The voids between strongholds were filled with undead. Thanks to O’dirick The Grayed Reapers remained hidden.
It had been two days since they left Shadow Absalom and so far their luck had held. No Kytons or Nightshades crossed their path. It seemed to Dai Shan that the Shadow Plane cleared their way.
It wasn’t a thought he liked.
There were many paths one could take in this realm and not all were the same distance. They took the quickest path but it should have been the one most fraught with danger. Intent was a powerful force here but it was also a powerful attractor.
“Come on, Ehlkarn, you know the rules. You can’t win and walk.” Dai Shan heard Torric say.
“No way Torric. We’re even now. I’m out.”
“Sit back down big guy. We are just getting started.” This from Shaln.
Dai Shan looked over and watched as Ehlkarn sat back down. Green flames rose between them, some concoction of the alchemists. Torric took their bets and rolled the bones.
“Bah, you are nothing but a cheat Torric,” said Ehlkarn with a hard edge to his voice.
“Easy, big guy. We are all friends here,” Shaln said while putting her hand on his leg.
Dai Shan shook his head. Shaln was always playing a game and it was never the same one the rest were playing.
It was what passed for night in the shadow realm and Dai Shan continued to make his rounds. Soon he would join them and study his spellbook but for now he needed to think on what O’dirick told him.
Change. It was a word that rarely brought good tidings. If only there were more of them left. But no, with the rising influence of the Onyx Alliance in the past two hundred years The Grayed Reapers numbers continued to shrink. Their people would rather become slaves, not only to the Umbral Dragons and Kytons, but to their own kind as well. And that was never their purpose, fighting their own.
But he would think on it. Hopefully, if they were successful, they would give their people hope and he and Torric could start recruiting again. Build up their numbers and counter the influence of the Onyx Alliance. He would have to talk with O’dirick about their numbe--
Dai Shan spun around, his scimitar in hand and lightning coursing up the length of his blade. He looked around and focused on a darker shadow away from camp.
A shape started to coalesce out of the shadow. Dai Shan silently moved to put himself between it and his soldiers.
“There is no need for your blade, Battle Lord,” said O’dirick behind him.
Damn her, he thought. She moved quieter than the spirits that haunted her.
Dai Shan grimaced at her and looked back out away from camp. Hectayr. Of course it was the light forsaken monk.
In moments the he was next to them. “So, are we alone out here, Hectayr?” snapped Dai Shan as he slammed his blade back into his scabbard.
“Forgive him, Hectayr,” O’dirick said while putting her hand on Dai Shan’s shoulder. “We are all on edge.”
The monk bowed to them both.
“Well?” Softer this time.
Damn. “Well done. Get some rest because tomorrow will see us to the lair.” Dai Shan watched as the monk went over and joined his companions, gold already flying to the pot.
They were quiet for a while, the weight of O’dirick’s hand still on his shoulder. “Am I misguided?” he asked as he looked over at her. “Am I aiming too high by going after Argrinyxia’s child?”
“We are The Grayed Reapers. I was unaware we could aim too high,” she said while squeezing his shoulder. “Besides, she is an Umbral Dragon, Battle Lord. She cares not for her offspring and he has been over reaching himself. If we don’t do this now she will do it herself.”
She was right he knew. That was why they picked him in the first place but with her words two nights past the Battle Lord had his doubts.
“It is too quiet out here,” he said.
“Not for me.” She removed her hand and shuddered. “Never for me.”
He didn’t want to imagine what the Oracle saw but he needed her sight if they were to have a chance of success. She said it, he had to wear the mantle.
“Will you cast the bones for us tonight?”
She stiffened. “If you wish.”
He hated doing this to her. “Then let us go.”