Chapter 0:


A Whisper in Scarlet

Harkam Telishan stomped up the frost-covered hill, his breath puffing in wisps. Once he made it to the top, he sidled up next to the other man standing at the peak.

“You seem to enjoy dragging my arse out of bed at the most unholy hours.” He said, pulling his cloak tighter around himself to keep the cold out.

Sevastian Lecrae said nothing as he continued to look down on the village below. Getting no response, Harkam followed his gaze.

It was still dark, perhaps an hour or two before dawn, and the village’s lamps twinkled faintly in the thin morning fog. Renning was not a large village by any means, perhaps a couple hundred souls, and most anyone who spoke of it considered it completely unremarkable.

But not Sevastian. He knew what it would contain tomorrow, and exactly how far he would go to get it. If his sources were right, one of them lived in this village, and another three would arrive in time for the festival tonight. Capturing even one of them would change things. Two or more could shake the very foundations of the world if he could manage it. But no, now was not the time to be overly optimistic. If any of them had been Awoken, they’d possibly be strong enough to stop him. No matter. One would suffice. But if he got more… Gods.

“Is everything in order for tonight?” Sevastian asked, finally.

Harkam nodded.

“Your… helpers are still in the forest where you left them.” He said. “As for what we’re here for, I was able to get the names and faces of the three out-of-towners from my network. Once the festival begins and you set things in motion, I will hunt and collect them. I can’t promise I won’t hurt ‘em, but they’ll be alive when you’re ready for them.”

He paused for a moment before continuing.

“As for the fourth, no one seems to know who they are. The soulseers only know that they’re young, perhaps even a child. Beyond that, nothing.” He said, his nasal voice taking on an edge of frustration.

Sevastian crossed his arms behind his back, turning his attention back to the sleeping village below.

“The attack will start shortly after the eighth bell. If you have anyone or anything you’d prefer to survive the night, I suggest you get them out before then. Once things are in motion, it will be very difficult to stop them.”

Harkam nodded.

“I’ll see it done, Lord.”

Sevastian smiled softly.

“Yes, I’m sure you will. Until this evening, then.” He said.

Without another word, Sevastian seemed to burn from the inside out with a bright glow for a brief moment. Once the light dimmed, the only thing that remained of him were black scraps of ash drifting off in the faint morning breeze.

Harkam looked at the place where the man had stood only a moment before and shook his head as he turned to walk away.

“I swear I will never get used to him doing that…”