Prologue –

It was a moonlit night as a man carefully made his way down the streets. Wisps of clouds floated in front of the moon, briefly obscuring the glowing crescent. It was a warm night. The uneven stones beneath his feet felt familiar to him, yet, his feelings told him that something was off. In the dark of the night, his trained amber eyes noticed nothing unusual as he took in every detail.
Nothing had been added to the walls of the buildings which he passed, nor was any unusual object added to the streets. Absolutely no one crossed the streets, even though the weather wasn't that bad. His sensitive ears could make out nay a sound, except for his own breathing, the gentle tinkling of his gear and his soft footsteps as the soft, supple leather of his boots came down on the stones. And yet, his feelings were warning him. A dark, nagging feeling nagged his thoughts even though he tried to shove it to the back of his mind. Surely, it would fade away. All he wanted to do was to find his faithful steed at the stable master and return to his home, where his beautiful wife would be waiting for him, along with his daughter. Amala and Kayla.. They were his family, his world. The moment he would be back home, he would wrap his arms around his wife again and tell her he missed her during the days he was gone. He would kiss his daughter on the top of the head and lift the tiny girl in his arms. He longed to touch his beautiful wife, to fall asleep with her in his embrace, and to wake up together to the gentle rustling of the leaves and the sound of critters scuttling around.


Instantly, the dark, warning feeling slammed back into him like a ton of bricks, and his eyes shot to his surroundings as he halted. Except for his breathing and his heartbeat, which had quickened, it was silent. He couldn't hear the rodents' tiny feet scuttling around, couldn't hear the claws of any canine raking the stones.. He hadn't seen any cats for a while..
And then, there was a quiet rustle in front of him, and his eyes shot up, searching for the source of it.
His heart thudded against his ribs, and his muscles tensed.
A grey cloaked figure stepped into his view, and immediately, dread washed over him.
He could barely make out the flash of silver as the stranger flung an object at him, no doubt a knife or dagger, and he could feel the sting of pain as the blade cut through his bicep. In a flash, he turned and fled as commanded by his instincts.
His panic blinded him as he ran for safety, and when a wall nearly twice his size came into view, he slipped to a halt, anxiously glancing around him, searching for his attacker.
With nothing to do but to scale the wall, he launched himself at it, his training kicking in, but when his hands clamped down on the edge of it, his arm screamed in protest, forcing him to release it.
Almost immediately, a hand roughly grabbed him by the throat, slamming him back into the wall. He could feel the edge of a knife pressing into the frail skin of his throat, and then, gathered the courage to glance into his assailant's eyes. Bloodshot eyes met his own, and a shudder went through him.
"Where is your kind?" the question sent shock through him, and he answered it with a lie.
"The valley of Mykhata.."
A ghost of a smile appeared on his assailant's face, revealing sharp canines, before he spoke.
"You're the third to have told me this."
In the light of the waning moon, he could see the knife, but with the same agility his assailant had shown before, the stranger stabbed him in the stomach, releasing him and walking away into the darkness of the night with an amused chuckle..