Prologue

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Prologue 

'Cold out tonight,' observed Sebastian, as he stared into the darkness surrounding Pallor Castle.

'Well what do you expect? There aren't any clouds in the sky, so the heat escapes…' said Connor.

'Oh, shut up,' muttered Sebastian, jabbing his short somewhat rodent-like companion with his pike, 'how do you even know that anyway?'

'I studied at the High Institute,' said Connor, puffing out his chest ever-so-slightly.

'Ah yes,' said Sebastian, lifting his steel helmet briefly to scratch his head, 'how could I forget?'

'I've got a degree in sky studies,' Connor was about to continue when he realised that Sebastian had lost interest and was presently examining his left gauntlet.

'You know, your petty attempts to start conversation with me are altogether quite hilarious, Sebastian. When I reply, you tell me to shut up, then ask another question, and don't listen to the answer!' and he fell into a fit of superior laughter.

'Huh. Just because you're smarter then the rest of us don't mean you have to rub it in our faces,' said Sebastian, feeling his face redden.

'Is this little midget bothering you, Seb?' the gruff voice of Tommy came from behind them. Both guards turned to see they're overseer, Tommy walking out onto the balcony.

'As matter of fact he is, Tommy! Says he's smarter then us,' said Sebastian, turning to see Tommy towering over them both. Tommy's dark eyes flickered in from the firelight of the torch he held in his hand.

The gigantic man took a step past Sebastian, to stand over Connor.

'Say one more word, and I will throw you over this wall.'

He grabbed Connor at back of the neck, and forced him to look over the wall of the balcony.

'Would you like to fall down there?' he hissed in Connor's ear.

'No!' said Connor through gritted teeth.

'Then shut up!' hissed Tommy, inches from Connor's face.

Connor stumbled back at the man's sudden ferocity. Tommy stalked off without another word.

Sebastian walked across the hard stone floor of the balcony to the edge of the wall, and peered down.

He squinted and managed to make out the figures of two more guards in the courtyard, the torches around them illuminating a small circle, with them at its centre.

It was at least a two hundred foot drop.

'That's at least a one hundred and fifty seven foot drop,' muttered Connor. Sebastian rolled his eyes and sighed.

'You couldn't possibly know that.'

'Exactly how many sightings of this monster were there?' asked Sebastian, his eyes surveying the lights of the city far below.

'Four. Five if you include that small child that reported to the official 'I saw the monster!''

Connor chuckled at this for a few awkward moments, in which Sebastian cleared his throat and looked down at his boots. It wasn't his type of humour, and he certainly wasn't in the mood for laughing. He'd been brought up listening to hundreds of stories about man-eating monsters, monsters that ripped you to shreds as you lay asleep, creatures that hunted humans for sport, and dozens of other horror stories. He held a fascination for such creatures, but standing here now, surrounded by darkness, the stories were manifesting themselves in every flicker of movement, every shadow and every sound.

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