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Call of the Herald

Within his cabin, General Dempsy adjusted his uniform, making
certain every medal was straight and every button oriented properly.
Moving automatically to counter the mo vements of the ship was
normally as natural to him as breathing, but he felt unsteady on his feet,
as if his years of sailing had suddenly been forgotten. It was not a feeling
he was accustomed to. At sea or just about anywhere on Godsland, his
power was undeniable, his orders obeyed without question. There was
one place, however, where his power was surpassed, and even a man of
his accomplishments must exercise great caution: Adderhold, seat of the
Zjhon empire. It was from there that Archmaster Belegra ruled with an
unforgiving will, and it was to there that General Dempsy was destined.
He had no reason to expect anything but a warm welcome, given his
success, but there was an uneasy feeling in his gut. Again, automatically,
he adjusted his uniform, as if a single stitch out of place could decide his
fate. The general cursed himself for such weakness, yet he jumped when
there came a knock at his cabin door. After cursing himself again, he
answered in his usual commanding tone: "Come."
Mate Pibbs presented himself and saluted. "Adderhold is within
sight, sir. We've been cleared by the sentry ships, and there is a slip
reserved for us. Do you wish to be on deck when we land, sir?"
General Dempsy nodded, and Mate Pibbs saluted again before
turning on his heel. To some the salute is a source of great pride and a
feeling of power, and most times General Dempsy felt much the same,
but on this day it felt like mockery. After a final check of his uniform, he
made his way to the prow. From there, he watched Adderhold grow
larger and more intimidating with every passing moment. It was a feeling
that should have passed long before, but the builders of Adderhold had
done their job well. The place looked as if it could swallow his entire
fleet in a single strike.
When they reached the docks, General Dempsy was unsure of what
to think. There was no fanfare; no throng awaited the returning army,
and there was not so much as a victory dinner to celebrate their conquest
of an entire continent. The Greatland was theirs to rule, yet Adderhold
bustled with preparations for war. Barges surrounded the island, and they
sat low in the water, piled high with grain and supplies, ready to
transport the goods to the waiting armada. These were not the usual
preparations for an assault on a coastal province. The scale of their