When she was a girl, the whole world seemed to end.
She remembered it well. The screaming, the blood, the burning. The sky had filled with smoke, warriors of all classes coming together to defeat the evil that had erupted from the middle of the desert town.
She had been an acolyte at the time.
Her mentor, a strong woman, an archbishop who seldom took company or part in any party, had been with her. They had been on business in the pyramids, clearing undead from the lower levels for a client. It had happened when they had come to the surface for a break.
Her mentor had hidden her inside of the inn.
"Wait here," she had said. "I'll come back for you."
And she had kept that promise, though Silvase wished she hadn't.
The blood, the scent of scorched flesh, it was all seared into her memory. Those kind mismatched eyes of red and blue had glassed over, her mentor pressing the divine cross into her palms. Blood drenched her robes, flowed over her hands, embedding its feeling into her very soul.
The respawn points in Morroc had been destroyed. Her mentor never respawned.
She glanced back, shaken from her thoughts by her own apprentice as he climbed up the steps on wobbly legs, barely alive. His purple hair was a mess, matted with blood. Clearly he had just come out of a fight with an archer skeleton if the arrows in his shoulder and leg were anything to go by. It explained the limp.
She stopped, watching him stumble closer but making no move to help him just yet. She needed to remove the arrows first, or at least the tail ends. Magic could take care of the rest.
"You could have helped me," Qwile griped, collapsing against the wall next to her. "Those archers hit hard."
"And I'm fairly sire you know both heal and pneuma," came her reply, a small smirk playing at her lips.
She wondered if her mentor felt the same amusement as she crouched down to tend his wounds. The pale green light of her sanctuary cast their shadows across the walls eerily. Silvase thought she saw a horned figure watching her in those shadows. A name danced at the tip of her tongue, eluding her thought.
Qwile sighed in relief and flexed his muscles.
"Thanks. It's like you're trying to get me killed sometimes!"
She neither confirmed nor denied his statement. Silvase stood up and dusted herself off.
"Let's rest and restock. We've made quite a bit of progress today."
Black skies and dying smiles flashed across her memory before fading from her thoughts.
The sky was a warm orange when the two of them emerged from the cursed tomb. Silvase stretched, looking around the remains of the desert town. She wasn't quite sure what she was looking for , only that whatever it was was missing. It left a strange hollow in her chest.
She shook away the thoughts and increased both her and Qwile's speed. The inn was across the town from the Pyramids. She wanted to get there before nightfall to reserve a spot again. They were cutting it close as it was.
Plus they didn't want to leave Qwile's puppy waiting. Jeff would mope and she didn't want to deal with that.
Qwile went straight tk the oasis to wash his face of grime and dried blood.
"Did you do that with all your apprentices or just me?" He grumbled.
"Well the other three were healbombers so they had it easy." She hummed, stepping away from the water so as not to get any on her clothes. Sand was bad but wet sand was a lot worse. "You, Punchy, are the only one that gets up close."
He laughed at the nickname, getting up to join her on their trek back to the inn.
For such a rundown town, Morroc was lively. Adventurers on their way to the dimensional gorge to the East had set up camps amidst broken down buildings. Villagers, hardened and traumatised by the events, sat amongst them to share their stories. Their shattered hopes and dreams. The air was filled with chatter that was absent by day, when the adventurers were all in the gorge in hopes of getting something rare.
Qwile stopped by several camps to browse their wares and buy treats for Jeff. While he kept a smile and worked hard, she could see he was dying to return to Prontera.
She couldn't blame him. Morroc had no working showers anymore.
Once in the inn, she kicked off her shpes and socks before collapsing on the bed. Qwile sat across from her, pulling Jeff into his lap to groom him.
"So..." he said, as if attempting to make conversation. "You visited Morroc before Satan Morroc appeared, right?"
"What was it like?"
She was struck with the image of a bustling town with just as much in the daylight as there was a nightlife; of strong buildings with happy families living within those walls. She remembered mostly being out on the streets at night. The lack of sun was cooler on her fully clothed form when she was an acolyte. Her mentor had always woken her before dawn and come back after dusk in order to avoid the heat of the day.
She opened her mouth, hesitating a moment before continuing.
"Well for one, it was alive..."
Qwile listened with rapt attention as she spilled her tale.