Chapter XXXV

Three day’s ride away, things are stirring. The castle is hidden by its cloak of darkness. Secrets can be forged in the dark. Truth can be revealed, or hidden, as naturally as breathing. The harsh light of day shows reality, in all its bright, unyielding squarene ss, all corners and no room for debate or change.

Sometimes you need dreams to show you where to go.

A pale man lies in a pale bed, his pale eyes luminous in the dead dark. A pale ghost haunts his bed and his mind. It will not leave him, not even in the dead of night.

Outside in the corridor, a soft step moves down the stairwell. A cloak flaps around the ankles. Buttons shine in the moonlight.

The owner of the ankles, the cloak, the step and the buttons is an Erl, but more than that. He is about to make the next link that is a chain of events, circumstances, dreams. Snaking its way into history, bringing men and women with it, whether they come willingly or no. These names will become legends. But all legends start with real people, real fears, real loves.

Real reality.

No way of changing. No lucky miracles. Just your will to live and continue living, burning in some secret reserve deep within you. Just the speed of your mind and of your body. Just luck and love and hope and desire. Real emotions. Real dangers. Everything cold and harsh and unforgiving.

The Erl’s name is Hathering, and his ideas are dangerous in reality. Were he to speak them out loud, he would be executed for treason.

Because in real reality, there are no happy endings.

Not for great men.

The End

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