|Spirits In The Night
I hoisted my pack higher on my aching shoulder and looked out over the ruins. What else could I call them? I was told that terrible magicka had been wielded here, soaking into the very earth, and that nothing grew. And indeed, the land seemed lifeless, furrowed by water-worn ruts and marked with jutting rocks. To be fair, there were some plants, but these were short, thick, and twisted. Not natural at all.
I took myself up the tall rise they call the Tor of Eternity, found a rock, and proceeded to scrape my boots free of mud.
Everywhere about me lay a great, dark expanse, ending in forest to the south, and high plains to the north. For a long while, all I could do is look outward, absorbing the reality of the place.
Men had died here. Hundreds. Five hundred and seventy-two years ago, the terrible army of House Mor Durae and the shining paladins of Bralvanyr met here, clashing in a brutal exchange which left more men dead than any other single battle waged in the history of Keenreach.
There’s a feeling, when you’re actually in a place where something like that happened. You can’t get that feeling just from reading about it in a book. A feeling of presence, of knowing that right where you are standing, men rang steel against steel, and fell dying in the mud. The only thing that separates you from them, from that very experience, is this strange and indefinable thing called time.
My dream, of course, was to find an artifact.
The ground had been reduced to mud during the battle, and the Highland Moors were well known as a place where old swords or helmets could be found by those willing to dig and search through the wet blackness. I didn’t intend to leave until I found something.
After a good lunch I slid down to the slick ground once again and began my quest.
I had brought a fresh-cut staff, thinking I might probe as I walked along, but the ground was not that forgiving. It soon became clear that I would have to hope to find something sticking up, perhaps freshly unearthed by a recent rain or small mudslide along the steeper banks of the hill.
For many hours I walked through the mud, my boots becoming heavier and heavier and my feet soaked through. I doubted I’d ever get clean.
By the time night threatened, I was getting rather disillusioned. I was cold, wet, and exquisitely hungry. I thought I’d go down to the forest’s edge and light a good, bright fire to warm by.
I was halfway there when I saw the odd smoothness emerging from the mud.
I thought, at first, that it might just be a stone, but all the rock here was jagged, not polished as this was. I even slipped on my way there, sprawling so that my hands were buried in viscous ooze. But it hardly mattered, for a moment later I was hauling with wild excitement on what could only be a breastplate, and soon the mud was everywhere.
I can’t explain what it was like to stand before it when finally I had dragged it from the earth and wiped some of the mud away. Never had I dreamed of finding such a thing.
It was an entire suit of armor, bound together with fine chain mail. It showed the signs of age, for it was deeply tarnished, scraped, and dirtied. But I could see no rust. It must have been the armor of a wealthy fighter, for the whole of it was worked with etchings and enamel, so that it looked more like the flesh of some strange, forgotten beast.
In the breastplate was a large, gaping hole, the torn metal edges pointing inward like hungry teeth.
The weight of the thing was tremendous, for it was filled with mud and dirt. I hauled it down to the forest’s edge, dragged it onto dry ground, and started my fire.
It must have been midnight before I was done.
I had cleaned the metal out as best I could, and used my spare shirt to wipe more of the mud from its surface.
I had found myself a museum piece, to be sure.
Things had happened as I cleaned. There had been flickers out of the corners of my eyes, and small lights that seemed to glow from far off in the forest or up near the top of the Tor. But I had been intent on my cleaning, and attributed such visions to the presence of fireflies.
Now it was quite still all about me, and I realized that it had grown chill enough that I could see my breath. It must be very late indeed.
From my pack I took my sleeping roll and laid it out among the pine needles. I realized, through the fog of my tired mind, that I hadn’t eaten. But the hunger had disappeared, and all I knew now was a thick tiredness and the raw aching of my hands, which had been abused in the cleaning of the armor.
Sleep. How we always think, so foolishly, that it will bring us peace.
It seemed ages before I awoke. Ages, and yet the night sky was still dark. And something else was wrong, something that imposed itself upon my consciousness with swift and terrible force.
My body felt stiff, heavy.
Panic welled as my eyes shot down over my body, seeing only the smooth curve of dirty metal, inlaid with those strange, enameled patterns. But I did not scream. My breathing was heavy and fast, and darkness welled at the edges of my vision. I closed my eyes and heard the panting of a beast.
But it was only I.
A glow rose over the horizon, over the edge of the Tor, and my eyes flickered to it. In a moment I had scrambled to my feet, my eyes wide.
Over the Tor, an army marched.
Riders were at the head, shining on white steeds, their armor gleaming silver in the pale starlight. Banners flew above them, and behind them walked row after row of men, all of them radiant as platinum.
They were beautiful. And though my body shook with fear, I stood entranced. Until I heard the sounds behind me.
Crushing leaves, snapping branches. Harsh speech.
Shaking, I turned, even as they emerged from the darkness of the woods.
No words will make them clear to your mind’s eye. I know, for all words left me. All sanity left me. But there they were. Real.
Tattered armor, some with broken swords. Ragged and depleted, but somehow more terrible because of it.
Thin, white hair flowed from the half-fleshed skulls of those who wore no helms. Those with helmets? I did not want to see what lay in the shadows behind the steel.
I took a step back. My only thought was to flee up the hill, into the gleaming, shining mass of knights.
It was my name, spoken through a strangely broken throat, and it brought me to a numb and frozen stillness.
He must have stood a head taller than I, in armor that looked forged of onyx drakescale. He held a great axe in one hand. His other reached up, and drew the leering helmet from his head.
I stared into eyes that were a thousand years old, set in grey, tight flesh and framed by grey, brittle hair.
“Sardon,” he said, stepping close enough that I could smell a fetid stink. “You’d best take up your helm, for the battle is soon to begin.” And he gestured up the hill to the knights on their prancing steeds.
I could not move, even when his foot pushed at my helm and rolled it across the forest floor so that it stopped at my feet, its hollow mask staring up at me.
“Do not break rank,” he said, as hundreds more like him emerged from the woods. The tight flesh worked into a smile, and he leaned closer to me, so that his breath was hot on my face.
“If you do not fight,” he said, “you will die, Sardon. And if you die, you shall be as we are, for all eternity. Forever waging this battle. Every night.”
“I . . . I cannot fight.” It was all I could say, and I thought it truth, for I did not believe I could even stand a moment more, so weak were my legs.
“Your sword,” he said, “is your salvation. Do you see them?”
I looked where he pointed, to the knights on the hill.
“If we can defeat them,” he said, “we shall be free.”
“Free,” I whispered.
“Take up your sword. It is time.”
He looked at me a moment more, then turned his dark eyes to the muddy hill. With a gesture he moved by me, and his men followed him out of the forest’s shelter.
They filed by me, and I did not move, not to gain my helmet, not to gain my sword.
“Come,” one of them said. “Get into formation.”
“Move,” said another.
I ran. I was a rabbit among wolves, and all I could do was flee, my voice now tearing from my lungs as I fled away from the battlefield, toward the woods.
But they were all around me, skeletal hands tearing at my hair, grasping at my armor, dragging me to the ground.
I screamed, I flailed and kicked, but there was nothing I could do. I was dragged through the forest, nearly crying, and was at last thrown roughly into the mud at the feet of the horrifying, huge man I had first met. My sword was thrust into my hand, and I felt with sudden panic the helm forced onto my head.
“I am Adaras Mor Durae!” he cried, his voice carrying clearly over the field. “Meet me on the field of battle, Cymmorin! Cymmorin of Bralvanyr!”
The mud soaked slowly through the joints of the armor, but I hardly cared. For at last I had something to hold to. Something I recognized.
Adaras Mor Durae. He had been the ruler of House Mor Durae. Terrible, ferocious, and unearthly in his cruelty.
Cymmorin of Bralvanyr. Prince of Keenreach, and chief general for the of royal army. A man famed for his prowess.
The history texts say that Cymmorin fell in the battle of Tor of Eternity.
“Let us discourse,” said a voice from the hill, from the mass of silver. It seemed strangely high pitched, the voice. As if the voice of a child.
“Discourse,” Adaras said quietly. “What does he hope we shall discuss?” But he handed his axe to the man next to him and stepped forward. Beside me he paused, bent, and grasped my arm, hauling me up.
“Prepare for battle,” he whispered.
And then he was gone, striding out onto the battlefield. From ahigh, one of the horsemen broke free from the ranks and started down to meet him.
A hand grasped me and pulled me back so that I stood abreast of the others.
They were smirking.
As I stood, my breathing returned to a semblance of normalcy, and my heart slowed to something less than racing.
The two men met in the middle of the field, Cymmorin swinging down off his barded horse.
I wish I knew what words were exchanged. All I could see was mounting tension in the gestures of the men. Restless stirring up on the hill. And a hungry anticipation in the eyes all around me.
Cymmorin threw his hand down in disgust and turned back to his horse.
The debate had not gone well.
And then I saw Adaras' hand rise up toward the sky, and the armored hand closed in a fist.
A cold wind moaned over the hill.
And then, with a haunting cry, Cymmorin’s horse threw back its head, teeth bared. I saw its legs twist beneath it, saw blood erupt from its eyes and its nose as it fell, splashing, into the mud.
A shout erupted from Cymmorin, who turned to face Adaras. Yells of treachery tumbled from the hill.
Adaras’ hand stretched toward us, reaching out, and I saw the huge axe, held by the man next to me, crackle and dissolve in a gleam of golden light.
And then it appeared in Adaras' hand.
Cymmorin turned to flee, slipping in the mud. The horses on the hill began to charge downward. And Adaras' axe swung in a heavy arc, tearing with horrific force into the armor at Cymmorin's neck.
The shining prince fell crumpling to the mud, and Adaras raised his axe above his head with a snarling cry.
At the head of them, I had no choice but to run forward, for the hundreds behind me would surely trample me to drowning in the thick mud if I fell.
I ran, my sword at my side, staring out at the charging mass of silver, at Adaras defying them all, at the still form of Prince Cymmorin lying beneath him.
And then the arrows came, rising like some dark and looming dragon from behind the glowing horses, their points gleaming in the feeble light as they rose. They seemed to move very slowly.
Rain. A rain of biting steel and wood, cries everywhere around me, men falling, only to be trampled by those behind.
Each impact was solid. Each of the four. Striking my armor with sparks, shattering on the steel. One of them broke through metal and leather, but not so deep so as to strike my flesh.
I could feel the pressure of that one on my chest, where the red-fletched arrow stuck out like some withered, misborn limb.
I ran, daring not to stumble, as the tide of half-dead soldiers swelled behind me.
We came upon Adaras, who was running back toward us, just as the horses slammed into our line, warlances dropped as they pierced the bodies of my companions. Then all was crashing hooves, cries and shouts, swords singing on armor and opponent’s blades. For a moment, I was buffeted behind a mass of my dark-armored companions, and in that moment I saw why the Mor Durae army never won this battle.
The Mor Durae were half-dead, and to my horror I saw that they did not die easily. Some fought on, though pierced with lethal blows. But the knights of Bralvanyr were more devastating still, for they seemed to glow with golden-silver light, and their blades sheared through armor almost as if it were not there, leaving only sparks and a shining, cleaving sound in the wake of each blow.
Then a second wave of cavalry stormed upon us, and I saw the shield of men before me crumple, saw the horses coming upon me. Three men stood between me and the shining ghosts on horseback, their blades coming together. The dark, rusted one tumbled apart, cloven. The horse bit out, crushing the sword hand of the second man. The blinding blade cut in a wide arc, and landed half-buried in the helmet of the man in front of me, not a pace away.
I took in a shuddering breath. There was stale blood, fresh feces on the air. The breath did not come easily. Were my lungs already rotting, lost to the inevitable conclusion that I would die here, now, and be forever one of the Mor Durae, half-alive, slowly decaying even as I lived on to fight this unearthly battle for eternity?
But no. It was not that my lungs refused the air. Only that they burned, begging for more. I was alive. Alive as those around me were not. And I must not die. I would not die!
With a fury that burned forth from my very soul, I suddenly felt the flesh covering my muscle and bone, felt the blood pumping through my veins. I howled like some horrible beast, and leapt toward the horse. It reared up, hooves tearing at the air, and I stabbed out as deeply as I could, plunging my weathered blade into that pure, white belly as its hooves flashed over my head.
The horse screamed. I stumbled back, almost falling over a body, as the horse toppled and the rider landed hard on his side. Then my eyes went wide, for the army of the Mor Durae fell upon the downed rider, screeching and laughing, stabbing down with spear and sword, and I saw the shining white beneath their dark forms disappear in glistening blood and bile.
I could only stand, staring, my arms limp at my side. Somewhere far off I heard a human scream, and saw another of the horses fall. It was as if a dark tide were sweeping forth over the royal army, burying them beneath blackness.
A hand came onto my shoulder, a bloodied, armored hand, and I looked over into the depths of the helm to see, dimly, the ancient eyes of Adaras Mor Durae.
“You have done well,” he said, looking outward. “It is said that ‘one of the living shall fight as a Mor Durae, and the tide of battle will at last be turned.’ They have come before, but none have fought for us, Sardon. None have brought down one of the cursed knights of Bralvanyr.”
Still, I stood frozen, shivering. I saw that my breath was clouded before me.
“We have been trapped for so long, Sardon. And now, at last, we might walk free. Do you see? They fall before us as they never have before.”
Indeed, from my vantage I could see that the battle had become a ferocious melee, the lines of light and dark no longer defined as the armies swirled, swelled, and fell.
“There,” Adaras said, pointing. I followed his gesture, and saw a tight knot of paladins, on horses and on foot. All about them the host of the Mor Durae pressed in.
“They protect their fallen prince,” said Adaras. “He is the only one who can match my powers. But he is already dead.” He smiled, and now his gesture pointed up to the top of the hill. “Watch, Sardon, the fall of the royal army.”
He raised his hands above his head, his fingers twisting into strange signs. I saw his lips move, silently. And then as before, a breath of wind seemed to emerge from him.
“Come forth!” he suddenly cried, thrusting his arms down so that his fingers dug deep into the mud. “Come forth!”
And the ground beneath him rippled, breathed, and moved outward like a wave toward the top of the hill. Men stumbled as it passed beneath their feet.
Atop the hill, where a few of the knights still stood, the wave stopped and settled. One of the riders urged his horse over to see what had happened to the ground.
In a burst, the monster emerged. I saw the horse and rider flung away, saw stones and mud slough off of a smooth, black-skinned thing that could only exist in nightmares. It screamed out a thick, curdled cry, some primal call of a creature long forgotten by man. Massive claws flexed, huge muscles curled, and the creature, like some megalithic, mud-forged cross of wolf and bear, threw itself down the hill, screaming out and rending its way into the rear ranks of the knights.
Beside me, Adaras laughed.
White horses were dashed aside, shattered, as men were crushed beneath its feet. It stood as high as four men, its earthen flesh unaffected by the arrows and sword blows of the dying knighs.
With a terrible cheer the Mor Durae rushed forward, cutting down those who had been injured in the creature’s wake. They pressed in harder against the edges of the knot of men protecting the prince’s body. And the horrendous beast raked and clawed, bit and crushed, wherever it saw the silver of the knights’ armor.
“They no longer glow,” I whispered, more to myself than to Adaras. But he heard.
“Their magic fades,” he said. “Their blades grow dull. The battle is ours.”
And then I saw something strange in his eyes, troubled. And they went large in disbelief, and I peered out to see what he had seen.
The dark earthen beast had stopped, surrounded by fallen knights. And before it, shining in an impossible silver light, stood a unicorn, head lowered.
“What is this?” Adaras cried. He looked sharply over to the knot of men. “It is the prince! He is not dead, Sardon. He raises this magic against us!”
The two creatures clashed, wicked claws raking out and finding only air as the lithe, silver unicorn glanced to the side and slashed out deeply with its horn, leaving a deep, golden wound.
Adaras grabbed my arm. “Come,” he said. “I will need the aid of the living.”
I was dragged more than I followed, Adaras moving through his ranks toward the knot of men. Flashing images came to me, visions seen from between the bodies we passed. Black rage, towering above, slashing out, crying out. And the unicorn, muddied now, cutting in with a horn like a rapier, tearing at the creature’s legs and arms.
The Mor Durae parted for Adaras, and we moved forward into the clashing of swords. And just like that, I was free. Adaras roared, raising his great axe, and waded forward, cutting down the knight before him. Behind him, his men rushed in to form a wedge, and I was pulled with them, carried with their bodies, not able to raise my sword. We were a narrow cut moving toward the heart of the knot, toward the prince himself, and on either side of us the holy knights sliced in. I saw the man next to me fall, and the one behind me. A spear pierced through the breastplate of another.
And then Adaras' words came back to me: ‘And if you die, you shall be as we are, for all eternity. Forever waging this battle. Every night.’
No! I must not die! Even as I thought it a knight pushed toward me, only a long, thin knife in his hand. With a cry I stabbed out, my sword crashing down on his collar, denting through armor and breaking bone. I reversed my cut and struck to the knee, collapsing his leg. But still, from every side, the knights moved in, for we were in the heart of them now, and there was less and less of the dark Mor Durae armor around me.
Brutally I struck out at another of the knights. And then, from behind, a hand grabbed my arm, pulling me off balance, and I saw a war hammer for a flash before it slammed, with a blinding snap, into my helm.
I staggered, and the world was quiet for a moment. There seemed to be no shouts, no cries. I felt a blade strike my back, but no pain emerged – only the dull throb of armor being pressed in against my flesh.
I tried to move away, but there was a body underneath me. I fell, landing hard on my back, and lay there for a moment, trying to breathe.
He was upon me before I knew what was happening. Blood-splattered armor, pale skin on a handsome, almost beautiful face. Wide, dark eyes. And a blade raised above his head, the point glistening. It was a shining white tooth, and below it lay my breast, with the single open spot in my armor, the hole I had found when first I dug it from the mud. Where the man who wore it once, long ago, must also have taken his mortal wound.
Then the warrior was gone, only the remembered path of a massive, dark axe blade passing through where he had stood.
“Come,” said Adaras. “We have broken through.”
With his help, I regained my feet, staring down to the body of the man who had stood over me moments before. His chest was opened, his beautiful face at a strange angle to his body as he lay, sinking into the mud.
I turned, and saw a dark ring of men surrounding a fallen knight. At the edges, the paladins fought with ferocious determination, but here, in the midst of it all, there was stillness. Walking beside Adaras, I stepped up before the wounded prince.
He could not stand. His neck had been deeply wounded by Adaras' first stroke, the armor twisted and broken, the flesh beneath mangled and torn. He lay in the mud, his armor dirtied by his own blood. But his eyes! His eyes were so bright, so alive, shining with the passion of life. And one hand still held a sword – not even a sword, I saw, but one of the dirtied Mor Durae blades he must have taken up instead.
“He is ours,” Adaras said softly. “You, the living one, have fought for us, Sardon. You have weakened the magic of these knightspawn who have power only over death. Slay him, and we will be free. And you shall live, to return to your lands and to live out your life.”
Beside me, half-buried in the mud, lay a blade of the knights. I reached down and took it up, holding it before me.
It was a beautiful thing, still glowing silver, the blade seemingly untouched by war. Adaras looked over, and he smiled.
“The prince’s own blade. How fitting.” He nodded toward the prince. “Hurry, for our men cannot hold.”
My eyes moved out to the circle of knights pushing their way into our ranks, cutting us down. The power seemed to have returned to them, and their blades glowed once more, shining with a fury that cut through the weapons and armor of the Mor Durae.
I stepped over the prince. He raised his sword to defend himself, but I saw that there was little strength left in his arm. He spoke no words, expecting no mercy, but I saw that he would fight until the end. He was not ready to die.
But he did! History was clear that he fell in this battle. What difference if it was I that slew him or Adaras Mor Durae?
I raised the blade above the bright, passionate eyes.
And then I lowered it.
Beside me, Adaras scowled.
“Fool!” he said. Behind him, I saw a knight break through the ranks. And another, off to the left. “You will kill us all!”
And he stepped up with a terrible cry, raising his huge axe above his head.
“No!” came a cry, from one of the knights. I saw the prince raise his sword in meager defense. The eyes were alive with defiance.
And I, with the shining blade, turned and struck deeply into Adaras' breast.
It sheared through his armor with an arcane sharpness, so deeply that I felt the hilt stop against his breastplate. He staggered, his ancient eyes going wide, flickering over to me in disbelief. The axe fell from his hands.
And then all was white, the knights were upon us, their blades piercing Adaras' armor over and over as he toppled to the ground.
I held no sword. There was no fight left in me. I thought only to flee, to rid myself of this madness. But I could not. A burning white blade was in my belly, searing with heat, and another pierced my thigh, so that my leg fell beneath me, and I could no longer run. Another, in my back, and I saw the sharp end of the blade pierce outward from the armor covering my breast.
I was crying, weeping, for all I wanted to do was run, to flee. I was not a part of this! Someone was shouting, crying out ‘No! Stop!’, but the words seemed far away.
I did not move, but only kneeled there, bleeding thickly from my wounds. I must not die!
A circle of men was around me, blades lowered, and through the mists I saw that they no longer struck. Something had stopped them. The voice.
I tried to speak, but only blood came to my tongue, and I coughed it from my throat as hands supported me, kept me akneel. A man, terribly wounded, was lowered before me, so that he, too, kneeled and looked upon me.
It was the prince. The eyes now were soft, full of questions, full of pity.
“I am sorry,” he said, reaching out with a gauntleted hand to set it upon my shoulder. “They did not know.”
He seemed so noble before me, so real and true and alive. And I knew, then, that I had done the right thing.
“Why?” he asked. “Why did you slay him?”
I opened my mouth, for I wanted to tell him all, tell him how beautiful the knights had been upon the hill, how terrible the Mor Durae as they emerged from the woods. How I knew that he must die, but that I could not be the one to kill him. How I had been carried by fear in the midst of the Mor Durae. How their hatred had almost made me one of their own.
And then I realized that it had. For now I was dying, and would fight beside them forever more.
I coughed up more blood, all my thoughts never to be made into words for his ears.
“I . . . I am grateful, my brother. I know of the curse of the Mor Durae, and I have not the power to turn it aside. I have not the power to heal wounds so terrible as yours.”
I closed my eyes, and felt the tears slide over my crusted cheeks.
“But I am not powerless. If you give me leave, I shall use my powers so that you fight along side my men, and not those of Adaras'. Do you wish it so?”
I looked over to his dark eyes, and saw the tenderness there.
With what remained of my strength, I nodded, and then I felt that the hands around me had to support me, for I was coughing, fighting for breath, slumping to the ground. The last I remember is being rolled over, no longer breathing, my vision fading, the last sight my eyes beheld being the prince’s face, shining with compassion, his eyes lightly closed. And then I was gone.
I returned a passage later with my odd artifacts to Cehvin, and presented him with a torn and battered set of armor, and a shining, silver sword.
The armor did not create the reaction I had hoped for – the Museum de Ancestry had a number of intact specimens, but he stood agape at the blade. Not only was it in perfect condition, but inscribed upon its blade was the name of its owner, Prince Cymmorin of Keenreach.
Cehvin, pale and shaking, led me into a private room. There he set some papers before me.
“I have discerned your lineage,” he said, “and found something most remarkable. Your family can trace its line back to the royal family, Sardon. Most specifically, to Prince Cymmorin.”
I, too, stood trembling.
“But he fell in the Battle of Tor of Eternity,” I whispered. “History records it. Did he have children before the battle? I thought him unmarried.”
Cehvin shook his head. “No children before the battle, Sardon. And it is wrong to think that he died in that battle. Many think so. But the histories were written in ancient Alalminas. The word used is ‘oren’. We translate it to Damros as ‘fell’, which we assume to mean ‘died in battle’. A better translation of the history would say that ‘the warrior Cymmorin of Keenreach fell in battle, but the man lived on.’ For Cymmorin was wounded so badly that he was never to fight again.”
“Then . . .”
“Cymmorin faded from sight after the battle of the Tor,” Cehvin went on. “Though few know of his history, it is one of the most beautiful love stories ever told. He was in love before the battle with a common woman named Elanaene. He was, of course, forbidden to marry her. But after the battle he had gained enough respect, and been ruined so thoroughly by his wounds, that he was no longer fit for appearance in noble circles, and he retreated to a distant village to marry his true love. He was broken and torn, often in pain, and Elanaene did most of the labor to keep the wood chopped and the food coming to their hearth. But their love went beyond the bounds of mortal flesh, and they had many children, who soon were old enough to care for their parents. You, Sardon, are of Cymmorin's line.”
Cehvin paused for a moment to let it settle in. “He lost his title, of course, when he married Elanaene, so you’ve gained no ‘official’ noble blood. Still, it is a lineage to be proud of.” He reached over and took up a thin, leather-bound book. “Here, you should read of his history. I will lend you this copy.”
With numb fingers I took it. Cehvin stood in awe of the strangeness of me bringing back my ancestor’s blade from my travel to the Tor of Eternity, but he knew not the truth of what happened in that distant place. I myself can scarcely understand.
Every night I travel to the Tor of Eternity in my dreams. And they are horribly vivid dreams, as real as if I was there myself. But I stand now beside Prince Cymmorin, attired in my own shining armor, upon a steed who carries me bravely into battle. I wield a glowing silver sword that seems not to feel the armor of the Mor Durae.
Always I ride at the side of Prince Cymmorin of Keenreach, and over the years I have gleaned, from small bits of conversation I exchange during lulls in the battle, much more of his history. Last year, I found his grave, a small stone outside the village of Moiradhe, where he and Elanaene are buried. Others of my ancestors lie there as well.
It is there that I, too, have asked to be buried when it comes my time to die.
Until then, I shall live my mortal life as fully as I might, and battle each night on the slopes of the Tor of Eternity.