Morgaine sat in her chamber, legs crossed, and eyes closed. She sat as still as a corpse, which made sense, as this was what she more or less was. She did not breathe, and the only sound was the buzzing of a single fly.
"Is this an actual attempt to impress me?" noted Nerghal. "Because it isn't, you see."
Morgaine cracked an eye open. "Nope. Not thinking about you at all. Or rather, I wasn't, until you started acting like a jackass." She glanced around the room. "Are you going to materialize, or am I going to keep talking to someone invisible while feeling crazy?"
"Oh, not simply feeling," said Nerghal, as he flickered into view. "But as you are my favorite grandniece, I'll indulge you..."
"I suppose saying I'm your only grandniece is just being annoying," muttered Morgaine.
"Yes," said Nerghal. "Also inaccurate. A few of my older sisters had children of their own, after all."
Morgaine gave a frustrated groan. "I hate our family tree. It's so... annoyingly large. Even with all the recently pruned branches."
The spectral figure shrugged. "Yes, well, one tries."
"It'd have been better if you hadn't," muttered Morgaine.
Nerghal stiffened at that. "The family was in a bad way, in those days. Oh, things were fine on the outside, but... Shaddad came from somewhere, and it wasn't simply from me. There was... a rot..." He sighed. "Oh, never mind. I'm never sure if I'm telling the honest truth or simply feeding you my rationalizations. Truth be told, I was a fool to think I was standing outside of it all when I did it." He shook his head. "Just another part of the badness, really." He glanced at her again. "So what are you doing then?"
"Research," she answered. "About our mysterious cloaked friends on the other side of the river."
"You have to be more specific," said Nerghal. "Most everyone on that side wears cloaks for some reason." He frowned. "I think it's the damp, really."
Morgaine stared at him for a moment. "I meant the Stylites," she said at last. "In case you really were puzzled. And weren't just being an ass again."
Nerghal merely smiled at that.