As a bloody battle between the champions of Teleria and the corrupted servants of Siroth comes to an end, Athel is about to face her greatest challenge yet.
Ravens circled above the field, moving in a swirling black mass. Their cawing, overwhelming and almost triumphant, rose to a crescendo somewhere overhead as Athel picked her way through the bodies of the slain.
Attracted by the scent of blood that hung heavy in the air, these vultures did not take kindly to the interloper who dared distract them from their feast. And yet the young warrior pressed on. Past the forest of mangled spears and shattered swords, past the tattered banners that fluttered in the wind. Here and there, the wounded stirred and whimpered in pain.
Athel hesitated, she would have abandoned everything to help those suffering soldiers now. Yet in doing so, she would have forfeited both their lives and her own. Opposite her, a figure stood alone, still as an onyx statue. Clad in a black cloak that almost seemed like it was weaved from the fabric of shadow itself, the stranger waited. Eyes unseen stared deep into Athel’s soul. She could feel it. The aura of sheer malice that radiated from this warrior was almost as palpable as the chilly bite of the evening breeze. One thing was clear beyond any doubt – this was no friend or ally.
Athel approached, drawn to the shadowy silhouette by some unknown force. From there, she could see the eerie crimson light that danced along the blade of the stranger’s spear. Dark magic – Athel realized. Everything about this felt wrong.
“Who are you?” She demanded firmly. “Show yourself!”
There was a moment of silence. Then, a soft, barely audible laugh that made Athel clench her teeth and tighten the grip on her weapon. Instead of an answer, the strange reached up to pull the hood off her face. What was underneath made Athel’s heart skip a beat in horror.