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Riardon’s Run

When Riardon sees a ghost in the camp... he suddenly needs to leave... but that's only half of the story...


To those who were there, I am sure you are wondering exactly what happened when Riardon seemingly lost his mind. I am also certain that you probably have some ideas as to what occurred, I
am also almost certain that you don’t know nearly enough to be completely correct. Why? Because I don’t know enough to be completely correct. There are many things that happen in this world that are beyond our understanding and comprehension. And just because you were there does not mean that you understand, or even capable of understanding. Take it from someone who has been trying to understand long before we met.

So before I begin the story about what happened after I left you and ran away in order to save you. Allow me to go back and tell the tale as it truly began and fill in the gaps that you didn’t
hear or see.

As well you know we had returned to the camp, drained from the days adventure, but we returned to such pleasantries that replenished our spirits. A feast that had been so carefully prepared by Seraphine, I could see by the looks on our faces that it had brought an element of light to a dark day. Well except for Theodas, I don’t know what was troubling him, but before we could find out what was concerning him, Seraphine took him aside, behind a building. I could it was important, so of course we left them to it. Though that didn’t stop me from noticing Ranalla sneaking around the other side of the building, everyone to their own. It was a happy occasion to say the least, yet there was something wrong, I could feel it. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was off. I gazed over my companions as they tucked into their meals, smiling and laughing at the events that had come to pass. There was nothing that seemed wrong with the picture. Yet the hairs on the back of my neck still persisted to rise. My unease grew, a cold sweat growing upon brow. Something was wrong, terribly wrong, I just couldn’t tell what it…

“Hello Riardon.”

His voice froze me to my very core, that calm and dulcet tone that filled me to the brim with fear. The feeling of a higher being analysing me, like two burning eyes staring deep into my soul.
Fear truly had me in its grips, with hard swallow and a lot of effort I managed to force out the only word I could.

“No.”

The rest of the group, had obviously noticed that was something was wrong, as they began to turn and look at me. Confusion spread across their faces. Then the voice, that god dammed voice
spoke again.

“It has been some time hasn’t it?”

I began frantically looking for the source, I knew the voice came from in me but he always makes a source to be seen. I knew this to be true from our many encounters in the past.

“Here I am.”

I felt the words come from a direction this time, he wants to be seen by me. He knows it helps his cause, but it also helps me to concentrate, having something to focus on. In a flash I turned
to face him. There he was, though he hadn’t taken his form yet, but I could tell it was him. There in the corner of the yard, a simple corner that was bare of anything, yet darker than it should have been. He has an affinity with shadows after all. I didn’t break focus but I was aware that no one else could see him.

“Why are you here?” I said with all the courage I could muster.

“Oh, you know why I am here. I am here to fulfil my promise to you.”

“I know what you promised!” I growled “And I know your true intent!”

I could feel myself shaking, I knew what this thing was capable of, with the right words he could turn an army against themselves and bring a civilisation to its knees. That’s what the old man
said, that’s what he warned me. My companions now gaining concern, no doubt because they see me talking to nothing, its enough to worry anyone, even though they know of my gift, my curse.

“I think you’re scaring your friends Riardon.” The voice said letting out a laugh. “Perhaps we should help them.”

From that shadowy corner he formed himself into the rough shape of a man, never truly holding shape, but enough to see a figure. And with the grace of the wind and a speed just as quick, he moved over to my friends, reaching forth a hand and brushing it down so gently on Torinn’s arm. And in its wake left a slight residue of shadow. Letting out the faintest giggle as he did so.

I had to remind myself, he has no power on this plain, not yet. He needs me first, but I also remember that time, he almost took control. The torment that he unleashed, the pain, the suffering. I couldn’t let that happen here, not to my friends, not to ones I love. He knows I am weak around them, as I fear their safety, I know this, also know he is attached to me. I must leave its the only way for them to stay safe, I must save them as they have saved me. I plot my plan, in my head I already know the course of which I am going to take. I don’t care where I go, but it has to be far from here, and it has to be now!

“I won’t let you hurt them!” I yelled as I spun in the spot, facing the gateway I began to run. He couldn’t stop me I knew that, he might be in my head but so long as I am quick he has no control over me. But something I had not expected, as I planted my foot firmly in the ground and had begun to sprint my first step, Filif jumped and grabbed hold of my arm and held firm with all his might. “No, you have to let me go!” I yelled a Filif.

With confusion in his voice Filif responded, “Riardon, what if it’s dangerous?”

Of course he didn’t know what was going on and the danger that was in his hands, dangerous is a blessing if it is away from you I thought. Still struggling, trying in vain to pull myself free, I began to twist and turn in manners that Master Ko had taught me so long ago, but to no avail. Seeing this confrontation the other charged forth and grabbed me as well. They meant well but they
didn’t know what they were doing and I didn’t have the time to explain.

“I must go! You don’t understand.” I screamed as I tried to wriggle my way free from the prison of hands that had practically lifted me from the ground at this point. Romad leaned in to my ear, trying to be a soothing as he could, “Wait, calm yourself.”

Then the shadow formed in front of my face, he was misshapen, twisted as if smoke had taken a persons form. Though I could see no eyes I could feel them traipsing over me and then to my friends. He laughed.

“And here I thought it was meant to be you saving them.”

“I can’t let him hurt you! Let me go!” I hollered, in vain attempt to convince my companions.

Romad, grabbed my chin and forced me to look directly at him, “Who are you talking about?”

“Oh, I like this one. So assertive, full of authority.”

The voice teased me, tormented me in my situation of conflict. Filif still trying to force logic into my head repeated himself.

“It’s dangerous to go out into the jungle alone.”

The shadow moved, face to face with Filif, standing bent over by the waist and looking into his eyes. With a single hand, the shadow tapped where his lips should be before reaching out and
ruffling the hair upon Filif’s head.

“I had never seen the appeal of pets, but I can see this one is quite attached to you.” He chortled, “Perhaps there could be a place for him when this is done.”

I began to writhe and strain myself once again, I had to break free, I had to keep my friends safe. Romad once again forced my head towards him. With that extra force he had in spades he demanded, “Who is it!?”

“Yes Riardon, Who am I? Tell them!”

Straining against their combined grips, and with determination I let out in a roar, “This is the only way! There is no time.”

“Good Riardon, Good. Keep yours friends away!”

He was laughing at me, goading me. Trying to wear me down, but my resolve is stronger than that. Though it seemed counter productive, I finally relaxed. Seraphine, took my attention, I am ashamed to admit that I had forgot that she had grabbed my leg as well trying to help the situation.

“Riardon, What’s the only way?” she asked in her subtle tone. I felt shame, because in truth, I didn’t know. I had a plan, I would try and face him down, as Master Ko had told me once before. I would call upon the old man to help me. But in truth if all else failed, I knew there was a lake of lava nearby. I would like to see him survive that. But I couldn’t say that, they wouldn’t let me leave if I did. My only option was the one I had before, rage. I closed my eyes to regain myself.

“Aww, isn’t she sweet. Such a cute little dumpling. I could just eat her up.”

I opened my eyes to see the shadow, now around Seraphine, curled up like a snake around its next meal.

“In fact, why don’t we. I reckon she’s about the right size for a spit.”

That rage that had been in me before, once again coming to the surface, I bellowed, “I need to go now!”

Struggling against my friends restraints, Romad forced a heavy hand upon my shoulder and rammed his head against mine. Romad asked once more, but it was no question it was an order, he
was done waiting.

“Who is HE!”

“I don’t know who he is!” I yelled back and dropped drained but held up by my friends.

“Oh I love it, nothing like a bit of drama to celebrate freedom.”

Romad turned away, for but a moment, It wasn’t the answer he had been looking for, but he wasn’t done now, “Description! Can you describe him? What does he look like?”

I raised my head and looked the shadow deep into his featureless face, the single thought that ran through my head, what I am seeing isn’t real.

“He’s just a voice.” I said.

“Just a voice! Just a voice! You insolent bag of flesh.”

Romad, having had prior experiences with the voices that I heard, leaned in closer, “What is he saying?”

“What am I saying? I’m so glad that someone finally asked. Well Riardon its the usual patter, you know kill the virus that is life, restart this world, maybe a bit of world peace, though that will be
easy when there are no filthy mortals desecrating these beautiful planets. Everything will burn, and it is will be you who commands the flame. Ha, the universe on fire, bringing birth to purity. Just as I promised.”

My eyes twitching from what I had just heard, as long as I was here it was only a matter of time, my friends trying to help as they might, would only get in my way. But they deserved the truth.

“He will destroy everything, if you don’t let me go!” I said as calmly as I could.

“Not quite as elegant as I had said.” He said dejectedly, “But I suppose I am the wordsmith and you are the puppet I must tame.”

I closed my eyes, and I prayed that the others would gain sense and see things as I had presented them. I watched as Romad took a step away then, turned back to the group around me.

“Guys, What should we do?”

I felt Torinn’s grip get stronger on me, as he said, “He’s not going anywhere in this city by himself.”

I opened my eyes and turned to look at Torinn, only to be surprised by what I saw. The shadow cretin was on his shoulders, perched, sat dangling its heels. “Oh I am disappointed, this one seemed like he was going to be fun. Why must you mortals be sensible all the time?” He said as his shadowy claws played with Torinn’s head.

Romad, now pacing slowly but evidently to help organise his head, “Should we let him go and follow behind?”

In all truth my mind left me a little bit at this point, not really hearing the conversation, by still I had to try what I could.

“He is a form of shadow.” I said, quietly admittedly, that’s probably why it didn’t invoke a response.

The conversation kept going as if I had said nothing.

“He’s too fast, we wouldn’t catch up.” Torinn announced, he was right, but that was what I was hoping for anyway. I could see that Romad was coming in for a response, but Seraphine beat him to it.

“If he’s going anywhere we need to go with him.” I had never heard such a strong reaction from her before, full of courage and assertion. It brought a tear to my eye, she really does have a mastery of words. “Otherwise he stays!”

“Oh, she really likes you, and from that tear, you like her.” he laughed.

I was running out of time, I had to do something quick, I had to break this patter.

“I must meditate!” I yelled in desperation. There certainly there was a truth to it, but it wasn’t just that, and I well knew that.

“Just relax,” I felt Romad’s hand, lay on my head. I got the sense that he was on my side. “Calm down.” I knew he meant well, but time was short and growing shorter quickly.

“I need to control this!” I cried out. I was still flustered, wouldn’t you be as well.

“Then if you do Riardon, are you coming back here?” Theodas inserted, he had thrown me off, with the others debating the actual act of letting me go. He was more concerned with what happens after rather than what happens now.

“Wow, I hadn’t even noticed this cool character. Look at him just leaning against the wall.”

The shadow moved to Thoedas’s side and mimicked him, “Still you can’t argue about his style. You could learn a thing or two from him Riardon.”

I was rushing now, trying anything I could, just to see what would stick.

“You need to trust me! This is the only way I know. Let me go.” I looked Theodas right in the eye and with the last of my breath whispered, “I’ll be back.”

There was a quiet commotion from the group as they thought this over, breaking the silence

Filif asked, “Do you know where?”

I had no idea where I was going, that was half the point, no one can predict where you are going if you don’t know yourself. But I couldn’t tell them that.

“I will come back when its safe.” I said as confidently as I could, I could feel that some grips were being released ever so slightly. I was getting closer to getting out of there.

“I’m not liking this…” Theodas began, but with an eruption from within me I belted out my response before he could finish.

“I’m not liking this either!” I felt grips strengthen again as an uncertainty once again washed over the group.

“Oooo, you almost had them Riardon.” he jostled.

Theodas, brought himself to his feet. He took a look at the sky, took in a breath. Turning to me he asked, “Are you sure you know what you are doing?”

“Yes Riardon, do you know what you are doing? That shade said as he moved behind Theodas. Taking a breath myself, centring myself. I tried my best to relax, letting my head drop, trying hard to hold back the tears trying so hard to force themselves through.

“It’s the only way I know… its the only way I can keep you safe.”

“Oh Riardon, its enough to bring a tear to the eye.” It mocked.

There was a silence for a moment as everyone took what they had just heard.

“Do you need your brewing kit?” Filif asked sincerely. He had changed his mind, he was ready to let me go. His hands released me. The moment would have been beautiful, had it not been for the  Shadow laughing so hard, so hard in fact he had lost his footing. Not to say he fell, instead he began to float in ball wriggling as he giggled.

“Yes, that’s it, Yes Riardon you must brew me to death”

The Shadow burst into hysterical laughter. “I see why you keep him now.”

I was growing tired of his mocking, but his battle had only begun and I hadn’t even been able to place my feet yet.

“Do you need anything else?” Romad asked whilst gesturing to my pack. “Is there…”

“I just need to take myself and my weapon.” I interrupted, It wasn’t in disrespect. It was just that I was losing time. I could feel it.

“Do you promise not to go far?” Seraphine asked, gentler this time.

I didn’t want to lie, but I couldn’t tell the truth either. With the hand I had free now that Filif had released me,I brought my hand to hers.

“I will be back before you know it.” It was the best I could come up with, “Trust me.”

Without a word, Ranala came up to me. She looked me right in the eye for only a moment. Then with some precise hand movements, a healing light channelled from her to me. Feeling myself becoming revitalised and re-energised. Looking at her I could tell by her face that she knew she couldn’t stop me but she wanted to help me. Theodas though wasn’t entirely convinced, he waked
forward to me. He stared at me for a moment.

“What if you don’t come back?” He asked me directly.

“This is my fight, if I lose it… It wasn’t meant to be.” I replied.

Theodas grabbed my clothes, “You’re not answering my question.” Theodas let go of my clothes and began to pace. “If you are not coming back, then what? What do we do? Are we to search the
entire city to try and find your corpse? Is that what you want us to do?”

A fear then took over me, I hadn’t thought about that. If I lose, I can’t have them trying to find me. I might not be me any more, he might have control and if that’s the case, if that’s the case.
“If I lose it you are all at risk, if I don’t come back, do not search for me!” I said, though fear might have got the best of me as I spoke. “There won’t be anything to find.”

“Well that’s reassuring.” Theodas said exasperatedly.

“Just let me go!!!” I screamed.

Romad forced attention to him, “Guys! Should we let him go!”

“You have to trust me.” I said pleading internally that it would work. But there in my mind a thought came to me, I may need to force their hand.

Torinn, still holding tight my arm, pulled me into a position so that we are face to face.

“There’s trusting you and there’s letting you go to your death.” He said in a gruff tone.

“Oh come on, how boring can a guy this big be!”

“Torinn you’re a paladin, What do you think of that?” Theodas said as he came closer.

“A paladin! That explains it, religion has such a way of dulling a creature.”

I was running out of time, and I was getting twitchy. A thought now running through my head, They will understand later if I have to attack to just get away. My mind now drawing to the darts I have in my possession, a quick stab to the finger and Torinn would have to let me go. A little pain in order to save him, to save them all, they would understand. I hoped. My hand drifting to
their pouch.

“I don’t think there’s any way we can stop him unless we hold onto him the whole time.” Torinn said out of no where, I wasn’t expecting it. My hand dropping away from the pouch. Maybe there’s a
chance I can get away without causing harm.

“Please. Let me go, trust me its the only way.” I pleaded.

Torinn looked right at me and announced to the rest of the group, “There is nothing I can do to help him or anything.”

“You may go, if you tell us where?” Filif said as he placed his hand upon my shoulder.

Romad came to my side once again, “Where are you going? You said far away right?”

“I’ll stay as close as I can, but I need to go somewhere safe.” I said as reassuringly as I could.

Romad obviously wasn’t too happy with that response, but knew that there wasn’t anything else he could say to change my mind. He mumbled something to himself as he took a step back. In
his place Seraphine, forced herself upon me, and embraced me in a hug. To be honest this was one of the hardest parts. I know we all mean so much to each other but you never truly know until an act such as that. I could feel her energy flowing, and it was filled with concern, but brimming with hope.

“Aww, Riardon this is so sweet, shame that you have to slaughter them.”

The shadow teased, giggling at he prospect.

I needed to wrap this up quick, I could feel that the demon was trying to take control, and slowly he was already winning.

Romad, placed a hand on Seraphine’s head, with that action Seraphine released me taking a step back. Everyone finally released me, but even though the temptation to run took over me, I knew that I had to delay and present a confidence that I didn’t really have.

“I will be back, if I can. And if not, do not look for me.” I felt myself quivering as I said it, but I believe it came across with the intent I had planned. To add into the mix I gave a thumbs up, something I had seen a hero do a long time ago before his quest. It seemed to give confidence back then, so why wouldn’t it now? I turned to face the gateway, following the steps that hero did so long ago. I took a deep breath and prepared myself.

“He, he, he. Well don’t we look serious?” He jested.

I didn’t care, our battle was half way done, and I was losing. Just the way I like it. I was about to run, it was time for me to choose our battleground. When Romad stepped in front of me. Not this again, was I really going to have to fight my friends, my family.

“Guys, you know what to do, group hug.” Romad said it such away that it was wasn’t an option, yet made it clear that it wouldn’t be forced either. Before I mentioned one of the hardest moments, this was the hardest moment. I couldn’t move trying so hard to focus on not revealing my emotions and giving away the sheer terror I was going through. Trying so desperately not to cry as my family embraced me, none of us truly knowing if this was going to be the last time we saw each other. As each and every member of the group came to bring themselves into the huddle, trying to gain contact with each and everyone in the group. The sentiment was clear, we were one, we might have our differences, our arguments, debates out right fights but we are one.

I had always taken myself as a weak link in our chain, a glass canon, a pitiful excuse that needed protection and help. It was only by my attempts to help others that gave me purpose. It became clear that I wasn’t the weak link in the chain, none of us were because we gave strength to each other. A primal power that connected us all on a base level. For my family I will always get back up again, and my family will always be there to help me back onto my feet as well.

I didn’t want to go, but for my family I would fight the gods themselves, and I would win. The group finally began to peel apart from the hug, standing to the side. Ready to watch me off and wish me luck in my fight. Seeing their faces it gave me the power I needed. The last person to still be in the embrace was Torinn, to be honest I thought it would be Seraphine. But apparently this was for a reason, as after he released his arms from around me, he immediately placed his hand upon my shoulder. Turning me to face him. This was the first time I saw he act with less confidence than usual, he looked to his feet then brought his head up so his eyes would meet mine.

“Kelemvor protect you my friend.” he said, patting my shoulder.

“Thank you.” I replied.

“Kelemvor you say. Ha, I think he still owes me money.” The shadow said laughing sadistically.

“You will need his protection.” Torinn added as I took another breath, staring down the shadow figure that drifted down in front of me, smiling broadly and giggling behind his teeth.

“I fear you are right.” I said distracted by this being of dark mist danced in front of me.

Torinn released my shoulder.

Romad spoke up from the side, as I turned ready once more to run, “Stay strong.”

Then as I began to stretch and get ready to burst forth with the greatest that I could generate, when I felt it. A twitch in my left hand.

“Oooo, would you look at that.” The shadow said as he manipulates his own hand and stared at my hand making the smallest of motions. “I can control your hand” he sang, mocking me, just enjoying the situation.

That was it, there was no more time to spare, with every muscle forced into action I burst forth and ran as fast as I could. Charging forth I dashed through the gates and ran the streets trying to gain as much distance as possible. As I got out of the gateway, my hand flicked, as the shadow muttered something. I don’t know what he did, but I couldn’t worry about it for the time. I had my
duty to do, My friends would have to deal with whatever trickery he had cast. From the last time I could only hope that his powers were the same and minimal to start.

“Well that should give us some room to talk.” he said smoothly.

“What did you do!” I demanded, not losing so much as a single footstep.

“Don’t worry, just a barrier, your friends are momentarily trapped in that compound you were staying in.” He told me. “As I said, we need some room to talk. Just you and me.”

I looked to my side, and there he was flying by my side. Floating as if caught by the breeze.

“What? You didn’t think you could out run me did you?” He laughed, “I am imprisoned in your head, bound forever. Where you go I follow.”

“I know! But why me by myself?” I yelled whilst jumping damaged crates and dodging branches that had grown up in this new jungle of a city.

“Oh, I see. You didn’t really think I cared about your friends did you?” He laughed.

“No fool, I need you, and your friends they give you strength. So I needed you alone.”

“No! I know you! You would either kill them or use them! That is your way!” I screamed as I began to climb the tallest building I could find.

“True, that is my style, and once I get my chance. I probably will.” he said thoughtfully.

“But I can’t do that until I have control of you.” He laughed.

“Well you will never have that power!” I said as I took my position, and sat ready to meditate.

I was shown this special technique of meditation by master Ko, so long ago. By focusing on the darkness inside, I can repel the evil that grows. I will never truly be rid of it, but I can stop it from taking over me. I had never been able to follow this technique fully before, it took a skill level beyond my own in the past. In truth I should have been practising it more often, but I had found a manner that worked more efficiently. First noticed by the Old man in my head when training in the drunken style, the alcohol used in training would suppress the voices and this beings control. Never did I think I would not be able to get drunk again.

I wasn’t ready for this, but that didn’t matter, I had to try. Step one, meditate as usual, but focus on the voice, don’t deviate from it whatever you do.

“Ah, here we go. Let the games begin.” He said, almost seductively.

“Well you can’t talk now, so let me fill in the conversation. First I must thank you for giving me this opportunity, it has been so long since I have been able to talk. Its bad enough being trapped in your head, bound to you a pathetic elf. I was a great powerful being beyond your comprehension. I was a conqueror of worlds. And in my ambition other saw evil. But was truly evil? I say no, I was merely trying to end the plague that had befallen so many planes. Life.”

Trying desperately to concentrate, I moved into the second step focus my energies to suppress the evil within. Though I doubt anything would have been evident on the outside, internally, we were in the same place and from me tendrils stretched towards the shadow being, aiming to tie him up and to bring him under control. But, it didn’t work. For every tendril that reached out to him, he dodged and then destroyed, as if he knew the weakness of each one. “Your going to have to try harder than that. Now where was I. Oh yes you! Elysium, such a beautiful plane of existence. You know I had never known such peace and tranquillity. I had true happiness for a time. I had let go of all want to kill destroy and lay claim to lands that I longed for. Instead I relaxed. That was when I saw what creatures were. A vial disease that needed to be eradicated, and no small scale would suffice. No I knew then as I know now that they all need to die. A great cleansing flame across  existence. Well now I can’t do it myself, your hands shall be my flaming sword.”

My techniques weren’t working, I never knew you could sweat from meditation, but I kept trying, I had to.

“You know if it wasn’t for the Old man, that’s what you call it right, the old man? He saw my intention and decided to put and end to it there and then.”

Suddenly my mind was clear, I knew what I needed to do, The old man, he could help me. I changed my focus and looked for him. What I didn’t know was that that was the opening the shadow was waiting for. The shadow dived at me and burrowed into me, some how he began to gain control of me, beginning with only my left hand, which then spread to my arm. Time was going to run short quick, so I focused as hard as I could.

“GET UP YOU FOOL!” the voice so familiar and so comforting. “You need to focus, you need to fight.”

I responded to the voice immediately, jumping to my feet and somehow expelling the shadow once again.

“OH why did you bring him out? You do realise that he did this to you right?”

The shadow charged forth, and swung as if to attack, I went to block with my staff. I knew it shouldn’t stop him, but it did, as the old man appeared wrapped around myself and my weapon as
nothing more than a fine mist of many colours.

“HE BOUND US YOU KNOW! All three of us, our spirits combined and forced to live together in your head!” The shadow screamed.

“I want you to live for better things, but to him, you are a vessel, you are a prison!”

The shadow, had lost its humour it had been holding onto for so long. It knew that this challenge wasn’t going to end well, though he wouldn’t die, he was not likely to win. Violently and wildly it attacked like a rapid beast cornered trying anything it could. But with my skill and the old man’s protection I fought back hard. Then in an act of desperation The shadow spread wide, took a
hit from me, then clinging hard against me, it tried to suffocate me into submission.

“You hadn’t even been born! And he took my soul and his and forced us into you! And you accept his help? HE was proclaimed a hero for his action, but for what he did to you, to me. He seems like
a villain don’t you think?” The shadow hissed in my ear.

“You’re right!” I said aloud. The shadow releasing his grip ever so slightly as he was taken back from my words. Seizing the opportunity, I used the gap now presented and forced the shadow off of
me. “And he will have to answer for that as well, but for now we need to stop you!”

With great anger the shadow charged and tried attacking from all angles, I was getting beaten hard, but that never stopped me before. But in truth I needed a foot up on the fight.

“You need to drink Riardon.” the old man said to me.

“Alcohol doesn’t effect him at the moment you senile fool.” he laughed as he swung harder.

“Drink your special brew Riardon!” the old man said.

I was conflicted, I will admit it, but the old man had never sent me down the wrong path before. Whilst fighting off the advances of the shadow, I pulled out a sorcerers ale and popped it open. This seemed to put fear into the shadow man. As he tried so desperately to stop me from drinking it. He tried knocking it out of my hand to no avail, and then just as I was about to take a swig, he yelled out.

“NO!! I GIVE UP, PLEASE JUST DON’T DRINK IT!”

The shadow collapsed to the floor ahead of me. I stopped before I took a single sip, I looked at him in confusion.

“What?” I said in a half whisper.

“You don’t know how much it hurts when you drink that crap.”

He said defeated. “To us, its torture. We change as much as you do the difference, is it hurts.”

I looked at the bottle, and then back to the pathetic slump of shadow.

“Really?”

“Yes, its true. We really can’t stand it, but it’s nice to know that you have another weapon against him now.” the old man said as he lifted himself off of me and formed a cloud in between us two.

“Now, Do you agree to play nicely?” the old man said to the shadow, “after all this isn’t our body to use.”

“Look who’s talking. But fine. I will play nice, so long as you leave that stuff alone.”

The shadow said sounding broken by defeat from a bottle.

“Very well, I guess we have an accord. But just try and test me.” I said.

“Yeah, yeah I know.” the shadow replied, then twisted and shrunk down onto my shoulder. “I’ll be good.”

“As for you and me,” the old man started. “We have a lot to discuss, but now is not the time.”

“Then when?” I retorted.

“When next you gain peaceful time to yourself, we will talk. For now though, I believe your friends are waiting at the bottom of this building. They need you.” the old man said as he dissipated.

“OK, but this isn’t over!” I said, I knew he was still with me and he couldn’t run. And he was right there were more important matters to attend to. Nimbly I clambered down the building back to you my friends. I hope this tale has answered some questions for you, though I know that there have been many new ones raised. But as promised, no more secrets. I am an open book.


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