The Three Witches: 9 – The Dark Army

Caldera Blocky

They all have different ways of telling the same story or at least some parts of it. Landon made a deal with the inhabitants of Thaemor. A race of people made solely of shadows. Their people used humanoid shadows keep themselves together, a pattern to mimic but never noticed. The war had killed many, including the ‘hosts’ of the Shadow Herd. They were loosing coherence, their forms unstable eventually killing them. Landon had offered the shadows of his subjects if they helped win the war and defend Thaemor’s borders from invaders. Without physical form they had no way counter the proposal and were desperate to find a solution or face extinction. They helped in ways that terrified the enemy.

Weapons made of shadow cut like metal, warriors could disappear into the darkness and emerged from the gloom somewhere entirely different. An unnatural darkness enveloped the battlefields, blinding and ensnaring. Others caught infiltrators slipping under doors or passing through bars, melting into shadow and reforming on the other side. Others have told of creatures rising up from the ground or swooping from the sky. Some say they were just animals, others claim them to be the Shadow Herd in physical form. There are tales that entire campsites were wiped out by nightmares and shadow clad assassins that could pass through armor. None of what I read was coherent. It was a rare occasion where they referenced the same name, let alone place or narrative. So I read more books, I needed to see the bigger picture, learn more than I could have done being taught. My perception of the world had to change, it had to be sharper, more astute. I couldn’t let one thing slip past me no matter how unnoticed it had gone before.

The coins also paid for training. At the time I thought DeHart would turn on me and knowing the type of people he worked with, I probably wouldn’t have survived. Swords and bows gave me calluses and I was all fingers and thumbs with a lock pick or a rope. Somehow (Vallah) I was starting to develop Nano abilities. What worried me and in turn kept me going to training was the fact that my abilities caused a lot of problems. It wasn’t the fact that I found them hard to master, or that how to do anything in the first place was beyond my understanding but what I could do scared the teachers I had paid for. My abilities manifested as shadows. A force of pure energy for anyone else, was like a flaming ball of darkness for me. I could leap from one side of the room to the other but wisps of dark smoke followed behind me. I was good with a whip and a dagger and tried to keep my esotery use to a minimum. The less people that knew about my abilities the better. I was not going to be compared to the King or taken by the Aeon Priests as a test subject t cure the monarch.

One teach  had tried to alert others but I was never going back to when I was a child. No, I would never ever do that. He was the first person I killed. He had shut the door on me and was meeting someone and talking about me. I somehow found myself on the other side of the door. I felt angry, betrayed. A rage built up in me, like all that inactive time I had stayed in bed on Khatt-Nipp had coiled into my muscles and I came home drenched in the blood of two people and the very distant laughter from Vallah.