The Circles - Book Eight - A Mordorian Bestiary
Chapter Twenty-seven
The City of Rul
Written by Angmar and Elfhild

While Elfhild and Elffled could only speculate about the wonders contained within the city of Rul, Esarhaddon and his chief men were enjoying the luxurious accommodations of the Inn of the Black Swan. Being located on one of the main trade routes between Nurn and Gorgoroth, Rul boasted numerous inns to house the many weary travelers who passed through the city. The Black Swan was one of the city's finest establishments and offered many amenities for guests, including a tavern that was known far and wide for its delicious food and excellent wine, talented musicians and beautiful dancing girls, a bathhouse with two large swimming pools, a well-stocked library for intellectual guests, and private rooms at a price which was reasonable. Tushratta had been invited to be a part of the slaver's expedition to the city, but the physician, ever dedicated to his duties as healer, wanted to stay in the camp in case there was an illness or injury. Esarhaddon and his men had a good-natured laugh at Tushratta's expense, for the physician's single-minded devotion to work often made him quite bland company.

Esarhaddon had other reasons for visiting the city besides rest and relaxation. He had been in communication for several weeks with Tuzug, Chief Auctioneer of the House of Huzziya, and had made arrangements to meet at the Inn of the Black Swan. While he had exchanged dispatches with Tuzug over the course of the journey, there was much he needed to discuss about the upcoming auction in Turkûrzgoi. The caravan would be arriving at its destination in six days, and Esarhaddon was greatly anticipating the sale of his cargo and the coins that would fill his coffers. Even more than that, he was looking forward to returning at last to his villa and being reunited with his family.

Esarhaddon could not take council with his colleague in his current state, however, for he was covered in grime and reeked with the stench of the trail. A visit to the inn's bathhouse and a change of clothing was desperately needed. After spending some time in the steam room, Esarhaddon felt delightfully relaxed. His aching, stiff muscles had been pounded into submission by the chief masseur, and it had been months since he had felt this refreshed. He could almost forget the many injuries which he had sustained on this journey, although he often wondered if he would ever be totally healed from some of them. After he had been dressed, the servants of the house wound a white turban about his head and adorned it with an emerald aigrette. He had instructed them to go to one of his trunks and fetch a pair of boots made from the finest soft brown leather. These he had kept in reserve to wear when needed for meetings with important people along the trail.

There would be some time yet before his meeting with Tuzug. Esarhaddon considered taking a tour of the city with Ganbar and Khaldun, but the day's journey had left him weary, and the bath had imparted a sense of lassitude to his body. He decided to pay the inn's library a visit to pass the time.

The chamber that housed the library was relatively small, but it contained a goodly number of books, with shelves spanning from floor to ceiling. Walking along a lengthy shelf of substantial-looking volumes, Esarhaddon let his eyes skim over the titles written upon the books' spines until one of interest stood out: The History of Rul from the Ancient Times to the Present.

Esarhaddon was rather knowledgeable about the history of Nurn, as this was one of the subjects taught in the training facilities of the House of Huzziya. He was not familiar with this particular volume, however. He pulled the book from the shelf and stared down at the fine scrollwork which embellished the leather cover. As he opened the heavy tome, he was immediately taken by an illustration showing one of Rul's most famous landmarks: a cave just outside the city which was covered with ancient drawings. While Esarhaddon had a broad knowledge of Nurnian history, he knew little of the local lore of this region, and he was intrigued by the illustrations in the richly illuminated volume.

"Perhaps this will be an interesting way of passing the time until Tuzug arrives," he thought to himself as he took the book over to the nearby couch and began to skim through the first chapter.


Sometime during the early years of the Second Age, tribesmen from the East migrated to the area around the present-day city of Rul, pasturing their flocks and herds on the rolling grassy plains along the River Mormilom. Little is known about the earliest history of the people who settled in this area of northern Nurn, except for what can be deduced from ancient pictographs and from scattered references in the histories of neighboring peoples. Although they did not have a written script, this ancient people used a form of pictographs, which to this day has never been deciphered. They are best remembered for their colorful paintings along cliffs and in caves north of the city, and their beautiful glazed pottery, remnants of which can still be found among the ruins of their settlements. Showing the beholder a glimpse of life in the distant past, these cave paintings and decorative artifacts depict animals, snakes, lizards, birds, people, and creatures that are thought to be either extinct or purely mythical. While the artisans who made them have long passed into history, their works live on, becoming so famous that many scholars have come to study and admire them over the years.

As the settlers of northern Nurn began to increase in numbers, many began to dwell in villages, seeking protection from common enemies. Leaving their nomadic existence and settling into a more sedimentary life, they supplemented the meat, milk and cheese from their herds and flocks by raising grain and vegetables. However, they were subsistence farmers, growing little more than enough to feed themselves and their families with an occasional slight surplus to sell. As time passed and these people became more skilled in farming methods, they learned to plant and harvest crops such as flax, which could be woven into fine linen garments. With a ready supply of wool and goat hair, the people became skilled spinners and weavers, manufacturing everything from clothing to tapestries.

Over time, one village grew larger and more powerful than all the rest. Situated upon the wide, grassy plains at the end of the foothills of the western mountains and located beside the life-giving waters of the River Mormilom, this village eventually became known as the City of Rul, the name having its origin in an ancient phrase which meant "the glimmer of sunlight upon the river's surface." As Rul grew in power and might, its rulers sought to make vassals out of the surrounding peoples. There was much unrest during this period as various factions vied with each other for dominance, and some tribes were forced to assimilate with their conquerors while others were driven from the region entirely.

The most well-known of Rul's early warlords was a man known as Kalagna. A hero of both great strength and great cunning, he rose to power as a tribal leader and warrior before ruthlessly destroying his opposition to become supreme ruler of northern Nurn. Many legends have come down through history regarding Kalagna. One tale, probably the most popular, related that after Kalagna had risen to power as the reigning warlord, he had time to devote to other pursuits. Growing curious about the great canyon which ran northwest to southeast through the Gap of Nurn, he gathered up a party of men and set out to explore the mysteries of the nearly one-hundred-mile-long gorge. In years before, other men had tried to accomplish the same feat, but no one had ever returned from the journey. After Kalagna and his band had been gone for several months, the people gave up all hope that they had survived whatever dark terror lay deep within the canyon.

Then one dark night, a wild and haggard man stumbled out of the canyon, mumbling and shrieking unintelligible phrases. Naked save for a filthy loincloth, he had eyes which held the look of a feral beast, and his hair and beard had turned whiter than snow. Running sores and scabs covered much of his body, and strange scars which could have been made only by some mystical beast pocked his flesh.

Heavily guarded, the man was brought before the Council, where he was recognized as one of the men in the ill-fated party of explorers. From the few words which could be understood from his insane ramblings, the Council determined that the poor wretch had seen something so horrible that the mere sight of it had driven him mad. The man babbled incessantly about a portal to another world, a shadow realm in which dwelt creatures too terrifying for the mind of man to comprehend. The Council laughed at these wild tales and determined that the rigors of the desert and the intense heat were the true causes for the man's insanity. The deluded man later escaped his guards and was never heard from again. Some believed that he had returned to the canyon, drawn helplessly back to the portal by the dark things which dwelt within. From then on, the canyon was known as Baur Tîmorsham, the Dreadful Gorge. No search parties for Kalagna and his men were ever sent into the canyon, and so the founder of Rul passed into the realm of myth and legend.

Baur Tîmorsham has been a source of fear and curiosity for the people of northern Nurn since ancient days. Over the years, many parties of adventurers – some sanctioned by the leaders of Rul, others independent fortune-seekers – have ventured into the mysterious canyon. While many of these greatly anticipated expeditions have proved to be disappointments, with adventurers seeing nothing out of the ordinary, other ventures have been fraught with unexpected calamities and bizarre incidents which simply cannot be explained by any conventional reasoning. And then there have been those explorers who have returned with wild tales of a creature so terrifying that mere words fail to describe it, a beast with exceedingly long arms covered with sucker-like mouths which ooze bubbling acid.

Whether all the legends surrounding the canyon are true or not, one cannot say. The Land of Mordor is known for its unique wildlife, such as the gigantic spiders which lurk in gloomy caverns deep under earth and the flying beasts which dwell in eyries high in the mountains. Perhaps the Nameless Terror of Baur Tîmorsham, if it truly exists, is one of these creatures. If so, it would be prudent to give the Dreadful Gorge a wide berth.


Esarhaddon highly doubted the veracity of the legend about the terror which dwelt in Baur Tîmorsham, but the fate of Kalagna did intrigue him. "Most likely Kalagna and his entourage were ambushed by brigands, and the lone survivor of the attack was too embarrassed to tell the truth," the slaver thought to himself. "Instead, the man took his time in returning to the city, and wove a tale about some sort of betentacled monster from another realm."

Feeling confident that he had solved the centuries-old mystery of the Dreadful Gorge, Esarhaddon flipped to the next chapter, which was entitled "Of the Coming of the Great One."


As the first millennium of the Second Age drew to a close, the prosperity of the City of Rul drew the attention of a great Power. Like a man He appeared, but yet far fairer than any of the Race of Men who ever lived, with a majesty that radiated from His form like the coruscating light of a brilliant flame. So great was the magnificence of His finely honed physique and the beauty of His flowing copper hair and eyes of carnelian that singers were instantly moved to song and poets were compelled to write lengthy compositions praising His divine countenance and majestic bearing.

The Visitor told the citizens of Rul that He was an emissary of Melkor the Great, who had been worshipped by the first Men in the East and whom the faithful still revered, and that He had chosen to bestow His favor upon the land and all who dwelt within its borders. "Truly are the people who dwell in this land blessed, for in ancient days before the first Men awoke, Melkor the Great created this realm with the might of His powerful will and the skill of His own two hands," the Visitor proclaimed. "All that ye see about you are His creations: He formed the peaks and valleys of the mountains into encircling walls and bestowed life unto the Mountain of Fire. This realm is a holy place, having been exalted by the hands of the Lord of Arda, and, out of all the divers and beauteous places upon Middle-earth, I desire to make this land My home."

The people welcomed the Great One with open arms, feeling honored that a God had deigned to walk amongst them. Many gifts He bestowed upon both rich and poor – jewelry and adornments of exquisite workmanship, made from the finest gold and embellished with precious stones – and it was said that golden coins flowed from His hands as He waved to the adoring throngs who traveled from near and far to see Him. To the smiths and artisans of the city He brought new innovations in metallurgy and lapidary; to the architects, masons and engineers new advancements in craft and design; to the scholars and sages the secrets of the past and knowledge of the natural world. There was no skill or profession that the Great One did not influence and enrich, and the City of Rul flourished under His tutelage.


The rest of the chapter recounted the days of prosperity that the city enjoyed throughout the first half of the Second Age, and the dark periods of uncertainty that followed after the conflict with Númenor and the War of the Last Alliance. The proceeding chapter, entitled "Of the Gondorian Occupation of Northern Nurn," recounted the sixteen-hundred-year period in which Gondor set a watch over Mordor, and the struggles that the citizens of Rul endured as a conquered and subjugated people.

Esarhaddon continued flipping through the book, stopping when he came to a chapter entitled "Of the Rise of Khamûl, Shadow of the East." While the slaver preferred to reflect upon the Nazgûl as little as possible, he knew that Khamûl had been the ruler of Nurn for hundreds of years. One could not walk through the streets of the city of Turkûrzgoi without coming across at least one street or plaza named after the Shadow of the East, or a statue erected in his honor. When Sauron returned to Mordor in year 2941 of the Third Age, He took up leadership of Nurn, and Khamûl was named the new Lord of Dol Guldur in Sauron's absence. Although Khamûl now dwelt in the great forest far to the north, he still returned to his old kingdom from time to time.

Seeking to expand his knowledge, Esarhaddon continued reading.


After suffering from the ravages of the Great Plague, Gondor did not have enough soldiers to man all of the forts which guarded the vast empire. The Gondorian influence in Mordor gradually lessened until finally Minas Tirith disbanded all but the most western outposts. There was not much of a Gondorian presence left in Nurn anyway, for by that time, many of the Gondorians had mingled with the native population.

Without Gondorian control, many petty leaders arose, vying with one another for preeminence in Nurn. This was a dark and bloody period as rival groups fought for supremacy. Each man's hand was turned against the other, and murder and assassination were commonplace as order broke down, and the country was plunged into anarchy and chaos. During this time, trade and commerce suffered, a good many of the canals and irrigation ditches were left untended, and farming languished. Crops were often trampled under the marching footsteps of contending forces, or eaten by hungry soldiers and their beasts. A large part of those crops that were not destroyed were demanded by the victors as tribute. With a breakdown in civil order, bandits and robbers saw their opportunity to attack undefended villages, spreading terror as they robbed and raped through the countryside. Men hid and trembled in their houses, now hopeless victims in the struggle for power.

Then into this maelstrom of blood and strife rode a man whose past was shrouded in mystery and secrecy. When the sun arose one morning, his army covered the plain, a blot against the rising sun. No one knew who he was or what land he had called home, and for want of a better name, the Nurniags called him the Shadow of the East. No weapon could kill the Easterling, and it seemed that he possessed life unending. Bogged down with their own bloody feuds, the petty warlords were unable to join together to fight against his troops. Disgruntled from years of oppressive rule, many of the native Nurniags came over to join the army of the Easterling. With his numbers swollen by disillusioned men, the stranger's forces were invincible, sweeping across the plain, claiming villages and towns. In one savage, bloody battle after another, his forces were victorious, and soon he was in control of all the Nurnian provinces.

After uniting all the land into one central kingdom, Khamûl, the Shadow of the East, proclaimed himself as King of Nurn. He soon set the country to order, rebuilding damaged towns and fortresses; restoring the irrigation ditches; and naming his top men as rulers and chiefs under his able administration. Trade once again began to flourish, and an almost dreamlike sense of peace and prosperity descended upon the land. The only threats to his kingdom were the city of Minas Ithil and the Gondorian outposts along the Ephel Duath, but they were too far away to pose a real danger.

For over one hundred and twenty years, Khamûl had ruled Nurn with his brother Zagbolg as his chief vizier, until one day a king from a distant land arrived upon the border of his kingdom with a haggard host of battle-worn soldiers and tattered refugees. This king was none other than the Lord of the Nazgûl, who was without a country since his old kingdom of Angmar had fallen to a combined onslaught by Elves and the Dúnedain of Arnor. Calling upon ancient alliances forged in the previous age, the Witch-king had a proposition for Khamûl. While the Black Easterling would continue to rule Nurn, he would welcome the Witch-king and the Angmarim into his kingdom as honored guests, and agree to participate in a grand scheme to summon forth the rest of the Nazgûl and eventually assail Minas Ithil.

Khamûl was insulted by this proposal, for he considered the Witch-king's motivations for taking Minas Ithil to be rooted in a desire for personal revenge against King Eärnur, and he was loath to provoke conflict with the Gondorians for a fight that was not his own. After the defeat of their Master in the War of the Last Alliance, the Nazgûl had gone their separate ways, and it had been many years since Khamûl had last heard from his old captain. He also hesitated to wage war against the ancient enemies of his Master without first obtaining his Master's approval. Refusing the Witch-king's proposition, Khamûl gave orders that the guards stationed along Nurn's eastern border were to refuse entry to the Angmarim.

The Witch-king was not pleased by Khamûl's response, and war soon broke out between the Nurniags and the Angmarim. After a series of bloody struggles, Khamûl was driven farther and farther north until finally he and his remaining forces were bottled up in Rul, where the Witch-king laid siege to the city. The walls of the fortress were strong, over ten feet thick, the foundations set deep into the earth, and girded with powerful sorcery. Confident that the walls were formidable enough to withstand even the Witch-king, Khamûl refused to surrender the city. The people had nothing to fear, Khamûl assured them, for he was a sorcerer with magic more than sufficient to defend the stronghold. No matter how long the siege lasted, no one would go hungry, for he had ordered that great quantities of food and wine be stockpiled. There was an ample supply of water from the city's wells, and they could hold out indefinitely. In spite of these assurances, the populace was terrified of the Angmarim which surrounded Rul. They muttered in low tones against the city's rulers when they were in the privacy of their homes, and waited in fear for the Witch-king to launch his forces at the city.

Weeks passed and the siege dragged on. Though the city was surrounded, the forces of the Witch-king made no attempt to storm the citadel's walls. Khamûl was baffled at this, and as he walked along the battlements one evening, he could see the lights of the campfires and torches of the invaders spread out all across the plain. The night had grown unseasonably chill, and a cool breeze was blowing which bespoke of frost. As he peered across the plain at the enemy campfires, he felt a premonition grip his soul. He watched in dread as a pale mist whipped up, driving white crystals across the plain and obliterating the sight of the enemy fires. He could hear frightened screams coming from all across the city as the people looked up in terror at the skies, where the first snow that any of them had ever seen was falling upon the arid land.

An hour later, Zagbolg, his face tense and grim, rushed up to Khamûl, and as he spoke, he tried to hide his growing alarm. The news from across the city was not good. Many people, frightened at the strange display from the heavens, had left their homes and were running wildly through the streets, screaming hysterically that the end of the world had come. Riots and fighting had swept through the city, and though the city guards were experienced fighters, they were having difficulty controlling the violence. At least two fires were raging, and wicked men who were willing to make a profit out of the misery of others were looting shops and homes. Other men and women, more righteous, had fallen to their knees, praying to the Great One to stop the white death from the skies. Believing that there was no hope, some took their own lives, jumping from the rooftops to crash upon the snow-covered streets, their bright red blood like strawberry jam smeared upon fresh white bread.

Khamûl and Zagbolg could hear the angry cries of the mob which had gathered below the citadel. They demanded that the leaders surrender the city, anything to stop the snow. The people of Rul did not even have a word for the strange white substance which was falling in blowing sheets from the sky, burying some of the huts in drifts which were several feet deep. The angry crowd grew louder, muttering and threatening to storm the citadel if their demands were not met. Soldiers were sent out to drive them away, but not before a number of skulls were cracked, and one guard was stabbed in the shoulder. A sense of impending doom hung over the city, and the number of rioters swelled as more despairing people took to the streets in armed gangs to rob, pillage and rape. By then, fires were raging out of control over the city, and the bucket brigades tried unsuccessfully to keep them from spreading.

As Khamûl gazed down at the pandemonium in the streets, he knew that the Witch-king must have a hand in all this. He was on the verge of leading his personal bodyguard into the streets in an attempt to restore order when his keen ears heard the strident blast of a trumpet loud and clear across the plain. A vision of his own death flashed through his mind, and violent shudders twisted his body. As a feeling of intense despondency overwhelmed his whole being, he gripped the parapet to keep from fainting. He was unprepared for the violent explosion that rocked through the fortress walls and knocked him sprawling to the floor. Zagbolg was shrieking something about the gates of the city being blown to pieces, but Khamûl barely heard him. The Black Easterling tried to steady his wild surging thoughts as he waited for what he knew would happen next. Donning his armor and girded with a gleaming sword, he called for his horse and rode out to meet his king... and his destiny.

Khamûl inhaled deeply of the fresh, cold air, so sweet smelling after the heavy mingled odors of man and beast in the city. Behind him, he could hear the screaming as the riots continued to rage, and death claimed more and more victims. Smoke and flame boiled from burning buildings, rising into the night sky and turning the falling snow to amber phantoms. He found the Witch-king some distance from Rul, alone, with no heavily armed escort of men to guard him. The two men were silent as Khamûl rode closer.

"My lord," he gasped, sliding from his horse and touching his face against the snow-covered ground before the Witch-king's fiery-eyed horse, "I surrender! The city is yours! All of Nurn is yours! Everything I have – my possessions, my property, my wealth, my women, even my horses – now belongs to you! I beg of you – let me live, and I will be your slave forever!"

His head bowed, his face hidden in the folds of his cloak, the Witch-king seemed coldly remote. Khamûl dared to raise his head to look up at his chief, fully expecting to see the Witch-king's raised mace coming down for the kill. Instead, his captain sighed wearily and shifted his position in the saddle.

"The problem when performing a spell of this magnitude is that it leaves you exhausted for some hours. Blasting the iron gates to pieces was really quite simple, but creating a snowstorm from the desert dew is another matter entirely." The Witch-king's voice sounded tired. "I know you are familiar with the sensation, Khamûl, for you were quite a sorcerer in your own land. Your mind, your whole body, your very soul feels depleted, as though all the strength has been sucked out of you. It is at times like this when I feel vulnerable."

Khamûl looked up nervously at his commander, and was terrified when the Witch-king's ebony steed's red eyes glowed brighter as it angrily tossed up great piles of snow with a front hoof. The wind had shifted direction, and the acrid smoke from the burning city tormented Khamûl's sensitive nostrils. He had lain in the snow for some minutes, and though his own cloak had grown sodden, not a single snowflake had settled on either his master's cloak or armor. While the city had fallen, there was no lessening in intensity in the storm, and if anything, it seemed to have grown worse.

"My lord," Khamûl coughed, almost choking on his words, "perhaps you did not hear me, but I have promised to be your slave, if only you show me mercy. I also speak for Lord Zagbolg on this."

"My slave?" The Witch-king laughed. "You and all the rest of you have always been my slaves, given unto my hands by the Master as long as you are useful to me. The only question now is do you still have a use."

The Witch-king's eyes met Khamûl's, and the lesser wraith trembled as he felt his senses being drawn into their scarlet depths. For an instant, his surroundings faded away, and he felt himself spinning through the distant reaches of space, cold and dark as the starless Void. He knew his life hung in the balance, and soon he would either be dead or so heavily bewitched by the Witch-king's spells that he might as well be dead. "Yes, your slave, my lord," Khamûl almost whimpered. "I was a fool ever to defy you! Can you pardon my folly and grant me forgiveness?"

"On your feet, Khamûl!" The Witch-king's voice sliced across the darkness as deadly as a sword cleaving flesh. "You are disgusting when you grovel."

"Yes, my lord," Khamûl stammered as he struggled to his feet and brushed the snow from his armor and cloak.

"Forgiveness does not come that easily, Khamûl." The Witch-king's eyes were glowing sparks of fire as he looked down at the other wraith. "I came seeking your aid, but I was met by treachery. You have strayed far from the path of wisdom and grown vain and proud."

Walking unsteadily to his commander, Khamûl bent his head and placed a kiss of fealty on his lord's hand. "Please accept this renewal of my oath of loyalty to you. I pledge my sword, my life, my all, if you would only let me serve you and prove that I can still be of use. Only give me the opportunity."

Thus the power in Mordor flowed from Khamûl's hand to that of the Morgul Lord.


Esarhaddon's attention was drawn away from the book by the arrival of one of the inn's servants, who had come to inform him that Chief Auctioneer Tuzug had arrived at last. Soon Esarhaddon, Ganbar, and Khaldun were gathered in the small meeting room that the slaver had reserved for his council with Tuzug. The men were seated around a large wooden table, their goblets filled to the brim with a particularly sweet Nurnian wine. Servants waited along the sides of the room to attend to their needs, and a small ensemble of musicians softly played a cheerful melody from behind a latticed screen.

"An excellent vintage, my lord." Closing his eyes, Tuzug first savored the wine's bouquet before taking a small sip.

"The landlord of the Black Swan prides himself upon running an excellent establishment." Glancing at the tray of fruit on the table, Esarhaddon chose a ripe peach. "Delicious," he murmured, careful to dab a napkin at the little bit of juice which escaped his lips. "The man never leaves anything to chance."

"I am impressed, Shakh," Tuzug agreed, glancing around at the tastefully furnished meeting room. "The colors of the tile in this chamber are quite pleasing, a subtle pattern of blue, orange and white. If I judge correctly, he has ordered them specially made at the big kiln in Turkûrzgoi."

"So I have heard," Esarhaddon agreed. "While it cannot compare to the inn's feasting hall, this small meeting chamber is quite pleasing to the eye." He paused, a grim chuckle coming to his throat. "It is certainly better than the dungeons of Cirith Ungol or Lug Aanzaabr."

"I recall you mentioning those incidents in your letters," Tuzug remarked, shaking his head in disbelief at all that had befallen Esarhaddon over the course of the journey. "You were lucky to have survived so many misfortunes!"

"This whole venture has seemed cursed," Esarhaddon muttered, a scowl darkening his features as he stared into his wine goblet. "Nothing but delay after delay… first there was that escape attempt, which resulted in the death of one woman, and the loss of two others and three children. Then there were all of the troubles with the uruks, and all of the death and destruction they caused."

"Shakh Esarhaddon," Tuzug leaned forward, taking in every word that his employer said, "in the time I have worked for the House of Huzziya, never have I encountered such difficulties as you faced upon this journey!"

"It is my hope that the sales on auction day will negate some of the losses, although nothing can replace the slaves who escaped or were killed," Esarhaddon remarked, sighing heavily. "But we must look to the future and not dwell in the past. We have much to discuss concerning the upcoming auction."

A smile softened the tense lines upon Tuzug's pudgy face. "The arrival of the caravan and the first of the Rohirric slaves from the North is greatly anticipated in Turkûrzgoi. As you requested in your missives, I have instructed the town criers to mention the caravan frequently, to drum up anticipation and keep tension high."

"Good, good," Esarhaddon nodded. "Unless some unforeseen disaster befalls us, the caravan should arrive in the city in six days' time. Tomorrow morning, I want you to ride like the wind for Turkûrzgoi and announce the date of the caravan's arrival. I plan to host several auctions, each one a week apart, to give potential buyers from other regions more time to travel to the city."

"My lord, it will be as you command." Tuzug bowed his head respectfully.

Next Chapter

Previous Chapter
Main Index