The Curse of the Orthana by Nick Tamboia

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Chapter 5: The Shadow Lord

Narvios returned within two weeks. Jadis met him on the edge of a snow covered field just beyond the north wall of her fortress, which was probably as close as she wanted him to get to her keep.

The Shadow Lord was standing in the gloom, beneath the shady, snow draped pines, and with him were several of his Shadowlings. Beings much like himself, made of shadow and what looked like black flames or smoke, some with eyes that glowed pale yellow, while others were of a light blue coloring. Some were small, a vague human like in form, with somewhat large, elongated heads. Others were hulking forms that seemed to be shifting and constantly changing shape, all but their heads, some of which appeared to have horns to them. Others looked like shadow serpents, and others still, like wolves.

There before them, tied down to the top of a very large, flat topped wooden wagon was the single largest scale Jadis had ever seen. It was dull black in color, all but the edges which lightened to pale blue, thick at its center, and shaped very much like a scale of a serpent, only one that was twice the size of a wagon wheel.

Amazed by the size of the scale, Jadis slowly walked in a circle around the wagon, feeling an unnatural coldness coming from it as well as an almost electric like tingling on her skin. A dragon scale this size, she realizes, just one scale this size must mean the Dragon of Darkness was immensely huge! A true Leviathan. And while this was just one scale, she realized that it was so large she could probably make several Black Axes from it, and maybe some other weapons.

Pausing for a moment, she lifted her right hand up as if to touch the scale and then stopped herself. Pulling her arm back to herself she looked up at Narvios and nodded her head.

“Well done, Narvios, Shadow Lord,” she said to him. “This will do perfectly.”
Narvios nodded his head back at her.

“Return to the Island of the Broken Hand where I called upon you from,” Jadis then told the Shadow Lord. “Await my orders there. Once we have weapons made from this, I will have need of your services again.”

“As you command,” Narvios rumbled and slowly he and his Shadowlings faded into the gloom of the forest.