Another excerpt from Sureshot the Assassin. The boys are sent to train at the famed Fort Stena.

      The terrain increased in ruggedness and finally off in the distance, mountains appeared. They were the highest peaks in Dirka, the Stena Mountains. This only increased the men’s anxiousness. They strained for hours to catch a glimpse of the citadel. At long last the mighty fortress appeared as the road came around a turn. The men were awe struck. Never before had they seen such a magnificent structure.

            The road they were on led to an enormous citadel built into the side of the mountain. Huge ramparts and towers came up out of the rock and a gigantic iron gate barred entry. A multitude of colored flags danced in the mountain wind, and richly embroidered banners hung from windows and walls. The citadel had a total of six towers and a tall stone wall protecting the western side. The others were protected by the mountain itself. Fort Stena was large enough to house ten thousand soldiers, noblemen and women, and was complete with armorers and weapon smiths. It also had a number of shops and inns for the few people who lived there supporting the fort, and for some of the families of the soldiers there. In fact it was a small city, not much smaller than Harmon.

Stena was the epitome of strength and might. The great fort had never fallen, but had preserved the Dirkan military and royalty through many attacks. The greatest of military leaders in the Dirkan army lived at Stena, where they planned battles as well as defenses. The Dirkan heroes of old once stood there, and it was there that Durbar and Makler were going to train to be as great a warrior as they could be.

            Once they saw the mighty fort, it took several more hours before they actually reached it; more than enough time to take in the intimidating view of the structure. By that time Durbar and Makler were overflowing with anticipation, as were the other candidates. Very few people in Dirka ever got the opportunity to train at the great fort and they were among a select few. It was truly an honor.

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