Once more within the waking world Syrzach and Dyrg quickly set to implementing the plan that they laid out while they had remained in that damnedable village. Dyrg usual placid nature had been replaced with a desire for bloody revenge and Syrzah… Syrzach had changed.
He had found some black sliverroot in the remains of a dried out lake. Chewing the desiccated tuber into a paste, he had prepared a salve for their wounds. While it had eased their pain and aided in the healing, it had had unintended consequences, their wounds had healed but in their place were scars that were black as subterranean water. Worse still was the fever that had wracked the Troglodytes body leaving him shaken and weak, haunted with visions, hearing the whispering voice of the Wings of Shadow.
That thunderous voice had softly talked to him, drawing him in, suggesting and guiding. That whispering song had shaken the world as it commanded him. In unremembered dreams it taught him three forgotten words of power and awakened in him an awareness of the Shadows that moved beneath the unblinking stars.
He felt consumed by a purpose and filled with a dark power to achieve it. He was a servant of the Wing of Shadows and all who did not bow to his lord would perish. He no longer wanted to return to his home and make a nest of the bones of his foes. He was beyond such petty desires. He was, the Voice of Shadows.
Dyrg had been concerned at the changes in his friend but in the twilight hours the pale troglodyte had whisper to him in a blasphemous tongue that would have shatter the mind of any born of man. Those words calmed his fears and promised him vengeance, power and protection from that he feared most. It had promised him blood.
* * * * *
Rising out of the brackish water of the Erl Fens, Syrzach looked at the camp that lay before him. He ran a clawed finger across the kern of skulls that had been placed as a warning to any who would dare encroach on the territory of the White Tongue Fang. To him it cautioned less than it invited.
A dike of swampbriar and strangleweed was subtly spun as a barrier to keep foes at bay. Anyone foolish enough to stumble into it would find their bones feeding the Erl. Unless you could sing the to it’s blood. Unless you to calm it’s hunger.
What lay beyond was a typical nest of the Finback. A large central nest surrounded by smaller nest of the worthy. A corral for slaves was nearby and judging from its size they were probably few and over used. Behind the egg ponds and the bone field was a small dwelling, adorned with skulls and symbols of power. There in was the old speaker, a servant of the Bonedrinker. He was ancient and his knowledge was substantial, his power was more so.
With the setting of the day fire, two additional patrols set forth from the camp. They didn’t see Syrzach, they wouldn’t. He turned and looked back the way he had come. Even though he couldn’t see Dyrg, he knew where his ally was. A simple signal conveyed his desire and a minute later the Barghest appeared at his side.
Syrzach pointed to the much-adorned structure and whispered to his friend. “Mark our destination and make yourself ready. When the blood sickle is at its zenith we go. We must be swift and silent for his power is great. Are you ready?” he asked with a long fanged smile. The beast grinned and he returned his eyes towards the camp.
* * * * *
The thin blade of the moon rode the night sky until she was ready to plunge down. Syrzach rose. “ Are you ready?” he asked. His canine companion nodded his head and bared his fangs. His black eyes deepened into pools of ebony as he grabbed the pale skinned troglodyte and stepped forward. Slipping between the waking world and the realm of shadows he slid, invisible, intangible across the moor, only to resolve himself with his companion at the entrance to the bone reader’s hut.
Syrzarch strode through the door with a reptilian arrogance as he confronted the elder lizardman. Before the former could act he spoke the first of the words of power that his master had taught him. The blasphemous utterance rocked the red scaled priest as he screamed in dismay into the void of silence that had descended around him.
Even so, he had not served the Bonedrinker these many years by being so easily overcome.
He called upon the Elements of Fire and wreathed himself in unforgiving flame whose heat alone began to set the interior of his abode to smoke and burn. He shaped the flame to a spear and stabbed at the intruder, barely missing as Syrzach dived backwards. A cruel smile passed his lips as he realized that the invader was not of his power despite the earlier evocation. Striding forward towards the skittering troglodyte, he raised his spear.
Dyrg acted less from courage then from an insinuated loyalty that overcame his terror at the sight of the towering immolation. He forgot his fear and the promises that had been made. Some remote beastal instinct of action propelled him forward.
The impact rocked the lizardman as he felt the Berghest’s taloned claws wrap around his throat. His terror at the growling mock face in front of him filled him with an adrenalin boosted burst of flame that consumed them both.
It was then that it became clear that Syrzachs promise that flame would shed from his fur like water was true. Pinning his foe by the throat he looked to his ally as he recovered. He grinned a grin that promised bloody death. By virtue of strength and leverage he forced the lizardman’s head up so the defeated priest had to look at the bone colored troglodyte one more time.
Eyes wide in terror, the bone reader watched the shadows that slid across the walls of his hut coalesce behind his foe only to flow with unnatural purpose and form into a pair of wings that spread wide and unaffected by flame across the burning ceiling, . To his horror he recognized the sign and knew the truth.
The Wings of Shadow were rising and all who lived would pay the price.
He didn’t feel the claws rend his chest.
He wasn’t aware that they broke trough his ribs.
His last thoughts were tormented with the nightmare of the shadows laughing at his failure and the acrid odor of sizzling blood as his heart was consumed by his own flames.