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In Ardae

Raese waited for him.

Flanked by other knights.

Seeing Mardichi, Raese's eyes dulled, and he swayed from exertion.

The flashing behind them crunched and the portal caved in on itself. There was a boom as it blew itself out. Flattening the grass, it'd been hovering over.

Raese groaned in pain.

Chavias gripped the staff, sensing Raese was going down.

When he did, Sebastian smoothly caught him. Lowering him for a much-needed rest.

“Getting us all through was a nearly impossible feat.” Chavias remarked.

“But he did it.” Sebastian beamed. Tucking his tunic under Raese’s head so he could go find the makings of a fire. He’d stay and watch over his friend until Raese recovered.

Deragan handed Mardichi a tunic and breeches.

Which he climbed into.

No one batted an eye when he’d come through naked.

We all know what happens when he ignites.

“Look at this.” Rhyers called. They walked to a ledge and peered down on the greenest land Deragan had ever seen.

“Like me home.” Mardichi remarked.

“’Tis your home now.” Chavias said dryly.

Mardichi’s eyes slid to the ground next to him.

Deragan put a hand on his shoulder. “It’s not your fault, Mardichi. You did well blocking the way.”

Deragan lowered his head in approval.

“I was just wondering if there’s ale in this country.”

“Of course, you were.” Tev said irritably.

Deragan watched him turn from the ridge. No, you weren’t.

I know you too well, Barbarian.

The struggle for immortality has been more constant than breathing throughout time. In human nature it is embedded within us to be such superficial creatures. The longing to live forever supersedes the desires for the blessed light, for the sun upon one’s flesh. A sensation I’ve long forsaken.

It’s hard to imagine just why one would accept such a painful sacrifice. Yet it’s something I’ve come to understand. Something I’ve a desire for mankind to know. For humanity is such beauty and fragility, I’ve come to appreciate it well. Even for my lack thereof...

~ From the journals of Lucien Sabias ~

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