The haze, rolling in from the nearby ocean and hovering just above his head, blotted out the meager light that might otherwise have been offered by the stars. The moon had already slipped beyond the horizon to make room in the sky for the coming of the sun, and darkness ruled supreme.
Graelen, untroubled by the lack of light, continued on his path into the valley. He had grown accustomed to practicing his craft in dark years before, and, as time passed, he had begun to prefer the shadow world. He wouldn’t have considered himself to be a dark wizard, but he knew he didn’t walk with the moral and righteous either. In his mind, to truly appreciate all that sorcery had to offer a wizard was forced to be open to all paths at all times.
Sometimes those paths made more sense to be shrouded in darkness, unseen, unwitnessed. His current task fell in that realm, so he did not mind his walk in the black of morning at all.
His feet traveled the well-worn path with little need for guidance or corrections from his senses. They knew the way. He was thankful for that as his mind was considerably occupied with running through the list of spells he had at his disposal. He had spent a week preparing for his mission and committed quite a few spells to memory in that time, but he had learned through experience that it was never wrong to ensure he still knew the words, the inflections, the gestures.
His dedication to his craft, to studying and practice, were one of the reasons he had risen through the ranks of his peers as quickly as he had. That was a point of pride with Graelen, and one that he never missed an opportunity to flaunt. They, of course, took exception to his teasing and had on occasion lashed out against him, but his skill had always seen him safely through those encounters.
He was a master of magic. It bent to his will. It crackled with energy within him. He was equal parts blood and sorcery, just as he was equal parts good and evil.
That didn’t stop Graelen from smiling devilishly as he anticipated the attack he was about to launch.
“They won’t know what hit them,” he whispered and his words disappeared quicker than the soft footfalls of his padded slippers. The darkness hid away the sounds of his travel just as it would hide the fire and blood Graelen was going to unleash before the world had shifted enough for the sun to sparkle through the lingering haze.