He is not staying here any longer than he has to. He is not going to fucking stay here, no way. He's been through too much to languish as a sacrificial lamb in the eighth circle of hell while an archdevil goes on a rampage. Cania's for traitors. And he's not one. He was loyal until the day he - well, not died. Was banished. And he doesn't deserve to be here.
He'll find a way out. Eventually. And then someone's going to have a very bad day.
But he's not thinking about that right now. He's thinking that he's pretty sure some vital parts are going to turn blue and fall off from the cold, so he's picked the warmest of his available frigid options to try and plan his next move. He'll take the bar with the dragon. He opens the door -
And this is not the bar with the dragon. It's much, much warmer.
His head screams trap, but he can't bring himself to close the door and walk away. Inside he goes, shivering. Warmth.
"Did we ever exchange names? I'm Bella."
He had, but he doesn't mind it being forgotten. "I'm Veron."
"What-all kind of wherewithal do you bring on your adventurers, are you a wizard or a fighter type or what?"
"Rogue. Not one of the greedy ones that steal everything not nailed down, I should clarify, more the type to scout out an area and then disarm all of the traps and then find the thing that's upset everyone present and solve the problem without causing a fight. If I can manage it. Which sometimes I can't, but, eh."
"Snazzy. I don't have the coordination for it, and magic would be more my style if I didn't have the obvious advantage in subtle arts to leverage."
Nod. "My teacher tried to teach me a bit of magic once, as a result I can maybe read some scrolls without exploding, but casting proper spells is beyond me." Pause. "Well, mostly, I have some weirdness now that doesn't let me claim to not be magical."
"Right, well, I spent a lot of time on the plane of shadows. And, uh, if you spend long enough on the plane of shadows it'll start to make you into, er, something else. So I am part human and part something else. The something else isn't murderous or anything, just - now I have perfect darkvision and can do some things with shadows. I can sort of teleport short distances, and summon a, uh, friend of mine to help me out if I need it. There's some other things, but those are a bit harder to explain."
"That all sounds reasonably useful."
"It is! I mean, mostly, looking at bright light's actually a bit uncomfortable now, and the shadow plane becomes a bit creepier when you understand some of the whispers that you can hear, and if I were to go there again and stay longer I'd start to pick up on more of the downsides so I have to stay far far away from there, even though arguably I'm at my most powerful on the plane of shadow."
"Yeah. I have - sort of weird feelings about the whole affair, but it's been very useful, so. I'm pretty okay with it now."
Nod, nod. "Do I want to know what the whispers say?"
"Depends on which part of the plane you're on. There's - nice neighborhoods and nasty neighborhoods, I suppose is the term. Sometimes it was, uh, detailed descriptions of what it's like to be at the part of the transformation where your skin starts getting peeled off like a snake skin for new shadow skin, sometimes it's creepy threatening whispers, sometimes these weird attempts to lead me into traps, sometimes genuinely trying to help me... They vary a lot."
"Huh. I wonder how they sort themselves."
"The main way I saw was groups of people that went to the shadow plane together, and then they tended to stick together and keep everyone they don't like away from their turf. Then there's an entire system with shadow lords that hold estates and control certain areas. I um. Am technically one of them. Honorary shadow lord."
Bella bows a little.
"Thanks," he says to the countertop. "I mostly leave the place in the hands of the aforementioned friend, he's very competent with it."
"What does shadow lording involve?"
"I could technically try to conquer my neighbors if I wanted to, but I really, really don't. So - kind of like a warlord, I guess? With the new warlord getting picked based off who defeated the last."
"But when I'm not on the plane of shadow it's just for sounding impressive."
"I'm impressed! Do I not sound impressed?"