Chapter Fifteen: Isarua's Betrayal.

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 Eukron Forest, Northern Metashanagena province, Netheron.

   Jaden leaned against the tree he was hiding behind, carefully peering around the edge of its rough trunk so he could look down the road he waited beside. They were near.

   Three hours previously he had been sitting at his camp, glaring into the flames of his evening fire, surrounding by a dozen freezing officers, when he had felt something. Jaden had spent a lifetime, no, a dozen lifetimes tuning his senses to levels that were anything but natural.

   He could sense a powerful presence from a hundred miles, and he had sensed one that evening, a very powerful one; one too powerful to be ignored, especially when it was approaching his encampment.

   He had a hundred of the best men, sorcerers, and warriors now waiting in the darkness of the trees about the road, waiting for this unknown powerful person to pass, then waiting for Jaden to give the signal for them to leap out and either kill or capture them.

   In the distance he heard horse’s hooves now, hardly half a mile away.

   He signaled for his men to be on the ready, and then crouched down beside the massive trunk of his tree. They were in the most ancient part of Netheron, in an area were no humans lived anymore, and were the trees were so ancient they seemed almost alive with malice, where the little life that still remained was the most powerful in the worlds.

   They were here to hunt down the Devry, the ancient beasts that had inhabited and ruled Netheron before humans had arrived. Jaden hoped to bring them over to his side and recruit their help in his war with Halavarde, but if that wasn’t possible . . . well, he felt sure that he had enough of his men with him to take down any number of surviving Devry.

   But he was certain the Halavardes would try to recruit them as well, hence his great care when he sensed something out of place, such as a super-powerful lord approaching.

   Arabella Eterion never seemed to be able to get over her awe of the forest; it was so amazing and beautiful. She had grown up in grasslands, and trees were truly a novelty to her.

   She glanced up at her mother, Kazira Eterion, tall and haughty, long, straight black hair falling down her back, riding beside her.

   Behind them rode a dozen guards, all wearing the dark green livery of the Royal Isaruan Guard, constant companions to the queen and her daughter. Deep in Eukron forest her father still had a small fortress that he kept manned; it was in one of the most beautiful spots in the worlds, a spot where the queen and her youngest daughter were always sent when things began to get messy, back home in Isarua’s capital Melakune.

   Recently however, the gate that had been built to get to it had broken, so they had been forced to use the nearest of their gates and then ride the rest of the way, something that the overbearing queen had ranted and raved about, but that her daughter had accepted with glee.

   “How much longer is this infernal ride going to take?” The Queen demanded of her personal Captain of the Guard, Mutic Alasair.

   Alasair bowed stiffly from his saddle, keeping his black eyes trained on the passing road beneath him.” Another hour, no less, your majesty”

   The Queen sniffed disdainfully and turned away. Ara felt sorry for poor Mutic, he’d served the Queen and King for a very, very long time, and they (Or at least, the Queen) despised him. She glanced back at him, smiling softly to him.

   The old captain just grinned back, showing her again how much he didn’t care about the Queens disdain. She turned away from him and looked back down at the grassy road. It wasn’t really a road at all, more of a grassy lane through the forest were there were no trees, but that made it all the more beautiful.

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