The Mask of Night

Ismail. Farrow. Laila. Kaelan. Four people. Four tales. Before we are done, their stories will be irrevocably twisted together. Ismail is a secretive mage, hailing from the far reaches of the North. Though a formidable fighter, when the bodies pile up and the only enemy left is himself, the truth must emerge. Farrow, a talented demon hunter trying to piece together the fragments of his past, finds himself the centre of a manhunt. Laila, the thirteen year old firstborn heir to the Emperor's throne, must flee from a deadly conspiracy. And Kaelan. A ranger of some skill, he grows tired of his life among the forest. When the Forest Druids decide to help the Northern rebels, Kaelan joins them, and events rapidly spiral out of his control...

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2. The Fires of Dawn

Ave pulled at his beard in frustration. The sun was peaking over the mountains, and the crisp morning air was sullied by smoke. Out of the corner of his eye Ave could see the Paladin throwing the limp bodies of the last night's assailants onto an enormous fire.

Sir. Ave winced. Mindlinking with the Paladin always gave him a headache. He stood up and turned around, addressing the leader of the Paladin as he did so. Over six feet tall and covered in white armour, the Captain planted fear in the bravest of men. Blood red runes swirled over his breastplate, and his shield was engraved with the crest of his Ancient master.

"Yes?"

The bodies are burning, and it is long since dawn. We should be gone.

"Yes, of course Captain. Ready your men. It's just that-"

You do not wish to leave him behind. I know the feeling. Blinking, Ave mentally reproached himself. With their calm, silent exterior, it was easy to forget that they could feel. In fact, even the youngest Paladin was over a thousand years old, and the Captain had been alive since the Breach in the Outer Wall, so there wasn't much they hadn't felt.

"That's right." Ave sighed unhappily. "In fifty years he has not once let me down, and I feel this is a poor way to repay him."

I feel the same way. He has saved my life more than once, but there is nothing we can do. we must regroup with the others -  he will find us there.

"Mmm."

Sir? What are you orders?

"Saddle the horses. We ride for Hjalnir forest within the hour." The Captain pressed an armoured fist against his chest, nodded, and strode away to relay the orders. Where are you Ismail? Where the hell are you?

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