A man sat out front. He was wearing all black and nearly blended with the shadows. It was why Elijah took so long to recognize him. It was cold out, the wind had a particularly harsh bite but a new scarf and newer gloves made it bearable, even if his customary hat was missing. Without waiting for an invitation Elijah sat down in the chair next to the man, reaching for one of the empty mugs that sat on the small table between them. A thermos stood next to them, he picked it up and twisted the cap off and poured the coffee into the empty mug, then closed it and set it down again.
The chair creaked when Elijah leaned back and propped a foot up on his knee. He took a sip and it burned his tongue, so he brought the drink down to rest in his lap and turned his gaze to his silent companion.
?Still ain?t found a way back yet, Anson??
?Unfortunately,? Anson said quietly.
?For the best. There?s work to be had here, you know. Plenty that needs doin? for people like us.?
?It?s not the same, Elijah,? Anson countered coolly before pausing to take a drink from his own mug. ?There was never anything here to keep them back, they are as much at home here as they are in the abyss. Earth is different, it was not meant to be the way it is now. That is why we fight, to try and restore it.?
?Don?t know what you?re talkin? about, Anson. Ain?t like you were around when the gate opened, and you obviously don?t know much ?bout this place or you?d have found yourself a way back by now.?
?Are you suggesting the Order is wrong??
?I?m suggestin? they might not be infallible, is all.?
Anson grunted and took another sip of his coffee. Across the table and in his own chair Elijah did the same. It had cooled quickly thanks to the cold and icy wind. For a few minutes the two sat in silence and drank their coffee while staring out at the darkened streets of the city. Passersby wouldn?t think twice about them, they couldn?t know of the conflict brewing.
?You can?t stay here forever, Elijah. One way or another, I?ll find a way back and you?ll have to come with me.?
?That girl you?re spending all your time with? What do you know about her??
?Enough to know that she needs someone to look out for her, Anson.?
?What makes you say that??
?Somethin? I saw,? Elijah gulped down the last of the cooling drink and set the mug down on the table. ?You know the church outside town, up on that big cliff??
His companion scowled and shook his head.
?Got a map??
?Go get it.?
Grumbling, Anson pushed out of his chair and turned to walk by Elijah. He pushed the door open and walked into the building at their backs, disappearing for a few more minutes. While he waited Elijah picked at the peeling paint on the arm of his chair and ground the heel of his foot into the dirt. When Anson returned he thrust the map at Elijah and sat back down, watching him impatiently.
Elijah unfolded the map and moved over his empty mug and the thermos on the table to make room, twisting it for Anson?s benefit. He searched it for a moment and then placed a finger down.
?Okay...what about it??
?It?s abandoned. Full of statues that look like angels.?
?Churches tend to like angels, Elijah. What?s the point??
?They?re alive. And they ain?t no demons, I can tell you that.?
?How do you know??
?Tried to kill us, the-?
?Us? You and the girl??
?Yeah. Us,? Elijah leaned back and pushed out of his chair to stand. ?Check it out if you want, Anson. Might be there?s more to this city for us to look into than you might think. But if you?re goin? there, don?t go inside. If that?s your plan then let me know, I?ll come with you.?
?I?ll think about it.?
?Make sure you tell the old man.?
?I can?t get out of Rhy?Din, Elijah.?
?Don?t mean you can?t talk to him,? Elijah turned and reached up to tip his hat at Anson and remembered as his hand hung in the air that he wasn?t wearing it. Old habits and such. ?You have yourself a nice night, Anson. You know where to find me,? then he pivoted on his heel and started down the street with his hands thrust deep into his pockets.
Anson watched Elijah depart in silence and stared down the street for several minutes afterwards before folding the map back up and grabbing the empty mug and thermos left on the table. As he stood and turned to go back inside something caught his eye and he set down all the items in hand again to drop to a knee and peer at freshly packed dirt in the ground in front of Elijah?s vacated seat. He smirked and dug through it with his hands and found a small, polished rock waiting for him.