The Drylands (Pathfinder)
Her Number One Fan
The old Entobian placed the latest journal on the shelf with the others. With slow steps, he moved to the other end of the chamber and opened the closet. He was almost out. Before long he would need to send his valet to the paper merchant to purchase more.
He couldn’t go himself. He hadn’t been outside his chambers in at least 40 years now.
The Entobian took the fresh book from the closet and set it on his desk. He squatted down, picked up the pitcher of water from the floor, and refilled the basin. Easing himself into the chair, he lifted the blindfold once again and tied it around his eyes.
The inside of the blindfold was lined with tiny mirrors. He did not see his reflection, only darkness. The Entobian reached out and opened the book. With confidence born of practice, he placed his stylus on the front page, wrote the date, and set the pen down.
He moved his right hand to touch the basin of water on one side of the book. He set his left hand on a palm-sized sphere of glass containing a few drops of long-dried blood. The Entobian took a deep breath, focused his mind, and uttered the command, “Scry.”
On speaking the word, the ink on the Entobian’s skin began to move. The tattoos on his head glowed and the arcane symbols pulsed with magic. The mirrors glowed, clouded, and resolved. Soon he was looking at a picture of four people in a cavern. The Yangsi was standing to the side, as she often was, along with the Gnome. The Grippli was seated at a table bargaining with a criminal that the scryer had seen in his last session.
As the old Entobian took in the scene, his hands recorded it in the journal. By now it was automatic. He would write until he felt the end of the page approaching, turn the page, and write again. Always on the same side of the paper, writing until the pages ran out.
Today was different. He could not capture the clarity of purpose that had defined his existence for years on end. He knew that when the elders sent for this set of books, they would be disappointed.
The Great Weapon still had not awoken. That was less than ideal, but was to be expected. The elders expected the Yangsi to awaken before the weapon. What was unexpected was the occlusion of spirit the Yangsi seemed to be undergoing. Her previous dedication to law, order, and a willingness to fight against elements that threaten it seemed to be worn away by her new companions.
She now consorted with criminals, turned away from crimes committed on the helpless, and had accepted the Grippli’s perverted interpretation of law without honor or righteousness.
Ever since he had watched the Yangsi leave Rock Mound, the Entobian had begun to doubt the wisdom of letting her remain so far outside their control. He had even asked for an elder to visit to share his concern, but was told this was the way it must be. The elder understood his worry but explained it was part of a greater hope.
They knew the Yangsi would have to leave. They knew she would meet influential people that might turn her from the right path. It was the old Entobian’s mission so many years ago that had set that chain of events in motion. More than that, he was not allowed to know.
It wasn’t enough. His peace of mind was not restored. For the first time in a decade, the Entobian skipped a page.