Three days later, the spring rains came.

     It was a time of dreariness for the inhabitants of Drogarth. In other regions, where the rains watered the crops and led to a good season, the torrents would be welcomed. But this was not an agricultural realm.

     The land between the Startooth Mountains and Drogarth became an expanse of small lakes, the water gathering in the hollows between hills, cradled by thick rock underlays beneath the soil. Tree tops could be seen sticking from the surfaces of these lakes.

     The city itself cursed and moped under the onslaught of water. The Undercity became a quagmire of mud, and the sea spilled up over the tideline, after dark covering the docks by an inch or more and creeping into the homes closest to the shore. Parents kept their children in, even when the rain was not falling, because packs of rats ran the streets, angry and hungry, forced up from the Catacombs as the tunnels flooded.

     The upper tiers of the city were no happier. They, too, had their rats, and while their streets were paved and did not run to mud, the sewage system was not so large that it handled this much rain without difficulty. Walking the streets of the Upper City meant splashing through the two to three inches of water that covered the cobbles.

     Curses were said, and prayers as well, and the gods listened or not depending on their moods. Even the skies spoke, in rumbling bass tones that were often punctuated by bright streaks of lightning, but whether they were cursing, praying, or simply conversing cloud-to-cloud was open to interpretation.

     To those in the know, the rains brought with them unusual signals. Dark omens; evil portents. These people saw these signs, they pondered them and studied them, and though few spoke on the matter, most came to the same conclusion. They did not sleep well at night thereafter.

     Because something evil was coming to Drogarth.

     If it wasn’t already here.


...CHAPTER 11...