“Look at that sunset,” he says, pausing for just a moment, gently pulling my attention towards the leftmost window. “Look at that sunset. Nothing like it, the sun setting over the Rift,” he says before falling silent, staring out at the glowing sky as it paints the trees below: burnt orange and warm gold.
I can tell that there is no desire to impress, that there is nothing feigned about his love of sunsets, or his desire for me to share his love for something rare, simple and beautiful. “It’s a damn good sunset,” I say, and mean it. He gives me a small smile, which I return.
His home fits him perfectly, this small and homely hut hewed from wood and stone, put together as a place to live, not a place to show. The rug is well-worn, trod every day by the same set of boots; I can see them, placed carefully next to a rocking chair.
A noise makes me turn: the owner of these boots, a man, a minion’s minion, has set his teacup down on the saucer beside him, atop the end table holding only a teapot. He accompanies the motion with a small sigh, somehow perfectly suited to the soft clink of china on china: a delicate and melancholic sound, signaling the end of something—as he looks up at me, bathed in the dying light of what already seems like yesterday, I feel a strange sense of peace come over me.
“I’m sorry,” he says, “You were asking me about tomorrow?”
When I’ve nodded, reiterated the question, he takes a moment to give it thought: the moment stretches out into a definite pause, broken only by the soft chirps and calls of fading birdsong. I take the time he has given me to sip my tea, to watch the last rays of the sun strike and highlight the forest.
“When it’s over, win or lose, I’m going to go to the Summoners: however I find them, awash in victory or consumed with despair, and I’m going to tell them.”
“Tell them?” I ask, feeling slightly ashamed I even have to ask.
“Tell them no more,” he says, looking directly at me, into me, unflinching, unafraid. What he sees in my eyes, I do not know: what I see in his, I am sure, is anger, even if it is calm and quiet and just. Anger that cups of tea and sunsets have to be put aside for war.
“And then?” I ask, holding his gaze.
“And then,” he says, eyes softening, “I’m going to walk back here, through whatever the Rift has become, burying the bodies as I go: and I’m going to look behind me, at the minions following in my footsteps, planting honeyfruit and mana potions, and I’m going to marry one.”
He swirls the dregs in his teacup, watching moonlight glint, before tilting his head up, gazing towards the moon, luminous, winking silver. “Look at that moon,” he says, softly. “Nothing like it.”
“Nothing like it,” I agree.
Then I stab him in the face, because he’s worth seventeen gold.
I need that third Doran’s Blade.