Chapter 27

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They had not encountered much animal life in their trip thus far. Excluding the vhultards, they had seen few birds. They had spied only a handful of groundhogs, rabbits and such. On one occasion they had seen a large animal, similar to a moose in the distance. It frightened Uriel, thinking it might be the Slayer, but the witches assured him it was no cause for alarm. One other time they came across a huge reptile, a lhukardhil, which looked like a cross between a snake and a lizard. The horses became skittish but Ullyna managed to convince the lhukardhil to explore elsewhere.

They continued to talk of the geography, scenery and wildlife of northern Khaballe, apparently willing to disregard their mutual discomforts with each other in order to settle their nerves. But the question of Uriel's knowledge of black robe spells was ever in Arhyvhynne's thoughts as well as Ghemella's and Uriel wondered how long it would be before the truth would be known.

The warm afternoon gave way to a pleasant evening and the exhausted party prepared to make camp for the night. Though tired, their spirits were high, knowing that by this time tomorrow they would be in the relative safety of the Sylvan Forest. But before they could finish their meal, Ghemella spotted a large shape approaching in the darkening pale blue sky. They scrambled for their weapons, but it was unnecessary. Content with having located the party, the vhultard turned back towards the Thaums.

The sighting of the vhultard dampened their mood and the party spent the remainder of the evening in unspoken concern. They were unable to properly rest but they were also too tired to go on. It was a long, stressful night with the sounds and shadows of the northland seemingly becoming intensified and sinister.

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