Three centuries. Three centuries he had battled spirits, wrestled arcana from the long dead and maintained as much connections to the mortal realm as he could manage. And now he was asked to stand aside? Once this would have angered him, but one of the advantages of an incorporeal form, the emperor had noted, was how all feelings appeared dull and dim - as through being memories rather than actual experiences. It was probably an observation very close to the truth. No, he wasn't angry. Thinking further the feeling that actually came to his mind was relief. He had never questioned what he would do once he returned, but here was an opportunity; someone asked him to stand aside, to not take interest - to not be held responsible... Yes, there were other things to life, he knew. Perhaps it was time... But first he must settle with his past - and what remained of it in the world of the living...
Morion placed the Soul Key in the heavy lock. As he let go the mechanism started to turn on its own - and at the same time his protective spells suffered an assault that would definitely have slayed a less-prepared character, but his time in Damasa had helped him think like a wizard. The seal was broken. Now to head for the actual resting place...
The emperor blinked, but it mattered little in the darkness. Feelings came rushing to his head and his first breath in 300 years felt like sharp needles throughout his body. He tried to summon light, but his powers felt drained, distant... it felt like forever before one of the crystals sparked to life and illuminated the old chamber. He was naked and rather cold, so hurriedly he donned the amulets and other artifacts layed out around the casket. Then, using one of the wands he reached into a pocket dimension and produced a set of clothes. Nothing to fancy; simple yet elegant. His head spun slightly - the thought of food came to his mind like a long forgotten, not entirely welcomed, old friend. The next few hours were going to be unpleasant.
The voice came from the other side of the locked iron gate. As the emperor turned around he saw the same young man he had once seen back in his palace - so many years ago.
"You haven't aged a day. I'm impressed."
"Yes, it has its advantages."
"So what now?"
"You have a promise to fulfil. And a country to save, I believe."
The emperor stared hard at the man in the doorway. Oh, the feelings, now that he had them back again. Envy. Admiration. Fear. He was surprised over them; he had not realized this was how he had been.
"You take a great risk in releasing me, you know that."
"Your enemies are not as spry as they once were. And neither are you."
"I will recover quickly."
"I know you will. But I also know what its like to return from the dead after so many years."
The emperor raised one eyebrow.
"So you succeeded at last?"
"Yes. Yes, I did."
"And you still love each other?"
There was silence for a moment.
"When we first met you were but a young man. I found your wishes foolish then and expected them to mature with age. But here we are again, and I think it is I who look the fool. I will remember this lesson well. And I will honor my promise - if I can have but one request."
"I wish to meet your friend. Just see her; to speak to her. It would seem we both owe her a great deal."
"It shall be my pleasure - tough expect no kind words for a start."
"I will not - though I will strive to deserve them. What a curious turn of events..."
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