"Sir, word has reached us from the Moat."

The general didn't even bother looking up from the hunk of lamb he was devouring.

"Reports of a young woman. Dark hair, fierce eyes, good with a blade. It sounds like... do you think it could be her?"

"Nonsense!" Scoffed the general, glugging down a goblet of wine. "That scrawny rodent would have perished in the harsh sands years ago."

"Well, our source spotted a blade of the Cintari tribe in her hand as she fought in the arena."

That grabbed the general's attention. He thoughtfully swallowed a half-chewed chunk of meat and scratched his scraggly beard.

"Nobody lasts long in the arena. Even if by some miracle it is her, she won't get very far."

"She's won 17 matches already, sir."


"Yes, sir."

He rose from the banquet table, assuming a stern posture with hands clasped behind his back. The illusion of bravery was wasted on the lieutenant, who immediately noticed the slight quivering of his bottom lip.

"It can't be her. It's simply not possible. It's probably just some merc making quick cash for a Moat bender."

"That's the thing, sir. Our source followed her back to the treasury and overheard the bookie asking how she was planning to spend her coin."

"What did she say?"