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Not that dealing with the Shalgathi as an ally was a cake-walk. First thing one of them tried was eating the dark paladin who was with us when we had released the two of them from their cells. Liralae, the paladin, surprised the Shalgathi (this one was a him and a her and  an it and I really don't want to know how or why or when) when the Shalgathi master jumped her, unleashing a fire snake into his soft green underbelly and burning the poison stinger right out of it.

However, the golems the Shalgathi can summon came in helpful when we had to fight the Incursis master. .

That is one of them as it pulled itself out of the armor scales the master shed.  This Shalgathi master shed green and teal and blue and black scales, a handful of each.  The master had hidden a trump card and kept it hidden when the Incursis turned on it.

For all the help they were in rescuing Bastet and overcoming the Incursis, I was glad to leave them behind in the castle.  In a different time or place I would have killed them all and cleansed the castle with fire to remove their taint.


From what I was able to learn before we parted ways, the forces from Yundi had been considering this move for a long time. The Shalgathi foothold started with a group of elves they had cultivated and provided slime demons to.  This group had come to rely more and more on Shalgathi golems to preserve them from the trolls while they disported and wasted themselves in the embrace of slime and others turned to the magnethi taints for power. Aside from the human seeming dark paladin, they were long gone by the time I had met Indigo and there was little trace of them in the castle.

The Shalgathi had sold the elves and their retainers and others -- sold them all to slavers, mostly the foul goat footed ones that service the Wenelians when they met them as they ventured into the lands of the great desert and the depths of our world's dreams. The Shalgathi had found a natural ally and customer with those foul creatures, stealing humans and elves in their world and in ours and selling them in the lands of dream.  When the undying nature left the Wenelians as their god died (a long process, still not finished, it was apparently leading one invasion force), they had turned to the Shalgathi to help them find a place to flee their dying cinders of a world and their dead and exhausted star.  The Shalgathi foothold in this part of the world went unremarked and unnoticed as the fair ones slipped into the Kjjtthi grasp and it seemed that broad reaches of the dream realms were ready for the Wenelians and their allies.  Even after the fair ones were freed from the cluster, the Shidhe king of Paris was distracted by the war and other issues.

So the Wenelians began to enter in, together with others they were allied with from that space where they were, and began to move into Shalgathi dominated territories. Some came to our world, some to other dream realms where the Shalgathi had a presence.  This Shalgathi had no idea how many, or where, or really why and did not care. She had stolen this castle and this place fairly and was going to retake it to hold against all comers.  This was not the heart of the incursion, only an outlier, one of the far edges of the Shalgathi presence that had been overwhelmed by their "guests" when the guests decided to change the terms of their visits.  

I still needed to decide which way to go, but I knew I wanted out and away from the castle before I started seeking to determine more.  As for the paladin, she was staying. Completely corrupted, it was a good thing I did not have to take her with me, though I was uncertain about fleeing into the countryside by myself.  I hoped I would not regret that the Shalgathi master did not eat her. As for it, I was glad to leave it behind with enemies on its mind before it tried to eat me. At least the fight in the castle, and whatever confusion came afterwards, would obscure my trail.  

Too bad the paths of magic were so distorted, but it was shaping up to be a massive distortion that would block more than the hidden paths and passages.  Indigo had word that I was alive, and I would see her yet.  (Yundi for more background on Yundi and the Wenelians).  

Copyright 2005 Stephen R. Marsh and Heather N. Marsh
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