It’s way too bright in here. The sunlight hurts my eyes. I’m a creature of habit, and my habits all revolve around the shadows. With the daylight in this chamber, there are all too few of those. I’m pacing, wondering where all of this will go, worried about my family and Fallscliff in our absence, giddy at the thought of dragon-treasures to pillage, wary of this stabbing light that pierces everything. Too many thoughts all crowding into my head at once, when she calls out to me.
Guiltily, I tread into the room to join Erima. I was not sure what to believe, I almost stopped her from ridding the world of the Shroud for a moment. That damned fool cat-woman kept trying to stop me, to no avail. Tamsin doesn’t know just how slippery I am, but I think she got a wee taste of it. I can’t help but grin at the thought, and at least that grin hides some of my more troubling thoughts from my lovely wife right as I enter the room.
“Yes, love?” I let the question linger as I take her hand, kiss it, when we meet in the center.
She said her piece, and sets an even greater amazement in me as she hands the scepter to me.
I take it gingerly.
There are so many things I could wish for. Money! Power! Fame! But these I already have, and can acquire more with the judicious application of my many talents.
Hugo’s life. But he doesn’t want to come back.
The Shroud, and my beloved shadows, to return? I’ll miss them greatly, to be sure. But Erima seems aglow, she seems happy, at their departure. Blackguard, burglar, scoundrel, rogue though I am, I would not ever want to rob her of that.
What can I wish for, then?
Clutching the scepter tightly with both hands, I squeeze my eyes shut, summoning the power of the thing I hold.
And then I let it drop from my fingers, and slide my arms around the woman before me with a grin. I kiss her.
It’s long. I let everything of myself into that kiss. When we break to suck in a breath that is not shared between our lips, I whisper into her ear.
“What use have I for that, when I have everything I need to help me achieve all I could ever want here within the circle of my arms.”
I can get used to this light. Because within the light, there will always be some room for some shadows.