It was a misty morning in northern Serdio when Enji arrived at the fortress town of Hoax, his steel staff striking hard against the cobbled road. He smiled big as the guards sized him up. He waved gently to them, "Oh, hello again, my friends. Does the morning find you well?" Before he could enter, the guards blocked his entrance. He laughed and asked, "Expecting trouble from a kindly monk of Soa?"
The younger of the two guards sighed, "We apologize in advance. We are expecting Imperial Sandora to make a move on us tonight."
the older one scoffed, "And the last time you passed through, preacher, some supplies went missing." The guard tugged on Enji's robes, "We need you to remove your robe."
Enji's smile became more of an obligation than a greeting, speaking through his teeth, "As needs must." He removed his hood first, his striking red hair bringingcolor to the drab scenery. Removing the rest revealed a thick leather vest with a pair of iron bracers and iron shin guards over padded leather pants.
The older guard spat at him, "Pretty strapped for a man of God."
Enji replied without hesitation, "Soa protects those who protect others." The younger guard smiled kindly at this response as the search continued. All went smoothly, until the guard found a necklace string. Pulling it free from under Enji's shirt he grabbed the man's wrist, stopping the removal as a gem the color of cold steel dangled in the open. Enji growled, "That is not yours, Alverick. Now remove your hand before I make you."
The older guard froze, never having seen this side of the monk before. After catching his breath, he did as he was asked, sincerely replying, "I meant no harm, sir. Just keeping my men safe. We are at war."
The younger guard was surprised as well, Enji speaking quickly to right matters. "I'm sorry for the scare, Al. And, Bavo, don't worry. I couldn't hurt a fly, even with a rod like this." He tapped his steel rod against the stone wall. "May Soa guide your ways."
Bavo cleared his threat and requested, "Enji, could you join the men on guard duty tonight?" Enji paused as if to tell the young man again that their civil war was not his to become involved with, but before he could the young man hit a soft spot in him. "Some of us may not see the daylight again, and having a man of Soa there would bring them peace."
Enji let out a long sigh before he nodded, "I am no soldier, but if I can bring peace to these good men tonight, then I shall stay, Bavo. But you have to promise you will assist me with the dead at first light." When the young man nodded, Enji retrieved his robe, replacing it at his shoulders and entered the town.
Ages ago, years beyond counting, a young boy roamed the woods alone. A small dragon leapt out, seeking to make him its lunch. In a moment and a flash of dark light, a young woman struck it down. Slicing it open, she removed a shining gem. Turning to the red haired boy, a smile crossed her face and She then offered him her hand.