Epilogue "That was the last time I saw her." The fire crackled and popped under the moonlit air. Its light played over the trees and bush that surrounded the clearing the five of them sat under. Shadows danced along their faces and glinted against the eyes of the four who listened with various forms of attention. The fifth did not turn her gaze from the fire, anxiety, nervousness and a multitude of other emotions preventing her from looking at the others.
Chapter Sixty-Four: Touch "I had longed for it. But it came too late." Shayliss was shoved until her back met with a bookshelf. There she struggled against the newly angered Valtyra. The sounds of combat flowed from outside the hall, possibly all of the way from the courtyard, but they were so soft that Shayliss did not notice them. The battle with the ogres must have moved outside.
Chapter Sixty-Two: Confusion "You thought you knew her. Do you really?" Confusion filled the air as everyone seemed to stare at everyone else in the room. All of the ogres held various misshapen forms of grins, growls and snarls. The woman at the makeshift throne had a white-toothed smile and her long elf ears twitched in amusement watching over the newcomers. The heroes, except for Shayliss, readied their own weapons and watched the movements of the ogres. Shayliss stared directly at Valtyra, confusion clear on her face. Valtyra, did not look back. In fact, it seemed like she did not notice anything about the room at all. Her face was contemplative and smiling. Like a cat on the lap of a favorite owner.
Chapter Sixty-One: War Room "Where else would a war take place?" As soon as the gate was shut, Lotho was kneeling over Shayliss's face. HIs expression was neutral, emotionless, as he looked over her body. Those eyes saw more than it seemed and she could practically see his mind writing down notes.
Chapter Sixty: Gate "They must not pass!" The courtyard smelled worse than it looked. Burning orge met with various other smells to create a wall of odor that Shayliss only thought possible in barn fires. While Sandpoint was not quite farmland, she had lived near the stables long enough to get an idea of what that kind of situation would smell like.
Chapter Fifty-Nine: Fort Rannick "The fort may be broken, but it still stands. We just have to take it back." The fort had been severely damaged in the ogre's attack on it. A gigantic hole was smashed in the south wall, debris piled all over the area ignored for about a month. The towers were unoccupied and various walls of the multi-story fort itself were bashed in. Shadows crossed through these walls, shown by the candles and torches lighting the rooms. But the worst of what could be seen was in the courtyard.
Chapter Fifty-Eight: The Black Arrows "It is black for a reason. When we are called in, the target will never see what hit them. We are the night. We are the shadows. We are Death." Shayliss heard footsteps coming closer as she coiled her grappling hook back into its loop. There were stains on its claws but otherwise it was undamaged. Those enhancements she had the mage weave into the rope were working flawlessly. Not even a loose strand poked out of the braid.
Chapter Fifty-Seven: Ogres "These giant beasts are aggressive. It is unknown where they came from or why they attack settlements, but many who face them never return to tell the tale." Horse hooves pounded the slightly damp dirt as the four riders raced toward the east. Fort Rannick was to the east and slightly north of town so they were heading for the fighting at the southeast first. Once that problem was taken care of they would move to the fort. The sounds of combat met them before the sight of it. Metal thunked against wood, growls both human and monstrous mixed together in a horrible symphony and the thrum of bowstrings being plucked.
Chapter Fifty-Six: Turtleback "Nothing is as it seems." Compared to Magnimar, Turtleback Ferry was peaceful. Men and women walked up and down the roads of the small town and conversations buzzed quietly. Water could be heard splashing against land as well as the bells of the ferry. It would have been a lovely place to live in. Yet, as the three heroes and Shayliss made their way through the crowds, they could feel some kind of dark and suffocating energy around the town. It was intangible, yet unmistakeable. There was something walking among, or even in, the citizens of Turtleback.