The Sanguine Sea
There were few indeed who knew exactly what Elnias was, yet it was even more difficult to say of what substance he was made. His flesh seemed to be composed of shadows—but shadows are not solid. Perhaps the darkness was superficial, mere pigmentation—but there was no shine of skin, no sense of third dimension.
His shape was that of a tall, thin man crowned with the antlers of a twelve-point buck, uniformly lightless throughout—but for his eyes. His eyes were red, and they glowed. When he walked, the illusion of flatness caused his arms and legs to lengthen and shrink, become narrow in the distal parts, then growing back to their normal size. His progress was somewhat unsettling to watch, and Seymour felt an odd sense of satisfaction when Henry looked away.
Elnias stopped at their table and towered over them in silence. Seymour stared passively back at him.
“I was wondering when you would stop by,” Elnias said eventually. His voice was deep and quiet with a musical quality—a low, bass hum that might have been the background tone of the universe.
“You knew I was in Waelyngar?” Seymour asked with mild interest.
He could not see Elnias’ facial expression, but Seymour sensed that he smiled. “A little bird told me you’d be coming.”
“Is that so?”
“Well…perhaps it wasn’t so very little.”
“A raven?” Seymour guessed.
Elnias nodded his antlered head in a somber manner. “Your insight astounds me,” he remarked blandly.
“Did this raven happen to tell you anything else?”
“Yes, in fact.”
“Are you going to tell me?”
Elnias beckoned with his long, shadowy fingers and began to walk away. Seymour got to his feet, took Henry by the wrist once more, and followed him, ignoring Henry’s protests and attempts to escape.