Why his spirit showed him the image of this forsaken ally way was beyond The Loremaster. There had been no movement in his vision, no people drawn in the lines of stars before his eyes. But now that he stepped through the fire lit stonework, it seemed alive with people desperate to retain their wills to live. To him, it was as if life itself was a struggle, the weight of it bowing the shoulders of every person, even the children, that he saw.
His nose wrinkled at the smell of the poor and suffering flooded his senses, threatening to make his eyes tear. That would be undignified, so he simply removed his glasses to clean them with a handkerchief he produced from within the folds of his cloak. His attention was waylaid from his own discomfort by a sudden giggle from a child, a foreign sound in a place that seemed to be full to bursting of low-toned, faded voices.
There was a young woman, her smile so bright it seemed to illuminate the faces of those near her, especially that of the boy she spoke to, who was mirroring her smile with buck teeth. He was perhaps six, judging on the baby fat still prominent on his face. The woman had her hands on her knees, so sweeps of brown hair floated around her face, and her eyes mimicked the full moon that filled the sky with light above them.
Zalgus stepped closer, pulling his hands under his cloak to listen to what was being said. It was strange. In this space the oppressive air of despair and fatigue was lighter, as if being held at bay. Zalgus could almost see the very line drawn on the poorly maintained roadwork.
"Do you promise you'll take good care of it?" the girl was asking, crinkling her nose in jest and cheer. "I worked very hard on it you know."
"I promise, I promise! I'll take very good care of it! Sure as sure I will~!" The boy was vibrating in place he was so excited.