A succession of visitors arrived this morning. Ultar and the other Golden Eyes I’d met in the wood panelled room bid us farewell shortly after noon. Soon after that the Master of Crypts turned up alone. He looked different. Younger, like a great weight’s been lifted off his shoulders. He gave me a small emerald encrusted dagger. He didn’t stay long. He seemed ill at ease, like he’d discovered a newer, friendlier part of himself and didn’t exactly know how to display it. I almost told him to relax and enjoy his newfound comfort. Then again, it was the Master. He hadn’t relaxed for a long, long time. It was a skill he’d need to work on.
He did thank me, though. I thought he’d never find the words, but he did. He squeezed my hands, looked me straight in the eyes, and told me I’d done him a great service. In turn, I thanked him back for giving me the opportunity to enter the crypt. It felt strange saying that. I could easily have died in there. But I did emerge with something valuable. And for that I felt I needed to thank someone other than Lailia.
Only time will tell just how valuable the gift is. I doubt I’ll be disappointment. That lightness has settled now, settled around my chest and head like some kind of invisible armour. Though it’s not physical, I know it will somehow protect me. Mental armour. That’s what it feels like. Something that will protect me with knowledge instead of brute force.
Can I really see into the past and learn long hidden secrets? Will it help me against the Basilod? Yes. I’m convinced it will. But only if I learn how to use it properly. If I’m not careful, it might as easily drive me mad.
A commotion began outside shortly after two. Moments later, the central figure I’d seen on the stockade the other night strode into the room. He wasn’t wearing any crown or fine robes. Instead, he wore a plain cotton tunic and had a beret style cap moulded over his head that completely covered his hair. I knew immediately it was him, knew by his stature, elegance, and the way his entourage held back as they streamed in behind him. There was also a hint of blue in his eyes, a pale blue that shifted about within the yellow iris like a tiny cloud. He thanked both of us for helping and hoped he might return the favour some day. Then, after a few minutes of small talk, he wished us well and left.
We’ve been left alone since then. And it was nice for the three of us to chat for a while. I showed Lailia some pictures of Maya. I don’t know why. I guess some part of me wanted to make it clear to her where my loyalties lay in case she thought… well, otherwise. Maya was beautiful, she said, someone worth chasing the Basilod to the ends of the known Parawerthan, and beyond.
I was so glad she said that, so glad we’d marked our borders without a hint of bad feeling. Somehow I know I’m going to see these people again. It’s not wilful thinking. No. It’s a certainty.
Time to pack up our things. Lailia’s going to lead us up to the plateau at seven. They’ll administer the sleeping drug there before carrying us through the mountain. Can’t say I’m looking forward to it.