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f all the things Erkinwhine hated (and there were many) he hated rain most. Now, here he was in the Jungles of Varossa where it seemed to do nothing else. He offered a quiet appreciation of the awning overhead; at least he was dry. That couldn't be said for the masses of amazons who were congregating around the Temple of Arragoth. They were wet and, he imagined, miserable. "Arragoth!!!", he cursed aloud. Quite a bit was riding
on their reaction to what they were about to hear. This weather probably wasn't going to help his cause. The crowd began to settle as a young priestess came out to greet them.

"Welcome," she said in a voice so soft and lovely as to make the birds stop and take notice. In a moment, all
was quiet. "Our king wishes us to know that he intends to see that we have nothing to fear from the return of Arragoth. As our High-Priest, he says that it has given him great displeasure to find that Varossa is alone among the isles making tributes to the sleeping immortal. So, from this day forth, we will no longer do so ...."

A great roar began to rise up from the croud as hundreds of voices spoke at once. She had anticipated their
reaction and waited for an opportunity to continue. After some time she asked for and received quite. She proceded. "Tonight there will be a great feast. We will celebrate our new freedom and sing songs to Arragoth and let him know that he can no longer drink our fear ...."

Again she was interrupted, this time by a lone voice. "If we don't offer our sacrafices to Arragoth, who will
save us from his wrath? Does our great king plan to stike him with a scepter as well?"

Erkinwhine was up in an instant, leaning against the railing and straining his eyes in search of the owner of
that lone voice, while the people of Varossa enjoyed a hardy laugh at his expense.

Again quiet was restored at the suggestion of the pretty young priestess. "Our own Jasmine will spare us his
wrath," she said when the crowd was still once more. "In the very place Arragoth's temple now stands, we will errect a beautiful temple to our fair Jasmine. We will reward her sacrafice with our worship. We will give her strength in the afterlife to aid us in our battle with Arragoth. Our beloved High-Priest will teach us how."

The people of Varossa were at a loss for how to react. This was certainly not the news they were expecting.
If she had announced that taxes would be doubled, or that the Lord Mayor had been thrown from the tower balcony, they would have been more at ease.

Suddenly, the crowd parted and a tall stranger appeared. He was at once recognized by the young priestess as
the famous amazon paladin, Hawk. She introduced him to the crowd and he was greeted with a great ovation. He climbed the temple steps then turned to face his eager audience. "I am a man of few words," he shouted, "I usually let my sword speak for me. News of our king has traveled far and tales are told of his deeds. One doesn't quite know how to take this Erkinwhine. But I think he intends to do the amazon people a great favor and rid the world once and for all of the evil Arragoth." He raised his mighty sword above his head and began waving it in circles. "I would gladly join his cause, if your king would have me."

With this one gesture a lone hero had washed away all of Erkinwhine's worries. For a month he had wondered
about the future. Now, not even the rain could dampen his hopes. Come what may, Erkinwhine is ready ....