• A cold breeze whipped through Graybeard’s cloak as the ship neared the northwestern shore of the Black Lands. Voran stood next to him and examined the eerie black coastline, “I understand now why my father feared this place.” He said, “The very appearance of the land fills me with dread.”

    “Aye.” Graybeard agreed and turned to Ashlar, “Take us into that cove just ahead. I believe that it will be the best place to begin looking.”

    Ashlar nodded and turned the wheel in the direction of the cove. As they entered, the cliff faces towered above them, creating a feeling of fear and dread. The ship’s hull touched the shoreline a short time later and the company climbed out. Ashlar ran ahead past the beach and waved them over, “There is an old path here.” He informed them, “and it seems recently traveled.”

    Graybeard joined him and studied the footprints that covered the road, “A legion of dark warriors passed through here.” He stated.

    “They marched in formation.” Ashlar noted, “Obviously they were led by someone who commands their fear and respect.”

    Graybeard’s brow furrowed, “Canilus.” He cursed, “He must be searching for the Voliun Stone as well.”

    “Great.” Denethir moaned, “Now, instead of searching the Black Lands by ourselves, we have a dark wizard and his goons to contend with. My day just got a whole lot better.”

    Voran scanned the horizon, “My guess is that they are a day or so ahead of us.” He said.

    “Then we’d better get moving.” Graybeard said, “Eric! Quit tossing rocks into the water and come along!”

    “Coming, master!” Eric replied.

    Once Eric caught up with them, they set out along the ancient road into the heart of the Black Lands.