We have returned to Geor’s inn and I to my chair in the corner of the room. The fire flickers in the hearth and my eyes are heavy after the long day’s journey.

The Warden questioned me without cease as we made our way down from his cave and back into the forest. It seemed, after a time, he asked his questions to prevent me from asking my own. I could barely get my own words in between his numerous observations of the natural wildlife and the endless queries he held for me. At first I thought he only wanted to know about the attack on the village but then he would ask me about the university, about myself, and my thoughts on the world at large and then no sooner would I have finished telling him about, say, a certain professor’s lecture or the materials oft employed by the masons of the city but he would hear the cry of some small animal and immediately recognize it. For a time I wondered if he had been a professor himself at some point. His knowledge seemed vast and deep and he seemed practiced at conversation, albeit with the uncanny whirring and clicks that were somehow layered into the sound of his voice.

There is something decidedly strange about the Warden. Besides the augmentations, those odd bits of metal that protruded from his flesh, he knows so much, so much more than I could hope to learn in a lifetime, and yet he could not be older than me by more than a year or two at most. His accent is unknown to me, his intonations foreign and yet familiar. I may only speculate and dream as to how he came to be as he is now. What accident befell him that led to the infusion of the metal into his body? Where had he studied, and with whom, to become so wise at so few years? And how had he come to be so tall?

I have never met or seen anyone like him before.