Ambika: The Second Watch

Ambika took the shift after Hammaryn and Max – ~4am – 8am.

An elf sits in the dark with her eyes closed, bony ass planted on a short stool behind the house where her guild leader stays. Her body is narrow and tiny and sheathed in a dull gray fabric that clings to the darkness. She herself is pitched deeply into the realm of death. She is a whisper, a shadow, a ghost, a dream fluttering on the skin of the living world. In her mind is the endless ticking of the clock, and–

Fire. A searing fire, a fearful fire, an intentional and deadly fire; it is a fire that turns innocents into roasting meat, then to crispy ash. She can feel them screaming across the gulf of her consciousness, across the gap between the living and the dead.

Ambika has a visitor. She keeps her eyes shut, the damnable green torches that would give her away hidden behind delicate dark eyelids. It doesn’t matter that she can’t see. She can feel him well enough. The stranger is very close now, mere feet from where she waits, barely breathing, pulse slowed to an improbable twenty beats per minute. His mind betrays fire, fire, fire. She decides he is haunted. He leans against the wall of the apartment, cupping his hands around his eyes to peer through the glass of the dwelling’s single window.

He reeks of potent, encompassing rabbit’s fear. It is this smell that identifies him more than anything else.

His mind is a wreck of twisted terror. She wanders the outskirts of his feeble thoughts, picking them out of the air like faint radio signals. Somewhere in this convoluted mess is a silver thread of intent. Why, of all people, is Griaz creeping around in the wee hours, spying on his master? Certainly one could call it spying. The gaunt old priest crept up using the blind alleyway behind the house, after all, and is now focusing intently on the sleeping orc from behind the cover of night and a thin layer of glass–so intently that he does not notice the woman sitting not three feet from his bony knees, or the way she cautiously probes his mind for motive.

On the surface, concern for the shaman is present; she finds little reassurance in this information, however. He is keeping something close, something big, something he has purposely shrouded from scrutiny. It occurs to her that he may be acutely aware of her and is merely screening his thoughts with memories of searing flame. In spite of this, one detail slips through and cements her suspicions. The old priest is drugging Ghaar, or thinks he is… or wants her to think he thinks he is. The absurd nature of mental subterfuge is not lost on her, and she smiles wryly to herself even as she tries to separate truth from deceit without alerting him to her presence.

Even after he is gone she follows him as long as she is safely able, gathering what she can. And well after sunrise, when Then’liath comes to relieve her, she briefs the priestess on her watch. The blonde elf is surprised first at Ambika’s appearance, then at her information.

“Griaz? Are you certain?”

Ambika nods. “Please advise Ghaar when he wakes that he may have enemies working with members of the Eye. I do not recommend letting this information go any further. It will make things more difficult if he knows we suspect something.”

With that she excuses herself, summons her wolf and lopes off toward the Valley of Spirits.


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