Sorrow Seeks Book
(Crossing, Zoluren: 284 Skullcleaver 359)
I had spent a frustrating time in the Crossing, listening to wannabes over the gwethdesuans, watching wave after wave of fools who could not stay away from trouble dragged into the Cleric Guild for rejuvenation and ressurection.
Sorrow and his associates had taken no guff from the usual riffraff of loud-mouths. Those who spoke or thought beligerantly found themselves looking into the eyes of fearsome opponents. Those who challenged and postured were paid like attention.
The amazing part was that they did not learn their lesson the first time, and some of these people died over and over again.
Sorrow, Darkensi, Prayk, and Sadiaer filled the Crossing with hour upon hour of chaos as they began their hunt in earnest for a book. A book about the Standing Stones at the Zaulfung. Or perhaps just about the Zaulfung, I was not quite clear on that.
Foolish citizens like Saliar, Canten, and Burlock even claimed to have the book that Sorrow seeks, and taunted them with thoughts over gwethdesuans. Even when they were told repeatedly they could not have the book, because the Arch Mages would know of it — the men persisted in playing these dangerous little games.
One utterly crazed man, calling himself Osneg, had to be carted off by the men in the white coats. If you have done your studies, you will recognize the name that the man claimed. But it was very surprising how many people believed anything he said.
After the clerics and empaths who were caring for the many corpses finally caught up and did not need a bard singing for them any longer, I went to the Academy, to see if, well, if there were any new books that might shed some light on what was happening.
There were none I had not seen before.
I had paused to sense whether there was any elemental magic in the area — an old habit of mine I learned from a previous Companion. While there, right in the middle of the corridor, Lord Sorrow addressed me.
I heard him clear his throat from the shadows somewhere. My heart was racing, but I knew that I had sacrificed to Damaris, and should it be needed, he would honor the favor. I thought some small talk was in order, so I asked if he was lost.
The voice of Sorrow said, "Perhaps. Been doing a bit of looking, myself."
I offered, "The gate is that way."
The voice of Sorrow said, "I think I’ll be heading the other way." He paused a moment and murmured, "Very scarce collection, indeed."
I said, "Not really. There is naught here but what has always been here."
The voice of Sorrow said with a sigh, "It wasn’t always this way."
I asked, "How was it?" and listened quietly for the response.
Sorrow’s voice exclaimed, "Every book you can imagine stretched as far out as the eye could see!" Then he added, "Imperial librarians could get their hands on anything one wanted."
I said, "I would have liked to see that."
The voice of Sorrow said, "As would I."
I said, "Surely you did."
The voice of Sorrow said, "As I would like to see it, again. And I will. Oh yes, I will."
I said, "We are left only with what was saved from the Dragon Priests."
He snorted, "Worst mistake I made."
I asked, "Was it?" I was cautious, but ever so curious.
The voice of Sorrow said, "One can’t change the past, I’m afraid. Folks have tried." His laughter surrounded me. It was pretty eerie.
I asked, "So what do you plan to do?"
The voice of Sorrow said, "Change the future, of course."
I said, "You know, I am not very good with magic, but it seems to me that you have been unseen for quite a while."
The voice of Sorrow said, "Quite the talent. I hear its been lost with time. It was 550 years ago that I trained with the Monks of the Crystal Hand."
"Change your future, or mine?" I asked, arching my eyebrow.
The voice of Sorrow said, "Everyones." He actually chortled it.
I asked, "And what will that look like?"
The voice of Sorrow said, "As it did in the past."
I asked, "Ahhh, but which past, my Lord, which past?"
The voice of Sorrow said, "My past. The Empire. Such a wonderous time."
I asked, "You do all this killing in the name of the Empire?"
The voice of Sorrow said, "Yes. Such sacrifices must be made."
I asked, "and what do we, what do I, have to do with the restoration of the Empire?"
The voice of Sorrow said, "Nothing."
I asked, "So why are people dieing as your ‘sacrifices’?"
The voice of Sorrow said, "I merely seek knowledge, for now." Then he asked me, the words were chill, "You call this death? Would you like to see death?" He laughed! "This is nothing!"
I said, "No, I would not like to. I know it can be far worse, I have seen it." What was left of any color was gone from my face.
The voice of Sorrow said, "Such distractions are needed. Until Sidhlot or I find what we need. Now my lovely Bard, I grow weary and must return to my search."
I said, "Oh, then the rumors are right, the Necromancer is allied with you."
The voice of Sorrow chortled, "Enjoy your life."
I said, "I do. Thank you for the small kindness of speaking to me."