Nisrioch glanced around the Small Courtyard, rainbow eyes glinting in the dusk. “Well, everything appears to be running in order.”
“Oh, right,” Jean snorted. “Like you have a lot to do with that.”
“Oh,” replied the tall Erl, “I feel I have a certain connection to this place. Its rhythms and patterns. I am part of it, as it is part of me. When separate from each other for too long, we both get slightly off…”
Jean nodded. “Well, you definitely have a healthy ego, I’ll give you that.”
“Pray explain, former apprentice,” asked the Erl.
“Nisrioch Cthonique,” said Jean, crossing her arms, “If you can’t just admit that you miss your home, you shouldn’t bother making up elaborate excuses about why you’ve come back after a lengthy absence. Just stay quiet, and… enjoy the ambience. Because frankly the sort of crap you’re peddling just ruins homecomings.”
Nisrioch regarded her for a moment, then laughed. “I see the apprentice has become the master.” He sighed and looked around. “You’re right. It is I who misses this place. Not the place that misses me.” He shook his head. “Ahh, it is humbling to know your proper place in the world.”
Jean lightly slapped him the arm. “Ehh, stop moping. We miss you, you oversized nuisance.”
Nisrioch tussled her hair. “Your mocking displays of affection are appreciated, former apprentice.”
“Could you please stop calling me that?” asked Jean. “It’s almost making me regret the whole ‘missing you’ thing.”
“Understood, my dear,” answered Nisrioch with a bow. “Shall I call you ‘Nemain’, or…?”
Jean shook her head. “I’m really not a big fan of titles…”
At that point their conversation was interrupted by a lengthy shriek. “Look out below!” The pair stepped to the side as a smallish object came hurtling towards them. After hitting the ground with thud, it was revealed to be a short figure clad in what appeared to be a set of exceedingly padded armor.
Nisrioch stared for a moment, and coughed. “Morgaine…?”
“Yeah… yeah… yeah… it’s me…” the undead Dark Lord muttered. “Yeah…”
“If you’re wondering what this is about…” began Jean.
“Don’t you dare explain this thing to him!” snapped Morgaine, weakly raising an accusing finger. “This is my thing to explain!” Her hand fell back to the ground. “As soon as the hurting stops.”
Nisrioch glanced at Jean. “So things really have been fairly normal in my absence.” Jean nodded.