Falling into step with Malek, Warren looks at the warlock and smiles broadly. Though he does nothing to keep his words secret, the large man does lower his voice a bit. “You had said, Sir, that you’ve visited my shop in the past, but did not purchase any items. Might I ask, did you find my wares substandard?” Though he seems jovial enough, there is certainly a worried edge to Warren’s voice, and a tightness around his eyes.
Malek looks back at Warren at his side and returns a slight smile, and slows his pace down the stairs to something leisurely, in spite of the echoing screams down the tunnel. “You know,” he begins, “I can’t say I’ve ever seen such ‘wares’ anywhere else.” Malek laughs a little, “And, this is coming from a pursuer of pleasures. I was taken by the novelty of it, and as far as my own untrained eyes could tell, the craftsmanship was fine, but, I suppose I’ve only ever been interested in the real thing.” Malek trails off, looking off into the tunnel, but then looks back to Warren, and cracks a grin. “Why do you ask?”
Blushing a bit, Warren reaches up and scratches at his right cheek. “I’m a stickler for detail, and quality. Always strive to make the best of the best. Though I suppose a man like you wouldn’t really need my services. No doubt you have ladies throwing themselves at you whenever you pause in one place for too long.” The man chuckles, glancing at Malek in a manner he considers sly, but likely isn’t, as he matches the warlock’s steps.
Malek laughs lightly at the complement. “Oh, now you’re too kind Mr. Doomedge.” He makes a smug look without a hint of seriousness, “Yes, there are my looks, and my charm, both of which no doubt have served me well,” Malek pauses and straightens his posture, “but I think my best quality, Mr. Doomedge, my most attractive quality is my simple, humble disposition.” The warlock looks at Warren expectantly, the curls of a smile betraying his haughty look.
Unable to help himself, Warren laughs loudly. Quickly covering his mouth, the barbarian looks to the other party members, blush more prominent now. Rubbing at his bright red cheeks, he shakes his head and looks back to Malek. “You joke, Sir, but I do think most of those things are true. At least, from what I’ve been able to see so far.” Warren kicks a pebble down the stairs ahead of them, letting it bounce along without much force. “After all, I don’t think anyone who wasn’t humble could poke fun at themselves like that. I could be wrong, though.”
Malek joins Warren’s laughter, although he can’t help but notice the man’s sudden uproar. He raises his eyebrows at Warren’s blushing, but decides to say nothing, instead keeping his eyes trained on Warren’s expression. “Yes, well,” Malek chuckles a little, “I’m glad you appreciate my humor.” He looks away thoughtfully for a moment, then continues, “Humor is another pleasure to pursue, don’t you think? Vital, really, in circumstances like this.”
Considering Malek’s words, Warren nods his head in agreement. “In life and death, nothing keeps the mind sane like humor and friendship. Two things I seem to lack in equal parts, unfortunately.” Noticing Malek’s gaze, Warren’s eyes skitter about the passageway they are currently walking through.
The warlock grins again. “Then this is perfect. Nothing builds friendships better than the threat of impending demise.” Malek follows the direction of Warren’s eyes, looking clearly through the dark at the steps ahead. He continues, “And we have humor enough.” Malek frowns for a moment in another thought. He speaks in a low voice, though easily audible to Warren, “Actually, the thing we may lack is sanity. I hope you have brought some with you.”
At this, Warren nods his head with a bit of a grimace. “My old position within the military tends to lend itself to acts of sanity. Perhaps too much sanity, if we’re being honest. It often gets me in trouble with my more rambunctious company mates.” Heaving a sigh, the large man continues down the steps looking a bit downtrodden.
“Ah yes,” Malek nods, “you weren’t always a soldier, now, were you?” The warlock looks to Warren.
Warren shrugs his shoulders, smiling at Malek in a congenial sort of way. “Used to be an accountant. It’s a little bit of a leap, going from that world to this one, let me tell you. I doubt I’ll ever get used to the killing, as I’ve been told will happen.”
Seeing clearly the entryway ahead of him, Malek slows to a near stop at the stairs, and gives Warren a quizzical look.
Sensing Malek halt in his decline, the barbarian follows his example and stops as well. Turning to eye the smaller man, Warren lifts one brow questioningly. “What is it?”
“Well,” Malek quirks his head to the side and shrugs slightly as he begins, “you’re clearly quite gifted at dispensing death. You wouldn’t be with us if you weren’t. And, I couldn’t help but notice, you seemed quite,” Malek pauses, looking for the appropriate word.
Clearing his throat, Warren suddenly looks incredibly uncomfortable, shifting in place as he looks literally everywhere but at Malek. “Thrilled..?”
Malek winces and inhales sharply through his teeth, as though the words were painful to say, “yes, jolly, reducing a Grayrender to a bloody heap.” He looks down and grimaces before returning his bemused gaze to Warren. “Do you enjoy killing, Warren?”
“It makes me sick to my core, but …” Trailing off for a moment, the man rubs a large hand over his face. “If the fighting is all fun and games, I’m fine. The second things become serious, though, I just sort of lose myself. The fight becomes fun, and I do not know why. It’s come to the point where I avoid all forms of violence where I can, and only fight as the very last resort.”
Malek looks at Warren with grave seriousness, completely still in expression, until a slight nod at the end of his words. He stands in silence for a moment, then draws in a deep breath. “It’s a terrible fate we share, that we’re so efficient at something so awful.” A faint smile tries to break the solemnity. “I take no joy in the act, myself. Not even for the most despicable creatures. And I still enjoy it more than I think I should.” Malek sighs and begins to walk the final steps to the entryway. “As long as it still makes you sick, you’re fine. That’s what sets us apart from the things we abhor.”
Nodding in agreement, Warren follows Malek through the door.