Chapter 64: Taromani the Riftseeker

The walls of their sanctum burned hot in the upper caverns. The crystals that powered the pocket-world glowed with their own internal light. The voices of chanting, harmoinc and maddening, whispered through the halls as the demons fed power into their vessel.

A mortal walked among them.

He was shrouded in magical protections, but they knew he walked among them. They saw their world differently than any mortal ever could. They cared little for him, however.

In the upper chambers, Taromani grew bored. She hated the invisible chains that forced her magic toward the whim of the Overlord. Her wings beat the hot air in frustration and her green eyes blazed. Then she too felt the mortal's presence.

He was an elf, old by elf standards, but a child to Taromani's uncountable age. He stood in front of her, his own blue eyes blazed and he stood fearless. She looked toward the shield he wore on his arm and felt the power of the lower worlds within. It was an entity, or a piece of an entity, even older and more powerful than she. She held back the instinct to set him aflame or tear open his armor and skin or crush his mind with her own.

"What have you brought me." She spoke in his mind and smiled when she saw him wince. Mortal minds were not built for real communication. Taromani and her kind could speak entire volumes of the largest leatherbound tomes in single words.

When he recovered from her voice, the elf drew a leather bag from his belt and held it out to her. The demon hooked the strings of the bag with a black claw as long as the elf's fingers and snatched it out of his hands. She opened it and seven rings fell into her palm, the seven rings of the Dragorn spies she had sent the elf to kill.

"High elf clerics are not known for their willingness to assassinate." This time the meaning of Taromani's words hit him harder than her telepathic voice. She looked at each of the rings. She saw the battles he fought, the companions of Vinceremo who battled with him, and the beasts they cut down in the lower reaches of Kuua. She saw the dragorn spies scream for mercy and watched the high elf blast them into the tainted waters of the Dranik sewers. "You have done well."

The cleric's eyes narrowed. Taromani smiled.

"This is not the first pact with a demon you have had, is it." She hissed, this time in her multi-harmonic voice. Again, the cleric spoke not a word. "You wish to enter the citadel, and so you shall."

Taromani kissed the palm of her hand and touched it to the elf's cheek. She saw him clench his jaw as the kiss burned into him. When she pulled away, a black scar stood out on his cheek, her mark.

"You wished protection from Mata Muram's magic, and now you have it. When you enter the citadel, his magic will no longer rip you to shreds." The priest said nothing and this irritated Taromani. "Go."

The priest restored his cloaking magics and left the vessel of the Riftseekers.