In an unknown location…
The night’s twilight lit the grove, moonshine dancing across the needles of the pines, trickling down like a gently cascading waterfall. A hoot of an owl could be heard in the nearby trees, communicating to the watchers of the night. No wind blew through the grove, its borders surrounded on all sides by trees that held it gently in their limbs. Few knew of this place, yet fewer still had visited.
An altar, made of polished obsidian, rests in the center of the grove. Rising three feet above the ground, the altar looks as though it were crafted from a massive boulder of rock, so flawless is its construction. Its surface, large enough for two men, gleams in the night as it plays catch with the moon. Etched upon its slanted base are runic markings, legible to only the most learned individuals. The runes, fashioned at angles, catch and reflect the cold warm of the moon, and seem to glow with a silvery light. Sculpted above each rune is the shape of a downward facing key; protruding upward from that, a whittled recess extending to the top of the altar.
The shadows stirred beneath the sky and the trees swayed of their own free will. The darkness gathered in a coalescent manner, giving rise to both shape and form. Yielding the shape of a man, the shadow retreated beneath his steps as he entered the exposed grove. The moonlight bends around his presence, continuing to leave him shrouded in darkness.
As he approaches the altar, he lays a hand on it lovingly, running his fingers over and through the indentations. His touch is that of a lover, so soft is his caress. For a moment, he losing himself in his unfathomable beauty and his thoughts wander. They pull back in a flash as the sound of a leaf being crushed by a boot echoes in the still of the night. His eyes flare open, the whites of his eyes the only break from the darkness of his face.
“Do you have him,” he asks the darkness, never flinching.
“Aye, I gots him,” responds a voice from the edge of the woods.
Silence ensues until a loud thud permeates the night. A faint chime follows as beads rattle among an iron fastener, reintroducing a calm peacefulness to the grove. An owl hoots in the distance as the chime continues and a small iron ring rolls out from the shadows of the woods into the light of the moon. Its silver shine captures the light perfectly as it rattles to a stop. A small moon in the center of the ring wobbles for the briefest of moments before falling silent in unison with the surrounding beads. Above, a shooting star races across the face of the celestial moon, falling straight toward the forested horizon, a teardrop of the heavens.
“Excellent. The full moon will rise in ten days. We must be ready.”