Markun and I trudged in memoried storytelling. We traded stories about Alistair, though most of them were Markun telling me the stories. A large number of them involved taverns, drinking, and Markun starting a bar fight. I liked the one where Alistair had been thrown on top of the chandelier by a half-ogre.
We made our way through the overgrown ruins until we reached a shrine. Even though I had no experience—that I could remember—with such power, I could tell that this was a sacred place. Simply by crossing a threshold we felt refreshed and purified.
Markun placed the lich's medallion on the altar and began a long, chanting prayer that lasted hours. I did my best to pay attention, stand watch, and just keep myself occupied, but I ended up dozing off more than once.
Finally, as the sun began to crest in the morning, Markun finished his incantation. His mace began to glow with holy fire, and white light pulsed from the altar. An angry hiss emanated from the medallion as red energy coruscated over it, warring with the white light. It lost, and with a might blow, Markun smashed the medallion, breaking it into pieces. That wasn't enough, so he continued to smash the medallion into smaller bits until only tiny fragments remained. These he divided up into separate cloths, then buried several of them at the base of the shrine. The rest he kept on himself. I knew he would take them and bury them in scattered places or even smelt the metal down to slag when he had the chance.
" 'Tis done lad. Let's say we make our way back to town and toast our fallen friends."
We didn't have any real worry about pursuit as we made our way down. The sun shone brightly and warmly. The lich was gone and his minions were dispersed or trapped on the other side of the chasm. Markun led us down, his race's familiarity with mountains and stone picking the best path down.
He walked under a large, flat boulder that formed an arch across the path while he talked about the roast mutton and red beer we would find at the Pike and Shield. I followed, but as I stepped close to the arch, the air shimmered with light. I couldn't stop myself in time and went through. . . .
I appeared out of a doorway and onto a wide street. Behind me, a . . . creature, shoved me aside with an "Out of the way, clueless."
Confused and overwhelmed at where I was, I retreated to the side of the street to get my bearings. I looked around, seeing city everywhere I went, including straight up. The city wrapped around on itself like a giant ring, including the inside of that ring. It went on for miles. Wherever I was, it wasn't home. But I felt no remorse in that thought. Perhaps . . . perhaps I was free of that hellish place. Perhaps here I could get rid of the nightmares and find some peace.
But I was alone.
I searched for Markun, checking the doorway I had come through. It led into a weaver's shop, and no matter how I went back and forth through the doorway it didn't shimmer as it had done before. I had no way to bring Markun here.