Chapter 18
The Warlock Revealed

Mount Drajt, Titan; Anno Titanos 297

"Sometimes a puppet needs to be reminded of its strings."
- Saying attributed to King Feng of Titan

Randwulf stood on the summit of Mount Drajt with his two sub-captains, Thor Magnusson and Leif Grimmson. It was the place everything began thirteen years ago. From the twoscore he had acquired that day the number of his followers had reached nearly two thousand. He had conquered every bandit group he could find throughout the Crescent Mountains. Surely the time had come for the old man's prophecy to be fulfilled.
"A presumptuous creature, are you not?"
In spite of all the years that had passed, Randwulf had not forgotten that voice. The same old man who had given him the prophecy now stood before him. Magnusson and Grimmson both drew their weapons.
"Trollmann," Grimmson hissed.
Randwulf held up a hand for the two sub-captains to hold. There was no need for bloodshed, not yet at least.
"Am I wrong?" the Conqueror asked.
"No," the old man replied. "You have good instincts. That is why I chose you."
"You chose me?"
"Surely you did not think I was a sign from Heaven. In all the world, you are the only one fit for the task I am giving you. All the preparations have been made. You will move your men out at dawn."
Randwulf did not like the old man's tone.
"Who are you to be giving me orders?"
The old man gave a slow wave of his wand and from the ground emerged a dozen of the red monsters Randwulf had fought on Mount Lang. They snarled at him, but did not move from their place. The old man cackled menacingly.
"Names are a pointless human triviality, but you may call me Shadowblight. Even the power of the Elemental Knights cannot stand against my abilities."
"Then why do you need me?"
"It is beneath me to rule over petty humans or to waste my own energy contending with them. You are a useful instrument, nothing more. You will be the king of your own nation. I do not think you have any right to complain."
The old man's arrogance grated on Randwulf's nerves, even more so because he had Magnusson and Grimmson with him, but he did not want to put the old man's boasting to the test. Though he disagreed with the means, he would still find the desired end. He would play along with the old man's wishes for the time being.
"Very well, old man, we move at dawn."
Randwulf turned and walked away, his sub-captains following behind, leaving the old man with his monsters. The nagging question churned and boiled in his mind. Was he nothing more than a toy for that conjurer? Maybe for now, but not for long.