Chapter 3

AT 1082 (AZ 1454) - Early Spring
The Black Keep, The Darklands

From one corner of the Darklands to the next, the servants of the Monarch Lich busily prepared for war, just as the humans were no doubt doing the same. There was no question of who would triumph when the strength of the humans was put to the test, but the Lich would leave nothing to chance and it was Medusa's task to ensure everything was proceeding according to plan.
She was in the middle of her rounds when she was unexpectedly recalled back to the Black Keep. No sooner had she arrived that she was escorted to the throne room, where the Monarch Lich awaited her.
"Medusa, Your Majesty," the shade of a long-dead king announced.
Medusa did her obeisance before the throne, greeting him simply, "Your Majesty."
As was his custom, the Monarch Lich did not waste time on courtly manners or long speeches and instead went immediately to the task at hand.
"You have served me well, Medusa," he said, "and for your reward, I give you a new mission."
What the Monarch Lich called reward and what most would consider reward were much at odds, but who would dare oppose him? None but fools. She held her rank because she knew how to obey and now was no different.
"What would you ask of me, Your Majesty?"
"The Lord of Serpents will go west and you will accompany him. He will continue on to Zephyr while you will remain in Notos to wage war against the people there until I come."
She was being sent across the sea? She had heard stories of the old Dominion and its ill-conceived war in the West. Was the Monarch Lich repeating this folly? Then again, he had a power that far exceeded that of the ones who came before him. Nevertheless, she was no general. How was she expected to wage a war and with what army?
"Am I to fight an entire nation alone?" she asked, not expecting a direct answer.
Surprisingly, though, the Lich deigned to respond.
"All will be provided," he said simply.
That was little comfort, but what else could she do? She would much have preferred to be at Arachne's side when the Zephyrians came, but it was not to be. She would go across the sea and fight as commanded. She had no idea what manner of foe she faced, but she would have to rely on her power and her wits to stay alive until she could be reunited with her friend once more.
With a bow, she said, "As Your Majesty wills."