Huld Belabranta folded his reply to Briar and shuddered in fear that he would not see his beloved daughter on Greengrass as she had written. Briar’s message came attached to a raven, lovingly informing Huld and the family that they had arrived in Amphail. Their travels were complicated however by the appearance of a dragon, which had set up a clever ambush for Briar, Kalina, Arsten and their caravan.
Reading the letter, Huld surmised it was Pyrosternia, a young cowardly adult red dragon. Huld remembered fondly the first time he first encountered the dragon twenty-one years ago. Remembers it fondly because it was the day he asked his wife Alith to marry him.
It was midsummer’s night, the Huntress Moon hung bright in the sky—her bow aimed directly at the Brow Star. At that time Huld had yet to earn his moniker as Dark Enchanter, but was quickly on his way from adept to mage within the Order. Alith was a wild child, brimming with purpose and an insatiable wanderlust, but it was Huld’s courtship and charms that tamed the wild child; and on that night she promised him her heart.
That magical moment in time was broken as the cowardly Pyrosternia, thinking Huld and Alith easy prey, surrounded the two with a ring of dragon fire trapping them tightly together. As her name suggests, Pyrosternia has a penchant for starting random fires and terrorizing farms careless of the outcome.
Little does anyone know Pyrosternia has an irrational fear of daggers and small blades; so when Alith went on the offensive, the dragon dropped everything it was carrying and flew off in retreat. So when Huld read how Kalina frightened off the dragon with her daggers, Huld knew it had to be the same one.
Huld attached his reply to the raven and as he did the feeling returned—it was unnerving, like he would never be seeing his daughter again. The thought brought great pangs of sorrow. He released the raven to the afternoon sky. Huld truned to leave when a frozen shriek stopped him cold, the aerie was still—then Huld caught a shadow and noticed a small dragon had appeared with a message.
Huld smiled as he recognized the Tauron’s emissary, he took the message and opened it but before he could read it a flaming arrow pierced the note and entered the mage just to the left of his heart. Fire flashed in his hands as he stood unbelieving at the sudden arrow protruding from his chest. Huld felt a jolt at his back, sending him stumbling forward— it was another arrow.
Another shriek, this time ten-fold filled his ears. Huld could not orient himself, the aerie felt like a ship in troubled waters.
“Huld! Sai! By the gods!” came a female voice. It was Tika, the youngest of Huld’s nieces. Another flaming arrow caught Huld in the calf, while another buried itself in Tika’s shoulder.
“Let us make all haste from here.” Huld said trying to stand, fear apparent in his voice. With effort Huld began to hobble to the door and as he did he caught a glimpse of Tika obstructing the doorway. She had a tangle of curly dark hair and wide impressionable eyes. In those frightened eyes he saw the reflection of his attackers: darkly beautiful angelic creatures with black feathered wings—bearing murderously down on him.
Cold brutal hands gripped him, contrasting their beatific appearance; there was no denying their embrace. The Dark Enchanter felt himself being lifted off the ground and the aspects that embodied his title, violently bled from his screaming body.