Veiled Tithes Mask
Toiling in the dead of night.
Eris had whittled the Hive Knight's denuded femur into a shaft and driven it deep with osmium nails. She'd wrapped it in velvet string, attached her sigil to it. Now it chimed as she turned it in her hands.
"Yeah, make it pretty," Immaru said, rolling his eye. "That'll help. Real useful."
"I am binding the staff with my power," she said archly. "What 'use' have you been?"
"I told you what to do!"
"I gathered the materials. I crafted the staff. I infused it with Light and soulfire. Do not presume your ideas were essential to this process."
"You think you're such an expert in Hive magic," Immaru scoffed, "but you know what? You're just doing parlor tricks. Without me, that staff would be nothin' more than a fancy piece of bone."
Eris gripped the staff and held it out to test its heft. It was unbalanced. She returned it to the worktable.
"Do not make yourself intolerable."
Immaru moved so he could look Eris in the face. She raised her eyes, staring him down. He came close; she did not step back.
"Or what? You might scare everyone else, but you don't scare me. There's nothin' you can do except put up with me."
Eris returned to her work, raising a hand and pushing him out of the way. He huffed, watching her as she resumed sharpening the points of the staff's base.
"With this, the Guardian may devise rituals of their own. It will empower their Light and channel the Hive's vile power."
"You're welcome," Immaru said smugly.
Eris ignored him and examined the staff she had crafted. It represented hours spent sliding a blade's edge over layers of dead, porous Hive chitin, carving it with spells and imbuing it with magic. At its head was soulfire ichor, encased in vitreous Light. A gleaming vessel.
"One last reagent."
She turned back to her worktable. The worm squirmed and squealed under her knife.