Chapter 6

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"Had rotting flesh hanging from them. Their eyes were flames and glowed a wicked red. The horses they rode were of the same nature." She looked at Uriel. "Am I not right?"

Uriel was shocked. "How do you know?"

The High Witch stood up slowly and took a few steps to the window and looked out. She was having difficulty shaking her uneasy feeling. She became quiet for a time, in part to settle herself but also to decide whether she should relate the experiences of that terrible night. Making up her mind, she turned around and leaned against the wall. "When we received the report about you from our Scout, Albera, we immediately tried to teleport you here. Our efforts proved futile as someone had constructed a barrier around your vicinity. I was forced to send a party of four to bring you here physically. When they arrived at your location, they set about preparing you for the return. While they used healings to sustain what was left of your diminishing energy, they encountered the beings you spoke of. They are known as SoulSlayers. They consume the Souls of their victims, using the energies to strengthen themselves and further their evil. They almost took Lhynette, one of the Council. She was barely able to dispel them, but not before they took Albera. Albera had been the first to encounter them and warned the others with her dying breath. She was a good Scout, probably our most experienced, if not our best. She was always very professional. We trusted her with a very difficult territory and she never failed us even until the end."

"I… I don't know what to say," Uriel stammered. "I didn't know. I'm sorry."

Khyrhyelle's eyes flashed. "Sorry? No, Uriel, I do not believe you feel sorrow. Regret perhaps, but not sorrow. We have risked much, even lost a most precious life, to safeguard you, one who we know nothing about. Where would you be if it were not for us? Dying in the snow of the cold grip of winter, or much worse, your Soul would be in the icy grasp of the Slayers. Yet, you disclose nothing, wrapping yourself in the veils of concealment. Were I—"

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