"Hmph. I'm disappointed in you. I thought you might actually be able to amount to something. I guess I was wrong. It happens to the best of us."
"P-Please, sir. I-I c-can d-do b-better. G-Give m-m-me another ch-ch-ch-ch-chance..." The shadow was on his knees, begging for mercy.
"Ha! Why would I give you another chance! I didn't give any other commanders a second chance. What makes you think you're special?"
"I-I can t-transform... sir."
"So can the General," said the tall figure. He smirked,"And if I'm not mistaken, he's the only one who actually had enough of a spine to go undercover. All you've done is sit by and drink that foul smelling alcohal of yours."
"S-Sir!" squeaked the shadow, horrified.
"Do not presume that I am too stupid to know what happens in my own army. I have ears, and gossip travels well in this damn place. The fact that you would dare drink mortal liquid is all I need to punish you for treason. And there is still the matter of your little incident during the recent battle. I don't take too kindly towards cowards who run away at the first sign of danger."
"S-Sir..." the shadow tried desperately to reason with his master, but he knew it was too late.
"Enough. I will hear no more of this.Fortunately for you, I have decided to spare you of the hanging."
The shadow bowed down and kissed the toes of his master.
"Thank you, sir. Thank you, thank you, thank you..."
The tale figure spoke to the shadow reassuringly. Then he reached down to touch the top of the shadows head. The shadow exploded in a shower of dust and smoke. The air reeked of the foul scent of rotting flesh. The tale figure coldly whispered a final goodbye.
"I see we are in need of a new commander, again." General Fioundt had walked through the door at the exact moment the shadow had been executed. He grinned up at the the man on the platform.
"Yes, brother. This time I will have to make a wiser decision in whom I choose."
"I trust you will find someone, Cackius. Every rat in this hellhole is begging for a promotion."
"Perhaps I will give the job to you." said Cackius.
Fioundt laughed, "I think I would rather keep my current position."
"I'm sure you would."
They both laughed. Cackius was Fioundt's older brother, and the 'king' of the shadows. Their father had been the General when darkness had ruled supreme. As King Xalius had no sons, the kingship went to Cackius after his untimely death. Not that there was much left to rule. After the Gold War, the kingdom of Darkness had changed to barely nothing.
Cackius and Fioundt were known for many things, one of the most prominent being their looks. Yes, both of them were incredibly handsome by human standards, but even more incredible was how they looked exactly alike. Cackius had the same eyes as Fioundt, the same hair, the same face, the same body, the same everything. They weren't twins, but a stranger would think that. The only way to tell the difference between the two was their expressions. Cackius hardly ever smiled, and when he did, it was full of malice. Fioundt on the other hand smiled all the time, most likely the result of spending so much time in the human world.
The only time he didn't smile was when he thought of Callie. He tried not to think of her. He wasn't always successful. He hadn't realized how attached he'd actually grown to the red-head until she hated his guts. Though he would never admit it to anyone, he had started thinking of Callie as a real friend instead of just a means to an end.
"Brother," said Cackius, interrupting Fioundt's train of thought, "I need to speak with you immediately. Servants, go! I must speak to him alone."
The servants bowed their heads respectfully and left. They closed the door behind them, leaving King Cackius and General Fioundt to talk of private military matters.
"Come, Fioundt. You should want to sit down." Cackius motioned over to the spot beside his throne. A black stone chair had appeared beside it. Fioundt shook his head.
"If it's alright, I'd rather stand. I can't stay too long anyway. There's been a rebellion down at the docks that needs my attention."
"Very well," said Cackius. He strode over to the throne and sat, "Do whatever you want. I will not keep you long, I promise. But there is something that we need to talk about."
"What is it, brother?" asked Fioundt.
"It's about the battle of Ganna." He said.
"I'm sorry, brother. I had to call a retreat. They were destroying us."
Cackius sighed, "I know why you called the retreat. I'm talking to you today, not as your lord, but as your older brother. And I must say, Father would be quite displeased."
Fioundt tensed. He was hoping he could avoid this particular topic. Apparently, his brother had different plans.
"I know you try to put it off, but you can not fight the inevitable. You will see that girl again. It is your duty to your kinsman to steal her secrets and that sword. I don't care how you do it, but you must remember one thing: She will die, and it will be by your hands. I undestand that it is hard. Frankly, as your lord,I can not condone for this behaviour. As your brother, I will give you what I would not give those so-called commanders. A second chance. I'm giving you time, Fioundt. Use it wisely. Use it to get over her and get your head back in the game. Do you understand?"
"Yes, brother." said Fioundt. He would try, but it wouldn't do any good. He'd been trying to get over her for so long now. It just wasn't going to happen.
"Good," said Cackius. He relaxed into his chair a little, "You may leave now."
Fioundt bowed respectfully and started to walk away. The servants re-entered to prepare Cackius for his evening meal. Just as he was about to walk out the door, Cackius spoke.
"Hey, General. Catch." Fioundt spun around in time to catch a small silver object. A quick inspection showed him that the object was his mother's necklace. There was a giant opal in the centre, surrounded by tiny, glittering diamonds. The words, "Darkness Hides All Secrets" was on the back.
Fioundt smiled sadly. His brother had no idea of what he had just given him. To any other shadow, it was simply a motto that his mother used to say all the time. But Fioundt knew that it wasn't a motto, but a reminder. Darkness hides all secrets, but day exposes the truth. And the power of the day is not to be taken lightly.