Reign of Winter: Monkey Monk and the Funky Bunch

Warm Hearth, Cold Guest

Yrax, Lord of the Howling Storm, is in a foul mood. As he hastens toward the courtyard, he shoots a withering glance at his seneschal. “I blame you for teaching him to speak.” The seneschal keeps his head lowered, hurrying to match Yrax’s long strides. The howling from the courtyard continues unabated.

When Yrax finally steps out into the near-blinding sun, he immediately spots the large and ungainly silhouette of Iantor clutching one of the old ice pillars and bellowing into the sky.

“I’m here, Iantor!” he shouts, hoping his own formidable voice can be heard over that of his mutant child. “What’s all this racket?” Iantor, hearing Yrax, ceases his noise and breaks into a toothy, idiot grin.

“I cappered summat!” Iantor declares.

“You… what?” Yrax asks.

“I cappered it. Like yuh said. I didden kill it, I cappered it. Wif chains.” The seneschal gives Yrax a lost look. Yrax sighs.

“Good, Iantor. Good. We can use captives sometimes. Show me.”

Iantor reaches one thick, tree-like leg down from the column and nudges the cluster of guards below him. The guards in front part, revealing amidst them a figure draped in heavy furs, bound with thick resin chains. Yrax starts forward to address the captive. As he does so it raises its cloaked head, and two eyes like chips of ice peer out from under the hood.

Yrax stops in his tracks. “Oh you stupid boy,” he breathes.

“I cappered it!” Iantor proclaims again. “Wif chains!”

“Yes, Iantor, you did. Next we must teach you that sometimes even chains won’t help you.” He motions toward the guards. “Unbind our guest.” Confused, they look up to Iantor.

“But… but dah… I cappered it!” Iantor stammers. “You said to capper things instead uh kill ’em, and I cappered it.”

“Unbind our guest now.” He speaks quietly, but there is something in his voice—could it be just the faintest tinge of fear?—that compels the guards to comply, and Iantor to keep his silence. As the guards struggle with their keys, however, the chains fall suddenly and noisily to the ground. A broad, snaggle-toothed grin emerges from the depths of the hood.

“Little Yrax,” a voice croaks, “been awhile.”

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