The mood had changed in the camp. She could sense it in the aether, like a swelling of dark thoughts and the excitement that so often came with them. Even had she not been blessed with such a talent she could still see the tension written across their faces. News of death took its toll on them, no matter the cause, no matter the number, the reminder of their own mortality was an uncomfortable one. Any one of them could die at any time, for any reason.
Fraid pressed a hand to her wrist, then quickly removed it when she remember what she sought was no longer there, had not in fact been there for quite some time. The bracelet, a gift, and constant reminder of a life she no longer led, was gone now. She reminded herself that she no longer needed such things. Trinkets were for children, and she was not a child.
Now the floodgates opened on their own and memories she fought hard to repress came rushing back to her. She grimaced as she found herself surrounded by ghosts. They stared at her with such disappointment. She shook them from her head, but they were always there, like a shadow cast before her that only she could see.
Sleep alone freed her from them. She did not dream, instead her mind went blank, wholly empty like a starless sky. During the day she would long for that abyssal peace. At times like this, when she too was reminded of the linear nature of all things, such thoughts disturbed her all the more.
‘Wolves, they’re a menace. Smart and cunning. It’s unusual for them to attack so close to camp though, but I suppose it happens.’
Fraid heard the words spoken loudly by a soldier somewhere in front of her. Of course, listening to the conversations of the others in their group she had already pieced together that it was a watcher who had died, and that wolves were the explanation given. She wasn’t entirely convinced this was the whole story, but it didn’t matter. So long as it did not affect the mission.
She turned in the direction of the speakers and saw a tall nian chatting to none other than the damned troll that had pestered her the other night. She grimaced as she recalled the awkwardness of their meeting, but as her eyes fell upon him once more she caught the glimpse of something unusual, something she had not seen before.
For the briefest of moments it seemed as though an aura of light encircled his body. It was a soft light, imperceptible to those without the skill to see into the aether, and even then a novice might have passed it off as something meaningless. No, this was not meaningless, of that she was sure. She knew exactly what the aura indicated and suddenly things began to make an odd kind of sense.
So, the Summit had been bold indeed with their choice of ambassador. This “Heljak” was no mere troll. He had magic.