Chapter 1: The Stranger Comes
As the wind is known to do, it carries upon it a voice, a whisper, a haunting echo from the depths of time and the unknown. The locals call such phenomenon the Winds of Destiny. With the promise of a new day, those winds are blowing steadily from out of the West.
Since the sun has yet to make its full appearance, the populace is still unwilling to come out of their homes. If they had they might have heard the subtle but glorious difference in the tone of the Winds of Destiny.
On violent winds have whispers of despair been carried for such a long time now. But maybe, just maybe, these fading winds are bringing with them a glimmer of hope.
Forever and a dream does freedom fight for the right to shine in glorious verve and tambour. Listen and learn, look and see, just how bad freedom wants to be.
It is still early in the morning, so a chill hangs heavy in the air. The desert is one of the world's true wonders. At night you are known to seek out warmth, and in the day you are driven to seek out shade from the sun's powerful rays.
As the sun rises, the screams of the night fade away. From the very same direction the winds have been blowing, a stranger makes his slow and deliberate way into the desert city. As if an aura of power surrounds the stranger, the wind creates a perpetual sandstorm twisting around the stranger to conceal his presence, but once he reaches the city the wind dies down and the sand settles at his feet. It is doubtful that it is a naturally occurring phenomenon.
At long last, from out of the western horizon the sun finally blesses the world with its full geometric shape and power. It is as if the sun rises and shimmers out of the desert itself.
And at long last the stranger reaches the gates. They are unmanned and shine of desolation. The stranger wears but a simple brown cloak that glints gold from the sand collected from the unforgiving desert called the Desert of Origin. The desert he has just crossed.
With the hood pulled high and tight, it is impossible to see the shadows hiding in his eyes. In fact, as he comes walking through the once mighty gates of the city of Turlac, the capital city of the once proud kingdom of Owen, he looks more like a shadow than a man.
As the stranger passes through the unguarded and battered gates of the sandstone walled city of Turlac, he takes his first look at a kingdom he has only heard of in old legendary tales. A twenty-foot statue of a majestic armored knight of a long forgotten time greets the stranger. The knight is holding his sword high into the sky, welcoming all into a city that no longer welcomes its own. The statue has long since lost its luster.
He looks up the cobbled stone street, and everywhere his eyes rest he sees desolation. He sees hand carved stone and what looks to be once finely crafted wood trimmed sandstone houses, but now most of the buildings he sees have walls and roofs caved in.
There is something else, too. At first he cannot decide what it is, and then it comes to him like a bad dream. It is the color of everything, or to be more exact it is the lack of color of everything. He thinks to call it gray, and then he realizes he has seen this color before. This man's travels have taken him from one reality to another for most of his existence, and there is not much that escaped his attention in all that time. With a great sadness he realizes this land looks like a badly decayed corpse. All the way deep into the marrow of his bones he can feel the oppression of this land.
He chooses what looks to be the main street and starts to make his way towards the interior of the city. His footfalls echo eerily off the building walls. He travels many blocks, weary from the long trek across the desert, and sees nothing but the same desolation.
He is just beginning to think that the city has been abandoned when he comes upon a little blond-hair girl of about eight-years-old. She only has one arm. The little girl is sitting on some steps that lead up to a house that looks no different than any of the others he has seen up to this point. At least there are sounds of movement and life inside.
She sits there with her hand resting in the lap of her tattered yellow dress. Her head is bowed down like she is looking at her bare and dirty feet.
The stranger stops and gently asks, "Hello, dear one. Why are you so sad?"
She slowly and mistrustfully looks up, "Sir, the Masters for the safety of our land needed it more than I."
He pats her on the head and hands her a piece of travel bread. As she is looking up at him, the stranger lays back his hood so the little girl can see his eyes. For a fleeting moment he sees a smile play across her pretty face, but then she looks back down without saying another word. The stranger kneels down in front of her and, with his index finger, from the bottom of her chin brings her head up so they can make eye contact one more time.
In a voice that sings of melody and harmony, and that reflects through the stranger's soft brown eyes, words of hope are spoken once again in the kingdom of Owen. "Fear not, sweetheart, beauty still exists in this world. You are proof, precious child."
When at long last he sees a smile play across the little girl's lips, he gets up and continues his journey that has both just begun and has been known for all time. He turns and walks away, both sad and angry.
It is mid-morning now, and he is entering what he guesses to be the heart of the city. He passes by tavern after tavern with drunken men laughing and fighting and women screaming, though he cannot tell if they are screams of sorrow or joy. No doubt trying to forget the horrors of the night.
The few people he does run into on the street make a great effort to mind their own business, so he goes undisturbed. Finally he comes upon a quiet little inn that seems like it does not belong here amongst all the death, despair and desolation. Although the red paint over the stone and the white on the wooden trim is starting to peel and crack, it is the only effort to make something look even remotely alive he has seen since he arrived in this fear-filled land.
As the stranger enters the domicile, and even before he can take in all the sights and sounds, he is met by a seven-foot tall half-man half-bull creature of the Minotaur race. With his black fur and equally black skin. With his huge bull shaped head and his tree trunk upper human body. With a strip of that black fur running down his back, and with his thick warriors black leather tunic covered by a rusty mail shirt, he is quite formidable looking. Not to mention the huge battleaxe he easily carries in one hand.
The stranger walks past with a simple node of his hooded head. Without saying a word he goes up to the counter that also looks like efforts were made so that its wood will shine with a gloss. The stranger walks over to a stool in the counter and sits down. A short and plump human lady with red hair and black circles under her eyes comes over to him. She is wearing a worn down green flowered dress with a greasy white apron tied across the front.
"Excuse me, ma'am," the stranger says in his soft tone.
She replies, "My name is not ma'am, it is Tula, and I am the proprietor of this establishment. What can I get for you?"
The stranger smiles inwardly and reaches up and pulls back the hood of his cloak. The honest smile the stranger wears is reflected in his soft brown eyes. Yes, the very same eyes that have always set people at ease through out his time on this plane. "Tula, my name is Kyle, and I am but a simple man in need of some temporary work. Even though I am just passing through, I will need food and shelter while I am here."
She speaks rather roughly, "We are in no need of help here. If you want drink or food, then we can oblige."
She saw the cloaked man with the hood pulled over his head walk in and walk over toward her. Before the stranger lowered his hood Tula was trying to look into the shadows under his hood to see some sign of a face, but it seemed the harder she looked the blacker the shadows became. Once the stranger lowered his hood the air in the inn seemed to become lighter.
Finally, after an uncomfortable length of time, the stranger Kyle replies, "Milady, in that case I will have something to relax my weary bones and fill my stomach."
Kyle takes his drink and plate of potatoes to the far corner table that is dimly lit by the light coming in from the front door. From across the room he can feel her eyes on him.
Tula has always been attracted to tall men with long brown hair and a strong body. Even though from outward appearances the stranger looks younger than she, there is something that is radiating from him that speaks of ageless ancient times.
It is about twenty minutes after he has come into the place that it starts filling up with patrons, come to drink their fears away, no doubt. As the hours wear on and the patrons consume more and more alcohol, the crowd gets freer and braver with their verbal attack on some people known as the Masters. No doubt the same folk who the little girl spoke of. Still, each time someone new comes walking into the inn a hush falls over the crowd until they recognize the person as one of their own.
Soon tempers flare and a fight breaks out. The Minotaur charges into the fray with a roar. With a man in each hand he hurls them out the doors and into the burning day of a desert city. As the Minotaur is rounding up another handful of brawlers to fling out into the street with the rest of the scum, one of the hell raisers draws his sword and is moving to plunge it into the back of the unsuspecting bouncer.
From out of the shadows and in a blink of an eye the stranger who had been sitting idly by is now on his feet with his ancient sword drawn. Before anyone sees what is happening, the stranger has the sword of the other man broke off at the hilt.
Up to this point the crowd was cheering the fight on, but now they are standing there in silent awe and suspicion. Several of the man's friends start to draw their swords on this new stranger in their town, but when they see the golden glow coming from the hilt of the stranger's sword they think better of it. The group leaves to find a safer place to drink and fight. The rest of the patrons go back to sipping their sorrows from their drinks, and to prepare for the coming horrid night.
The lady of the place, who called herself Tula, walks up to the stranger, "Just a simple man passing through, huh?"
The stranger known as Kyle nods his head, but then with a tilt at the end and a shrug of his shoulders the stranger lets it drop. He has no desire to deceive good people.
"Whatever. If you are still looking for a job I think we can use some help around here to clean up and whatnot. There is a room in back, you can bed down there."
"That will be fine, thank you."
As Kyle starts to turn around to walk back to his table, he runs smack dab into the chest of the Minotaur staring down at him.
There is a long moment of silence, perhaps five never-ending seconds or so, before the Minotaur speaks in his rough and guttural tongue, "My name Maddox. I owe you thanks." then the Minotaur holds out his hand to the stranger.
The stranger takes his hand with an exhale of relief, "My name is Kyle. It is an honor, sir." The Minotaur's hand swallows up his new friend's hand.
Once again darkness has fallen upon the realm, and there is a strange wind blowing from the south. The streets are all but deserted, and you can feel the grip of fear take hold once more. As Kyle is leaning against the doorframe staring out at the night sky, the silence is broken by the sound of hooves striking the cobble stone road. A moment later twenty men wearing black steel clad uniforms ride by without even a glance at the new stranger in town.
Maddox, the majestic Minotaur, says from somewhere behind, "They are Clan Soldiers preparing for their Masters' arrival."
Kyle stands staring after the Clan Soldiers wondering what he should do next. A short while later a purplish mist starts to descend upon the town. Off in the distance, Kyle sees a deep red glow with occasional lighting bolts headed towards the heavens, or perhaps down from the heavens. It seems to be slowly moving towards the city.
Maddox comes up behind him. "The Masters almost here. We must shut inn now."
"What do these Masters look like?" Kyle asks without turning around.
It is Tula that answers him, "Them and the Clan Soldiers pretty much all look the same, especially since originally most of them were from the same group of clans. The Masters all have long black hair, with long full beards, black eyes and varying scars and tattoos on their faces.
"The majority of the Masters and Clan Soldiers hail from the Eastern part of the Desert of Origin and the Eastern Arm of the Coaster Plains, from a group of clans known as the Tatuwa. The Tatuwa clans have always been amongst the largest of Owen, but the old Royal Guard, Allies and the Mystic Wizards always kept them in check. Now that the Mystic Wizards are gone, the Clan Soldiers are pretty much the bullies of their magical kind, the Masters."
"I have heard of the great Mystic Wizards."
"Hmm. So these scars and tattoos you were talking about, what are they all about?"
"They are from initiations and rites-of-passage ceremonies. The more scars and tattoos they have, the higher their rank."
"Hmm. I think I am going to go for a stroll."
Maddox and Tula say in unison, "You must not! The danger is grave!"
"Do not worry. I will take care, my new friends."
"Maddox go, too."
So they head out into the dark misty and deserted streets of Turlac. Tula shakes her head as they leave. She knew this stranger was trouble.
Keeping to the shadows they make their way down the empty streets. The only sounds are from the strange winds blowing in from the south and that of the distant rumble of the Clan Soldier patrols preparing for their Masters. But if you were to listen closely, you could hear the whimpers and cries of the scared and terrorized people.
Maddox and Kyle turn down a fairly lit street, oil lamps swinging and squeaking in the wind. The street looks to be a market place when open, as the buildings are built within a pace of each other, and the street is extra wide to accommodate the crowds that must congregate here when business is to be had.
They slowly make their way towards the greatest noise of commotion when suddenly a patrol of Clan Soldiers turns up their street heading directly towards them.
With the strange fog that has settled over the city they have only seconds to find a crevice to hide in. Maddox's great arm comes out of the fog and pulls Kyle towards a shadowy enclave between two buildings. Maddox immediately wants to let go of the stranger, because when he grabs him a sharp pain runs through his body, but then it dims to a tingling. Perhaps because Kyle realizes it is the Minotaur who has a hold of him. Maddox wants to let go, but he cannot let his new friend be seen and trampled by the Clan Soldiers.
The enclave is only six marks deep, and as the Clan Soldiers ride by one of the soldier's feet hit Maddox's chest. The only thing that saves them is the shadows, as the Clan Soldier looks back over his shoulder to see what he had come into contact with. It also seems to Maddox that when Kyle does a mild sweep with his hand the shadows become even darker. The soldiers thunder by without incident.
Kyle and Maddox pursue the patrol as best they can, hoping they can get some inclination of what is happening. A short while later they catch up to the patrol of soldiers and watch them from a distance. They are dragging a family from their home. The father is being beaten, the mother is whimpering, and the two children are hysterical with fear.
Kyle asks by pointing, "What are they doing?"
"They chosen to help Masters," Maddox says, angrily.
Immediately Kyle remembers the little girl with one arm, and the diamond on the hilt of his sword starts to glow a fierce golden array of light. Without thinking of the consequences he coolly and calmly walks up behind the soldiers and stands there until they notice him.
They turn, and with death in their eyes they draw their weapons. Within a heartbeat two of the five Clan Soldiers are dead on the ground minus their heads. The final three make their advance towards this impudent stranger. From out of the shadows a fiercely swung battle-ax strikes home and another clan guard lay in torment. As the final two square off with Kyle and Maddox, it is but a swing, parry and thrust within a blink of an eye that the fight is over. They gather the pieces of the once self-proclaimed mighty soldiers and tie them to their horses and send them running off down the road.
Maddox tells the family, "You should get out of city at once."
But they only reply, "This is our home." And then they turn around with slumped heads and go back inside their home.
Now the purple mist is upon them and the red glow is entering the city. Far above you can hear the mighty flaps of giant wings, and through the mist you can barely see the scorching flames of the Fire Dragons.
As Kyle turns towards Maddox, Maddox says, "They come with mist of Masters. They are Fire Dragons."
Finally Kyle decides they have seen enough for tonight and starts heading back. Their journey back to the inn is uneventful. They bed down for the night with both a feeling of accomplishment and dread. Maddox, better than most, understands the truth of it all, but it feels good to once again live up to his destiny by way of helping innocents.
Early next morning Kyle rises to the smell of death, but it is not the death of the combat from the night before, it is something else. He goes out heading in the direction they went last night, or at least looks like the direction they went last night. He has still yet to get his bearings.
He has an empty feeling in his stomach. He comes upon the house of the family Maddox and he saved from the soldiers, and there all he sees is a charred pile of rubble. Though you cannot tell it with the hood of his brown cloak pulled over his head, there are tears in his eyes. Once again second-guessing his choice to come to this strange land.
Back at the inn, doing his work preparing for the day's festivities, Kyle is unusually quiet. He is never one to talk much anyway, but today it is an eerie silence. As the day wears on, the people start filing in to drink and forget the night's horrors.
Soon he starts hearing more and more stories about how five of the Masters' Personal Guard got torn apart last night, and how the guards are going house to house, place to place, looking for a stranger in town whom they believe to be the one who killed the soldiers. Maddox and Kyle give a sideward glance at each other.
Soon it is apparent that the search is progressing towards the inn like an unavoidable storm. Patrol after patrol of Clan Soldiers ride by with increasing frequency, but this time a patrol of ten Clan Soldiers stop in front of the inn and are getting off their horses and coming in. Tula also noticed the talk about the search for a stranger, and the glance between Maddox and Kyle did not escape her attention either.
She walks up behind Kyle and pushes him towards the back room, "Stay out of sight!"
Kyle looking back at her and wants to say, "I should leave now before anyone else gets hurt because of me," but he does not. He moves with the shadows and goes in the back.
The soldiers come in looking everyone over with a fierce determination in their eyes. They start questioning Tula and some of the customers. One customer, drunk and belligerent, tries to hit one of the guards. Four of the guards grab him and drag him out into the street and beat him beyond recognition, and yet he still does not tell of the stranger. Tula, with her true hatred for the Masters and their guards, says nothing.
The apparent commander of the guard pushes her aside and tells the rest of the soldiers, "Search the premises."
Maddox, seeing the shove, starts moving to her aid immediately with anger in his eyes, but Tula gives him a hard look and with a shake of her head he backs down, but you can see his bovine nostrils flaring with rage.
The guards go in the back room with weapons drawn. In fact they search every mark of the place. After about five minutes the guards come out of the back room and report, "Nothing here, Sir."
Now it is Tula and Maddox's turn to give each other a sideward glance. Without saying a word the soldiers storm out of the place. They mount their horses and ride off. As the soldiers are riding off, Kyle comes out of the back room looking more like a shadow once again, with his brown cloak completely covering him, than a person.
"But how?" Tula knew she had recognized something in this stranger.
"Simple minded people are easily fooled."
Maddox knowingly states, "Then you a wizard?"
Kyle nods his head, "My name is Kyle Whiteknight, and I am a Centurion Wizard from the land of Parrethia."
After night has fallen, Kyle, Tula and Maddox are sitting in front of the fire. The long silence is broken when Kyle asks his new and obviously loyal friends, "Why would you risk all for me?"
Tula speaks first. You can hear the anguish in her voice as she says, "I had a son. His name was Tork. Because of his father's betrayal to the Masters, they killed my husband and took my son away. I never saw him again."
"How did your husband betray the Masters?"
"His name was Morka and he was an apprentice to the Black Sorcerers, the self-proclaimed Masters. He began to realize just how evil they were when it came his turn to go beyond apprenticeship. He found that he must practice his evil spells on children. This took place at the Black Dungeon.
"He was with two other apprentices, he refused, but they did not. As they started their spells, Morka could stand it no longer, so he turned and destroyed the other apprentices. For, you see, he was a strong wizard, as was his father and his father before him, but he angered the Masters greatly, for it is very rare that they find subjects gifted with the power of magic who want to join them.
"He was not strong enough to destroy the six full Masters that were there. They said he died a horrible death. It has been a little over four years now since they came and took my son away. Tork was twelve then. I tried to stop them, but I could not." When she says that her head slumps down and she has tears in her eyes
From out of the silence that follows Maddox speaks, "My people and I from Rye Mountains south of here. Once we a proud and mighty race, but now we are reduced to a few scattered and exiled souls. You see it was thirty years ago that the Masters decided to build their evil fortress in the Rye Mountains and completely take over occupancy.
"We tolerated them for a while, but when our children started disappearing we went to war with them. They brought the full force of their evil powers down upon us. First the mist rolled in like a cloud floating across the sky, then the Fire Dragons came. Then at last on their hellish beasts the Masters rode through and killed all who were seen. I was knocked unconscious and left for dead. When I awoke I found nothing but carnage.
"After that I wandered many years looking for any of my kind that might still be alive, but I find none. Then about three years ago I find way here. This I made home. Here Tula welcomed me."
When Maddox is finished talking you can see the hatred in his eyes, and when he turns to stare into the fire his black bull eyes glow red. His huge horns arc outward and skyward with both grace and power.
You cannot see it because he usually wears the hood of his cloak pulled over his head, but Kyle has a mysterious gleam in his eyes. Kyle puts his hand on Maddox's shoulder, "My friend, there is a good number of your kin in my land of Parrethia."
Maddox turns towards Kyle with a rare happiness in his heart.
Kyle finishes saying, "When I am done with my task in this land, we will journey and find your people."
Maddox nods his head as he looks back into the fire.
After a brief moment of eerie silence, Kyle adds, "My time is running short here in Turlac. I must go out tonight and find what information I need to destroy the Black Sorcerers."
Though he has never said why he is here, his friends already know for some unknown reason that he might be the last hope for the kingdom of Owen.
"Where do the Black Sorcerers do their bidding when they are in town?"
It is Tula that once again answers. "They stay at the old Royal Castle, which is now the dreaded Black Dungeon."
They tell him how to find his way, and as he is walking out the door Maddox starts to follow. "No, my friend, not this time. I must go alone."
Kyle makes his way down the streets under the stealth of night, with the powers of his sword and ancestors guiding and protecting him. The path he is taking leads him past the house of the people he thought he had helped the other night, only to find out that he possibly was their destruction. Once again tears well up in his eyes, but he knows he has no time to second-guess the force that has drawn him here to this oppressed land.
With every turn onto a new street, with every new step, he can feel a force of evil begin to chill his insides, and he knows he can only be getting closer to his destination, the Black Dungeon.
The streets are as deserted as ever, and he only has to dodge two patrols of Clan Soldiers. Once he feels an unknown presence and then it is gone. Finally, he turns the next corner and he finds that he has reached his destination. Before him, at the end of the street he just turned onto, stands the Black Dungeon. Immediately he knows why it is called the Black Dungeon. It is black.
Everything about it is black. Not the black of night, but the black of death. This black is not painted on, it is burned into the very existence of the fabric of its creation, and to think this once used to be a beautiful Royal Palace. That thought chills his bones, but he puts the thought of what kind of evil has the power to do this out of his mind so he can concentrate on the task at hand.
As he gets closer he realizes that not only is the color the color of evil, but the buildings themselves are warped and twisted, as if the walls have faces with expressions of extreme terror and pain embedded in them.
He cautiously walks into the courtyard, noticing first that the front gates are left open, and that one of them is barely hanging from one huge twisted hinge. Kyle guesses with the centuries of rust on the gates, that they could not be closed even if they wanted to. Then he thinks almost jokingly that the reason why the gates are always left open is because no one who does not belong here would want to be here.
He looks around the courtyard and sees that an extreme amount of horse dung is on the ground, leading him to believe that there was a massive force here not too long ago. The grand Centurion Wizard from the land of Parrethia disgustingly reaches down and touches some of the horse dung; it is cold and hard. He crosses the yard and finds some dung that is still warm; he knows then that activity is within the walls of the dungeon.
As he enters the once beautiful castle he can smell the pungent odor of death in the air. He takes his time trying to find what he needs to combat the evil sorcerers, stopping every so often to hear his enemy and avoid them.
He comes to a long hallway that has a huge set of stairs leading upward into blackness, and a smaller set of stairs that lead down. Here there are torches hanging in their scones at equal spacing, lighting the way. From the torchlight he can see the remnants of the Royal Palace, as once majestic and colorful banners still hang on the walls, but they are now tattered and tainted. Scenes of knights and ladies, dragons and wizards, times once celebrated but now long forgotten.
As he is making his way downward, he will go up next, he passes several rooms full of guards playing cards and drinking themselves to sleep. As he gets deeper and deeper into the evil place the stench of death, excrement and urine become almost unbearable.
Just when he is about to give up and turn around he feels the presence again, and as quickly as it comes it is gone again. He continues down another flight of stairs that end at a long corridor guarded by two soldiers. At the end of the corridor he sees a set of bars that can only mean he has found the dungeons themselves of this evil place.
In the background he can hear the whimpers and terrified murmurs of children and other prisoners. For a reason unknown to him the diamond on the hilt of his sword starts to glow a brilliant golden light. Knowing better than to second-guess his powers, he challenges the two guards. He keeps to the shadows as long as he can, and when there is no more shadow to hide in he becomes the shadow. Before they can sound the alarm the guards are put out of their misery with a single swinging arc.
He takes the keys and unlocks all the cell doors letting the prisoners go, but no one moves.
Without realizing it Kyle calls out, "Is Tork amongst you?"
From out of the back of one of the cells a sad and weak voice forces himself to talk, "I am Tork."
"Son of Tula and Morka?"
"That is I."
"Son, I am taking you home to your mother."
Tork starts to cry, "Mom."
Kyle goes through the crowd of prisoners and finds Tork. He bends down and picks him up. For being over sixteen years old this boy is light as a feather. He then yells at the other prisoners to run while they have the chance.
As Kyle and the prisoners make their way out of the dungeon and back up into the streets, he notices something very wrong. The guards that had been drinking and playing cards are now gone. As they cautiously reach the outside he notices the purple mist is back, and he can hear the mighty flaps of the wings of the Fire Dragons once more.
He tells the prisoners, "You must run and get out of the city now. Go, damn it! Pick up the children and run and hide."
Although he knows in his heart that because of the desert most of them will be dead before afternoon, but he wants to give them a chance to die free men, and with that perhaps live as free men.
He picks Tork up again and flings him over his shoulder and starts carrying him back to the inn, because he is too weak to walk on his own.
The trip back to the inn takes much longer than it did before because he has to dodge patrol after patrol of Clan Soldiers. Kyle can see, smell and feel the fires of the Black Sorcerers all over the city. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, he reaches the inn. Tula and a bleeding Maddox stand out front watching the inn burn. As Kyle comes up behind them the patrol of soldiers are riding off.
Without turning around Tula says, "They are looking for you. You must leave."
"Tula," Kyle says, "I have something for you."
As she walks over she hears a weak but promising voice say, "Mom."
She runs over and grabs Tork and starts to cry, not ever once doubting it is her child.
Kyle turns to Maddox, "I did not find what I need to destroy the Black Sorcerers here." but thinking about it he turns and looks at Tork and continues, "Maybe I did. We must all leave immediately. We journey to the Rye Mountains and the Black
The last thing Maddox says under his breath is, "So, that is why you have come."