The source of his distress wasn\'t the magical nature of all the items in the room, from the round black mahogany table to the silk covered armchairs.
Nor it was the densely packed arrays surrounding the area.
Lith had seen much worse during his visits to the Royal Palace.
Kaelarn was sitting on the opposite side of the round table in front of him, with the rejuvenated Count Xolver standing right behind his master.
Sitting on the left side of the table, there was a skeletal figure, which despite its rotten flesh and dusty clothes emitted a majestic aura like Lith had never seen before.
The creature appeared like a sun to his Life Vision, making it easy for Lith to recognize its nature as Awakened one and Lich.
City of Othre, Mage Association\'s meeting room.
Lith had left for a little more than two hours, but his few possessions already weighted like stones in Tista\'s arms.
She would use Invigoration on them from time to time, using their imprint to reassure herself that her brother was still alive.
Jirni wasn\'t worried for him, yet her eyes refused to move from the sheathed form of the Gatekeeper which laid on the table in front of her.
She remembered all too well how long she and Phloria had pestered Orion to Forgemaster the sword as Lith\'s birthday present.
Those were other times, when that blade was much more than a simple instrument to kill.
For Jirni it had been a means to multiple ends.
It was supposed to help Lith to stay alive amid the chaos of any battlefield.
To guarantee the happiness of her daughter, Phloria.
To lay the foundations of a relationship that would bring glory to the Ernas household.
Her fingers caressed the hilt of the sword, recognizing the markings of her husband\'s craftsmanship.
All of that was in the past, making Jirni love and hate that cold piece of metal at once.
In her eyes, it held too many broken promises and wishes that never came true.
Kamila stared at her now empty hand.
She could swear to be able to feel his warmth lingering on it.
Her mind was fixated on the image of the camellia waiting for her in their hotel room.
She had brought it to Othre from her apartment a couple of days after she had moved there, unwilling to let it die because of Commander Berion\'s manipulations.
\'I do realize we don\'t know each other for long, just like I\'m aware that since this mission started we\'ve been nothing more than roommates until this evening.
Then why does it hurt that he left without saying goodbye How much do I really care about our relationship\'
Inside her ring form, Solus had yet to metabolize how quickly they had parted ways.
It wasn\'t the first time that she left the hand which for so many years had been her whole world, but it was the first time that he had willingly left her behind.
As soon as Lith had left the range of their mind link, the whole Mogar seemed to have changed in front of her.
The colors were brighter, the lights warmer.
On the faces of the members of the Association, where she would usually see hints of deception and ill will, she saw only honest worry for the citizens of Othre.
Without Lith\'s traumas haunting her perceptions, without his paranoid, narrow standpoint on people echoing through her mind, there was so much more beauty in the world that she had ever thought possible.
Even so, it didn\'t bring her any joy.
Without her partner, all the promises of happiness the future held sounded empty.
Her stone body was now a prison.
She could perceive the outside world, but she couldn\'t feel anything.
It was like being locked in a closed room, looking through cameras at what happened on the outside, with no way to interact.
A silent witness.
\'I understand why he went alone, but I still can\'t believe he didn\'t ask for my opinion.
After all we went through together, doesn\'t Lith realize how important he is to me If he dies, what will become of me
\'I could bond with Tista, but to what end To watch her grow old and die To become some kind of family heirloom To watch others live their lives while the only thing that changes for me is the hand holding my destiny
\'What good is to me, if I regain all my powers, maybe even a human body, and have to spend eternity alone To lose the only one who knows and cares for my soul\'
Solus was aware that unless she started spending mana, she could last months before being forced to bond again.
Nonetheless, she felt like she was dying a bit with each passing second.
Inxialot, the Lich King, stared in hatred to all those inside the room.
Liches didn\'t actually have a king.
The title was merely a consolation prize for getting the short end of the stick during the last raffle to determine who would represent the undead Awakened ones for Council duties.
Since the secret of the Awakening, in the form of the human newborn, had to be protected from his fellow undead, the Council had sent Inxialot to make sure the Courts abided by the rules.
Lith\'s life or death were irrelevant to him.
The only thing he cared about was to prevent a bunch of idiotic immortal fools from becoming capable of competing with him for power and resources.
Otherwise he would have never left his lab for so long.
He hated all the Courts the same way.
At least Council meetings last minutes, this shenanigan could take much more, maybe even hours! Did I put out the fire under my cauldron I\'ve been preparing that elixir for years!
\'I don\'t know who, but someone is going to die for making me leave so many priceless experiments unattended.\' Panic and rage came in and out of the revolving door that was his chaotic mind.
His mana flow was so vigorous that even Life Vision could see it circulate along the whole Lich\'s body.
It seeped into every one of his rings, every fiber of his tattered robe, and even inside the staff he held.
Lith had no idea how others could be so calm despite being in the presence of such a monster.