Earthen Shadow

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Master Kalen is the famed training master for Ellis Lathmore, the youngest Twilight Guardian in fifty years. Holding a fickle version of precognition via reflective surfaces, he can tell when something big is brewing. When Ellis’s former sponsored student, Terrance McGowen, comes to ask a special favor, Master Kalen must learn both sides of the story to prepare himself for the incoming storm.

 


 

EXCERPT : 

When my hand hovered over the keypad beside the door, a knock sounded from the other side. I requested a preview image and saw a familiar figure standing at parade rest in the hallway. Tucking the package under one arm, I opened the door and stepped back.

A very bedraggled, Terrance McGowen, Twilight Titan, stood in the hallway, one pale grey eye fixed steadily on my face.

I stared at Terrance for a long moment, trying and failing to discern what had brought him to the shared apartment. The last time I’d seen him, his left eye hadn’t been swollen shut. I leaned out past the door to check the hallway to see if my apprentice, Ellis, was anywhere behind him. The last time Terrance had come home from a fight, no one had gotten any sleep until a week later.

“Terrance, to what do I owe the pleasure at this hour of the night?” I caught the doorjamb with one hand, so the door would stay open. “Curfew is already active, is it not?” Titans and Knights were required to stick to designated curfews, while the above ranks of Shirron and Guardian were allowed to roam about as they pleased.

The Twilight were known as a respected paramilitary force, dedicated and independent from all ties to governments, churches and various monarchies. As a neutral powerhouse, we provided an objective third-party in various situations when requested and were usually the first ones on site to help during and after natural disasters.

Terrance shifted, discreetly. “I’m sorry to disturb you, sir, but I’ve only just been released from the Disciplinary Committee for an altercation between myself and an active Guardian.”

Please don’t let it be, Ellis. I don’t have the patience to sort through another one of your arguments. I surveyed his calm expression and relaxed stance. It was deceptively relaxed, but I’d learned to read him years ago. It was an ingrained Urukou habit to never present himself exactly as he felt in the present moment.

Having been under Ellis’ hand for his Twilight training, Terrance had managed to retain certain native habits, while acquiring new ones. His eyes, the palest shade of grey—even more so than an Air elemental—always gave him away. The hint in his steady gaze held a hint of steel, he’d braced himself for rejection, but had come anyway.

“An altercation?” I repeated, tipping my head to encourage him to continue. I was a high-ranked training master, but my reach was limited when it came to certain internal affairs. I’d transferred into the Amerinth Training Academy years ago, but thanks to my odd talent and general dislike of reflective surfaces, I did not spend much time in the company of my fellow Twilight training masters.

“I’m here to ask for a favor.”

Ah. I always wondered when he would make use of his connections. Must’ve been a rather interesting fight. I shook my head to push the thought aside. I would not judge him until I’d heard the entire story and knowing him as I did, I would have to pry the story out of him. “Ellis isn’t in right now. He’s spends his evenings in the-”

“I know. I’m not here to see Ellis. I’m here to see you, Master Kalen. May I come in?”

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