Kairas and Dagan stood on a rocky outcropping overlooking the valley of blood. The insight from the witches was intoxicating to Kairas. As he looked out over the valley, he spoke in a different tone to Dagan than he was used to.
“The darkness is intoxicating to me.” He took a deep breath. Dagan watched his nostrils flare open. “You have done well my faithful servant. Soon you will share in my bounty.”
Dagan chose his words carefully. “What do you think it means my lord?” Kairas turned to face him and he finished his question. “What the witches said?”
Kairas’ eyes widened. “Isn’t it obvious? All of my planning, all of my wisdom will soon be rewarded. I have served King Dakar for millennia without one hint of promotion. Not one piece of ground has he granted me as my own on this miserable planet.” Kairas’ clawed hands closed tight. “I have kept the realm of Glodoria at bay and I have advanced the dark realm of Dakaria...and for what?!” He turned to face Dagan. His eyes were red with anger. “Only to have him keep me in the dark about his plans for this place.” He took a few steps closer to the edge of the outcropping. “I knew that I was on to something with this...Lord Johan. I knew that there was something different about this province.” He moved back toward Dagan and held his right hand up to his face. “And I was this close to exposing King Shinar’s plan for invasion.”
Dagan took a step back as Kairas continued. “King Dakar kept me in the dark on his plan because he knew that if I was the one to thwart King Shinar’s invasion, I would be exalted above him. He knew that the drakan’s would see me as a wiser leader.”
Dagan responded without thinking. “But Dakaria is ruled by fear my lord...not wisdom.” As soon as the words left his mouth, he realized his mistake. He braced for the wrath of Kairas. Kairas stepped towards him and stood face to face. Dagan closed his eyes and waited for the blow. “Wisdom, my cloakan ally, when inspired by fear, can overthrow thrones!” His eyes widened and he grinned. Dagan was relieved at the response. Kairas turned to walk away. “If you ever speak like that again...I will kill you.” Kairas walked back into the eternal caves, leaving Dagan to celebrate his narrow escape.
As Kairas walked through the dark caves toward his main chamber, his head was swimming with power. The thought of absolute rule over Dakaria was intoxicating. As he neared his chamber, a shadow moved across the entrance. He stopped to see if something was coming out. His first thought went to the drakan he had assigned earlier. The spy that King Dakar had so predictably sent into his ranks. He morphed into his drakan form and entered the chamber.
He was stopped in his tracks at the sight of King Dakar sitting on his throne. He swallowed hard, gripped his fists and released them.
“Kairas.” Dakar said as he studied his protruding claws which were covered in black blood. “You’ve been busy.”
Kairas looked at the floor in front of the throne. The small drakan was torn into pieces at his feet, and the three witches were stacked on top of each other. Dakar pointed to the small drakan and spoke calmly. “A bit too obvious don’t you think?”
Kairas answered. “It wasn’t hard to figure out. I would have done the same if I were in your place.”
Dakar leapt from the throne and towered over Kairas. He placed his bony hands on his shoulders and let the tips of his claws begin to prick the skin of Kairas. “You’d like that wouldn’t you Kairas?” He bent over to look into his eyes. “To be in my place?”
Kairas bowed his head and avoided eye contact. He tried to go to his knees, but Dakar held him up. “No need for groveling Kairas.” He released him and walked behind him. “Just tell me why these witches were flying free outside these caves?” He paused for a moment. “I just happened to be coming in as they were flying out.” He kicked one of the bodies. “Only I or one of my trusted generals have the power to grant freedom to these miserable souls and it wasn’t I. So I assume that there is a very good reason why I would find them escaping from your lair?”
Kairas thought quick. “I was merely inquiring of our attack on Braham my King.”
“And this was worthy of unleashing these miserable creatures on the surface?”
“I thought so.” Kairas responded.
Dakar spun and, with the back of his hand, knocked Kairas to the ground.
Kairas wiped a small spot of blood from the corner of his mouth. “I’m sorry my King.”
Dakar bent down and looked into his eyes. “Either you are very stupid.” He stood back up. “Or very crafty.”
Kairas talked quickly. “The news was good my King.”
“For you...or for me?” Dakar responded.
“It is only good for me if it is good for you my King.”
Dakar moved in close again smiling. “You are indeed the crafty one Kairas. I’m not sure resurrecting you from the abyss was such a good idea.”
Kairas bowed. “I am eternally grateful to you my King.”
Dakar studied him for a moment. “What is it you want Kairas? I can smell the deception in your words. What are you hiding from me!”
Kairas knew the next inquiry would be with great pain. “My King I only want revenge on the one who sent me to the abyss.” He pulled the sword from it’s sheath. “The one who wielded this sword.” He looked to the ground. “I know that you have a plan my King and my revenge is of no concern to you. That is what I’ve been hiding. I am carrying out every one of your wishes, but I also have my own wishes that come second only to yours.”
Dakar reached down with his right hand. A claw extended from one of his fingers and he began to scratch the top of Kairas’ head just enough to draw a small amount of blood. “So the scope of your ambition is limited to revenge on this Evanescian?”
Kairas whenced and answered. “Yes my King.”
The claw of Dakar slipped down the side of his face and under his chin. He lifted the face of Kairas so he could again see into his eyes. “Carry out my plans...as I give them...and you will have your reward.” He smiled.
Kairas answered. “Yes my King.”
Dakar released him and sat back on the throne. “The Hives will begin arriving tonight. In two days time they will all be here. Several of the knights from Braham castle have been hunting the hives and they’ve managed to kill many of them, but not enough to thwart my plans. Your Evanescian is among the hunters.”
Kairas smiled. “I’ve already told Dagan what to do my King. Release me so that I may exact my revenge on the Evanescian.”
Dakar interrupted. “First you will lead the Hives back to Braham castle. I now have control over the one they call Johan.”
Kairas’ head tilted slightly. “How my King?”
“That is none of your concern.” He stood and began to walk around the room. “They’re crippled. Without his leadership, my task shall be easy. King Shinar was seeking to reestablish the old ways of the Princes. Johan would have been his first foothold, but I’ve outsmarted him, and Johan is mine.”
Kairas kept the inquiry alive. “How shall we attack my king?”
“Bring the Hives in from the east side of the castle. I will meet you near the Lakes of Lindar and we will lead the Hives together against Braham.”
“Yes my king.” Kairas resonded.
Dakar walked behind him and whispered into his ear. “I know you are cunning Kairas, and I know that you are not being entirely forthcoming with me.” He walked around in front of him. “I know you realize what that Evanescian did to you is nothing compared to what I would do to you if you betrayed me. I’m sure that a few well placed claws on your friend Dagan would unlock a treasure of information.” He waited for a response, but Kairas was silent.
Dakar placed his hand on his shoulder and squeezed until he drew blood. “Remember...your place is under me.” Dakar opened his wings and flew up and out of the throne room. Dagan had been listening from around the corner and he entered the room. “What shall we do my lord?”
With his teeth bared, Kairas answered. “Exactly as he wishes.” He walked to the witches bodies and kicked one of them. “Leave me!”
Dagan backed out slowly. “Yes, my lord.”