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ACHARIUS - Conferring with Rhyers

Merwood, Dread Hideout


“So, let me ensure I understand this little quandary of yours…You worry you looking over the girl could put her in danger?” Rhyers’ voice rose on his skepticism. His head lowered, straight black hair falling over one side of his deeply furrowed brow. Light green eyes studying the Viking.

“Well, of course it could.” Acharius snapped.

“I’m in much the same predicament.” Rhyers sat across from Acharius in the cave. He’d stopped by after completing some mission in LandingTown.

Acharius’ head shot up at his words. Blue eyes lighting. He was nearly a foot taller than Rhyers, even when seated.

“What?” Acharius blinked.

“A black-haired chit. My friend’s sister. I worry for her constantly. Her energy is…strange.”

“Odd.” Acharius mulled it over.

“I’m not one to easily develop affections.”

“I know.” Acharius said thoughtfully. “You can be a callous bastard.”

“Ironic coming from a hulking Viking.” Rhyers’ pointed out. “But,” Rhyers’ lifted a finger. “If we’re drawn to be around these bits then it’s likely because they’re something we’re meant to protect.” He waved his hand for emphasis.

“Like the artifacts?” Acharius gestured around him. Confusion written over his face.

Rhyers nodded thoughtfully. “Just so, I guess…So, what are you going to do?”

“Avoid her.”

Like the bubonic plague.

Rhyers cocked his head in bewilderment. “But I thought-” He gestured helplessly. “Didn’t we just…” He deflated.

We decided I’d avoid her.

“I don’t think we’re meant to protect them. If so, wouldn’t there be a clearer sign? Even if, in her case she’s Margaret and Agatha.”

Rhyers’ face softened. “Those sweet old crones would adopt the worst kind of wretch. They took in Karina.” He said as if that was great testament of what he said.

It rather was. But Acharius was affronted.

“Not that I’m saying your little Chastain is a wretch. I’m acknowledging you’re right they’ll look after her. What couldn’t two sweet old ladies protect her from, after all?” Rhyers rose and smacked on his high powdered wig. Shoving his black hair firmly underneath.

Acharius nodded hesitantly.

Rhyers gave an agitated gesture toward the big man’s face. “See now that I agree with you, you’re not so sure.” Rhyers tossed his hands. “I leave you to your moral conflicts.” Rhyers’ echoing voice faded into the caverns. “I’m going to go see what Radix is up to.”

“Don’t get too close!” Acharius called after him.

“I never do! But chasing the old demon is less complex then your debates of honorable behavior.”

“You only say that because you involve yourself in anyone and everyone’s life!”

“She’s like a sister.” Rhyers peered back around the corner to defend.

“You could get her killed. Cimmerii hunting you could get to close to her.”

“Hard to manage when I’m always in disguise.” Rhyers eyes narrowed. “Don’t take it out on me that you’re conflicted, Brother.”

“Fine then.” Acharius sighed and slumped. “Go.”

Annoy someone else with your logic.

“I will. And I’ll be damned if I don’t rile up some entertainment of my own. Better then lurking in some black hole.”

I’m honor bound.

“Least in my assignment I’m not required to wear a wig.”

“That was overly harsh.” But a smile teased the corner of Rhyers’ mouth. “You know how I miss my glorious hair.”

“It’s still there.”

“But who knows?”

“Fair point. You do look an old maid in that thing.” Acharius gave a distasteful look.

“And this was why I was leaving. You’re unpleasant as hell today.”

“I am always pleasant.” Acharius leaned up to shout through the caverns.

“Yes, like Mardichi.”

The hell if he thinks so!

“What!” Acharius roared, launching to his feet. But by the time he’d ran to the entrance prepared for a brawl he found Rhyers conspicuously gone. His eyes narrowed.

Coward. I was going to thump him.

“Some brother.” He called into the Merwood.

Rhyers, so fleet of foot, was already hopping off the sides of trees and jumping logs barefoot as he ran. His laughter floating back to Acharius as he traveled the Dread Hideout at great speed. A long overcoat unraveling down his back.

“I don’t even know how the hell he keeps that thing on his head…” Acharius grumbled, knowing how fast Rhyers trekked.

Acharius found himself in Meredith House’s gardens. Taking in the beauty of blue moonlight touching along the tops of silvery branches in the gardens. Fruit glinting in dusky shades. And warm golden firelight dancing across the grass before the window where Agatha would now be sitting.

Watching out that window and rocking the old chair I cut for them.

Acharius returned forlornly to the caverns. Dropping into his corner chair and crossing his booted feet to watch damp drops form on the jutting stone spikes above him.

Feeling a wave of loneliness coming from Meredith House. A feeling he was sure the girl generated.

A feeling I know well. In the dank cave he winced. Forcing himself to focus on the sounds of cave creatures nearby and not the agonizing loneliness of the little girl.

He swallowed hard. Rolling his thumbs and studying his hands. Feeling the worst kind of beast. I’m unable to rejoin the world as an immortal. Apart from my brothers to guard the artifacts. It’s reasonable for me to sympathize with her loneliness...

I could lead Cimmerii straight to her. He reminded himself. Deciding he wouldn’t go talk to her. It’s safer if I don’t.

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