Eptih returned to his original plan and headed off in the same direction that he had decided to follow before. As he trudged along his mind continually returned to Torquis, part of him wishing for revenge against her and another part wanting her for himself. It was as though she had placed some kind of spell on him that refused to fade.
With time seeming to be the only thing he had in abundance he tried to put the pieces together so that he could see the entire picture and perhaps figure out where he was. With what he had learned from the Graelim and what he had seen with his own eyes coupled with the seeming contradiction of Torquis and her control of Spiritforms he worked the pieces in his mind as he trudged along but could not realize how they all fit together and thus his frustration grew. Who and what was Torquis and why was she able to control Spiritforms if Velid was in control of the Firmornam. Who were the Graelim and why did they seem to have some deeper knowledge and an immense power that no one else possessed. Why were there so many Mortals doing the bidding of Velid and for what price. Eptih had so many questions and it seemed that the closer he got to the truth the more confused he became.
Although it seemed Eptih had missteped having come upon Torquis in the first place, he wondered if maybe he was meant to meet her and learn something important and it was at this point, feeling as though he had somehow shirked his responsibilities or missed out on some key piece of knowledge that she could have been able to provide that he decided to turn back and retrace his path back to where he last had seen Torquis.
Eptih retraced his steps back and when he came to the site where Torquis had lived he found it burning, not a single Velidian solider remained nor did Torquis or her spirit retinue. Eptih sifted through the ruins but found nothing, no clue or object that he could learn from. As he sat idle considering his next move, somewhat dejected that the retracing of his steps had led to nothing, he heard someone approaching and before he could stand an old frail man appeared, his unimposing stature relaxing Eptih’s fear and he settled back to return to his pondering.
The old man approached and asked Eptih if he could join him and Eptih allowed the old man to sit with him but informed him that he would be alone again soon as he planned to be on his way again soon. The old man sat there with Eptih and the two spoke to each other. The old man asking Eptih many questions, obviously impressed by Eptih’s stature and somewhat irregular appearance. But as the old man rattled on Eptih stopped him, realizing the oddity of the old man in this location at this time, and asked him who he was and what he was doing so far out beyond the periphery. The old man told him his name was “____” and that he was a Siradyt who had been banished long ago, so long that he had learned to become one with the land and therefore roamed endlessly, living off the land.
Eptih asked the old man many questions and the old man answered with pleasure happy that someone had taken an interest in him. He told eptih that he was very old and that he had witnessed many events first hand, many events that had shaped Existence as a whole. He was asked and answered many questions the most important being the location of Eptih’s home lands. The old man told Eptih that he was on the correct path to return to his home which seemed strange to Eptih as the old man had not seen where Eptih had come from nor did he know where Eptih was headed. This aroused suspicion in Eptih but he remained quiet hoping the old man would give up further information or declare his true identity.
Who are the Siradyt? What are their numbers? Are their more Mortals out in the Periphery? What do you know of Velid? What do you know of the Vethrians? Are they alive or dead? The questions went on and it became became dark. The old man invited Eptih to his home for dinner but Eptih hesitated to answer and continued his questioning. It was after the second time the old man asked Eptih to his home and Eptih ignored the request that the old man became angry and stood up as if to challenge him. Eptih, laughing and wishing to test the mans memory, asked the old man again if he knew the location of his peoples lands and this time the old man said he knew nothing of lands in question and as such can not advise him as which way to travel. This stirred a rage in Eptih and he insulted the old man for being senile, pointing out his earlier answer to the same question, and as Eptih sat there the old man hit him across the head with a wooden cane. Eptih enraged with blood boiling up from his pores stood up and ripped the man apart with his bare hands, leaving him in pieces where he had last stood.
When Eptih made his way back to his path he began to feel as though he was living some surreal existence and wondered if maybe he had been killed in an earlier event and was now experiencing the world as a Spiritform. Had Torquis achieved her purpose after all, was he now her possession or had he been killed at some earlier time? Eptih was in a state of disarray considering his fate growing more bewildered but decided to remain true to his original plan and hold his chosen heading until he could find his way home or was stopped in the process. If he was dead or had been transported to some other world far from his own the only option in his mind was to persevere and so he continued to walk quicker then before, his youth causing him to wish for the safety of home.