Fire crackled in the pit before his throne, the eerie green flames providing an eldritch and flickering light for the otherwise-dark hall. Shapes moved in the shadows—guards and members of his court, all giving him space and silence in which to brood.
The Erlking pondered his involvement with mortals.
His home was now attached to a new Earth, one he had come to in the company of the mortal woman Natalia. He liked this Earth better than the other; while not free from conflict, it lacked the all-encompassing war between magical factions that had dominated the other and severely restricted his freedom of action there.
Of course, this Earth had its own hazards. The Eye was in motion, and had taken note of Natalia. The Erlking would have to be circumspect in his interaction with her, as he did not want to come to the attention of the Eye or its wielder. Which begged the question: why was it watching her?
Diamond Jack gradually came to in the back of what appeared to be a prison ambulance. He was shackled onto the gurney with heavy restraints and the interior of the vehicle was obviously heavily armored. A tube led from his arm to a bag suspended above the gurney, although the needle was unaccountably withdrawn from his arm. Two guards in armor and bearing what looked like hi-tech cattle-prods slumped on seats—unconscious from their posture and lack of movement, although their grossly swollen hands indicated poison or severe allergic reaction. The vehicle’s engine rumbled, but Jack had no sense of movement.
A few minutes of diligent effort freed him of the restraints—even the heavy steel was not proof against his prodigious strength. Jack carefully tried the door in the back of the compartment and found it to be not only unlocked, but slightly ajar. Outside revealed itself to be a dark country roadside with only distant glimmering lights indicating human presence. Down the road, an alternating green and white light lit up part of the horizon, indicating an airport.
But here there was only the sound of the truck idling.
Grimacing at the sartorial offense of his orange jumpsuit, Jack availed himself of the darker uniform of one of the guards and vanished into the night