Galroth Divided

Prologue

The frozen rocks had been there as guardians many centuries before he came into the world, and there they would stand many centuries afterward. He sat perched on a crag, gazing out over the white wasteland. The mountains and the cold world they guarded were a reliable certainty. As the world of the south shifted from warm to cool, from life to death, here it was stagnant.

The silence around him was so absolute that he easily detected an approaching figure. He closed his eyes and listened intently. Judging by the way the person was walking through the snow, it had to be a werewolf. Dwarves were not quite as heavy, humans had a way of walking clumsily through snow, and the elves and vampires were barely detectable at all. He opened his eyes again. Soon the figure came into view and sure enough, it was a werewolf.

"Seiha"

"Han?" he demanded. The werewolf-- it was a male-- drew himself up to his full height, placing his palms together and bowing in respect.

"Everyone is turning in for the night, sire," the werewolf reported, revering to the shared tongue of all four corners. All the werewolf got in return for this report was a face as unreadable as the mountains. "Will you be in shortly as well, sire? Night will fall soon."

"De fallu eis nost," he replied quietly. The werewolf knew better than to argue. He bowed again, and quickly dashed off to leave the other in peace.

Xephor Nechalis turned back to gaze upon the limitless stretches of frozen land. Briefly a wisp of condensation would escape from his mouth. Quietly his eyes intently watched the skies. The sun drifted lower and lower toward the western horizon. Once golden, the fiery orb was now glowing red as blood. Perhaps this is what others saw when they looked at him: his skin white as snow, his eyes red like the setting sun.

He did not move until the sun had fully sunken below the horizon to its rest below the edge of the world. He elegantly descended from his perch and made his way home. The frosty night embraced him with its icy fingers. His pale lips twitched into a smile. Even after years in Kaeffa, some could not handle the frigid nights. Xephor, however, lived for them.

The gates to the city were lit with torches. Two knights were guarding the entrance vigilantly. They stood at attention as he drew close.

"Sire, I have a report to make!" announced one knight. Xephor turned his gaze on the knight, waiting for him to continue. "Sire, everyone has entered the city gates except for one: Sir Riee. He has not been seen for hours, sire. I fear something is dreadfully wrong."

Xephor frowned, his eyebrows knitting together in deep thought. Sir Riee was the best knight in the kingdom. He never failed to report in. The fact that he was not yet within the city gates was a disturbing one indeed. Xephor lifted a hand and rubbed his temple, his pale fingers touching the gold band that circled his head.

"Sire?" The knight's voice brought him out of his musings. "What are your orders, sire?"

"There is nothing more we can do at the moment. We cannot search for him in the dark. We must pray that he returns shortly. If he is not back by morning, we will look for him then."

"Yes, sire!" chirped the knights in unison. They turned to enter the city. Xephor nodded, yet did not follow them. Instead, his eyes turned back to the blackness of the night. From where he stood, the glistening snow-packed earth stretched out as if to go on to the ends of the earth.

"Orun menomen."