Dwyn backed away from the door, allowing Sevaan access to the room. He retreated back to the bench along the far wall.
Inside it was gravely dark and deathly quiet. There was a heavy concentration of cocoanut in the air, too dense to ignore. Oddly familiar.
“It’ll be hard to see each other . . . afraid I’m fresh out of candles.”
“Not to worry, one is never blind long when they follow the Holy Light.” Sevaan rifled through his cloak, produced the desired item. In the dark it looked like a slender tree stick. “Here it is,” he said. Suddenly a bright light blinked on.
It was emanating from the rod in his hand. Twice as radiant as a wax candle but didn’t strain eyesight. The condition of the room and all of its contents became visible. A halfwall portrait hung crooked upon one of the walls, and it was so defaced and vandalized by handprint scratch marks and scores from a blade that Sevaan couldn’t recognize the artwork. Two punctured holes in the wall dotted each side of the tattered painting. Empty wooden cups and a broken bottle were on the tabletop. A bulky box sat discarded in a dusty corner.
Sevaan noticed the contraption, nodded his head to the box. “Does that thing still work?”
Dwyn directed a cold glance at the music box. “No, it doesn’t. And don’t bother trying to fix it either. I like it broken.”
The old man shrugged. “Ah, well . . . It’s good to see you again Dwyn. I tried writing you, but–”
“I never responded. Never intended to, didn’t think twice about it either. Congratulations on your promotion to Piout by the way. Forgive me if I don’t bow or offer you anything. Fresh out of wine, too.”
Sevaan held his lightrod out nearer to his friend, observed the wild and unkempt hair, studied Dwyn’s thin complexion, and pitied him immediately. The man was barely dressed for company, stained shirt and trousers were plastered to him rather than clothing him, and he reeked like he hadn’t washed himself in months. It reminded the cleric of poor urchins and runaways left to die upon the doorsteps of the church. What’s worse was that Dwyn carried the telltale signs that he had been abusing his magical talents to extremes. Most likely from bereavement, he thought while counting the lines of despair etched into the magician’s face.