Chapter VII: Fralgarzener

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The large, black raven flew quickly along the rugged coastline of the peninsula known as Kaleb’s Claw. The tips of its wings beat only inches from the blackened ramparts of Gol-Morda, the stronghold of the wicked sorcerer Fralgarzener. The multi-towered keep was perched on a rocky outcrop on the very tip of the claw-like peninsula, looking down on the crashing waves of the East Ocean. The bird wasn’t at all herself; she was being controlled. It was a feeling that couldn’t be ignored, though it wasn’t at all understood. She flew up and up and finally into a large window at the top of the tallest of the pitch-black towers. 

A grotesque figure turned toward the bird as it made its way into the dimly lit room. “Ahhh, ye’ve arrived. Come, my friend!”

He held out his bony arm and though the bird instinctively wanted to turn and fly whence she came, she simply couldn’t resist. He cupped his claw-like hand over the bird’s huge head. She quivered almost imperceptibly, then lost her self as he began feeding on her thoughts. In only a matter of minutes, he saw through her mind’s eye the journey that she had been compelled to make; a journey that had lasted weeks. 

He conversed with himself, as he often did, being locked up in his towers for months at a time. Of course, there were times when he hadn’t left the keep for years and sometimes decades. “Finally,” he hissed. “One of you brings back the smallest scrap of useful information. I’m not too concerned about the whelps and the noble. Ah, but, much more importantly, what is Dymorla doing? The wench has something in mind, but what? It is not like her to be involved, yet I can see this massive increase in activity. I can even sense it from here! Unheard of! Yes, it will be prudent to keep a much more close eye on all of them. But what to do? These messengers are taking too much time to get me anything of pertinent value. Perhaps a bit more direct approach, no? And I can complete all of my work as well.” 

He grabbed the bird’s head and began an incantation. It was really quite surprising how quick and effortless it was to transfer just a small amount of his life essence into the bird. A greenish pulsing light enveloped the raven; the bird grew larger. It grew so large, in fact, that the force inhabiting it thought: I can’t hold me, and stepped off its own bony arm and onto the broad stone windowsill from whence it came. 

It only perched for a moment or two, before it said in an eerily human voice, “Now we’ll see …” 

Then it flew off.

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