It was a crisp autumn night with a hint of frost in the air and an almost full moon to light my way. I would have been happier with less light as I didn't need it and would have been better hidden by more darkness. Even so, I made the trip quickly and without incident.
The hints of coming Winter in the air also gave me the beginnings of an idea for how to befriended my hosts before fully revealing myself. Sooner or later they were going to notice that someone or something was lurking about better therefore if that unseen presence proved to be helpful and protective. And the spy eyes and ears I was planning to setup would give me an easy way to know of things they were needing or otherwise concerned about.
Now I just need to find a crystal of the right size and shape.
This proved to be more of a challenge than I had expected. Which lead me to wonder just how the Yuun-Xi had guarded the complex back in the day.
I wondered, but no answers came, and it wasn't worth taking the time to meditate on just now.
My searching did lead me to the discovery of a small but well equipped workshop that I had overlooked before. And that solved my crystal problem quite nicely. Glass while not exactly a crystal is close enough for quite a few things, including the spell I was planning to setup. The spellbook had even mentioned it as an option.
Crafting the glass ball I needed, along with a few other items that could prove useful later, took longer than I had expected and it was almost sunrise as I headed back to the cabin.
My hosts would be back before the end of the day. So, like it or not I was going to have to setup my spy net during the day and just hope no one was around to notice.
The time will come,
when I no longer allow the Gods to rely upon their immortallity.
I shall deny them their omnipotence
and take from them the faith which sustains them.
They will be cast down and judged.
As they had judged.
Had they adhered to the Laws I handed down to them,
so long ago?
The scales of justice shall weigh their fate.
Those found to have stayed true will ascend to my Kingdom,
to live, eternally,
by my side.
The others shall become mortal,
to live out their lives amongst the many others who have failed,
and fallen from my Grace.
Tanis looked down at the Naazz, whose throat she had just cut, and then at the blood on her dagger as it flowed into the Runes. They started to glow. A quick look to see if Tom had lead the horse far enough away. He had. Pointing the dagger at the fallen Naazz she spoke a harsh guttural Word of Power. Greenish Flames leapt from the dagger to the fallen Naazz. Engulfing the body in an instant and racing outward along the lines of magic leading to the other Naazz and their master. "That should get their attention." She said with grim satisfaction.
"What did you do?" Tom ask as Tanis walked over.
"Psi-poisson. They'll likely see it coming and block it, but it should still get them riled up. And, an angry foe is a stupid one."
"Aye. And I'll gladly take any advantage we can get. Now, what's yer, plan for these horses ?"
"Decoys. The more we can split them up, the better our chances of getting away." And with that said Tanis walked slowly around the first horse chanting words of Power and tracing Arcane symbols in the air with her dagger. After the first circuit there was a hazy form taking shape in the saddle. By the end of the second, it was recognizable as the fallen Naazz. And by the end of the third, Tom was forcing his hand to let go of his swordhilt.
Tanis took a small vile from her cloak and poured the contents over her dagger as she headed to the second horse. Tom opened his mouth, then closed it again. Tanis gave a small nod."Blood Magic. Nasty; but effective."
Tom waited for her to finish with the horses, keeping a close eye on their back trail. When she was finished "And while they're chasing the horses we'll be...?"
"Sneaking away through the underbrush in cat form." She said taking off her enchanted pantherskin cloak. "We've been lucky to take down three of them. I'm not going to push it by trying for four; at least not today."
Garm lay under the enchanted wolfskin cloak with the stones of the not quite dry streambed pressing into his belly. Which helped distract him from the feel of Anna's body pressing into his back and side. Now was not the time for that sort of thing. Not with a Naazz, cloaked and mounted, scanning the landscape for you less than fifty yards away.
Taking out the one at Old Tom's cabin had been a mistake. But how was he to know that there was a whole Fist of them out there. Only eight of them left now; and he longed to make it seven. But that was Tom and Tanis' job; leading the Naazz away.
As if in answer to his thoughts, the Naazz jerked in his saddle and galoped of to the northeast.
"Now's our chance." He said scrambling out from under the cloak and quickly settling it on Anna's shoulders. A Word of Power, and she was dropping to the ground on all fours. A moment later and a pair of gray wolves were bounding away to the South.