Summary: A Lord is stopped on his way to breakfast

A/N: Mwahahaha, this is the great karmic punishment for being an awesome friend! Suffer, Lord Yaumeldil!

The Fog

The cold, dark part of the thrine was almost upon them. The already drafty corridors of the Castle of the Crystal were exceptionally chilly and the stone floors seemed to suck all the warmth from the feet that walked across them, despite the footwear.

skekEz the Occultist wondered if a part of the reason as to why it was, was because skekEkt was a skeksis of vision and fashion before being the skeksis of pragmatic usefulness.

Luckily, skekEz wasn't in the Castle right now. No, he was in a conveniently close by cottage that belonged to his dear friend skekFik the Writer. It was located near the main road from Ha'rar to the Castle, not even an hour away from the skeksis fortress. skekFik liked to retire to the small, cozy cottage for some of his meetings with his fan club, especially when some of his friends started to complain about the noise late at night.

Here, in the cottage that lacked nothing of the splendor and comfort of the Castle but luckily lacked drafts and skekZok) skekFik liked to get the feedback and adoration of his Vapran and Stonewood fan girls.

Right now skekFik wasn't there, he was on his last book prompting tour to Stone in the Wood, but skekEz was allowed to retire to his lair of literature anytime he wanted. The Occultist needed a break from skekZok's constant preaching and other pains of life that interrupted his studies.

As he rose from his bed, skekEz rang a tiny bell to let the Podling servants know he was up. He pulled some extra layers of thick, stiff robes over the layers he had been sleeping in, then stepped in comfy indoors footwear. It wasn't endorsed by skekEkt to wear the shoes made from fizzgig fur, because it was way too common, but it sure was warm. And skekEz liked to stay warm when he cold ninet approached.

Unhurriedly the great skeksis lord made his way down the corridor and towards the dinning hall. His dear friend could call the building a cottage, but it was a five bedroom manor with luxuries that not every Maudra had in her home. The only thing this structure had in common with a cottage was that it was built from thick wooden logs, smoothed out and polished from the inside, isolated with some kind of resin.

As the skeksis shuffled his way to the dinning room where he could hear Podlings hastily preparing his breakfast, he suddenly stopped.

"Hm," there it was, an odd aura, an unsettling presence that tugged at his finely attuned to the supernatural sixth sense.

A lesser skeksis would have ignored the pull and went to eat, but skekEz was a skeksis of duty. He was the only shield Thra had against demons from untold dimensions, ghosts of worlds long gone and entities prying on living beings. He grumbled and winced, but he turned to walk towards the main door of the cottage.

As he made his way out and stood at the veranda. a meter away from the steps leading to the frond, he took in the landscape.

The trees looked twisted and hostile, their colorful leaves no longer covering the branches. They seemed to be reaching from where they encircled the cottage, trying to grab the skeksis and pull him deep within the forest.

The light of the three day lights was scattered and dull, barely able to cast shadows on the damp, cool ground. The clouds were thick and gray, giving no hope that the land could warm up during the day.

And, under the clouds and among the trees, obscuring the view of the road and the deep woods, was the fog.

It clung to everything, rolling slowly around tree trunks and coiling between their roots. There was no wind, but it seemed to pulse and move, slowly coming closer. It was dirty white, transparent close by and thickening to a wall further away from the cottage. It seemed to radiate cold, more so than a regular fog would.

skekEz felt observed, as if unnumbered eyes watched him from within that fog, judging his abilities, trying to decide if he was a prey or foe. No animal could be heard in the forest around the cottage, as if all life was hidden or devoured already. The atmosphere was thick and the fog seemed to press against skekEz's beak, daring him to venture away from the warmth and safety of the building. It almost enticed him to step to the dew-dampened ground and to walk between the trees.

It felt like a great creature was lingering around, hidden just beyond the line of sight, holding its breath not to startle him.

skekEz sighed and reached into his layers of clothing, scowling at the moist and cold air getting closer to the skin hidden within his robes.

"Be gone," he said as he pulled out an amulet that looked like a carved piece of wood. with black and white symbols drawn on it. It hung from a braided cord the skeksis held in his talons. "Be gone and never come back!"

The fog stopped and there was a sensation of something angrily pressing against him.

"By the power of the ancient relic of Bydgoszcz, I command thee, be gone!"

After that shout - and a wave of his amulet - the pressure lessened. He glared with his yellow eyes at the receding fog, pulling away from the cottage. All that was left was a much less dense mist, a regular phenomena of nature.

skekEz was the only one who knew how to deal with entities like this, being from beyond Thra, that came to the land ruled by the Lords to prey on their subjects. And he, skekEz, was the unrecognized, unappreciated and often annoyed by ignorance of others, guardian of this planet.

"Ha!" he muttered as he turned to get his breakfast. "I bet skekZok would've tried to lecture the fog about trespassing."