Swaho sat rubbing his temples. He had pushed away the plate of venison and bowl of chick pea stew when he got the news. He would have them throw the scraps to the ogre he kept as a pet, for whenever someone needed to disappear. Keeping the thing starved kept it viscious. The King would not like this news. Their lifeline to the Teiden and the rest of the Irilenes had been cut, and with it went their ability to summon armies from Iris, and their immunity from the tribesmen of Krutargga. They had not received a message from the homelands in a few months, and it was almost winter. "Bring me a scribe. I would rather a messenger brought this news to the King, but if I must, I will take the news to him myself. Best have it written that I might not stutter." The Boyking of Ari was an arrogant, unwizened fool. Swaho had wished the mother had chosen a Regent, rather than trusting her tool of a son to the throne. Some things were apparently destined to be. Like this unfortunate series of events, perhaps. "Why have the messengers stopped, Swaho?" The boy would surely ask. "We don't know, most wise King. We suppose perhaps pirates, or an Ogre party in the east." "Send our own messengers to find out, then," The boy would say. "We have already, my Lord, to no avail." Stupid boy. He never read the reports Swaho nor any of his other advisors offere, preferring instead to attend to the duties of his latest harem. "Well then, send more. If you have to send a fist of spearmen to clear whatever obstructions stop all attempts at communication." "As you command, my Lord." Better to send a fist of horse, but the boy would listen to neither wisdom nor common sense. A fist of spearmen it would have to be. After the fact, Swaho had decided to leave with the party of Spearmen, on the long march around the round coast. Months later they had arrived. They met a Gurkish contingent the first day beyond the Gellir Ridge, long beyond what he had been told was their sphere of control. After a devastating battle, the captured Gurks answered folly to his question. Talk of an invasion, ten-thousand fold, whole tribes moving onto the Teiden river, burning and sacking Irilene and Obayonid villages as they went. Swaho would never make it as far as Iris. He would be killed by a stray arrow from a Gurkish marksman, but fortunately he had ordered a handful of Spearmen back to Ari. They would learn of the travesties in the Teiden valley, and send help. Or maybe not. Foolish Boyking.