The Long Vigil

An Outrider's Betrayal

Meg sits on the floor in her room in the Outrider’s guild hall. A ghostly reflection that isn’t hers stares back at her from the mirror, “Yes master, I almost have it. I should get it tonight.”

A knock at the door calls Meg’s attention. A young man in fine clothing stands at her door. He’s not supposed to be here. It’s Prince Davin, heir to the throne of Agenland. “Who were you talking to, Meg?”

“I was just praying.”, she replies. “Have you got it?”

Prince Davin smiles as he pulls a key from his pocket. Meg moves to take the key, but the prince retreats, “It’s protected by ancient magic; only someone of my house can touch it.”, he says, “We should hurry. We don’t have much time.”

The slink from the guild hall into the city streets. The prince pulls up his hood to avoid notice as the two use the cover of darkness to avoid a guard patrol. They arrive at the side door to the cathedral and the royal key grants them access, it’s magic unlocking any lock the King owns. With candles in hand, they sneak down into the library where they find the gate that denied them entry the morning before.

“We’ll finally know the truth about what you saw. We’ll know what they’re hiding from us.”, Davin says with determination.

In the vault they search the stacks and find the book that monster has been seeking, a tome bound in flesh and bone. On the cover is an outstretched hand with an eye in the center of the palm. This is Naqir’s spellbook… a book of most vile darkness. The creature controlling Meg smiles.

Davin kisses Meg in that shared moment of accomplishment. The creature controling Meg’s body lets the girl have that moment of joy, not only out of the respect for Meg’s strength, but also out of the sheer cruelty of what is to come.

Davin pulls away and confesses to Meg that he loves her. Meg blushes and smiles. Suddenly, Davin convulses as he looks down to see blood flowing from his heart, a bloody, silver dagger held in Meg’s hand. The creature gives control back to Meg. She cries out cradling Davin in her arms preparing to give Davin the mercy of a true death, but the creature denies her that at the last moment. Leaving Davin’s animating body behind she picks up her master’s book and locks the gate to the vault behind her.

With the book in hand Meg dashes for the Northwood, as the dead gate guard who tried to bar her way already beginning to rise In the woods outside the city, dog-like humanoids growl at the approach of a Meg. The gnoll, covered in burns, holds out it’s hand revealing an eye branded into the palm, “You’re late.”, growls the pack leader.

“I don’t answer to you, Immor. Take me to Naqir before I lose my patience.”, Meg replies. The pack leader reluctantly submits, and leads her into the forest. Meg turns to look at the city, and a single tear rolls down her face as she thinks of Davin. The creature wipes Meg’s tear aside, “Don’t do that again, Meg, if you know what’s good for your friends.”, the creature mumbles.

Back in the market square, Danadin stumbles through the front door of the Jolly Abbott, the beer and mead heavy in his mind. A guard stumbles down the street, his hauberk covered in blood, a gaping wound in his throat. A woman screams at his presence, and the creature lets out a gurgling howl as it leaps upon her and tears a chunk of flesh free. Danadin lets out a shout of alarm as the unhollowed turns its attention to him. After a few moments, the creature’s first victim’s body convulses as the curse flows through her. She begins to rise.

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