I can’t do this on my own.
Who ever said that you were alone?
I was awaken by the sunlight striking my face, my eyes were immediately blinded by the incandescence. I sat up, trying to put my head back together. I gathered my thoughts and recollected what had happened the night prior. I instantly remembered the fight against Krale, Daniel’s mental collapse, the mission being a failure. I realized that I would have to explain everything to Serenity, that would probably be a disaster. Though I found a more pressing matter once I had come to most of my senses. Daniel was gone.
I shifted my position on the bed, noticing that the human was no longer on it. Remembering that this was his room to begin with I began to take a closer look. It was messy and unorganized, but that was normal for him. What was not normal however, was that he left without so much as a note.
“Daniel?” I called out. No response. I moved off the bed and stumbled across the room and into the hallway outside. “Daniel?!” this time I was loud enough to make sure I could be heard across the house. After receiving a cacophony of silence once again I began to make my way down stairs, the soft padding of my bare feet echoing throughout the barren expanse.
Yesterday’s clutter still remained, and I began to remember everything that had transpired. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, I was still exhausted from the fight and my muscles still twitched from Krale’s lingering magic. I walked over to my own room to get a change of clothes before I started looking for Daniel. I found that his armor was still in a pile by the entrance of his room, so it was safe to assume that he didn’t go out to look for any trouble. Then again, this was Daniel. I was worried. I quickly took my staff and began to make my way out of the house, but before I could reach the door I heard someone knock on it.
Right then I wondered for how long had I slept in. I gathered some of my magic and channelled it into my staff before opening the door. I calmed down once I saw that it was just one of the ravens. It was a sylvari under a dark cloak, probably one Serenity sent.
“I carry a burden fellow messenger,” said the raven.
“Then whisper them to the shadows,” I replied, a common code that meant it as safe to relay information.
“Serenity would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience,” The sylvari extracted a sealed letter from her cloak and handed it to me. “She would like to discuss the outcome of yesterday’s mission.” I winced once I remembered how it was I that went overboard and killed the target.
“I will be there to see her shortly,” I said as I stored the letter in my pocket. The sylvari bowed once more before turning to leave. “Wait,” I stopped her once I remembered that I could hear faint whistles last night. “Were there ravens looking over us last night?” I asked. The Sylvari looked at me with a smile before answering.
“Yes, Slim gave the order. I was part of the second shift until I was called away to deliver the message.”
“Then you must have been watching all morning,” I received a nod. “Do you know which direction Daniel ran off to when he left the house?” As soon as I said that the raven gave me a look of complete shock.
“Daniel left the house?” she asked in disbelief. I sighed and rolled my eyes. After reassuring the sylvari that she did not fail her job, I locked up the house and made my way into the streets. It was not surprising that Daniel was able to evade the ravens, there were very few people he couldn’t sneak past, and even fewer that could sneak past him. I began to make my way towards Serenity’s mansion, bracing myself for what she had in store.
I was greeted by one of her butlers, standing with a noble posture. He slightly bowed his head.
“Welcome, Necromancer Anavari.” Said the butler. “Mistress Serenity has been expecting you.”
“Thank you, William,” I said. “How is Serenity doing?” As concerned as I was for Daniel, I knew that he wasn’t the only one harmed during the mission. Serenity’s injuries were physical however, and I never understood the severity until I asked the butler, the sorrow filled gaze he gave me was all I needed.
“The mistress…” Hesitated William. “Her condition came as unprecedented. Had it not been for her own magic she probably would not have made it. I insisted that she rest for a few days but she insisted on working.” I could hear the worry in his voice, the uncertainty in his eyes. With a nod I was allowed inside and strode into the mansion. After William took my coat and staff I began to walk towards Serenity’s study. I came in to see many of Serenity’s maids gathering around Serenity.
“I SAID BACK OFF!” bellowed Serenity as her rage erected a barrier of solid blue magic around her. Had I not known better, I would have said that she was undead. Her face was pale, her eyes sunken. Her body even seemed thinner than I had ever seen it. She breathed heavily as she glanced at all her maids as if they were enemies. Each one of them taking a few steps back with concern all over their faces. Her bloodshot eyes met mine. “Anavari!” she said elated, she immediately released her magic as her shoulders dropped.
I was uncertain if my face was showing her all the emotions that were going through me at that moment. Serenity was one of the strongest people I knew, and she was reduced to this state. She seemed so frail, so vulnerable. Like a mere twig trying to stay upright. I felt a hard tug within my throat, it was difficult to see her like this. This was my friend, and I did not need to be a necromancer to see that she was dangerously close to death. I restrained my emotions and forced a smile for her.
“Good to see you, Serenity,” I said calmly. She released a slight chuckle, as if my calm demeanour was a great relief.As soon as she invited me to sit, she signalled the maids to leave the room. They instinctively knew that I had taken the responsibility of seeing to their mistress’ safety. I sat down and looked at her as I normally do. Paying no attention to her shallow breathing or her dishevelled hair. I saw her as strong as she was the day I met her. Of course, forcing herself to be conscious in such a state was a sign of strength in itself I suppose. I concluded that it was a combination of her own discipline and her magic. “Well I am ready for you to chew my ear off, I take full responsibility for the mission’s failure.”
“O-Oh!” Serenity did her best to straighten up. “Argus filled me in on the details. Given the circumstances your actions were justified. Daniel was in trouble after all. How is he by the way?”
“Daniel is fine,” I lied. As much as I wanted to say that I did not know where he was, now was not the time for that. “He decided to sleep in though, the fight affected him quite a bit.” Serenity nodded solemnly for Daniel.
“W-where are my manners!” said Serenity as she reached for a nearby tea cup. “Please have some tea while I tell you about some important news.” As she picked up the cup her hands started shaking uncontrollably. I could tell that it was taking all her focus to keep herself from dropping it. I took the cup a little before than intended but she seemed more relieved than anything. She called out to one of her maids and they served me some hot tea and left.
“What news do you have?” I asked.
“As soon as the ravens heard of Krale’s death they informed Slimm and Salus. They sent out a large group of infiltrators to storm his house and raid it for evidence before the Seraph could tell that something was wrong. They reported that they were able to capture two Fringe guards that worked with Krale and raided his room. They found some journals and letters that Slim wants you to see.”
“Fantastic!” I said. “Perhaps now we can finally know where to strike the Fringe from here. I shall go see Slim immediately. I need you to do something for me.” Serenity drew closer, an attempt at a mischievous smile dawned on her face as she expected me to tell her some sort of plot. I had one shot at this, it would not be difficult. She was weakened by her state and even if she tried to defend herself with magic, it would only be a minor delay.
“What do you need, Anavari?” Asked serenity. I remembered Mara for a brief moment, had I been acting like how serenity would be I would receive a scolding and forced to receive treatment.
“Look into my eyes, Serenity.” I said as I channelled my magic and whispered my incantation to her. She offered no resistance as I drew her into a trance. It was a mixture of commands to get the effect I wanted. To make sure she could not move, to force her body to relax, and finally for her to lose consciousness. She immediately fell asleep on her desk. I stood up and walked over to her to take her into my arms. As I walked out of the room, the maids and butlers drew in closer to see the state of their mistress.
“I casted a spell on her so that she would sleep,” I told the butler, William. “She has an untreated head injury however. I need to act quickly.” Without further delay I was taken to Serenity’s bedroom. Upon entering I found signs of a struggle, probably from her resisting her servants attempts at aiding her. I laid Serenity onto her bed and took out my staff. I began to focus most of my strength into this spell, focusing where I wanted it to heal, what tissue I wanted it to repair. Once I tapped the end of my staff onto the floor, the area became enveloped in a black mist, strands of magical energies danced around the room as they drew over to Serenity, entering her body. I glanced over at William who bore an expression of concern.
“Will she be alright?” Asked the butler.
“Uncertain,” I said. “she’s pushed herself quite a bit. My magic will help a bit, but this is as much as I am capable of. Contact Slim and have him send a real healer. Someone from the Secros should be able to help.”
“We are in your debt, Anavari.” said William, him and the other servants bowed down before me. “We could not have helped her without you.”
“Fret not about it,” I dismissed. “Serenity is my friend, now if you will excuse me, there is someone I need to find.” With that I began to make my way out of the mansion. I was relieved that Serenity was no longer in danger of permanent brain damage, however there was still another concern hanging over my shoulders. Daniel was still nowhere to be found. I walked back to the house only to find that he had not returned, I asked the surrounding ravens but they had seen nothing.
I decided to take my search to the lower streets, looking in taverns and shops to see if he was just walking around, maybe to find a nice secluded area where he could be alone. I began to grow more frustrated when I found nothing in a lone alley way off of Rurikton.
“Looking for something, cub?” I rounded to find Garfas, looming by the shadows. I allowed my nerves to relax and my shoulders to drop as I sighed.
“Someone actually,” I replied as I walked over to him. “Daniel.”
“The human you live with?” asked Garfas tilting his head. I nodded in response.
“You haven’t seen him have you?” I asked as I placed an open palm by the bottom of my neck. “about this tall, black hair, struts about with either a spring in his step or a whimsical stride.”
“Can’t say that I have,” said Garfas shaking his head. “Then again those humans are hard to tell apart. You sound pretty worried about him though, is he in danger?”
“No,” I said with uncertainty. “He’s more than capable at defending himself. He can probably even overpower me. It’s just that…” Garfas noticed me trailing off. He drew closer as he rested his hand on my shoulder.
“What’s wrong?” he asked calmly. I briefly wondered if this would be how he would get me to open up back in our days in the citadel. I couldn’t tell at the moment, all I knew was that he knew how to help me relax. He knew how to help me stop and think rationally.
“Daniel had some sort of episode last night,” I said. “I thought he had claustrophobia, but now I think it might be something more severe. I honestly don’t know how he is doing.”
“Then think,” said Garfas. “Where would Daniel go to feel relaxed?” I pondered the question for a bit.
“Some place isolated,” I mused. “An area where he couldn’t be found very easily, where he had a decent view. Maybe overlooking a large area so that he could see people pass by from high up.”
“Know of any places like that?” I walked out of the alley with Garfas behind me. I looked up to the higher levels of Divinities Reach, looking at the tall spires of the massive garden in the centre of the city.
“I have an idea,” I said with certainty.