“The others wanted me to give you this.” Joris placed one of the tiny red crystals in Tarsem’s outstretched hand. “It’ll let them contact you if they need you.”
Tarsem’s green eyes lingered on the crystal still in Joris’s hand. “They gave one to you, as well.” He wasn’t asking.
“That’s right. I, um, I’m not traveling with them any more. My responsibility to my shrine is getting in the way.”
“Of course.” Tarsem pocketed his crystal. “How is my sister? I haven’t seen much of her since I arrived in Sigil.”
“Sheen’s fine. She was worried about Haden… honestly, I haven’t seen her that much either. Listen, have you seen Tulio? I’ve got some bad news for him.”
“He was at Chirper’s when I left.”
Joris uttered his thanks and left the Library of the Lady, headed for the Market Ward.
- – - – -
Tulio wasn’t at Chirper’s, but Sigrund pointed Joris to Thea’s shrine in The Lady’s Ward. His happiness at seeing Joris dissipated as the weight on the cleric’s shoulders became clear.
They adjourned to the tiny courtyard behind the shrine, a garden shared with the millinery next door. The din of Transformant’s Square was diminished here, giving an odd serenity to the scene.
“There’s no easy way for me to say this,” said Joris. “So I hope you’ll forgive me for just saying it. Thazia’s gone.”
“Gone?” Tulio scratched his head absently. “The undead have taken over?”
“No, Tulio, it’s been destroyed. The entire world… it’s been destroyed.”
Tulio backed into the bench before sitting on it. “How did it happen?”
Joris recounted the story, trying to remember every detail. Tulio didn’t look up until Joris was done, his expression strangely vacant. He drew a deep breath, then said “I may be all that’s left of Thazia.”
“Maybe. A proper diviner could tell you -“
“I need to write it all down.” Tulio was on his feet again. “All the stories, the history. The places I saw. Everything.”
Joris looked to the gate; when he turned back to Tulio, the young man was right in his face. “If I die,” Tulio said, “it’s all gone. I’ve got to tell Thazia’s story.”
“Mal may know someone with a press” was the only thing Joris could think of to say.
They talked for a while after that. Tulio didn’t seem very upset to Joris; the cleric had the impression that Thazia had died for him long ago. He needed little consolation – and how do you help someone grieve for an entire world? Sigil probably had somebody who knew the answer…
Once he was sure that Tulio was all right, Joris got up to excuse himself. “Where are you off to?” asked Tulio.
“Back to the Circle, so I can prepare a sending prayer. Kalisa knows where Faodhagan is. I need to tell Catriona.”