The Verdant Passage

Old Friends


Zaidah furrowed her brow and cocked her head to the side. Yes? Who is this?

Bones on the wind. Old and cracked and crackling… came the reply.

Oh no… What…? No! I don’t need you anymore! Zaidah thought.

<laughter> She’s cracking at the edges, just like us, the voices said.

That will happen when stones are falling from the sky- No! That’s not what I mean! the psion shouted in her own mind.

Shhhhh. There there. We know. It hurts when they pull this way and that. Pull you apart they will, if you let them.

You mean Ablach-Re and Desoura…


What else could I have done? Zaidah pleaded. I don’t intend to let her hurt Desoura.

Use your hands to rip out the mentor’s throat, she could. What to do, what to do? the voices said in a sing-song manner

I don’t know. I’ll think of something. Hopefully whatever is inside that chest will help. And she had no doubt that the former Sorcerer Queen could rip it open with little difficulty. What would be left of Desoura afterwards was… quite another question. I’m afraid of what she’ll do if we don’t help her. I’m afraid she’ll take over my body again and decide not to let go…

A great loss for Huar the voices said in tones of impish conspiracy.

What? Oh… Zaidah blushed. Arkin reminded me that in the vision Huar ordered Desoura to kill Ablach-Re. I had forgotten that, when I asked him what he knew of her death. He said… he said it was a great mystery and I didn’t even think to disbelieve him. I- I don’t know. When we came across the cultists I began to doubt but as soon as I saw him again all of that was swept away. I didn’t think I would be that happy to see him again, but I was.

Tricks? Smoke and mirrors?

Zaidah shook her head, I don’t think so. I did try to think of some arcane means of control. I wracked my brain for any way to achieve such an effect and I couldn’t think of anything. No, I’m quite certain that it’s real.

Then why, Lie? Hmmmmm?

I didn’t! … not really… I just… she put her hands to either side of head and shook it violently. “I will not!”

“Uh… Zaidah?”

She went very still and then slowly looked up, and then up some more at the half giant who towered over her.

“You ok?” asked Fezzik in his own gruff but oddly comforting way.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Yes. Thank you, Fezzik. I’m- I’ll be alright.”

“Ok.” He shrugged and lumbered away.

The voices did not return, not in full force anyway. Instead they skittered like rats in the darkened corners of her mind, dropping little whispers here and there when she wasn’t paying attention but disappearing as soon as she would try to confront them. She did her best to hide this from her companions, refusing to succumb fully to the madness which had once held her so tightly in its grip.



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