Black Moon Draw (Chapter Two, page 1 of 2)

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The Shadow Knight paced across Blue Star Bridge, the wooden and stone walkway that arched across the river dividing his kingdom, Black Moon Draw, from his eastern neighbors of White Tree Sound.

He stopped in the middle, listening to the sounds of night. Somewhere, an animal splashed into the shallow waters, probably chasing its dinner, while the calls of owls and other night birds rose from the forest at his back. He didn't register the night chill that skated across his muscular form. Built with the power of a bear and the agility of a panther, he was poised and ready to fight. The sword at his back was taller than a full-grown woman and the axe, daggers, whip, and other weapons at his belt were polished and waiting for their next kill.

Ignoring the nervous band of White Tree Sound sentries that stood on one end of the bridge, he swung his massive boar's head around to observe his surroundings. Moonlight trickled through the fog shrouding Black Moon Draw and reflected off the slow moving river below.

"M'lord," a quiet voice said from behind him. "You will cross Blue Star Bridge this night?"

The bridge was the established border of his lands. He had paid little heed to the kingdom on the other side, with whom he had a truce born out of necessity rather than desire. He had too many other battles to fight to worry about this peace-devoted enemy. He alone could take the forty sentries bunched around the end of the bridge, but the army beyond the forests would require some planning and more men than he had to spare in order to defeat them.

"Not tonight," he said in his low, deep growl. "I need a new battle-witch."

"And you think to find one here?" His most trusted advisor, the man who trained his armies, drew abreast of him. He wore the head of a wolf, the silver eyes and sharp fangs gleaming in the night.

"In my dreams, this is where she appears." There were no sounds other than those he expected to hear, no unusual scents picked up by his sensitive boar's nose.

"Perhaps the Red Knight of White Tree Sound has her." His master-at-arms eyed the restless men belonging to the neighboring kingdom.

"No. She has not come yet."

"From where do you expect this battle-witch to come?"

"From the edge of the world." The Shadow Knight flipped a dagger in his hand, caught it, and sheathed it once more. "Come. She is not here."

"Did these dreams say when she would come?"

"Dreams are like shadows. Even I cannot capture them fully," the Shadow Knight replied. He pulled himself effortlessly onto his massive steed with one arm.

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