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He listened to the rain drumming on the roof and walls and rolled to his side. Allenya was in Askh, three thousand miles away or more. He wondered what she was doing. Probably sleeping as well. He would have to spend the winter in Salphoria, establishing his rule, sizing up which chieftains could stay and which would have to be killed. Come the spring, he would return to Askh, leaving Salphoria to Aegenuis, Anasind and others.

It was a pleasing thought that carried him to the cusp of sleep.

Ullsaard sat up sharply, hand clasped to his temples as agony flared through his mind. A howl of pain was wrenched from him as he twisted and fell to the floor, daggers piercing his thoughts. He did not see or hear the door slamming open as a pair of legionnaires rushed in. He felt nothing but burning, a flame that consumed his brain, seared his eyes and scorched through his Blood.

While his body writhed in torment, in his mind he was carried up, up through the roof, into the clouds and beyond, spreading out beneath the stars. Like a rushing of a gale within him, he felt himself being torn apart, scattering through the air.

A thunderous clamour deafened him as he speared across the sky, the sun rising ahead, its first rays touching upon the walls and domes of Askh. His being funnelled down, swirling like a tornado, rushing faster and faster, drawn towards the palace on the Hill of Kings.

For a moment he saw a flash of a person and fell into the man's eyes, sharing his body for an instant, feeling something that froze his heart, even as his mind exploded again.

With another feral shriek, he surfaced from the fit, panting and wild-eyed. A legionnaire bent over Ullsaard, eyes fearful,

"King, what is wrong?" asked the soldier.

Ullsaard replied without thought, telling the man what he had seen in his vision, even as the throbbing pain in his head pounded.

"Urikh… Urikh has put on the Crown of the Blood."