‘Now I know I am completely bereft of sense,’ Erebus thought to himself as he stepped back into the makeshift ‘escort’ his companions had formed around him and the dwarven fighter, Erik.
The idea was that he and Erik would pose as ‘prisoners’ of his companions in order that the whole group might make its way through town to the Church of the Deceiver where Inquisitor-Brother Marcel was likely to be coordinating plans for a last stand. To be authentic, both he and Erik had offered up sword and axe to appear unarmed. To be sure, neither was truly unarmed – pommels of daggers and other small blades protruded from belt and boot of both warriors…and, of course, Erebus had his shield within easy reach.
Worldeater it was called. Made of heavy, black stained steel and polished to a reflective, liquid luster…one might not immediately realize that it was just as much a part of Erebus’ offensive arsenal as his khopesh. The entire face of the shield depicted, in masterwork relief, the head of a serpent – Naja Khemri Ife, the lethally poisonous Desert Witch Adder – devouring Pa’Earth. The artistry and nature of the relief often concealed the fact that the edges of the shield were fashioned into a bladed ridge. In combat, Erebus would often use the edges of the shield, like a weighted axe – leading attacks with it to catch an opponent offguard or finishing a series of bashes with the edge of the shield to bring down or cripple a wounded foe.
As he waited for the group to begin their trek through Avignon, Erebus watched Erik and wondered if the dwarf really had it in him to regain the greatness that he had once enjoyed prior to arrival in The Prison. Erik demonstrated little discipline and even less control of this mouth. The strangest things slipped from his lips. Phrases like ‘Don’t tell me what to do!’ and ‘I’ll do as I please!’ Erebus’ brow furrowed as he puzzled on why Erik thought such things were worth the effort to speak them when he clearly needed to be reminded what to do and where to be. Further, setting out on his own, heedless of the plans and direction of his remaining companions, had already cost him one life.
Erebus pulled a focale slowly across his head, wiping away the sweat that beaded along his bald scalp in the humid heat of the evening. He retied the scarf around his neck, and, unknowingly shook his head as he thought of the danger that the dwarf’s lack of control represented for the rest of the group. Erebus couldn’t decide if the root of the dwarf’s fierce stubbornness and decided lack of clear thinking in battle was an inner reflection of the same defect that stunted his stature or if, the randomness of his behavior was some expression of a true loyalty to chaos and disorder. In either case, it wouldn’t be resolved standing here in the street.
If it came down to protecting the others, though, it might not too much trouble to maneuver the misshapen fool into harm’s way. Of late, he had proven more agreeable company as a corpse.
‘We shall see what Night brings,’ Erebus said, mostly to himself, and cleared his mind to focus on what lay ahead.