“Kassardis knew his time was running short as he fled into the wastes around the town of Kol Varas. Instead of his naming knife, he had a stale hunk of bread, and instead of his prince’s garb he had only a stolen woman’s garment, thin and nearly useless against the freezing cold of the desert nights. He knew his three wives were not far behind, and despair was his constant companion. But still, he pushed on, wholly consumed with the conviction that he would find the peaceful land of Samura, or die in the process.

By the third day, when the desperate prince’s wives were closing in rapidly, the scorched and tortured soles of Kassardis’ feet felt stone and not sand beneath them. Kassardis looked up and saw that he had stumbled upon a mighty road, broad and sweeping, that passed through enormous stone arches into the distance. The road was crumbled with age, but Kassardis recognized at once that it was the famous Arched Road of Samura, and a great burst of hope filled his heart.

Kassardis followed the road until it was dark, and lightness filled his step, so that he did not even notice when the sun had gone and the nightmare chill of the desert began to grasp at him. All through the night, he followed the road, and the night itself could not touch him. And when the sun grazed his face, Kassardis was still walking, but he still had not found the kingdom of Samura. It remained like this for a day longer, until Kassardis, sustained by hope alone, and dying of thirst, stumbled across a battered old sword master encamped by the side of the road.

The sword master was aghast at Kassardis’ dreadful condition, and at once tended to him, and gave him water. “Young man,” said the old sword master, “I am Ket Amonket, the gate keeper of the kingdom of Samura. There is nothing for you here. Turn back.”

Kassardis was shocked. “Uncle!” he gasped, ” If you are indeed the gatekeeper of that mighty kingdom, please take me there at once. I am fleeing from my three wives, who wish to drag me back into a world of bloody tyranny!”

“You are here already,” said Ket Amonket, and motioned to the desert, “This is the kingdom of Samura, burned to ashes and ground into dust for decades.”

Mortified, Kassardis could only gape at the empty desert. But here and there, the young prince could see what he had been blind to while hope had still filled him up: the corroded remnants of great and stately buildings and fluted columns poking out of the desert like bleached ribs.

“Samura was founded on the principles of peace,” said Ket Amonket, “So it was sought out by many across all the ten thousand realms. Those that sought to flee from the world of violence.”

“Violence is inescapable,” moaned Kassardis.

“Yes,” said the old man. “Very wise words indeed. Soon this land contained more people than it could sustain. Violence once again began to grow in the hearts of its people, like a foul disease, until it blossomed into destruction. It was a foolish hope.”

“Then there is no hope for me,” said Kassardis.

“There is still yet,” said Ket Amonket, resolute. “Let me do one favor for you, young man, as one who has already lived too long. You must flee to the canyon south of here and hide yourself there as best as you can, until the sun sets. I will tell your wives you vanished into the desert a day past, and throw them off your trail.”

“Thank you Uncle,” said Kassardis, “I will hold on to my hope a little while longer.”

“Hold on to this,” said Ket Amonket, giving Kassardis his sword, “It will protect you a lot better than hope.”

Kassardis took the weapon very reluctantly, and would have thrown it away at the first chance he had, but the words of the Very Wise Frog continued to tear at his mind, so he clung on to it as he fled for the canyon.

“At the very least I’ll give the boy a good head start,” Ket Amonket assured himself as he watched Kassardis’ three wives trek over the dunes a little while later.

The sword master was wrong. Ipreski severed his wind pipe before he could get a single word out, and all that passed his lips was a spray of blood . Kassardis got a head start of about ten minutes.”

– Tales of the Silver Prince