Neapore climbed into bed; more accurately he crawled and collapsed. He was exhausted, as he was most days. With every passing day he was able to do less and less. What worries him most was that Simon's own health was rapidly declining as well. Before long, Neapore was convinced that Simon would share his fate.
Unless they killed Truid, he thought. There was no doubt in his mind that King Truid was behind the mysterious illness. Try as they might, the priestesses were unable to help them and the doctors had only succeeded in making him feel weaker. Neapore was at a loss; what was left for him to do? His last desperate chance to cure his illness was his brother and the army. If they manage to push back to Itriploc and kill the king, Neapore was certain that he would recover and more importantly, his son would recover.
Pulling the covers up over himself, Neapore prayed to Iro but his son would be saved. It was too late for him, he knew for sure. As he lay in the bed, he thought the terrible darkness closing and upon him. His chest and heavy and his breathing stifled. Through the shadows, he saw a figure staring at him. The figure was cloaked; all Neapore could see beneath the hood were two small, green eyes burning into Neapore's soul. "Who are you?" Neapore managed to whisper.
The figure lowered his hood revealing a skull, hardly any flesh and muscle still attached. His eyes were gone, but the green glow emitted from the sockets. There were no lips, no mouth, just a hole. His nose and hair were all gone. He looked as if he were buried long ago. He stared back at Neapore but he did not speak.
"You're not real," Neapore whispered, pulling his blanket up over his head. In the dark of the his quilt, the face continued to stare. "No… no… You're not real!"
In an instance, the demon moved away, disappearing in shadow and the darkness in the room receded. Neapore's heart was racing as sweat dripped out of every pore on his body. I'm so sick I'm hallucinating, he thought, but the thought was distant, and even as he finished thinking it, he knew it had been real. Just as certain, he knew that he would not see the more.
He tried to call out but what remained of his strength was gone. Neapore sighed, his last breath.