In a Dark Hall

by Oberon Snowcat

It had been roughly a month since I had joined the Long Scouts, though I hadn’t yet gone out on a full patrol with them. The main reason was because Misha was still putting me through my paces, but I could tell that he was running out of ideas on what to have me do next. For the past week south of the Keep he had put me through the ringer when it came to testing my skills at escaped and evasion. From what I could tell he had put Padraic, Finbar, Danielle and Caroline on my case to see if they could locate me before I reached the Keep from the far end of the valley, and thus far I had managed to keep them one step behind me. The only problem now was the fact that I was running out of tricks to use against them. For instance I think that Caroline had been the one to figure out my creek trick, even though it was probably the oldest trick in the book. However the one thing in my favour was the fact that I was virtually inside of the Keep. I was currently scaling the northwest wall with nothing but a thin rope and my claws between me, and a certain and gruesome death. Finally I crested the wall, pulled in my rope and jumped down into the inner ward. Now it was only a matter of…

“Found you at last!” Came a triumphant shout from the gate. I looked over to see Finbar standing there looking at me with the three others standing behind him. “Don’t you think that you could’ve made it any easier for us to track you?” He asked in his characteristic sarcastic tone. By now I had gotten used to his most annoying trait and I had already prepared a comeback

“Yeah and you guys made more noise behind me than a whole army of lutins hunting a troll.” At that point Misha and Drift walked into the ward and looked at the five of us before he finally said,

“Well? Is this group doing anything or just standing around trading insults?” Misha asked all of us. I looked over at him before I replied

“I just finished your latest fiendish test, the escape and evasion test.”

“Yes, up until I reached the inner ward here. I think that they knew my destination so they simply came here because I chose such a difficult route to get here.” Misha laughed.

“Can you blame them from using all of the information they have?”

“True, but the lutins can’t do that or they’ll end up dead.”

“Yes, but you need to expect the unexpected. Lutins are people and they aren’t stupid. They can think.”

“I do think that can think but they probably aren’t stupid enough to try and follow us to Glen Avery or Metamor itself.”

“Never underestimate the knowledge and skills of a lutin.”

“Misha if they ever get too close to me they will find themselves missing a head and a thumb.”

“Oberon. The lutins have been here since the dawn of time. They beat the Seuilman Empire. So NEVER take them lightly. We all have scars to attest to their skills.”

I bowed my head in contrition before I asked, “Do you want me to run through this whole escape and evasion test again Sir?’

“No! But never lose your respect for the lutins. They are tough survivors. Besides you have to remember that Finbar is half lutin.”

I looked at the ferret and raised a single eyebrow in askance

“Finbar just gave me a dangerous look that told me, without words, that I shouldn’t even bother asking before he continued cleaning his claws with a dagger.

“I guess that I should return to my apartment, grab something to eat, and maybe get some work done in my forge this evening.”

Misha shook his head. “Why don’t you come with us for a few drinks at the Mule?”

“Well you told me when I first joined your Longs that I couldn’t have any drinks until I finished your training.”

“I am allowing you to have a few drinks.” Misha joked.

“Do you mind if I drop off my heavy weapons and get out of my armour?”

“Bring them along!” Misha joked once again. “We want to get there before it gets too crowded.”

“Okay.” I shrugged my shoulders and stepped in behind the fox as we walked towards the Deaf Mule.”

“Besides carrying them all is good exercise.” Finbar joked dryly.

“’I’ve been carrying them around for the past week without even a chance to bring them out and use them.”

“Don’t say that!” Misha commented. “You might get the chance, and I’m not in the mood for a fight right now.”

“Nor does it look like you are prepared for one right now.”

“I always have access to HER,” Misha answered. “And with the axe I need little else.”

“How does that work?”

“I can call her to me over short distances.” Misha patiently explained.

“Well in order to have access to him I have to wear him at my side.”

“You two are talking shop again.” Caroline commented with a voice dripping in disgust. “No more talk of weapons, or how to kill something for this evening,” she orderd.

“Okay. What do you want us to talk about?”

“How about we talk about a certain feline that you met at the Duke’s Feast more than a month ago? What was her name? Kristinai?”

I sighed and thought about the exquisite beauty that the lady snow leopard morph had shown me that night, and on several occasions since then.

“OH!” Misha says. “You are smitten hard!” He joked. “You’re in love!”

“Misha even you have to admit that she is one striking lady.”

“She is striking, I’ll give you that much, but I already know a perfect lady,” He turned and kissed Caroline on the muzzle.

Finbar shook his head. “Cats and foxes are really very different,” he commented.

I glared at the ferret before I pointed out. “You’re walking around with a pine marten Finbar. You can’t really claim that you’re immune to your animal form’s idea of beauty.”

Finbar shrugged. “To each his own.”

We all stepped into the Deaf Mule and Donnie turned and looked at us before he asked, “What will it be tonight?”

“Wine for me and Caroline,” Misha orders.

“I’ll have one of those enchanting drinks that I had last time I was here. Only make this one much, much weaker, unless you want to carry me to one of your rooms again.”

“A LOT weaker!” Misha added. “I am not going to carry you to your room because you are knocked out of your senses.”

“Misha you weren’t even their last time I had one of those drinks. Though from what I can recall George, Caroline, and Finbar were there.”

“I may not have been there Oberon but I heard about it. And I do NOT want to have to carry your fuzzy tail anywhere.”

“I only weigh…”

Finbar cut me off abruptly “WAY too much.”

“It’s not like I’m fat or anything it just come with what I am.”

“You are a male tiger Oberon. All tigers are big.”

“What will you be having Finbar?” Donnie asked the ferret.

“A beer!” the ferret orders.

“Anyone up for throwing knives at the dartboard?”

“I AM!” The ferret answered. “I’ll play you!”

I nodded and then pulled three of my throwing knives from their sheathes and went over and laid them on the table nearest to the throwing line opposite the dartboard.

“Do you want to place a little wager?”

I grinned in an almost feral manner. “How much?”

“How about three moons?”

“Per cast or per bull’s eye?”

“Per bull’s eye!” the ferret explained.

“Ok. Sounds like a fair wager. Anyone else up for it? Misha? Caroline?”

Misha shook his head. “No thank you! I’ve done enough weapons handling for today.”

I shrugged my shoulders and turned around and began to gather my focus on my target and one of the knives on the table. Finally when I felt I was ready to begin I picked one of my knives off of the table, flipped it around until I was holding the tip of the blade, and cast it at the target in one single fluid move. As I had expected the weapon was quivering, point first in the bull’s eye.

Finbar laughed. “Not bad but watch this!” He takes one of his blades and quickly flipped it through the air at the target. It landed in the centre of the target next to my first knife.

I breathed out quickly and threw my next knife. It landed right next to my first knife.

“So the little kitty can throw well!” Finbar comments. He threw the next blade, and it to sank into the centre of the target, which was starting to get rather crowded with knives.

I threw my last blade a touch harder than my previous two knives to allow it to get through the collection of knives to hit dead centre on more. In so doing my most recent knife knocked out one of my earlier thrown knives.

“This could go on forever. May be we should step back and throw from there?”

I took a sip of my drink before I looked at the ferret and nodded in ascent to his suggestion.

“Let’s double the distance!” Finbar suggests after considering the problem for a few moments.

I shrugged my shoulders, walked over and retrieved both of our weapons before I handed Finbar his weapons, and stepped back until I was double the previous distance from the target. Once again I took a few moments to regain my focus before I threw the knife. It didn’t quite hit the bull’s eye, instead it only managed to hit just below the bull’s eye. In fact it was right on the lower line just between the bull’s eye and the rest of the board.

“HAH! You missed the bull’ eye!” Finbar shouted. He flicked his first dagger at the target. It hit the target with a solid thunk. But none the less, it was no closer centre of the target than my own knife.

“You did no better than I did Finbar.” I pointed out before I threw my second knife. This knife landed right where I had aimed it because I had increased the amount of force that I had used to throw it with. I grinned at the sight of the knife in the centre of the target and looked over at Finbar and wiggled an ear at him.

“Lucky shot!” Finbar said in reply to my expression. He threw his own dagger and it landed in the centre of the target, right beside my own shot. “Perfect shot!”

“There was more to that than luck Finbar.” I told him before I threw my third knife. It hit with the blade brushing up against my second weapon.

“How about we spice things up a little? Next round of knives we throw blindfolded.”

I was about to agree when I heard the whistling noise as a single knife came through the open door of the Deaf Mule and streaked towards where Finbar and I was standing.

“KNIFE!” Finbar shouted as the weapon slid between the two of us to end up buried halfway to the hilt in one of the sturdy wooden pillars in the room. “That one was meant to kill!” He pulled his short sword from its scabbard.

I grabbed another pair of my throwing knives from their sheaths and tossed them, as hard as I could, through the open door with an angry whistle. “That knife wasn’t meant to kill just anyone. It was aimed at ME!”

“So? Do you mind if I help kill whoever tossed it anyway?” Finbar asked over his shoulder as he rushed for the door.

“Be my guest.” I shouted in reply as I pulled the Claw out of its scabbard and headed for the door.

Behind me I heard Misha shout, “I hate people who interrupt my fun.”

As soon as I got outside I ducked to avoid a slash from a sword, swept my own weapon through an arc that cut right through the assassin’s sword without even slowing down. As I did that I pulled out my last throwing knife with my left hand and threw it at another assassin. As I parried the assassin’s thrust with his remaining weapon I saw Finbar move in, with lightening speed, on an assassin with his short sword flashing. He dodged past the assassin’s blade and sunk his own weapon into the man’s chest. I grabbed the hilt of the Claw with both hands and let loose on of my most powerful cuts aimed at the assassin in front of me. I cut through his weapon, his arm, and his chest in a single blow. I turned to face another assassin when Misha charged out of the bar with his massive axe swinging. I noticed that the huge weapon created little more than a whisper as it passed through the air and through the neck of one of the assassins.

“Having fun yet Misha?” I grunted as I removed another assassin’s left arm and head at the same time.

“Plenty!” The fox shouts as he parried the attack of an assassin. He smacks the man on the head with the butt of his axe handle before finishing him off with a slice through the neck.

Within a couple of minutes all of the assassins are dead. I leaned on my sword. “These fools are always going to be after me.”

“And they will keep dying,” Finbar added. “Don’t they ever get the hint that they can’t win?”

“Well Kelmar assassins are notoriously stubborn. They will die by the hundreds before they take a hint that they should leave a target alone. In their own way they are like the lutins that are making our lives difficult here in the Keep.”

Misha shook his head. “Don’t insult lutins like that. All lutins eventually learn when they are losing and to leave something alone?”

“Have they learned yet that you should be someone to be left alone?”

“Most have, and the rest are learning fast!”

“How long do you think it is going to take for them to learn that I am not one to be messed with either?”

“Well you’re going to have to kill a lot more of them first.” Finbar commented. “They will eventually learn though.”

“Do you think that my early work will have any impact on how long it will take them to learn to respect me?”

“Misha shrugged. “Who can really tell with lutins?”

“Well who’s up for going back to the Mule?”

“Right after I check these bodies for anything interesting.” The fox said as he began to search the bodies of the dead assassins.

“Misha if you don’t mind I will take their drug and dispose of it properly.” I said holding out my hand-paw.

“Why? Is it dangerous?” the fox asks as he handed me the vials that he had collected so far.

“Very dangerous Misha. It is highly addictive and is made using magic from the Three Forsaken Gods. Do you really want to be in the debt to a demon of the Kelmar?”

“No. Be sure that you get rid of that stuff carefully Oberon.”

“It will take me some time, some prayers to the gods, and a huge amount of my own energy to destroy all of this stuff.”

“Perhaps Raven or Father Hough could help you?” Misha suggested.

“I highly doubt it because they don’t have my relationship with the Kelmar Gods. Though when I am finished I will need some help getting some food in order to replenish my energy.”

“There is a fully stocked and working mess hall in the Long House.” Misha replied. “Plenty of food!”

“That isn’t the problem Misha. When I destroy this stuff I will almost be completely debilitated. Someone will need to be there to help me survive. Destroying this much narrelat will take almost all of my energy.”

“We Longs take care of our own.” Misha answered. “We’ll get through it.”

“I normally use the energy that is my gift from the gods, to forge my weapons. But now I have to use it to destroy something. It is a pity that there isn’t another Kelmar Mage in this area or I would ask him to do it for me. Only Kelmar Mages and Blademasters have this kind of power.”

“The quality of the blades you make mean that you must be a mage of considerable power. There is no other explanation.”

I laughed at his comment before I told him “To think that I stumbled on the ability to make Ktresnarak Blades; Holy Swords, back when I was only twenty-two years old. At that point I had only just gained the rank of Bladesman of the Gold.”

“You were a master blade maker at the age of twenty?” Misha asked, clearly surprised. “That takes some real skill!”

“It took me a lot of study and practice to get to that point. I started banging on metal when I was only twelve years old.”

“I don’t doubt that. That level of skill always means starting young.”

“All Kelmar Warriors start off young. We are given chances to both create weapons and to use them. Our martial arts training usually starts when we are only five years old and our training in a forge starts when we are twelve years old. Though a vast majority of warriors are only skilled in one facet of our martial arts I am in minority in that I am equally skilled at both.”

“Well regardless of that your weapons are a lot better then just normal ones. They show me that a master weapons smith created them.”

“Would you expect anything less from a man with more than twenty years of practice making Ktresnarak Blades?”

“I don’t know about your kind of swords, but normally I’ve known people who have been making blades for forty years and are still not able to do work quite as fine as you can.”

“I have been blessed by my gods with both my skills and my powers. I will continue to use them for the benefit of my friends and comrades in the Keep.”

“Good we can use all the help we can get.”

I nodded my head and went into the Mule and drained my drink in a single draught.

“What should we do about all of the dead bodies?” Misha asked. “Can’t leave them lying around littering up the street.”

I looked at Misha, who was standing at the door. “What do you normally do with the bodies of your enemies?”

“We usually burn the bodies, then bury whatever is left.”

I turned to Donnie and asked, “Can you get me another drink Donnie?” I turned back to Misha “In that case who normally collects the bodies here for disposal?”

“We could call the people who come pick up the garbage,” Finbar suggested.

“There are also those creepy guys in black robes,” Misha said. “They normally take care of the dead here in the Keep. I wouldn’t be surprised it they were already here.”

“Ok sounds good to me, I just have to get a moment so that I can collect a few souvenirs from my kills.”

Misha followed me outside where we found several figures dressing long black robes already gathered around the corpses. Misha bowed to the figures and then said, “Hurry Oberon. It’s never a good idea to keep the Caretakers waiting.”

I quickly moved to collect the thumbs of the four assassins that I had killed in the recent fighting. Once I had collected the thumbs of the assassins I headed back to the Mule.”

The fox bowed to the figures in black robes. “Thank you.” He then turned to me and came up to me and asked, “Still collecting thumbs Oberon?”

“Do you really know any reason why I should stop Misha?”

“How many thumbs do you have?” He asked. “If you were wondering Caroline broke me of my habit of collecting ears.”

“Well I have just over a hundred and ten lutin thumbs, one ogre thumb, and five Kelmar thumbs.”

“Impressive collection Oberon. I have a feeling that you’ll be adding a lot more assassin’s thumbs in the future.”

“If they keep coming I will keep collecting their thumbs.”

“All right. But at least keep them out of sight.”

“What about this necklace?” I asked fingering my lutin and ogre thumb necklace. “Do you mind if I wear it?”

“All right you can wear it. I’ve discovered that wearing other people’s body parts tend to freak other people out.”

I nodded my head and took a sip of my drink before I asked, “Misha would my mind dropping by my forge tomorrow so that I can get rid of that drug that the assassins where carrying and using?”

“All right.”

“And please remember to bring at least fifty pounds of meat and make sure that it is at least a little warm.”

“That won’t be a problem Oberon. We have over a ton of meat in the meat cellar in the Long House. I’ll bring some along with me. What time should I come by?”

“You’ll have to give me several hours to prepare. I would say that you should come at around eleven-o-clock in the morning.”

“Fair enough.” The fox answered. “I’ll be at your front door at eleven.”

I nodded and drained my drink before I stood, and waved my hand to my friends. “Have a good night. I need to get a fair amount of sleep in order to be able to pull this off.” My friend all bid me good night as I headed out of the bar and back to the Long House where my quarters were located. By now the guards were familiar with my presence at the door of the house.

The next morning after a good night’s sleep I went to the mess hall, ate my breakfast, and returned to my quarters where I began my preparation for the activities of the coming afternoon. I had just finished my initial preparations when there was a knock on the door. I made my way to the door, being careful not to catch my long voluminous robe on anything to open the door.

“I’m here!” Misha said as I opened the door for him. A shocked look came across his face as he noticed how I was dressed. “I’ve never seen you dressed like this!”

“Well I have never had to do this in your presence before. This robe has a lot of meaning Misha.” I went over to my bed and picked up a smaller robe and held it out to the fox. “It will help protect you from the forsaken ones along with an oil which I will anoint you with.”

Misha took the robe from my hand and slowly put it on over his clothes. “Just how dangerous is what we are going to be doing?”

“Very dangerous Misha, if you tried to destroy this substance on your own the forsaken ones would have ripped your soul out and taken you to our own particular form of hell.”

Misha just shook his head. “Why is nothing ever easy? Why are things always so harsh?”

“I really don’t know sir but I try and make this as easy as possible on you.” With that said I picked up my small bottle of holy oil and beckoned the fox forward. “Give me a few moments and you will be safe, hopefully.”

“All right. I really hate dealing with magic. I never did. I prefer a good, solid axe in my hands.”

“I am the same way Misha, but I have do this because no one else has my training in dealing with this threat.” I placed four drops of aromatic oil on Misha’s face one drop on his forehead, the tips of each ear, and the end of the nose, as well a further pair of drops on each of his hands. That should be enough.”

“Well that is a relief, and it has a nice smell.” The fox commented. “What do we do next?”

“Just follow me. If you have a god right now would be a good time to pray for protection.” I then walked into my forge and knelt on the floor and began to pray and gather my energy. As time went on I began to feel the presence of my three gods in the room. Each of them glowed in a particular colour. Chéletor glowed blood crimson, Savnator glowed deep blue, and Malanor glowed deep forest green. My own glacial blue halo was also strengthening in intensity and colour. I glanced over at the fox and noticed that he had a small halo of energy as well, a dark green halo that was similar in colour to Malanor’s halo. “How are you holding up my friend?” I asked.

“That is good because my gods are here now. If they ask you anything please answer them truthfully.”

“All right.” He answered in a clipped tone of voice. “I hate dealing with magic and unknown gods.”

“Well in that case I will tell you a little bit about them. My gods are the gods of a warrior. Chéletor the God of War is in red, Savnator the God of Life is in blue, and Malanor the God of the Earth is in deep green.”

“I see. How many gods are there in your pantheon?” Misha asked.

“There are nine gods, though three of them have forsaken their divine status. They are the Forsaken Ones.”

“Who dost thou be fox? The red form of Chéletor asked in his normal gruff battle hardened voice.

“I am Sir Misha of the Brightleaf Clan, scout, fighter, and friend of Oberon.”

My prime deity’s right eyebrow raised in askance but he shook his head and asked me. “Why have you summoned us here my son?”

“My Lords I am faced with eliminating a cursed substance created by your three wayward siblings.”

Misha remained quiet while I explained about the narrelat and its origins.

Malanor turned to the fox and asked him, “Good sir is our son correct about the curse on this substance? And where it comes from?”

“He is. This substance was created this way and now we have to deal with this nasty stuff.”

“What is the source of this foul contaminated stuff?” Chéletor asked in a disturbed tone of voice.

“Assassins. Foul killers who attacked my friend and tried to kill him.”

The three gods turned as one and as a chorus asked me “Is what your friend saying true?”

“Yes my Lords it is true, this substance comes from our own lands and it is made by those who follow your siblings.”

They all nodded and then they looked at each other before they slowly began to fade out. “You will have to deal with this substance yourself my son. We have to locate the source of this evil and do what we can to expunge it from the land of our worshipers.” Chéletor said before he vanished completely.

Misha remained still for a moment. “Now what happens?”

“Now I have to try to do this myself. I was hoping that they would assist me in getting rid of this stuff, but as you heard, they have more important things to take care of.” I replied. “This will be very, very difficult for me to do alone.”

“I was afraid you were going to say that.” Misha commented.

I stood up and opened my robe to reveal my armour and weapons underneath and drew the Claw of the Dragon from its scabbard. “The only thing that I can count on to help me is the spirit in my sword and my own power. Unless you would be willing to lend me some of your own energy so that I can do this.”

“Lend you what?” The fox asked.

“Misha you have some power, even I can see that much! And I am no mage, I couldn’t cast a spell if my life depended on it.”

“Nor am I a mage my friend. I can cast a few spells, but I don’t have anything to do with spirits or potions. I will help you if I can.”

“That is all that I am asking for my friend.”

“All right. What can I do?”

“Come here beside me and place your hand on mine.”

Misha stepped forward and then knelt beside me and placed his hand on my right hand.

I moved my right hand over and grasped the hilt of the Claw and began to bring forth my full power as a Bladelord of the Gold to bear. I melded that power with the power that took from the fox and wove it into a flaming turquoise pattern that I extended over the eight black vials with the tip of the sword. Beside me I could feel Misha looking at what I was doing.

As my pattern of entwined energies reached the vials an inky black shape rose up from them like a stain and said in a voice that sounded like it came from a long dead crypt. “Whhoo daarres.”

I could smell a slight taint of fear in the air coming from my friend but none the less he remained steadfast and focussed.

“I am a servant of Chéletor, Savnator, and Malanor. I wield the Claw of the Dragon and you have no grasp on me.”

“But there is one here who does not serve any of those. I will rrriiippp his sssooouuulll from his still qquiivvering flesh and take it to the Lost!”

“You will do no such thing servant of the Forsaken Ones. He is under my protection.”

“Your wwaarrdds are feeble and no concern of mine. I wiiillll have himmm.” The inky shadow uttered before beginning to move outwards towards Misha.

I slashed the Claw across the evil thing’s path of advance and it shrunk back away from the sword. “That is right you creature of shadows this is the Claw of the Dragon and you cannot abide contact with it.”

“I will have your pawn little man.”

“He is not a pawn, he is my friend, my comrade, and my commander.”

The voice took on a more insidious tone then “How would you like to commmand this foooll and all who follow him? Make those who have caused you pain to suffer like you have suffered?”

“Your blandishments and offers will avail you not.” I told him, though deep in my core the dark creature’s offer did indeed have some appeal.

“You deessire powwer? The powwer to take the throne of my Lord’s Children and stand astride the world so that none may challenge youuu.”

“Oberon. Don’t listen to this thing. Its promises are little more than lies and you’ll wind up with nothing in the end. Besides do you really want to betray all of your friends here in Metamor Keep?”

“Is this thing yourr frriend? It doesn’t kknnoww yoouu, I kknnoww yoouu. I know that yoouu want to go home to be with your own people.”

“This is your home Oberon. And YES I AM your friend.” Misha looked down at the inky stain that was growing from the vials of narrelat. “Now be gone liar and go back to hell where you belong.”

“These aren’t your people. They are using yoouu.”

“Oberon. You are a tiger. A person with curse just like me all of us here at the Keep and its environs. And what of little Guy? He calls you father now.”

“I can take…”

“That is enough of you foul thing. I know who my friends and family are and you aren’t one of them.” I interrupted the demon and refocused my power on the inky stain that had been growing from the vials of narrelat.

“Please end this quickly Oberon. I’m getting tired of this thing’s lies.”

From in between my clenched teeth I managed to say, “I am trying Misha. I don’t believe that I like this thing any more than you do.”

“All right. Be careful my friend. If I can help you in any way, just ask.”

“Thank you Misha.” I told him before I bent forward and poured a flaming turquoise burst of energy at the vials of narrelat. The inky stain slowly, almost reluctantly began to contract back into the vials form whence it had come. I had to pull more power from Misha in order to combat the thing. Finally after what seemed like and eternity the inky cloud finally vanished into the vials. I had to extend my senses toward the vials to make sure that the thing was really gone. When I was sure that the demon was no longer there I picked the eight vials up and tossed them into the forge fire before I collapsed, completely exhausted.

Misha, who seemed to be as tired as I was sat down hard next to me, “Are you all right Oberon?”

I nodded my head slowly. “That took more out of me than I thought it would.”

“I am probably as tired as you are my friend. That was really nasty Oberon. There were a couple of times where I though that the demon would win. But you proved to be stronger than it was.”

“That strength took a lot out of me. As soon as I get something to eat I should be able to make it to my own bed.” I pushed myself to all fours and slowly made my way into my living area where Misha had left the food that he had brought with him when he arrived.

Misha followed me and opened the large sack and handed me a large chunk of meat. “Here eat this and then get some sleep.”

I began to eat with an almost driving hunger. I paused once and looked at the fox and asked, “What about you Misha? I think that you’re as tired as I am.”

Misha nodded and then looked into one of the corners of the room and noticed that there was a small bed that had not been there before. “I see that Kyia has thought to provide me with a place to rest.”

I ate quickly with little thought of my manners or the sounds that I was making. After I finished the first piece I held a smaller piece out to Misha even though I was still hungry. “Here my friend you should eat something as well. You will need it in order to help you regain your strength.”

Misha took the red dripping chunk of meat and looked at it for a moment before he began to pull it apart with his teeth.

He ate it very quickly “I was hungrier than I thought, though that managed to fill me up quite a bit.”

“Well if you don’t mind I am going to get some rest my friend.” I told him before I shrugged out my robe and crawled into my bed.

I watched as Misha made his way over to the bed that had been provided. He didn’t even bother to get out of his robe before he flopped onto the bed and stretched out.

As soon as Misha had stretched out on his bed my eyes betrayed me and I fell into a deep dreamless sleep.

"In a Dark Hall", copyright Oberon Snowcat