"Alistair," the voice boomed through the scrying portal he'd established - a link between he and Damien, looking through a mirror that spanned across miles. The Lich, as overworked and underappreciated as he'd been in the past several months since Ali had gone, looked good. He looked even more well maintained than before the Venora had left, and he could see an enthusiastic energy in him that hadn't appeared in quite some time. Perhaps it was for his own reasons. Or perhaps he was proud. Of the man he'd helped Alistair become. Of the mage he'd shown himself to be.
They hadn't talked overly long in quite a while, but as of late things between them had only been positive. Perhaps in Alistair's loneliness, devoid of the company of both Duncan and Patrick alike, he'd found only a further appreciation for Father Damien beyond the Orm'del Sea.
His best friend, and mentor.
"Hey," the Venora spoke back, jovially, a smile growing among his lips. "How do you fare, Damien?" he asked.
"Busy," the Lich replied. "Ellasin's been focusing on the growth of the Rynmere Coven. Rharne hasn't showed much development despite Effren's best efforts, Etzos and Ne'haer's established bases are essentially at maximum capacity . . . it seems that most of the growth to be gained will come from the Northern Kingdom." He spoke truths Alistair already knew, as Rynmere was a rapidly developing nation with a growing propensity for radicalism and tension from within. This, of course, would always lead to higher Coven enrollment. He could only imagine the exertion of the current members at this point, after the climax of the civil war, in preparing for such a large growth in following.
"And you, Alistair?" Damien asked.
"Busy as well," the Venora replied. "But for a moment, I have some free time of my own. I shall be embarking for Viden, soon, but before that I want to return to Ne'haer for a time. I told you about Patrick, yes?" he asked. The Lich nodded. "I haven't seen him in several months. Apparently, though, he just arrived in Ne'haer, Vincent informs me. I want to see him."
"Why?" the Lich asked, seeking further elaboration. "I thought he was merely a temporary dalliance," he said, his lips curving to express his confusion.
"I hoped that was the case..." Alistair replied, "but I don't think so. I kind of miss him, strangely enough. I don't really find myself missing many people. You're one of the few, but we talk frequently enough through these little tears into another world. I've found myself actually longing for company, lately. The company of many people. My family. My friends. And . . . others, not quite fitting perfectly into either category. He's one of them." He sighed, as if saying such a thing were admitting defeat. Really, though, he did not wish to speak to Damien merely for the sake of moping about over the issue of tangible emotion. No - he wanted to discuss something deeper, of the same strain.
"Do you think mages can really obtain companionship, outside of just their studies?" he asked his instructor. "I've never met a powerful mage with a strong relationship, or a family... anything, really. Ellasin was married briefly, a long time ago, but she only speaks now of its failure. You've never had anyone, nor has Talia, Effren or Vincent. Raphael only plays with the concept of commitment, and Eliza scorns the very idea. Is such a thing even real for us mages? Or must we abandon mortal desires to pursue immortal ambitions?"