"You and your friends are wounded, I see. But I haven't much time here, and your holy one has the matter well in hand."|
Nibar could only nod mutely; he had no idea how to address or relate to a native of the realms of heaven. Elementals were one thing, and he couldn't deny the necessity of interaction with certain infernals, but this was a celestial!
"Come, young master kobold. Will you not tell me how one of your kind comes to be traveling with such an eclectic company? I sense something troubling here." At that moment, a mote of light seemed to...pool, at the bottom of the floating luminous ball, and then it fell. It hit the ground silently, puddling in the still-brown grass of the winter not wholly gone. Then the light faded and died. If was as though the light dripped, and no time at all passed between the thought of metaphor and the realization that the being was bleeding. As if in confirmation, the ball dimmed, barely perceptible but not lost on Nibar.
Nothing changed about it: it was still a floating ball of light. Yet it seemed to Nibar as though it was smiling at him, sending him comfort and reassurance. "You saw it. Do not worry. I am in no danger of dying. It merely hastens my return home." Could it read minds? Nibar didn't think so, but he couldn't be sure.
He knew then that if he were going to say anything about the strange circumstances that brought them here, he'd have to say it now, and quickly.
"I, um, I don't know where to start. Everything sort of just happened one after another. Like getting sent from Valkith to Azhgrott, and then Seetha and getting sent into the human lands to scout and raid, and then finding out about the vampires, and learning about Seetha's, um, 'darkness', and the holy sword, and demons, and Baelphegaz...." He trailed off; he was babbling, and couldn't seem to help himself. He took a deep breath, tried to gather his wits, and perhaps some courage. He tried to think what Seetha would do.
He shook his head.
He tried to think what Korak would do. He started over, explaining slowly but very briefly how their troupe had come to be here. The assignment to Azhgrott, meeting Seetha, the vampire menace and Edgar Tredgemor with Edrik Vawdrey standing against them, learning of the "darkness" within Seetha and the mysterious and ominous story surrounding her origin, the interference of Balphigaz and the hints that there might be more than one infernal faction at work, the hut and journal of Agonis, Ulric's appearance, the cave with its painting and their search for William Magnan, Kiergard and the orbs and the Shadow Realm, and finally, the strange doings in Massenmarch tied up with their trek to the druid grove. Brief though he tried to be, several
more times light dripped, puddled, and extinguished, leaving the celestial being dim and wan.
The silence held a moment between them. Then it spoke, with curiosity and consideration mingled in its voice. "That is a strange tale, young master kobold, a strange tale indeed. I cannot say what will happen, but I know that there are those in the heavens who will take an interest in this tale. A great interest. And I do not think that those who stand above me will remain entirely idle. Take heart; you and your comrades will not be left to face all of these machinations without aid or succour."
Nibar sensed its countenance shifting away from him, turning to survey his friends. Again it bled and its light dimmed, now less than a guttering torch.
"Yes, I see the darkness you speak of. It speaks much of her that she uses her gift in constructive ways--"
"I'm not sure that I'd call what she does constructive--"
"I am sure you take my point," the being said, and even now its no voice carried no hint of annoyance. "She does not use it for power or otherwise to benefit only herself. Still, this could be a problem." Another drop of light peeled away and fell, leaving the celestial's light so dim that it was now quavering.
"My time is nearly done here, in all your tale, you still have not told me your name."
"Oh, um, it's, um, Nibar."
He felt that sensation of the being smiling at him again, but this time it was brief, there and gone. "A fine name, Nibar. A fine name for a wizard. I am Lucen; my name may aid you, in future. But, hear me, young one: your friend is not the only one here in whom there is a darkness. There is a shadow within you, too, yet it is no work of the hell-born. You must take care that your talents do not lead you astray."
Whether Lucen had finished or had more to impart was suddenly rendered irrelevant. The little wavering globe fell as though rolled off a table. It dissolved away as it plummeted, rendering all trace that it was ever there gone before it reached the dead yellow grass.
The saurian stood rooted to the spot. A shadow? What shadow? He had become more capable, yes, but he wasn't misusing his ability...was he? Surely not. And even if, somehow, he were, Seetha or Korak or Nyla or even Owenheim could smoosh him like a particularly big insect.
Any further thoughts were interrputed by Korak, shouting at him to see to the village folk. He made sure his hat sat snugly on his head and tried to make himself ready to face the screaming, the crying, and the uncertainty.