The next day, Sara woke thinking at first she’d slept only a few hours. It took a second for her to remember no sunlight touched the city. Light coming through the window was much the same as the day before.
After a quick wash, Sara grabbed her stuff and made haste down the stairs to find Leon filling a tiny reservoir in a glaive with his blood, and speaking with a woman dressed in clothes that almost revealed too much.
“I... hope I’m not interrupting.” Sara said.
“Sara, this is my friend, Caycee.” Leon said, attaching the blood glaive to the clothing on his torso.
“Hello.” Caycee waved.
“Let me guess, Kanara?” Sara asked.
“Siena.” Caycee corrected.
“Not bad,” Leon said, “The power of the Siena and Kanara both come from the mind, but the Siena have a very special gift. Call it intuition, or foresight.”
“If you ever lose anything, or want your fortune read, just see me.” Caycee said.
“You can see the future?” Sara asked.
There was a short pause as Caycee tried to think of a way to explain. Nervously interlocking her hands, she said, “Well, not yet, but I can tell you how I feel.”
“She gives very good advice.” Leon clarified.
“What did you get from them?” asked Sara.
“The Siena,” Leon said, “You could call it a sixth sense. It made me a little paranoid at first, but eventually, I got used to it. Now, it’s more like what you would call a gut feeling.”
Sara then asked, “What about that woman with the red dye in her hair?”
“Alexia,” Leon said, “All of the Doran are born with streaks of red in their hair. It probably has something to do with their power over blood.”
“And Marus?” Sara asked.
Caycee answered, “You can thank the Turin for the perpetual cloud over the city. And if you think they overdress then you should see their section of the city – completely covered in fog so thick you can’t see ten feet in front of you. They’re insanely paranoid about the sun.”
Just then there was a knock at the door.
“It’s open!” Leon said.
A Vesuvian stepped in, “The Council wants to see you.”
Leon looked at Sara, “Are you ready?”
“Yeah.” Sara answered.
At the Council’s table, for the first time, Sara saw a Khothu and Hegiran, two of each in fact. Both were just as the descriptions she had read.
The Khothu were lizard people with skin similar to humans, but with small scales on various parts of their bodies. Both wore medieval-style clothing with some leather armor and a mask pulled back over their heads. The blue male, Gillan, sat as he casually spun a sai in one hand. Next to him was Kamala, a female with green scales and two short battle-axes holstered to her waist.
The Hegiran was in fact made of two races: The Anubians and the Persians. Nedim, a tall, lanky Anubian male had grayish skin. He was sparsely decorated in gold, light armor on top of white tattered clothing wrapped around his body. His only weapon, at his side, was a long knife.
The female Persian was Janah, a sultry humanoid feline with even skimpier clothing than Caycee. As far as felines went, her ‘pattern’ was like that of a cheetah. She was armed with two short swords holstered across her back.
“Kamala, have your people had any problems with the invasion?” Alexia asked.
“Nothing too bad yet,” Kamala answered, “We’ve had some of our undead seeking temporary shelter. With the loss of their ability to control the elements, they don’t have much to fight against the Pelasgians.”
“The weapons we do carry are meant to be secondary to our powers,” Gillan added.
“It’s a similar story with us,” Nedim said, “While we can equip those who’ve crossed over, a sword in the hands of one who’s only known the power of the cosmos isn’t much help.”
“That’s speaking for the Anubians, of course,” Janah said, “Aside from the Prometheans, the Fenrir, and your Turin, the Persians can hold their own.”
Alexia stood and began to walk around the table, “I guess the most important question to ask is why would the Pelasgians invade the Netherworld? We all know that many years ago they threatened us directly, and we managed to stop them.”
“It makes no sense,” said Nedim, “A war with the Netherworld seems pointless. Logic suggests the Pelasgians would eventually lose by attrition.”
Kamala spoke, “But the number of Pelasgians is enough to occupy the Netherworld for a long time. That kind of pressure is going to cause a lot of refugees to keep pouring into Rhea.”
Gillan crossed his arms, “I don’t see the big deal. If we beat them before, we should be able to stop them again.”
Janah slammed her fists on the table and stood, “Why does everyone say ‘we stopped the Pelasgians’?”
“Janah, please.” Nedim pleaded.
“No,” Janah said, “Everyone knows the Pelasgians stopped because they stopped. Why? That’s what worries me. And now, they’re coming at us again when we’re even more helpless!”
The room fell silent. Sara felt the hairs on the back of her neck sticking straight out.
“Janah speaks the truth,” Alexia said.
Gillan cleared his throat, “So, who’s the human if I may ask?”
“I’m Sara.” she answered.
Alexia stood by Sara, “The humans possess a vast number of skilled warriors which may prove vital to our survival. Like it or not, we need their help.”
Denzso slumped in his chair and sighed, “Still want to see the Shadow Realm, Sara?”
With both hands flat on the table and eyes darting back and forth, Sara explained, “Okay, look...it’s not that I don’t believe you, but...I... there’s no way I can just go back and tell my leaders that I think you’re telling the truth. I have to go back completely sure.”
“Very well,” Denzso said, “There’s a portal in the ruins of the Promethean capital. That’s the only way.”
“I’ll take her,” Leon said.
“Do you require an escort?” Marus asked.
“No,” Leon said, “An escort from you is like a legion. Fewer people will have an easier time getting in and out unnoticed.”
Kamala stood, “Leon, Gillan and I would like to join you.”
“And we as well,” Nedim said.
Leon thought for a moment, “If you’re absolutely sure about this, pack your bags. We leave immediately.”