Oblivious to much around him, Orbaz Felbayne strode through the compound. Those still unfamiliar with the tiefling might have failed to notice the complexion of his face. How the skin had seemed to fade several hues from it’s normal ashen coloration, the deep smudges of grey around his stark, glowing eyes.
Lacking the strength even to pull it free, his zweihander still protruded from the side of the hulking arachnid beast he and his colleagues had just slain. With a general vague look, he watched as troops dashed around the garrison, intent on reinforcing the garrison again. The paladin’s task complete; he stumbled along, finding his way to the relative quiet of his chambers.
Fetching a pail of water from a cistern that the dwarves had constructed nearby, Orbaz washed away the mud and ichor from himself, uncertain at times where the blood came from. The gore that spewed from the nightmarish creatures on the walls seemed indiscernible from that of his own garroting wounds.
As the cool water flowed over him, he felt the strains of chaotic day begin to ebb slightly. The tiefling felt a moment of trepidation in his command; was it not easier to let the mantle fall on the others? Sure, they were capable to the task and certainly were no friends of the Awoken Eye. It would be merciful, even. What did he know of leading? There were plenty of those with more experience, many who could be depended on. Theodora and Elizabeth Gibbs are a clear indication of that. Yes, he could be on a boat tonight, with a destination as unknown as tomorrow.
A knock at his chamber door stole him away from his reverie. Bidding the visitor to enter, he was disappointed to be greeted by one of the runners from 3rd Column. He reported the circumstances of the Column, currently in the field of the Fallows. The disturbance they had been directed to suppress was for the moment under their control. The paladin listened quietly, masking his distraction with brusque nods at all of the appropriate intervals while heating a kettle for his tea.
Once the runner was finished and dismissed, Orbaz sat at his modest desk, perplexed at the swirl of emotions. He found himself wishing that the Captain had reported in herself.
He had witnessed Captain Volathar among her troops. She was admired and respected by those under her guidance. Not only because of her prowess in combat, which was considerable; but also because she tempered her authority with a wisdom and thoughtfulness that Orbaz found to be a rare quality in the world. It certainly didn’t evade the tiefling that Leorian was easy on the eyes, what with her crooked smile and locks of hair that was the color of a fire red sun setting over a shining sea.
The pressure of the kettle rose to a boiling pitch, whistling steam from it’s top. Seeing to it, Orbaz stirred in a thick pinch of shredded tarbean leaf and settling down to his work. A map of the Fallows lay unfurled on his table, pinned down with a large candle, the spectrum goggles and an old, leather bound book. He traced his fingers lovingly over the indentation on the cover, “The Ransom of Zarek”.
Opening up the book to a loose sheet tucked away in in the pages, he lifted the page and remembered the cryptic message from the copy in the Gibb’s Grand Library. The enemy at the gates, the rising tide, even the blood red moon … it all seemed to fade away as he focused on the ‘Heirs of Light’ … and what they could possibly mean to him.