Book Two: The Lone and Level Land
Debts of the Father, Paid by the Son

Berrona Umbersularday - Moradina Eoselunday

Nimbus's Protector

Rin’s heart pounds in his ears.

The sound gives the moaning of the undead and the relentless chatter of wheezing “oth” and “nic” sounds from the one eyed aberrations driving them around the caverns, a strange rhythm. Tiberio’s strumming only seemed to sharpen Rin’s senses and makes every horrible noise more acute – hardly something he wants at the moment.

Rin had always been impressed when he saw Nimbus fight, but was always even more impressed with the monk’s ability to avoid a fight. More impressive still was his ability to avoid getting hit. Nimbus’s behaviour in the cavern just now, however, disturbed Rin deeply.

Janarl was growling in his guttural tongue as he paced between the various passageways, Frankie’s crossbow made a clickity-click sound. Thalazzar had begun casting and Rin stood at the crossroads, staring at Nimbus.

Rin had seen Nimbus had gleefully dismember a frightfully pathetic zombie. He made a game of it. And now, just as gleefully, Nimbus taunted the hapless creatures in the doorway, holding them in their position while Frankie picked them off, “Like fish in a barrel,” Rin thought. Rin had to fight the urge to feel pity. What was wrong, however, with feeling pity? Mercy? Hadn’t Lu Rin always said that this is what gave a man strength?

It had certainly seemed to make Nimbus as invulnerable as he was fearless. At what point, however, did his righteousness become arrogance; his kindness, contempt and his unwillingness to do harm, and excuse to allow others to do so?

Nimbus is good. But he has lost his way somehow. The realization comes upon Rin slowly and horribly. If the Monk abandons this cavern full of undead, he will abandon all that makes him who he is. He will stop being Nimbus.

Rin had only been with Nimbus a while, but he knew enough to know that the Companions relied on him enormously. The quest probably depended upon him even more. If his special skills were to erode somehow… it was a thought Rin did not want to entertain. But what could he do?

The meaning, then, of Wulfgar’s strange words of introduction of Rin to the Companions became perfectly clear.

“I have to protect him,” Rin mumbles, almost inaudibly, “From himself.”

Frankie's Children

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