The Nibbler cuts his teeth in Shadowfire | World Anvil

The Nibbler cuts his teeth

Ravac grimaced at the pain in his head. It had been been with him since the last Dead Moon, usually just a dull throb at the neck, but at times like this it would spike like a knife into the back of his eyes and through his clenched jaw.   It was the Devourer showing his displeasure and impatience. He could hear him always, growling softly in the back of his mind. Ravac rubbed his brows to try and ease the pressure. The Devourer hungered for freedom, and Ravac had promised to prepare the way. He had to at least start making some progress or this pain would just get worse.   "Nibbler," the Good Doctor's soft voice broke through the cloud in his head, "Are you all right?"   "T'is nuffin doc." he forced himself to smile and simper like everyone expected of him. A sheepish smile would help too, "Just had m'self a bit too much zikity down at the Duggery last bell is all."   "What I was saying," the Doctor sighed, "Is that this is a house of healing. We're not in the business of..."   "Ah yes," Ravac interrupted, "I know your deals Warkurdi. I seen 'em. Up in the dunes behind the Pavilion's morgue pit with them folk from across the Shimmerlands. I know what business you're in, don't think I don't."   This obviously caught the Good Doctor off guard, and Ravac allowed himself a slight smile. Wakurdi's confidence faltered briefly, before his gaze sharpened and shoulders squared. Good. This meant he would start taking Ravac the Nibbler a bit more seriously.   "Careful, Nibbler." The Doctor's voice dropped a tone, "Lest those you malign be forced to defend themselves. I've seen you about camp. I know what everyone thinks you are. But I've also seen how you pour the Zikity everyone thinks you guzzle into the sand instead when no-one is looking. And how deals suddenly go shadowside when you've been lurking where none suspected. None but me, that is."   Ravac raised an eyebrow at this, and his smile broadened to reveal his gappy teeth. The growling in his head grew quiet, expectant.   "Ahhh, yes. It seems nothing gets by the Good Doctor, I can tell. But, let me assure you, I wasn't maligning nothing. I was..." he paused to bare his teeth once more, "I was just admiring your handiwork, as it were."   Wakurdi seemed to relax ever so slghtly.   "So, as I was saying," Ravac leaned back and continued with his usual lighter tone, "I've observed that in your line of work, Doctor, there are those that suffer wot cannot be helped, try as you might. And indeed some of them do suffer quite surely don't they? Camp Thrifty is a dangerous place after all."   Ravac was pleased to see Wakurdi nod ever so slightly at this.   "And as I've observed up by the morgue pits," Ravac continued his pitch, "that there are more of those wot cannot be saved than most might suspect."   Ravac could see Warkurdi's eyes narrow at this, so raised his hands in supplication.   "Don't get me wrong my good doctor, we all admire your dedication and compassion. But it did occur to me, that the suffering of those wot cannot be saved is, well, it seems a shame to prolong it no more than any caring person should abide."   Warkurdi finally cleared his throat, "What are you suggesting Ravac?"   "An efficiency of sorts." Ravac leaned in closer, "A way to spike two Zikiti Crabs on the one hook, so to speak."   He paused. Ravac couldn't let the Doctor know his true reason he wanted this. The Doctor didn't need to know about the Devourer. He could not be trusted and Ravac was not ready to step outside his role as the Nibbler, at least not yet.   "To help those who suffer, and to free up the care for them wot need it." Ravac made sure to slow down his words, "Next time you're readying one of them deals out by the pits, I would like to help prepare the goods, so to speak."   "And in return?"   "Well, we both get to keep the good opinion of those we live and deal with in camp, don't we? They might misunderstand our care and compassion, and we don't want that do we?"   Ravac smiled once more and fell quiet. His heart beat in his throat as he watched Warkurdi's turn his hed away slightly, brough furrowed in thought. The growling in Ravac'cs head returned as a nervous hiss.   After what seemed like a full bell, the Doctor's expression softened into a wry smile and he turned back to face Ravac.   "Well Nibbler." the Doctor's soft voice had returned, "Interestingly enough, we do have one such suffering soul in the Pavilion, one we have not been able to help despite my best efforts. And as you know, the Moontide trials are apon us once more, and the Pavilion does tend to overflowing during the Fracas. I would hate to have turn anyone away."   The gowling in Ravac's head grew to a roar, and the throbbing pain in his head was replaced with a giddy euphoria.   This would be the first of many gifts for the Devourer. The gifts that would pave the way for his summoning, his return, his freedom. And Ravac would be well rewarded when that happened, well rewarded indeed.   "Yes." Ravac smiled back at the Good Doctor, "At times like this, compassion is truly a gift."

Cover image: by Midjourney


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