“While most in Talendor slumbered, Talon Stormbringer crept through a hallway dark with flickering shadows, his human ears and eyes alert. He’d already slipped undetected past a jhaikan and a mynx, undeterred by their ferocity and taste for man-flesh. Even the dozen sleeping riven in the courtyard hadn’t given him pause, when even fully armored knights would have turned away. The little monsters were infamous for stirring at the slightest sound and waking to become like a whirling dervish of steel, not unlike what Talon himself could unleash from the sword he gripped in one hand.
Now he heard nothing, not even his own passage, the supple black leather pants and tunic he wore never squeaking as he crept toward the doorway and his prize—the gold figurine of a great bird of prey, said to be magical and worth a fortune. Stories in taverns had piqued his interest but also warned him of the dangers, the greatest of those being the wizard whose white tower he now prowled. Some said Viland Shadowbreaker enjoyed unsavory habits when few were looking, his public persona of benevolent charm masking a dark truth. But men with great secrets often hide things of greater importance than their private sins.”