Death is a mystery.
Even to the dead, Ariel reflected.
She did this often, brooding being one of the few human traits not torn from her by her murder and spectral imprisonment. In her youth, her elders had told her stories about how a person’s life flashed before his eyes when he died. Ariel regretted that while this had not been the case for her, her afterlife was an image that haunted her perceptions constantly, though she no longer had eyes to see.
The irony would have made any other person laugh or weep, but she was incapable of either.
Ariel missed laughing.
In truth, she missed many things, these feelings being separate from her overpowering despair and remorse. She missed the sun, setting and rising in celestial glory, and she missed the birdsong that accompanied both events, though wonderfully different. This of course led to regret for the passing of music from the world. An inadvertent effect of the rise of the vampire-king Kain had been the obliteration of the concept of tonal expression, vampires having no facility for it and even less appreciation.
Ariel sometimes sang, but she did it solely to antagonize Kain.
It was not the same.
For centuries she had inhabited the place that had become the diseased heart of Kain’s empire, and much of that time he had presided over his court there. At every clan meeting, every solitary episode of monarchial angst, she had been at his side, glaring reproachfully on the fringes of perception. Though existing on different planes, the last two Guardians of Balance were always aware of one another, though the latest took great pains to ignore his predecessor. Sometimes Ariel would curse him half-heartedly, or plead with him, but mainly she just languished miserably in silence, a ghost whose only purpose was to cause Kain grief.
Occasionally Ariel wondered whether there was an unrealized connection between her and her vampiric successor. When in her blackest moments, Ariel often found that Kain too suffered from a lingering miasma of the spirit. He would sit upon his claw-like throne, talons wrapped around the hilt of the Soul Reaver and eyes tightly shut, his face contorted in a terrible grimace by the unwelcome ruminations that were known only to him. Afterwards he would arise and stare purposefully at the cancerous Pillar of Balance, seeming to ponder some weighty decision. During these times unreasoning hope would blossom in Ariel, hope that Kain would renounce his delusions of godhood and redeem himself by making the sacrifice that would restore harmony to the world of Nosgoth.
It never came to pass, and eventually Ariel found that Kain and his Council were inhabiting the Sanctuary of the Clans less and less. She knew that they had retreated to their own private strongholds, the clan leaders to their territorial capitals and Kain to the Caverns of the Chronoplast. Though ridiculous as it might seem, Ariel felt oddly hurt at being so thoroughly abandoned. The least Kain could do was to sit in his self-aggrandizing temple and suffer alongside her. Ariel appreciated that after all she had experienced, she still retained some of her human foibles. Existing mainly in a dimension outside of time had at least given her a sort of dejected patience. Eventually, someone would come back to accompany her.
Much to her surprise, that someone turned out to be Kain’s pride and joy, Raziel, a legend in two lifetimes. The betrayed vampire prince had unwittingly become the pawn of the two entities in all creation who most wanted to see Kain dead, but his peculiar sense of honor and justice seemed to make him empathize with Ariel more closely than the Elder, although considering the Elder, this was probably a given. She certainly had much more in common with the bereft soul.
So it was that the Reaver of Souls now sat and brooded darkly on the High Throne of the Hall of the Pillars, while from another realm, Ariel watched in long-suffering endurance.
Like father, like son, she thought to herself, and then quickly hoped that she was wrong.
Raziel was in no mood to draw comparisons between himself and anybody, least of all Kain.
He perched upon his Father’s seat of power, a position many had wrongly believed him to covet in his former life. Such delusions had sprung more from their own power-madness than his. He had been loyal to his sire, devoted even. And what had been his reward? A form of execution reserved only for the most debased of his kind, and the total annihilation of his beautiful clan. Wrapped in self-pity, Raziel obsessed over the injustice of it all.
He had been revived for the purpose of expunging the living calamities that were his sire and kin. The thirst for retribution had spurred him on to victory against impossible odds, so that now four of the remaining vampire clans of Nosgoth had been permanently deprived of their ancient progenitors, Raziel’s own brothers.
At first there had been no joy in it. His violent heritage had made him aptly suited for the task, but victory over Zephon, Melchiah, and Rahab had been necessary acts, not welcome ones. Fulfilling his obligation to the Elder and preparing himself to confront Kain required the ugly task of fratricide, but it was only when he fought and slew Dumah, one of the two elder siblings who had carried out Raziel’s own fatal sentence, that he had taken satisfaction from the outcome. He had then been eager to reach the same conclusion for Turel, and had, against the express wishes of the Elder, embarked on his way towards his closest brother’s lofty castle with the most vicious and eager intent.
But after weeks of travel, Raziel had arrived at Turel’s abode only to find that the entire colossal structure had vanished without a trace.
At first he had assumed, quite logically, that the Tower had collapsed during one of the cataclysmic earthquakes that had afflicted Nosgoth continuously since his execution. Ensuing centuries would have seen it eventually swallowed up by the hungry sands of the Dry Maw. However, upon further exploration of the area, he had seen no evidence of any such terrestrial disturbance. Cursory diggings with telekinetic Glyph and gift had unearthed the surrounding bedrock without any glimpse of the broken structure. Even more perplexing than what he did not find was what he did. The great base of rock from which the Tower sprouted had been gutted by a huge indentation now filled with the desert sand. As far as Raziel could tell, it was as if some gigantic claw had descended from the heavens, scooped the fortress out of the ground, and carried it away to Kain-knew-where.
Further effort on his part was useless. Raziel knew that there were those on this world who could provide him with a quick explanation for this bewildering turn of events. Thus it was that he had eventually made his way back to Ariel’s dwelling.
Ariel had been expecting his arrival, so when it came she allowed him to take the time to collect himself before broaching the matter. Raziel was obviously upset and it would therefore be best for him to decide when to begin. Waiting was no burden, if the long hoped-for restoration was the result.
Now Raziel stirred from his position. Slipping down off the throne, he moved to stand above the capped lip of the ancient Soul Well, where he knelt on one knee to begin the communion.
A soft blue mist seeped faintly from the seal. Crossing dimensions, it flowed over the barrier between life and death, working a miracle into reality. When Raziel looked up, Ariel hung before him.
“Greetings, bold Raziel,” she whispered in a voice like the wind.
Raziel inclined his head respectfully. “My lady.”
“I am pleased to offer you guidance for your insoluble dilemma.”
The Reaver chuckled harshly. “I am glad to find myself so hospitably received,” he said. “Since my refusal to cross swords with Kain again, I fear the Elder has been less than convivial towards my pursuits.” His voice took on an acrimonious tone. “Indeed, he has refused any form of constructive parlay.”
“We all have our own agendas, Raziel,” Ariel murmured. “Driven by needs and hungers thwarted for centuries, you must understand that even such as we are not above tactics which might seem ignoble.”
He grunted a noncommittal reply, and Ariel stared sadly at him. That includes me, Raziel, she thought to herself. Like Kain, Raziel was remarkably gifted but grievously limited. He did not always listen well enough. But Ariel was beyond regrets for her actions.
Raziel looked up expectantly. “Milady…”
Ariel smiled faintly. “Turel?”
His eyes glittered dangerously, and his claws flexed in anticipation. He nodded eagerly.
Ariel looked up beyond him, her vision seeming to pass through the walls of the chamber in which they resided. Absorbed in her deliberations, she floated in ghostly intensity.
Unnoticed for the moment, Raziel took the occasion to study his undead guide.
She must have been an astonishing woman when alive. Dead and held captive for millennia, her mind was still subtle and quick, and her dedication to a cause that must have seemed hopeless for so long was commendable. It was surely a disturbing obsession with her, but then, holed up in here, what else could she have had to dwell upon? Despite being crippled by despair she still retained strength. Raziel was all too familiar with prolonged suffering as a result of Kain’s arrogance, and as such, he felt drawn to the former Guardian of Balance. He admired her finely crafted human features and sheen of shoulder-length hair. The single gray eye, though often hooded by defeat, could sometimes gleam with proud purpose. And the air of melancholy was compelling, drawing him closer to her in their shared misery. Raziel had to admit that he found her to be an alluring figure, the corpse-half of her face notwithstanding. He touched a claw to his concealing facewrap, conscious of the loss of half of his own face. It was eerie, how closely their sufferings resembled one another. Raziel shuddered. Would he too become a trapped spirit, searching hopelessly for redemption?
Suddenly Ariel’s attention came back to Raziel, and he was again preoccupied with thoughts of revenge.
For a time they both gazed upon one another, neither saying a word. Then Ariel spoke.
“Your sibling’s castle is no longer on Nosgoth. Go to the Valley of Dor and wait. There will you find the answer to this enigma, and return to me when you do.”
From a position on a sheltered path in the mountains surrounding the Valley of Dor, Raziel scanned the expanse of the flat, dry landscape.
The first thing he had noticed upon breaching the mountain pass was the fortification planted in the center of the valley. A squat, circular structure, it boasted a wall some forty feet high with arrow slits and crenellations but strangely lacking any portal of entry where a well-worn track approached the perimeter. The buildings on the interior were well-constructed, domed affairs without windows, and the entire citadel was dominated by a cleared central area with three upraised points of curved stone that stood spaced wide apart in a triangular pattern.
It was undoubtedly a vampire structure, but it was populated by humans.
Raziel saw them now, patrolling the walls or scurrying hurriedly from one building to another. They seemed agitated, which was normal for humans in this age, living as they did under the vampire yoke. But even from this distance, Raziel’s keen eyes could discern the green banners that adorned the walls, banners that boasted the clan symbol of Turel, and he knew that this enclave was inhabited by vampire worshippers.
It was now obvious to Raziel that Turel had assumed control of the human religion that worshipped Nosgoth’s vampire legions. Their presence had been noticeably absent in the other clan leader’s territories, save for the scattering in the Cathedral of Avernus. Lording over those benighted bootlickers was no doubt supremely satisfying for a control freak like Turel.
And yet Raziel was still perplexed. For someone as self-conscious as Turel, this structure was unsuitable to house him, and Raziel had seen only one or two Turelim present, hardly an appropriate honor guard. It did not seem the sort of grandiose habitation fit for the now second-strongest vampire after Kain. But his mark was upon it. Turel had always been a clever one, taking notice of events and opportunities that Raziel often overlooked. That was how he had come to find and create his Tower, seeing in the desert-bound mountain a perfect refuge and royal seat for his clan and kingdom. Raziel had often admired his brother’s ingenuity. But what trick had Turel worked to make himself and his home disappear off of Nosgoth? The Tower of Turel was clearly nowhere to be found in this valley, so why had Ariel directed him here? And why did she tell him to wait? And where in all the hells was Turel?!
Bored after hours of inactivity, Raziel watched the temple-settlement. The humans still ran about frantically. What was all the commotion for? He could see no one approaching from any of the valley’s entrances.
He was just starting to toy with the notion of abandoning Ariel’s instructions and raiding the town when suddenly something dawned on him.
Had it just gotten much darker outside?
Raziel swiveled around and scanned the mountains. He was right, it was darker. He then returned his attention to the temple fort. No, everything there was as bright and unchanged as before. Puzzled, Raziel examined the rugged hills between the valley floor and the mountains. He blinked, surprised.
Was that the edge of a shadow?
Raziel stared at it incredulously. The vast shadow, or whatever it was, seemed to be drawing toward the vampire worshipper stronghold. This was beyond anything in his experience. He recalled in his vampire days of reading about a rare natural phenomenon called a solar eclipse, in which the moon passed before the sun, obscuring its light. But he had never seen one. Was that what was happening now? Raziel realized that it had been some time since he had looked at the sky, rendered uninteresting as it was by the uniform pall of gray-brown smog. Transferring his gaze up, he looked at it now.
His eyes widened at what he saw.
The eternal cloud cover that shielded Nosgoth from the sun was roiling and leaping madly, like a storm-tossed sea. Easily visible was a great shadow that accompanied this weird event and discolored the already drab clouds black. It took Raziel’s stunned brain a few moments to realize that something huge was flying above the overcast sky.
Without warning the world got brighter. The thing, whatever it was, had passed over him, and its shadow had finally reached the town. All activity there had ceased save for the humans still patrolling the walls. Dimly, Raziel became aware of a high-pitched humming that had accompanied his thoughts unnoticed for some time. Overwhelmed by these unexplainable events, he could only stare in shock at the strange tableau.
Nothing in creation seemed to move.
The gargantuan discoloration now hung directly above the valley, dimming the light of the entire plain. Nosgoth’s eternal silence was broken only by the soft drone.
The clouds began to twist upon themselves. Then they began to part.
A monstrous red fist thrust through the last shreds of vapor.
Raziel reeled back in shock.
More of the red shape followed, tapering out along its length, until finally the topmost portion came into view. Raziel’s numb brain finally registered what his eyes were telling him.
Above the Valley of Dor, the laws of nature held no sway.
The Tower of Turel hung in the air.
Raziel could not believe it.
It was exactly as he remembered. The entire looming edifice was carved from the red granite of the Dry Maw, all drenched in the color of dried blood. The base of the structure was rough and uncarved, a huge ugly lump that finally explained the hole left behind in the Tower’s former location. From this foundation, four sloping structures spaced at equidistant points grew out and up around the central shaft, which soared high above the other edifices. This namesake of the Tower of Turel reigned in unquestioned majesty over its four subservient members, its topmost reach serving as the throne room of the lord of the Turelim.
The steady drone began to increase in volume. From the base of the Tower, a ripple seemed to pass through the air, extending in a long column straight down until it touched the ground directly in the cleared center of the human town. Along that beam of force, shapes began to float earthward. Through the rippling distortion of the beam, Raziel recognized them as Turelim.
Around the temple plaza of the town the humans were clustered expectantly. As the Turelim vampires touched the earth they slumped forward as if exhausted, and at this the humans rushed forward and transferred their gods to stretchers, whereupon the attendants gently carried their burdens into the windowless structures of the city.
When the last Turelim came in contact with the soil, the flotation beam retracted back into the Tower, and the entire colossal mountain fortress ascended again into the heavens, leaving the Reaver of Souls an uncomprehending spectator.
“How can this be?!” Raziel demanded harshly. “Tell me!”
Before him, Ariel floated in lanquid indifference, unperturbed by his belligerent manner.
“Your final brother, ever envious, has slipped the bonds of earth, much as you did once before in your life.” She glanced meaningfully at his ruined wingstrips. Raziel flinched and unconsciously reached back to finger the tatters.
“Riding upon the wind is one thing,” he snapped. “What I saw was a magic beyond anything I have every known.”
Ariel floated about him with a weary air. So like his father…
“Unknown only in magnitude, Raziel,” she instructed him patiently. “You are well aware that Turel’s descendants have evolved telekinetic powers which enable them to move objects without touching them. You yourself have inherited that talent from your first encounter with his spawn, but your knowledge of it is primitive compared to those who have cultivated and studied its power for centuries.”
Ariel floated down until her face hovered inches away from Raziel’s.
“What you saw was the combined effort of hundreds of Turelim vampires in the service of your brother’s will.”
Raziel stared at her earnest features, framed by softly undulating golden hair. Then he sank to his knees. “My God,” he whispered.
He remained in this position for a few moments, and then looked up at his imperturbable companion.
Ariel turned away with a sigh. “Raziel, you are not quite as perceptive as you could be. Obviously you have never realized the full depth of the jealousy harbored by Kain’s second-born son for his first. Your execution did nothing to stem the tide of competition and challenge that you served to represent to him. In the ensuing centuries, his insecurities and thwarted ambitions have become a venom to twist his mind and spirit.” As Ariel spoke, Raziel listened in enraptured silence.
“This diseased soul,” she continued, “has been further tormented by Kain’s portentous insistence that you would return one day and slay him.”
“He knew?” Raziel said, surprised. “But how…?”
“You will find the answers for yourself, in time,” Ariel dismissed his question. “For now, you must accept that your once-closest sibling has become a fear-driven thrall, whose unsurpassed resentment and terror of you has led him to enslave a large portion of his race for the draining task of keeping his mountain retreat perpetually aloft and therefore out of your reach. Forever, he hopes.”
Raziel still slumped on the floor, his claws resting limply in his lap and his disbelieving gaze riveted to the stone floor. “Turel?” he whispered. “He has done all this to avoid a confrontation with me? It is madness.”
“Perhaps to you,” Ariel replied. “But to him it is a matter of survival, and the thwarting of deserved justice.”
Raziel made no response at first. Then he rose to his feet and looked to Ariel. In his eyes there was no evidence of hesitation. The time for that was past.
“My lady, I beseech your guidance. How might I gain entry to the flying tower and dispatch my wayward brother?”
A wan smile tugged at the corners of the long-dead sorceresses’ lips. Rising up, she drifted backwards towards the Soul Well in preparation of the return to timelessness.
“Just as every newborn Turelim has the power to serve its master’s mad dream,” said Ariel, “so were you reborn with a gift all your own that will enable you to use that dream to see you safely inside your brother’s fortress.”
Ariel then shifted back to her spectral abode, but her final words lingered in the air.
“Go to Huron Range in the far south to next find your quarry. And hurry, Raziel. Time is not yet on your side”
Jehamiah, first lieutenant of the Turelim Pride, trudged ponderously up the winding stairs that led to the upper regions. He had been busy instructing the fledglings in combat tactics when a summons from on high had arrived. Jehamiah had then apprehensively abandoned his task and prepared for another unnerving conversation with his genius forbearer.
As he walked, he gazed in desultory fashion out past the column-topped guardrail of the stairwell that coiled around the gargantuan airshaft dominating Turel’s central tower. How long had he been mounting and descending these steps in ready obedience to Turel’s will? It had surely been centuries, even before the master conceived and executed his mind-boggling plan to elevate his home above the very clouds. Since that time, Jehamiah had seen little of the outside world, there being no windows or openings in the Tower save for the main portal in the shaft base, which was always kept telekinetically blocked except when discharging or accepting new recruits and the Atlas Legions. Turel was paranoid about someone sneaking in, although how they would even get up to any opening remained a mystery to his lieutenant.
At length Jehamiah’s feet found the top of the stairwell, the heavy transparent crystal floor of the reception chamber that led to Turel’s throne hall. There he greeted the two guards that manned the controls of the door. They bowed in reply, and then both took up their positions at the levers.
Jehamiah stared expectantly at the great metal portal a few feet above his head in the ceiling. As each vampire guardian successively grasped and pulled a lever, mechanisms in the walls began to click and rumble. The metal shield started to iris open, and beneath Jehamiah’s feet the crystal vibrated with warm pressure. A levitation field, smaller and less powerful than the one used for troop deployment, began to rise up from the floor, and Jehamiah rode the gentle, powerful force until he hung suspended in the darkened throne hall of his leader. Beneath him the portal closed, and he settled down to wait there until he was acknowledged. Turel disliked close proximity to himself.
The brilliant light globes that provided illumination for the rest of the fortress were dimmed in this chamber, but Jehamiah could still see well enough to discern the far-off throne and the driven being who moved restlessly before it.
Turel, sire and king of the Turelim Pride, slid over the polished stone floor of his private chambers. He was muttering to himself, his abstracted gaze flitting about the room. At length he finally took notice of his chief servant waiting patiently at the other end of the hall. His movements halted, and he glared reproachfully.
“You are lagging in response to my summons.”
Jehamiah braced himself. It was going to be one of those. He had heard rumors that Kain himself had paid a visit to Turel earlier in the week, and nowadays this always seemed to leave his master in an ill humor.
“I apologize, my lord,” Jehamiah acquiesced. “I was attending to the training of new recruits.” Then, in the hopes of lightening his master’s mood, “They are eager devils with unswerving loyalty, sire. When the time comes for the implementation of your designs, I am sure that you will be pleased at their service.”
“They are Turelim, of course they will serve well. They are of superior stock,” Turel snapped pettishly.
“Of course, my lord,” Jehamiah agreed hastily.
For a while Turel just stood there, and Jehamiah was beginning to wonder if he had been called here solely to be a target for his master’s wrath, when the vampire lord suddenly spoke.
“Send word to the leaders of the Pride. We begin the assault in two days time. See to it that all is in readiness.”
Jehamiah stared, unclear whether he had heard what he thought. Then, as realization dawned, he let loose an eager hiss. “Aye, my liege, with good will!”
Turel then turned his back and once again began to move aimlessly about the hall with an intense air. His lieutenant hesitated, uncertain. “Am I dismissed, lord?” he asked.
Turel did not answer. He was again muttering to himself, lost in his own world.
Jehamiah decided that he was and tapped his clawed foot against the floor. Upon reception of the signal, the gate opened to lower him out of the hall. When he reached the rainbow spangled crystal floor, he immediately set off at full pace to spread the news.
As he walked he swept his massive arms out in practice to limber up his shoulders, feeling eager for the first time in decades. At last all the preparations would pay off. Once again he could forge into glorious battle. No more confinement in this prison, training the other warriors in effective combat and proper savagery. Now the Turelim Pride would assert its deserved dominance over the leaderless lesser clans of Nosgoth, and all who opposed them would be laid to waste. Jehamiah had been let off the leash and extreme measures were allowed, just as it had been when mighty Kain had ordered the extermination of the Razielim.
Oh, how Jehamiah remembered fondly that slaughter, fighting by Turel’s side in righteous combat. He grinned to himself. It was going to be the good old days again.
Raziel was getting desperate. His journey to the Huron Range on the southern reaches of the borders of Zephon’s old territory had been as swift as possible in accordance with Ariel’s warning. Through use of the Warp Gates and judicious avoidance of unnecessary battles he had arrived there in only a few hours, but it had taken him the better part of a day to locate the fortified settlement in the area, so similar to the one he had seen in the Valley of Door.
The purpose of these mini-fortresses was now clear to Raziel. They were almost completely self-sufficient, requiring only deliveries of regular human cattle who were hoisted into the towns by levers and baskets. The structure in the central plaza was somehow attuned to the Tower of Turel. Whenever the Tower passed over it, the structure became activated, and a beam of gravity-defying force, the same power that kept the Tower airborne, would connect the two points. From one settlement to another, the process then rotated. Either Turelim weakened from the strain of keeping the great fortress aloft would descend and be pampered and protected by the vampire worshippers until the Tower returned, or those already recuperated from their former excursions would once again arise, ostensibly to take the place of the ones who would be deposited on the next stop. It was a carefully planned, ingenious system, very like the fastidious Turel, and Raziel had to admit that he was impressed by what his brother had achieved.
Unfortunately he was also at a loss as to how to beat this system. Judging by the large amount of Turelim milling about the contact zone, this was obviously going to be a pick-up point. So even if Raziel managed to break into the city, fight his way past the human guards and single-handedly kill every Turelim present, unlikely as all that was, he would still not be able to enter his brother’s keep. He had no doubt that the transference was monitored and controlled by the Tower, not the sanctuaries, so any disturbance below would mean a cessation of travel between the two and the departure of the Tower. And even if it missed a drop or pick-up point, Raziel felt certain, knowing Turel as he did, that the Tower would still be able to make its way to another staging area rapidly and without threat of crashing. It was simply the way Turel thought. He was nothing if not thorough.
Raziel then became aware of an ominous humming. Looking up from his vantage point on a high crag, he could see the monstrous aerial disturbance that presaged the coming of the Tower of Turel from the east.
Frustrated, he leapt to his feet and began to pace about nervously. What was he supposed to do? The situation seemed hopeless; there was no way he was going to get into that abominable juggernaut. Should he try to glide out starting from a high position and hope he could reach it and find a way in? No, that had almost no possibility of success.
Raziel continued to watch helplessly as the Tower advanced. He was hundreds of yards from the temple walls, and judging by the last time it would take only a few minutes for the stone colossus to reach its target, draw in the cargo and leave. He wouldn’t even be able to get halfway to the walls by then, but even if he had been inside the city at this point, he still did not think it would avail him. Turel had obviously planned this tactic carefully for decades, what chance did he have of finding a solution in minutes? Had his younger brother completely outmaneuvered him?
Raziel cursed angrily. What was he going to do now? Hurry back to Ariel and learn the next meeting spot, just to run over there and be balked again? Damn it all! Why had she sent him here? Anyone could see that he was without recourse in the matter. And to think that she had accused him of being unperceptive!
He paused. Yes, she had called him that. And she had implied that he had a means of gaining entrance. What were her words? “So were you reborn with a gift all your own that will enable you to use that dream to see you safely inside your brother’s fortress.”
The Tower was just edging over the boundary of the enclave. Soon the transfer would take place. Raziel stressed furiously over the problem, certain that he was missing something obvious. A gift reborn? Reborn as a vampire or as the Reaver of Souls? Probably the latter, but what gift could help him here, when he was almost out of time and…
Above the vampire refuge, the Tower of Turel came to a halt. The rippling force beam descended with swift intent, and the Turelim began to rise into the air.
And as they did so, Raziel raised his hands in mystic gesture and willed himself to return to the Spectral Plane.
The surrounding rocky formations shimmered and twisted, turning the same greenish-blue as was Raziel now himself. The light from the sky ceased, and limited solar ambiance was replaced by more otherworldly perceptions.
He looked out across the distorted horizon…
And laughed with triumph at what he saw.
The Tower of Turel still hung in the air above the town, frozen in time. But the city had changed dramatically. The central fortification had become stretched and distended upwards, rising into the air to form a high plateau whose flat summit hovered just below the opening to the Tower.
Raziel sprang from his perch and tore down the slope. There was no movement in the area, neither from Sluagh nor vampire wraith. The way was open for him. Upon reaching the high wall of the encampment, he found a point that the warped dimensions had lowered to a vantage allowing him easy access. He vaulted over the barrier easily.
Weaving through the alleys and lanes, Raziel swiftly came upon the newly formed landmass. He paused for a moment to admire the feat. Obviously there were repercussions to Turel’s playing with force and gravity that even he could not predict, Raziel thought happily. Then Raziel bounded up the high slope, leaping sure-footedly from one ledge to another, climbing the face of the looming hill until he finally reached the top. From there he could make out the interior of the huge tower that now floated helplessly before him, and he soon spied a cavernous entrance set into one side of the airshaft. No way of knowing where it led, but he would soon find out.
“I am here, brother,” he proclaimed aloud triumphantly, and dove into the lion’s den.
Turel’s head jerked up. He had heard!
“He’s here,” he whispered fearfully.
Panic swept over him. Rushing madly about his empty throne room, he began to shout out to the dim shadows.
“Jehamiah! Anhat! Alert the clan! Ready all defenses!”
“We are invaded!”
To be continued