As the companions sit in the semi-darkness outside the fortress of the Madarua huddled around the dim light of a lantern, a mantle of responsibility and indecision seems to settle over the group. For some this imagined weight may be welcome; others may be indifferent to it; but for Morgan, it is unwelcome and sobering.
Clearing her throat, she addresses the party. “Elendil, Friends, we are faced with a very important decision. One that we each must search our own hearts for the answer to. What we decide in the next few hours will be a decision that will affect not only our lives, but possibly the lives of the pale ones of this city.”
Looking out across the dim courtyard, Morgan continues, “I am heart sick of this place. I have not seen the sun or felt the wind on my face for too long. I feel trapped in a grave. — No, Bhelgarn, please do not tell me how far under the ground we actually are. — This place may be the death of us, and I for one want to die where the isilme, moonlight, may find my body.”
“I put little faith in prophecies. I am not a hero; I am not a chosen one; I am not a fulfiller of destinies. I am zenar – less than half. The priestess in the tower behind us sensed it in me – my halfness.” Morgan drops her head into her hands, “I am sorry my friends. It is the darkness of this place that has filled my mind with shadows and despair.”
Shaking her head as if to throw off her dark mood, Morgan continues, “ While I respect the gods, I have had little faith in them. But within the last week I have seen Ember do amazing things, all because of her faith and devotion to her goddess. She is a good person and obviously loved by Glöð. Thrud’s devotion to Ember is a rare and wondrous thing. Odleif has been a steady and stalwart companion. Bhelgarn, Remy, Iris, Fluffy and Wolfsbane have not faltered. None of us are cowards. But are we the chosen ones?”
“I am hesitant to take up the calling of another culture’s prophecy. Unlike Ember, I have no goddess watching my back. I ponder why these people cannot save themselves. I am motivated to look out for you, my companions, and myself. Who are the Gormites, Magi or even the Maidens to me!? …You may feel otherwise, and I respect that.”
“Haldamir put me in this ‘leadership’ role, but I am impulsive, impatient and make mistakes. I was the first to suggest and then execute the Gormites in the bee room. Maybe I am responsible in some part for the mess with the Magi, and joining the Maidens was only a means to an end – to get the hells out of this gods forsaken tomb. I, we, have made enemies of the ones we are to unite. How can we hope to be successful?!?”
Staring into the dim lantern light, Morgan seems lost in thought. Abruptly turning towards Hazard, she announces, “I may have wronged Hazard. My actions in the ramp room against him were impulsive, and my thoughts may have been clouded by the lingering dread of the ghosts. I thought I saw something, but this place plays tricks on the mind. Was the enemy Hazard? Was it a ghost? Was it something from the bottomless urns in that room? Was the room cursed or something in it? … Hazrad’s explanation of events could be true. FluffyKitten’s tale is a bit more difficult to understand, but it could be true as well. And it was pitch black in that room after the candle was dropped. Only the cat knows what really happened, and it is not talking…”
“It is true; I am not fond of Hazard, and we have had our differences from the beginning.” Morgan pauses and looks each companion in the eye, “But, Hazrad has saved each of our lives at least once: in the bee room, from apes, baboons, hobgoblins, rat-men, and ghouls. He has suffered grievous injuries while protecting each of us. Why would he risk himself then only to turn on a companion later? This makes it difficult for me — did he attack FluffyKitten or was it something else?…”
“And our future? If we separate, death most likely awaits us – either in the undercity or out in the hot sands of the desert. We still need each other; we still need to work together. Hazrad is the only one who can speak Cyndician, and he is the only one who knows the desert stars outside of the pyramid.”
Sighing Morgan says, “We know that battle awaits us in this dark place. And the soldier in me knows it is not right to send a man into battle unarmed. I would like to see Hazrad’s spearhead returned to him. Many of us are now armed with magical weapons that we took from the tombs — the taking of which Ember has cautioned against. Are those weapons evil? Are they cursed? Are they possessed? Are we?!? … Only the gods know.”
“Is there something about the spearhead that is different? Yes, but it belongs to Hazrad and he has used it to save our lives. If it is evil, he has carried it, understands it and controls it.” Turning to Bhelgarn, Morgan whispers, “And like the helm you tried in the bee room, does it not make you nervous – carrying a magical ‘evil’ object?!?”
Standing and dusting herself off, Morgan’s words drift over the party. “Whether we are to die in this place or out in the desert wasteland, we should be armed with the weapons that best suit each of us … ”
“There are decisions to make, so I will leave you, each with your own thoughts…I for one wish to see the sun again.”
“Abarad”, whispers Morgan as she walks into the darkness.