Once more, as usual, the darkness flowed away from Nalia’s body as she solidified on solid ground. Unlike many of her transitions, though, this one was in broad daylight and without any particular cover. Of course, that was because no cover existed in the barren and desolate landscape that she had been thrown into.
They stood on a cobblestone road, one that had once been one of the most highly-trafficked roads in Calsin. Running north from the city of Nettingo, it stretched up to the great fortress Drigornt. Or at least it had, back before the angels had blown up the capitol city and permanently destabilized the elven nation.
Purely out of curiosity, Nalia turned to look left and right, letting her eyes trace across the landscape. Everything was dead. Everything. Even the creatures that would normally eat dead plant material seemed to have perished, leaving thousands of leaves scattered across the ground where they had fallen. A sickly smell filled the air. It wasn’t the smell of rot, for nothing was rotting. It was certainly a smell of decay, it was… Well, it was just something downright unusual that Nalia had never seen before.
As she finished her observation, she turned her attention forward once more to the matter at hand. The Grove of Isengrod. It was buried deep within the city, and it was their job to find it. Assuming that Gethsemia had done his part, they would be shielded from the deadly radiation for as long as they needed to be. Apparently it was some sort of high-level protection spell that Gethsemia had pulled from a vault in Astheris. He claimed that no one sponsored by a lesser god or goddess would be able to make the journey. For her sake, she rather hoped that he was right.
The city was just visible in the distance, across the massive crater that so perfectly defined the strange capitol. The few buildings she could see from the distance were twisted and melted, almost looking like wax sculptures that had been brought too close to a candle. Even the bridge itself was melted, twisted into a strange misshapen design. Nevertheless, it seemed to be sturdy enough to cross. In order to properly test the spell and keep his servants safe, Gethsemia had elected to bring them to the edge of the bridge and let them walk across. With no reason not to strike out, Nalia began to walk forward, sauntering out onto the bridge.
She walked up to the edge and let her cloaked hand drag along the handrail as she began to make the trip. Gazing over the edge allowed for a view of a breathtaking drop down to a rocky floor that had been desolate long before the surrounding forest. She imagined what it would be like to cast herself off the bridge, only to teleport back up at the last moment. Gethsemia didn’t approve of such frivolous uses of his power, but it was certainly something to wonder about.
She had only been walking for a few minutes before she heard a soft scuffle behind her. She spun on a pinhead, bringing up her fists and preparing herself for battle. Her sisters had all been sent on other missions by Gethsemia, which meant that anyone following her wasn’t a friend.
Instead of someone trying to attack her, she found a sole dark elf dressed in clerical robes standing about fifty feet away, a rather concerned look on his face. He had his hand raised and mouth open, as if he had been readying himself to call out to her. Nalia slowly lowered her fists, but kept herself prepared for any eventuality.
“Greetings!” The man called out. “Sorry if I startled you. I’ve been sitting under that invisibility cloak so long I forgot you couldn’t see me when I was first waving to you.” He gestured at a small campsite that Nalia could have sworn hadn’t been there only moments earlier. If that was a simple invisibility cloak, she didn’t want to see what his more sophisticated tools were like.
“No harm done.” Nalia finally breathed. “What do you want?”
“Actually, someone to walk with.” He gestured at the city. “You’re here about the Grove, right? Sent by your patron to figure out why in Calsin it just vanished despite all the restrictions put on it?”
Nalia held her breath. If he was a warlock, or even a demigod, sent by one of the Astheris council members allied with Persphone, her answer could land her in a great deal of trouble.
“What’s it to you?”
“Well, that’s why I was sent here.” He shrugged and began gathering up several supplies, though he stayed put. “The only problem is that my patroness is fairly minor and doesn’t have a license to operate outside of Delsinar, which means that I don’t get regular status updates like some of you fancier types. It also means that if I die out here, I get to wander the afterlife aimlessly without any reward for all my sacrifices in life, which I don’t particularly enjoy the thought of. So, feel like taking a walk with me? I’ve got lots of cool magic I can use.” He gestured up at the sky, causing a blast of red energy to leap from his palm. He jumped back with a yelp, obviously uncertain of his powers. “So, walking buddies?”
Nalia snorted. “Have you seriously been waiting here for someone to help you walk into an abandoned city? Who are you and who’s your patroness anyway?”
The man drew himself up and put his hands behind his back. “My name is Donifer, and I serve the lady Fifthala. And no, I don’t need help walking into an abandoned city.” He shrugged and started walking away from the fire, apparently having gathered all the supplies he needed. “I do, however, need help getting through the angry regiment of flame elves that’s currently guarding the place.”
Nalia frowned. Gethsemia echoed her disbelief with a startled and quite deep gasp. She glared up at her patron, admonishing him for acting startled when gods were always supposed to be cool and collected, and then turned back to Donifer. At a glance, he certainly seemed innocent enough. Certainly, if he had been trying to kill her, he had had an opportunity that was now long past.
“Flame elves?” Nalia finally asked after several seconds. “What?”
“Oh, I don’t know if that’s their actual name, but that’s what I’m calling them.” Donifer walked up to her and shrugged. Now that he was closer, Nalia could see his robes more clearly. Deep purple, they were emblazoned with roses and drops of blood, both common enough symbols among the almost limitless deities of Delsinar. “They all look like they’ve been burned up. Charred skin, most of them have the wrong number of fingers, that sort of thing.”
“Uh, huh.” Nalia nodded. “And you know they have the wrong number of fingers because…”
“I made it halfway into the city before they saw me. It took me three days to sneak back out. I spent a lot of time hiding under that invisibility cloak just waiting for guards to change.” Donifer shrugged.
“And the name Flame? Because they’re burnt?” Nalia raised an eyebrow.
“It sounds better than burnt elves. Look, if you want, you can go talk to them.” Donifer gestured at the city in the distance. “I just need someone to help me. You look like the servant of a death-god, just like me, which to me means that we would work well together.”
“Or it means that I should kill you and offer you up as a sacrifice.” Nalia ground her teeth together, then breathed a prayer up to Gethsemia. “Any input?”
It was several seconds before Gethsemia answered. “Fifthala is trustworthy enough. I’ve not interacted with her much myself, but she’s well respected in the Delsinar district here. She’s not known for deception or combat, I’m a bit surprised that she sent anyone at all. Travel with him, perhaps it will strengthen myself in her mind.”
“I will travel with you.” Nalia bowed her head towards Donifer. “Thank you for the invitation.”
“I would call it ‘begging’ more than an invitation, but I’ll take whatever you give me.” Donifer sighed and gestured at the city. “Shall we walk?”
Nalia nodded slowly. “We shall.”
She turned and began walking down the bridge once more, ever aware that the dark elf was just beside her. If a casual observer had happened to witness the exchange, it likely would have been quite strange. A dark elf, who stood nearly two feet taller than Nalia, asking a human girl for protection. Of course, it was usually obvious that Nalia worked for a deity of some sort given her shadow-clothing, but… It was still a fun thought nonetheless.
“So what do you think we’ll find?” Donifer spoke up after a few seconds. “Do you think the flame elves took it? Do you think they’re maybe trying to go back in time to escape the destruction of their city?”
“I don’t know and I don’t particularly care.” Nalia ground her teeth together. “This is a matter for the gods to sort out, not us lowly mortals.”
“Oh, this is for sure a matter for us mortals.” Donifer snorted. “It’s our world, right? Time travel seems to me to be something that’s rather inherently a matter concerning to those of us without the ability to transcend it.”
Nalia elected to ignore the comment and simply continued walking forward. It wasn’t long, though, before Donifer spoke up again.
“You know, I almost got blown up when this city was destroyed.” He shrugged. “I only left a few days before the battle. Heard it was something fierce.”
“As did I.” Nalia offered no further comment.
“I was actually dating the princess. Hesione.” He flashed a smile. “Oh, she was nice. Obsessed with her brother, of course, but that’s fairly common among royalty. I hope she survived.”
“My last assignment before this one was to capture or kill her.” Nalia felt a brief smile break across her face.
“Really?” Donifer’s head snapped around. “Did you succeed? Is she alive? Is she okay? Is-”
He continued to babble for the next several minutes, eventually giving up and just stomping alongside her. She felt a bit sorry for him, though not enough to bother striking up a conversation with him. She talked when it was necessary to get the job done. Why did people feel an inherent need to chat with one another? Especially warlocks? They had their masters, what more did they need?
“So how long have you been a warlock?” Donifer’s chipper voice echoed through the poisonous air. “I was just made one a few weeks ago, right before I left. Before that I was just a priest. I think I’ll go back to being a priest once I get home, but it’ll depend. Fifthala and a bunch of the other gods got this protection spell for me, so I don’t think the other gods are going to want me remaining as an envoy when-”
Nalia spun, kicking Donifer in the chest. He stumbled backwards, falling down on the ground next to the far barrier. She formed dark blades in her hands and stomped up to him, holding the weapons just above his throat. His dark flesh became much paler, and she smirked.
“Do you really find it necessary to talk?” She breathed quietly. “We are traveling together. This fact does not mean that we have to be friends.”
“Sorry.” Donifer stammered. “I just thought-”
“And for your information, information on how someone became a warlock is deeply personal.” Nalia slowly rose. “I do not even know the details of how my sisters came into their powers, I know only my own journey. There are many spirits out there who would love to take advantage of such facts. I advise not even thinking about that process much.” She turned to walk away, then paused. “Of course, if your powers will be revoked within a few weeks anyway, I suppose the risk is fairly low.”
Donifer rapidly began to question how low was “fairly low” before finally getting the point and shutting up. He fell in step behind her, quietly following, which was just the way she liked it.
Together, they made their way across the mile-long bridge to the edge of the city once known as Nettingo. The closer they got, the more and more the features became distorted. Everything just appeared… Melted. She had seen molten stone before, of course, but that usually burst from the ground and then solidified in more natural shapes. Heat powerful enough to melt entire buildings was something she had never heard of before.
When they reached the gate itself, she found that the metal, far more pliable than the stone, had almost been completely melted away. They hung like strings, draped from the walls like a frozen curtain. The cobblestone was one sheet of stone, no longer were the individual rocks visible. All plant-based materials were gone, nowhere to be seen.
Nalia paused and knelt down as they reached the gates. If the city was indeed populated, she needed to take care that she didn’t walk into any avoidable combat situations. It was indeed possible that an entirely new species had been formed from the blast, and if that was the case, it was likely that they sported a new form of magic.
Carefully, she sent out several pings of dark energy, looking for any source of life. Nothing came back, indicating that at least the closest portion of the city was uninhabited. She stood back up and began to walk through the gates, glancing back and forth for any disturbances.
“Halt in the name of His Majesty, the King!” The voice was deep and gravely, almost inaudible. Nalia spun in the direction of the voice as a woman dressed in somewhat melted armor stepped up onto the roof of a nearby house. Several other warriors began to appear out of nearby doorways, all clothed in similarly damaged armor and burnt rags. They were a mixture of male and female, and, as Donifer had stated, all appeared heavily burnt.
Their skin was heavily scarred, almost appearing like leather in a way. None had any hair in the slightest, though their pointed ears did indeed confirm an elven origin. Moreover, their eyes were milky-white. If Nalia wasn’t mistaken, every single flame elf that she was looking at was blind. If that was true, their magic would likely focus around senses, or at least around the ability to see in some fashion.
After several seconds of hesitation, Nalia knelt down and bowed her head. “We submit, we will not fight you. State what task your servants may perform, and we will do it with all diligence. If we could beg but a simple favor from you, though, we do have an urgent query regarding the state of an item lost within this city upon its collapse.”
Several moments passed, and the woman spoke again. “If this matter is so urgent, then why has this man next to you been sitting at our gates for nearly a week now?”
Nalia turned and frowned at Donifer. “You’ve been sitting out there for a week?”
“They can see through my invisibility?” Donifer shot back. “Fat lot of good sweating under that thing did.”
“Silence.” The woman’s voice echoed across the courtyard. After several seconds, she spoke once more. “You require information. We require the same. You will proceed to the palace, where an exchange will take place. If you give our king the answers he desires, you will be rewarded in kind.”
“We thank you.” Nalia climbed back to her feet and gestured at the street. “Do we require an escort?”
“If you know the way, we will trust you to find your destination.” The woman’s eyes seemed to bore into Nalia’s own. Nalia inclined her head and strode off, down the street. Thankfully, having just left the city before it all fell apart, it was fairly familiar to her. Donifer hung close behind, his feet nearly stepping on the backs of her own.
If Nalia wasn’t mistaken, her suspicions about the flame elves using magic for observation seemed spot-on. First and foremost, they had been able to see through an invisibility cloak that even she hadn’t been able to detect. Secondly, none of the other flame elves had spoken to the woman, and yet she had been able to relay instructions in a manner that seemed almost authoritative. She hadn’t seemed royal in any way, which meant that she was likely being relayed instructions from somewhere else. It opened up a wide number of possibilities to think about, not all of which were good.
They soon enough arrived at the once-great palace of Elsinor. Here, more flame elves stood at attention, royal guards armed with spears and shields. As with the elves at the gate, their eyes certainly looked to be completely useless, and yet it didn’t seem to impede them in any significant way. In the distance, Nalia could hear the laughs and shouts of children, which meant that there at least was some semblance of functional society in the city.
An aide appeared as they walked up the steps to the palace, and wordlessly gestured at them to follow. From there, they were taken across desolate and melted walkways that were lined with debris that had likely once been the ceiling. Eventually, they reached the former throne room, now simply a flat slab of stone with two thrones erected at the far end.
Dozens more guards stood around the sides of the platform, swords at the ready. Nalia’s attention, though, was drawn by the sensation of heat against her skin as they stepped up to meet with the royalty. She glanced off to her right, where she noticed what appeared to be a river of green light tracing its way across the crater floor. Curious, indeed. Likely the source of the poison that was flooding the area. Of course, if it felt warm against her face, it gave her the distinct impression that “poison” wasn’t exactly the right word. Could light itself be poisoned? Was that what this mysterious “radiation” that Gethsemia was always talking about truly was?
“May I present to you, Nalia of Gethsemia, and Donifer of Fifthala.” The aide bowed low before the king before turning and walking away.
Nalia knelt down without looking up at the king, momentarily concerned that someone had been able to pick her mind. She put the concern away for the moment though, awaiting the king’s word.
“Rise.” A damaged and yet quite young voice echoed through the air. She raised her head and climbed to her feet to find a young boy sitting on the primary throne. Had he been human, she would have estimated his age at less than ten. Sitting in the throne just behind and to the right of his own was a female draped in singed but royal robes. “I am the king of Nettingo. It seems that I already know your own names, so let us get down to business.”
“If the queen mother could interject for a moment.” The queen leaned forward and placed a hand on her son’s arm. “It might be considerate to allow our guests some courtesy. I have no doubt that they have many more questions for us than we have for them. Given that they are our first formal visitors, it would serve prudent to-”
“Silence.” The king spoke once more, and the Queen Mother leaned back. He straightened himself and stared into Nalia’s eyes. “These two hold within themselves the stench of death. They are no more worthy to stand in my presence than the cowards who did this to us!”
“And yet, here they are.” The queen mother urged. “Please, my son. Do not botch our first negotiation with the outside world.”
The king’s jaw locked for several long moments before he sighed and nodded. “Very well. Ask whatever question you desire, and it shall be answered without recompense. Nevertheless, all future questions shall require an honest answer to a question of our own.”
“Of course.” Donifer nodded. “We just need to know what happened to the Grove of Isengrod.”
“And what is that to you?” The king exclaimed. “The second holiest grove in our religion has vanished, and you just ask about it so casually?”
“My son.” The queen mother placed a hand on his arm once more. “You did promise them an answer. It is not wise to strike back on promises.”
The king looked as though he was ready to explode. Finally, he nodded firmly and spoke again. “In answer, we do not know. It was taken from us in the dead of night, we do not know by who. We suspect it was one of the angels. If you know any of them, I strongly suggest you slay them where they stand.”
The queen mother reached a hand towards the king’s arm, then hesitated and sighed. The king turned and glared at her before shrugging. “Alright, that’s your one free question. What do you have to ask now?”
Nalia bowed her head. “Confirmation of what happened to the grove is all I seek. Do you know how it was taken?”
“No.” The king shook his head. “Now, we need to-”
“Wait.” The queen mother interjected once more. “We do know, at least somewhat.” She sighed and gestured vaguely. “We believe that it was condensed, somehow. The grotto shows no signs of destruction, only loss. Perhaps it was placed inside a pocket realm. Perhaps it was transformed into an artifact. We do not know, but we are certain that it exists still. We suspect the angels because the device used to destroy the city came from their own vessel. If there is anyone who knows how to withstand its effects, it is them.”
“That is what I need to know.” Nalia bowed her head. “Now, I believe that you need your own questions answered?”
“Indeed.” The queen mother spoke before her son could say a word. “We need to know-”
“You will not speak before the king!” The king snapped. He climbed to his feet and pointed at his mother. “Off with her head!”
None of the guards around the room dared move. After a few seconds, Donifer sighed and took a few steps forward.
“You’re Ditinul, correct?” He knelt down. “I remember you. I was living here, right before everything blew up.”
The king frowned, curiosity written across his face. “You were the really nice guy!”
“I know how to make an excellent taffy, if that’s what you mean.” Donifer winked up at the queen mother. “Not that your parents need to know how many sweets I gave you to eat. If you have the materials, I can make you more.”
The king started bouncing up and down. “Mom, can he?”
The queen mother appeared as startled as Nalia herself felt. After a few seconds, the withered woman spoke once more. “I suppose it would be allowable. To tell the truth, most of our cooks perished in the flame, and we’ve been struggling to figure out how to make our limited food supplies palatable.”
“Then show me to the kitchen and I’ll do my best to conjure up something that would make the gods jealous.” Donifer bowed low. The king scampered past him and through the open doors of the throne room. Donifer turned to follow, winking softly at Nalia. “See? Being personable helps from time to time. Make sure to fill me in on everything you two talk about.”
With that, he turned to chase the young king out of the throne room and into the distance. Nalia stood, confused, as the queen mother walked over to her.
“You have a good friend, there. A good heart, it certainly seems like.”
“He’s not my friend.” Nalia slowly turned back to the queen mother. “Though, as he has seemingly saved this audience, I supposed I should honor his request. Now, what was your question?”
The queen mother blinked once, her leathery eyelids sliding across useless eyes, before she made a small noise of remembrance and nodded. “I almost forgot. How is the world out there? What has happened to Elsinor?” She made a small whimper. “How are my husband and son?”
“The world’s more or less fallen apart.” Nalia shrugged. “Sintison has claimed about a third of Elsinor. I can show you on a map if you still have one.”
“Yes, please.” The queen mother nodded. “It is… I am not used to being so cut off from the rest of the world.”
“I imagine not.” Nalia nodded. “As for your husband and son, I assume that would be the king along with Prince Paulin?”
“Yes.” The queen mother bowed her head. “If Sintison has invaded… Are they even still alive?”
Though it wasn’t spoken, Nalia could hear the threatening undertones in the queen’s voice. If Sintison had indeed killed either of them, it likely wasn’t going to go particularly well for Sintison.
“Your husband is dead.” Nalia, thankfully, had no need to lie to the queen mother in order to fulfill her loyalty to King Korvac. “The Ambassador of Defense killed him only a few days ago and ascended to the throne. Sintison did not lay a finger upon him.”
“That rat.” The queen mother hissed. “I knew he was no good. I told my husband not to promote him!”
“Indeed, it would seem that the decision was ill-made. I can provide you with a list of the man’s crimes, though that would likely require more paper than you have in this city.” Nalia smirked at her own joke, then sobered. “As for your son, he vanished. Actually, he’s sort of the reason that I’m here. I was chasing him on orders from King Korvac when he and Hesione just disappeared. They left behind an odd energy, similar to that of the Grove of Isengrod. I was then sent to check it out.”
“I see.” The queen mother pursed her lips and looked down at the ground. Or, at least, she tilted her head in that direction. It was several long moments before she raised her head once more. “Once you have fulfilled your duty and shown me the newfound map, will you be on your way?”
“I see no reason to stay.” Nalia was frank. “I only needed to uncover information about the Grove. Now that that’s done, I will have other missions.”
“A true warlock, though and through.” The queen sighed. “I suppose you must remain faithful to your patron. Please, come with me. I will show you our command room.”
The queen marched from the room, a soft smile on her face. Nalia followed close behind, trailing her at what she assumed was a respectable distance. They made their way through the ruined and desolate palace, eventually coming to a set of large wooden doors set in the side of a hill. Two guards swung the doors open, revealing a short stairway down into a passageway below.
As they descended into the ground, the air cooled, thankfully causing the strange warm glow to go away. Perhaps it was safer down below. Perhaps it wasn’t. Nalia had no real way of knowing and wasn’t in any hurry to find out.
The queen mother soon led her to an open room that contained an enormous map of Calsin. It was one of the largest recreations that Nalia had ever seen, nearly twenty feet on a side and carved from solid basalt. It contained only geographical formations, while small totems scattered across the map marked out borders, cities, and other more temporary fixtures.
“Alright, here.” Nalia walked to the top of the map and cast several dark tentacles from her fingers. The appendages snaked across the map and began moving the small markers, adjusting Sintison’s border to a line roughly at the city of Torsitour. “That’s more or less where the line falls at the moment. With the new king, it’s hard to tell exactly what will ultimately happen, though.”
“Of course. Thank you, Nalia, this is good information.” The queen mother blinked once more and raised her hands above the table. She made several soft noises under her breath, then nodded. “Does anyone outside of this city know of our existence?”
“I won’t say that no one does, but it’s not a great many people.” Nalia shook her head. “It took a great deal of time and effort for my patron to procure the spell that allows me to survive the environment here. Others of divine patronage or bloodline may attempt to enter, but I don’t think that the ordinary people of the world will be able to come here for quite some time.”
“That is my fear as well.” The queen mother pursed her lips, then crossed her arms. “Tell me, Nalia. Once words breaks that we exist, we Children of the Flame, what kind of reception do you think we will get?”
Nalia shrugged. “Word got out that the Grove of Isengrod may have moved, and every god or goddess with any sort of status in Astheris started working on sending their servants. People tend to react strongly to the unknown.”
“Indeed.” The queen mother sighed and held up her hands. “We are a small people. Only a few hundred of us survived that infernal blast. Now that we have survived, we find that we begin to die as soon as we begin to exit this cursed land. We are doomed to remain mysterious to the outside world. With the leadership shortcomings of my son, I fear greatly for our safety.”
“Your fears may not be unfounded.” Nalia bowed her head. “I wish you the best of luck. I truly do.” After a few seconds, she held up her hands. “Is there any further matter with which I can assist you?”
“I had hoped not to be so blunt.” The queen mother put her hands behind her back. “You seem like a good enough person. At the least, a single-minded person. Would you be willing to stay here and protect us? Analyze any other warlocks attempting to enter our city and stop those with treacherous intent?”
Nalia simply gave her head a soft shake. “Not happening. I have orders from two masters already that I have to follow, one divine, the other mortal. Traveling to serve you here would violate both.”
“I see.” The queen mother nodded softly. “Then I suppose you’ll be on your way.”
“I’m afraid so.” Nalia turned to walk off, then paused. “So that I know what to tell King Korvac in my report, should you be called Children of the Flame? Donifer prefers to refer to you as Flame Elves.”
“Flame elves.” The queen mother rolled the name around for a few moments. “It does have a nice ring to it. Very well, then. We shall be the flame elves, at least for the time being.”
Nalia dipped her head, turned, and marched from the command room. The queen mother made no move to follow her, nor did any of the guards seem interested in her presence. It took little more than a few minutes to march back out into the open air of the city, the ruined and desolate town within which life still desperately tried to flourish.
“My master, I have finished my mission.” Nalia breathed up into the sky. “Have you been watching, or do you need a report?”
Several moments went by without an answer. When a full minute passed without Gethsemia’s dark presence, she whispered a second prayer.
“My master? I have news.”
Once more, Gethsemia failed to answer. Nalia felt an odd sense of urgency forming like a ball within her chest. Physical pains radiated out from her soul, and she began to take long and deep breaths.
This couldn’t be happening. Gethsemia had never failed to answer immediately. Ever. It wasn’t that he usually answered quickly, it was that he alwaysanswered quickly. What had happened? Something was wrong. Was he being punished for investigating the Grove of Isengrod?
Her answer came in the form of a dark rift that opened in the sky just above her. A bolt of black lightning burst from the portal, striking her in the chest. Power, pure and unadulterated, flowed through her body in that instant. It was a sliver of the power that Gethsemia contained, but it was power nonetheless. Now, it was entirely in her hands. For the first time in Gethsemia’s service, she was the one controlling the power instead of simply allowing Gethsemia to work through her.
In that moment, she turned and ran. This time, the guards took notice. Most drew swords and came racing after her, shouts echoing through the dead air. She ignored the calls, confident in her ability to defeat anything that they threw her way.
Something terrible had just happened. Gods didn’t just give away their power to their warlocks, not unless they absolutely had to. Gethsemia relinquished it even slower than most. She cast out the power in a sweeping ping, searching for any nearby life forms. As had happened earlier, the flame elves failed to show up on the scan, but Donifer was easily located.
She drew the darkness around herself, leaping across space to his location. She materialized in the middle of a small kitchen, lit by a roaring fire and filled with the smells of strange vegetables. Donifer and Ditinul both jumped, with Donifer bringing a large knife down into a root that smelled rather like onion.
“Look what you made me do!” Donifer glared at her. “Now I’ll have to cut that up-”
“We don’t have time right now.” Nalia took a deep breath. For the first time in her life, she would be going into battle withouther god at her back. “We’ve got trouble. And I think I’m going to need your help.”
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