Star of Cursrah (Forgotten Realms: Lost Empires, Book 3))
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The Lost Empires series uncovers the secrets of the ancient civilizations of the Forgotten Realms world. Why did Cursrah fall? Who was the Star of Cursrah? And how can a long-dead city threaten the modern realm of Calimshan?
Rivers, the hippo-hero Khises battled Skahmau the Wolfshead. With slender fingers, Star poked the eyes of both figures. The wall swiveled to reveal a staircase of stone leading down. Weak sky glow from high above lit the chamber. Childishly thrilled with her escape, Star skipped down the stairs. She’d need to conjure another story about exiting the family compound in secret. Perhaps she could claim to have been spirited away by a djinn, or maybe she’d sleepwalked, only to awaken miles away, or
“Go, I don’t care.” Alone, Amber circled the tower’s top, window by window, squinting as afternoon sun glinted on the brassy desert. North lay the crumbling ridge that lined the river. Patches of sand were still dimpled by their footprints. Eastward peeked a brown smear, the foothills of the Marching Mountains. To the west lay only more wastes, which dropped away at the south. The desert was mostly sand, shelves of shale, and jumbled rocks. Tufts of coarse yellow grass cropped up here and there,
thunderherders circled like sharks. Reaching Reiver, the friends looked where he pointed. A hundred feet distant lay another shelf of bedrock. Notched into its lip was indeed a square hole. Judging from twin furrows passing by, the thunderherders’ burrowing had collapsed the sand covering it. “Looks like a cellar hole,” said Hakiim. “A house? Out here?” Slowly, Amber turned a circle then grunted in surprise. That last downward slope actually curved around three-quarters of the horizon,
approached in blue kilts and tunics painted with eight-pointed stars. Yuzas Anhur, captain of Star’s personal bodyguard, spurred the troop to a canter. “Your majesty,” he said, “why do you persist in slipping away …?” Star tuned out the familiar lecture as guards fussed over her bandaged leg. Gheqet and Tafir collected black looks for leading her majesty into danger. Following the aqueduct, the party eventually passed from grasslands into farm country, a beltland three leagues wide and lush
descended. Posted on the rim, fifty feet apart, waited ace archers with long riding bows, sheaves of goose-fletched arrows, and tall torches spiked into the soil. Their orders were simple: shoot anyone who flees the valley. The army rode slowly, letting the horses negotiate the dark switchbacks. Scanning the valley, the raiders saw that many fires raged out of control. The center of the city looked oddly deserted, with many buildings toppled. Here and there citizens looted, screamed, cried, and