Grall sat at his new desk, in his new spy tower, as he went over the paperwork and arranged the soldiers and spy's in formations to benefit the kingdom, when he came across a curious report.
"Fluffles," Grall called out, he waited a moment before continuing, "who wrote this report?"
"That would me, my lord." Fluffles responded, his usual purr didn't seem to be there today.
"And, you're sure it's correct?" Grall asked as he went over it a second time.
"Yes, my lord." Fluffles said, his voice felt small compared to usual.
"… Good job my friend, your next mission is for you to decide, as long as it benefits you." Grall said, he knew exactly where Fluffles would head off to, he would catch up with his vampiric wife and friends, help them save a village from bandits or travel to the future again. Grall didn't care what Fluffles did if he always returned safely and Fluffles knew that.
Grall waited a few moments for Fluffles to leave. "I know you can hear me Tyril." Grall said when he was sure he was alone. "I need your help."
Tyril appeared before Grall in a flash, yawning as if he just woke up from a nap. "Grall," he said as he looked around the tower, "I see you and Grodak made use of every square inch of Whitewater."
"Cut the crap, Tyril." Grall said as he stood. "How are you alive? I saw you dead on the battlefield."
Tyril nodded his head in understanding. "I've died several times throughout my life," Tyril spoke slowly, "but death is only a temporary setback for me."
"Are you a necromancer?" Grall asked, his hand slowly moved to oathkeepers handle.
"No." Tyril said watching Grall with amusement. "I am a wraith, a being that has had their soul ripped out of their body and put back in."
"…. Ok." Grall said in satisfaction. "I trust you, so I know you wouldn't lie about that."
Tyril smiled and was about to say something but was interrupted by an orc rushing in. "My lord," the orc shouted, "there is a dragon on the outskirts of the kingdom. It's burning the Forrest down and going wild."
"What?" Grall shouted as he looked over his notes. "Evacuate everyone in the nearby region assemble ten thousand soldiers and have them ready to march in the next ten minutes, summon Adrian here as will."
"My lord," the orc said nervously, "he isn't within the castle."
"Where is he then?" Grall asked, the look on the orcs face told him everything he needed to know without a word. "No."
"Grall," Tyril said as he moved his sword in a more comfortable position, "we don't have time to waste, Adrian needs our help. Let's get moving."
Grall looked to Tyril in astonishment, a king willing to help his subjects in such a way was unheard of. "Right." Grall said, he grabbed oathkeeper and tied it to his belt. "Let's go."
Tyril placed his hand on Gralls shoulder and teleported the both to the dragon's location. Fire and brimstone littered the ash covered ground as the blue dragon clawed desperately at a log that laid on the ground. Grall immediately jumped into action, summoning ten shadow soldiers to attack the dragon as Grall and Tyril mounted the dragons back.
The dragon shook fiercely as the shadow soldiers attacked its legs. Grall ran as fast as he could and jumped off the crown of the dragon's head slamming oathkeeper into the dragon's eye, his shadow mimicked his attack.
The dragon reared its head and let loose a roar that shook the ground and began to shake its head. Hot blood spilled out of the dragon's eye burning Gralls hands as he held on for dear life. Grall, who's aim was only to subdue the dragon, used his shadow to stab the second eye.
Now blind, the dragon slammed its head into the ground to dislodge Grall. Grall pressed further into the dragon's eye to avoid being flattened, then, as the dragon raised its head, he pulled oathkeeper out and leapt onto the dragons back where Tyril had cut off several chunks of scales and was proceeding to hack through the dragons hide.
Grall made a running leap and slammed oathkeeper down onto the exposed hide. The sword barely cut into the dragon on the first cut. Grall jumped back and fought to keep his balance as the dragon reared its head, a plume of flames spewing out of its mouth. As the dragons lowed its head, Grall looked to Tyril.
"If we attack the same spot in rapid succession, we are bound to kill it." Grall said, giving up on deterring the beast.
Tyril nodded and began attacking the spot in front of him with such lightning quick speed that Grall had trouble following it. Grall attempted to make a second running leap and slammed oathkeeper down onto the dragons hide and forced his shadow to attack with great strength and speed. Grall felt the dragons hide begin to give, then, like a knife passing through hot butter, oathkeeper passed through the dragons hide, severing part of its neck.
The blood from the dragon poured on to Gralls body, like a shower in lava, Gralls skin began to melt off his bones. As quickly as the blood melted the skin off Gralls bones the Shadow World replaced it with new skin. The pain was so intense that Grall thought he was going to pass out.
As the corners of Gralls vision blurred, oathkeeper sliced through the remainder of the dragons hide. Grall hit the ground hard, knocking the breath out of him as oathkeeper sliced into his shoulder. Grall managed to roll over onto his back in time to see Tyril following him, he had made a second cut in the dragon's neck, almost cutting the dragons neck clean off. The dragons head held by only the clump of hide that covered its thick spine.
The dragon let loose an ear shattering death roar. Its body began to fall, Grall knew he had no time to move and resigned himself to the pain he was about to experience.
"Grall." Tyril shouted grabbing him and suddenly they were no longer under the dragon and Grall laid next to the dyeing body of an orc.
Tyril reached up and grabbed oathkeepers handle, pulling it out of Gralls shoulder. Grall let loose an agonizing scream as all the pain from this battle caught up to him. The world dimmed then faded away and Grall opened his eyes to find himself in the Shadow World once more.
A tall muscle orc greeted Grall with disdain. This orc seemed different from the other elders. He had a glint of petty in his eyes but looked at Grall like he was a bug.
"I've been watching you, Grall chieftain, and I do not like what I see." The orc spoke to Grall as if he was below him. "You are strong, but weak, courageous, but cowards. You say you fight for others, but you only fight for yourself. You are not worthy of stepping foot in here, yet you do."
Grall staggered to his feet, most of his wounds had completely healed. "If I could give up this 'gift' you lot had so graciously bestowed upon me," Grall spoke with venom in his voice, he had grown wary of the elders treatment and it was time he put them in their place, "I would've long ago."
"Ah yes," the orc spoke, his voice forced Grall to tremble in fear, "the king who wishes to abdicate his throne." The orc grabbed Grall by the scruff of his shirt and threw across the dark expanse. "Do you think it would be that simple? Do you really wish for death to the point you would doom the world?"
Grall hit the dark ground hard, the wind knocked out of him. The powerful orc didn't make any sense, Grodak was their chosen chief not Grall. Grall had no desire to fight his brother for the rights to be chief, he had enough of this leadership business to begin with and here's this muscle headed brute commanding him to overthrow his brother.
Grall stood up and charged the orc, lifting him up and slamming him onto the ground. "I will not do as you want, anymore." Grall shouted as he began to wail on the orc who took his hits.
"I am better than that." Grall shouted as he stumbled back off the orc. "I am better than all of you. It was you who advised me to attack the Mursan tribe, you who pushed for no mercy, you who forced me to stain my hands with the blood of the innocent."
The orc stood up and eyed Grall, he had a strange newfound respect in his eyes. "You are right." He said as he took a step towards Grall. "We are the ones who told you to attack, kill, and show no mercy to them." The orc grabbed Grall and slammed him into the ground. "We never once told you to poison, shoot, or release beasts upon them. That is not how we of the orc tribes fight."
Grall grabbed the thick arm that held him in place against the ground and, using every fiber of muscle he could muster, flipped the orc onto his back. "I did that as a means to prevent more unnecessary death." Grall stood up, every fiber of his being screamed out in pain. "I did what I had to do. You are the ones who ordered for their execution, I was just the one who did so in a way that would not endanger my tribe."
The big orc stood up and punched Grall in the gut, causing Grall to double over. "You still don't get it." The orc said, his words cut through Grall like a knife. "If you use such cowardly methods on an enemy," as the orc spoke, he enunciated each word with a punch, "then what is there to stop them from doing it to you." As the orc finished his sentence, he punched Grall in the face so hard it knocked out several of Gralls teeth.
Grall fell to the ground, exhausted and beaten. He now fully understood why the elders had banished him, something that had never been done before. Grall pushed himself to a standing position, his wounds healing, and turned to face the orc. He did not try to fight him, Grall knew he would be no match for this warrior and resigned himself to the pain that was to come.
"I see now," Grall said as the orc watched his every movement, "by trying to protect my tribe, I had placed them in greater danger."
The big orc grunted in acknowledgement. "You understand now," the orc stepped forward, his fists at his side, "we are a proud race but when one of us steps out of line, it isn't just one of us that suffers, but all of us."
"Who are you?" Grall asked, his words slurred from his swollen lips. "Why did you wait so long to tell me this?"
"I am Wreag," as he spoke Grall could feel power in his words, "I was once Talengars chosen, the one who had inherited his godhood, just as your brother, Grodak, is his chosen warrior who will inherit his God orb."
"Wreag, son of none, savior of all, vanquisher of Malick." Grall said in awe as the weight of the moment fell on his shoulders, he now realized what he had done. To challenge Wreag is to challenge the God of war himself.
Wreag scoffed in disgust. "Savior of none." Wreag said in anger. "I killed Malick because he annoyed me, nothing else. As for why we waited so long to tell you was because it would've been useless to tell you. If we told you before you and Grodak came to an understanding, then you might've tried to take back your place as chief."
Grall shook his head, he had so many questions for Wreag, the hero of old, but bit his tongue knowing none of them would be answered. "Why didn't you take this from me then?" Grall asked, it was a question he had asked countless times, one that he had never gotten the answer to.
"We never took it away because…" Wreag paused for a moment in thought, then with a sigh he continued. "Because Grodak isn't worthy of these abilities."
"Isn't worthy?" Grall asked in disbelief.
"Actually," Wreag said, correcting himself, "it's more like he is overqualified. He will receive Talengars blessing which will allow him to travel to and from the Shadow World as is. To give him the ability to manipulate the Shadow World on top of that…." Wreag shook his head. "He would destroy the world."
"What do you mean?" Grall asked, the thought of his brother doing anything to harm those he cared about, sickened Grall to his very core.
"He wouldn't be able to contain his powers and it would leak out, spreading the Shadow World on the material world, it would further damage the veil that divides the material plane and the void."
"The dead would walk the world again feasting upon the living, hell fire would rain down from the sky and the cycle will begin anew." Grall quoted a passage of the God's tale, a book that Silvas, the god of knowledge and records, had wrote about the end of days.
Wreag smiled a bitter smile as Grall felt the familiar pull that would send him back to the material world. "You now have my blessings to come and go as you please, Grall, chieftain of none."
Grall found himself standing next to the dragon, a foot away from where he was. Tyril, who was still knelt on the ground where Grall had been, looked up at Grall in surprise and relief.
"I thought you might be a goner there for a moment." Tyril said with a chuckle, his laughter ceased as he saw Gralls expression. "What's wrong?" Tyril asked as he looked around to see if more enemies were approaching.