Chopkil jolted awake. Duk and Muk were still asleep on the ground next to him, but the house and yard was gone, replaced with shadows and swirling white mist that formed strange patterns in the darkness.
Chopkil spun around and instinctively lashed out, his fist passing through nothing but empty air.
No, not quite empty. The mist seemed to be sliding around something solid, the shape of a man, visible only by the emptiness in the drifting fog.
A voice spoke from the void. “You have been most entertaining.”
Chopkil tentatively poked at the emptiness, but his finger found nothing to connect with.
“I admit in the past I’ve played games, setting shipwrecked survivors to amusing tasks to help me pass my time on this island. Barbarians are endlessly entertaining, but they always seem to break rule number one. It is not wise to harass the people who keep me fed. In the past I’ve been more than willing to sacrifice a playing piece to keep the peace, but the days are slipping away. I am now called to a higher purpose and without all my remaining pieces I risk losing the game.”
Chopkil warily circled the silhouette. It was hard to tell, but he was pretty sure the shape was turning to watch him. It continued to talk.
“Please don’t think badly of me for having to punish you and I truly swear I am being quite lenient. This is simply a demonstration of my power and will serve as a reminder should you think about misbehaving in the future. You can use that stolen restoration potion on yourself, but if you want your horde back you’ll have to apologize to Vasu. Once you’re back in a more… reasonable shape, check your supplies. I’ve left you a little something as a gesture of good faith.”
The shape stepped forward through the mist and grabbed the piece of driftwood hanging from Chopkil’s neck.
“A talisman of Newt Warding. How quaint. Pity I haven’t signed it.”