Vultes sat on a hard wooden chair pushed into a small table covered in maps and scrolls. He sat across from a young priest who had come to bring him an artifact found in an ancient ruin. Vultes was old but not stupid, he knew this young man was here for more than such a simple task. He could not tell though what the boy’s true motives were. He was not too worried. One did not live as long as he did without a certain level of paranoia.
Vultes was eighty-seven years old, nothing more than a crippling man. What he would give to be an elf. Though at a young age he found that changing your race was imposable, becoming immortal was not. He lived for the day he would live forever, although being a follower of the Seven restricted such thinking. Vultes did accept that if he did not find the secret to immortality that at least he would go on to live in Donasell. Some called it heaven, some were fools though.
Vultes and the young priest had been talking for some time, though he still did not have the boy’s name. The boy did most of the talking; Vultes mostly listened and smoked on his pipe. He was sure what the other was saying was important; he simply reasoned his tobacco imported from the southern dwarven mines was better. With one hand he held his pipe, the other he used to stroke his short white beard.
Finally the boy opened a pouch in his robes and pulled out an old cloth and placed it on the old table. “I assure you it is important. I may be young but I know the relevance of your time.”
I may be old but I remember the wit I had when I was young. “Thank you,” Vultes said with a smile. I hate these kids, thinking they can lie to an old man so easily. Vultes stood and took the cloth. Something small and round was inside, carefully wrapped. As he pulled back one fold of the cloth he felt something pull, and then heard something click. He pretended not to notice.
Though the corner of his eye the young man had kept a straight face for the most part, only the slightest hint on a grin was shown on his face only for a moment. Maybe he was paranoid, maybe he was about to die. He dropped the cloth and its contents, letting it fall to the stone floor. As it hit he heard it break like a pot. A green gas shot out of the cloth, spreading about a foot and then dissipating.
Poison, he thought. “OH! How clumsy of me, old and frail and clumsy.” He sounded genuine, his acting was getting better.
The young man shot to his feet, quickly recomposing himself. “Oh what a shame…” His acting skills were not quite up to par. Now Vultes could see through him. “That was a thousand years old, found in an ancient temple of the Seven.”
Vultes was doing well to keep himself composed. He had been in such a situation before, but he had never been this old before. Of course that was the case, he was never before as old as he was at any moment in his life, no one was. He was confusing himself with such pointless thinking. Quickly he made his way away from his small table and to the other end of the room to where an old book shelf stood.
“Now, surely I must have something to send back to the priest who sent you as way of apology.” Vultes began to say as he moved old books and jars around.
The young man laughed, “Please no, this was a gift. No harm done.”
“Well then the priests have taught you well.” He threw another book aside, causing it to fall to the floor. No it’s not here either… by the Seven. “Consider this a gift in return.” He was panicking, which was never good. His trembling hands struck an old jar knocking it to the ground. It shattered spreading water and who knows that else across the ground. He cursed to himself.
“Oh my, let me help you with that father.”
There it is! ‘Father’ was not a term used in the worship of the Seven. Anyone would know that, and Vultes knew especially. He’s from the church of the Divine. They say father, believing there was only one Divine Creator. “No,” he said a bit too quickly. “It’s alright; I seem to be smashing everything today.”
Finally he found it. The small vial of glowing red liquid was hidden behind an old book. He clutched it in his hands and exhaled. Suddenly he heard the boy’s voice again, “You should have just breathed in the poison… it was expensive you know.”
Vultes smiled to himself, maybe the boy wasn’t a complete fool. “I’m not one for dying.”
“At your age?”
Vultes laughed out loud, that was actually amusing. “Yes even at my age. Look, I have found your gift.”
As Vultes turned around the young man had a dagger clutched in his hands. He looked convinced he was going to kill the old man. Though as the boy looked at the vial the elderly man was extending fear took over and he shrunk back. They both knew well enough what it was.
“Arch Light,” the boy uttered under his breath.
Many knew the ways of magic. All knew that if one were to cast a spell the magic may very well kill him, but not when Arch Light was ingested. When magic is summoned through the body it pulls some of the users’ life out with it, when Arch Light is present the Magic takes it instead. It was a fairly ingenious concoction for anyone wishing to summon a spell who didn’t wish to die. They both knew one of them was going to die in the next few moments.
Vultes pulled the cork on the vial as the other began to charge with his dagger thrust out. There were only a few meters between them. Vultes brought the vial up to his lips and drank; the boy was quickly closing the gap between them. The Arch Light was in his stomach and he was summoning the magic as the boy’s dagger struck. The blade cut deep into his shoulder only inches above his heart. Pain surged through Vultes as he cast his spell.
Ice formed in his hands and thrust outward like a spear piercing the young man. The Arch Light burned inside him as he sent the boy stumbling across the room, a short spear of ice jutting from his chest. Both of them fell to their knees. Vultes gripped the dagger still inside him and yanked it free. All new pain struck him and brought him to the ground. Slowly and carefully he moved his fingers and chanted under his breath. The red mist inside him burned up as a golden light formed around his hands, washing over him and healing his wound.
Vultes took in a deep breath as he felt renewed. I’m far too old not to keep Arch Light on me at all times… he felt foolish. Finally after a few moments he rose to his feet, frowning and the blood and water that stained his robes. They were nice robes.
The boy sitting across the room spoke low through the blood spilling through his teeth. “Curse you old man, you will meet your end soon…” He coughed and gritted his teeth. “Y-Your cause is a fool’s quest… you will only find death…”
Vultes almost pitied the boy. He didn’t even know his name. “What is your name boy?” He asked making is way over to him.
“I-I-I’m going to see the Divine…” his sentence trailed off and soon the life left his eyes.
Vultes rose back to his feet and he made his way from his study. The old church building was empty save for his assistant. Janmar sat with his hands clasped as he prayed. Vultes made his way over and sat next to him. The man was so devoted to his faith and such a good friend. His brown beard was freshly cut and it appeared he had purchased new robes as well.
“Janmar, who are you praying to tonight?” He asked looking at the shrine at the front of the large room in which they sat.
“Pantera, the Empress of Light.” He spoke quietly, coming out of his state of meditation.
“Ah, so you are. The priest was an assassin. I’ll need some help moving the body from here.”
Janmar looked over to the old man and nodded, “Of course. I assume this means we will be leaving again as well?”
“Indeed. Too many times I’ve been found out… I must finish my research quickly.” Vultes rose and Janmar followed. “Looks like we’re going on another adventure…”
“Of course, I will inform the other priests. They will be saddened to see you go.”
Vultes and Janmar made their way out of the old building and stepped out into the rain. Vultes looked up and let the rain hit his face. It wasn't the first time someone had attempted to kill him, it most likely would not be the last. He sighed lightly as he rolled his shoulder. The wound had completely healed over without leaving so much as a scar. He smiled thinking of his next move, it had been some time. It was a perfect night to head out, he loved the rain. It was such a gentle rain for such a beautiful night.