Shcyba, the towering, well-built Hayacrian, walked into the official chamber which was once held by the king of the land – the king who was nothing but a bloodied mess once Shcyba had ripped out his throat. The message to the people of Esk-Debari had been loud and clear when their king’s body was found beside the common well: there was place for only one supreme authority in the desert.
At present, Shcyba showed none of the traits of being that authority.
He was a merely a shadow of the man he was a few days ago. His twelve generals and their lieutenants watched him walk without intent, aloof and barely paying heed to their presence. He finally stopped moving and stared at nothing on the stone wall.
“There, ” Shcyba said pointing his finger. “There was a…seat waiting for me. ”
The men stood perplexed, exchanging glances.
One of Shcyba’s most trusted generals, Agrushai, walked upto him. “Did you not sleep well?” he asked in a very low voice.
“…I cannot be sure… ”
“Spare me your valuable time, Shcyba. I want to know if I can be of any help. ”
The Hayacrian leader looked at Agrushai indifferently, and then contemplated before giving a slight nod.
“…a vision you say?” Agrushai asked.
They were inside one of the many chambers of the palace. Shcyba was wandering about the sun-lit room, slow paced, occasionally sitting down on the expensive mattress on the floor, at times standing by the wooden window to gaze at the vast desert that never kept to one shape owing to the wind.
“…a vision, yes, because I know the difference between reality and a dream,” Schyba replied.
Agrushai kept himself in check, but was certainly disturbed at Shcyba’s odd demeanor. The mellow that had replaced his gruff voice was difficult to digest. His wandering eyes were no longer bloodshot and resolute as they were previously. There was no doubt something terrible had happened to him during the capture of Esk-Debari.
“But where is this place you speak of?”Agrushai asked. “How do you expect us to find it?”
“Bharata,” Shcyba replied, reading out of his thoughts. “We will have to march south-east…across the desert…past the mountains…”