Faris was trying to make sense of the scene before him, as were all the commanders with him. They had just been talking about a strategy to strengthen the shield and build a more permanent barrier to the shadows so that they would not have to feed it magic. Especially since so much magic would be needed to defeat the enemy army.

"Call all the soldiers back." he yelled suddenly and everyone started to rush to get their mirrors or their pages,"I want a general retreat back to camp, now!"

A horn blew from behind him, sounding the retreat. Faris was worried something worse than just a retreat was planned by the shadows. He desperately did not want the men and women to be exposed to it. He watched in dread until all the soldiers appeared to be leaving the field of battle in golden bursts. The wounded  were dragged as best as anyone could, and what little of the dead they had, remained on the field for the time being.

"Collect the dead in the morning. I want no one to risk whatever that mad God has planned." Faris shouted and was about to go back into the command tent. Hector appeared in a swoosh of golden light and looked at the field before acknowledging his presence.

"Lord Faris?" he seemed hesitant.

"Hector. What did you find out?" Faris was momentarily hopeful.

"Just that no one knows who was on shift and no one remembers being on shift. They were all confused a bit too," Hector said with a shrug.

"And now with all the soldiers off the field, it will be impossible to narrow down who was where. Damn it!" he hit the table full of maps and kicked over a chest, breaking it into pieces.

Hector moved backward out of the tent. Faris followed him out and watched him bump into Xan and turned around to face him. Faris crossed his arms and watched them.

"I wouldn't go in there," Hector said as He motioned for a portal. Xan stopped his hand.

"What did you find?" Xan asked looking concerned.

"Nothing sir, Just confused magic wielders who didn't know who was where," Hector jerked his hand from Xan's and once again attempted to summon a portal.

"And my Mother and Kenna are safe?" Xan said as he once again caught Hector by the wrist.

"Safe, I promise," Hector glared and quickly took back his hand and finally made his portal out. 

"Hector witnessed another one of my tempers," Faris said amused and tried to appear properly abashed.

"How terribly human of you Faris," Xan tried to further lighten the mood.

Faris let out a sharp hearty laugh,"You mean how terribly dragon of me. My forebearers were emotional, puerile beings and hardly as wise as they were made out to be."

Xan took off his gloves and was going to enter the tent and that is when Faris noticed the mark of earth on Xan's hand was glowing brightly and pulsing.

"Xan, is everything alright?" Faris asked concerned.

Xan shrugged,"I have never seen my mark do anything like this."

He watched Xan walk into the tent and set down his gloves on the maps they had been looking over before the strange events. Then he heard the tunneling. A thick scaled worm popped up in front of Xan and its scales pulsed light in the same rhythm as his mark.

"Why did you summon Terren?" Faris asked looking on while fingering map pieces and figures set on them.

"I didn't," Xan said awkwardly. Terren made an odd fluted sound and pressed his large head against Xan like a cat in happy greeting," Ah, the gods are curious and sent him to get information."

"They seem just as confused by their lost brother as we are." Faris sighed.

Terren dove back into the ground after his happy greeting and once again disappeared. Xan looked back down to his mark and the pulsing had stopped.

"It's late..." Xan was saying as Faris walked over and put both hands on his shoulders.

"I need a drink," Faris grinned and pulled a flask from his inside pocket, "Share the Deadwatch with me?"

"Count me out tonight, I have both a wife and a mother who probably want to talk to me, since I never told them about each other," Xan said with a small laugh. He watched him  grab his gloves and walked out of the tent and motioned his hand for a portal and was gone in a flash of golden light.

Faris sat down. He was alone and felt it. He took a very long sip from his flask of elven elderberry wine and sighed. He didn't want to go back to camp to a tent full of messages and people who needed to strangle him with questions. The camp would survive one night without him. Just one night.

He quietly stood and brought the little stool outside and then went back into the tent. He gathered up and then stacked the broken chest he had kicked earlier outside to make a nice fire. He whispered quietly,"Ea" and the wood caught fire. He drank and watched the darkness take the field. He was starting to nod off. A flash of golden light lit up Faris from behind and he saw his own shadow stretched across the ground. He sighed mournfully.

"I figured you could use a friend," A voice said from behind. Faris peered into the darkness and saw the face of a green orc with elven features.

"Alaric, you are right," Faris grinned sadly,"As always."

Alaric held up a bottle for him to see, and Faris was happy to see it was dwarven whiskey.

"And as always you know just the right way to cheer me up," Faris grinned.

Alaric laughed and unstoppered the bottle. He set down the chair he had brought and passed the bottle to Faris. Alaric started singing a song to bid farewell to the fallen on the field, and then took a big drink himself as Faris passed back the bottle. Faris joined in the song.

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