Book One: Chapter One

Month OF Mist

Chapter 1 The Hidden Lake

Darkness descended on the capital city Trolipolitus. It was a night of the new moons, a rare night for the eastern empire of Trolvania. The night of a triple new moon. Every six months in all of their revolutions around the Ourantith, the three moons lined up within the world’s shadow.

The night was still. Clouds obscured the skies, a thick mist covered the night and not a single star was visible. It was the month of Mist. Every day beginning at the 20th hour of the Misty month, mist enveloped the lands and remained until sunrise, which started on the fourth hour of the day in Trolvania. The only lights were the occasional street lantern of a tavern or inn.

During the 39th hour of Etheriodie, on the 10th of the Month of Mist, fourteen men gathered in the basement of the Hidden lake canteen. Their group was one of many that functioned outside of the laws of the kingdom, requiring an establishment that ensures anonymity of any guests who visit. They were going to discuss recent events in the capital which could potentially endanger many citizens. Before we further discuss our fourteen guests, we should perhaps discuss the Hidden Lake Canteen in further detail.

The Hidden Lake Canteen requires its own introduction. Being a fairly large tavern in the outskirts of the Trolvania capitol, Trolipolitus, it was the center of crime and debauchery within the capital. It appeared a normal pub for the average resident in the capital. Average resident of course means the rich merchant class and higher—the people who count. Many of these citizens of Trolvania generally deluded themselves—or would have one believe they deluded their selves—to believe they lived in a just society; they believed their government was fair; they believed all criminals were justly prosecuted by law.

If one visited the Hidden Lake Canteen and they knew its true nature, they could witness the dark side of Trolvania. The business reeked of illegal, from the runaway slaves who operated it to the central position it held in the black market. Hanna and Ellis the two youngsters who opened the tavern were quite business savvy and their position in the pub gave them immunity from their former holders. It was frequented by merchants, members of guilds, slave traders, assassins, thieves and other lawless persons-which included their former holders—who acquired slaves illegally through the former hub of black market trade.

The department of commercial activities, a governmental office was the former hub of black market trade. The scandal was revealed publicly. All officials in the department were decapitated all lesser employees were enslaved and sold by the Trolvania government. It was then renamed the Department of Production and Trade. Records of the department of commercial activities were removed from all repositories, government libraries, even archived publications and libraries in personal homes. After all, when any inconvenient dark mark gets left in Trolvania history the kingdom always saw fit to conveniently remove all traces of it.

Though this scandal ended the department of commercial activities role in the black market, the black market did not stop. However, the new Department of Production Trade played only a minor role in the market. The timing for the opening of the Hidden Lake Canteen coincided with the need for a new central hub in black market business deals. The intelligent youngsters who ran the business had made many allies within the capital who helped them build a place which provided security and anonymity to all who entered. One would witness the true corruption of the Government of Trolvania in the canteen where officials and criminals alike conducted black market deals well out of the reaches of the palace and the public eye. All who went there were immune from the law of the land.

Having a non-descript exterior, the tavern was a stone building with windows and a door with a simple sign above it. Inside it was quite luxurious and large for a tavern on the outskirts of the capitol. It covered an Arbshare of land—a rather large plot of land. From the outside, it was a three floor structure. The first floor was a bar. On the second floor were two bars and restaurants on one side. There was a secret entrance to the second floor leading to a brothel that serviced men and women of all social classes. It provided maximum anonymity to all customers.

On the third level were two entrances. One would find simple inexpensive overnight rooms through one entrance. Through the other were rooms for wealthy or important overnight guests.

Famous for its luxurious suites and good service to all guests, even the King was aware that the Hidden Lake Canteen was the best place to send guests for a long stay. From the friendly environment to the easy access to horses and carriages at the horse ranch next door—there was a partnership between the establishment and the ranch.
It is in the hidden side of the canteen where our Fourteen guests are meeting. It is well… not much suited for the light.

The real hidden lake of the canteen was accessible through a hidden entrance accessible by no less than seven maze-like paths. It was separated from the workrooms and main office of the canteen owners by a wall constructed of two layers of thick oak with a 4cm thick wall of a steel and electrum alloy. Rendering the space completely soundproof from those on the other side of the wall excepting the main office. The main office was next to that entrance and connected by a door made from a layer of oak and a 2cm thick alloy. With a pane of glass crafted by master glass smith’s. Only from the main office would one be able to see the comings and goings through the hidden passage.

Connected to the main office was a break room/workspace specifically for the canteen owners and the nineteen. The nineteen were Hanna and Ellis’ most trusted and most skilled employees. All of them were former slaves and immune to their former holders as they were privy to all workings in the business and oversaw all operations within the hidden side of the canteen.

A secret entrance led to the basement of the canteen, a large maze of secret store rooms, and meeting rooms for conducting secret gatherings and business deals prize fights, gambling, and auctions. Entry and exit were tightly controlled through heavy security. Guards were armed with powerful weapons crafted by Palace blacksmiths.

Just like a frozen lake the canteen’s quiet surface disguised the currents beneath.