Herothi's essence had changed.

He billowed across the landscape in a changing entity, tendrils of blackness stretching out over the plains. An angry crimson haze enveloped his form, smouldering with the power of the Shadows he had consumed.

The spirits that had possessed Herod no longer had bondage to mortal earth. They were free to consume the Shadows they had created, uniting their essence into one potent being. Free to spread out as much as they liked. Free to return to their world at any time, and reappear in Karmine wherever they wanted. It was what they had been waiting for. King Herod had been a container, nothing more, from which there had been no escape - until his daughter had unwittingly killed him. The spirits were free ... now there would be no barriers, nothing to stop them from fulfilling their revenge.

Herothi had abandoned his castle, for he had no need of it anymore. With no Shadows to defend it, and with the source of goodness he leeched upon dead, there was no reason to stay in that godforsaken place.

But there was one thing he hadn't banked upon. One of his Shadows had been able to best him. She had found a purpose, and that gave her strength. Her desire for revenge would only have been exacerbated by the death of the king. She was almost free of his influence.

And he had given her powers. She couldn't shadow-change anymore, but she would no doubt be able to nurture the growing forces of good within her, especially with the life force that old crone had given to her. He would have to be careful. He would have to find the resistance's weakness, and destroy it.

He had already bested Imasa and her forests of earth. One of Karmine's elements was already in his grasp. Ice would be next, with which he would plunge the world into eternal cold. and freeze his enemies' heads as trophies of his victories.

But his multiple consciences had failed to realise that one of Ismara's subjects, defeated and with nothing to lose, was still alive. And he was out for revenge.

The End

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