Vernac screams of panic “Purge them! Purge them!” did little to help their own shock, Dailin wasn’t the first to fire at the mob, but for once he also wasn’t the last. Plantlife, all of it welted as a rivers worth of water rushed towards them. Cutting its way through the mob of enemies. He and others not in control of the water fired waves of air at their foes. Lines upon lines of Nightmares were cut down, craters sized holes bunched into their army, all of it did nothing. The whole room was alive, just one multi-limbed monstrosity, slowly creeping its way to them.
Water collected over their heads, when a large enough mass accumulated Dailin and others shaped it into volleys of iced arrows. It flew, hundreds racing into the mass of wiggling limbs. They did this volley after volley barely holding the horde back. He knew they were killing mounds full of them with each hit, but more just came out of the woodwork. Others worked their magic’s condensing large chunks of ice into a wall, slowly they blocked paths forcing the horde into a tight bottleneck. When Nightmares condescended enough they shaped and fired tree size spears into their ranks. Where it hit everything was crushed, ground buckled, only to refilled with more of the damn-dibble things.
During all of this, the Hill of death crawled closer, letting loose a constant hail of war calls. Vernac, Dailin saw from the corner of his eye, him and his ilk tearing open a container. Arms wrestling out larger Hearts that glowed with life. Life that flowed into their hands, they turned towards the horde then, their eyes and veins a glow. He and all the other stepped out of their way, or line of fire, while still sending spells off in rapid succession. When Vernac ilk fired off chants, it made Dailin and the other Chanters own appear as parlor tricks. The horde was blasted back, body parts flying everywhere. Unlike before Nightmares didn’t have time to surge forward before another equally powerful blast of air hit them again. The downside was Vernac group was beginning careless, damaging the ice wall they had made. No one voiced a complaint of course, and not just from fear either, most are breathing hard. Many were on their knees or on all fours, half aware of their surroundings.
Dailin felt warmth rush into him, renewed and his body eager to release the access mana. Dailin looked to Aethin and found he wasn’t in his trance anymore, he looked scared out of his mind “An Ancient, an Ancient” he kept mumbling that has he fished into his cloak, pulling out a hand-sized Heart.
Dailin looked towards the walking hill, this Ancient and wondered ‘What did I do to deserve facing against that?’ Its stride was slow and close enough that the overcharged Chanters turned their wrath upon it. Bolts of air and tree-sized spears were hurled at it, Dailin ears went lip as he heard a sound that his mind refused to believe. The Ancient hummed, its overlapping frame of shell and leathered hide glowing. Air exploded into it, blasting the surrounding horde apart, the Spears instead of impaling the creature shattered. The Chanters went silent all sharing the same look of horror, the void of sound didn’t last as Nightmare rushed forward, only to stop as the creatures picked up on the growing vibrational hum emanating from the Ancient one.
In the center of the Mound blending in with all the other lumped flesh, a mouth opened its teeth flat and orated in circles leading to the mass at the back. Where a large vibrating throat was exposed. The hum grew louder and louder. Vernac shrieks pulled him back to the present “Shields. Shields you Worthless fools NOW! His ilk and others that could race about, forming Barriers around them, layer upon layer. Dailin even though he couldn’t form them himself, (without two hands) poured mana into the construct. Even Vernac aided in their efforts, illuminating just how dire things were.
Only a few seconds passed in their task before hell bared down on them. The Ancient howled and Dailin could literally see the air warp before their shielding was struck. Dailin felt like he’d been hit in the gut as the Mana was pulled out of him to maintain the shield. Outside everything evaporated apart similar to their own chants. The Creature continued its assault caring little for its own that were caught in its attack. Stone crumbled around them falling, slabs hammering into their Barriers, Barriers that were dissolving, even with them giving everything they had, they were slowly losing.
Then it was gone, the wave of death ended and the void of noise that followed had for a moment, him thinking that he had died. The Nightmares, however, were unaffected, they charged as their leader finished its attack. They are no longer confined either, as the Ancient surprise had completely destroyed the walls of ice. Not that it matters he and those around him were spent, their barriers thin and in poor repair. ‘It would have been a mercy to just have died to that attack.’ Now as he looked forward, he knew was going to be ripped apart and eaten alive.
When the horde closed those few that had some reserves left had the barriers fly off glowing hot, melting waves of Nightmares. Water reformed around them as Chanters fired new volleys of shards. Nowhere near the pace or volume as they as before, Dailin just watched greedily sucking in air that his lungs refused to accept was enough. He gasped and fell to his kneels when an intense fire traveled through his veins. Aethin still clasping his hand poured all the mana in the Heart he carried into Dailin.
Dailin laughed, he felt alive, felt like a god, as he fired upon the masses. They were nothing to him now, pest, vermin to be stepped upon, he would show them who to fe—
His thoughts failed him, as he heard death hum again, the Nightmares themselves fled even their animalistic minds able to see what was to come. The Ancient was close to them now, towering over them as their attacks shattered uselessly on its frame. He was about to close his eyes, pray it would be quick, but then he remembered ‘Lightning!’ he hummed readying himself. As he began to move his arms, one remained fixed in place. Aethin still held it in a vice grip, worse Aethin had gone sheet white, eyes clouded. “Aethin let go” he pulled his arm “let got Damnit!” He tried wrenching Aethin off, but his grasp remained firm, his fingers might as well have been steel chains for how tight they were bound.
He was about to blast Aethin arm off, but he stopped as his ears perked up. Another hum, for louder than his fellows had been casting off. That’s when he noticed his overcast shadow in front of him, as a bright light illuminated him from behind. He had to squint his eyes as he turned to look at the form. To look at Vernac who was draining one Heart after the other, when he was done he looked half made of light. He no longer had eyes but orbs that resembled stars, his veins and large parts of frame glowing like the sun. He stared down the Ancient as Chanters backed away from him, a mad crooked grin on his lips. His arms pointed forward, his body shaking and small bolts of lightning played around his body skipping from arm to arm, from finger to finger. His voice echoed loud and clear through the cavern matching the Ancients owns.
It crescendo, the world shook, and all was bathed in light. Even when Dailin shielded his eyes, closing them tight, it was still blinding, his ears rang and everything became muted, muddled. He fell to the floor his hands pressed against his eyes. He didn’t know how long he was there crippled on the floor. But when he did recover, he saw the Ancient still standing there. Its large mouth and the mound it carried gone. What remained was a body scorched, blistered with chunks missing. Its long-armed limbs hanged loosely, even still it was alive.
Dailin couldn’t hear, but what he saw of the creature showed a clear picture that it was howling in agony. His eyes widened as the things shambled towards them. Others had already recovered, but they were fighting off Nightmares instead of the Giant making its way to them. Vernac was on the ground, returned to his normal form, but nothing of him glowed, even his veins were dull.
Stumbling to his feet Dailin only now realized both of his hands were free, the light enough to force Aethin to shield his own eyes, who was still on the ground curled in a ball. Dailin grunted in pain, his ears ringing, and as he touched them notice blood was oozing out. He healed himself humming and redirecting the mana flow where it was needed. It took him longer with more mishaps and failures than he'd like, but the lack of hearing was a good excuse. His eardrums popped as they reformed, and the world erupted in a chorus of noise. He pulled them down wishing that he could chant without needing to hear his hum. But as he looked at the disfigured hill still limping at them drunkenly, he knew now wasn’t a time for mistakes.
As his brothers fought off Nightmares trying to mass, as they still were recovering from the aftershock of Vernac spell. Dailin hummed and prayed as he aimed at the towering giant. He felt the thing focus solely on him as his song grew in pitch. It cried and quicken its pace, hanging limbs fidgeting as the thing fought to move them. If it had been healthy in its prime, the thing would have stomped him into paste long before he had finished. But the gods gave him favor this day, he thanked them for it as his chant concluded, and once more the world went bright.
It last seconds, as lightning streamed forward, multiple strigs branching off randomly catching Nightmares by surprise. The bulk of it hit the Ancient front left section. Where the leg connected to its frame. The meat swelled, became scorched before bursting, Flesh rained out, and the leg separated from its body. The Ancient wailed as it lost balance, its already damaged legs not moving fast enough to right itself. The ground shook when it crumpled to the floor, its multiple limbs spasming. Dailin fell to the ground as most of the mana in him vanished. He gasped in large breathes, and wished Aethin was there just this once holding his hand, feeding him warmth.
The Nightmares closest to them still charged to rip them apart, but those further away, the largest section of the host stopped. The things turned in unity and stared at the fallen abomination. An abomination that was trying to pick itself up, it legs positioned around it as best they could straining to lift the remaining mass. Thankfully it couldn’t, it wailed in misery and Dailin could still fell its eyes bore into him.
The host screeched before launching themselves at the fallen Ancient. At first, Dailin watched in horror at the prospect that the things may have a way to help heal it somehow. Instead, his mouth fell open as the Nightmares began feasting on their downed leader, it wails of misery echoing louder. Attracting more of the Nightmares as they turned from him and the Chanters. They raced to join their others in this horrific feast, which they were making quick work of as they swarmed over every surface of the Ancient.
Those new to this were glued to the scene, watching shaking their heads in disbelief. The veterans scurried about rampaging through the containers draining Hearts. Dailin was pulled away from the performance as warmth spread across his back, and a familiar hand grasped his own. Aethin was there and looked about to say something, his mouth open and closing before he sagged and instead patted Dailin shoulder. Dailin merely nodded at him, as he went about looking at the state of affairs. Vernac loyalist had surrounded him, propping him up as they handed Hearts for his use. His glow was returning, but he still looked dazed, even when they placed him on his makeshift hover throne. As for everyone else, thanks to Aethin he was looking to be one of the better off of the bunch ‘Yeah! I’m going to get stuck doing most of the work’ was his only thought.
Lots of it as he could see Guards and commoners spilling out of the tunnel behind them. Guards were holding back another wave of the pests. He had completely forgotten about them, as did everyone else as heads turned about. They looked in rough shape, and the number of them had gone down even more. Worst was the spears they carried, most weren’t glowing, the few that did held the front the only thing holding off the clamoring swarm.
Dailin sighed as he got up, Aethin helping him. He was less willing to help when Dailin made his way to the Guards. But he followed as Aethin refused to let go of his hand, and the far-off look of his eyes had returned. As he approached Guards made room for him, all the way till he was behind the line that was holding the Nightmares back. He hummed and moved his hand through the gaps in the formations. The wind howled and the clawing horde went flying into the hall painting it a thick red. He fired two more blasts down the tunnel just to be sure. He listened for a bit waiting for more screeches but none came, so he returned the way he came. Guards stepping aside, none looked at him directly, he felt somewhat important. But in truth, he hoped none of them were about to spear him in the back. They had been left to die after all if it hadn’t been for that accursed Ancient he and the others would have been long gone.
Even now they should be moving out, but there was still a cavern full of the damned bugs in their way. The Nightmares were distracted, but he wasn’t sure for how long. The Ancient wasn’t screaming anymore, he also couldn’t see it, as the thing was completely covered in its brethren. Many of them were fighting each other over meat scraps. Dailin blood went cold, as he witnesses why when Nightmares began doubling in size, those that had gotten to the fallen one first dwarfed the latecomers. ‘Oh gods, we need to get out of here!’
Others were coming to the same conclusion, as those that had been watching the display burst into action. Vernac half lucid, but aware enough to notice their plight began talking to his followers, who in turn ran about relaying messages. Others grabbed what supplies remained, Dailin would have done the same while others had been lying around. But he wasn’t sure how those in charge would have reacted, so he stayed his hand. After all, he had Aethin, the man seemed to be a walking Heart all his own. He was tempted to pat down Aethin coat/robe to see what else he had hidden away. If it was more Mana orated items he could forgive Aethin for trading their hover plate.
At this point, he was almost willing to sell anything that allowed them to acquire more of the stuff, especially in their predicament. As he joined with the rest of his fold, no one talked, or if they had to they spoke into each other ears. They didn’t need prompting to get back information, Chanters still in front, since that was what was mostly left. Maybe a handful of commoners remained and the Guards were reaching that few as well. The number of spears they had of any use was low too. ‘What a mess.’
Vernac was on the move leading at first waving a tired arm to get people’s attention to him. The rest of them followed after. Once things were moving Vernac quickly fell back into the middle of the formation, he sagged into his seat. Their path had them heading for the side of the cavern, there wasn’t a passage waiting for them, it was mostly to get as far away from the nightmares as they could. Skirting the edges of the chamber they were unmolested for some time, The Nightmares were to busy fighting each other over any portion of the Ancient meat. Even when more of their brothers poured out of the tunnel they had embarked from. The creatures high tailed it towards the giant corpse rather than bother them.
None of them let their guard down, even tired everyone was bug-eyed, flinching at foreign sounds or the rusting of foliage. Their pace was fast, Guards and commoners began to fall behind, none of the Chanters spared them a glance. This continued till they stared to have stragglers, that’s when Dailin found out that they weren’t as alone as he once thought. He turned to look when leaves rusted more forcefully than he was used to, and got to witness a rather small Stinger charge a commoner staggering about. The poor guy screamed as the thing charged and crashed on top of him. Its needle-shaped mouth stabbing through his chest where his heart should be.
None of the Chanters paid it any mind, some of the Guards had made moves to render aid but were stopped by others. The commoner died in seconds, not even able to put up a fight as the Stinger multiple limbs kept his own to the ground. His form sunk in and by the time the Nightmare was done his body looked like a withered husk. The Stinger scampered off afterward, its maggot behind bloated, and now had a reddish tint to it.
That got stragglers moving faster, but not long, being frightened only kept the body going to a certain point. With Hearts most of the Chanters were looking relatively rested. Dailin felt refreshed enough to keep going, he was a little air-headed at times, and his mind would blank, but overall he was well. As time stretched this became more and more apparent as non-Chanters were picked off one by one. Some he saw just gave up or their bodies did, they would sit, or lie down. A heartbeat later something would tackle them, and the rest was best left forgotten.
It became common enough that even he stopped turning around to look. Besides losing stragglers, perhaps one or two ambushes their march through this caravan went smoothly. He just had to avoid looking in the direction of the mound of Nightmares off in the distance. They stopped in front of new passages which been obstructed by plant growth. Before they enter some orbs of light were sent in, then they followed suit, not waiting for the Guards or commoners to catch up with them.
For once nothing happened as they traveled its length, long enough even for Aethin to take notice, and exit his trance. His grip even loosened once they were almost an hour maybe two in without an incident. None of them relaxed too much, nor did anyone dare talk, and their movement had become more refined. They weren’t running, just walking now doing their best skirting by unnoticed. If that was possible, the amount of noise that they had made fighting the Ancient could have every Nightmare in the surrounded area headed their way.
But for now all was quiet so instead of worrying about it, waiting for things to erupt into madness again, he instead tried to enjoy the piece. His mind was exhausted, tired of thinking, of observing everything that moved. He let it wonder, stopped paying attention to the surrendering, others will let him know if something is wrong.
He wasn’t sure how long he had daydreamed, but it had to have been of some length. It might have been the abrupt change that finally woke him. They were still in a tunnel, but unlike before where it felt like he was walking in a natural cave (covered in plant life) this one was plainly not. He almost thought he was walking in one of the Warded tunnels from the Settlement, he mind hoping that all this running around had been some crazed dream. That hope died quick, instant, as his mind fully woke. Most surfaces were still covered in the ever-spreading vines sprouting colorful glowing flowers or leaves of various sorts. It was magical, so very beautiful, now that the creatures weren’t trying to gut him. Which now ruined the moment as his eyes darted about looking for movement, and his ears twitched searching for any sound. The hall was the same width as the ones back in Settlement, a nice change from the cramped network they had been running through. The guards should have more of a chance now, which had him searching for them now that they were brought to his mind.
He didn’t see any, and the hall was long so there was no bend they could be hiding behind. ‘Gods we really just left them.’ The commoners sure they hadn’t done anything to keep them safe. But the Guards for what they had them facing up against they did a worthy job. Their reward left to die for no longer being of any use. That left a bitter note in his mouth, or maybe it was announced. He had, after all, saved them instead of blasting them apart with the Nightmares they had been blocking. He sighed while rubbing his temple ‘I hate this place, please gods make this effort of staying alive worth it. I’m not asking for much just, just enough to live a decent next life, I don’t even care if I’m a slave again. Just please nothing like this again. Not again.’
His musings of self-pity were disrupted by echoes behind him, distant sounds of a fight, screams, and screeches. Their comfortable pace increased to a fast walk again, though still doing they’re best to keep the sound down. Even with the tunnels appearing Chanter make. The Wards carved into them were dead as dead could be, any sound would travel in full to the nearest Nightmare lying in wait.
The sounds ebbed away, till silence returned and all he heard was the shuffling of leaves under his feet. The tunnel they traveled was mostly intact, with only the occasional breach marring its surface, if they wanted, given enough time these tunnels could be reused. This place could become a new home for someone. But his group showed no interest, they perhaps had reasons that he didn’t know for this place to stay abandoned. Other than Nightmares, for if that was the only thing, then he wasn’t sure if any place would be a suitable resting ground. He looked to Aethin, (who was mostly aware of things going on) and wanted nothing more than to start bombarding him with questions. He held his tongue, not foolish enough to do so. Even when the occasion misstep caused him to trip or brush to sound out to loud, he would get glares set his way. If he tried to talk, have a conversation, well he wouldn’t put it past them for trying to off him then and there.
Sounds had their ears perk up, and Vernac raised a hand for them to halt. Everyone went still, Aethin retreated to his paradise, his grip returning. While others held their breath, the sound was close, the scrapping of claws against the stone. His ears picking it up easily, and as they adjusted he was able to position the source above him, to his left. Echo’s from afar, the Guards appeared still alive and fighting. His hairs stood on end, the claw movements stopped. Everyone was listing to the distant sounds of battle, its ripples magnifying. Dailin eyes widened when claw marks rang out all around him, the movement of multiple Nightmares on the march. The sounds attracting them, blaring the signal of a fresh meal. His shoulders scrunched as he felt the stone under his feet vibrate with the movements of bodies swarming around them. They stayed still long after the last sounds left, then Vernac motioned and they began their march again, slower this time.
He was glad for that as it was becoming increasingly difficult not to make noise. The plant life was larger here by far, and the lights from them were nearing that of a light stone. He breathed deep, wondering if his mind was playing tricks, the air here was refreshing. As they traveled, and the paths became accompanied with slops, and upward inclines, he came to accept that his mind wasn’t lying to him. The air was refreshing, it was mana-rich or richer than where they had been. It was also increasing, the plant life a bizarre way of measuring the amount. He couldn’t see the walls anymore, as the leaves and vines were so large that they covered everything in a thick blanket. His pulse quickened when he thought that it also hid breaches, that there is a nice large creature waiting for the right moment to grab him through the thicket. He held Aethin hand tight, comforted by the fact he wouldn’t die alone if the worst came.
It didn’t for once, the tunnels they traveled seemingly barren of any sentient life. His mind refused to come accustomed to lack of wildlife in this dream forest. The duration of quiet went on long enough that people began to relax, there steps not as measured as before, some even started whispering to each other. But what really got his attention was Chanters taking various plants off the walls, mushrooms, even flowers and ate them. He didn’t need any other incentive before he pulled Aethin closer to the walls to grab his own share. He also wasn’t hungry enough to just shove the whole thing in his mouth, not without a taste test first. The mushroom was familiar as he nibbled it, salted, with the texture and grease of red meat. He was left licking his fingers when he was done, and about to grab another before eyeing a flower the others had eaten. He shrugged his shoulders and plucked one. Ripping off one of its petals he was surprised at how sweet it was for a leaf. His eyes bulged when he placed the remainder of flower his mouth. Caught surprised by the sap that laid within, it had his mouth tingling by the time he swallowed the bulk of it down. He enjoyed sweets but even he had limits as he grabbed another mushroom to wash the remnants of the flower.
He allowed himself a few more morsels before stopping, hunger still gripped him but he wasn’t in the mood for regurgitating everything, when something unseemly was bound to show up. He’s seen enough ruined remains from this one journey to last him the rest of his lifetimes.
As there marched continued, each new passage they entered increased in width, now five maybe seven people could walk shoulder to shoulder, they stayed bulked together though no one wanted to be close to a wall. The air was thicker in a sense, the mana he inhaled was enough now to slowly recharge him without Aethin sending his own coursing through him. His body was no longer troubled by their pace, which had increased as everyone was acting more lively. The air doing wonders for everyone, even Vernac who recovered enough to sit upright in his chair, his veins returning to their normal glow.
They entered into a new chamber, rectangular in shape that went long into the distance, the ceiling hanged high above, multiple entrances ran the length of it. The place was the largest intersection he had seen. Their guard returned as they traveled its length, Dailin had expected Nightmares to pour out from every tunnel, it seemed odd for such a place to be abandoned. Odder still why these people hadn’t made this their home, better air, already constructed rooms. ‘Maybe it was overrun before? Perhaps something in the Wards is flawed.’ He couldn’t see much of it, only small section showed through the wall of vines. It was, however, better made than the ones his previous home had, at least compared to where the commoners had stayed. Their travel through the chamber went uneventful, and he breathed in relief as they entered into a new network. The calm remained, the unnerving quiet continued, and he shut his eyes, they needed a rest. He let his ears and Aethin guide him.
He must have lightly dozed off for when he opened his eyes, he closed them again. Squinting, ahead was a bridge which traveled over a larger drop, across from it was a door that stood stories high, nearly reaching the ceiling above. The thing was covered in Wards so dense and overlapping even with the knowledge he had, it was difficult to clearly see its underworking’s. It bathed the hall in light, he now just noticed that no plant life defaced the surface of the room. There was nowhere someone could hide, or try to sneak their way towards the entrance without being seen. Across the bridge and as near the door that was allowed was a tent village, hamlet overfilled with people mucking about. Commoners, of which a growing number were turning to stare at them. These people were a poor sort to look at. Slouching, clothes in disrepair and they looked malnourished, or starved. ‘How are their people starving when there’s literate food growing on walls a walk away?’ He thought, and looked behind him down the path they had traveled, far off was plant life, and he was fairly confident that something there would be edible.
As they crossed the bridge the Commoners began to amass, shouting at them “Willing to work, any task welcome.” “Experience as a scout” or “Veteran Guard of three cycles”. The only response they got was Chanters raising their arms, people ran, and in seconds a gap was formed that they strode through. No more heckling was thrown about as everyone stayed as far from them as they could, heads lowered. Past all the folk on the far right of the large door was a smaller one carved into its surface. Guards stood at attention cloaked in matching sets of armor, all it made of a metal. It's surface aglow with Wards. Their spears were equally engraved and of far better quality. The Hearts encased in them three times the size of those used by the Settlement Guards.
These Guards also wore helms with face plates, rather pointless in Dailin eyes as he couldn’t imagine that it would provide any real protection from a Nightmare. ‘Would hide how scared they were I suppose, maybe I should get one, least it would make it easier to hid my feelings.’ One of the Guards placed a gem on the door. He seemed to be talking to someone, though Dailin was too far to hear. By the time they reached the group, the door had opened and a unit of Chanters came out. He knew from the glow of their eyes, not near Vernac brightness, however. That and they walked as if they owned the place, the self-importance apparently a trademark of his group.
They appeared, happy? Yes some of them even seemed completely thrilled to see that they were here. ‘I guess more spell throwers is a good thing to have under any circumstances.’ He was slightly confused as to why then this group of his had been out there behind thin walls. When instead nice strong looking ones were already at hand ready to welcome them in.
Vernac his hands spread, a smile on his face “So good to see a warm welcome” composing himself in his seat “I’m Vernac Zardath Grand Chanter, here to offer my services to this Sanctum, my acolytes and I can make sur—“
A Sanctum Chanter one at the head of her pact raised a hand and shook her head with a look of false sympathy. “That is kind of you, and I grant a Givers blessing for it. But there is no room here, for none of you Grand or not.” Her face lit up and she smiled warmly “There is, however, a new flock being organized, new grounds to be settled. If you agree to be part of it your welcome to come in for some time, to recoup from your travels. Her head swiveled taking them in, arms mimicking Vernac gesture “This offer is for all of you, high and low.”
Vernac looked stunned, but as the seconds passed his face turned crimson, his knuckles popped as he gripped the armrests. He leaned forward his eyes glowed bright, veins pulsating. “You dare!” The Sanctum Chanter smile fell as she looked at them with annoyance as she spoke “Or you can stay out here, with the rest of the Worthless” More of her kind emerged from the door all locking on to Vernac.
Vernac for his part mastered himself, instead of wildly striking out. He wanted to, Dailin was sure, but more and more Chanters emerged and gazed at him. Vernac wrath ebbed away and morphed into fear. “But we just came from new grounds!” panic in his voice “Its overrun, we even ran into a blighted Ancient!” That part echoed as all heads turned towards their direction. “You can’t send us back out there it’s lost, Lost I say!”
Sanctum Chanters looked at each other unsettled, Commoners those that were close enough to hear began spreading the news, cries of alarm rang out. But the one in front, their spokeswomen stared down Vernac, and this time her sympathy felt real. “But the Elders say it’s not, so you can stay out here and face this growing threat alone.” The women smiled again “or you can come inside and meet your new comrades in arms.”
Vernac slumped into his chair, his eyes going dim as the life left him, he breathed out slowly “I accept.” The spokeswomen clapped excitedly “Come, come there much left to be done, the Elders are growing tired of our stalling.” Vernac followed his ilk close behind him, all matching his glum. Dailin and the rest of the group stayed unmoving, as party members squabbled over what to do. Dailin looked to Aethin who was fully lucid, and not worried?
Aethin stared at him gave him a quick smile, even winked. Dailin squinted at him thinking ‘I’ll kiss you, by the gods if you can get us out of this I will.’