"They watched the skies for a sign.
Kahliam knew it was close just by the stillness. Except for the ringing of the bell, the air was noiseless. Nature held its breath leaving a vacuum of perfect silence. It was the kind of moment Kahliam would've relished had the creature not been out there, hiding among the clouds, waiting."
"They watched a figure move through the forest. It walked smoothly between the trees, barely making a noise. It was difficult to make out its features. It walked upright on two legs, but hunched over. As the two boys shuffled into the crevice under the vegetation, the figure stopped. It propped its head up, listening to the painful silence of the still woods. It took two steps in the direction of the boys.
They could see the figure was in the shape of a large man. But his features were barely human. His skin was pale and greenish in tone with dark veins spun across its body. It was taller than any man they had ever seen. It was almost naked, wearing only crudely fastened skins and sharp bones around its body. Its hair was a gnarled mop of thick twisted vines caked in mud. Thin metal rods, hooks, and studs pierced its skin forming random patterns. Its contorted face was riddled with scars and tattoos. More creature than man."
"The bark ripped away from the boys and the brush thrashed all around them. The forest exploded with a wicked roar and the branches and debris flung through the air from the whipping reach of the creature's long arms. A wind tore through the woods and stripped the boys of their cover. The creature towered over them poised with mouth agape.
Siduri looked at its black eyes. He never blinked again."
"The great walls towered above Angutara and wrapped around it like a phalanx of giant, sculpted sentinels. The city rose from the crowns of broad sweeping hills that overlooked a lush valley. Buildings covered the land, crowding every spare plot in a near-random jumble of architecture. The shores of the wilderness up-surged in a high tide of forestation to the walls. It was alone in the world, far removed from any other country, a full moon in an empty sky."