Shadow Lord's Daughter: Part Thirty Six

Only when the sky begins to grow darker does Daemon make the suggestion to stop for the night.

               “Why?” I ask. “I thought we didn’t need sleep.”

               Daemon smiles and lovingly pats his horse’s spine. “We may not need sleep, but even Eidolons must rest. Tis why even thee becomes tired, Shadow Princess.”

               “Where shall we set up camp?” Wraith asks, looking around at the forest.

               “Somewhere that is easy to defend,” Daemon replies, gesturing toward a rocky overhang in a small clearing.

               “It has been long since I have seen rocks like these,” Henki says nostalgically as he steps out of my horse’s shadow.

               “Rocks are all over the place in the Shadow District,” I say, dismounting.

               “Not like these. Those are small and filled with darkness. These could be benevolent if given the chance.”

               Daemon grunts. “Then they shall be benevolent and give us shelter.”

               “I will take first watch,” Wraith volunteers. “I will wake Henki in a few hours.”

               Henki snorts. “Unlike you, Eidolon, shadows do not need rest. I have never been alive, nor is any part of me attached to the human world. Rest is a foreign object to me.”

               “Why do we need to set up sentries anyway?” I ask, looking between my three companions.

               Wraith shakes his head and Daemon looks at me like I’m an idiot, which I probably am at this point.

               “While your father may have given us clearance to pass, there are other ghosts in Sepulcrum that wouldn’t take a moment’s hesitation in fully killing you and your Eidolon companions,” Henki answers slowly, as if he’s talking to a child. “Remember Jack the Ripper?”

               I develop a sudden interest in the dirt around my boot.

               His shadowy fingers graze my chin, leaving icy trails in their wake as he lifts my face, forcing me to look where his eyes would be. “Princess, I didn’t lie when I said that I would protect you on your journey. And so because of that, I will not allow anything to happen to you while I am still here with you.”

               Henki’s loyalty is still surprising. Just hours ago, I thought that Shadows were nothing more than emotion-hungry stalkers, not this creature with a strong sense of loyalty to a princess that they would have killed any other time.

               Wraith opens his mouth to question Henki, but Daemon shakes his head. “Peace, brother. If he wanted to harm us, he would have done it when he had his entire army at his back, not now when he is alone. Trust. It is a trait that thou should relearn.”

               Wraith glares at Daemon, then settles down on the other side of the clearing, away from me. I ignore the feeling of loss and lean back against the rough rock. I slowly fall asleep to the raspy sound of Daemon sharpening his sword against a whetstone and the hypnotic sound of his deep voice chanting something in a different language.


The End

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