The dwarf gave a snort. “That’s Saeth, alright.” And he set about letting her and the other maids free. He didn’t attempt to fill in any of the details that Saeth was missing. He would let Maruc or Miklos inform the elf of Nicolai’s death. Coming from him, it would sound too accusatory; and he knew it. Best to let someone else speak of it; instead he busied himself with rearranging his gear to make a temporary litter with which to carried the rogue’s body. With the elf maids no longer needing to be carried, he intended to go back for Nicolai. Their companion deserved a proper burial.
Miklos fingered the dust in his hand. He glanced sidelong at Hasan wondering if he would accuse him of destroying his heirloom. He avoided Maruc’s face and looked back down at his hand. He didn’t feel so sure now as he had when he was filled with power. Still, life goes on.
He clapped his hand together and said brightly, “Oh well, nevermind. All’s well that ends well eh? We still have the spellbooks! And the Sisters and the Rahib are defeated. And I’m sure our Elven friends in the village will be most grateful that we have returned their kin!”
“And we must return Nicolai to his family…” he couldn’t help looking at Saeth, he knew she would be horrified with what use her body had been put to.
“Grateful, indeed, we will be, Miklos,” said Hasan. “We will do what we can to reclaim our past, free of the legacy of betrayal that we have here destroyed. Let me go with you to Nicolai’s home, that I can thank his family for the Elyan. But, first, tarry but a day here. First, friends, we shall feast and celebrate this day of refound freedom for my people.”
* * * * *
When Saeth heard of Nicolai’s death, she took it surprisingly well. She had never grown all that close to the boy, and after hearing of his heroic sacrifice, she regretted that. She had always thought of him as a background player in their hero’s journey, but now it seemed that she had underestimated him. Somehow, she had been placed in the background of this tale—a scenario that she planned to avoid in the future. Perhaps these companions were not a good fit for her—the dwarf certainly was quite a glory-stealer, and now the scrawny human boy was the great hero of this tale. She would think on it.
As they made their way out of the tower ruins buried under Grey Mountain, they discovered that all the platinum statues had disappeared. It did not take long to see what had happened to them. Apparently, the curse that had fallen all of the interlopers as they searched for Elyan gold had been lifted, and now they all roamed free. Some fled, others had to be confronted. Fortunately, none of them were up for a lengthy battle, and eventually the forest was cleared.
As promised, there was a great celebration as the Siswa were now free of their enchantment and able to return to the village. Though some had been lost, most notably Elrond, there was much to be thankful for.
Rahasia was sad to hear that her betrothed would be leaving, but she understood his reasons. She was a strong elf, and would take over as head of the clan until Hasan returned. She was worried for him though, it had been more than a generation since anyone of their clan had been to the outlands.