The wind tore at Cadoc. It was cold enough to freeze the cheeks of his arse together. His fingers bled, and he couldn’t feel his toes as he kicked his boots into the rock as he inched his way up the cliff. He tried not to look down, for the ledge on which he had walked was now invisible to the eye. Far below, the valley was a thin smudge of green between the sheer granite walls of the mountains.

He wondered at his own wisdom. He was supposed to be marching south to Kas Mendoc at the head of a company of men to enlist with Duke Kasparu. Fate had intervened, placing upon his path the lone survivor of an expedition his brother, Laclan, the Lord of Skeinhold, had sent into the mountains looking for silver. Cadoc should have left the man to his fate, but the surveyor’s terrible tale intrigued him. He claimed the party had fallen victim to bwgals lairing in the mountains. More likely they’d gone mad with greed and killed each other, but the tale stirred a memory of Cadoc’s childhood. His grandfather, Glyndaf, had always said bwgals lived in those mountains and the old man had known their true nature better than most, after all, he’d fought against them…and with them. So, Cadoc had left his men encamped below and ventured into the mountains.

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Chapter 2: Lair

Cadoc's remembers his ill-fated bargain with the bwgal.