54th day of Harvest, Lufseap, Bechia

Aena is in trouble.

Last night, we entered the city by means of a little unguarded postern gate. Mercy said it was probably only used during sieges, because it had been locked and left alone for a long time. They’d found the keys to it and the guardroom beside it. There was a winch in there for raising and lowering the door’s miniature portcullis.

The city of Lufseap is not unlike Kil’ead. The stone-and-slat houses web their way around the keep. They are tall, most of them two floors tall or higher. Unlike Kil’ead, though, there is only one main road. Some of the doors swung to and fro in the night breeze. Mercy told us that parts of the city are empty; a number of the houses were said to be cursed. I kept out of the city’s shadows as much as possible.

Mercy took us to an inn, where we left the horses, then led us to a house a few blocks away. She knocked at the door. Presently, a cloaked, hooded figure opened it from within. He had a sword in his hand. “Get in, quick,” he said.

The room was bare – completely empty, except for a lonely lantern on the floor. Mercy went through a door to the left and opened a trapdoor. Cedric and I followed her down into a cellar that looked a lot like the order’s tent. There was more equipment and armor and weaponry than scrolls, though.

The man who had met us was Beren, second-in-command of Aena’s group. “She’s gone,” he said. His sword shook in his hand. “I took her to the other house, to be safe, then came to check here. When I went back, there were soldiers all around. She’s gone…”

We could do nothing more that night, after the ride, so we took a few hours’ sleep.

Today, Cedric and I went out into the streets to listen for rumors. Caleb, Mercy, and Beren stayed in hiding. I left my crown and sword with them; we didn’t want any more attention than we could help. We didn’t hear anything useful. Whispers about spies, mutters about foreigners. Cedric says we will have to find a way into the keep if we don’t hear soon.

It seems like so very long ago when I sneaked into King Odyssen’s castle to free Eliana. It even feels like so very long since I was with her last.