Durek led them down the stormy streets of the Unnamed City. Anyone they passed or saw watched them with expressions that were not quite hostile, but far from welcoming, and had much fear in them. A single word about this place to an outsider could bring war to their small, peaceful city.
Durek walked down complex, winding streets with confidence, unerring. As he said, he knew the way; he had been here before, some time ago.
Before long, they were standing before perhaps the most unremarkable, unassuming building in the whole city. It had only stone supports, and was otherwise made of packed dirt that had been built up as walls around it, with a simple, worn cloth ceiling. The only unusual thing about the building was it's size; most of the houses they had passed would have had enough room for a small family at the largest, with cramped quarters. But in this building, thirty or so people would be able to crowd in, easily.
Durek paused; he wanted to remind his comrades, before they went into this, that they had to be respectful and cautious. But, he told himself, they weren't children, and they would surely be able to govern themselves without his saying so. With that in mind, he ducked through the doorway into the meek building.
Inside, sitting on small carved chairs, were the three leaders of the Unnamed City; the council seat. On the left was an Elf, strong, battle scarred and wild-looking, but old, with a shoulder cape covering the stump of his lost right arm. In the middle sat an ancient Dwarf, clearly older than anyone else in the room, but still in his prime, as was the Dwarven way. He would stay youthful and strong until his dying days. And on the right sat a Orc woman, perhaps in her thirties, with a scar covering her left eye, her remaining one watched the group enter with little more than curiosity. Two guards stood at the sides of each leader, members of races opposing each leader.
"Ooh, what's this..." The old Dwarf spoke first, squinting in thought as he saw Durek and the other enter.
Durek knelt on one knee and lowered his head, "Council seat of the Unnamed City, I, Durek Shameblade, have returned."
"Ha! I told you he would come crawling back to us!" The Elf cried. "Durek the exile, the Orc who would be king. Fool! Now you come to tell us of your failure and ask for your place here again, yes?"
The Orc lady held up her hand, signalling the Elf to be quiet. "Hush, Mis'tha. Let us hear what our old acquaintance has to say for himself." She turned to Durek with a smirk, "Though, I admit, I very doubt he's come to proclaim his success, either." Se added.
Durek glanced up at the Orc lady, "Always a pleasure, Lady Vivarn." He said tensely. "You are correct as to the matter which brings me here, but I fear you have wrongly assumed my intentions."
Lady Vivarn cocked an eyebrow at him, and Mis'tha snarled, but remained silent. It was again the elder Dwarf that broke the silence, "So then, Durek who would be king, what is it that brings you back to us? Surely you remember the... rather poor terms you left on last time?"
Durek winced, "I do, Lord Martel, but I assure you I have made significant progress i my quest, and I hoped it would be enough to change your minds and aid me." He said. As he feared, the council seat wasn't pleased to see him again, and that would make things difficult.
"And what progress is that, Shamed one?" Mis'tha asked bitingly, "Have you ceased the war? Have you made it safe in the world? Then I see nothing that could change our minds."
"I have unified the races." Durek said. A hush swept over the room, and the council seat struggled to recompose themselves. "Not in full, I confess," Durek hurriedly amended his statement, "But as you can see, I do have members of each race willing to aid me." He stood up and stepped aside, gesturing to his group of allies.
The council seat all looked over Durek's allies, piercing them one by one with their collective stare. Finally, Lady Vivarn spoke to the group, "So, tell me, subjects of the not-yet king, why do you follow this one?" She asked, pointing to Durek. "Are you even aware of his goals? What he intends to do? Surely you must know that following this madman through Kargeth could only lead to your own painful deaths."