Posted: Jun 5, 2019, 2:06pm
As the day drew on into evening the odd band of companions sat and ate round the fire, but spoke little. Kespin seemed more comfortable sitting outside of the mouth of the cave, and for the time at least had ceased his staring to bury his face in that mysterious book of his.
Balar and Majvok both sat in brooding silence. Being touched by magic was never a straightforward thing for humans and they both seemed to be chewing over the events of the past few days in the way that human men all to often did. In a sulky silence.
Luna also had been quiet since the curing of those two, but in her case it was sheer exhaustion from the battle earlier that day and the following expense of magic. Even for the elder races power always came at a price.
Tiella however was feeling great. She had used the last of the daggers magic to heal Balars wounds now the conflicting shadow magic was removed. The magic of her dagger exacted a different price, it left her feeling alive and alert, filled with energy... and hungering for more. It was a familiar struggle however and She fought it down for the moment.
She looked over to Balar, Majvok and then Luna considering the insurmountable task ahead of them and then making a decision she turned to Erik with a sigh. She hated herself in that moment, she should tell the other three to leave, she should encourage Dyvia to go and even old Kespin. They should all get as far away from this God's blasted quest as possible. She said none of that. What she said was,
"We need help."
Erik looked in mild surprise at Tiella's statement, he could feel a deeper meaning to it, bit he wasn't going to pry.
"Maybe I did over react." He thought, a ting of regret hitting him.
"I can't argue with that, you're all looney." Dyvia was still unmoved. Settling to sharpening a knife on a small whetstone, she kept her back to the wall of the cave to watch the whole group. Erik looked at her with mild annoyance, then turned to the others.
"I will help you in this quest of yours, if you will have me. Now, what did you have planned to get help?"
"We seek a necromancer in the Elmir Mountains. It is the only way to gain entrance to the world of the dead and slay Hel. Or perhaps even summon her to our realm, I do not know."
"This is a dark path you follow." Erik murmured staring into the fire.
"Not all that is dark is counted evil." Luna said.
"It might not be evil, but its all bloody creepy." Majvoc said earning him a thump in the arm from Tiella.
"I still do not understand what hold he has on you all." Erik pressed.
"The blame is mine." Balar said gruffly, "Truth be told this quest should be mine alone. I struck a deal with the bastard a life time ago to allow me to live a life that was not mine. To be with the woman I love."
"We made that oath together." Tiella said, resting a hand on her husbands arm.
"And remember the thief made his own bargain." Luna said.
"And that is my own business." Growled Majvoc and with that he got up and left the group by the fire.
"That one dances with shadows deeper than those of the elf girl." Kespin blurted out and they all turned to stare at him.
"Or perhaps he is just an idiot." the old man shrugged.
Luna blinked and looked at Kespin. “ Explain yourself” she said glaring at the crazy old man.
Kespin turned his head from his book and addressed Luna.
"No offenses intended pretty shadow talker," He closed his book. "Just an observation on his demeaner is all." He reached down, picked up a stick and moved closer to the group. Then he started to draw in the dirt.
"I have traveled long." he said, "welcome in some areas of this great land, and outcast in others." At mention of that last part he shrugged his shoulders. "Many times I meet people with good intentions, and some with bad intentions. Sometimes you never know who you can trust." As he talked the picture started taking shape.
Tiella recognized what the old man was drawing. She rolled her eyes and moved towards Balar and mumbled "Crazy old man... I think this guy is just some dirty pervert and a trickster himself." Balar smirked leaning over to concentrate on the drawing and laughed. "I may agree with you, but you can't deny his talent."
"One town I visited, Rivernest I think?" Kespin continued to draw in the dirt and talking. "I arrived in time for their end of season festival. A very nice town." he narrowed his head and raised an eyebrow looking at Luna, "One of the folk happened to recognize my talent as a painter....Oh! I have many talents, by the way, but they wanted a large mural on the walls of their dining hall. I closed the doors.. I did not want the townspeople to see my gift to them until it was finished." He continued to draw in the dirt. "Two days I worked shooing people from the windows when they tried to get a peek, they had such nice paints there."
Erik, getting bored with the mans story asked him. "How well did they receive your gift?"
Kespin paused for a minute looking at the Jotun, "Yknow what?, They didn't appreciate it at all!"
"No surprise." Tiella said. Kespin continued.
"They threw at it, fruits and sauces from their end of season harvest meal! The defiled my work in front of my very eyes. Shortly after that I grabbed my little bit of belongings and was chased out of the town. Told never to return again" Kespin looked down displaying to the group that his feelings were sincerely hurt?
There was a pause.
"What did you paint?" Erik suddenly became interested again. Kespin suddenly looked proud and explained.
"It was a glorious mural, a tribute if you will.... of the beautiful moms, daughters, and working women who resided in Rivernest."
Balar started to laugh and Tiella had to ask. "Was it anything like what you have drawn for us this evening?"
Luna looked down in the dirt, along with Dyvia, Erik and Majvoc.
In the dirt, was a very detailed etch of both Luna and Dyvia, bodies in a naked embrace. Majvoc smiled and commented. "Wow old man, good work. I can't possibly imagine how anyone could not appreciate your attention to detail ha ha ha!"
Dyvia and Luna stamped out the picture yelling "Why you!.. I don't look like that.. I would never!" they spun around to confront the old man, but he was no longer where he was sitting. He was over by the cave entrance again sitting comfortably with a scowl looking into that book again.
"By the gods," he muttered to himself, "I must be the only man alive who appreciates the female figures true beauty."
Luna’s face turned bright red with embarrassment and hearing Majvoc Laugh only served to make her more angry. The shadow started to twist and dance around her. She stalked towards Majvoc with an angry look on her face. “You think that is funny, you're just as sick and perverted as he is.” she growled pointing her staff at Kespin. She was beyond angry.
“Control your temper Luna.” came a whisper through the cave.
She was close to losing control. It was the shadow warning her. She shook her head and took a deep breath. The shadows around her calming.
“The two of you are not worth the effort to kill you.” she huffed. She walked back over and sat next to Tiella and crossed her arms.
Kespin Jumped back, dropping his book and staring into the mouth of the cave where the voice came from. It was comical to the rest of the group except for Luna.
He picked up his book and satchel of belongings along with his makeshift torch that he made to read by and moved towards the opposite side of the camp.
"I don't trust shadows," he said quietly to the group. "Well," he said examining Luna's demeanour. He could not deny his curiosity, "I don't trust them... Yet."
Dyvia stormed over to Majvok, getting a good right fist into his face.
"Laugh at me like that again and I will personally hammer your most precious treasures!"
With Majvok dazed, she stomped back to her spot next to Erik.
"You going to have a laugh as well big man?"
Erik looked at Kespin, then back to Dyvia.
"Majvok has no excuse, but I have found that the older man gets, the more appreciative he his of youthful beauty." Looking back at the trampled art, he cringed slightly.
"Even so, I will never understand their vulgar behaviour."
Erik stood, stretching his body as best he could.
"So do we have a plan or not, I'm assuming the False God won't let you loiter in one place for long."
Dyvia looked expectantly at the group, hoping for a good way to get out of these woods.
"Plans?" Kespin chimed in. "I used to be a tactician for the..."
Tiella cut Kespin off rather harshly "I think everyone is in agreement here that our agenda is not for your involvement." Kespin quizzically looked at Tiella.
"My journey, is my journey fair maiden." he said, "The gods, and not the false gods mind you, have set me on my destiny's path. By your sides I hope to stay, and help with my talents the best I may." He lowered his head in a gesture of respect to Tiella and the group.
Balar stood to address the group, "Tiella is right we do need help and we will take all of you for as long as you will stand with us, no matter how crazy," he said glancing to Kespin, "Or how reluctant you may be." he looked at the Dyvia for the last.
"I suggest we spend the night in the safety of this camp and head out at first light to the City of Treno to pick up supplies. Dyvia if you still wish to leave us when we arrive then we will not blame you."
"But if you do not," Tiella cut in, "I make you an offer, I will teach you the secrets of my blade, of the enchantments it contains. With that knowledge your fame as a crafter of weapons would grow greater still."
"Regardless," Balar continued, "From Treno we head north to the Elmar Mountains where we will seek the Necromancer."
"What kind of place is this Treno?" Luna asked.
"It is not part of Ceyemar," Balar answered, "The City is built under the shadow of the mountains and its western walls overlook the ocean. It is a free City and all races are welcomed there, though magic is forbidden within the walls. I suggest we seek a tavern and try to find rumour of our Necromancer before heading blindly into the north."
"Enough talk," Majvok growled as he rubbed his sore cheek, "They will help us or they will not, either way I am bloody tired and need a good nights rest."
“Great more walking in that horrible sun.” Luna said as she lay down on the cave floor. She sat up. “Kespin if you lay a hand on me or my staff I will show you a real curse.” Then she lay back down and went to sleep.
Dyvia grunted to Balar's speech, then perked up at Tiella's offer.
"I'll consider it."
Then she went back to sharpening her own blade.
Erik bowed his head to them both, " I hope I will be of use in your quest.", Then he moved to the outer edge of the fire, laying down in the now damp grass.
"Are you sure you want to sleep so far from the fire?" Dyvia yelled, "I don't want to lose the only other sane person here!"
"It is safer for you all that I sleep out here, I am an active dreamer."
Erik was walking again, the same path, the same presence.
Reaching the camp, he saw that there were bodies this time. He tried desperately to look away, to even close his eyes at the sight.
"Erik, I made some soup."
No! Not her!
Erik tried to move, to wake himself up.
"I'm not sure what your people eat, but we found some nuts and a squirrel!"
He felt a weight on his chest,"By the ancestors, make it stop!"
He then froze as he heard a familiar cackle.
Finding he could move, he searched for the source. Spinning around, he stared into the eyes of—
Erik rose with a rage filled roar, ready to engage his enemy.
Only when he realized he was awake did he see that the group was surrounding him, weapons drawn.
"What have I done??"