Hurry Falcon... hurry!

Falcon drags himself back into consciousness, eyes still clamped shut and breathing hard. Despite the cold, he's sweating and feels like he's just run a marathon. He doesn't know what he was dreaming about, but whatever it was has scared the life out of him. And he's sure Eternal was in there somewhere.

Brilliant, he thinks, not only am I having paranoid dreams, but now I can't even remember then. Spectacular news.

Something nudges his foot and he growls and kicks it back. In return, the something jabs him hard in the shins. Falcon snarls and sits up, half expecting to find Dane glaring up at him. Instead he finds one of the shifters looking at him with a mixture of confusion and irritation.

"You were thrashing." she says. "A hell of a lot too, what's the matter with you, are you completely mad?"

Falcon opens his mouth to retort, but suddenly a harsh clanging fills the air. Next thing he knows everyone is on their feet. Then Ryan's voice booms out of the crowd:

"Muster! Everyone out, come on, get up!"

Falcon finds himself pushed in behind a pair of shifters, almost tripping over as another slams into him from behind. Drake and Life slip in a short distance behind and he doubles back to join them:

"What the hell is going on?" he hisses. Drake shakes his head.

"I dread to think."

Falcon rolls his eyes and follows the rest of them through the long buildings. Other figures are emerging from the other huts, some making strange hissing noises under their breaths. Falcon doesn't even want to hazard a guess at what some of those things are.

Finally they end up in a large open space in the middle of the camp. Everyone hastily draws up in lines, still muttering amongst themselves. Suddenly one of the hooded creatures emerges at the other end of the space and silence falls like a dead weight. A shudder runs through the ranks as it stalks up and down the front of them, it's face completely hidden. Other hooded shapes appear from the shadows and begin stalking the ranks, peering at everyone in turn, as if inspecting them for something. One of the creatures halts in front of Falcon and he feels his hand blaze with pain. He grits his teeth and waits until the creature moves on, its carrion-breath hanging in the air after it.

"Three days," hisses one of the figures at the front of the group. "Three days until the Masters says they must be ready. Begin the training."

Before Falcon can turn to Drake to ask what is going on, a black wall of flame shoots up from the sides of the open space. The creatures around them yelp and move away, just as a series of black shapes step out of the fire, each wielding an enormous black blade the size of a man's leg.

So this is "training" thinks Falcon, keeping close to Life and Drake as the shadow-things advance out of the fire.

Fight or die. How clever.

The End

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