At the moment he touched the barrier, felt the immovable forces of the barrier momentarily dissolve around him. As his arcane Sight sense the call and the answer from the amulet that hung – comically – low to his belly…
…he questioned himself.
Why should he leave? The West would have peace now, The Shining city would unite the fortier towns and the refugees. Wullie was going to be Prince Consort, he’d have the queens ear… His internal monologue paused expecting The Bard or Jack to say ‘he’d have the queen’s everything else as well’ but that didn’t happen. Jack?
He looked left as the cold shiver of the barrier touched his face. His unusual co-crosser was unfazed by the bizarre happenings…
“only linguistically speakin’…” his inner Arcanist corrected “…metaphysically, dats up for debate”
He turned back to the cold darkness
The 13th would be fine, they would probably be decorated. The Gnomes would be safe, they had a spooky mushroom lady looking after them, that, unexpectedly, had been good to her word so far. If he’d have stayed he could have completed his life’s work, his Grandfather’s work, his life-extending work, in peace.
But that was the problem wasn’t it? There wasn’t a lot of use for Necromancy in a new golden age. Oh he could write and read, work some simple spells, but they’d put him to work patching up the sick and injured, stitching back together the City’s un-ageing PostMortem Age Pensioners when they fell and broke their hips. His days of testing the finality of death, of taking back what the Grey Wastes would claim as their own, of risking death in long forgotten tombs for the promise of forbidden knowledge… They would be long done.
Worse, they’d make him tell them all he’d learnt, all he’d seen, and he would – because he’d be the first person to admit he’d crack, long before any actual torture.
The cold was infinite, it took his breath away, it made “the chill of the grave” a lie, but it was fleeting, nearly across now.
No it was the war in the east he needed, as a cover, to ensure desperate men accepted dubious arcane solutions.
Was their more to it though? Didn’t he have a duty to stop the Glass Staffs? Hadn’t he suggested moving the town in the first place? Didn’t he have friends on this side of the barrier?
No, he didn’t have friends, he had what he’d always had in the 13th: People he fought beside, and
of late people who owed him their second shot at life. That was close enough for him.
It was war that had put him on this path and it was war that would see him to the end of it, the promised land, the ultimate breakthrough.
They were across.
And why did he have that stupidly-happy tune Lille Nisse Hansi was always singing stuck in his head?!