The Grey Veil
I like books…
Owe Me a Solid
The familiar pungency of sulfur gave way to the more mundane scents of burning wood and fabric. Similarly, the infernal red of hellfire slowly transformed to the ordinary—but no less thrilling—hues of yellow and orange as the room burned. Smiling to himself, the dancing flames momentarily distracting him from the failure of his search, Brona turned on his heel, walked toward the door, and stepped over the charred remains of the guard.
As the moist night air replaced the fiery inferno behind him, Brona’s thoughts turned to his failed search. Once again he had followed clues, rumors, and scraps of text. The book (well, one of the books) should have been here. As he had approached the building, he had briefly considered putting the guard to sleep or using his magic to sneak by undetected; he could have even summoned a minion to distract him. But the guard’s challenging query—“Hello, sir. What can I do for you?”—clinched his fate. Offended at the interrogation, Brona cracked his knuckles, rolled up his sleeves, muttered briefly while snapping his fingers, and promptly set the man ablaze. Gingerly bending over and picking up the guard’s keys, he unlocked the door and stepped into the room.
Once he was inside, Brona took a position in the center of the room. With eyes half-closed, he extended his consciousness into the room, up the steps, and into the other rooms of the building. He searched for the telltale signs of one of the Seven—a certain inky feeling, bound into pages—without success. All he felt was a vague pull from the bookcase ahead, but nothing quite so definitive as he was sure he’d feel from one of the Seven. Sighing and opening his eyes, he beckoned toward the shelf, following the tug he had felt on his consciousness. A smallish book—a ledger of some sort—sprang from the bookshelf into his hand. Glancing briefly through the book, he found nothing of interest until he reached the second to last page. He sighed again, ripped the last two pages from the text, and folded them into his robes. “Another clue,” he thought morosely. Dropping the book to the floor, he waved his hand, muttered a few words, and watched as hellfire sprang up from three of the four walls. Satisfied at least with this act of destruction, he waited a while, smelling the sulfur and watching the flames engulf the room. Maybe, he thought, this next clue would finally yield results.
Outside once again, his shadow was long in front of him as he walked away from the burning orphanage.