Kilthanis rose early and wandered the streets of Thax Tarkas, looking for an open air café where he could eat breakfast. He had noted yesterday that almost no one walked outside during the hours of the late afternoon. The heat was just too oppressive. As a result, the streets were bustling, despite the early hour.
He found a nice restaurant near the city’s main square and took a seat near the street. One thing Kilthanis truly enjoyed was people watching, and it was a habit he hadn’t been able to enjoy recently. He kept his ears open as he ate a large meal. The talk covered a variety of topics, as one would expect in a bustling port city. But he definitely detected a dark undertone whenever mention of the Emperor came up, which was surprisingly often.
It appeared that Erith’s assessment of the situation had been entirely accurate. If anything, it may have been understating the true state of affairs. The Imperial garrison in Thax Tarkas was somewhat larger than a typical garrison in a city this size. The patrols that wandered through the city were correspondingly large. Instead of the usual pair of guards that Kilthanis was used to seeing, Kilthanis had not seen a patrol of less than six armed men walking together.
Whenever they passed by, dark looks and mutters followed. He saw more than one man in imperial colors nervously fingering his sword hilt. It made Kilthanis nervous. All it would take was one hothead on either side and the city would erupt in an orgy of violence. While this might play into Kilthanis’s ultimate plans, he did not wish to be caught up in the middle of a civil war.
Truthfully, he had no desire to be starting one. He had spent his life working through the process enshrined in law to seek justice for his clients. But now, he saw that the system had been corrupted. The Emperor was on the verge of openly defying the decrees of the High Court, and even those decrees could not be counted on to be the result of reason and not personal animus toward one of the parties.
These dark thoughts threatened to overwhelm him. He felt alone, adrift in a sea of corruption, a lone beacon in the darkness. But if that was to be his lot, then he would embrace it. Someone had to stand up for what was right. Thus, he would do what had to be done – he would risk throwing the Empire into turmoil in order to try and save it.
But the first step would be to convince the people of Et’alash to join him. Only with the backing of the military orders could he hope to gather the manpower he would need to challenge the might of the Empire. And to do that, he would need the help of the Prince. Therefore, he would head deep into the jungles, to the capital in Thax Urdu. From there, he would launch his campaign to restore the forces of law and order to the Empire he so dearly loved.