Runic // Aeonian Overture
Copyright © Crimsos
Chapter 1 - Providence
This fairytale is about how two people get trapped within their own circumstances.
Then they realize, it was all a fantasy from the beginning.
"...For the longest living memory, the dungeon gate has always stood at the heart of the old wood. Its doorway leads to infinite possibility, to subterranean lands fabled in stories and myths.....Many adventures have passed over that ancient threshold. Some to find fame, glory, and wealth beyond telling, and others never to return. The realm of Grove has forever been the safe haven at the dungeon's mouth, a watering hole and resting place for weary adventurers...Here, great tales are told by the Inn's fire. Journeys are planned, and legacies are made. Minstrels sing of the great feats of heroes long gone, and statues ring the square, a testament to their deeds..."
-Drauntian Parables lV-
The greater population of Forktown snake-walked through life unaware of the abyss beneath their feet, the town long renown for the many clever bloats conjuring up impossible machines, birthing a plethora of mechanical prosperity. It was this world Glave called home, and it was among the few places within the realm of Grove that prospered with a fresh industrial age. Cogs and pistons fueled this upticking economy of every species from across the universe, a melting pot, as some called it, a proliferate, metropolitan world to spend one’s life. Truly, it was a wild yet purposefully organized slab of cityscape that seemed to stretch on to infinity, with high rising buildings of latticed steel daring to touch the clouds.
However, beyond this estate of steel and progress, there existed a layer underneath where the most horrifying seeds of enigma rooted down at the grand construct and grew all throughout history. The dungeon, a world where civilization rested its hands to a very strange and mysterious underworld. That was where he really wanted to venture.
Now, it was time for him to take action.
Crowds buzzing, birds landing atop shopping stands - none of them caught an eye at Glave as he heaved himself from the gash in the library rooftop. In his hand nursed a book that glinted its silver encrusted spine against the light. Dropping it would be an utter disaster, as he was elevated a sheer thirty feet above the ever moving sea of creatures of all haphazard shapes and sizes, all species big and small. Kneeling on the slanted tiles, he scanned the clamorous activity below. A merchant's voice rang over the crowds, waving his arms like he was trying to swat away invisible swamp flies. Around the merchant others also passed by, joining the raucous that was the sun stained afternoon. With Orcs, Elves, Avens, Humans, Nekos, this massive city had the whole flue of travelers and those who made home in this urban word. The noise filled his ears, rattling his brain to think faster.
Yes, the streets were packed today, but none looked up. Perfect. Glave fumbled over to the backside of the roof where the library touched sides with a taller building. Placing his fingertips between the stone bricks, he climbed up with presteine ease. Finding good footing on this inclined rooftop was difficult, but he had done this many times before, and had grown confidence in his abilities. He stepped lightly up and over the next summit and slid down the other side, pressing his leading foot onto the parapet to avoid toppling down onto the cobbles below. Below, the tumult continued, unaware of his near silent movements above. One misstep meant broken bones that could splinter organs as his body would ragdoll down and land with a thud, then a crackle. Up here, above everyone’s eyes, there was no such thing as a second chance. It was important to coordinate each intake of air with another foot forward, then exhale, releasing all the stress. Making sure a proper center balance was achieved came first, a centerpiece to a dangerous performance.
Glave stilled a gaze across to the next platform, and took a pause to bend his knees. Not looking down, he readied himself to jump.
Breathe in. And jump. The rooftop opposite flew up to greet him, pressing the air from his lungs and constricting them like rubber pockets. His hands flung out to grasp at the tiles. They were smooth and had no cracks to cling to. His body slipped backwards, closer to the edge. His feet flailed against empty air and it was seconds before he would fall. With one last, desperate scrabble, his fingers found a long crevice that stretched across a few of the tiles. He clung to it and sliding slowed to a halt. Breathe out. Next time he would be more careful.
A crow landed lightly on a chimney above. It cocked its head to watch the boy’s struggle back up. He had a feeling that it was mocking him.
“Oh scruff off,” he said, flicking a hand at the bird. His voice was husky like a draft of cold frosty air during a morning tide. It was the same kind of distinguishable tone that stood in people's minds longer the normal. The crow shook its feathers and took to the air wheeling great circles in the sky. He watched it soar over a distance of town, before flying beyond into the hills sitting past the stone towers. From this taller rooftop, he could faintly view the ribbon of Wynding River snaking peacefully through the valley beyond Forktown's boundary. He remembered his sister Milos taking him there as a child. Glave had just turned six then.
Those days were gone.
He snapped himself to attention before the memory had a chance to live longer, pulling the splinter out. Between him and the river laid acres of upland littered with fresh industry. Rumors that bandits still roamed the eastern alleys circled through people's mouths, lying in wait to attack passing merchants or noble men. But he had to remain on task. Right now he had to get the book home. He jumped across a few more spaces between buildings soaked in sunlight with his feet sliding along the gutter pipes, all the while keeping his senses peeled and making sure the book never left his arm.
There were always reminders of winter’s bite as he went along. Gusts of frigid wind nipped at his face, but he kept his thoughts on the warm chimney fire waiting for him at Aylward's shop. There, he would devote all the time needed into studying the book stashed carefully in his grasp. The book would tell him where the underworld districts were, and more importantly, reveal where the dungeon's gate was located. The shop was still a good distance away and there were a few more stops to make before that, but the next few rooftops were relatively easier. These buildings were closer together and he only had to step between them. But soon came the part he had been dreading: two buildings separated by an entire street, not just an alleyway like before, and this one was crowded. A few stalls spilled out from the market area onto the nearby roads. If he fell now, broken bones would be the least of his worries. He would be taken by the town guard, who had almost caught him stealing a map scroll from the same library from whilst he just came. They had taken chase, but thankfully he had given them the slip by jumping down a ground hole that led to the under city pipeworks. Few knew Forktown as well as Glave did, a rarity among young souls. From the market square that sat in the exact center of this sector, the rest of the city sprawled out like water seeping out cracked earth. The three major roads, heading north to Andur, east to Dunnland and south to the rest of Forktown, all joined at this spot, a spot where everyone mixed together in a loud turmoil of voices. He waited a spell in silence watching for the perfect time to move again, a break between the crowds, or even a tide of bodies to could hide in. It was almost impossible to spot two people that looked the same, or even similar ears for that matter. Some had human ears like his own, while others had cat ears, ears that were pointed, or mechanical audio receptors in place of ears. Their faces varied from fins and fangs to fabulous feathers and frail skin.
Another minute brushed by with nothing but waiting, then at last, there was a break in eyes looking his direction. Glave dropped down. His legs were barely able to absorb the shock of impact and he almost had to roll shoulder first to dodge a broken leg. It wasn't silent, but the town’s normal commotion dampened the noise of his ungraceful landing.
He carefully began to cross the open space casually keeping both eyes up like ocular spotlights. Forktown guards, or any law attendant in Grove, wore pure plaster masked that housed two rectangular eye sockets to see. It was widely known this was to prevent the common man from identifying a specific face. Even so, dread still chipped in when they looked his way and he couldn't actually tell where their eyes were veering. Like now, when one of them swiveled their white gaze towards his position. Glave froze, but realized soon the guard was glancing at the clock tower close beside him.
He let a passing crowd carry him beyond a few more of these guards standing on their lookout post. Shadows cast by the towers and buildings hid him from law's eyes for a good while. Around him, noises the throng made were the likes of, "Fresh apples! Straight from Farrow" or "A new invention strikes the water? Come read our paper!" All of it was the regular talk of new inventions and economical success.
As cold as it was, there was still one more stop to make before heading home to study the book. It was a pilgrimage taken every day, like visiting someone's gravestone.
The foster home’s roof was blue compared to the dull buildings that flanked it. He stepped in the front door quietly, in case some of the infants were sleeping upstairs. This main room was wide, with bright blue carpeting over the floor boards, and glass panes letting gold radiance permeate through their faces. In here, the chatter from outside was pleasantly muffled to a soft rumble, but there was a new source of noise. Children littered the floor, playing with toys while some chased each other around, laughing. Everyone was obviously awake so he could walk in without worry. This was a place that always brought fond memories of the early days, always a source of nostalgia that would enter his inner mind with a smile, understanding the heat beneath.
Then, he noticed something near the window sill, or rather, on it, sitting idly. He was too far away from whatever it was, but knew from the distance that it had wings and a tail. He crossed the room swiftly. None of the others look up, too preoccupied with their coloring and talking. In closer view, he saw it.
The bird was a mythical phenomenon basking in the afternoon glow, and at a closer look, Glave knew what name to call it, a Phoenix. It sat looking out, eyes fixed on the street of fast movement. It didn’t turn its neck to look at him even when the boy inched a few more steps. The bird wasn’t made of fire, but its feathers were condensed in an orange soothing wash of feathers, with a yellow tail, a pair black feet and a beak made from smooth charcoal. But the fact that it wasn’t condensed in flames wasn’t the amazing part. It gave just enough gloom that one might mistake it as an animal-shaped glow stick. One of the children, another human, looked not at the bird, but at Glave. Then another. Soon, four more had their attention averted to him. They did not speak or utter a peep.
“I never seen somebody take so long deciding if they want to open a window.”
Glave looked over and saw an Aven all feathered and beaked. The house caretaker, Jin, stood near him smiling as she pointed her cane saying, “I think we’ll leave it shut. Don’t want everyone getting too chilly.”
“You don’t see it?” A whisper passed Glave’s mouth. He was about to repeat it louder so that Jin could hear, but stopped midday. Jin was already losing her hearing as it had succumbed to age. The phoenix was still there, not averting its attention anywhere else, but there was no use in staying near its presence if no one else could see it. The boy turned away and went on, looking back every step and stride only to realize that the ominous creature was still there, watching the world go by from beyond the glass pane, ignoring everything else as if the universe was completely irrelevant. Perhaps it was some illusion after all, a good joke played by life just to have fun.
Turning his attention back, Glave went up the stairs leading to the second story, walking beneath beams of tawny rays and feeling their slight warmth through the colder air. This part of the foster home was just a long hallway lined with doors and pictures of those long gone. All of it was remembered well, the memories came again of spending hours helping Milos carry books to and from the shelf, dozing off in the creaking bunk beds, and learning how to say “Can I have this?” or “Yes mam.”
Then the blood happened.
Jin saw that Glave was lingering at the front door, on the verge of leaving but unable to do so. She smiled and limped over to him. "You don't need to return here every day,” she said in an old rasp. "I'm sorry about what happened, but she will not come back." Her hand cupped his shoulder, and squeezed lightly. "You have a real home now. Aylward is probably waiting for you there."
The boy nodded once, and went out into the cold.
His home, Aylward's shop, was located in a mostly vacant alleyway between two abandoned structures. Glave was looking for the billboard with the ruby that was nailed to the opening door, that was the shop’s logo. The inside was small, but it was infinitely better than that foster home he grew up in. It wasn't just its inside appearance that was better, rather, It was the location. The foster home had turned into a sanctuary of gold shining windows where his sister died during the last Etherian war. Armed men in cloaks had stormed in and she was taken along with others. She was the oldest, a prompt seventeen when her death became seared on the back of his brain. It was liberating to finally move away from there even if Jin’s welcoming complexion could be found nowhere else.
He stopped to make sure the book wasn’t damaged before he opened the front door of the shop, as the scent of smoldering wood coated his nose. He ran in shivering, quickly heading near the fire.
A bearded man with glasses veered his dull brown eyes up from his newspaper. “You made it just in time. Look, it just started snowing .”
Glave looked to see a thin white blanket had already coated the streets. Aylward smiled widely and helped him with his jacket. “Another study material, huh. A bit late don’t ya think?” His hands traced the outline of the book.
"I found it." Glave said. "The book of maps to the lower district. I found it."
Aylward leaned back regarding the boy. "You stole them."
"I always put them back. Mabie not in the right places, but I always return them."
"That book must have been on the top level where there’s lots of people. How did you get it?" Aylward closed the front door to black out the cold drafts pouring in, and they both sat at the table. Glave put the rather thick book between them.
Glave put the rather thick book between them. "I used the rooftops again," he finally replied in a near whisper. Aylward had a concerning look on his face that had to be asking. "Did the guards spot you?"
"No guards. Nobody saw me."
The man adjusted his eyepiece. “The book must be important then. Is it another traveler's log?”
"Oh no. This one's actually full of maps." Glave fiddled through and stopped at a random page. "See? He said pointing, "This is the east shopping corner, and over here..." His finger was at the edge. "....that's the library, the one I just came from."
The pause that followed was long, with the two sharing a break in words.
"I stopped by the foster home on the way here." Glave spoke just as the short snowfall subsided. Winter at Grove was always a white one. Sometimes it rose high enough that the entire street closed and everyone was forced indoors.
"Is it still the same?" Aylward was very careful when he asked the question. He already knew where this conversation was heading.
"It's the same. I guess that place is still a graveyard to me. Now It happens whenever a stop by. All I see is this red and white lump on the floor, my big sister, just laying there.” Glave's eyes and posture wavered in unison. “Milos should've never died that young.”
The man’s complexion smoothed out. "So, the memories are still tied there, or rather, tied to you. I never got to know your sister, but I wish everything that I had. Otherwise, I’m afraid that whatever advice I can give would just come from a man who never knows what it’s like to...you know, lose someone that close in the family.”
"It keeps getting worse anyway I think about it. I show up, maybe talk to Jin a little, then leave, every single day. Like some idiot."
"You're no idiot!" Aylward inserted with haste. “Calling yourself that won’t help the cause.”
“Well, I still come,” he sighed.
“What was Jin talking about today?”
Glave took some time to remember. “Nothing new really. She went on about how I shouldn’t be visiting her foster home anymore. She thinks doing so will only remind me of what happened to Milos.”
“I'll leave that decision up to you.” Aylward looked away, then back. “But maybe it will do you good to be away from there for a while.”
"I suppose. There were many types of people there today. I even saw a Phoenix sitting on the window seal.”
The man’s complexion rippled. “A Phoenix! Oh now, I wouldn’t go and say that so casually.”
“You don't believe me?”
“Trust has nothing to do with it.” Aylward adopted a teacher's tone. “It's quite a common fact that the Phoenix race died out way back when, back even before the botanists gifted the realms with the invention of kerosene.”
"Maybe it's still true,” Glave said in equal parts wonder and remembrance. “After all, they say that somewhere among the realms of Ambright, everything's a true story.”
The fireplace crackled
“I tried to go over to the window seal and talk to it,” he continued, “but it wouldn’t even look at me. I wasn't sure if the bird could even speak at all. Do you think it's strange? I thought the Aven species loved to talk."
"I also heard they also like to get the best of people's pockets,” Aylward said, “so be careful out there tomorrow."
Then, everything changed. As if by natural effect, the subject of tomorrow manifested a silence that laid a veil between them. Perhaps it was best to bring it up a different way, to introduce the topic so that it could be digested into smaller bits. It was apparent from the moment he walked in that Glave had a lot on his mind. Aylward could tell by how the boy’s eyes were sharper than normal, and how he held the book he stole as if he was carrying a precious block of diamond. Up until now, their conversation had been mostly devoted to daily routines and repetitive antiques. And during their exchange, the boy had brought up his deceased sister as if it was just another blatant fact, which was troubling. There was a weight that needed lifting. Talking about tomorrow had to come sooner or later.
“Hear me child.” Aylward spoke carefully. “We’ve been discussing our days for long enough now, and I know what you really want to talk about. Now, speaking of tomorrow - The book, I take it will be the last one you’ll study, the last one before your expedition.”
A long pause.
“It is,” Glave replied with even volume. “And you’re right, I wanted to visit Jin’s foster home one last time before my expedition next sunrise. The evidence I found so far convinces me that the dungeon is last place my mother Wilva visited before she vanished, leaving me and my sister behind.”
“Forktown’s underworld,” Aylward said. “That the name they call it, although few have ever ventured down there.” His tone rattled. “And even fewer have done so at your age.”
“I’ve already explored every inch of Forktown.” Glave’s reply was immediate. “This is the last frontier, as they say. Maybe I’ll come back empty handed, I don’t know, but it’s a big place down there. Surely I’ll find something, a clue, anything.”
“So, you're really going tomorrow then.
“Of course I am, and I’m not coming back without a clear lead on my mother’s location. I’ve made all the preparations. Right now, this is my only chance to find out whatever happened to her.” He laughed awkwardly. “I mean, she’s the last one left who even shares my last name. I want to find out why all this happened, why she’s gone, why my sister died. All of it.”
Chapter 2 - The Daystar
“The two suns of Grove were named Mortimer and Timoltin, after the two renowned warriors of yester century.”
-Bailey, a realm historian -
Glave’s spot in the house was an upstairs room with a desk and candles mounted on the wall boards, creating enough light to read and devour book after book. The snow had stopped raining down so he had the silence needed to accurately draw parabolas and vectors on the map rolled out before him. It was to formulate shortcuts if he got lost while inside the dungeon. So far, these pathways had been easy to draw out, for the first floors were either simple hallways, vast areas of empty space, or large rooms. The canyon on floor one, the lake on floor two, a massive shrine on the third floor - all of these landmarks were potential clues regarding his mother’s absence.
However, upon completing the map, his thoughts gradually drifted on to other people, and soon it was impossible to fission the his gaze from what was glimmering at the corner of his desk. Whenever he entered this room, he would even go as far to say hello to the girl smiling behind the picture frame. His sister had straight white hair and passion red eyes, as if she belonged to a different species. Many would turn heads when she would bustle down the streets carrying food to the foster home.
Milos would want me to do this, to find our mom, or anyone with Octus in their name, whatever it took, he thought, marking his last food source on the map; it was around floor three. Even with rumors of the things that happened in the underworld hovering in whispers, Glave wouldn't allow that to be a distraction. Just when the twin suns carried themselves under the sky to welcome the night, he rose from his chair stretching, now finished mapping every possible route for the last time. Now he scooted out a paper palette, took an ink quill, and entered his journal entry.
Log entry #31
Tomorrow, I will be exploring the dungeon at the east side of town. It’s the last place Wilva journeyed before her disappearance, and I hope to find clues concerning where she might be right now. Unfortunately, the entrance is restricted to mostly everyone in Grove, so I will do what I always do, work around it. This is not an expedition, because I plan to be back in roughly 12 hours starting next morning. The bag that I will bring carries food and water that can be rationed among 24 hours, medical supplies, and my book that I took from the library to map possible routes to the lower district of Forktown and the first three floors of the dungeon itself. It the situation arrives where I return with no clues about my mother or anyone of the sort, then I will have to search elsewhere. However, this dungeon is a very large underground facility once designed for the sole purpose of containing prisoners. It's a big world down there, one that has not been documented in forty years. Forktown's library holds no recent records but I had to make out what I managed to find there. Creatures live in this dungeon, and I am prepared to fend them off. My name if Glave Octus, and I'm searching for my bloodline, because the name Octus is losing its trace along history. The date is Tuesday of the year KG491
To him, it was the only opportunity to find what became of his bloodline, for it had all been taken away. His mother was a victim where the war had sucked in anyone with useful mana capabilities, eating them up, and spitting them out where there was only an echo, no sign of a pulse, turning them to ghosts; In her case, she could make a force field that could blind the unwitting man if he gazed into its light. His world was perfect until she seemingly vanished, and everything rolled down. Now, however, there were chances laid in front of him, chances to locate her and make her understand.
"I'm going out." he called, descended the staircase.
Aylward looked up from his half finished tackle box. "To the place?"
"Yeah, the place." The front door shut. Outside, Glave found the nearest vantage point and began to climb skyward. The book was left inside the shop, but there were more reasons to travel like this. When he neared the main square, hundreds slowly entered the roads simple-mindedly to enjoy themselves, conducting their behavior as if they were in an amusement park. During nightfall, everything lit up with lanterns that burned fluid shades of orange and yellows, and the streets came alive in festivity with swindlers trying to strike their next big advantage. The dancing would fuel on until the first hour of morning, then the plaster-faced law attendants would have to disband the crazy mass of chatter. Glave use to join in with Aylward and watch the performers dance with ribbons, moving to the light music of the woodwinds. However, preoccupation of his planned journey rendered him absent from such activities a while ago. Now he passed them from above, eager to sift through the noise.
Visions of the next jump or slide put his feet in a focused limbo. A clock tower thundered its six o'clock bong, the same time Glave kicked off a house gutter and landed all fours on the next structure. Stabilizing a walk across the tip where the half rooftops met, he knelt lower to jump higher on the slightly taller cathedral ahead. His hands gripped the edge and he pulled himself up, smiling at the quick progress. Climbing wasn't needed to avoid the law, not really at this hour, but it was a heck more fun than walking. Lamp post rose above the late hour commotion that ignited the night in neon radiance. Sometimes, songs arose from the alleys to welcome the continuing prosperity Forktown was bathing in. Others were hymns about how the war segregated neighboring cities like Farrow and Vatra from the rest of Grove, forever left to thrive on their own. No matter the subject, dances were performed, while music echoed throughout the promenades and courtyards.
Looking at a downward slope, the town's edge gave way to rolling hills. A bit farther that way was his destination. Glave was at the very opposite side of where the dungeon was, the west side of town. It was not a place for bandits but for quiet thoughts. It was the outside landscape of green where rows of windmills stood on the hills, and Glowtail Swallows fluttered smooth as nylon over the grass. He sat against one the windmills that was broken, his favorite one to lean against whenever his thoughts spilled over. This one, the one that stopped churning its wooden fins years ago, he visited when the urge to get away from everything washed over. Blades of grass rustled. Crickets chirped. An owl hooted. The sky was starting to turn a deep red violet as dusk set in. Out of all the realms in existence, Grove was known to have the best weather by far. One could often see the stars at night and the streaks of mana glowing like ethereal ribbons above the stratosphere.
Mana was a lot like fire. The more one focused, the more power that could be drawn in from the very air. It came in all different colors: green, red, violet, even black. The most common color would be a deep blue, like the sky. Controlling it, however, wasn't that simple. Before the mana could be used for anything, it first had to be drawn from the air and passed through the body. Any break in thought could send the reactive substance bursting through skin, leaving scars that could take days, even weeks, to heal. Everyone who used this energy in some way, whether to craft special serums or to simply give shows of bright light and fireworks, would have gruesome lashes and bruises on their skin from the times they had ‘Overdosed’, as many called it. Only those who crafted their talent over years of experience could harness this energy on a whim without large mental strain. Of course, there were other ways to get this type of energy, rather by drilling where it collected or gathering it during rainfall, but mana, because of its special nature, was seemingly a limitless supply of power that was in the very air breathed by all.
Glave leaned back to set his vision at the stars. His head was a carousel that repeatedly spun through his careful upcoming plans - when to wake up, what to bring, how to bring them, the lookout posts to avoid, all manner of precautions that would only help him for part of the way. Even with all his research and study, he would still need aid in meandering through the more downturned paths and alleyways.
He rose off the sea of grass to take in a howling breeze, churning the windmills faster. Lanterns from the city flickered behind him while the moon stuck the sky in a pale jailhouse. Of course, above all else, there was another precaution that always required the utmost attention - using magic. Or rather, the process of doing so.
It was time to practice.
It was an exercise he often did. He knew that mana was an unstable force as the slightest break in mindfulness spelled horrible injuries all shapes and sizes. He focused his thoughts until they stuck to his skull, sharpening them into a narrowed stream to draw in the raw energy. His breaths grew long to sympathize with his heartbeat. A jolting sensation wrapped his spine in stuttering zaps as a cloak of green energy collected and burned all around his body, expanding and growing, filling itself up. The light expanded, brighter still. It pulsed only once before exploding out in one fluid wave of blinding luminessence. Glave became the embodiment of a star, an orb of green that was released upon the world, blazing into the night with a lambency powerful enough to shake the night loose from its time zone. It consumed his body in a radiance fathoms brighter than any imagination, a forcefield, a weapon, and a beacon all at the same time. Then, the light dissolved, once again plunging his world to darkness revealing again the familiar nighttime landscape of windmills, hills of even grass, and city lights from behind. The forcefield had faded. Practice was over.
“Still got it in me, good,” he said, along with a frosty trail from his mouth. This was a power passed down by genetics, but it could only be brought to reality with meticulous training, something he had been doing for a while now in preparation for tomorrow. Gathering mana from the air in this quantity was a dangerous feet, absolutely. However, its payoff resulted in a display of remarkable defensive ability, a shield that blocked from every direction. It was impossible to evade, at least to his knowledge, and, try as he might, it could not be broken, or even fractured. If Forktown had taught anything, it was that the most life threatening risks bore the grandest rewards, if one was being careful. This broad notion was what lead him to learn how to climb and meander under law’s watch in the first place, because, in doing so, he could slip under society and easily locate every bit of lost knowledge caged underneath, unveiling new locations, and clues about his bloodline, a freedom that had been infused within his skin like a crystallized tattoo.
Upon returning home, the chattering drone from the city still went on, but sleep still came like a destined prognosis, a trait welcomed by heavy dreamers. Milos was still beaming behind her picture frame, probably humming to a happy song, or maybe she had found something funny to laugh about when the picture was taken. Either way, she looked down from the desk as his eyelids succumbed to their own weight. Tomorrow, when the first sun rose to push away the night, the dungeon would be waiting for him at its mouth. If Wilva, or anyone was to be found, the best place to explore for clues was there.
His commission was to uncover. His creed was his endeavor.