Berras – A Light in the Darkness
The gnome looked up at the headpiece of his staff, the light growing dim, flickering as though an unholy wind blew through the area. Berras cast his gaze in one direction, and then the other, looking about as though it was some foul beast or monster who brought the gust into the dungeon.
He reached up, extending his fingers toward the lamp—restored once more since being in the Living Dungeon—and the flames burst back to life, illuminating the cavern.
A chorus of mirth and excitement rang out in the earthen tunnel, and Berras looked to the gnomish children with a smile upon his face.
“You see, everyone,” he said, “as long as you are prepared, you have nothing to worry about!”
The children of Felheim eagerly pretended the walking sticks they used were staves like their leader. Every so often, Berras looked to one child or another, and cast a small cantrip, lighting up the end of one of their sticks and spreading that joy. He made sure that no one was left out, each of them feeling like they were part of a team.
Before long, the gnomes reached a much larger chamber, and their voices traveled and echoed along the way. As the sounds drifted off, it sounded like someone in the distance was chattering back to them.
The joy momentarily subsided, and Berras could see that his team grew wary and anxious.
“You have the right idea,” the light-bringer said. “If something unexpected happens, and you can’t explain it, you should always be cautious. Try to understand it with logic, if you can, but no that not everything can be.”
He waved his hand, and then a few lanterns that he’d hung from the earthen ceiling some time before brightened, leaving the cavern looking as though daylight had somehow found its way inside. Berras had made a wonderful experience for the children, having a few tables set up, with parchment and sticks of clay.
“We’ll rest here for a little while before continuing on our way,” the old gnome said. “I’ll get out a few snacks, and you can draw any of the things you saw on our journey today—the mountain stream, the glowing mushrooms, the two travelers we saw on our way here—or anything at all from your imagination and beyond.”
“Mister Berras,” one of the young gnomes said. “Did another child draw those?”
He spun about, looking at where she pointed, though in his heart, he already knew. There upon the wall, a crude depiction of five people was drawn across the stone in crude orange clay. On the adjacent wall, another set of five was present, with one figure looking the same across both drawings.
“No, Hannie,” he said. “No, that was all me. I’m a brilliant guide, but rubbish at drawing,” he teased.
“I like it!” she insisted. “Who are they?”
Berras hummed, looking at the figures of the groups he had spent time with, trapped as he was in the Living Dungeon.
“They’re friends of mine from other worlds,” he said.
“Whoa!” the children exclaimed, and it seemed that was enough to stir their imagination, for they began drawing or telling each other stories at the tables.
Berras looked on, alternating glances between the life he’d had within the dungeon—a new chance found despite it seeming his fate had once been sealed—and the new life he had made for himself for the people of Felheim.
He could think of no better use for his talents in those moments.
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