Shenk loved Stertrie, so he bought her flowered candywine from the Amphetic market; tame dew-backed ducks; her portrait in feathered malachite. She drank the wine, gave away the ducks, tucked away the portrait behind the dresser where it may be admired by no-one save herself, when she allowed herself the memory. She paid him no heed.
Shenk, believing his gifts in vain, sacrificed his anchors in the Dolan’s Battery, and sought the veins of Moker Matheed, who crowned him a Knight of the Husk and charged him with a Dive for the rare chemin pearls that would surely win Stertrie’s attention. He found the portal under a rotted bridge not 100 yards from his shack, and cast himself into the Husk without a backward glance.
Shenk’s adventures were remarkable but beside the point; he flopped out from a cleft in the keystone near Rebellion Rock with a fistful of pearls in one hand and a Demonic petition in the other. He staggered for days back to Dolan’s Battery but when he got there, familiar faces scowled and shuddered at the nightmare traipsing in his shadow.
He’d rehearsed his triumphant return; he would put on a good shirt and slick his hair back, Dolan style, and knock on Stertrie’s door. But instead he stumbled stinking into a gin palace and drank some of his new companion away while counting the humming pearls on the table. The other patrons looked askance at him, so he made venomous threats and left the bar, left the Battery walking straight past Stertrie whose curiosity exceeded her indifference, and back to Matheed. The Demon had chewed away his last threads of friendship, and now it clawed his empty gut.