Kingmaker: A Lone Journey

First Encounters

It seems unusual to me that the first thing a human comments on is my eyes. With all of their skin tones and clothes of colour I would presume that my ‘drabness’ as they say, would pull the first comment. Their own eyes with pools of black in their centers appeal to me. It is as if I look at a reflection of myself in each of their eyes. It is….calming.

My own eyes on the other hand, white with circles of light grey, nearly white themselves, instill fear into many humans I meet. They are, as the human trader Oleg once put it ‘inhuman’. As many believe that the Kayal, for ‘fetchlings’ we are not, are descendant from humans once lost on the Plane of Shadows, never have I received such a compliment as Olegs statement of my eyes being ‘inhuman’.

Mid-morning four days after the meet with Lord Alveen Aldori, the Kayal Zake Ge’Non found himself approaching an old run down fort west of Restov. The meeting with Alveen had ended amicably enough. Though the human had some odd thoughts of what it meant to be a Kayal.

When the Shadow Council had found a connection between the Plane of Shadow and the Material World they had been met by the Aldori Swordlords. The connection inside the city walls of both Drakthorn on the Shadow and Restov on the Material. Wanting peace between the two new neibours the Shadow Council had sent through the young Shadow Guard Zake to assist the Swordlords in one of their endevours.

Alveen Aldori had requested that Zake help bring peace to Brevoys southern borders and chart the lands as he passes through. This was better than expected for the Shadow Council as wished to know more of the Material Plane.

And so it was that Zake Ge’Non found himself four days west of Restov and facing the aged wooded palisade of Olegs Trading Post, his shadow close to his feet in the mid-morning sun.

Zake approached the fort with caution. Its walls were 20ft high and seemed strengthened by age.

Knowing only that the correct protocal for approaching a homes door is to knock, Zake did just that. Grey knuckles rapping loudly on the smaller single entrance door built into the forts larger double doors.

Zake adjusted his his cloak to cover his falchion, the weapon all Shadow Guard carried, and to reveal more of his face. He had learnt from his short time on the Material Plane that humans were prone to distrust those who hid their forms from others, instead of thinking it prudent, and Zake thought it best to start his off friendly with the locals of the Greenbelt if he was to be here for some time.

The door in the forts gates swung open on rusted hinges, groaning as it did. A tall, barrel chested human gasped with surprise as he layed eyes on Zake. On his part Zake tried to adopt an expression of friendliness on his heavily lined features but the effect made the man limp backwards. Zake could see now that the man leaned heavily on a crutch.

‘Desna preserve us!’ the tall man proclaimed in an accent Zake had not heard before.

Dropping the failed attempt at diplomacy.

‘Desna only protects the dead human and you,’ Zake ran his eyes over the man ‘are still alive.’

Zake stepped through the door, the man still gaping allowed him through. The interior of the fort was tidy if not in the best of condition. Zake could spot a stable, middens as well as several other buildings, including one he presumed to be the inn.

‘What do you be?’ The man asked.

‘A Kayal.’ Zake answered with some irritation and pulled out a Charter of Rights given to him by Alveen. ‘My name is Zake Ge’Non. I am here to kill bandits.’

The man stared for a second at the Charter than burst out laughing.

‘Svetlana, it is good! This man do be sent by Restov with rights to hang all the bandit!’

The door to the building Zake presumed to be the inn opened and a slim woman with the whitest skin Zake had ever seen ran to the arms of the older man. She looked up into Zake eyes and shivered, Zake was getting used to that, and read the Charter the man held, her own eyes widening.

‘The heavens do be looking down on us husband,’ she said turning to Zake. ‘It is just tomorrow that the bandits do be returning to take their tribute.’

A narrow frown appeared on Zakes brow. The thoughts of a stronger force demanding resources from another reflected too closely the plight of his own people.

‘They will be hear tomorrow?’, the two humans nodded in agreement. ‘Then show me the rest of this fort and I will plan for their arrival.’

The man gave a bark of a laugh and clapped Zake on the back hard enough to knock him forward a step.

‘This do be no fort! I be called Oleg Leveton and this beauty be my wife Svetlana, and we both do welcome to Olegs Trading Post!’

Diplomatic Beginnings

The Material Plane. Such colour. Such brilliance. Such Light.

When first I stepped from the Plane of Shadow to this world that touched ours, it was all I could do to stem the fear. No comforting darkness to embrace me or shadows to cover my form, just the Light. If it wasnt for my training in the Black Tower and techniques of Que’sha, the Blades Edge, I think I may have turned and fled.

But with my honor and that of the Shadow Guards still intact, I entered this world of Light to fulfill my duties to Shadow Council, the Black Tower and my people, the Kayal.

Shadows played down the cobblestone streets of Restov. The chill night air was all but silent, the echoing sounds of one last tavern song faded away as the last of the drunken revelers made their way home.

The shadows bounced off the two story, white washed walls close by to the flickering street lamps. Restov was a wealthy town and on each street corner, lamp posts pushed back the night but gave more room for the shadows to play.

One Lone Shadow did not play. It walked with purpose from the High Market to Upper Homes. It turned down Valea Street, past Settlers Keep that was home to Lord Mayor Ioseph Sellemius, and then right onto Wash Road.

The Lone Shadow strode down the sidewalks as noiseless and silent and an owl in flight.

An observant viewer would have noticed that at the times when the Lone Shadow had to enter the street lamps lights it would take a more solid form. That of a hooded man. Face long and creased with many lines. Skin grey as ash, and his head and face devoid of all hair.

An observant viewer may also see that, during the few seconds the figure of the hooded man was visible in the light, he cast no shadow of his own.

It was into the doorway of three story white stone house that the Lone Shadow formed in the hooded man, oil lamps chasing away both darkness and shadow. A grey had emerged from the fold of the black cloak to firmly rap upon the heavy wooden door.

The hooded man did not have to wait long before the door opened and the warmth of a roaring fireplace somewhere in the mansion billowed out into the cold.

It was the Lord of the Manor himself that answered. A thin man nearer to twenty than thirty, he dressed in expensive blue silks and jewelry. He also had a long thin dueling blade strapped to his waist. The Lord gave the hooded man a friendly smile and inclined his head. The hooded man returned the gesture.

“You must be Zake Ge’Non,” the Lord addressed the hooded man, “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Alveen Aldori, Protector of the city of Restov and Lord of these humble dwellings. Please come in an let us get more acquainted over some wine.”

As Alveen Aldori stepped back to allow the hooded man known to pass a large form stepped out of the night. As big a wolf, the monstrous creature stalked forwards to stand at Zakes side. Its head was like the skull of a giant rat, fore-teeth sharp as daggers, and its eyes were no more than balls of yellow light sunken into lidless sockets. A mane of tentacles encircled the creatures neck and continued to writhe as its flanks slowly rose and fell with each deep breath. Dark grey skin covered the beast and paws shaped like human hands scraped the ground with long black claws.

In an instant Alveen held his dueling sword, the face of a gracious host fallen away. The stone face he now wore and fighting stance he’d taken gave no doubt that he could wield the blade he held.

“To me Chuull,” commanded Zake. His voice was soft yet firm and he kept his light grey, pupilless eyes on the tip of Alveens sword.

The beast looked up at Zake before giving a cough like a lion and walking into the hooded man. As Chuull walked into Zake the mans shadow began to return, extending out behind him as the beast disappeared into him.

“Do no mind Chuull. He is merely my shadow.” Said Zake.

“Of course.” Replied Lord Alveen as he sipped is sword back in its sheath and his courtiers smile back onto his face. “It would seem that I still have a lot to learn about Fetchlings, please come in.”

“Yes you do,” replied Zake Ge’non “for we, are the Kayal.”


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