Marcus looked at Talosh and wondered what thoughts ran through that head of his.
"I watched the sun rise this morning," he said.
Talosh roused himself from his daydream and turned to regard Marcus, keeping his back pressed to the rock where he crouched. "Did you not sleep last night? he asked.
"Oh, I slept well enough," said Marcus, "but I've always been an early riser." He shifted uneasily against the rock, vainly trying to find a confortable spot. "I never really paid that much attention to the sun's rising. This morning was different. I lay awake in the dark and actually noticed as the sky began to pink and as the first rays crowned the horizon. I watched as the shadows fled along the grain field yonder and saw the light halo the black smoke rising from Ganderhome. I don't know why but it made me feel better. Stupid notion... It felt like the light makes everything better, drives away the uncertainty, expose the things you didn't want to see. Forces you to confront them. Does that make any sense?"
Talosh nodded slowly. "I understand." He said nothing for a while, as though gathering his thoughts then continued. "Once I was travelling the desert to Samaland. It's a small desert, not like the Great Yarosh or even like the salt flats hereabouts. It's just a sandy thumbprint in the grand scheme of things and easily crossed though the going is unpleasant enough. I was making my way to the festivities they hold each year in Samarkhan, the capital. There's singing and dancing, many sacrifices and much in the way of fleshy delights. They are a wanton people but fun if you're of a proper mood. Improper mood I should say. In any event I was not. In fact I was beset by a most melancholy despair, nor could I even put a finger on why I was so disposed."
"I was travelling at night, when it is cooler and the sand is not so likely to whip at your eyes, and as I trudged towards my goal I took notice of the moon. It shone bright and clear and full that night and the stars themselves were dulled to insignificance by comparison and a curious notion struck me. It was as though a great black blanket was hung across the sky and the moon a peep-hole through to a lighter, brighter, happier place. I stood and regarded it, and because my breath clouded the cold night air I held it in as long as possible, just staring up at the moon and wishing myself to be in that better place which I could only glimpse. Eventually I was forced to take a great gasp of air and the moment passed but that thought has stayed with me since."
They sat awhile in a silence. interrupted when Talosh said, "I should like to see the sun rise this morning. Like your self of old I have never paid much heed to dawn but with your words in my head perhaps I will take it into my heart. Will you wake me when it's time?"
"Certainly," said Marcus, "and when next the moon is full I will look at it and see if I observe that better place of which you spoke."
"I regret to say, but that is most unlikely," said Talosh. He stood and stretched. From cloven hoof to wicked claw he stood ten feet tall, barely half the height of the rocky ledge on which Marcus was perched.
Craning his neck, Marcus looked down at the demon, surrounded about by the heavy vines Marcus had used to reach his sanctuary but which had torn free when the demon pursued him.
"You're going to have to come done from there eventually," said Talosh levelly.
Marcus plucked a few berries from the straggly, lop-sided bush that clung to a crevice beside him. "Perhaps," he said, "but not today."