30 days had been and gone; deep in the wilderness as remote from civilisation as he could manage Norgarth had secreted away the two immortal organs from the Lich’s body. His trusted companions the Rogue and the Monk should have also performed their duties by now and would also be on their way back to the capital. It had taken them years to track down the Phylacteries of the Lich, and many people had died in the quest to collect them so that Zhang could finally be destroyed. And yet still these objects could not be. This time there was no great history or legends to link his demise to them. Only they knew the true purpose of their quest and only they witnessed the final destruction of Zhang. He would take this secret to the grave, as would the other two. For the sake of preventing the return of this evil Haennah would never know.
Only once had Haennah questioned the absence of the other two heroes, paranoid that they were plotting her downfall, that they had gone back to Rathmore and somehow re-opened the portal and were already taking the power that was rightfully hers. Her raving had worried Norgarth for a while, but it had seemed to pass. Even so he had needed to remove the guard posted at her door, as she had started to distrust their presence
‘They come into my room, I know they do, and whisper things in my ear while I sleep. My mind is like cake to them and their words are a knife. ‘
This suited some of the crew, who were uneasy being too close to a dragon blood Teifling who could turn invisible and immolate her enemies by Will alone. ‘Best to keep it all calm and comfortable for the moment’ he mused. ‘At least she hasn’t set fire to anything… yet…’
* * * * *
Haennah apparated into her cabin, her bare feet inches above the floor, the silvery mist swirled momentarily about her before evaporating and she lightly touched down, holding her skirts above her angles. Her tail swished playfully. She was having fun. Time spent teaching Norgarth to read kept her mind at ease, and off the sounds. The weakness in her body had all but gone, though now and again her new heart twinged and pricked at her if she overexerted herself. Even so her magic was almost at full power....’In fact, little dove,’ she mused to herself while preening her hair in the mirror ‘we are feeling quite spritely... ‘
She focussed inwardly and rose on tiptoe, her arms lifting like a dancer from her side. Arcs of electricity started to crackle and split through the air, her heart beat quickened and the sparks became galvanised with greater force, and static filled the cabin like an audible buzz. She watched with an inner joy as the tin plate and cup from her last meal liquefied before her eyes. She breathed out calmly and the tension in the room dissipated.
She stared hard at her reflexion again, the blue mist was still there deep in her eyes, distant yet present. ‘No pain that we suffer, no trial that we endure, is wasted…. We?’ She laughed out loud sharply and twirled around. ‘Me! ‘ She looked once more in the mirror at that distant mist in the back of her black eyes. ‘Thankyou….. For everything!’ she laughed.
* * * * *
The Petrified Gnome touched down within the city, children and adults had once again gathered to see the flying ship arrive. There on the dock stood the Rogue and the Monk, as Norgarth had promised. She ignored the sound of dripping water, the sky was perfectly clear.
Haennah had nervously spent the morning trying to tidy herself up and look presentable. The goddess only knew why, but she left like she was on trial, being scrutinised by her companions. It was as if all eyes were upon her. She resisted the urge to reach up to her chest, even though her crystal heart was safely hidden behind the steel breastplate that identified her as Holy Paladin of Skythia. She’d almost forgotten about her holy duties for the 2 months she had been away. ‘This will not do little dove’ she thought to herself. ‘All we have done and endured has been for the will of the Goddess.’
As the two slowly walked up the gangplank to meet them, she scrutinised their faces, while trying to smile sweetly. ‘They must know, how can they not, they think I have betrayed them and they are here to cart me away to some oubliette to rot. She felt panicked.
Norgath looked up at her, ‘What’s wrong?’
Her mind swirled and she blurted out in a hushed voice ‘I... I hear his voice sometimes, distant, distracting, like rainfall at night. Pitter patter, pitter-patter.’