Voidborn 1: The Black Empire

Voidborn 1: The Black Empire
A vision of Ny'alotha, the Waking City

The market bustled the ways all markets did. Sellers shouted to passing customers about their wares. Several small ones sprinted by carrying stolen goods and food. Naiavara was spared most of the annoying parts of the market tucked into the back of the Consortium’s stitchshop. The worst part about each new journey was having to relearn her craft with the new intricacies and demands of the local materials – in particular it was sourcing enough materials to learn those intricacies and demands that made things difficult. Thankfully, the Dragon Isles had infrastructure in place to support her coping mechanism.

A large sack crashed into the side of the table. Naiavara only needed to take a glance to know it was full of junk – half-enchanted knives, mauls, robes, shoes. Anything that could be scavenged off the battlefield or dead adventurers.

“I found a bunch of scrap cloth too,” Pyresong mumbled wearily, pulling out a large heap of blood-stained cloth. Naiavara took a few moments to sort the materials and nodded to her partner. “Hey, can we talk?”

“What about?”

Erila pulled up a stool and sat down at Naiavra’s workbench. “Uh,” the woman had somehow gotten worse at being direct about the things she wanted. “You. What happened at the Sands of Time? You’ve been... different.”

Naiavara feigned a smile – she wasn’t good at it, and perhaps trying to smile at all undermined the token effort of pretending nothing was wrong – and turned back to the loom. “I was dumped in Silvermoon briefly. Years ago. I saw you slaying the Wretched while her friend had a breakdown over it, pulling at my robes expecting me to stop you. It played out exactly as her memory dictated,” Naiavara hummed, “for a woman who was losing her mind, Ryllin had a surprisingly accurate and vivid memory. Alas, the Sunwell had no more care for my presence then as it does now. It was taxing.”

There was a silence between the two of them. Or there would have been if not for Pyresong’s grumbles and armor clicking as she shifted in her seat.

“You’re great at pretending to be smart, but I’ve never met someone so bad at playing dumb as you,” Pyresong leaned in and lowered her voice, “I’m talking about our little jaunt through The Black Empire.”

She winced. A needle pierced Naiavara’s finger, deep and jagged. After she extracted it, she stitched the wound closed with shadows – the vessel would heal the internal part of the wound naturally, but she didn’t want to hand someone a pre-bloodstained cowl. The knight waited patiently for Naiavara to clean the wound and the fix the mistake in the stitch it left.

Naiavara turned and locked eyes with her knight. A faint gold light emanated from the edges of Erila’s eyes at all times. They were always beautiful but had always made something deep in her churn with disgust.

“What color are my eyes, knight?”

Erila tilted her head and squinted. “Fel green. Just like they’ve always been.”

Naiavara nodded and turned back to her clothwork. “Then all is well. So long as the vessel is stable, I am independent,” she let out a long sigh. It felt like she had been holding her breath since she returned from the Conflux. Relief. “Thank you, Erila,” Naiavara’s voice had become very quiet, “for worrying about me. It is comforting knowing that you are looking out for me.”

Erila nodded, shifted some, and then spoke again. “Sure thing, any time. Gonna be honest though, Naia, I have no idea what that meant, and it might be the scariest thing you’ve ever said.” Erila stood up and adjusted her breastplate – she hadn’t the time or skill to refit the scavenged plate for herself yet. “But I’m going to trust you when you say everything’s good.”