Chapter #26 – Ashes and Blood
Iratannus left his pretty mage and the other women and headed back out of the palace. Erdmas was with him, acting as his guard and extra might. He liked the battle mage. Had he met him back when he was still High Lord, he'd have done all he could to convince the man to work for him. It wasn't even because the man knew how to convert spells to gestures, either, which was how he'd gotten free the day before when everything had happened at the gate. He was intelligent, another master who could speak for hours about magic with him, and he was also a skilled battle mage – more skilled than most since he'd spent time in Embrole fighting Godless, which was something very few outsiders were permitted. He was too old by four years to have been a candidate for being the next Chief Battle Mage, much to Krins's disappointment, but he was the one in charge of all the other battle mages who were stationed at Dymak Naval Base. He'd volunteered quickly to come with Vodjir, sure his skills would be useful.
The battle mage was also a very religious man, honoring Hezchen, one of the two gods of battle and strategy. Hezchen was the one who was the patron of soldiers, guards, and police; the god who oversaw the "light" aspects of war – defense and abiding by honor on the battlefield most particularly. His dedication to the god was why he hadn't been surprised by Erdmas's reaction to the city's warden spitting at him because he wore the symbol of a god and then declaring him weak and unable to make his own way in the world since he obviously couldn't accomplish anything without divine assistance. The warden had quickly found himself subdued in a painful magical binding for spouting the beliefs of a Godless. Iratannus had gleefully crouched beside him and spent well over an hour questioning the man while he was kept in the position – long enough he had to be taken to a healer to have muscles and joints tended to.
On their way to handle other matters in the city after that, the battle mage had stated: "I find it interesting that, while you enjoyed his pain, you tended to him afterward."
"While killing him would have certainly made me happier, ensorcelling him to continue as if nothing were amiss was far more prudent. Right now making it appear everything is still normal is vital. If the generals or other admiral think there's something wrong and they attack, it would potentially harm a lot of innocents. You can be sure, though, that he won't live to see the equinox." And that was less than a week and a half away.
Once they were done in the city, they'd returned to his pretty mage because he'd needed to see her, needed her presence to ground him and take away the licking edge of madness – because he did feel it and it was so damn enticing. His Safa had kept him from embracing it in the past, either finding him or sending a servant to fetch him if he was in his underground workrooms, which she had often refused to enter. Now it was his princess. Both women's love for him and acceptance of what he was, was the thing that kept him from falling. He refused to lose that.
When he finished updating her and felt he could linger no longer at her side, since there was still plenty of things he needed to do, he left her to her work and headed to the far, far western side of the palace grounds where "the pit" was located – a ten foot deep trench that reeked of decomposition. As they went, he looked at his companion. "Are you going to be able to stomach seeing the corpses they've brought out?" They hadn't gotten close enough to look into the pit that morning, but the smell had told him enough by itself of what lay within.
"I saw some bad shit in Embrole, so, yes."
Nodding, he continued on.
The moment the "corpse men" – what they were actually called – saw him coming, they clearly readied themselves for his arrival. There were three of them, permanently in charge of the mass grave, to ensure only those "authorized" to be dumped there were. Since they always stank, they weren't allowed at the palace itself and lived near the pit in a small hut. Their isolation made them close to one another but bitter toward everyone else. When he'd explained he wanted one of the bodies back because she'd been loved, though, they'd become oddly compassionate. He had a feeling they felt more for the bodies in the pit than to the living who brought them and his request had proven he cared, at least for one of those bodies.
He could see the bodies they'd pulled out – six females, all nude. They'd told him that morning that they weren't sure which body was the one he sought since there'd been numerous women added to the mass grave in the past week, but he hadn't expected so many. He suspected there were probably as many male bodies – one surely being Herrimon's. So much death occurring in such a short amount of time when most had likely been innocents infuriated him. He was glad Korderus was dead and he planned to kill a whole fucking lot more of the men in the palace. He refused to let any more innocents die here.
But none of this would have happened if he'd killed Pirald when he'd been his apprentice, when he'd shown signs of madness already and sought more. No matter he could have never imagined this having happened, he'd likely always feel at least partially responsible for all that had happened to Galst in the past four hundred years. While he couldn't do what he'd done for Aoivres centuries earlier, he'd still do all he could to better Galst.
The three corpse men greeted him and showed him the bodies they'd removed from the pit, laid out as neatly as rotting bodies could be. They'd even attempted to clean the women as best they could, which spoke of the care they had for the dead. He thanked them and approached the six women.
Right away he noted half were far too young, the one that was freshest showing signs of severe trauma before her death. Another was middle aged, still too young, her belly sliced open and he felt like she'd died during a bad birth and wondered where the babe was, since he'd verified that morning only two infants were in the nursery when he'd gone to inquire about their mothers moving to be nearer them. Two were old enough to be Kolsa, but it was easy to rule out one, as her greying hair was auburn, not dark brown. So his eyes turned to the last body and he looked her over and knew…
The bloated body looked nothing like the slim woman he'd known but from the color of her hair, the shape of her face – swollen though it was – he knew it was her body. Though she'd been cleaned, foul fluid still escaped from small fissures in her bloated skin and her hair was filthy from being in the pit.
Yes…none of the women needed to see Kolsa like this.
He crouched beside her, ignoring the stench and the flies. "I'm sorry you suffered. I promise to take you to your husband." He knew her spirit had departed, but some said the spirit was still connected in some way to the body after death until cremation or a certain point in decomposition and, if that were true, she might hear him even in Agonorin's domain. He wanted her to know her husband and children would be able to have her remains to mourn over properly.
After a moment, he rose, turning his eyes to the men who'd had to bring out the bodies. "Did you get the things for the pyre?"
The man in charge of the three nodded. "But we'll need help building it."
Because, they'd told him, anyone the king had considered worthy of actual cremation didn't come to them.
"Erdmas will help."
The men all nodded then came forward to gather Kolsa's body. The battle mage trailed after them as they headed toward a pile of wood he hadn't noticed on his approach. If they'd followed his instructions, they'd have what was needed and Erdmas had assured him he could get an appropriate pyre laid out.
While they worked on that, his eyes returned to the other five female corpses. He wondered if they had families, if they were Galstine or Saelvayen or from somewhere else. He wondered if anyone might want their remains. After considering it, he shook his head. It would take too long to figure out who they were and then look for their families. He was already far too busy to undertake the task…and it wasn't something he'd want his pretty mage to handle. The best way he could honor them was probably to kill their abusers. And he planned to do that right there at the pit, those men's bodies the last that would ever be added.
He walked to the edge of the pit and looked down into the horrors it held. There were so many bodies in the pit – the newer ones dumped on top of older ones that were on top of so much foul decomposition it turned even his stomach. The flies were horrific and the maggots writhed on the corpses. He shivered. Even the worst of the dark sorcerers he'd dealt with in Aoivres during his rise to unwanted power had never had a place like this. When had it reached this level of horror? It had to have built up to this over the centuries, or perhaps there was a triggering event? He almost wanted to go find out, but he was not delving into the former king's decaying mind again; even if he had, though, there was little chance he'd find anything useful at this point after his death.
At some point, Erdmas called to him and he tore his eyes from the fetid pit. The battle mage and the three corpse men had built a decent pyre from what they had. Once he joined them, Erdmas waved to the wood and the body, telling him that he should be the one to start the fire since neither Missa nor the princess had come here and they were the nearest thing to family she had present. He did so, offering prayers to Agonorin, asking him to guide Kolsa's soul to her between-place and to help her find a good new life when the time came for that.
Since it would take time for the body to finish burning and for the ashes to cool afterward, he left instructions for the corpse men and they nodded. They showed him the lidded jar they'd found and washed. It wasn't an actual urn, but it would work until her ashes could be returned to her family. If they wished to keep her ashes, he'd ensure they had a proper vessel for them.
Done there, he and Erdmas returned to the palace. They washed and got into clean clothes, though the stench of death still clung to both of them, so they'd need to bathe again later, but they had the palace to go over, looking for anyone who might be a threat to them keeping control.
By evening, he was exhausted, but he still trekked back out to the pit where the three men handed him the jar filled with Kolsa's remains. He thanked them and then returned to the palace again. Erdmas bade him good night and headed to shower again, which he, too, would do, but not before he saw his pretty mage.
She wrinkled her nose at his odor but then he held out the jar with both hands and she started crying. She gently took it and hugged it to her chest, sobbing. The other women came to her and joined in her sorrow. And until their ululations ceased, he stood vigil there.
Once the other women left for the night, he went to bathe – this time with a concoction to remove the odor more effectively – and then gratefully climbed into bed with his wife. He held her as she cried again. He didn't tell her it was alright like he knew many men would do, because it wasn't alright. He knew it would take time for things to return to anything close to right again…and so did she. So he just held her until she cried herself to sleep, letting her release her grief. And he'd hold her again if she needed it, whenever she needed it.
When he woke in the morning, he went about arranging things for the expected arrival of Lord General Dallin Limindres. He was the one in charge of the army of the central region of Galst, but he was arriving soonest because he'd moved his men to the area between Medebal – the city they were in – and Parral – the city that was the base of the Lord General in charge of the northern region, Sarel Kejuam. He suspected that Limindres had been tasked with attacking Antaej March whenever the go-ahead was given.
After making a round of the palace and grounds that morning, Iratannus went to Korderus's trophy room, thankfully convincing Erdmas he didn't need a guard. He spent considerable time looking at all the things in the former king's collection. Everything was labeled. The eyes contained in cylindrical containers were preserved so that they remained vibrant, the colors of the irises still obvious. They were all human eyes, ones that had some unique characteristics, often with feminine names on their labels. There was also a desiccated hand still bore a ring that had been bound to the hand through magic, not even death had allowed its removal its little placard said – interesting. He spent a long time looking at the fae Lord's skull, wondering where the "breeding" took place. He hadn't thought to search for that knowledge so he'd need to find that out and ensure someone ended that atrocity.
He was still in that room, going through the body parts and jewelry and odd natural pieces he wasn't sure the significance of, when he was alerted that Lord General Limindres had appeared in the translocation chamber with two of his men, but they weren't his immediate two subordinates who were called High Colonels. He didn't like that, considering those two were the next most powerful dark sorcerers beneath the general. That meant they were likely still with the soldiers waiting near the border, since both had apparently accompanied him north. He'd need to figure out a way to deal with them.
Once he put the crown back on his head, since he hadn't been wearing it as he explored the room, he waited by one of the windows, watching the garden and the waves. He put extra protections around himself, though was entirely aware that this general could know the same shield-reversal magic Urjase had. But as long as he didn't attack the moment he entered the room, there'd really be no need to worry, since he'd set up a blood magic trap far enough into the room that the door could be shut behind him and his men. When they triggered it, they'd be immobilized from the neck down and their magic would be bound – but they'd still be able to talk, which he needed at least the general to do. And…he reached in his pocket, rubbing his thumb over the bottle of his pretty mage's blood. He was going to experiment.
The door opened. He was greeted as "Your Majesty" by three unfamiliar voices as he turned to them. Limindres and his two men were entering the room, plus two of the palace sentinels who were cooperating of their own volition. He turned fully to them as they started across the room. The general – a muscular man in his early forties with dark hair and a narrow face – noticed a second too late when his foot hit the trap. He froze, rooted to the spot. The other two had been slightly behind him, had stopped when he'd stopped, then realized from his panic that he couldn't move. They were dropped with the obeisance spell before they could do anything, however.
"Good afternoon, Dallin." He shifted his eyes to the sentinels. "You're dismissed." As the two men bowed then left, he strode across the room, withdrawing Urjase's dagger he still used, though he didn't truly like the blade; it wasn't weighted right for him. He hadn't found the one he'd had at his arrival, though. "So, explain to me why you moved your battalions north."
He eyed the dagger with a touch of wariness but kept his composure. "We thought, with you in possession of the princess…"
"Funny, that's not what Verik said. He told me you were hoping the king would die so you would all be able to do what you wanted to do. Clearly Galst isn't large enough for the five of you, though. I'm sure your plan was to take control of Saelva too and then split up the resultant kingdom between yourselves."
He went to speak, probably to defend himself and say that wasn't what he had planned, but then a look of confusion hit him. "Who are you? You're not His Majesty."
"No, I'm not. I'm Lord Iratannus, the princess's husband. Your king met a sadly very quick true death, so now I'm in charge here."
Calculation filled the man's gaze.
"Verik already thought he could best me and he's dead, so don't get any ideas. Sadly, however, I didn't get to ask him everything I'd wanted, so I'm going to ask you instead." He stepped closer, the blade in his hand ready to slice skin. "Tell me, Dallin, are you a revenant like Verik was?"
"Revenant magic is forbidden for us to learn."
"It's also forbidden for you to take significant action without authorization, yet the army is amassing on the border with Saelva, so I doubt you really care about what's forbidden as long as you can get away with it."
He murmured a spell as he cut a quick line across the general's cheek, which sent a burning pain through all his nerves. It was so painful, his attempted scream was nothing but a squeak that left Iratannus grinning. But, the pain only lasted as long as he was making the cut, though no one recovered from that level of pain quickly, momentary though it'd been. The man was panting and shaking, which made Iratannus shudder in pleasure that he'd caused it.
He asked the question again when the general had recovered enough to answer. Again, he didn't answer, this time even scowling at him. He made another cut, along his jaw, laced with the same spell that left the man nearly sobbing. "You're making me waste perfectly good blood, you know. I hate wasting blood."
Iratannus hadn't wanted to use the same blood magic as he'd used on Urjase because that took time, but he felt like he probably needed to since the general was more resilient than he'd like. When the general continued to be silent after another painful slice – to his cheekbone –, Iratannus sighed irritatedly and cut off the man's jacket and the shirt beneath it. Unable to use the extra pain spell as he carved the sigils, he just hummed as he worked, focused on the parting flesh and the flare of power that accompanied the blood that came forth.
He didn't have to finish the magic, though…
"I'll talk," Limindres said weakly when he finished one of the sigils.
Despite the words and the truth sigil at the center of the working, it didn't mean he'd "talk" about what Iratannus wanted him to. He'd had plenty of others say that just to get the pain to stop, even for a moment, after all. But the compulsion magic was carved into him, would make him want to answer…though the magic to cause pain if he tried to fight that compulsion hadn't been started yet.
Giving him a chance to cooperate, he slid back half a step and waited, dagger ready to finish the rest of the sigils if necessary. When the general didn't offer an answer to his earlier question immediately, he gave him only one chance, in case the pain had made him forget what he'd been asked. "Are you a revenant?"
Hesitant, but it was an answer. "And how many of you are?"
"All the Lords are."
So, it was as he'd suspected. "Any other revenants besides you five?"
"Not that I'm aware of."
That he was aware of. That really didn't bode well, in his opinion. "And…are all of you His Majesty's sons from past lives?"
The general stared at him for a moment, but he didn't like that the man didn't answer his question, instead asking: "Why would you suspect that?"
Oh, for that pain magic to have been on him right then… "The revenant who'd been Urjase looked too much like he was related to Korderus, and then I learned about how he tries to teach his sons dark magic and some of them became his Lords in the past." Iratannus put the sharp tip of his dagger to the man's face, right at the corner of his eye. "Now, tell me, how many of you are His Majesty's sons."
The man's eyes widened, his eyes shifting to look at the blade. "All…all of us…ex-except Erres. He…he's the one that…that helped the rest of us."
"Tell me about Tellraks. Do you know how long ago he joined the king's men?"
"He came to Galst after His Majesty had been in power for just over a century. He wanted what His Majesty held. Dark sorcerers rarely attain power like that."
"That's a long time to wait to overthrow the king." He trailed the dagger down the man's cheek, just barely lightly enough to not break skin, but Limindres still flinched. He pulled the dagger away, but didn't move it far. "I assume he decided he needed help and went for the king's sons who craved more power. When did he help you become revenants?"
The general swallowed hard, his eyes lingering where the dagger had left his line of sight. "The one who's Civen now was the first one, and it was maybe seventy years after he got to Galst. I…I was the second, a hundred sixty years ago. Sarel was third, just more than hundred years ago. Verik is the newest of us, only in his second life."
That explained Urjase's ineptitude with unauthorized dark magic…
However, the oldest of them, and surely the biggest threat, would be arriving in three days – Lord Admiral Erres Tellraks. If he was the original one of them, that meant he was a master, because just like with the magic to destroy revenants, the magic to become one had to be performed by a master; the one becoming a revenant only needed to have the necessary level of power to not burn out from its initialization, which meant masters and those immediately below them – plus, they had to be dark sorcerers, as well. Plenty of people died trying to become revenants, which probably added to them being considered "legends".
"So now that all five of the Lords were revenants, I'm assuming the plan to overthrow the king was starting to truly move forward."
"Magic to kill revenants is difficult to find."
It was difficult to find because revenants didn't like it being learned by others. It was why he'd learned every method he'd come across; they were little treasures he hoarded, more so than other magic. But…he knew a new, interesting way to destroy revenants now, too.
"It is, but you figured I'd know the magic to destroy him…and you were counting on me to do so."
"We were, and you did, and then you fucked up our plan."
He grinned at the man's ire. "Yes, I did, and I'm enjoying it immensely." He pulled the bottle from his pocket. "And I'm in the mood to teach you some fear before you die."
The general eyed the bottle. "What is that?"
"The method by which Korderus met his true death."
Confusion passed across his face. "You plan to poison me?"
"In a sense."
Limindres laughed. "Then go ahead and kill me!"
"Oh, this isn't that sort of poison."
Iratannus looked at the blood in the vial. Thanks to a simple tincture that preserved the blood for future use, it had neither coagulated nor separated in the time since Korderus had drawn it from his pretty mage. He had done the same thing earlier that year so knew whatever power her blood had lingered for just less than two weeks – the same amount of time that normal blood preserved similarly would be useful in any sort of magic, including magic to test for medical conditions with normal magic. Since it had only been days since this had been drawn, it would still work.
He'd already considered how much blood he'd need to test this. Not much had been on Korderus's fingers so he planned to use only ten drops.
He grabbed the general's jaw with one hand and used a spell to force open his mouth. The man tried to shake off his hold so Iratannus just said another spell that was like an extra pair of hands that kept his head still. He got the amount of blood into the man's mouth he'd estimated then used another spell to keep his mouth closed so he wouldn't spit any of it out, or speak, since he didn't want it announced that he'd just made him consume blood.
As he stepped back, he put the stopper back in the bottle. He waited, paying attention to all the dark magic he felt around the man.
He didn't have to wait long.
It only took about four minutes before the man's dark magic seemed to start collapsing in on itself, slowly at first but then gaining momentum.
Limindres's panic was more pronounced than Korderus's had been at the beginning. The dead king had likely been too focused on the beautiful power his pretty mage's blood held to really pay attention or had been ignoring it those first few minutes for some reason. There was no doubt the general felt the loss of his dark magic, though.
But then something happened he hadn't considered – the general lunged at him. "You alone cannot take on the might of Galst!"
Fuck, he hadn't thought of the fact his dark magic would be dispelled, even though he really should have. Would dark magic work on the man at all right now? He doubted it, but he didn't need to worry about how to subdue him. He used a non-dark magic concussive spell, usually meant for bashing down doors, though modulated the power he put into it so it wouldn't kill the man. The general crumpled to the floor, unconscious. He'd be perfectly alright as long as he had a healer tend to him in the near future.
He looked down at the man. "I'm not alone, though."
He had allies. Ressendell was preparing to come from the east, concentrating on the area around the border first. The Saelvayen army would come from the north, heading toward Parral. He had a small clan of warlocks already perfectly positioned to deal with the seats of power around the kingdom. And then there were the Saelvayens who'd risked their lives to try a rescue plan but had thankfully survived, even if they hadn't succeeded with their plan.
Humming again, he used a more powerful binding spell on the two soldiers who'd come with Limindres and then exited into the hallway. He located six sentinels and had them take the three men to a holding cell in the underpalace, which he put monitoring magic on while he sent the sentinels off, instructing one to fetch a healer. He had another fetch three pairs of magic-binding shackles.
While he waited for that healer, he studied the general's magic, stunned by what just a few drops of his pretty mage's blood could do. He needed to make sure no one he didn't trust absolutely learned that her blood could render a dark sorcerer nearly powerless. The thought of ingesting some of her blood – by accident or by scheme – and losing all his dark magic was terrifying, particularly in regards to his revenant magic. That would take weeks to reinstate, weeks that he'd be vulnerable to truly dying.
If it was permanent…
He shook his panic away.
If it was permanent and he ended up being affected by it, then he'd just have to do his best to adapt. He was a master, after all, and magic was the second most important thing in his life. He'd already been studying normal magic – both to refresh his memory so he could better protect his princess and to learn things he hadn't yet known. It would take time, but he could entirely change his primary repertoire of magic if he had to.
Once a healer had come to handle the general's concussion and the shackles were around his wrists and a sound dampening spell was placed around his cell, Iratannus left the underpalace.
With the palace secured, the city running normally, and the second of the Lords no longer a threat, he was planning to spend the rest of the day going through Korderus's two workrooms, both of them located at the top of the towers that flanked the palace. He was sure there'd be plenty of dangerous items he couldn't allow to remain. He especially needed to find any grimoires or other dark magic tomes the dead king may have had, but he was also interested in obtaining harder to find dark magic ingredients Korderus was sure to have so he could stock his workroom. He'd also need to have Jerindal contact his family again to see if they'd be willing to deal with the other workrooms the king had in his other palaces, and those of the Lords and any other dark sorcerers who could have their own grimoires and dangerous items.
He found two grimoires hidden in the normal workroom, in locations sealed with blood magic quite similar to how he'd secured his own when he'd had them long ago. He found another in the bloodletting chamber, far better concealed mundanely and secured with stronger magic. He found several brass daggers in both, obviously for different purposes – most of them being dedicated to chopping specific dangerous plants for potions to prevent even residual contamination – but he also found a specialty carving dagger, designed much like a pen but made for cutting flesh for blood magic sigils. He'd possessed one of them, had found the verdigris-ruined thing when he'd cleared the debris from his bloodletting chamber the previous fall. He hadn't thought to ask Lonterrin about making him a new one, but now he didn't have to.
After finishing cataloging the contents of both workrooms and placing a decomposition-slowing spell on the already-bloating corpse of the king, which he still had no plans to move for now, he headed back downstairs. The moment he turned onto the third floor hallway, the sentinels stationed on other end caught his attention and he realized he'd avoided everything in the king's suite beyond the mirror in the sitting room. So, with a sigh, he resolved himself to heading there next, since it would not be surprising for the king to have kept some of his most dangerous things there – where few would dare to try to go.
He started with the little room that had been Ernoll's. He wanted to go through his meager possessions so he could see if there was anything he thought the boy might want to keep. Sadly, all he found that could truly be considered the boy's were a comb made of bone and several changes of clothing, all of which looked the same. There were no toys, no journal, no diversions beyond the books on the shelves. Those books were all nonfiction – history, magic theory, and books to learn four different foreign languages. They weren't things most children would consider fun to read. He was genuinely surprised, though, as he hadn't expected Korderus to give his son what seemed to be a fairly decent education. He'd ask Ernoll if he actually wanted to keep any of the books.
When he finally turned to Korderus's bedroom, he steeled himself for the sorts of things Korderus likely kept there and entered. He was mostly unsurprised by what he'd found, but there was nothing of interest to him – magical or otherwise. Most of it just pissed him off, knowing what those implements had been used for. There were potions for fertility and aphrodisiacs, but there were also blood clotters that left him grinding his teeth because he was sure of the purpose of them – more so after he found a grimoire that he threw into the fireplace and set ablaze after flipping through it to see what it contained. Drawing power from someone in your bed was one thing, using magic from that book on them was entirely different and he'd never use anything within it.
He had to go to hold his pretty mage once he was done with the king's room. And she knew he needed her comfort just from looking at him and opened her arms to him. She wrapped him in a tight embrace and kissed his head, holding him for a long time as he knelt in front of the chair she sat in. She promised him that they'd do their best to diminish the horrors Korderus had inflicted. He knew they would, but seeing the evidence of how he'd treated the women he'd called concubines…
He forced the thought from his mind and sank into her presence. He took deep breaths and started planning out how he'd ensure other women wouldn't suffer at the hands of the other men who treated the women here similarly. He expected he'd probably execute the vast majority of men in the palace – but it wouldn't be today. He still needed them in case one of the generals or the other admiral decided to be problematic upon their arrival.
Iratannus spent the rest of the evening sitting with his pretty mage, letting her pet him, as he considered how to deal with the Lord Admiral of the Southern Fleet. He didn't know what to expect from the man, though. Korderus had obviously not known some very vital things about his Lords, which made him assume they had some sort of subtle yet strong barrier in their minds that'd kept the king from learning those things, because Korderus's mind-searching magic had been powerful enough that he'd felt his own barriers bending beneath it and had been sure they'd have broken, if not for his pretty mage. But, despite not having any truly useful knowledge ahead of time, he could treat the man like any other master he'd fought in the past, even if battling a revenant with centuries of experience was something he'd done very few times. But, he wouldn't let the man get the upper hand. He'd come up with as many plans as he could…even though he only had two and a half days before Tellraks arrived.