Ilauria’s assailant pulled her back into the room, holding her tightly as she struggled against his grip.  The door rippled to solid form and she heard a deep Voicewhisper in her ear.

“There’s no use in struggling.”

Ilauria’s head spun as she processed the masculine voice.

What was a human doing here and why hadn’t she been able to dematerialize?

She concentrated on the water in his body in order to force him to let her go but she only met resistance.

He chuckled in her ear.  “Sorry, but that won’t work on me.”

His breath on her neck sent shivers down her body and all at once, he released her.

Ilauria whirled around to face her mysterious attacker but saw she was alone.  She turned again and again, trying to ascertain where he’d gone but the door was closed and there was no denying the room was empty.

“What in the world?” Ilauria muttered as the last few seconds played over in head.

Suddenly she felt the same presence she had before.  The ethereal was in the room with her and then she heard her attacker’s voice.

“Is it true what you said before?” he asked.  Are you a friend?”

Ilauria whirled around and faced the direction the Voicehad originated from.

“Who’s asking?” she asked, eyeing a stack of folded robes.

“It is I, the Ethereal of Dervitika,” he said theatrically.  “Been haunting it since I arrived, oh, nearly a decade ago.”

Ilauria narrowed her eyes at the voice.  “You’re no ethereal.”

In one swift motion, she grabbed the robe on the top of the stack and thrust it toward the presence, unfurling it as she went.  The clothing hit its target, settling unevenly over what appeared to be a head and a pair of shoulders.

Ilauria’s eyes widened at seeing her hunch manifest in reality.  The presence was solid matter but merely invisible to the eye.

The non-ethereal laughed as the robe appeared to sink through the head and shoulders as if they didn’t exist before falling to the floor.  “No, not hardly.  But I ask again, are you a friend?”

“Show yourself,” Ilauria said crossing her arms.  “I’m not accustomed to carrying on conversations with beings I can’t see.”

He laughed again, this time from across the room.

Ilauria glanced at the floor and pivoted her body with exaggerated effort to glare at him.  “Enough!  I don’t have time for this.”

His response surprised her.  “True enough,” and before her eyes he made himself visible in a ripple similar to how Psyne shifted forms.

Ilauria fought to maintain her shock but stumbled backwards instead as she stared in disbelief at the man before her.