“Darkest paths.”  Now there is a greeting I have not heard in a long time. It was a common enough pleasantry among the folks of the Isle of Legacies, that mysterious mirror of London I once knew, but I never really understood why.  All paths were dark there, save for that corner known as Torn Oak, which supposedly had sunshine, but that I only knew by repute, it not being a good idea to expose myself to the sun there. The greeting, in this case, came from Vedis’ Talon, Galyanna, and was not out of place since she too came from that darkened land. She had come down from the Demon Isle to see Lord Maric, which meeting had been requested by Aoibheann. I was not sure that I could help her in this respect as I hadn’t seen Maric in a couple of days and the only matter I could think of that he would want to talk to Galyanna about was that concerning the incident with Umbra and Aoibheann.

We spoke of that incident briefly, during which I learned that Horace had been involved, rather gallantly, or perhaps, foolishly, trying to rescue Aerodine when Umbra was trying to steal the tear. Galyanna managed to intervene before his life force was completely gone and somehow in the course of this, Umbra was driven from Lucis’ body. Horace had to be healed, presumably by somebody among Vedis’ people, as did Aoibheann.  I thanked her for the rescue, telling her how fond I was of Aoibheann and heard that Vedis was fond of her too.

I offered her food and drink, which she declined, mentioning that the mask had no mouthpiece. I opined that the mask was probably not necessary here in the tavern, among friends, but she declined to remove it, saying it was more than just concealment, and that it wasn’t a matter of us not being friends. The mask meant that her identity was that of being the will of her queen, rather than that of the person beneath. Patch could take over her role, she said, and few would be any the wiser. I had not thought Patch to be a warrior, but then, I know so little about him, save for what I had seen at Fiendish Pleasures. A Talon was more than just a warrior, she told me, that was just part of it. I joked that my mask was in the clothes I was wearing, in the role I was playing at that moment, as steward of the village. Just as the suit I had worn while working as City Treasurer was another mask, and neither role was me. I was interested in her comment that the role of Talon was more than just a warrior, remarking that I supposed not, any more than my role was just that of an accountant. I bemoaned my lack of martial skills, saying that I ought really to learn some more of these, particularly in the role I held for Valene, which I supposed to be similar to that she held for Vedis. I had thought that perhaps Talon was akin to Sigil which was akin to Raven. Curiously, Galyanna interpreted it differently, asking if Valene had made me. Oh no, I told her. I am just Sigil to her, which role I thought to be similar to that of Talon. The one who made me was lost to me long ago, I explained.

Further discussion was interrupted by the arrival of Aoibheann and Maric. The latter made the appropriate greetings, ever the gentleman. I explained that Galyanna was here in response to his request for a meeting. From the conversation that ensued, I gathered that Maric was somewhat annoyed at having had an injured Aoibheann delivered to his castle, when he had thought her safe and under Vedis’s protection. Galyanna was somewhat irritated by his implications that she was somehow at fault, repeating her explanation of what had occurred. What passed after that I did not hear, since I had business elsewhere in the village. I did remark, as I left, that I had always found Galyanna to be truthful and honourable. I don’t know if it made a difference or not, but I hope the meeting passed peacefully after that. I did not hear otherwise.

 Masks – by Third Illusion



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