When True Night Falls: Shattered WarderDragon "...and sometimes he sits up straight in the middle of the night, gasping, open mouthed and trembling, with covers clenched in his fists and wide eyes unseeing. He is blinded by bloody memories..." Peter drew breath and sighed. Tonight had been a pleasant evening, he mused in absence, ascending the last steps to the tower door. The woman - Maydra Arabani, he murmured under his breath, testing the name on his lips - had been an interesting ...conversant. She had exposed him to thoughts he had never before considered. Shards? Mirror Worlds? A thousand Sosarias spread across the Great Dark. Of course, Scholars and Priests - even his own father - had discussed and debated the nature of such ideas. How Cantabrigian and the Order of the Silver Serpent sought to reunite the Worlds. ...how his father had turned on them and had become the anathema of Virtue. To Peter, these were abstract concepts at best. Part of a much bloodier, secret game he wanted no part of. Let others brood over questions of Illusion and Existance. If life is an illusion, I am no less an Illusion, he thought to himself, recalling the mantra of an ancient warlord. I live. I breathe. I love as fierce as a thousand men. That is good enough. He paused, and reached for the knife at his hip. Something was wrong. To a normal human, the warm breeze would have been filled with the scents of Spring Flowers, but his nostrils flared in recognition ...and he detected the pungent aroma of man. To a normal human, the sounds of midnight might not have registered on a concious, visceral level. But to Tarrant, the absence of sound - and the distant crunch of dried earth - signaled the presence of another. He wheeled about. And that is when the pain lanced through him like a spear. Unbearable pain. He collapsed against the double doors and gasped. It was as though a hand were reaching inside his chest - closing its fingers around his heart - and began to sqweeze. It was as though a thousand needles were being driven into his pale flesh. His ear drums pounded with blood. He could not breathe. A tear of blood cascaded down his cheek. And that is when the Shadow approached. Peter reached out for something. Anything. A hand hold. A door handle. He dragged his fingers across the locked metal doors, leaving marks in the steel. Let someone be inside. Father...! He could not voice the words. Maggie! And then he saw ...it. A figure shrouded in crimson robes. Skeletal fingers clutching a stave the color of bleached bone. A pallid face cast against the moonlight. "You," he managed through the pain, a defiant snarl. The Evil One smiled. Thin lips. Skin stretched tight over his jaw like a death mask. Yellow teeth. "Let me show you ...who you really are." He reached down, and placed the palm of his hand against Peter's forehead. Peter screamed.