The Last Remaining Light
Gizi looks a bit scruffy, her clothes and hands stained with dirt (well, you can hope it’s just dirt). It’s been some time, not a long time since she was given over to the witches’ care, but what a time it’s been. She hasn’t grown much…not much taller, at least. But Gizi doesn’t look or act the least bit frightened or frail. Instead, she’s tough, and strong for her age, as if she’s been testing her limits, or just keeping busy, making herself useful.
She got to know Morgan when she was still undead, after all, when they had a scarred dirty-white wolf for a ‘pet,’ and flew in a magic ship with little faerie helpers. And nothing since then has allowed the little girl to close her eyes, so to speak. Gizi is growing up, aware and fearless, into a new world.
On a visit to Budapest, while piecing together Morgan’s broken Avatar, they found the city rather unlike the other places they’d been visiting. Fresh off a furious battle in Rome against a Nictuku, Morgan, Joshua and their rather unusual companion Ghost-Shadow came across a group of Sleepers, hunters stalking a child through the snow on a cold winter night in the fallen city.
In their exploration of Budapest, and from Morgan’s conversation with the little girl, they found the city in the midst of its downfall to what would later be called the ‘red death’ or ‘red plague,’ with some of the few survivors left choosing to go on the hunt, mercy-killing the plague-stricken and healthy innocents alike, imploring Morgan and Joshua to grant the girl the mercy of a painless death. It was their first glimpse of the disease, and the destruction it was wreaking on the world — although in Budapest, Joshua’s dragon suspected it was more than just doomed Sleepers panicking, that someone or something had given them a ‘nudge’.
The plague itself, and whatever forces spawned and spread it, were never pursued at the time, as Joshua’s dragon was focused on Morgan’s restoration to the exclusion of all else. The crazed hunters and angry mobs fell to the dragon’s wrath, obstacles in his path toward making things right again for Morgan. It was Morgan’s choice to save the girl, as he might well have understood, even approved of the notion of a merciful death.
Back in Glastonbury, the Tor witches at the time were less than trusting of the mad mage and his undead consor, much less the fool’s errand he was on to cure her of vampirism. The Verbena struck a bargain of sorts with them, giving the orphan a safe home with them in return for the Primium shell of Dr. Carlisle’s destroyed armored suit.
The charred Primium shell had sat in Joshua’s Sanctum since he had been forced to kill the Doctor. Joshua lacked the skill to work with Primium — and it was too painful a reminder to do much else with it. The Tor witches took the metal and the unpleasant memories it brought up, and in time new artifacts were forged from it. The Verbena did them a favor, in the end, and little Gizi had a new home with the families of Tor acolytes.
[See chat files starting with 2008-06-09.]