The King was angry. Mia, his level five Chief Warlord, was standing stiffly to attention, face twitching ever so slightly as she was buried in the verbal avalanche. "How could you lose such an important strategic position?! Of all the idiotic things I've seen, this comes top of the list. You were dug in, a Level Five city, all the units you could possibly want at your disposal, and you come limping back to me with four survivors. Be grateful we're so strapped for warlords, or I'd disband you right now! Jeffrey!" The last word was directed at the Chief Caster, a level six Lookamancer.
"Yes, your Highness?"
"Have you figured out what happened to production yet? We lost half our treasury, and the unit is set to complete at least ten turns from now. I don't even know how I ordered it - I thought I'd set production for a new warlord."
"No, your Highness, I haven't. I rather suspect that to find out what's going on would require me to Look into the workings of Fate itself, and that is beyond even the greatest Lookamancer on Erf."
The King sighed. "Very well. We make do with what we have. Mia, get back out into the field and try to salvage this. We can't afford to lose any more cities."
Nine turns later, only the capital was left, along with two units of Stabbers, a Knight, Jeffrey, Mia and a level two warlord. The King sighed.
"That mystery unit is going to pop at the start of our next turn. We'll see what it is... and if it can't help - which is the most likely possibliity - I'll disband myself. I'd rather die on my own terms than be crushed by them."
The Chief Warlord stepped forward. "My lord, no! You can't do that. We -"
Their turn started, and the new unit popped.
The first impression was light. That quickly resolved into buildings - a city - and units. People, clustering around. The King. Mia, the Chief Warlord. Jeffrey, the Chief Caster. Knowledge of these things was innate, but so was... much more.
"What... is it? Why can't I see its stats?"
The King had spoken. He reached out tentatively and waved his hand through the coiling wisp of black mist that occupied the space where he'd expected to find a warlord. It was tiny, perhaps a foot long and two or three inches thick.
"I... am Shadow. You may refer to me in the male. As for my stats... I believe that is because I am not under your command. Your city merely served as the vessel for my birth. I suspect this is because it will shortly be wiped out, thus removing all knowledge of my existence. That is certainly what is intended, but I am indebted to you for paying so much to pop me. I will fight for you. Instruct your units to follow me."