The sorcerer came to a fishing village in the North, trudging slowly, using his staff as a cane, his Shadow behind him, feeling his age. A boy child ran up, asked: “My Lord?”
The boy pointed up the street at an old, solid two-story stone building with a third somewhat ramshackle story of wood built atop it. “There, My Lord. Yilley’s.”
“Come visit me there, in the morning. I will have errands.” The sorcerer flipped him a small silver coin. “With your parent’s permission.”
“Yes, My Lord!” The boy ran off, virtually airborne from excitement. The Sorcerer continued up the road towards the water.
I will take him, wizard. I will take the whole village.
The sorcerer chuckled, “Oh, you’ll do no such thing.”
You have come here trying to hide, to escape, but I am at your heel, and I will take them all, and then you.
“That’s not why we’ve come, Shadow,” the sorcerer scoffed. “That’s not it at all.”
At the edge of the village the path split, one branch heading down to the docks and the other winding its way up to a rocky point overlooking the bay. The sorcerer, in spite of the protestations from his knees, chose the latter.
Will you throw yourself from the summit, to appease me? I will not be denied.
“That’s not it either. You’re as foolish dead as you were alive, Shadow.”
Call me whatever names suit you; I will feast on yours.
“Seven hundred years, no one has figured out my true name yet. I doubt you’ll be the first.” It was, however, the only way the non-corporeal Shadow could possibly hurt him. He continued climbing well past the point of exhaustion, propelled only by necessity: he could not have the Shadow wreaking havoc in the village overnight.
Your arrogance will be your undoing.
“You said that when you were alive. Well, here we are.” He had reached the peak, finding there a burial cairn marked with a stake overlooking the sea. “Take a look.”
This is neither my grave nor yours.
“I didn’t even know that was here. We came for the view, Shadow. What do you see?”
I see the grave and the hill and the village and the ocean. I see—
“The ocean. It stretches out like a blank slate as far as the eye can see, a great seeming emptiness. But even the ocean hides great activity: life teems just below the surface. What of the sky?”
What riddle is this, sorcerer? Are you so desperate to delay our reckoning?
“The sky seems even emptier, and it goes on forever. But even the sky holds birds, and clouds and rain. Beyond it are the numberless stars and planets. Yes?”
“You are dead, Shadow, by my hand. But you are dead in the world. I could have dispelled you into a void so empty it would drive you mad. I still can. Is one last stab at revenge worth the risk?”