Chapter 4
Raising the Ancient Watchman

AT 1082 (AZ 1454) - Early Summer
The Ruins of Castle Euros, The Darklands

The Dark Eternal felt no small measure of frustration at the prospects of the war. The best possible outcome he could expect now was the mutual destruction of the Zephyrian and Dominion forces. It would set back his timetable, but the conclusion seemed unavoidable.
In spite of the unpleasant turn of events, he was not about to give up any efforts to tilt the scales in the Dominion's favor. To that end, he had traveled to the ruins of Castle Euros. The old kingdom was once counted among the most powerful in the world and surely some valuable relics survived the ravages of the Black Dragon Xargos so many centuries ago.
He sensed a passage to the levels below ground under a pile of rubble. With a wave of his hand, the large chunks of stone evaporated and left the way open. Beyond the first few levels, the architects of the castle had devised numerous means to deter interlopers such as labyrinths, false rooms and traps. These would prove a severe hindrance for all but the most skillful humans, but he simply descended through the levels with no great effort.
His progress was briefly stalled by a potent magical seal more than ten levels below the ground. Though the magic of the seal was strong, it was not enough to withstand his power. The emblem holding the seal crumbled from the sheer force of his will.
Down at the lowest level, the Dark Eternal had found exactly what he sought: a repository of the magical relics of Old Euros. Unfortunately for him, most of the enchanted items were designed to counteract the very forces he sought to empower. To twist their enchantments against their original purpose would be more effort than it was worth. He was beginning to doubt the prospect of finding anything of use when an ideal item came into view.
It was a Talos of finer craftsmanship than anything he had ever encountered before. Unlike a magic sword or an amulet, the powers that bind a Talos are at the will of its master. It was a simple matter of making the Talos acknowledge the Dark Eternal as master.
The Talos was designed to bind itself to the blood of the royal family, but that could be changed with little difficulty. Within moments, he modified the control spell to respond to his will alone.
Placing his hand on the Talos' forehead, the Dark Eternal charged it with energy. The control word on its forehead glowed and the Talos' deep-set eyes lit up. It slowly rose from its seated position, its joints groaning slightly from centuries of disuse.
The Dark Eternal looked appreciatively at the Talos. It would serve him well.