Fridok stoked the fire, adjusting the freshly placed log so as to give the flames enough air flow to burn properly. The campsite had become a waiting place for those who remained - not all of whom were doing so with grace and patience. Fridok had practiced waiting patiently his whole life, so it was easy for him to remain calm while they waited for the Son and the others' return. Even Ervig was showing signs of nervousness, which didn't help the situation. Things had gotten so tense between those who remained that Bulgar had taken Xanthus out to practice archery a good distance away from the camp. That left Fridok stuck between the ever-agitated Ervig and Geilamir, whom Fridok had still not grown fully comfortable in his presence.
The road back to the City was littered with the occasional demon husk, which was in stark contrast to the way the road had been on their way away from the City. There had been at least three skirmishes - if you could call them that - that the Son must have fended off on his way to attempt to save Gailavira. Along with those poorly organized skirmishes, there were several lone demons that must have simply been looking for a quick meal before they met their ultimate end. Nothing would stand in the way of the Son and his mission, but Alaric was hopeful that they might have at least slowed his commander down enough for the four of them to catch up with him. Judging by the inhuman screams echoing through the canyon ahead, Alaric knew that his suspicions were correct.
"I don't have to explain to you that none of this leaves this house," Valoricus said plainly to his colleagues gathered in his home. "Not to your wives, your compatriots or your sons. We work in darkness, as it must be done. As it has been done so often in times of great need for the sanctity of this ruling body. For the City." The men gathered before him nodded, eying one another as if to gauge their loyalty to the conspiracy. Barius Fiducoulus seemed more nervous than the four others, something which Valoricus took to mean that the man was to be a liability. Valoricus couldn't ignore the obvious, so he sought to address his suspicions without hesitation.
Time and space shattered in a blast, as if He had been hit by one of the war machines of old that had seemingly been forgotten in the time and place where He now found himself. Father... Where have you gone? The time before His exile was out of reach to Him, and this new world He had awoken to find was barely reminiscent of the world where He had spent the entirety of His life. As His thoughts meandered and splintered into a thousand directions, He allowed them to do so with nothing but the passionate pleading of an unfamiliar feminine voice to underscore the deconstruction and reconstruction of his thoughts. Where was I? A vision of the Eternal Flame still blazing atop the Pearly Stair after millennia of decay came to the forefront of the theater of his mind. The Pearly Stair.
He could faintly hear the sounds of someone calling to Him, commanding Him. It was a voice that He hardly knew, feminine, not a part of his core memory before the Exilium. Should He obey? By what right did that voice have to command Him? His thoughts were disjointed, broken, confused. There was so much that had happened in his exile, so many years that were lost to Him. Even His Father was missing in this broken version of their world. Why were the Gifts taken from the people? Why were His brethren subjected to such an impossibly cruel fate? Why had God forsaken mankind?