Hector hadn’t wanted Garovel to join them on the mission, but the reaper insisted on it.
‘It’s fine,’ Garovel had said. ‘If we find Chergoa, I need to be there to talk to her; otherwise, she won’t know she can trust you.’
‘I could just tell her I’m your servant.’
‘Could you, Hector? Could you really?’
‘...Y-yeah. I mean, probably.’
‘Well, even so, I’m sure you’ll have need of my observational support.’
Hector couldn’t tell if Garovel was being brave or stupid, but he knew that he didn’t have much room to argue about it. He wasn’t exactly an expert on how much value one should place upon one’s own life.
The group proceeded on, making slow progress. With the stony walls all soul-empowered, the reapers couldn’t sense where the enemy would be coming from, so they had to be cautious each time they entered a new room. Hector consulted one of the maps he’d been given and noticed they were coming up on a large complex of rooms which had been collectively marked as a foyer. It seemed to be the center of transit in this area, bearing two staircases, two elevators, a pair of bathrooms, and connecting three major hallways and a massive auditorium.
And when they approached its double doors, they found that the foyer’s lights were still on.
Xuan waddled through them without much care, and everyone followed.
With only Xuan’s exceptionally modest stature ahead of him, Hector got a clear view of the room. Spacious was the first word for it, bearing rectangular chambers on the first floor and staircases that led up to a second and third. Ornate was the second word, though perhaps not in the conventional sense. Polished rock was the theme of this place. The floor, the walls, the stairs, the guardrails, the chandeliers, even some of the furniture had been constructed from stone. The handful of chairs and sofas at least had darkly green cushions to go along with them, but it truly seemed like stone was utilized in every conceivable manner, save only where sheer practicality required otherwise.
The room reminded him of Warrenhold, actually--like what Warrenhold might have looked like in an earlier era, all furnished and obviously cared for. The only real difference to Hector’s eyes was that the shadowy stone still didn’t have quite the same pitch blackness that nightrock did.
Xuan stopped abruptly. “Ah. There you are, Darktide.”