“Curian! Is it really you?” Sophia gasped. “By the Gods, it has been a strange and taxing day.”
Curian smirked, shaking her head. “I had quite the trip myself, you know,” she replied. “Space. I only got a little taste of adventure out there…” She trailed off.
“I’ve got to get back home before I go thinking about the next adventure,” Curian muttered.
Sophia frowned. “I suppose you’re right,” she said. Her expression warmed significantly. “It looks like sorting out this world business was beneficial after all.” She pointed to the altar.
A fragment of the Prognosticarium floated in the air just above the altar. A dark aura emanated from it, points of light like stars visible in the dimness.
Curian laughed. “Go figure,” she said as she retrieved the piece. “One step closer.”
“I’m sure Lady Rhimeghast will be very pleased,” Sophia said. “We’ve got a bit of a journey back. Perhaps you could tell me more of the space you visited while Captain Warpt was here in your place?”
The duo exited the chapel and began walking back towards Rhimeghast Palace.
“Seemed to me like they found entertainment in magic, but not the kind we have,” Curian said. “I was in a vast, haunted mansion, but it wasn’t real. At least it wasn’t supposed to be. There were proper goblins and kobolds that made it over into their world.” She looked down at the piece of the Prognosticarium in her hand.
“How did Alistair come across something so powerful,” Curian wondered aloud. “And why would he just let me have it? It makes no sense.”
Sophia paused. When Curian didn’t notice, she cleared her throat.
“There is a great deal of speculation surrounding the Prognosticarium,” Sophia explained. “I’ve barely scratched the surface in what little reading I did before we embarked on this…well, this rather perilous journey. A common thread, however, seems to be the Prognosticarium has a will of its own to some extent.”
Curian turned the piece over in her hand, staring at it intensely. “Why me, then? I’m no one special?”
Sophia chuckled, drawing a confused look from Curian.
“The people who say things like that are almost always special in some way,” Sophia said. She paused, as if she had caught herself, and added, “Or maybe I’ve read too many novels lately.” She braced against a frigid wind, shuddered, and visibly tried to shake off the cold.
“Suppose we should get back to Rhimeghast Palace,” Curian said. “Don’t want to catch our deaths out here.”
The rest of the walk back to the Palace was largely in silence. Sophia guided the way, and Curian tried to not let the scale of the place distract her too much.
Two heavily-armed ghouls greeted them at the gates.
“Her Ladyship is busy, but wished us to congratulate you on a task well completed,” one ghoul said.
The other held out a hand, palm down, and nodded to Sophia. She reluctantly responded by holding out a hand. The ghoul placed a Piece in it, and the two turned and entered the gate without a word before sealing shut.
“How fortuitous,” Sophia said.
Curian wrinkled her nose. “Doesn’t pass the sniff test for me,” she said. “Did you happen to see any other ways in? I think we’ve got a bit of sneaking around to do…”