Virgil found himself having to put on a slight frown, almost a scowl. But, when has the man been seen smiling, other than rare moments of unguarded humor or joy? Everyone but he appears to have a mount, be it horse, camel, or fire-breathing horned toad (Firebelcher). As everyone is prepared to depart, he waves for them to continue on, insisting they not worry about his keeping up, which frankly he can't. First, the desert is harsh on his body so accustomed to green forests, and the brown muck of farm and swamplands. Places where humidity and rain were so common that traveling by foot ensured you would spend at least one day wet. Second, the weight of his scythe was a new burden, but since it was a gift, he dared not lose it, deliberately or otherwise. Lastly, his stubbornness would not allow him to make use of the -other- gift his keepers sent him back to the mortal plane with.
It would be until nearly exhausted, sweat pouring down his brow, legs burning with fatigue, and sight of his companions lost in the distorting waves of heat rising off the desert sands, that he sighs, resigning himself to the shame of being further indebted to Shar's skill at helping talk him out of trouble, and sent back far from empty-handed. Down his scythe comes then, dropped from his shoulder, and with one hand wielding, sinks the arched blade into the sand, so it rests at his side, pole sticking up at an angle. Out from a belt pouch comes a small black statuette of a horse, so perfect in its resemblance, sets it down upon the sand, and steps back. He clears his throat, and never having used such an item before, utters the command phrase, in more of a shout, "Blackfire!"
Surely the companions ahead of him might hear that, but even if they do not, the roar of flames, and the neighing of a horse, outraged and unwilling that follows, is not easily missed. For Virgil there is a mix of awe, sympathy, and trepidation at the beast he has summoned, knowing well what it is like to be an unwilling servant by circumstance. Perhaps some day, he imagines, should he find his own freedom, he'll find a way to release the hellish horse from its bonds, to choose its own path. For those companions ahead of him, doubtless some can sense what manner of creature has been called, others may suspect, and a guide might know, or might be about to soil his drawers. Out from the heat haze does the white haired human come riding, astride a horse few can ever have claimed to tame, coal-black all over, covered in blackened steel armor and saddled for riding. Mane, and tail all aflame, flames licking out from eye-sockets, nostrils, and inner ears. Licks of flame lick and flicker out from under the armor covering over the mare's mane, sparing her rider from open flames.
Riding into view of his companions, the Warlock brings the Nightmare to a halt, not that this keeps her from pawing the sand, obviously eager to get going, and allowed to return to her own plane. Virgil gives a resigned shrug, "A... gift from my handlers. You can thank Shar later if you like. For now, let us keep moving, I don't wish to keep her here any longer than it takes to get out of this wasteland." Perhaps it's just a trick of the imagination or the desert heat wearing on people's minds, but in that last statement, one might swear to have heard sympathy from the Warlock. As if he might actually care about the feelings of the wickedly evil horse beneath him.
Primary (Pheurazath AKA Kalkyril Ilindl)
Secondary (Virgil Stahne -- A repentant Warlock)
Other Secondary (Skrach -- A rogue, a rat, touched by the best)