Oh no, not again.
Pympen had only been with the party for five days, and in that time they seemed to bounce from one situation to another, with barely a chance to take notes in between. He should have seen this one coming — a mysterious tunnel under an old ruined temple, and a skull in the middle of a room littered with bones; but when he thought he could laugh at the strutting Tabaxi, it had seemed too much of an opportunity to intervene. And now it was too late, again.
As the bones stirred into a new form, he twisted the staff in his hands, squinting at the spells in the low light. There was no denying his focus had improved under pressure; he was able to reach out to the weft more easily than ever before, and the spells he had sworn at in the monastery now took wing and flew off his tongue. Some of it was probably the rivalry with his new companions, and not wanting to fall short after their tales of dragons and mystical beings; and some of it was that war magic had never really felt at home in books.
But it was all happening too fast. The documents the Heroes had collected gave them less than a month, but it wasn’t enough — he needed to contact the monastery, and Sister Elidyr. If he fell now, they would never know the danger until it was too late. He had told himself there was no way to get in touch yet, but some of the spells were in his notes and he hadn’t gone through them in their too-few rests; if he was honest, he was enjoying the secrets again.
They had warned him, as he had turned from Moradin’s path to the practical knowledge and study, that wizards liked to know things for the wrong reasons. And Pympen ashamedly knew he had been hoarding knowledge, hiding the news of the cult, and of the teleportation circles, and of the Nine. The heroes should have told the elders in the towns they had travelled through, and sent word out, and enlisted aid; as the teachings went, knowledge was for sharing.
As he concentrated and drew on the weft again, feeling he would have need of it, Pympen also muttered a swift prayer to Moradin. He would change, if he had the chance to.