“You may feel free to refer to her as Rosheen here, Stormy Raven,” Jynx said sourly as she rose to put a kettle on the fire. “She’s no queen to me. Her father…my uncle…banished my father and me to this place to do nothing but make the bloody armor for her army. The one HE never used! Not that she does either, mind you.” She sat back down and grinned sheepishly. “Sorry about that. I don’t get many visitors and I often forget my manners.”
“No need to apologize,” Stormy replied with a smile. “Anyway, Rosheen told me that he disappeared one day. Left his food, which is very unusual.”
“Were there any signs of a struggle?” Obsi asked.
Stormy shook his head. “No, which is why Rosheen believes he knew his alleged captor. He loved fighting in the Gladiator Pits but did not like his masters. They did not treat him like the champion he was. Rosheen’s theory is that they sent his handlers, whom he did like supposedly.”
“So why not just send someone to the Pits and see if Galgrim is there?” Obsi asked flatly.
Jynx laughed. “One does not just go to the Pits without an invitation. Rosheen’s father tried to shut the Pits down, but she chose to just ignore it and hope it went away. They do not call attention to themselves or their establishment by letting just anyone in.”
Obsi pursed her lips and thought for a moment. “So how do we get an invite? Or do we know someone who knows someone on the inside?”
Jynx shook her head. “Don’t go that route. I don’t think Galgrim’s masters are behind this. Rosheen has left them alone for the most part for the last 50 years since he was freed. They’re not the type to do anything to make her look their way. Stealing her prize pet would bring her wrath and they know it.”
Obsi put her elbow on the arm of her chair and put her chin in her hand. “Then why, I wonder, does she want us to look there? Does she want to be sure that’s where Galgrim is, or is she trying to distract us from something else?”
“Either one is a strong possibility,” Jynx replied. The kettle began to whistle and she hastily grabbed it off the fire and made them each a cup of tea. “This is my special blend,” she said as she handed them the large cups. “Mint, orange and a bit of spice.”
“It smells wonderful, thank you,” Obsi said as she breathed in the steamy goodness of her tea. She took a sip, paused to enjoy it, then put both hands around her mug. “What would Rosheen want to distract us from?”
Jynx chuckled. “Oh, there are many things,” she said with a laugh. “The least of which is that there are copies of the Withermoon monsters in the Twilight Woodlands still.”
Obsi blinked in disbelief. “There…are…wait…what?”
Jynx laughed. “Oh, yes,” she said, “happened last time too. That’s how she kept Galgrim happy – she let him hunt them. Like I said, they’re just copies – clones, if you will – so they aren’t quite as strong as the ones that went back inside The Void. Not as mean, either. Still a nuisance, though.”
“How many are there?” Obsi asked. A scraping sound from the roof made her and Stormy glance up, but Jynx did not react.
Jynx shrugged. “Not enough to be noticed by anyone outside this area, but enough to be a pain in the arse to those of us who live here. Maybe 2 or three max of each of the 5 Dark Ones.”
“Gig, Kathool, Sho-Groth, Narlyth, Kullucid?”
Jynx nodded as Obsi said each name. “But not the good one…Hyaku. Guess he can’t make copies of himself, or he doesn’t need to.”
“What do they do? I mean, what is the purpose of them being left behind?” Obsi asked as she thought out loud.
Jynx shrugged. “Not sure. But my father was able to see and study them after the last Withermoon.” She rose and pulled a lever next to the fireplace. The ceiling rumbled and slowly pulled back. The source of the scraping noise hovered overhead until the roof stopped moving, then slowly flapped its wings and lowered itself into the room. The shape reminded Obsi of Namaka, but this creature was made entirely of metal.
“Beautiful, isn’t he?” Jynx asked with a smile. “Stormy, Obsidian, this is Morak.”