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Nightglory (3rd Edition)
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Writer Mathew Babaoye
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  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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Nightglory (3rd Edition)
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#5
The Town
Mathew Babaoye
Mar 26, 2016
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79
11 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!ikGyV7NzDPcz6xC1pO65posted on PENANA

Golden sunlight played hide and seek among the heavy clouds all day long, but during late evening now cast long shadows from the edge of the ancient forests interior treeline out across a brief stretch of grassland bordering Town: a small settlement originally, the steady varnish of bountiful peace had grown this medieval enclave somewhat grander over recent centuries until its legendary goldenwood buildings dominated the view, uniformly red roofs spanning warm out into the distance…copyright protection79PENANAwKaTbTlLfY

… unearthly hush spread…copyright protection79PENANAqyi66eeUOS

The dark encircling mountains of the ancient Realm lost the last glimmer of the sinking golden sun, leaving the now brilliantly orange and purple overcast sky darkening further, into…copyright protection79PENANAK0rQy4SXSY

Night.copyright protection79PENANA3pJejU7FFn

The moment. Goldenslaughter, wearing a black cloak with its black hood up, emerged smoothly from the treeline now, brushing her monolithic Will against the surrounding shadows and infusing a minimal amount of her immense Power to begin curling them upwards. The ensorcelled shadows smoothly enveloped her paling form until she eventually seemed a dark wraith trailing shadow while gliding into the outskirts of Town…copyright protection79PENANAD5WWc2aqXZ

Her eyes narrowed.copyright protection79PENANAiH0KyyPqwH

The first cobbled street was empty.copyright protection79PENANAoA78Oq2V5H

My Glory project kept me too long away, but my people will know me well again, soon enough. She glided through the outskirts unseen, but it quickly cheered her to see that traditional sign of her dark Rule hung gaily above every mantle: a crude stick figure of twined black briar. Still following the rhythm established by her entrance now, she began to hum while also drawing a bonewhite hand out from her enveloping wraith-shadows to start brushing her bonewhite fingertips against certain doorways, her dark Essence suffused outwards and causing local shadows left behind to begin stirring…copyright protection79PENANAjJMfFYiQpf

Dark Blessings.copyright protection79PENANAPIWQsvoiVV

Queen Goldenslaughter wound steadily inwards along the outer streets of Town (occasionally passing intersections showing distant light and sound from the central gathering). The streets grew slowly moon-silvered on her traditional blessing route, and the goldenwood buildings gently dulled amber with the sun fully gone, although still remained beautiful among the enlivening shadows. A bright, gibbous moon crowned the distant encircling mountains, where some heights were becoming softly luminous with the low, gently rippling aurora of Elementals…copyright protection79PENANAZkv7sjxufD

Eh? Pausing suddenly, she then gazed upon a lone stone building unexpectedly bright with light, and loud with an angry voice, in the dark street ahead of her. They should all be gone to the Square in celebration of my divinity! What arrogance. She slipped near the building and settled beside one of its bright windows to waite there like a dark shadow, Sourceless.copyright protection79PENANAbzmYO1X7Sm

“We should go,” came a worried feminine voice from inside of the residence…copyright protection79PENANAmH5jxyOWQK

The Queen of Night slowly eased upwards now, finally peering through the open window upon a red-faced bearded man sitting at table, the roaring hearth fire behind him casting dancing shadows across the otherwise dim interior. “A fool’s holiday,” he complained loudly, and slurped from his mug of ale before glowering across the room…copyright protection79PENANARP4nXwGu1W

Her eyes flicked.copyright protection79PENANA8dvvckw9ro

A slender woman, nursing her baby, was sitting across the room by a shadowed rear passage. “Her Power is real,” she said softly.copyright protection79PENANAwO6B7E9WBZ

Good…copyright protection79PENANAGtPKQMhxhj

The cobbler was quiet for a moment, then slammed his mug back down upon the tabletop in sudden anger, splashing ale. “I’ll not hear such from you!” he snarled.copyright protection79PENANAtpwZUIkrSM

A low cry from their baby...copyright protection79PENANAQoAX0IC9Ed

The cobbler froze, then looked ashamed at his outburst, turning away with his bleary eyes downcast. Muttering: “and there are others to worship…”copyright protection79PENANA9lGZ6xLn43

Others? Goldenslaughter sniffed the air carefully now, catching a particular scent which still lingered, faintly…copyright protection79PENANAGytdyoVSQN

The Slythy.copyright protection79PENANAFGcfEcXgmC

While the unhappy couple continued their blasphemous discussion inside, the Queen of Night placed two wraithlike fingers against her wraithlike throat and now began circling their building while humming softly in doubled tone and trailing her other hand against its outwards facing stone wall to imbue her primal Essence directly into the shadows. Once the circle was complete, she glided away, a dark wraith trailing shadow, as the now darkening, angrily stirring ensorcelled shadows began seeping under their door, and through their windows…copyright protection79PENANAuwXbv3IhrN

A shout. A loud cry. Then…copyright protection79PENANAl8lOlTchM2

Silence.copyright protection79PENANA5rJiHnvFER

Manfred has long been a rotten grouser, but who would ever have guessed I would have to chastise so strictly? Tch. But I am missing something here. The dark immortal one dwelt upon worst case scenarios for a time, while passing through the empty inner streets of the Town (still automatically blessing each building, all growing slightly brighter along the edges). Eventually dismissing away her concerns, she approached the final intersection, where light and sound from her traditional Holiday celebration Ruled. Obeisance is observed, and they also seem happy enough… for now. She kept to the shadows beside an edging building, and looked out upon Town Square...copyright protection79PENANAh8ofkUj2bK

Hundreds of her loyal subjects were out there among roaring bonfires, and the Holiday’s traditional black and purple lanterns were strung overhead. Many were seated at long, rough wooden feasting tables, or just dancing between them…copyright protection79PENANAPxTblf4ywR

Goldenslaughter felt unexpected pride.copyright protection79PENANAACikU0IpFm

Hers were a people slender, lovely, and vivacious. Mortal still, but over lengthening generations they had gradually changed into something more than human by the generous, and infusing magic of her Realm…copyright protection79PENANAhXvFcPAvSM

So…copyright protection79PENANAgIjaUEpZdV

A tall, watchful statue of dark beauty (meant to represent her true, divine form) stood upon a wide grey plinth amidst the central clearing. However: she barely glanced at it, and also ignored most of the commoners to stare instead upon the Guildsmen, all wearing finery or tradespun, and upon the Forestwalkers, all clad in their traditional green cloak. Strong for mortals, but loyal enough, and nothing compared to my own dark Power. Staring longer upon the Mayor, and even longer still upon the Sun Priest…copyright protection79PENANAQNy98s9QSO

Her eyes narrowed.copyright protection79PENANAdaLJQYyqur

She didn’t like him. The unfortunate reality of politics, eh? The Sun Prince had proven a useful ally in the past, and had so far only ever provided her good, Powerful fun without pressing her as others attempted. But he somehow tricked me into signing a treaty. Tch. But its still nothing to fear: I gave up nothing in it, and with my Realm’s position only metaphysically bordering his Kingdom in the wider world, an invasion through Abstraction would prove impossible for him. Yes, indeed: I am no easy gatekeeper.…copyright protection79PENANAcLavV4ak3n

And yet…copyright protection79PENANAgTbP3jhcaa

Goldenslaughter was still suspiciously watching the old, white-bearded Sun Priest. Foisted upon her as part of the treaty (and her own Night Priest exchanged), he had been a model citizen over the years, although she had never been able to fully trust him. With his gold chain glinting over the front of his white robes, he smiled and continued talking with a young couple. The proud husband now laughed, while bouncing a baby upon his knee. Pah. An old man is less than nothing…copyright protection79PENANA1okN7aMGAg

Her eyes flicked.copyright protection79PENANA7N2ijXmtip

There were few children among her subjects, although a distant group played among stacks of wood.copyright protection79PENANARzj2ommGzx

Seeing this (and remembering a little one fearlessly bold who had promised to always do her bidding), Goldenslaughter now slowly withdrew from the festivities, fading back into darker shadows, to prepare a welcome…copyright protection79PENANAQBVbo2laIW

copyright protection79PENANArQKt83rvxJ

Laughter and shouts: among the stacks of wood, children ran shrieking, leaping, and tumbling, although one dark-haired boy (thinner than the rest and wearing thread-bare clothes) was sitting off by himself, and twining black briar deftly into a necklace…copyright protection79PENANAUojerHBOna

A twitch of shadowy motion.copyright protection79PENANAleLhqajMl2

The boy looked up, briefly startled to see his own shadow gently beckoning for him to follow it. Looking about cautiously, he then slipped quietly away from the other children, walked nonchalantly across Town Square through the adults, and finally headed onto a dim sidestreet, among the shadows…copyright protection79PENANAIMStg1wHw3

A strange whisper.copyright protection79PENANAqrrJFTrgHP

He followed her whisper, passing by dark, empty buildings until her whisper came within a dark, empty house. The handle gave when he tried it, so the little boy opened the door and slipped inside before shutting it firmly, but quietly behind himself again...copyright protection79PENANAr33dkuoEgJ

Silence.copyright protection79PENANAGZvzsLBYt7

The little boy hesitated.copyright protection79PENANA1TztDem4v4

Dark shadow and dark furniture stood alone across the dark interior. “Orphan Ilthen,” finally came her soft voice…copyright protection79PENANAUX7Xbrsz5I

The boy turned smoothly towards her voice. “My Queen?”copyright protection79PENANAiMHOm9AX83

A green flame suddenly bloomed within her pale, cupped hands, softly illuminating the red-lipped smile upon her bonewhite face. "You play your part well,” she told him.copyright protection79PENANA5aXEDBS0Go

Ilthen smiled. “We are who we act.”copyright protection79PENANA4AmcyxD06J

Her eyes narrowed.copyright protection79PENANAIpwqdSzOPI

Will, Power and Title were complex, with rules within rules. But one of the first lessons any magical practioner learned was that the Onta rewarded those who showed strongly in life, regardless of any other such consideration. The boy Ilthen himself was an orphan of uncertain future, but possessed a recklessness and desire for Power which oftimes reminded of her own young self. Halfway between her dark disciple and her spy, the Queen had tantalized and teased him for years, while barely considering whether or not he might ever serve a greater purpose for her…copyright protection79PENANASUSPywqrx7

Goldenslaughter finally returned him a cruel smile. He may yetAs long as he remembers his place. “Truth,” she agreed softly. “Now tell me about the Town. Found truth. New truth. Secret truth.”copyright protection79PENANAQBHcOfKsgQ

“Y-yes.” He gulped. “Only: a poor orphan’s due?”copyright protection79PENANAbYfHptAZhp

“Mmm. All deserve comfort.”copyright protection79PENANAH9kzZT6qlD

The candle blew out.copyright protection79PENANAxcffo3u9vK

Ilthen stifled a yelp of surprise.copyright protection79PENANAZHJfo8IZ70

… and witchfyre suddenly burst into eerie life within the dark, cold fireplace. “Come join me.” The eerily beautiful Queen was now sitting gracefully in an armchair by the unholy flames. Wearing a circlet of living shadow upon her brow, and her long blue-black braid down the right shoulder of her black cloak, she gestured invitingly towards two steaming mugs set upon the small table…copyright protection79PENANAoO9Jo9DuzY

“M-my thanks.” The little boy came over, sat down upon a stool and faced her across the small table. Reaching for a mug…copyright protection79PENANA87bnmAqRJV

Goldenslaughter watched him like a hawk does prey.copyright protection79PENANACIDmX1uG0C

Ilthen brought the steaming mug up for a hesitant sip, then made a pained sound and gently set it aside. “So. News.”copyright protection79PENANAGprQ9PZMkz

“News. So.”copyright protection79PENANALsHWQ4wgVf

Ilthen squirmed. “I would claim a bargain w–”copyright protection79PENANAcyYPUWRpCS

The witchfyre went dim, and shadows began dancing along the edges of the room, drawing slowly closer…copyright protection79PENANA1iis9ri9eD

“W–with any other! But for you…” He hesitated again. “I offer three truths, freely given.”copyright protection79PENANAIZ6qWWutcq

Abruptly: the witchfyre and shadows returned to normal.copyright protection79PENANAJpZHfTE6ig

Ilthen blinked.copyright protection79PENANAZkzhMIJ5RX

Goldenslaughter pouted. “Three truths, only?”copyright protection79PENANAIAXO1UKvnX

Ilthen shivered, then nodded gravely and gingerly picked up his steaming mug again. “Some truths of mine are not worth your time, my Queen.” He blew atop the mug before taking another sip. “Mm. This spice is good, but strong and strange. What gift this, on Dark Night?”copyright protection79PENANAW7nVPCPtJ8

Goldenslaughter laughed. “A draught from mine own private coffers: EverNight Brew.”copyright protection79PENANAJJsi1f1KkS

He paused, wary now...copyright protection79PENANAI2tGRuAC0Y

“There are no ill effects for mortals,” she promised him. “I have always enjoyed the taste, although my palate is unique.”copyright protection79PENANAAW6XSVAIok

Ilthen squinted at her, then took another sip. “Mm. My thanks.” He sighed and placed the steaming mug back down again. “But to return to your wants… well, for one: the Mayor met in secret with a certain devious Clansmen near a warehouse of the grain merchant. I was near, because–”copyright protection79PENANAQ73jq4yrPS

“–you are a shiftless, spying orphan,” she finished impatiently. “I know this truth: the night is my own. Tell me of the day...”copyright protection79PENANAkxVNdNhOph

“Three truths of the day, of course.” He nodded to himself, then patted about his rumpled coat’s pockets and pulled out two wrapped sweets. “Want one?”copyright protection79PENANAN0eTX6OyPc

“No.”copyright protection79PENANASFkVYK0xcP

Ilthen shrugged, putting one of the sweets away again before unwrapping the other and popping it in his mouth. “Three daylight truths for the Queen,” he said slowly, chewing. “Freely given for kindness shown, and worship granted.”copyright protection79PENANAqwnmjA9Apz

Goldenslaughter smiled. “Fair enough.”copyright protection79PENANARdz66xcV61

“The first truth.” He swallowed the sweet. “Is that you ignore the Town at your peril.”copyright protection79PENANA7YHsUGcUeo

Green witchfyre flickered angrily within the hearth, and Queen Goldenslaughter hissed: “careful, boy...”copyright protection79PENANAKEU70eIaO7

His eyes widened. “I am not threatening you! Please! Hear me.”copyright protection79PENANAJGkjMrRZmX

Silence.copyright protection79PENANA1uWJWQq9LE

“.. go on.”copyright protection79PENANAyvisCjGltv

Ilthen sighed. “Your absence was not brief for mortals, even so long lived as our people. Shadows remain still, with small affairs unsettled and doubts voiced, in daylight…”copyright protection79PENANAsdcNwZfoYB

Goldenslaughter smiled grimly. “You will tell me their names.”copyright protection79PENANAm06iJ289cU

“I will! The Cobbler is always one, and old Graeme. They are unimportant though compared to my second truth: the Shaman’s apprentice also met with the Sun Priest.”copyright protection79PENANANKp6d2pTnS

Her smile curdled. “You are sure of this?”copyright protection79PENANApQ6BEDBT1z

Ilthen nodded. “Yes. Absolutely.”copyright protection79PENANAvnzBFjEOtQ

Goldenslaughter silently considered this for a time. “We shall see about that,” she finally growled. “Your third truth. Now.”copyright protection79PENANAIhB8nOaNIy

“Third time pays for all,” he agreed. “The Slythy visited.”copyright protection79PENANAG7pMJ4pkXr

Goldenslaughter frowned. “I knew this already: the Cobbler still reeked of its presence.”copyright protection79PENANAUtOu5uNKjh

“But did you know that it was also skulking about the Mayor?”copyright protection79PENANAB1yc9V0kJI

... crackling witchfyre punctuated the silence…copyright protection79PENANATpQibAmBVk

“I saw the Slythy with my own eyes, leaving,” he continued determinedly, “and I didn’t hear what was said, but the Mayor looked afraid, afterwards.”copyright protection79PENANA2PORkUm8EF

Goldenslaughter was silent for a long moment, with her fingers slowly beginning to tap against the armrests. Unexpectedly: she tittered. “That little toady, speaking out of turn. Townsfolk acting strange. And other wonders on the horizon. Tales of Three, let it be…”copyright protection79PENANApgHXsRTtcC

Ilthen watched her uncertainly. “As you say, my Queen.”copyright protection79PENANAc522oeDLPy

The Queen of Night turned back and gave the little boy a last, speculative look, then slowly smiled. “Thank you for your service on this Dark Night, my night of worship. Close your eyes now, and receive my blessing.”copyright protection79PENANA6SoUKIP6Qt

Ilthen chewed his lip, but closed his eyes.copyright protection79PENANAMgJtdcl7Fx

… crackling witchfyrecopyright protection79PENANAJRDMU10xNP

A brief, light touch of her hand upon his brow.copyright protection79PENANA6TIuOsdDy4

Silence.copyright protection79PENANA7kkROy39FJ

Waiting… but nothing more. The orphan Ilthen opened his eyes to find the interior returned to darkness. His little mouth twisted: he was alone once more, in an empty house.copyright protection79PENANAHpBkbvmc39

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