romulus.

"The Vault," he said to him, "is a story for another time. Go now, my nephew. There is work to be done."

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