“They were still alive, Akshainie,” I said. I dropped to my knees and faintly heard the map fall into the street beside me.
“You don’t know that.”
“They had to be. There was no reason otherwise.”
“Well, okay, do you know a reason they would have been kept alive?” I stared in silence for a little while, then closed my eyes and shook my head. “Then you don’t know. It isn’t your fault, you did everything you could for them.”
“No,” I said, wiping a tear from my cheek and standing, “Not yet, I haven’t.” As the dust began to settle, I walked to the very edge of the crater and looked down at the rubble. I couldn’t sense anything. I couldn’t hear anything, I couldn’t see any movement and had no good way to get down there to try and dig anyone out even if I did. I knew, deep in the pit of my stomach, that there was no one alive down there. I watched and listened, tried to reach my spiritual senses out to touch any minds or emotions or anything. I found only silence and wreckage. So, I set myself to the task of reading last rites over the site. May these tortured souls finally know peace. When I turned around after completing that, Akshainie had the map unrolled and was looking it over.
“What is this?” she asked.
“A map of this town, looks like.”
“Well I know that, English. What are the markings?”
“Still not English.”
“Still acting like an ass.” I sighed and started walking over to her.
“I don’t know what the markings are. Seems like a spell of some sort, probably whatever they were trying to accomplish here, but I don’t know how to make out what it means.”
“Know anyone who might?” I slipped my hands into my pockets and looked down.
“Yeah,” I said, softly. “I’ve been meaning to talk to him, anyway.”
Evidence compiled for use during the trial of Father Benedict de Monte.