The Empty Shadow - And So It Begins

Chapter 1

Shadow Play

Sunsday, 30th Darkness, 1453 T.

Incense hung in the air; a calming, reassuring scent as a hand, feminine fingers long and elegant, gently caressed the smooth, cool, polished wooden surface of the coffin lid. Silence also hung in the air, leaden and cold, leaving nowhere for the soul to go.

A door slamming open broke the mournful reverie. The hand retreated. The woman turned. A man had entered the almost-vacant room behind her. Tall. Slender, well-toned body. Brown leather jacket, leather trousers, boots. Shock of red hair. Green eyes.

'Where is he?'

The white-clad woman looked on as the man approached the coffin. She, too, was tall, her gentle eyes carrying a noble bearing, her long, blonde hair tied up in a braid behind her.

The woman's brow furrowed. 'This is the Temple of Repose, Hardie Camplin. Please show some respect for the dead.'

Hardie stopped in the aisle. Hastily, he rearranged his jacket and spat on his hand before running it through his hair.

'Sorry, Seren Mai.' He wiped sweat from his face. 'How's that?'

Seren Mai of Anfar maintained her composure for a moment. Her slow smile, in the gloom of the Temple, felt like a breaking dawn. 'Acceptable. Now, as you were saying ...?'

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"And if we have unearned luck, now to scape the serpent's tongue, we will make amends ere long. Else the Puck a liar call ..."

So speak.