A second installation of Lorlen and Akkarin's afterlife, inspired by a suggestion from Rilawa. Somewhat late, I'm afraid, but I hope that you enjoy it.

Warning: Contains spoilers from High Lord and The Ambassador's Mission.

Happy reading!

Lorlen lounged in his usual chair in Akkarin's guest room. Akkarin's guest room in the afterlife, to be exact. He took a sip of wine (he had helped himself to one of Akkarin's best wines) as he waited for his friend to return home.

He had dropped by not too long ago but found Akkarin absent. He took another slow sip, resisting the urge to smirk. He had just received some information that he knew would interest his old friend very much.

The door swung open. Akkarin strode in, checking in surprise at the doorway when he spotted Lorlen. His clothes were drenched in sweat. Lorlen knew that Akkarin often engaged in vigorous training sessions to keep his mind off those he had left behind. Akkarin missed Sonea terribly and felt guilty that he had left her alone. Lorlen hoped that this latest piece of news would raise his spirits.

"Been training again, Akkarin?"

"Lorlen." He greeted. "Lord Yikmo was obliging enough to having a sparring match with me. It's a fine way to pass the time. Have you been waiting for long? I didn't expect to see you today."

Lorlen casually waved a hand. "Oh, don't mind me. You'll be wanting to freshen up, of course. I'll just be here sampling your wine until you return."

Akkarin cocked an eyebrow at Lorlen's somewhat unusual behaviour but decided to humour him and headed to his room to change without protest. After a short while, he emerged and fetched a glass from the cabinet. As he poured himself some wine, he regarded Lorlen with a smile.

"So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company, Lorlen?"

Lorlen knew that Akkarin had guessed that something was up but he continued to keep his face expressionless. He idly regarded the contents of his glass, swirling the red liquid around. "I heard a piece of fascinating news not too long ago," he started conversationally. "Just this morning, in fact."

"Indeed?" Trust Akkarin not to reveal the slightest expression of interest. In fact, he could be said to look quite bored.

"Apparently Sonea has asked her aunt to go stay with her in her rooms."

That caught his attention. Akkarin looked pleased. "That is a good choice. It'll keep her from becoming lonely. I'm surprised that her aunt agreed to live at the Quarters, though, considering how people from the slums view magicians."

Lorlen gave a light cough. The best part was soon to come. "Well, according to my sources, there was a rather, ah, special condition that made her agree more readily to Sonea's proposal than she would have otherwise."

"Special condition?" Akkarin inquired. An unwelcome thought occurred to him. "Is Sonea unwell?"

"Oh, no, no. She is in perfect health, as far as I know."

"Then what is it?" Akkarin asked, getting rather impatient with Lorlen's mysterious manner.

Lorlen decided to show some mercy and quit tormenting the man. At any rate, he was eager to witness the response that the news would elicit from his friend. Judging from Akkarin's irritation, it was news indeed and Lorlen was to be the lucky one to break it to him. "I'm saying that Sonea is in a delicate condition."

"Delicate condition?" Akkarin echoed blankly.

Lorlen suppressed an urge to roll his eyes. Despite Akkarin being a very intelligent man, he was incredibly dense in certain matters.

"Sonea is with child."

Ah, that achieved the reaction that Lorlen was seeking for.

Akkarin blindly reached a hand behind him in search of a support and sank down heavily on the nearest chair. "What?" he managed in a rather strangled voice.

Lorlen was vastly amused.

"My dear friend, you are soon to be a father."

Lorlen snorted at the comical sight of the former High Lord, a man who was feared and respected by so many, gaping at him like a fish. It was a pity that Sonea was not here to see it. He made a mental reminder to show the memory to Sonea in a mind-sharing when the opportunity arose. She would likely appreciate it.

He finished off the last of his wine before rising. On his way out, he patted a still shell-shocked Akkarin on the shoulder in a tolerably comforting manner considering that he was sorely tempted to burst out laughing on the spot.

But when Akkarin's expression morphed to one of sadness, Lorlen sobered. He realized with a pang that Akkarin would not be able to be a part of his child's life. The child would grow up without a father to love him. And Lorlen had no doubt that Akkarin would love any child of his with all his heart.

He patted Akkarin's shoulder more firmly, trying to give him reassurance. "Rothen will take good care of both Sonea and the child, Akkarin. You can rest assured about that."

When Akkarin gave no answer, Lorlen made towards the door.

"Stay, Lorlen."

The request caused him to halt in his steps. After a brief pause, Lorlen wordlessly turned back and sat down on the chair that he had recently vacated.

Akkarin refilled both of their glasses. The former High Lord raised his glass and smiled sardonically. "A toast to my child who will never know me."

"Akkarin…" Lorlen was worried. He felt terribly remorseful about his previous tactlessness.

Sensing his unease, Akkarin shook his head and his lips relaxed into a gentler half-smile. "No, that sounds rather morbid, doesn't it? What should we toast to, then?"

Lorlen contemplated that for a moment, staring at the dark red liquid in his glass. "To your child." He lifted his glass in a toast. "May he or she never have to go through the hardships his parents did."

Akkarin smiled and lifted his glass as well. The wineglasses clinked softly against each other, a melodious sound to echo the heartfelt wish.

The day after Lorkin left for Sachaka, Sonea sat in front of Akkarin's grave with a glass of wine in her hand.

"He went, even after I tried to dissuade him. But that's no surprise, considering who his parents are." She stared up at the clear blue sky and took a sip of Anuren Dark. "I bet you and Lorlen are also drinking wine in the afterlife, telling me not to worry. But of course I will still worry. Look after him for me, will you?"

With a smile, she raised her glass of wine as if in toast. She could have sworn that she heard an answering clink of glasses, carried away by the wind.

Ah, that was tough to write. I have been pondering over how to end this chapter for the past few days, but at last it is done to my satisfaction. I hope that you liked it!

Please review! If you have any scenes that you would really like to see, feel free to drop a suggestion. I'll see if I have time and inspiration to add another chapter to this story. Cheers! :)