• She stepped through the portal, and instantly into a world that had not changed in 1000 years. The sky and the ground still blended in an indiscernible horizon. But one thing was going to change tonight.
    Raven closed her eyes in concentration. Slowly, shadows began to coalesce around her outstretched right hand. They slowly begin to form a shape. More shadows joined the first, becoming more dense. Soon, the shadows became so densely packed that they became a solid object. A sword, of solid shadow and pitch black, that vibrated with a life and power all it’s very own.
    When she opened her eyes again, she saw it, the vanishing trail of an imp, a short wingless demon about two and a half feet tall.
    “Obviously a scout,” she thought, “so much for him not knowing I was here.”
    She searched the barren landscape of grey, and there it was. Just another spot of grey to the normal eye, but to someone who had grown up here, and knew the secrets it was plain as day. Her father’s castle, her castle.
    She closed her eyes and pictured in her mind the throne room, when she opened them again, she was standing just outside the front gate. “Odd, there must be some sort of protection cast upon the castle, no matter.”

    Inside the castle, in the very throne room where he sealed her fate 1000 years ago, he sat and watched in a pool of clear water set atop a pedestal. A smile crossed his wolf like snout as he watched her puzzle the magiks he had put over the castle. All of a sudden, his smile disappeared, just like Raven had disappeared from his scrying. Where had she gone? It didn’t matter, he thought, he knew she couldn’t get to him.

    Raven pondered the castle, and then felt the tingle of someone watching her. She knew that was indeed what was happening, not just a hunch. She summoned her powers and began to throw solid balls of shadow at the castle. They shrieked and sizzled and sparked as they struck whatever magiks protected the castle. She was quite satisfied with the result. She knew the force bolts wouldn’t do any good in breeching the protection spells, but the interference that they created would “short circuit” the scrying device. And they also provided her with another valuable peace of information. They revealed the nature of the protections. She would be inside soon….

    The bolts of shadow that she had thrown against the magik protections around the castle told her everything she needed to know.

    He sat on the throne and pondered. Several thoughts raced through his mind, until he settled on one thought, one plan. An evil smile crossed her lips now for she knew that the moment of her revenge was close at hand. Than, the castle shuddered and shook as if caught in a violent earthquake and windstorm at the same time. Loose tiles fell from the huge vaulted ceiling and crashed to the stone floor with a sound that rattled the teeth in his jaw. He glanced about the throne room. The huge stone statues that he had had built of himself began to rock and sway with no rhythm, but not quite reaching the point to teeter over. A winged demon of considerable stature flew into the throne room and landed at his feet.
    “My Lord, the castle floats!”

    The castle raised into the air and hovered just above the surface, a solid ball of shadow surrounding both it and the magicks surrounding it. Raven and discovered that the protections being used were ground based, and could be constricted. And that’s exactly what was happening, the ball of shadow began to constrict in on itself. An audible groan was heard as the protections struggled to retain its shape around the castle, struggled and failed, as the circle began to shrink and become smaller and smaller.

    N’toth growled low in the pit of his chest as he realized what was happening. He knew he couldn’t maintain the protections around the castle and keep the castle and himself in one piece. He knew what had to be done, and with a snap of his fingers, the protections were cancelled, and his Horde was unleashed.

    The castle fell back to the surface of the Shadow Plane, and a wicked half grin came to her lips. She knew what was next, as the horizon became just a shade darker as thousands of demons answered their masters’ call. Then Raven put up a protection spell of her own, a web, a web of shadow that surrounded her and the castle. It was just her and him now, and nothing was going to stand in her way. She again closed her eyes and visualized the throne room in her mind. The next time she opened them, she was standing in front of N’toth, and the foot of the throne, with a dark fire in her eyes, and vengeance in her soul.

    “You are a fool, and a brat.” Grumbles N’toth.
    “I was a fool, and young, but I have learned from my mistakes, have you learned from yours?” replies Raven.
    “I defeated you 1000 years ago, I will defeat you today.”
    “I think not.” Replies raven, as between her fingers a spot of shadow swirls, about the size of a pearl. She throws the pearl at N’toth, and it strikes him between the eyes. At first nothing happens, then the massive demon begins to deform, almost shrink, like a pond that has been disturbed by a pebble, only instead of the ripples moving out, they are moving in, in toward the spot where the pearl struck. He screams in frustration and pain.
    “You failed to realize that the throne is mine by birthright, and I stole it from father fair and square when I killed him for it. You also did not learn from your mistakes, my power did not come from the sword. It comes from my soul and from being the rightful ruler of the Shadow planes, and from destiny, as a protector of this world, and the material plane from filth like you who have to much ambition.” And with that statement, N’toth is gone, and Raven sits upon the throne of the Shadow Plane. She releases the web of shadow around the castle, for she no longer has to fear or fight the demons outside, for they are her horde now, and answer to her bidding.