"Does the walker choose the path,
or the path choose the walker?"
Shoel's story is rated PG-13 for language, mild violence, and descriptions of the Dead.
Part One: All Roads to the River
Accident can sometimes have fortuitous consequences-- if there are any accidents, at all. It certainly seemed like an accident that brought both Shoel and the necromancer Hemlock Bleedingheart to Hatching Bay 05 at the exact same time, two days after the xenodragon hatching, both intent on the same ghost: the tycharis Skelemis. Shoel had sensed him when she came to investigate the tail end of the xenodragon hatching, and Hemlock had sensed him while actually attending that hatching as a sponsor-turned-bonded. A brief battle ensued over the spirit, and resulted in Skelemis being formed into a Shadow Hand and bound to Shoel, both Shoel and Skelemis being Searched, after a fashion, for the undead hatching at the Ring of Fire by the Firelancer himself, and Hemlock being assigned as Shoel's "bodyguard", as punishment for getting into a fight on the station. Shoel had permission to hunt the necromancer and kill him, if she could, which, at the time, she fervently wanted to do.
Unfortunately for Shoel, though fortunately for the residents of RoF, Hemlock was the only person, dragon, or even thing that she had permission to hunt and banish-- and there were plenty of people, dragons, and other things at RoF that, to Shoel's sense of the Dead, should be banished. After a week of feeling like she was going mad with conflicting desires and confused thoughts, the necromancer himself, for reasons of his own, offered her escape until the hatching. Though she didn't know why he would do such a thing, she agreed out of desperation, and he took her down to the neighboring Garden Dragon state of Arliingran. She still didn't trust him, especially since he took advantage of her fear of heights by nearly throwing her off a very high bridge over a canyon river en route to the state's capitol city of Phoenix Rose. He swore he wasn't serious, but Shoel couldn't quite believe him.
Further accident introduced her to the province's king, Drakonus. It was their conversation-- and Shoel's certainty that doing something was better than doing nothing-- that led her and Hemlock out of Arliingran, not quite on the same poor terms they had been on before. They had a couple more fights, but in the end, had a sort of truce between them. No longer out for his blood, Shoel left with him instead on the hunt for none other than Drakonus' Dead father, raised by Hemlock and another necromancer over thirty years before.
Shoel's abilities and homeworld are copyrighted to Garth Nix.
Quote borrowed from Garth Nix's book, Lirael, from The Book of the Dead.