Unnamed Journal Volume 2, Issue 5 - Page 15

The Dying Goddess the tall bronze statue of he Goddess. The man was not the sort who cared much for pieties or architecture, but he could tell when something had been made by powers beyond his ken. He took the vision of the powerful Goddess with the failing worship seriously. Across the square, another temple had risen, built of red brick interlaced with a dark shiny stone very like onyx. It had no statue, nor symbol, nor sign, and jutted upwards in the shape of a ziggurat. The man surmised it to be a temple because he could divine no other purpose for it. It had, it seemed, no point of egress. "You there!" said a voice. "Aye, me here," said the man, "what of it?" Three men in bronze surcoats with a blue mermaid approached. Two held spear and shield, while a third had a short sword on his belt and a scroll in his hand. He was portly, with a thin black beard. This one spoke: "In the name of Gevandrin, High Captain of Atmos and First Sealord of the Gellendrian League, I ask your name and business here." "My name is Tygg," said the man, "and by business is my own. What do the servants of this High Captain care anyway?" The portly man absorbed this remark with narrowing eyes. "I am Lekri, the Harbor Master, and I am the one who will decide if you and yours gain entrance to Guhlia." Tygg sized up the spearmen to Lekri's right and left. "How do you think to stop me?" "Insolent dog," said Lekri. "This is my city and my harbor. I will know your business." Tygg took a step towards Lekri, but the portly man's eyes showed no fear. The spearmen might be better than he thought. "My business," Tygg said, "can be seen by any fool. Cast your eyes at the ship that brought me, and guess for yourself." Lekri looked at the Dread and paused. Tygg knew well what that pause meant. Reputations preceded. Perhaps Tygg would be spared the need to fight his way ashore. That was always more trouble than it was worth. But somehow, the thought of the insolent fat man with his guts pouring out over what he called his harbor amused rather than bored Tygg. "This ship is an abomination," came an oily voice from Tygg's left. He and Lekri looked to see a man in dark robes standing with his hands folded together. He was bald and his cheeks and brow were tattooed to resemble a lizard's scales. Vertical scars sat above and below his eyes. But that was less remarkable to Tygg than the trail of women behind him. They were dressed in sandals and short cotton shifts and each had an emerald on her brow on a leather strap. They resembled crowns, but nothing else regal in the women's appearance could be seen. They stared blankly ahead and hardly seemed to breathe. "Lord Sephar," said Lekri.