On the Grey Flame:
2 days after the collapse of Skypierce Tower
The bar area has been turned into a make shift hospital. Alethia’s is asleep in a bed next to Malcolm’s. Malcolm opens his eyes for the first time since the tower collapsed.
Matthias changes Malcolm’s bandages.
Malcolm (weakly): “How bad is it?”
Matthias: “I almost don’t want to say, Sir.”
Malcolm: “That bad hey. Its okay at this point I think I can handle bad news.”
Mathias: “About half of your body is badly burned. It will be a gruesome scar, if you survive.”
Malcolm: “Then we’ll have another thing in common. He, he, he (weakly)”
*Excerpt from Malcolm’s Journal: *
It has been 7 days since the collapse of Skypierce Tower. Recovery is slow and painful. For a week I couldn’t even open my eyes. I have been th… You will pay for your treachery worse then burning! Your heart is mine! I must have blacked out for a bit. Alethia is in the bed next to me. She is mending much quicker, which is good because I think the smell from my bandages is getting to her. Haffston is no doctor or surgeon. Fortunately his skill at mixing concoctions does wonders for the pain. We are back in Camnir. I thought we were done here. Matisse and Rusty are going to get us a “fighting force” for the ship.
On the Grey Flame:
The night of the Full Moon
Malcolm is in his room.
Alethia, Haffston, Qiton, and Matthias rush to the door of Malcolm’s room. It is locked. Qiton tries to smash it down with his massive shoulders but it is like running into solid wall. Malcolm is sealed.
Malcolm finds himself chained to the ground in front of the White King’s throne. “Malcolm. I am disappointed.” As Malcolm raises his head, he sees the White King sitting in front of him, a strange glowing gem surrounded with pulsing flesh wrapping around it like a net. “For a thief, your ability’s are fairly lackluster aren’t they?”
The White King stands and descends down the staircase, "I promised you eternal suffering for you and those around you, didn’t I? Your friends? Loved ones? All will suffer for your choice.”
“Choice, so that’s what you call it. Choice like when you hold a friend’s mother hostage,” Malcolm says wincing in pain.
“Oh he had his choice too. But first and foremost…" the White King shoves the frightening looking gem straight into now Malcolm’s chest. As the crystal embeds itself deep in Malcolm’s chest, he can feel it grow and expand inside him; a painful heat grows across his insights. “Your suffering will continue, Malcolm. Your body will decay. You will wish for death but it will not come. You will become a monster, feared by all, and you will bring pain to those around you.”
As the White King speaks, Malcolm’s face contorts with pain as the seed grows and then turns his insights into in the icy chill before turning in a stabbing pain which grows back into burning sensation.
Alethia holds a fire ball ready to throw it at the door, but Qiton busts through the door, ripping it off its hinges. They find Malcolm on the floor bleeding. Mathias picks him up and places him back in his bed while Malcolm mutters “White King” in his sleep.
The next day
Malcolm wakes up to find Alethia in the corner of the room watching him intently. “Nice to see I have company.”
“More like making sure your room stays open and you don’t have another episode."
Malcolm sees the splintered door on the ground. “I’d say the door looks pretty open.”
“I wanted to ask you last night but you lost a lot of blood. Qiton told me to wait till morning to ask you. What the hell happened last night?”
Malcolm tries remembering. An image of the White King flashes like lightning across his mind. The rest is jumbled like it was scratched away and it burns his mind. Malcolm winces, “I don’t remember, but it has something to do with the White King.” Malcolm rubs his chest. Malcolm starts unwrapping the bandages from his chest. “Might as well not hide it from a wizard.” A black star-like scar covers the middle of his chest. “I guess this is what I get for talking with strangers.” Malcolm forces a smile to try and lighten the mood but fails to change Alethia’s concern
“This isn’t good. We should tell the other’s soon.” Alethia gets up from her chair.
Malcolm holds out his hand “Don’t!”
“Don’t tell the others.”
She looks at him with concerned annoyance. “Okay?”
“Malcolm continues. “If I change and start acting…different, you end me. You got me?”
“A little more hesitancy would be nice,” Malcolm responds.
“What am I supposed to say, you made a deal with the bad guy that screwed us over.”
“I did it to save Matisse. When you see a friend play a hand with the devil, sometimes you have to join the table to pull them out.”
“A noble thief,” Alethia says a bit sarcastically.
“You’ll kill me before I turn. Last thing I want is to become his slave. I will not fail you guys again.”
Alethia nods her head and leaves.
*Excerpt from Malcolm’s Journal: *
The ship is filled with the people Rusty and Matisse managed to round up. There’s hardly any room or privacy. Let’s just hope they can put up a good fight. If we loose the ship or my ass gets left with orcs…Your sole will burn as the seed of anger grows…I started training a few of them, seams like there getting the hang of it. The rot has expanded unnaturally fast. In the weeks spent recovering and getting more ship hands, There is more rot than land it seems, like a black ocean that has swallowed the land. We make haste towards the city of Falston. I have a bad feeling as if we might be too late.
The City of Falston
We arrived to find the city in ruins. The three orc armies have taken the Western half of the City. The human forces have been driven up north and I doubt they’ll be able to hold this patch for long even with our air ship’s cannon. Hope looks bleak. Today we saved Lord Warden Mathis Ferro’s daughter, Captain Ophelia Ferro. She was with a search and recovery party that got kidnapped in Fortune Square, which has been taken over by the rot. We saved her and her and what was left of her squad. They were impressed with our skills and even got a new companion. Her name is Senerah Hoenthal. She is very attractive. And a duel wielder. She’s even into the same music I am. I’d love to talk blades with her and examine her… qualities. Rusty doesn’t trust her. That’s fine. I don’t mind another less numbers in the equations means easier for me right. I mean man she is gorgeous, her nice as…
Malcolm quickly puts his journal away. “Come in.”
“Some members of your crew said you wanted to see me.”
Malcolm puts his arms behind his head and stretches while leaning back in his chair trying to act suave, but stumbles almost out of his chair but manages to catch himself.
Senerah eyes him for a bit.
Malcolm regains his composure “Yes, Um. How are you liking the ship?”
“It’s fine, never been on one that flies before. Qiton even showed me his canon. It’s really big.”
“So you like the ships cannon. I can fire it you know.” Malcolm messages his bicep.
Senerah eyes Malcolm again. “It does seem like Rusty does not trust me though.”
“Oh him, He still doesn’t trust me. Don’t worry about him. I am sure once he sees you in combat you’ll change his mind.”
“Thanks. So tomorrow we make our move on Temple of the Sun.”
“That’s right. Ophelia’s troops will strike and then we sneak up and make our stabby, stab, stab and get home for dinner.”
Senerah gives Malcolm the eye one last time. “Well, its late and I should probably head to bed you know for the ‘stabby, stab, stab” in the morning.” She heads out the door, but peaks her head back in, “Thanks again for letting me join your crew. I won’t let you down. Good night.” She heads out shyly.
“Good night… don’t let the bed bugs bite,” Malcolm says his words hitting empty air.