Ordinarily, the gigantic temple among the decaying ruins of Gallides’ Temple District might have been a foreboding place, made all the more so by the woods that had sprung up since that part of the city was abandoned centuries ago and the great wall that still sealed it off from the rest of the world.

But Sen, once a Circlemaiden priestess of Quinas, and her uneasy ally Arckain, once a dagger-for-hire and cutpurse of the same, were not to be dissuaded. Their pursuers, after all, were far more horrifying than any ruin. And they were seeking the only allies that might aid them agains those impossible odds.

After scaling the wall and finding the semi-collapsed entrance, Sen paused to read a monumental inscription in the temple’s dusty but mostly intact entrance nave:

YOU TREAD WITHIN THE SANCTUARY OF GALLIDES
BE OF PEACE WITHIN THIS ABODE
BRING NOT WAR INTO ITS HALLS
AND ALL SHALL BE WELL

“A sanctuary of peace protected by walls,” Sen said. “It’s…touching…in its purity.”

“Remember Quinas?” Arckain sneered. “The Maidens of the Circle?”

“Those were the happiest days of my life,” said Sen, wistfully. “How could I forget?”

“That crusty old religion run by crusty old women was all about being super peaceful and against war and whatnot. And you saw what that led to.” Arckain wasn’t native to Quinas–he was a Hacenian by birth–but years of plying his trade of stealing and killing for hire in the seedy underworld of his adopted town had given him a healthy distaste for it. His parents, who had spirited him out of Hacen to save his life, at the cost of their own, probably had no such an outcome in mind.

“We were naive. We were isolated, protected by the wall. And we had no idea how deeply the other kingdoms had been infiltrated and subverted by the Legion.” Sen said.

“Ah, yes. Quinas: the last bastion of freedom in the Six Kingdoms, with doors open to all warriors who would lend it their sword and convert to the teachings of the Maidens of the Circle,” Arckain sneered. “I remember that old lie well even as I was sneaking in and out of the city. Freedom and protection as long as you do what they do and say what they say and never try to leave is hardly different than slavery. I bet this place put a lot of stock in its walls too, and look how easily we bypassed them.”

“Can we talk about something else? Please?” said Sen, shuddering at the thought of that horrible day when her home of Quinas had fallen to the Alliance of the Four Kingdoms and enemy warriors had battered down the door to the Maidens’ citadel.

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