Lina sat at the Inn table, comtemplating the death that awaited her the next day. another demon lord, another giga spell to cast. But this time it was different... she could feel the shadows, the darkness creeping into her soul. she could feel the sharp contrast of shade on her firey spirit and it weakened her resolve. how am I better than them? letting myself go further into the shadow just to stay alive. I can't do what I do any other way, so I'm selling my soul to the darkness... for a little longer to live, for a little more time... is it worth it? how can it be worth that?

The red haired sorceress looked up as the bard that had been playing earlier sat down at her table. Only then did she notice that the common room was nearly empty. Lina's companions had gone to bed several hours before, leaving Lina to brood by herself.

"You seem very alone, young one." the nameless bard said, "Heavy burden no one else can see?"

"No more than I can handle." Lina said with a growl at the 'young one' remark.

"Are you sure? something must be weighing your spirit down for a face as long as that."

"None of your business."

The bard shrugged, "Is it the darkness? The shadows in your soul? the dark power you pledged yourself to has followed up on it's claim?"

"I said it was none of your business!!" Lina slammed her hands on the table as she stood up and tried to loom over the intruding stranger.

The bard stood up with a noncommital grunt, "Of course, but there is something I think you should know, Lina Inverse, if you will listen."

"What is it?" Lina demanded, fire returning to her eyes.

"What causes a shadow?"

"What? is this some sort of riddle?" Lina growled, grabbing the stranger by the collar and shaking, "I get enough of that from that damn preist! talk straight!"

"A shadow only means that a light shines nearby." the bard pryed Lina's fingers off the cloak and walked away.

"A light shines nearby..."