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In an unnamed city, a Magician woman encounters two orphaned boys. Recognizing the older as a fellow Magician, she muses aloud that, as Magicians, they have very little power in the world without a liege. A sinister plan is hatched...
Seventeen years after the events of the prologue, Conan Renaud awakens to find a strange man invading his space. The man, Din Duvent came to Conan's stable to hire a horse for his journey across the sea to Cymaria After the transaction is complete, Din also asks if Conan could join him as a guide. Conan refuses, but upon turning his back on the stranger, falls unconscious from a tranquilizing dart. Din looms over him, a second dart in hand, as the stablehand's vision fades to black.
Hours later, Conan wakes up on the back of a horse traveling northeast. More agitated than scared, Conan demands information from his kidnapper, noting that Din took the time to saddle up Conan’s favorite horse. Din unwillingly explains his ultimate goal: the destruction of the monarchy.
Stunned, Conan advises that he’s probably not going to be useful in this mission, but suggests they stop in Evenheim to rest and get supplies for the horse, Artemis (but also to make an opportunity to escape). Din refuses. Angered, Conan commands Din to take them to Evenheim and, surprisingly, Din complies, but with insistence that they only stay for the course of the dark hour.
Confused by the turn of events but void of complaints after surprisingly getting his way, Conan can only worry about the home and girlfriend he’s left behind.
Conan and Din arrive in Evenheim. Conan, while absorbing the sights, notices Din’s unease in the city. Din comments that he hasn’t been in Evenheim in some time, and tends to avoid the city, but Conan should at least feel at ease here. Indeed, Conan feels almost oddly safe in the city, despite being a stranger to it.
Hours later, the men are both asleep in the inn room. Conan is awakened by strange, whispering voices. Din, also awake now, pleads with Conan to not say anything. Moments later, a man enters the room through the open window and draws a blade.
Before the assassin can kill Conan, Din attacks with a magical blast. The assassin Pascal, realizing what he’s up against, flees.
After Din’s sparse explanation and a change of clothes, the men flee the city. Pascal nearly catches up and attempts to trap them behind the city gate, but Conan commands Pascal to let them escape, and he does.
In a concession towards Conan for the lack of information he’s received thus far, Din explains in part the nature of Magicians: those who can command daemons. As an example, he summons forth a bridge of stone to allow them to pass the narrow sea between them and Cymaria.
Before they cross, Din tells Conan to put on a protective amulet. As he touches the amulet, Conan suddenly feels lightheaded and collapses. Nevertheless, he wears the amulet as instructed...for now.
Halfway across the bridge, Din destroys the bridge behind them to prevent Pascal from following. He insists that Pascal will not be able to follow when Conan expresses concern, but doesn’t explain why. Conan, thoroughly irritated by the sparse information he’s received, asks if Din will explain everything if commanded to explain. His answer comes by way of death glare.
The men set up camp and, while Din isn’t looking, Conan removes the amulet.
Some time later, while the men sleep, Conan is awakened by his girlfriend, Lucie. Despite his memories to the contrary, they’re back on land, having never crossed the bridge in the first place. However, Conan realizes that the events of the last dark hour still occurred, meaning he’s still being chased by an assassin, and that Din may not truly be interested in protecting him.
To get out of Din’s earshot, Conan and Lucie move further from their camp, at which point it’s revealed that they were, in fact, on the bridge when Conan plunges into the ocean.
Underwater, Conan is assailed by translucent tentacles and the daemon of the ocean. While rifling through his memories, the ocean discovers something strange that terrifies them. Conan passes out underwater, seemingly doomed.
Conan wakes up to the sound of a man, presumably Din, and a feminine voice arguing over the lack of information Din’s given Conan. Din reminds him that he only drowned because he wasn’t wearing the amulet. Conan, in response, says that he can’t trust Din further without more information and commands Din to explain everything.
Din starts by introducing Conan to Altiria, the daemon of water, whom Conan recognizes as the one who tried to drown him. After some more bickering, Altiria explains the nature of Conan’s power and what he is: a Nobleman with the power to command Magicians. The explanation is cut short by the sudden reappearance of Pascal, who immediately attacks Conan.
Pascal, apologizing for the attack, explains that he doesn’t actually want to harm Conan and has an idea for averting his Obligation. Conan commands Pascal to hold off on attacking until noon, and they parley. Pascal offers the suggestion of marrying the queen of Cymaria, which would disqualify Conan from being the heir of Evenheim and therefore no longer relevant to Pascal’s Obligation to kill the Evenheim heir. Conan refuses, and Pascal resumes his attack.
Unwilling to trust Din with his life, Conan takes the lead and decides to stop Pascal himself. Conan yells a command to Pascal: "Hear me and obey; defy your order and leave me alone!
Blood bursts from Pascal's ears and the assassin collapses. Before Conan can comprehend what just took place, Din punches him to the ground, crying. Din, shaking, reveals that Conan has given Pascal a fatal command, and that Pascal is Din's brother.
Chapter five starts on 8/15/18.
Galebound © Madeleine Ethridge
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