From a puff of shadowy smoke emerged the masked boy Iztal, the one who kidnapped Tara’s sister days earlier. He stood within a dark cave deep under a toxified swamp far within southeastern Sero Silva. The cave’s entrance long since collapsed, so the only means of in and out was jumping through the darkness – teleporting between two distinct spots. A perfect hiding spot impossible to discover.
Sprouting from the ceiling, gnarled vines crept across the cavern wall. A prominent skeleton of a massive serpent with charred marks on its teeth sprawling around a corner. The den of the mythical swamp dragon slain by the legendary hero in his quest to stop Lord Kudzu. Though the dragon remained long dead, its bones radiated with an aura that repelled the miasma.
Just in front of the gaping maw of the dragon’s skull stood a dark wooden throne and a table with a map of Sero Silva dimly lit by braziers glowing with otherworldly, purple flames. Food pantries and a few single beds were off to the cavern wall. The foreboding lair that he stood within, it was also his home.
“Iztal, you’ve been working slower, haven’t you?” Upon the throne, the towering man garbed in black robes sat taller than Iztal did standing. His attire was much different – he wore a golden mask of a bird’s head with many colored feathers. Iztal’s superior, no doubt.
“Master Hantu, I’ve been doing my best,” Iztal said dropping to one knee and taking a bow. ”I got the maidens as you asked! But why can’t you help me out in the field?”
“The miasma, of course,” Hantu said. “Lord Kudzu brought it into this world, sure. But with him gone, now it poisons all adult humans, not just those aligned with the light. A huge setback isn’t it? I can’t leave this old dragon’s den because of that.”
“Then, why can’t the new girl help out?!” Iztal said. “She’s a kid, too!”
“Oh boo hoo, crybaby,” A young witch said sitting lazily atop a stuffed monster doll while sucking on a lollipop. “You’re the Prodigy of Dark, not me. Do it yourself.” Barely over half a decade old, she was garbed in a black robe with a high collar while a tall, black pointed hat obscured most of her face, her eyes slightly glowing in the shadow.
“Grrr…Whatever happened to strength in numbers? There’s no other Necromancers, but us. Can’t we just get some Lizards or Wolves on our side? The miasma doesn’t affect them!”
“They can’t use magic, you idiot,” The witch said. “They’ll be totally useless! It’s your job to ward off the light, Iztal.”
“You have those shadow creatures at your disposal,” Hantu explained. “Use them! Or do some mind control on some of those random monsters that bumble about. Reanimation of Kudzu spawn takes time so we’ll need alternative methods before we build our numbers.”
Iztal hesitated. Commanding the shadow creatures was very uneasy. Every time he did, terror filled his mind like a creeping, slithering worm that threatened to turn him insane. He still didn’t know the actual true nature of the shadow creatures, but he would rather not know.
“I’ll work on it,” he said. Right now, he just wanted to avoid the arguing and being consistently proven wrong.
As he was about to teleport away, he took one quick gaze at the Light Amulet. Eveline, the Prodigy of Light. It made him wonder. He didn’t even really know why he was meant to find and defeat her. The only thing Hantu told him was that she was the enemy, and that it was his destiny to stop her. The greatest threat in all Sero Silva.