Achkby, Halfling Sorcerer

"Dammit!" spits Achkby suddenly, and steps into the tower. "Wow is it cold out there."

"Elthan, you are wombatting stupid. Don't argue that, I don't know how you could think pulling on the shadow was a good idea. Callos, you've been a wombatting idiot too. You let him do that? In all honesty, this makes me question you more than Elthan."

Achkby is uncharacteristically coherent now, and though he's had some time to think things over, the conviction in his voice is still remarkable.

"I know spoon about religion, but I understand the weave as well as Callos, though in a different way. No two mages accesses it in the same way. He's been talking about it as if it's a body. That's a popular explanation, but I can tell you it's a different truth than I know.

"Anyone in touch with the weave, though, can tell you the shadow is dangerous. You can always feel it there, its presence better defined as you master more and more magicks. But it's never a friendly presence. Very little can drive a magician to reach into it. Which is why I still trust Elthan. He must have been desperate to tempt its creator's wrath. She is the purest evil, and any mage can feel it. I've met many despicable arcanists, and not a sane one of them has tried to manipulate its power. You always, always lose more than you gain. The Dark Mistress doesn't gamble.

"We need every capable body we can in this fight. I never expected myself to be saying this, but as a group, it's our duty to protect each other. Not just against Sethra and his scions, but from ourselves, too. This journey has been hard on us all. Some of us have died. None of us is the same as when we set out. Callos has lost his brother. Lissa, when I met you, I would have laughed at the idea of you trying to lynch a comrade. I didn't think anything could make such a positive, kindhearted person hurl such vicious threats.

"Elthan tried to beat the system. He tried to escape the grinding journey that's been wearing us all down. To find a way around the struggle that's seemed utterly impossible to me more than a few times -- and I don't give up easily. He reached outside of everything anyone had considered for a way to win. While I almost admire that, it was still the stupidest thing he could have done.

"His attempt cost us Evendur, a great man whom we admire above all for his dedication and loyalty. I blame all of us for that, for not knowing what was going on in our own midst. For letting Elthan go far enough that he would try to trade away an ally's life.

"But he did it becuase of his dedication and his loyalty to this group and its goals. We cannot afford to lose two of the most selfless people here. We are burning those books on the campfire tonight, but Elthan deserves, and needs, to stay.

As he delivers his speech, Achkby seems almost detached from the entire conference. To him, the pressure in the room is palpable, the animosity of his friends rebounding and magnifying off the anti-weave walls that enclose them. Does it threaten him personally, or does everyone feel this way? Does he support Elthan so fervently because of his own loyalty and conviction? Or because he fears what might happen to him?