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Shadow of Maloria

By Stonewolfe All Rights Reserved ©


Shadows of Maloria

It was early spring, and the soft rain that sifted out of the night sky still had the lingering chill of winter. A lone rider approached the broad gate of the city of Malorn, the capital city of the Malorian Empire, which was barely illuminated by the torches hissing from the rain on either side of the gate.

The rider was about as average looking as they came from a distance. His face still had its boyish fullness while also having the hard lines of an aged veteran putting the man in his mid to late twenties. The clothing he wore simple dark blue linens covered in black leather armor, with silver accents, with a dark green cloak wrapped around his shoulders and its hood covering his head. 

But what struck anyone who paid attention to the details hidden under that green cloak was the eyes and hair of the man. His iris were a bright red that seemed to glow in fiendish delight and his hair despite his young features was a strikingly white color that seemed to glow as if by some unnatural means.

From the gatehouse two soldiers in brightly burnished breastplates each holding a pike in one hand and a sword belted at their waists stepped out and blocked entry into the city. The rider stopped just inside the ruddy glow cast from the torches, his horse snorted annoyingly at having to stop.

"State your business traveller." one of the guards said. His uniform told the rider with a quick look that he was an officer, though low ranking, by the addition of extra armor compared to his compatriot next to him.

The rider grinned, then looked up with a bright smile on his face, "Of course sir, name is Voktar, I am a simple travelling merchant here for the fair."

"You seem to be arriving quite late merchant the fair is nearly over." the guard accused followed by a deadly stare.

"Sadly yes, I was caught by a sudden snowstorm in the pass through Olgur Mountains." the rider sighed.

The guards stare softened some, "I heard that a late storm blew over the mountains and that this," he gestured towards the falling rain, "is leftover from it."

Looking up at the falling rain the rider nodded, he nudged his horse forward and thumbing out of his pouch handed the guard a few silver coins.

"No reason for us to continue our conversation in such weather is there?" he smiled as he handed the last coin over.

The guard nodded and made a motion towards the other guard as they both stepped aside and walked back into the guardhouse.

Near the gate and walls were the poorer districts of the city, although poor in the eyes of Malorn were like fantasy stories of the rich to the commoners who lived in the small towns and hamlets that dotted the countryside, and it was here where the cheap taverns with their cheap food and drink and even cheaper beds could be found.

From a small street, that was more an alleyway than an actual street, about ten yards ahead of where the rider was a woman stepped out into main street holding a torch. Her hair was a dark brown and was shrouded in a violet silk cloak. Like the rider she wore simple linens covered in black leather armor, though hers had no silver.

"Voktar? Where in the world did you acquire that name Mathias?" the woman asked.

Stopping just short of the woman the rider looked down from his horse before smiling lightly, "It is just a name I use when doing more honest business Liara."

Liara raised an eyebrow quizzically, "You? Honest?! Please, besides being a merchant is almost as dishonorable as everything else you do."

Mathias put on a shocked look but after a few moments chuckled lightly, "So, where are we meeting? Are any of the others here?"

Liara nodded, "Most have made it here it seems, we are meeting up at a small tavern just down this street. In fact I think you are the last to arrive, what made you so late?" she started walking down the main street walking next to Mathias' horse.

"I assume you were listening to my conversation with the guard, I wasn't lying about the weather."

"A snowstorm? But didn't you come from Alddar?"

Mathias shook his head, "For appearances sake I struck northwest from Alddar and went through the Olgur Mountains after crossing that damned desert."

Liara visibly cringed, "The Khazad Desert is hardly a good place to go just for appearances. Did you run into any of those Orcs out there?"

"The Scorched Sun clan? No. Apparently they were in the middle of another one of their turf wars with the Sandhoof Centaurs."

They continued down the avenue chatting idly as they went until they finally came upon the tavern Liara mentioned. After getting his horse into the attached stables he joined Liara as they went inside. The interior was much like any tavern seen across the world, though the time was well into the night and creeping its way steadily into the morning the tavern was still fairly busy, two hostesses flitted between tables and the kitchen delivering drinks and food to the patrons in between the half drunken catcalls from the off duty guards who occupied about a third of the tables.

Standing behind the bar a large burly man was wiping down one part of the bar with a dirty rag his eyes surveying the tavern. A few tables were taken over by men who probably came here after their day was done and decided not to leave given they were passed out drunk. Some other tables seemed to have some merchants working out some deals. Most of the rest of the tavern was taken over by off duty guards who were in small groups on either side of the tavern.

The last group in the tavern took up one of the corner booths that the tavern had and was made up of varying races. One of the large Kathorians from the north donned in black bear fur, his hair a chestnut brown was kept in a tight ponytail, two Elves one wearing the common emerald and gold scale armor worn by the Elven warriors fit tightly on his lean body and the other wearing a simple light blue robe than hung loosely on her thin shoulders, both of their hair were a golden blonde, and the last of the company was a sour looking Dwarf whose black hair and beard was unkempt and what was once possibly braided neatly was sprawled all over and stuck together with spilled beer and food, his black leather armor with silver accents was also soiled in spots from food and drink.

"Oi, lad! Ye're late. We were 'bout t' start all o' this mess w'out ye'." the Dwarf growled.

Mathias grinned, "I see your oh so lovable sour disposition has yet to change Gorin," he sniffed then grimaced, "Nor your impeccable lack of hygiene..."

Gorin scowled at Mathias but said no more and finished off his drink. Jerking his thumb towards the stairs the party in pairs headed up the stairs to the rooms that had been previously acquired for the company.

Once they had all gathered in the common room that adjoined the rooms Gorin turned to Mathias, as well as all other eyes in the room.

"So lad, wha' news d' ye' bring north?"

Mathias eyed the room hesitantly one eyebrow shooting up.

"Don' ye' worry 'bout that. Already checked t' make sure it be safe t' speak here."

Mathias shrugged before speaking, "Trathane has the armies already marching. My guess is by now they are being eyed up by the Bleakrock Orcs in the Shadow Bog, though with how many Trathane is marching through there they wouldn't dare do anything."

"How fast is tha' blasted army movin'? If the ol' Duke is whippin' 'em 'ard I suppose 'ed be 'ere 'for the week be over?"

"Hmm... sounds about right... but Trathane is too gentle to whip them haggard. I would guess they will be here in three days time, which probably means news about them will arrive tomorrow if they havn't already been found out."

Gorim scowled fiercely grunting and throwing out curses in Dwarvish. That is when one of the elves, the one wearing scale armor, spoke up.

"Does that mean we need to finish our task before tomorrow?

"Yeah," Mathias answered quietly scratching absently at his cheek, "Preferably before it gets too late in the morning. Liara and I have one target. Lorthallen and Mirallen you two have another target. Gorim and Kor have the last target."

Gorim apparently done with his rant came back to the center of the group.

"Alright let us be off then. Ye' can get your targets tonight or t'morrow. Kor an' I will set up o'er at ours. Next time we be seein' each other will either be at tha' damned Emperors hangin' or in the arms o' Narel."

Gorim left with Kor trailing behind him and suddenly the room seemed brighter and definitely less fragrant. Somewhere during Gorim's speech the twin elves had left for one of the rooms returning after he had left. The brother wearing the same tight fitting black leather armor that the others wore while the sister switched from her light blue robe to a tight fitting black robe.

"Well then we shall also leave, but we will be taking a different way out." Lorthallen said bowing slightly before heading towards the window and opening it.

He peered out the window looking around before a moment later jumping from the window onto the roof of the building nearby. Mirallen smiled gently before following her brother.

Mathias stood there scratching his head, "I have spent years with them and other Elves but I still don't really understand them."

Liara wrapped her arms around Mathias' waist, "Probably because of our upbringing we can't understand nobility."

Unperturbed by her actions Mathias shrugged lightly, "That is most likely the case." He looked back at his companion before asking, "So our target I suppose was that pompous looking fool that was surrounded by soldiers downstairs?"

Liara looked a little crestfallen at his reaction but sighed and shook her head lightly as she let go before replying, slightly sarcastically, "Yeah that was him. The Royal Prince of the whole damned Empire."

Mathias thought for a moment, "The easiest way to do this would be for you to distract the guards and for me to lead the little princeling off somewhere, but I am sure that isn't how you want to do it."

"Damn right I don't want to do it that way, you know I hate wagging my tail at any piece of meat like that, even for a job as important as this."

Mathias sighed, "Thought that would be the case. Well then how about this..."

Using some ink and paper from one of his pouches Mathias began to explain his plan and listening intently Liara's eyes began to glow with mischievous delight just as Mathias' eyes always had that glow.

 Mathias walked down the steps into the taverns main room, surveying the room he saw that most of the soldiers were still in the tavern though all but a handful were lost to their drinks and snoring loudly. Of the handful that were left a few were preparing to leave, stumbling and swaying towards the exit, while the last two one was clearly drunk but refusing to fall to sleeps embrace and the last was obviously bored of his company and completely overdressed for his environment.

Walking over to the overdressed man Mathias began putting on his false acts that he assumed when taking on the role of merchant.

"Ah, good evening gentlemen, although I suppose it is closer to morning at this point." Mathias chuckled lightly, "Would you mind if I join you perhaps? My company has left me and I yearn to talk some more before my commitments."

The overdressed noble eyed Mathias up before taking a look at his company who had finally succumbed to slumber and sighing, "Please join us good sir. As you can see my company seems to be just as gone as yours." waving a hand at the soldiers.

Mathias put on a face of mock shock, "Oh dear, it would seem that way wouldn't it?" he took a seat next to the overdressed noble. "The name is Voktar I am here visiting your annual fair in hopes to make a fair bit of coin."

The noble nodded his eyes lighting up, "The fair is a decent way to make some coin. I personally like to dabble in the dealings with merchants, especially the logistics. It drives my father absolutely mad though, he believes all his sons should be soldiers like him."

"Your father sounds like the type of man I would not get along with, no offence of course, but my blood runs thick with the life of a merchant."

The noble laughed, "Very few truly get along with him. It comes with his station."

The two continued their banter for quite some time before the noble stood up and said he must leave.

"Ah," Mathias said with trained disappointment, "Would you perhaps mind if I walk with you and talk some more? If it is alright with you of course, sir."

The noble smiled and nodded before leading the way out. They continued their conversation heading down the main street. After a few minutes of walking they came up to an intersection, on the distant horizon one could make out the inkling of first light creeping upon the land.

Mathias spoke up once reaching the intersection, stepping a few steps ahead of the man, "Ah this was a very refreshing talk! But I am afraid this is where we must part ways, your highness."

The man stopped in his tracks, his eyes going hard. "I do not recall giving you my rank merchant."

Mathias slowly turned around to face the prince, "No that you did not Bran but I know your face just as I know your fathers. In fact we have met before, though admittedly you were still a young boy at that time, you may even remember my name." Mathias bowed in exaggerated mockery, "Mathias Thorne, your highness, it was an absolute pleasure to meet you again."

Bran's eyes went wide at the mention of the name and he took a step backwards when he felt something around his neck. But at that moment it was too late, the thin wire he wasn't able to see went taut and pulled him up hanging from the post it was tied to. At the other end of the wire tying the end to a lamp post was a female in black leather armor who walked to stand beside Mathias.

"Good job Liara, nice and silent." Mathias said admiring her handiwork.

"Of course. He was dead the moment it touched him as well. Besides cutting his throat even if he lived it was dosed in a particularly nasty poison from the Shadow Bog, I suspect his body will turn purple and start to ooze from nasty welts in a couple of hours at most."

Mathias looked over his shoulder to the quickly lightening sky, "Let us get out of here, someone will find him soon enough."

The pair walked off heading back towards the tavern they were at, they hadn't even gotten back to the tavern before a shrill scream pierced the silent morning.

"That was quicker than I expected." Mathias said seemingly lost in thought.

Liara grunted in approval before questioning, "Do you think it will even be safe to go back to the tavern?"

"Safe enough as anywhere else honestly, besides didn't you say the barkeep was an ally?"

"You know as well as I that our positions require a bit more than simple allies."

Mathias nodded grimly, "Be prepared for anything."

They got back to the tavern but nothing had changed other than a few less passed out patrons were around. Deciding to keep up an act they chose to stay in the main room of the tavern and eat some breakfast.

Shortly before they received their meal they were joined by their Elven companions who came downstairs together in the clothing they wore yesterday, though Lorthallen did not wear his armor. Keeping up their act they also ordered breakfast.

It wasn't long after the Elves had sat down a group of soldiers entered the tavern. The soldier in the lead looked around the tavern and laid eyes on the man who was the last to pass out earlier. Walking over to the man who was still passed out he roused him and after a moment the man who was passed out just moments before paled and yelled out some orders rousing the rest of the passed out soldiers and leaving the tavern.

"My guess he was the personal bodyguard and he won't be living much longer." Liara whispered.

They kept up their act through breakfast and returned to their rooms to wait for Gorim and Kor. But as early morning turned into late morning the group was clearly becoming less sure of their arrival.

Just as Mathias was about to say something bells began to toll across the city that cut off his thoughts. He listened to the bells for a short time before looking at Liara with an eyebrow raised.

Liara's face darkened, "The warning bells. It could be because of the deaths. But my guess would lie towards the armies movements being seen."

Mathias gritted his teeth. "Where the hell are those two?"

As if being summoned the door opened and Kor walked in.

Mathias turned around to face Kor with a troubled expression, "Where is the old dwarf?"

Kor shook his head, "General good fighter. Was not alone. Stone-brother martyr."

Mathias' eyes went wide with anger but he calmed himself back down before replying, "Did you at least..." he let the question trail off.

Kor nodded, "General dead. Flame barrels set by Stone-brother. Task finished."

Mathias blew out a sight of relief, "Well it was rockier than I had hoped but we still accomplished half of our goal. Alright you four, the next job is for you all to get out of the city before it becomes fully locked down."

"What about you?" Mirallen quietly asked in her soft voice. Liara was clearly about to ask the same thing.

"Someone needs to stay behind to light the barrels." Mathias replied, "No need for all of us to stay behind on that." he turned to Liara, "I need you to report to the army though."

Liara silently nodded knowing that whether she argued or not Mathias would win any argument. They spent the rest of the morning leading into the early afternoon in a somber mood as they packed up their belongings preparing to leave.

Outside of the tavern Mathias gave them a short goodbye before striking off towards another district of the city. Liara looked at him leave before turning to leave with the Elves. At the gate leaving the city they were stopped for a moment and had their packs inspected by the guards but after a few minutes they were let through. After some time Liara turned to view the city from the vantage point they were resting at.

"I would not worry too much Liara," Mirallen said in her quiet voice as she walked up next to the melancholy girl, "Mathias is as resourceful as they come, he will be fine."

Liara wordlessly nodded, staring longingly towards the city.

Mirallen simply smiled and patted Liara on the shoulder when Lorthallen spoke up, "Mirallen, we must hasten, we have our reports to deliver to the Elders."

Mirallen nodded and then bowed to Liara, "Until we meet again Liara."

With that Mirallen and Lorthallen struck northwest further into the Olgur Mountains. Liara looked at them leave for awhile before sighing loudly and headed south towards the now rising smoke on the horizon.

Word reached Marius' ears long before the sun had reached its highest point for the day that all three of his sons had been murdered in the early hours of the morning. Shortly after he received this shocking news he also learned a vast army was marching north from Alddar and would be encamped outside his city by tomorrow and the numbers that were given to him said that he would be outnumbered at least five to one though some reports even mentioned up to ten to one. 

He knew if they were to get inside the city it would be his loss so he sent orders out to have each of the gates and surrounding areas inspected thoroughly. He then called his chamberlain and had him send a detachment of guards to escort his grandchild away from the city.

"Your Majesty, should you not as well leave the city?!" the chamberlain questioned in shock when Marius said he would stay in the city.

"And for what Tillan? To show these Alddaran dogs I am weak? A coward who runs while his soldiers and people pay the price? No. I will stay. I will command my armies. And... if need be, I will die with them." Marius replied somberly fastening the straps on his golden breastplate.

"You Majesty I must..." Tillan began.

"Enough! Tillan you have your orders. I want you to get my grandchild out of this city NOW!" Marius cut off the wry chamberlain.

Tillan was clearly furious but after letting out an exasperated sigh bowed and replied, "As the Emperor commands."

With that Tillan spun around and began yelling out orders as pages and soldiers alike began running about the palace. Marius looked at his old friend leave before sighing and belting on his sword to his hip and striding out of the room.

Out on the streets word had clearly made it to the commoners and nobles alike about the enemy making their way to the city as some people scrambled towards the northwest and northeast gates to try and leave. While others donned their armor and weapons and prepared for orders from the legions.

Marius stopped a detachment of soldiers that passed by who all floundered to properly salute their Emperor.

"There is no time for proper ceremony here." he looked at the group of soldiers his eyes landing on one in particular, "Captain do you happen to have up to date information?"

"Yes your Majesty, Roderik and Malleo are currently in command of the legion since your sons..." the captain stopped his words in their tracks before paling and looking at Marius but then he slowly continued, "Uh... ahem... your sons... murders your Majesty. They currently are looking over the northern gates as you ordered. I myself was just about to head to the southern gate to inspect it."

Marius nodded, "I shall join you then Captain."

The Captain saluted and barked out a few orders and the soldiers surrounded Marius in a defensive position as they made their way to they south gate. Upon arrival Marius noticed a few soldiers and commoners combing around the walls searching for any signs of tampering.

The Captain barked out asking for whoever was in charge of this search team to come forward, striding forward from the wall was a lean, yet muscular, man who while looking young showed age and wisdom in his red eyes. The man kneeled before Marius.

"What is your name?" Marius questioned the white haired man in front of him, feeling as if he recognized him but could not recall him.

"Voktar, your Majesty, a simple merchant who could not look aside at the coming tide of Alddaran scum pushing their way upon the Jewel of Maloria." the man replied.

Marius eyes squinted as he tried to recognize the man, but he shook his head and pushed the thought away for current events, "Voktar you say? Have you found anything out of place here?"

"No your Majesty, other than a few rusty hinges that could use a replacement but in the current situation I doubt that is too high on the list of things needed to be done."

"They are not so rusty that they will easily cave in will they?"

"Of course not your Majesty."

Marius nodded somberly surveying the gate in front of him. After a moment he turned towards the detachment of guards, "Captain, send word to whomever you said was in charge of the legions. Tell them I am taking personal command now. I want as many soldiers as possible here at the south gate, it is the most likely to be attacked."

The Captain saluted and shortly after left with a good portion of the guards heading to the north side of the city. Marius walked closer to the gate inspecting it closer before turning and leaving with the rest of the guards.

The following day the siege began.

Almost as quickly as they had shown up outside the southern gate the armies of Alddar began their relentless attack. The strong tall walls and gates though proved stronger and by the end of the first day all the Alddarans had to show for it was their dead littering the space between where they were encamped and the walls.

Inside the city almost everyone was now working with the legions whether aiding any who were wounded, putting out fires, or fighting alongside the soldiers. Marius commanded everyone expertly setting up areas to increase defense or putting aside other areas for wounded. Against his Captains and Generals wishes he chose to command alongside his men sometimes even being on the southern wall looking across the fields where the armies crashed against his walls.

"What do the Alddarans hope to gain by doing this..." he thought out loud.

He sighed and shook his head leaving the wall to the men and returning to the command center that was set up at the palace. The following day the Alddarans attacked again in earnest in the early morning hours. After the attack had abated Marius and the Generals went up to the wall to inspect the field. That is when they saw what the Alddarans were up to.

One of the Generals sword loudly, "Damn Alddarans, so that is what they were doing. While we blindly looked at what was coming to us they had prepared that."

Out in the fields where the Alddarans were encamped was a row of at least a dozen siege towers, tall enough to reach the top of the walls. All were fortified with heavy metal plates and being prepared to pull the vast towers were teams of beasts known to live in Alddar that would take a few dozen arrows at least to bring down.

"Fortify this wall even further!" Marius barked out the order as his officers scrambled.

He looked out at the line of towers noticing something peculiar. Grabbing onto one of the officers before he ran off he asked, "Do you see that? That gap there in the line?"

The officer peered towards where Marius was pointing and nodded, "Ah, yes I do sir... if the line were to go straight forward... I think that would be where the gate is."

Marius scratched his chin thinking before walking off the parapets down towards the gate. At the gate everything seemed in order. His soldiers were shoring up the gate and setting up barricades along the avenue just in case the Alddarans somehow managed to get inside.

That was when his eyes caught a glimpse of white hair. His eyes locked onto that hair and began to widen. At first he only recognized the man as the merchant Voktar that he had met the other day but as if a fog was being lifted from his memory he began to recognize him as someone else.

"Mathias... Thorne..." Marius mumbled, then his face grew livid and his eyes nearly popped out of his head, "Mathias Thorne!"

He roared so loud that everyone stopped what they were doing to turn towards the Emperor who was now going red and purple in the face with rage. But in the silence that followed that roar a lighthearted chuckle started.

"Oh Marius, it seems it took you awhile to remember who I was." Mathias laughed.

"It was you. You were behind the murders of my sons!" Marius pulled out his sword and the guards in the surrounding him looked on confused at the confrontation.

Mathias smiled lightly then shrugged his shoulders mockingly, "Perhaps, perhaps not." he grabbed a nearby torch, "I am sorry though Marius but I am going to have to leave you here. Good luck old chap."

With that he tossed the torch at the wall. To onlookers it looked like the torch simply vanished into the wall but what had happened was it was tossed into a small alcove that could barely be seen, behind this alcove was a fake wall that hid a large mound of Dwarvish blasting powder.

Mathias took off like a bat out of hell down a back alley hugging the wall and nearby houses while Marius cursed. But even Marius did not expect what happened next.

Out in the fields outside of the capital city of Malorn, Grand Duke Darian Trathane, the leader of Alddarans, was awaiting the signal he knew was to come today. He wasn't told what the signal would be but he was assured by his cousin Liara that he would know it when it happened. When this signal happened he was to commit his forces fully against the walls.

He had a few hundred thousand men, about half of which were his famed and proud knights, the rest made up what he considered rabble of the army. Archers, Swordsmen, Pikemen and the sort. Most of his Archers and Swordsmen were now within the siege towers that were on their way to assail the walls now. Though he tried to argue his cousin told him he will have his knights charge the gate once the signal happened and after that everyone else will follow them.

His horse was clearly restless, most of his army was restless as he had only committed a few thousand so far into prodding the thick walls of the imperial city. Suddenly it seemed that everything was quiet, as if the entire world had suddenly just taken in a deep breath. Darian looked around to see if he could see why, had he been lost in thought like he was he was not sure he would have believed anyone telling him what happened.

The following shockwave almost knocked him off his horse and many in the ranks around him were the same. A large explosion had rocked the southern gate in front of his army. When the smoke had settled most of the southern wall, along with the gate and nearby buildings inside the city were gone.

Darian could only look dumbfounded at what he was seeing when he heard a familiar voice behind him.

"Are you going to sit on your ass all day Darian or will you give the order to charge?" Liara said clearly dripping acid the way she said it.

Darian scowled at her but grabbed his sword and raised it high into the air.

"Alddarans! Charge forth for your kingdom! Drive these imperials off of the very earth!"

With a deafening roar his soldiers answered his call and began in earnest to charge the now crippled city just as his siege towers reached the remaining parts of the walls. After mere minutes his army had begun pouring into the city and minutes after that fires began to start here and there and spread across the districts.

Darian charged through a line of legionnaires with his fellow knights and stood to look at the aftermath. That is when he saw his cousin dismounting and about to head down an alleyway.

"Liara! Where is it you are going during all of this?" he bellowed out over a collapsing building.

"My business cousin." Liara said staring daggers at him, "Don't worry yourself I will be fine. Keep yourself alive and finish this campaign of yours."

With that she walked down into the shadows of the alleyway. Darian grunted and turned around and rode off down the streets with his knights. Shortly after midday he controlled the city, the last skirmishes of defense from the imperials were small or from the palace where the Emperor and his officers holed up after the explosion.

 It was small work for Darian and his men to break through the last lines of defense at the palace. With confidence he strode into the palace where Emperor Marius sat on his golden throne surrounded by the remnants of his legions in the city.

"So Darian," Marius muttered, "You finally went and attacked." the Emperor sank into his throne, "I suppose by now it would be... too late for an apology?"

"You know how honorable my knights are Marius. When you publicly denounced that honor it would come to this." Darian said, behind him his honor guard fanned out across the room.

"So how will we finish this? One last skirmish between you and I? A duel perhaps to appease your honor? Or will you try some cheap trick?!" with that final question Marius stood and grabbed a fistful of dark brown hair and lifted up for Darian to see what was attached to it."

"Liara!" Darian's face paled visibly, he could tell his cousin was still alive, but only barely.

 Marius threw Liara to the ground and pointed his sword to her throat. "It seems you know this rat Darian, perhaps a lover? A relative? I can't see you having friends with all that noble air in your head though."

Darian's face grew from its pale state to a livid red. "Let her go Marius." he commanded.

Marius spat on the ground, "No Darian. I will fight to my very last breath and I will take all that I can from you during that time."

Marius raised his sword high but right before he began to bring his sword down everyone in the room could hear the whisper from Liara.

"Shadows... fall..."

"... over Maloria!" a voice from the shadows replied.

Suddenly an arrow shot from the darkness and pierced right through the center of Marius' skull. His sword slid from his limp hand and clanged against the floor. His officers and remaining legionnaires looked on in shock and horror as their leader fell.

Before any of the officers could get rouse themselves from their state Darian's honor guard moved in and killed any who fought back, but most just gave up without even a fight surrendering themselves. Darian rushed over to Liara's side.

"What in the world was that Liara?!" Darian said through falling tears.

"I told you cousin. Business." she pushed herself up into a sitting position, "Oh please. Stop crying you big baby. How in the world did you become a leader like this?"

"He had help of course." a familiar voice rang from behind them.

Turning around Darian saw his old friend Mathias walking up to them holding a bow. Darian smiled lightly piecing together everything that had probably happened over the course of the last few days. Finally shaking his head he started to order his guard to fish out the last pieces of resistance in the city.

Mathias walked over to Liara offering a hand, "We still have a lot of work to do Liara. Hope this doesn't slow you down too much." He slyly winked.

Liara smirked devilishly, "You, of all people Mathias, know this is nothing to me.

Mathias helped Liara up and supported her as they walked over to Darian to prepare for the final stages of subduing Maloria.

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Megan King: This book is absolutely amazing, it kept me on my toes through the entire book. I hope there is a second book. I would 10 out of 10 recommend this for anyone who loves fantasy, action or romance because it is full of all three 💕

Sarah Luongo: My friend recommended this to me and I was hooked immediately. The images and voices of these characters come so clearly in my head, which I love. I love seeing from all of these characters points of view, and still the book has a continuous flow. There are some punctuation and grammar mistakes, ...

catd69: Karim is a very talented writer. When I started reading his journey it took me into the book and I was in the story till the end. I've never felt this way with any other writers stories. If you want to read a gripping adventure, this will be the one book I would suggest you pick.

Jordi Roig Avellanet: The first one really took me up for a ride and surprised me really pleasently. This one, up until now, has been amazing too. The characters and their powers are very curious and I'd like to see where all this intense dark plotting goes. I hope it gets finished.

Catherine Kopf: Wow! This was a really great story. I really enjoy reading fantasy, so it didn't take long for me to become invested in the book and its characters like Jacob. I really liked your writing style, and it seemed to flow very well. The descriptions that you used for your world were also created n...

genlynne2379: I read the other review of this book and I must say that I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I do not believe the author put the apostrophes in the names just to be unique, but because the characters are supposedly of a different race than humans. They are Anmah. They should have different names a...

makaylakay: I love love this story! It's written incredibly and well thought-out plot! I love how it's a different twist in fantasy fiction, other then the usual vampire or werewolves. Love the romantics and drawn to the two characters so much already! This book will draw you in within the first chapter and ...

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spec4huff: Thank you for creating this world. I am a 6'3" veteran that thinks himself tough. But the piece of literature you have created made me misty eyed on a number of occasions. I want a love like this. Thank you again, I would totally buy this book and hopefully the sequels to this ever enchanting lov...

Erin Crowley: The concept here is really strong, but the execution is definitely lacking. Tenses, grammar, etc are all off, with at least one or more errors per 'Page' on my phone. The writing style is almost broken- sentences move into each other awkwardly, and are filled with an excess of "filler words", lik...

Arabella: The catchy blurb caught my attention. The story is creepy but I would not qualify it as a horror story. The characters are likeable and I’m impatiently waiting for new stories from Obsidian Fae.

mullikin902: Do not start reading this book unless you have enough time to finish it in one sitting, because you will not be able to put it down! Superlative! Addictive! Deliciously wicked characters you can't get enough of. Impatiently waiting for the sequel!

Mourn8220House: When first reading "Avarice," I thought it would be another fairytale but I was taken back the author's approach and choice of ending. There is little to be said for the story and overall plot besides the sudden twists and speculation, other than that I do not want to ruin a fantastic tale, you m...

Jason78: Be careful, once you open this book you won't want to put it down. A dark comedy horror that has plenty of twists and turns that Keeps you guessing. Fantastic book from start to finish, loved the story and can't wait to read the next one.