Prologue

The sun was rising over the shining spires of king Cryus's and prince Mithras's' castle, in the heart of the capital of Kassus, as the girl stumbled home to her little shack on the edge of town. It was rundown, and the roof leaked a bit when it rained, but Thalia didn't mind. It had been a rough night and she was anxious to curl up on her thin mattress and go to sleep. When she opened the door though, she was surprised to see a group of four small children, who turned to look at her with eyes wide with fear, their faces thin from starvation. Sighing, Thalia pushed her dark hair out of her face with one hand.

"You can't keep coming back here," she scolded the children, who gathered around her, pulling on her cloak with skeletal hands.

"We were hungry," said the biggest of the four, a boy named Martin, who's hair might have been blonde of it wasn't so dirty. Thalia frowned. Street children, in a land that prospered so much, still children were starving.

"And you came to me for that?" Thalia asked.

"Yes," Martin replied. "Because you're the best thief in the world, we knew you'd have something." Thalia gave the boy a wry smile as she pulled a loaf of bread out of her cloak.

"This has to be the last time," she said, dI using the bread into five equal parts and passing it around. It was a meager meal, but the children wolfed down their slices with vigor, before gathering around Thalia again.

"You need to go home," she said again. "I need to sleep, and you need to let your parents know where you've been."

"We just want to hear the legend again," Martin said, "the one about the orb, and the thief that stole it from Tandar!"

"Was he a great thief like you, Thalia?" Another child asked.

Thalia shook her head. "I heard an old soldier tell the tale years ago, but yes, a dark being did steal the orb from Tandar, which has been cursed to this day, for the orb granted the favor of the God Umtau, who gives life.

"But, that's not the end of the legend," Thalia continued wistfully, "for there is a prophecy, that the two kingdoms will find peace when the orb is found. But the orb can only be returned by the descendants of both the two original kings, granted their power by the Umtau himself, which makes it hard when they don't get along. Besides, there are no true heirs to the throne of Kassus since Cyrus came to power."

Thalia shooed the children out the door and then climbed into her bed, pulling the blanket around her. "I guess the tear of Tok-Navar  is lost forever." She mumbled before drifting into an uneasy sleep.

The End

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