"The bones of our Ancestors remind us of our history, of our pasts and tragedies, of our victories and conquests. They tell us many things, some grand and some grave... The bones also tell us of our future and that is when we truly begin to listen. Uneasily, they whisper to us and we listen to their hushed words with uncertainty. They tell us of a king, veiled in shadow and blood, with great war in his veins and passion in his heart.
They tell us, 'Beware o' Children of Songen, beware... Beware of the king in death's shadow...' and we nod silently as we turn our heads to the throne, to see Shakar calmly raise from it..."
It was shortly after Shakar had taken the throne, that they came; The Masked Ones, feverishly mocking, groping, clawing, stroking, slashing and even whispering to him in his dreams – in his nightmares. Every night, it was the same but he was sure that this, nightmare, had come to him before he'd even known how to dream, for it felt familiar, they felt familiar. Who were they, these featureless nymphs who wore grim masks and stalked his restless mind? Were they old lovers whose touch he'd forgotten, now seeking revenge on him through some dark, unearthly magic? Were they demons who troubled the dreams of men? Or perhaps, were they something... older... something ancient... some long forgotten harbingers of death?
He did not know, all he knew was that they would come to him every night, naked and cold. And in each dream he fought them off as if he was in the waking world, driving them back as they came gnashing and clawing with sickle, sword and spear, with taunts and poisoned kisses. And whenever they got the upper hand and would sink him further into the depths of the dream, he felt her hands wrap around him and pull him back to reality. His wife and his queen; Zyina, whose warm breath would trickle down his neck as her voice would whisper calmly into his ear: “Wake up, Shakar. Wake up, my king. It is only a dream. Wake up and come back to me...”, and with that, the dream would fade once again into the recesses of his mind to wait and linger, until the next night, where he would have to dream again...