Iaerian’s hands gently brushed against the lively greenery as he ventured deeper into the lush wilds of Ardenweald - not entirely too far off from the group he had arrived with in the first place even if he had felt an irresistible pull off the old beaten trail. While he certainly had no need for the company he kept in the long run, they were an integral stepping stone in both aiding him with his simple curiosities regarding the afterlife and the more complicated - locating powerful resources that he could possibly return home with for his more ‘complex’ experiments. He wasn’t here to wholly help restore the anima that everyone was pleading for. He was here to take some for himself if he could; enchanted vessels imbued with just a trace of the void were hidden deep within concealed pockets of his cloak.
Everything he touched flowed with the powerful essence of mortal souls that had passed on, stirring both a familiarity within himself of his own anima and a subtle hunger deep within him. A hunger that seemed to gasp greedily from the darkest recesses of Iaerian’s being where the shadows stirred and waited as they always did. It was almost like a gnawing for mana that he was so very intimately familiar with; bringing with it brief flashes of his own history to the forefront of his mind in such graphic detail - where arcane pylons were powered fiercely among the ruins of a home never quite forgotten and a terrible beast centered at it all. He even recalled in vivid detail one of his more memorable live experiments where this same hunger dwelled. A thrilling rush of both pleasure and horror at what he was capable of - and pride focused on it all. Sure, he could do terrible things but there was a science behind it that those with narrowminded thinking could never comprehend. Since the beginning of time, sacrifices were always made for the greater good. For survival. For deeper understandings. It wasn’t as cut and dry as many of the sheep were so blindingly led to believe. One such sheep being his very own flesh and blood much to his great disappointment.
There was a part of Iaerian that ached mournfully as he continued to behold his surroundings, letting his mind pause briefly in its churning at the finer details in getting what he wanted without catching unwanted attention. Deep down, he knew that his beloved could not be in Ardenweald where those closely connected with nature and its balance cycled in and out of death and rebirth. Perhaps that is why he had come swayed so easily into traversing to this realm of all places even though he had been so desperate to hear her voice just one more time. If she was not here, he could do her no harm. But if she had become a victim of the Maw then.... no, he dared not suffer to think of it. Banishing the thought from his mind just as quickly as it had invaded, his eyes glanced upward once more taking notice of the ‘stars’ and something that fluttered by capturing his attention for reasons his mortal mind couldn’t quite comprehend just yet.
A butterfly, larger than he had ever seen, fluttered above - leaving wispy trails of anima in its wake that called to his hunger once more. He had seen other soul shaped beings since he arrived, even other butterflies, moths, and the like but this one called out to something deep within his innerworkings. Almost as if his own soul recognized this creature. Oh, how it wanted to leap up through him and join it, stirring a wild sense of dread almost immediately that threatened to make Iaerian retch. Covering his mouth, he found himself lowering himself deep into the grass in an effort to conceal himself from this creature as he watched it flutter away and out of sight unaware of him below.
The voice of the shadows suddenly whispered within him, but Iaerian only felt sick to his stomach. What was it with that creature that made him react in the manner he did? There was something so painfully familiar about it. Just who was that? He needed to know!
Gripping his obsidian staff tightly with one shaky hand, he positioned it upright and firmly into the ground where he grasped it with the other hand to steady himself back up to his feet. Once the creature had vanished, so did his symptoms subside. He had no choice but to give into this gnawing curiosity that started to overwhelm him more so than what he had initially come here for in the first place. So it would seem that he would cut ties with the group he had come with far earlier than he initially planned. Come what may, he had to know just who that was and why they had affected him in such a way. He shared no deeply woven bonds with someone who might wind up in Ardenweald for that was like oil and water.
“Curiouser and curiouser,” he mumbled under his breath as he cautiously followed the path of the butterfly.