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Gathering Intel on the Desert Land [UC Training/Private]

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Vavantine wiped the sweat from her brow and wrapped her shawl a bit tighter over her head, covering her recently dyed hair. The hot desert wasteland made her skin wet with perspiration and her tongue dry like the air she breathed. There had been no luck finding King Lagi’s contact, the one named Namir, and without knowing what he looked like the search felt even more futile. The young Imuchakk couldn’t sit around doing nothing or continue to aimlessly wander the shifting sands. There had to be a little town somewhere near, right? Maybe close to an oasis of some sort.

The Imuchakk looked around, carefully scrutinizing the area. In the distance, there was a shimmering caused by the intense heat that distorted the image of what looked to be a gleaming town which sparkled radiantly. Vavantine knew about the possibility of the town being a mirage but it was better to go to something that looked tangible instead of going toward an empty section of the desert, right?

Thankfully, after some stumbling over sand dunes, Vavantine arrived at the city ─the one which she thought was a town ─ and collapsed in a tavern. Some people looked at her with curiosity, some with worry, but it wasn’t long until Vavantine pushed herself up and went over to the bartender, an elderly-looking man that probably hadn’t aged a day over sixty, meaning that his white hair and wrinkles probably derived from stress. “Water…. Water, please.”

The bartender chuckled a bit as he gave her some water. “You’re a tall one, aren’t ya? And not from around here if you think you can travel the desert without water. Where’re you from? Kou? Balbadd? Imuchakk?” He paused before adding a single syllable word that dripped with venom. “Reim?”

The Imuchakk looked up from her emptied cup. Was Reim a bad place to come from? Or did Heliohapt have some trouble with Reim in the past? She wiped her mouth as she held the cup to the man for more water. “I’m just rather tall for my height and come from different places. Just a traveller wanting to see the sights this world has to offer. What’s wrong with Reim? Does Heliohapt and Reim have some bad blood between each other or something?”

“I just don’t like Reim. We, meaning Reim and Heliohapt, have never really been allies, much less friends. We have fought for the land between our countries, and those wars are still fresh on my mind. Then there was the incident that happened twenty-five years ago. The younger generations wouldn’t remember, but I and those who were alive and aware remember that dark day. Of course, it’s not so bad now.” The bartender filled the cup once more.


“Well, the damage caused has been repaired, so now we’re thriving more. Plus, I’ve heard that there’s been a mysterious building that appeared somewhere out in the shifting sands though. It’s brought quite a few tourists and some good profits.”

Profits. Vavantine narrowed her eyes. Was he referring to the slave business? Or the mundane business? Either way, Vavantine had her own business in Heliohapt she needed to get done. “I see. So, nothing out of the ordinary has happened? No strange instances where people are abducted or murdered? Mass gatherings of suspicious looking people?”

The bartender raised a brow. “Look, missy, this is Heliohapt. It wouldn’t surprise me or anyone else if people went missing one day to be seen a slave the next. We did have those strange murders a while ago, but those have long ceased and have nothing to do with you. I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but if you’re snooping, I’d suggest you stop now before you get into trouble. Keep your head low if you know what’s good for you.”

The young Imuchakk frowned, not quite understanding if that was a threat or just some friendly advice from a stranger. Regardless, she’d have to tread these hot sandy seas with more caution than previously thought. One wrong move, word, or even sidelong glance could cause her to win the fabulous prize of blistering linked metal bracelets and anklets.

“I’ll be sure to keep that in mind, sir. Thank you for the warning and drink,” Vavantine said with a small smile as she dropped some gold on the counter. She left and looked around.

There were slaves even in the middle of nowhere. They did much of the menial chores like carrying baskets, doing laundry, and the like. Not a single one of them spoke a word and they all wore the same hopeless expressions with those clanking shackles jangling at their bruised feet and sometimes even hands. How could anyone live like that? How could there be people out there that thought of others as nothing but pieces of property to be used until they were disposable garbage left to rot under this scorching heat for the buzzards to devour? It made Vavantine sick to her stomach. She remembered the poor noble daughters that were kidnapped to be sold into slavery. At least they could be saved since they were still on Reim soil, but here? Slavery was legal and Vavantine could do nothing but watch these poor people suffer and waste away without ever knowing what freedom felt like. Maybe one day she’d help them be free, but right now wasn’t the time.

Out of the corner of her vision, she saw a group of men closely huddled together outside a covered carriage. She watched them discretely when something caught her attention. A tattoo peeked out from a man’s sleeve, and though she couldn’t get a good look, it seemed familiar to the one King Lagi pointed out once before.

One man went to the front while another went inside, leaving the other two or three to disperse among the crowd. When the carriage began to move, so did Vava as she attempted to follow. She weaved her way through the crowd, trying to make herself look shorter so she didn’t stand out, but that was hard to do when she stood at 6.5 feet, practically a foot taller than most women or teenage girls. However, when the carriage turned into a corner, there was nowhere to hide. Nobody was there. It was just her and the carriage in an abandoned alley, away from the eyes of others.

It’s a trap. It has to be, Vavantine thought. I have to get out of here. Yet when she turned, a flash from a piece of metal glinting under the sunlight greeted her before darkness swallowed her whole and she fell, hitting her head against a stone wall as her lip body crashed into empty crates.

UC Training WC: 1,120/1,000


Gathering Intel on the Desert Land [UC Training/Private] 0WmUfDe

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