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Aia del Mana

An Adventure Journal - or, a continuation of the Adventure Log

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Memories in the Wind, Ch.2.

_____

The Howling Gates towered over Syrian's hooded figure, as a familiar cold wind welcomed her from within Necrovion's walls. She drew her cloak ever tighter around herself in response, taking note of a slight, motionless supplicant sitting beside three extinguished candles. A closer look revealed her identity; Ailith's facade remained entranced and unmoving; it would not do to disturb her. Syrian reached into the pockets of her cloak; finding a small ration of wrapped pickles, she gently placed the offering beside the candles; brushing her fingers lightly over the still glowing candle-wicks; their now restored blaze illuminated the pages of a nearby codex. Syrian could just make out an illustration of a meek, elderly man standing inside a golden circle drawn in the sand.

Drawing her cloak near again, Syrian walked through the still imposing broken frame. The bittersweet recollections of exile momentarily distracted her from the surreality of the fine Necrovian sands between her toes; she was home.

_____

The mossy wooden door of the Lore Manor creaked open. A cloth-bound figure looked up from his study of the codex on his lap, its pages open to a rough sketch of a decaying cathedral adjacent to a large crevasse. Recognising the priestess, he closed the pages and stood to greet her; she curtsied in return greeting before sitting beside him, amongst the many shelves.

"Ah, Lazarus; mine noble knight. Knowst thou how one may retrieve of lost memories?"

Lazarus nodded; the light click of memory stones in his hand his answer.

Aia frowned briefly. "And how may one find memories unbound to stones?"

Lazarus shrugged, placing the stones back into one of the cloth-folds of his tattered burial-garment. 

"Dreams, perhaps, or a dreamer?"

A smile materialised on Aia's face. 

"Let us find them, then."

_____

A trail of dainty footprints lined the soft sand paths of the Well of Tears. One could just make out a string of steps from the western entrance, then two, maybe three circles around the well. A closer examination suggested their creator must have brushed over them with some floor-length garment; obscuring their onward path. Lashtal frowned - shades did not leave footprints; which being dared tempt their wrath? A brisk stroll toward the western Necrovian entrance revealed a small congregation in the distance - just outside the Howling Gates; Lashtal could just make out a faint, flickering glow in the centre. 

Lashtal cursed under his breath; avoiding the shades was hard enough without rescue missions. Selecting two trusty ropes from his collection, he knotted some intricate loops; then tested the newfangled bindings on his wrist; they held firm. Concealing them under his cloak, Lashtal continued onward, approaching the small crowd lingering under the northern part of the entrance.

He paused; this was no festivity, but a solemn gathering. The soft howl of the winds broke the silence at their namesake gates; the congregated remained at their silent vigil around three blazing candles.

Lashtal sat among them; none stirred. The candlelight illuminated some facial features; some he recognised as once being Necrovian, especially the woman kneeling closest to the candles - this was unmistakeably Ailith, although she now wore her hair in a loose bun. Flickers of light passed over the woman kneeling beside Ailith; Lashtal caught a brief glimpse of her bowed head, obscured by locks of her golden hair. Could that be...? Lashtal blinked; the dead priestess was here. Several questions passed Lashtal's mind; he set them aside, lest his presence be noticed. Patience; Lashtal disciplined himself - now was not the time to ask.

_____

Syrian bowed her head as she passed through the low-hanging entrance of the Accursed Growth. A chorus of chattering greeted her; the soft glow of many turning specks monitored the intruder's movements. A faint smile passed across her features; none noticed. Not all your inhabitants have been exiled; not yet; and so there is hope for all of us, thought Syrian. She leant against the sapwood and slumbered under the watch of a thousand eyes.

_____

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