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Rated: E · Chapter · Fantasy · #2166043
Two hunters are hired by the Queen of the world the adventure will shatter the status quo.

The world of Trak'va-Teer was a realm dominated by the undead Vampires. For one-thousand years, there Kingdoms of Night have dominated the lands of Mankind, driving the Elves and Dwarves into exile into there realms of the deep woods and the mountains.

The Vampires in turn ruled openly, enforcing there rule with undead minions, arcane monsters, blood constructs, loyal Humans, and lesser Vampires. Ruled over by the secretive Tribunal of Night, Tav'va-Teer maintained the status quo. Vampires keeping mortals under foot, the Elder Races kept in exile so as to not threaten the Tribunals rule with their more advanced weaponry and magic.

But in the eyes of the common Human, the ruler of the Vampires, and by extension Trak'va-Teer, was High Queen Annabelle Black-Hand. Relatively young compared to her vassal Kings and Queens at only one-thousand years, she nonetheless led a ruthless centuries long campaign of intrigue and deal making among the various factions, both living and undead. That saw her creating the High Kingdom of Trak'va-Teer, making her the de facto ruler of the whole world.

On this night, when the moon was full and aglow. A young man and an older woman were brought before Annabelle's throne in the Black-Hand Citadel. "Your Highness, we brought the mortals that you requested." A Vampiric chamberlain said as two skeletons bound their hands.

"Release them and leave... I wish to speak to them privately." Annabelle said commandingly.

"As you wish, High Queen." The chamberlain said as he snapped his fingers, turning the skeletons into dust. And left with the dust in a jar.

"So... I have heard tale that the two of you have slain a Heart Seeker? One that was created by the Count of Urz'hein?" Annabelle asked.

"Aye, we would have brought it in alive if we could... but by that time it slaughtered everyone in the hunting party except for the boy and me." The woman said.

"And you were right to not save it. It is against the Codex Nocturnes for a Vampire at the rank of Count to maintain a Heart Seeker in his retinue. Only Dukes and higher may do so... and besides, unless I've been misled. Count Eustace had a rather unhealthy obsession with his. But enough about that upstart." Annabelle said as she stood up from her throne.

The undead queen wore red colored armor covering her whole body, except for her left arm showing that it was completely pitch black. The rest of her skin was milk-white, her hair brown, and her eyes were silver.

"W-Why have you brought us here. Oh Queen of the Dead?" The boy said, groveling and averting his eyes.

"First, you will look me in the eye when you speak to your High Queen. ESPECIALLY, when I don't grant permission to speak, Thomas of Plow-Shire." Annabelle said as she used her magic to force Thomas to stand up. "As for why you and Ms. Muriel are here-"

"Actually, begging your pardon of course. I AM married, and have been for decades." Muriel interrupted.

"Mrs. Muriel... you both took down a renegade Heart Seeker. I could use someone like you in my employ... the why's you need not know." Annabelle said.

"That depends, what's the pay? Cause I pay extra if you don't want me asking questions to your face." Muriel said.

"QUIET!" Thomas whispered harshly.

"It is perfectly alright to ask about payment. I propose that, you both report to this location on the double... and I pay you five-thousand gold fangs now and ten-thousand when you return triumphant... EACH." Annabelle said as she presented a map to Muriel.

"That's more than triple what I usually ask for! Even with the extra for not asking questions." Muriel said as she took the map.

"What? This map says we need to go to the edge of Shadow-Fall Woods. Nobody who goes in there ever returns!" Thomas said.

"Then it is a good thing that I'm not sending you into the woods proper. There is an outpost that has been raided; only a hand full survived... and there far too crazed by terror for even the most powerful magic to calm them, and cannot give a report. So I want you two to investigate what exactly happened." Annabelle said.

"...i-i-it will be done my lady." Thomas said, kneeling before Annabelle.

"That's what I like to hear. Here is your upfront pay." Annabelle said as she presented two bags filled with small golden bars, each one shaped like a bats fang.

"Hmm, certainly FEELS like five-thousand gold fangs." Muriel said.

Several days later, Thomas and Muriel arrived on the outskirts of Shadow-Fall Woods. "Should... should the fort still be standing?" Thomas asked as they dismounted in front of the wooden fort.

"That'll depend on what's attacked. Titan-Wolves for example... but those are as common as dirt around forests like this. They would have torn this place down, and there be claw and teeth marks... the smell of wolf urine." Muriel said as the two entered the fort.

Unaware, that from the shadows, beings were lurking, ready and eager to strike. "Do you ever get the feeling that you're being watched?" Thomas asked.

"Of course I do, the Crimson Inquisition has got eyes in EVERY shadow. It'd be stupid NOT to think you're being watched." Muriel said dismissively. "Although... if it's those noises your concerned about. There usually better at being hidden." Then, from the shadows, Muriel and Thomas were shot with darts.

"We wanted you to find us." Said a voice from the shadows and from the darkness stepped High Elves. Beings that were a full head taller than the tallest Human, and had giant pointed ears, these elves were clad in light armor. "Rejoice Yaah'nii, for by your hand, Trak'va-Teer will be freed from the grip of the Bla-Dri." The lead Elf said, using the Elven words for Human and Vampire specifically.

"Ah... so Elves are real." Muriel said as she faded into unconsciousness.

"W-W-What are you going to do with us?" Thomas asked, barely holding on to the waking world.

"That will depend on you, Yaah'nii. Ready them for transport; they must be brought to the Arch-Mageus. The Prophesy depends on it." The lead High Elf said as both Humans were put into separate sacks.

It felt like days to Thomas and Muriel, before they were released from there sacks. Into an ornately designed dungeon, the two of them kept in separate cells, far from each other. "Muriel! MURIEL!" Thomas shouted from across the dungeon.

"I'M HERE KID, WHAT ABOUT YOU?!" Muriel shouted back.

"DO YOU KNOW WHERE WE ARE?" Thomas shouted back.

"KID, UP UNTIL RECENTLY I THOUGHT THAT ELVES WERE JUST FAIRY TALES! BUT IF I WERE A BETTING WOMAN, I'D SAY WE'RE IN SOME SORT OF DUNGEON... A MUCH NICER ONE COMPARED TO SOME OF THE ONES I'VE BEEN IN." Muriel shouted back.

"WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!" Thomas shouted back.

"Nothing! ABSOLUTLY NOTHING!" The Elf Warden shouted. "I DIDN'T GET ANY SLEEP LAST NIGHT! AND THE LAST THING I NEED. ARE THE TWO OF YOU TRYING TO PLOT AN ESCAPE!" He shouted, and banged his staff on the ground. Magically gagging Thomas and Muriel. "Now... you Yaah'nii are going to wait until the Arch-Mageus calls for your presence. Until them. SHUT. UP!" The Warden said as he went back to napping.

Thomas and Muriel tried in vain to speak to each other. But only silence came from their mouths.

"Dungeon Warden W'naken! The Arch-Mageus demands the presence of the Yaah'nii prisoners." An Elf woman said, as she opened the doors, and bound the two of them to magic chains.

"The gods be with you... they can be real chatter boxes. LOUD, chatter box's to be specific. I hope the Arch-Mageus knows what he's doing with these two." W'naken said.

"Trust in his visions kinsmen... the Long Night is coming to an end." The Elf woman said. "And all that matters, is that the Arch-Mageus wants these Yaah'nii." She said.

"Just get them out of my dungeon. My ears are still ringing from there shouting." W'naken said, as she led Muriel and Thomas out of the dungeon.

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