Time to showcase more of Archillious as he regales all of us with his tale of woe. I’m going for scenes that have a few spoilers because the books have been out for a while. It also allows me to utilize characters who I had been keeping secrets for. For more of the great and elusive Archillious, check out War of Nytefall: Lost on Amazon.
“What if she was telling the truth?” Decker asks as he joins his maker. Following the glowing path, he stops at the destroyed gates and crouches to get a closer look. “Dawn Fangs always have different combinations of powers, so an army would be hard to predict. I won’t waste time listing all of the abilities that we saw, but it isn’t so farfetched to believe that they had someone who could capture Lost without a fight. She obviously isn’t a warrior, so you can defeat her using surprise and a single crippling blow. Now, my question requires that she truly believes Lord Tempest is her father. What if she has spread that rumor around during her search? That makes her a target for kidnapping.”
“It’s a tactic that we’ve used in the past against influential enemies,” Kai points out with a smirk. Folding his legs beneath him, the chubby vampire leans back to balance his chair on its back legs. “As I said, the kitchen showed no signs of a struggle. If they wanted to kill her then they would have done so on the spot, which means she is most likely alive. Although, none of this is telling us who these Dawn Fangs are. That was a pretty big army to have been gathering in secret unless they got together within the last few days. Judging by their appearance, all of them are no older than sixteen, which is strange.”
“Not if you know the truth!” a voice sings from the doorway. The vampires whirl around and bare their fangs at the sight of a wild-haired man walking with his head bowed low to the floor. “I am the great and cunning Archillious and I’ve been looking for this Lost. We have a history that she needs to make good on. I followed her rabbit here along with my own army of Utukku and see that you need some help. Nobody knows how to track this little girl better than me. Now that she’s with her army again, it will be even easier. All I ask in return is-”
Xavier darts forward to grab the stranger by the neck and lift him off the floor. “Who said we were interested in what you have? I refuse to let some mortal barge into my realm and begin giving orders. The utter arrogance of this intrusion is fueling my temper, which is already nearing its breaking point. Give me one reason why I should not tear you apart simply to make myself feel better.”
“Because he may have information that we need, my love,” Nadia whispers as she places Stephanie on the ground. Waving for Lou to walk behind her, the beautiful orc practically glides across the floor and places a gentle hand on her husband’s shoulder. “Thank you for offering your help, Mr. Archillious. You mentioned a few things that make no sense to us since we barely know Lost. She came here claiming to be the daughter of Lord Tempest and said she was raised by mortal gnomes near Vorgabog. Now, you say she is the leader of an army, which is the last thing we could have imagined. Another mystery is you. How is this child connected to a mortal man such as yourself?”
“I assure you that my story is filled with anguish and joy, so I’m only too happy to share once I can breathe comfortably,” the grinning man replies. Lowered to the floor, he fixes his jacket and steals Decker’s chair to proudly stand upon. “Sixteen years ago, I was a traveling jester who dabbled in the killing arts. Not for money, but there were times I became bored and decided to spice up a lazy town. One day, I came upon two gnomes in the marketplace of Vorgabog with a baby that was obviously not theirs. My plan was to carve them up in an alley and take the child for a reason to be determined later. Instead, the savage Archillious was placed under a spell by the girl, who is Lost if you haven’t figured that out, and made to want nothing more than to protect her. I lived in a clearing and watched over her along with other guardians that she charmed over the years. We were her loyal Utukku and we knew nothing more than protecting our dear Lost. Well, that and the occasional raid to get supplies with a few murders thrown in to keep my skills sharp. Sadly, the blissful life was not to last. She turned fifteen and cut us loose before leaving to search for her father. It was as if our hearts were removed and crushed into the dirt. Some of us decided it was better to die than go on living, but I knew there had to be another way.”
“You want to be turned into a servant again?” Decker asks as he approaches the stranger.
The scowling man calmly steps off the chair and looms over the dwarf, who refuses to back down. “The phenomenal Archillious is still telling his story, footstool. Where was I? Ah yes, I decided to lead my fellow Utukku in search of our wayward master. Not to become servants again, but to simply be near her again and keep her safe. That is what gave our lives purpose and she cruelly took that from us. At the very least, we want to know why she did what she did. Here is where someone gets curious and asks about the army that came for her. That’s a very good question, mummified girl on the floor. Over the years, Lost attracted other Dawn Fangs who were born instead of made. Considering her powers, I think she was unwittingly calling out to them and they ended up staying with the Utukku. In fact, many of them brought their own guardians even if they lacked psychic powers. Honestly, there isn’t much self-control in most of these kids, but there was one named Eighty who was probably leading the army in search of their founder. I would say that’s who attacked you since it wasn’t my people and your enemies are still chasing their own tails. How are you having trouble with such a band of incompetents? Be thankful the amazing Archillious is coming to you first instead of going to them because I always turn the tide of battle in my favor.”
“Never thought I would meet someone more pompous than Clyde,” Xavier mutters, his voice gradually softening.