A Harvest of Broken Stars

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Chapter 31: Spirits

In the darkness, Ada reached out. She passed effortlessly through the stone and mortar barriers that kept her body imprisoned in the dungeon cell.

A prison guard stirred as Ada nudged him tentatively. His spirit radiated fear and anger, like that of an animal trying to survive in a hostile environment. Unable to discern the source of the distraction, he rose.

‘I think I heard something down the hall,’ he said. His voice sounded like a sword scraped over stone.

Ada remained impassive, as she considered the effects of the greatly improved presence spell, enhanced by the starglass resting against her chest. This was the first time she had been able to eavesdrop on people by use of her magic. Would they be able to hear her if she moved or spoke?

This was not the time to find out.

Ada drifted further, leaving behind the plagued denizens of the dungeon. As she approached ground level, she sensed hundreds of souls nearby, most of them sleeping.

She found herself in an inn, an hour or two before dawn. A man was working in the kitchen, and a woman was using the chamber pot in one of the rooms upstairs.

Ada ignored the commoners, her attention drawn to the tortured spirit above, screaming wordlessly into the night.

His soul was noble and scarred like a burnt stallion. Even in his sleep, the elven spirit burned brighter than any other. Red fires, fuelled by anger, or pain.

Ada knew this one.

‘Gilmir,’ she whispered.

Ada heard her own voice, somewhere. Whether down in the dungeon cell, in the inn above or in some parallel, spiritual dimension, she could not tell. She tried again, raising her voice to a normal, conversational level.

‘Gilmir.’

There was no response. The elf spirit writhed. A dream, or a nightmare.

‘Gilmir!’ Ada shouted. Or at least, she thought she did.

The elf couldn’t hear her. Or, if he heard, it was not enough to pull him out of his dream.

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