Accompanied by Xafra, Arlbor, and the twins, Cypher returned to where the Walker Kings began their journey, Nibenay, realm of the Shadow King.
Taking advantage of the djinn’s lack of knowledge of the past few centuries, Cypher used Arlbor’s indiscreet displays of magic in order to attract the attention of Nibenay’s Shadow Wives. Then he revealed his identity to the templars in order to prevent them from dealing with the offending magic user in a more permanent manner.
Splitting off in order to pursue his vendetta against Djenna of the King’s Law, Cypher entered Nagaramakam shadowed by Xafra. The mul’s skill at infiltration surprised Cypher. He noted the weaknesses in the royal palace’s security, making sure to have the most obvious flaws plugged, while keeping a few of the more obscure holes to himself. After all, it paid to be prepared. All the while he kept an eye out for the berserk…thing that had been hounding him for the last few days. A nasty brutish thing that was perhaps a bit too much like himself.
(Astral stalker art from WotC, MM1)
Once within the audience hall, Cypher and Xafra were pitted against the shadow prince’s dark twin in a gruelling battle that ended with the double slain, and Cypher triumphant. Staggering the shadow beast, Cypher clamped his jaws down on the thing’s throat, teeth ripping through flesh and cartilage to drink deep of the unnatural thing’s essence. He arose, reborn.
(deviation by krisium)
With the twin defeated, Cypher allowed Nibenay to slay Xafra. The mul had trespassed on forbidden ground, and after all, they couldn’t have her revealing the secrets of Nagaramakam. Able at last to claim his position as one of the children of the Shadow King, Cypher nevertheless could not move openly against Djenna. Yet. That vendetta would have to be set aside for the moment as Cypher fulfilled his promise to the dwarves of Kled. Informing the Shadow King of developments in the Ragnorra crisis and Abalach-Re’s attempts to seize control of the rogue star, Cypher was able to convince Nibenay to provide tacit support and supplies to the fledgling King of Kemaloc, Bjorn Mindhammer. With the assistance of nobles of House Kiyaka, Cypher was able to mobilize the merchant houses of Nibenay to generate a large convoy of supplies and other sundries that an army on the field would require. Arms and armor, the dwarves had in abundance, but it required more than that to keep an army fighting an entire campaign, and Nibenay would supply all of that for the dwarves of Kemaloc. Even at bulk rates, the profits for the merchant houses would be quite healthy. Coordinating with the noble Ahli Kiyaka, Cypher’s logistics caravan would soon be ready to supply the dwarves.
A slightly more irksome development was the fact that Dhojak was to accompany the forces being sent to Kemaloc, with a picked force of his minions in order to strike out at the advancing Raamites. Having to put up with the brute would be irritating. But then again, there was always the hope that the big lunk would get himself killed in action. If only Cypher could be that lucky.