12- An Adventurer's Agreement

The tunnel between the Commonlands and the deserts of Ro began to bustle with traffic. The presence of the Wayfarers Brotherhood caused quite a commotion as travelers attempted to understand their presence there.

The merchants felt generous as they made their fortunes from the boisterous band of friends. Mead, beer, bread, and grand meals were passed amongst the brotherhood. Laughter and loud voices bounced within the sandstone caverns.

However, in one corner it was quiet. A dark, graceful hand rested on Calliav's pale forehead. His skin shone with beads of perspiration and his eyes were desperate and sunken.

"Do not fight me, Calliav. I can help you, but you must open your mind to me," Nedaria said softly.

"I can not. If I open my mind again, I shall lose myself entirely," Calliav shuddered.

"We need to work together to bring order to your thoughts. If you don't harness this now, you will be lost in any case," Nedaria said sternly.

Calliav quivered and a drop of anguish slid down his temple. He tried to overcome his fears and frenzied thoughts.

"Alright. I am putting my trust and sanity in your hands. Don't lose either of us," Calliav groaned.

Nedaria leaned in and increased the pressure of her hand on Calliav's brow. He shifted his weight forward into her palm. He squinted as he focused on releasing his mind.

Soon, Calliav felt a calming essence enter his mind. While his mind rattled with images and voices, the torment he felt for days faded somewhat.

The hood around Nedaria's sleek forehead began to tremble. Her arms and hands followed. A stabbing pain throbbed in Nedaria's mind as she attempted to help Calliav focus his mental energy. She felt the frenetic pace of his thoughts, the number of them, and the magnitude of their meaning. Though she could not see what he did, Nedaria felt a sorrow unlike any she'd ever known. That Calliav's spirit survived at all was miraculous to her.

She released her grip and leaned back against the cold wall, rubbing her burning temples.

Calliav had stopped shaking. He opened his eyes and stared directly at Nedaria.

"You must help me find the Grozmok Stone. Agree to surrender the stone to me when it is found and I promise to offer you what information I can. What I can tell you may lead you to lost civilizations, dark horrors, and creatures that you've never seen wandering the lands of Norrath," Calliav said, as his gaze shifted from Nedaria to Morden.

Morden had been standing above them both, ready to break their intellectual bond should something go wrong. Upon hearing Calliav's request, he looked down at Nedaria with surprise and understanding. Nedaria nodded to him, knowing Calliav was not looking at her. She stood up briskly and went to talk to Tondal.

"Surely this is folly, Calliav. We have seen all there is in these lands," Morden said.

"No, there is much that you have yet to see and when you do you may regret having ever really opened your eyes," Calliav warned.

"With that kind of introduction, how could I possibly say no," Morden beamed, as he laid a hand on the troubled mage's shoulder. "So, where do we start?"