“Are you sure?”

 

Doradrassil’s eyes burned into Rann as she leaned over the table where Rann was seated, the Warden’s hands resting on the tabletop. Why did she feel like she was being interrogated?

 

“Well…no,” Rann murmured plainly. “As I said, we never recovered the body. We have no way of knowing for sure. Is…is something happening to make you think she’s back?”

 

“No,” Doradrassil answered, settling back on her heels and beginning to pace. She moved swiftly, turning a quick circle.

 

“You’re making me nervous,” Rann said, putting her hands up. “Doradrassil. Calm. The fel. Down.

 

Doradrassil halted her pacing, making no other response to Rann’s protest. After a long moment, she turned her head toward Rann again, her eyes still dead serious. “And the book is still in your possession?”

 

Rann nodded. “Yes, but you can’t have it until you switch to decaffeinated tea…” The Warden didn’t move a muscle, but continued her relentless stare. “All right,” Rann sighed, climbing to her feet and leading the way to the mage tower. “Why do you suddenly want it? I thought you hated even having it near you. And you know the danger…”

 

“Aye, that I do,” Doradrassil acknowledged. “And I would prefer to lock that tome in a cell like a prisoner, and seal its prison away within another prison. But desperate times…” 

 

“Desperate times?” Rann asked. 

 

“Let’s just say I hope to have no need of it,” Doradrassil said matter-of-factly. “But I want it ready in case a desperate measure is needed.”

 

Reaching the top floor of the mage tower, Rann flicked her wrist in the direction of the book Doradrassil had asked after, releasing the spell that had disguised and protected it. She slowly pulled it from the shelf and turned to Doradrassil as though she was giving the Warden the very power to destroy the world. “The straits would have to be desperate indeed, to call for this. Doradrassil…what’s happening?”

 

The Warden shook her head, carefully accepting the book from Rann. “Nothing…yet. But my order has seen patterns emerging. We want to be prepared. Ready. Keeping that tome will ensure that it’s locked away if it’s not needed, and readily on hand if it is.” Doradrassil tucked it under her arm, careful not to open it, and turned away to leave.

 

“Doradrassil,” Rann pressed. “Where are you taking it anyway?”

 

The Warden stopped, looking over her shoulder at the high elf.

 

“The Vault of the Wardens.”

 

Author Rann
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