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The Fire Heart

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Posts posted by The Fire Heart

  1. "Alright, fine, we'll go together. Just... try not to get separated, ok? Not having someone watch your back could be fatal."

    Tolok let out a crude smile and lifted his palm, as a sign that Crystal!Mason should stop worrying about all these things. "Haha, no worries there, lady. I will make sure we won't split up, but I can assure you I can take of myself all right. I have a big palm tree with me, after all!"
    Even with all that, both of them got separated, thing which happened in the blink of the eye. None of them noticed and before they've realized, they were too far away from eachother. "Oh well. Guess I'm all alone now, with just a big, tall TREEEE!!!! Who in their right mind would try and ambush this man I am, with a big tree by my side!" And with that, a few soldiers appeared out of nowhere, with sand on them. It looked like they emerged from within the sand, ready for any kind of encounter. Some of them had... brass knuckle shaped shells...? While others had lassos knotted with seaweed, which somehow resisted all the pressure and stress put on the knot. Tolok, of course, was slightly confused of all this. "So......." A long pause occured, having no idea what's going on, looking at each of the ambushers, then at his 2.5m (8.2ft) tall palm tree. It's not that big as some other of its species, but it was probably long enough to take on at least two of them at the same time, "....Uh..... What do I have to believe first.... That you have lassos and brass knuckles and you want to fight me...... Or that you came out of nowhere, as soon as I..... uhh.... mentioned there'd be an ambush out of nowhere, just he-" The ambushers didn't let Tolok finish his words and rushed him. He shrugged and started doing his job with his big tree.
    "Phew, you guys are pesky enough. It took a while to beat you all to a pulp. Huh, why are you not vanishing?" Six people were stuck deep in sand, with just their heads out, while the rest were tied with the lassos, thrown in a bunch like they were rotten apples. "Ahahaha, I get it now. I am actually bored. Okay, want to play a game? Whoever is the last one surviving in these six holes survives. Whaddya think of it, fella soldiers-ambushers?" The six came to create a visual cacophony of nods and headshakes, as if they had a choice in here, Tolok grinning while looking at them. "Alright, alright. Let the games begin!"

    "Tolok? What the hell are you-" Tolok looked over at Crystal!Mason, who was as shocked as any normal person would be. "Oh, nothing! Just playing with these fella ambushers here! They came with brass knuckle shaped shells! Shells shaped as brass knuckles at me! How can you tell me these things really exist, and how can they be so foolish to try those! against me! Oh, and some lassos." He pointed at the remaining bunch of soldiers tied with the lassos, shaking in fear, as if they were Tolok's next toys ready to be destroyed to a pulp. "I thought I would pay them back for ruining my stroll, and here-" one soldier's head popped up and a loud BONK! could be heard. "-I am, having fun. Say, wanna try?" He handed Crystal!Mason the tree, as if (s)he would be able to carry it with no difficulty.

  2. "...So... He could have just shot us between our eyes and call it a day." He looked at Innes, who didn't give a damn about the world and only wanted some peace and quiet, striding towards the food stands. Tolok grinned as well, hearing Wymp's mischievous plan "We can challenge him to a drinking contest. Uh, not really. I just recovered from a hangover." He ended with a chuckle.

    Though his attempt to persuade Innes was underway, he was quickly interrupted by Amber and Crystal!Mason's arrival. Confused, he tried to speak up and ask about the scout, but was quickly stopped by the appearance of the skull in the sky.

    "Oh, edgy." He said, as he looked at it. Who would have thought there's people who'd mix up red with the human skull, like in a dark fantasy book and call it a day? Absolutely barbaric and grotesque, he thought! How would they be able to strike back with no weapons? Sure, Tolok had his unrealistically apparent strength, but he has nothing else to fight back. That was until Eve , who appeared out of thin air, showed them the power of the beach ball and the rest of the items in the shack. Watching the whole scene unfold, he only approached the small warehouse-thingy with confusion and looked through everything. "A surfboard here? What am I supposed to do with it, hover on sand?" He kept looking, not finding anything he'd remotely excel at. There was a pair of slippers which were already lethal without any enhancements and... Jump ropes?

    He left the shack with disappointment, but he brightened up as he saw the palm tree he pulled... On the shore? He quickly picked it up and shook it off the whole water which was soaking it, accompanying it with a grin. "Ha! I found something worthy of my power!" He joined them back, smiling at the weapon in the while. "Well, I guess I would have to choose...." He looked at everyone who picked up their weapons, but Crystal!Mason seemed to have one of the better synergies with his weapon. So... He picked her, even though he hadn't seen her before. "Hey, you up for splitting up? We can do some good work out of them!" He pointed at Trap!Mason, waiting for a response.



  3. "Wymp. Hey, Wymp." He reached for his shoulder in order to gain some balance and ensure he won't fall any sooner from the hangover. Owend followed as well on the opposite side of Wymp but didn't rest on Wymp's shoulder, since she recovered sooner than Tolok. Wymp probably didn't notice the two strolling to him, as his eyes were fixated on Innes and the armored person, who most likely expected this turn of events, thanks to the two drunkards who could have probably, God only knows what, managed to attempt something even more stupid than managing to be stranded on an island. 

    Fortunately though, they were just fine, thanks to Ebon Knight and his subordinates, with the exception of the headache and a dire need of water. Tolok took his precious time on the ship to recover and most of his senses were back (including his common sense, though its presence is uncommon), with the exception of balancing. He took a long look at the two who saved them, trying to connect the dots between Wymp's shock and their dominating presence. Why did the three of them have such weird aliases, to begin with it? His only reason he could think of was to keep their identities hidden and continue on with their work, as long as they can't be identified. It was fairly obvious Wymp knew them and the history between him and the trio was not a kind one. He didn't know much about his history, but he knows only one person who'd hold a mouse as a pet...

    He facepalmed, with a deep and disappointed sigh, directed to himself. He knows he's an idiot, but wasn't this obvious? Though only an assumption, he looked at the two, then at Wymp. "Let me guess... we fought them several times." At this point, Tolok thought he'd be dead several times due to these circumstances. If there's no weapons, there's fists. And a drunkard mixed with fists is not a great combination. Now there's two of them who wouldn't bring anything to the table. Only thing he could do is pray and hope they don't seek malicious intent during this festival.

  4. Before Tolok hopped on the ship, he threw the "Umbrella" on the island and grabbed the box with his strong, but drunken inarticulate hands, pointed out by his inability to hold the box properly, probably causing Wanker's heart to have an ache, everytime he'd be close enough to destroy the box' content(s). Even though his actions before and during his drunken act would be considered "savage" with anything he'd hold, he took great care of the package and placed it with care in the boat, right near Wanker, as an invitation for disaster. Owend followed as well, almost wanting to sit on it, but quickly changed her mind and sat down somewhere else in the already crowded ship, probably wondering how aren't they sinking yet.

    Tolok so did, as well. To his luck, he slightly recovered from his hangover, probably enough not to remember anything in particular about the armour the trio would wear, but to remember the squeaking of a mouse.... a mouse on the boat? Who'd have a mouse... as a pet?! He thought, as he leaned towards it. The mouse didn't want to lose this chance, so it pulled its cheeks and stuck its tongue out, as if it wanted to provoke him to cause something mischievous. 

    But then he remembered what's with that mouse. Back during his first fight as part of Exarch's squad, when he miserably failed to scare away his opponents, a mouse came out of the rubble, just to laugh at him, as well. Now, he should not jump to conclusions. Many people might own a mouse as a cute, little pet in the house. Maybe the knight has a wheel for it somewhere in the house, feeding it cheese and grains, anything a rodent would love eating, thus his assumption only lead to curiosity, which lead to keeping quiet and listening to anything that would come up.

    "Oh, a festival... OH, "The" festival! How much of it did we miss, while we attempted to incapacitate our livers with ale?" His stomach growled wildly. "Uh... What Hic!- time is it? I bet they have tables, over tables, over tables of food. Roasted, grilled, chopped, cooked, baked food is probably waiting for us. Mmh..." He spoke, thanks to his drunken state, most likely thinking for just himself. "Oh, how could I have forgotten, there are so many kinds of alcohol in the city! From the peasantry ale, to the rooooyal white wine!" With that, he made himself comfortable on the boat and looked at the sky, with absolutely no care for the world.

  5. Tolok could be seen carrying the half of the palm tree as an umbrella, trying to find a way out. As hungover as he may be, he still found use in "Quality of life" additions, such as the added shade of the "Umbrella", while Owend was taking down each drink, one by one, as if this was her fuel. That was, until Tolok, whose vision as probably as doubled as it could be, managed to spot the fishing ship, along with three people in it. Tolok's clear, drunk response was to flail the half of the tree around so maybe, but maybe, they could see them on the island. 

    "LOOK AT US!!! WEEEEE AAAAAAAAA-hic-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HERE!" Anyone who would have watched would, most likely, fall of the ship, due to the almost comical way of him to gather the attention. Not only he managed to get their attention, but he also managed to get a sore throat, which he thought he could ease the pain with another drink. Carrying the palm with one arm, proudly, like a guardsman watching over the gate. he leaned down to reach for another demijohn, which he emptied in a minute. Inside, there may have been another but unfortunately, it cracked. Now, it would have not been a problem if the crack was as small as it could be, but the demijohn would break as soon as one would try to pick it up or apply force, and the one who'd have decided to drink from it would have to sustain a smelly, beer shower. Not a problem for Tolok, which he hadn't managed to see the crack itself on the other, last bottle, as he only chose his bottle to drink for the only reason that it was closer to him.

    The ship went closer and closer to them, so Tolok waved at them with a wide, yet very awkward smile. "Are yooouu-hic our savio-hic-s? God bless us, and G-HIC! bless you!" he spun the "Umbrella" around, as form of gratitude. "We may have so-hic-thing for you, as reward, HIC! Are you avid drinkers? We have a lot of drinks for you hic-re!" He pointed at the box where Owend would rest before, where the last, cursed demijohn was resting. "Do you have any problem with that, hic?" He looked at Owend, who was clearly still trying to recover from the hangover. Meanwhile, Tolok embraced it. 

    "Anyways! A-hic we fine if we -Hic could board the ship? -hic!"

  6. Rolliam eyed the jab of the rapier with one, single eye. She was just as new to using her sword as a newborn child would be to their surroundings. Though, her words sounded all high and mighty, as a promise- or rather, as a threatening. He only acknowledged it with a head nod, as he didn't want to cause any fuss about it, as she was more stubborn than an average human could be.
    "Well, I always thought those wizards may have been some mastermind schemers of some sort. But, if you really say so, that they are just a bunch of seniles... I may just choose to believe what you say." Was his only response to her, only resorting to comment on the wizards.

    He rose his head, which was, before, pointed to the ground, once he heard them coming from the hallway. Nonetheless, he had expected his brother to take credit for his initial thought, but little did he care about it, anyways. Roland had other scopes in his life to set for, and Rolliam was there to make sure he won't be, unfortunately, killed in action during the scouts or not to have to resort to cold food. 
    "But, well, I can say he really wants that great position for the future." He smugged and looked down to the ground, waiting for the door to open, only to raise his head to them, as if he hadn't heard any of the things there were mentioned. So much for hiding things.
    As soon as the Knight sat down on a chair and began the conversation with Lily, tension could be felt through every inch of their skin. It may have been from the fact that Lily would be intimidated by his towering presence, or the fact that she may could say one, wrong word and her life could end on the spot, even though they aren't barbarians or executioners to do such thing. He just bowed his head back down, keeping quiet.

    "I sit before you right now, unarmed. One good strike with that rapier, and you would have my life extinguished. I can guarantee that you wouldn't get far afterwards, but perhaps you're willing to give it all for that brief moment of triumph." Ah, the negotiator. As far as he could tell, not many had this chance to hear his words, and none have managed to attempt a murder on his life. As surprising as it could get, a great shock, this would be the schemes a leader would use, to show his wish to trust in those who need a clear path ahead. As much as he would have this high ranking, he hadn't forgotten we are still humans. Lovely, Rolliam thought. But one thing was to be corncerned about... Shall she thrust the rapier and strike him down, or will she accept and begin her path to finding the Exarch and, most importantly, saving Erasmia? 

  7. “Rolliam. Talk to me. Tell me what I’m here for. You and your brother spent an awful long time keeping me company. I feel like I spent so many weeks asking, “are we there yet?”, and now we’re here and I’ve got just no idea. What about you, lady knight? What am I doing under the burned roof of Isore, with those who burned it?"

    Rolliam closed his eyes. Not as a response regarding his ignorance of the matter, but as of creating a thought. Existential problems were the issues which would prove fatal during the long run. They can be there, even though one can try and comfort the victim. No one knew when it would come back, hurt and cover the person in branches of thorns, in a grasp comparable to the bigger snakes. Barely any would escape from that, and with scars.

    He let Jill speak, so he could find a response fitting to her question. Such a simple, yet intriguing question, that which could be resulting like a war treaty. 
    "Life has its own ways." He opened his eyes, with a comforting expression and moved his hair away from the pair. "As Jill said, it could have been easier for any of us to have a mail with the object you are holding. But you are here for a reason. You are important, and not just for us or The Wizards. If they sent you with that stone, while you have no experience in army related work, you must mean something. The Wizards are smart people, which think steps ahead... even though..."
    He cleared his throat, trying to get over what he almost just said of the 'High' Wizards. "They think steps ahead of us, so they knew what they were doing. They knew we won't do anything to you. But most importantly... You are trying to find the Exarch, right? During these expeditions, we will have a chance to find him. Think of that as a new chapter in your life. It may be something you won't like going through, but I believe it's a rite of passage, which has already begun." He finished the last note with a simple smile, watching Jill leave the room, then opening his bag, to reveal yet another, small bag, which he unveiled. There was a pie, which he put on a round table close to both Lily and Rolliam.
    "Say, Lily. You may probably need more to feel better and refresh your thoughts. Would you like some apple pie?"

  8. Perhaps, Rolliam's doubts were true; his delayed return held true to his concerns, but this was not expected. The amount of detail and risks the two had to go through was more prone to be part of a book about mighty heroes, than a real incident. But perhaps, most books take their inspiration from some real events, which they twist in beautiful, colorful meanings that enchroach themselves upon the reader's mind, leaving them hooked, asking and looking for more. But anyways, Rolliam took thought to himself how lucky his brother would be to make it alive with a person which had never touched the inwards of war and its horrors. Maybe it was a sign everything would go their way. Who knows...

    He came back to reality, just in time to hear his brother's request. He was not busy with anything, except for checking the palace out, but that could be discarded for another time, when they would be truly dismissed from work. Perhaps, that day may never come. He wouldn't have much to help with, when it came to comforting people. Maybe for the fact that he wasn't, really, the right person to help others out with the mental fortitude or the general definition of ranting. It could have been due to his idea of never sharing his feelings, for they were not for anyone to interfere with, thing which he developed during his career of scouting and staying hidden in battle. Or, most likely, he never bothered. He could only shrug and keep doing his thing, without anyone batting an eye, probably, if he were to do his work properly. 

    And with that, which he thought of, he followed the two into the hallway. Now, the three of them were heading, most likely, towards the Exarch's personal chambers. He was behind the ladies watching, at times, if Lily seemed to recover. Most likely, she was still in shock after all that's happened and her opposition was normal. Some could say she is more like a prisoner, than an actual person of relevance, but the way she felt was more leaning towards the former, looking for ways to escape this mess she is imagining. But the last detail she is missing is that, even though she might see the Byrn forces as some sort of hellspawns, looking forward to devouring the world as a whole, they are still human, seen as the bad people in the given circumstances, as the Byrn see the other parties as the opposants. Rolliam was aware of that, but he could only feel pity for Lily, as she had to endure this and live with it. Maybe for years to come. 

    And so, they stopped at the Exarch's chamber, if that was his, anyways. They ventured inside and he closed the door behind them, letting the two have their talk. He sat down in one of the far corners, watching around the place, with a bag in his lap.

  9. Snoooooooore....... Tolok was enjoying his sleep. Perhaps, he was dreaming of cutting wood, helping the world and its infrastructure to rise and flourish, because that was his snore like. The never ending sound of a saw, cutting through to obtain logs. And, by the Heavens, the drunkard wouldn't stop.

    He eventually woke up, after Owend's gradually increasing shakes. His whole face felt like a hammer was the torture device which inflated every single pore on his face, through numerous hits. One eye opened, as if he needed more sleep than required, even that one with sloth. "Morning. Uh... It's sandy here. Wait." He almost fell on his butt as soon as he stood up, only to take in the view. Beautiful, indeed, but for a more drunk than alive man, this was not the best outcome after a blackout. He couldn't even stand well on his legs, walking around as if he was made of jelly, tripping over sand. "Well, fuck. How many barrels did we drink... again?" As if he'd get an answer for that, he at least remembered they had barrels to drink from and not bottles, like normal people.

    Perhaps, he probably drank enough that one night to have alcohol running through the circulatory system instead of blood, as if that's how he was born. Or, probably, his body cringed when Tolok saw the wooden box, with two more bottles left. 
    As much as he would love to drink... His body would, ironically, take the easy way to a coma if he'd drink another bottle.

    His intoxicated brain must have burped the fact that he is, probably, a monkey and he could still have climbing skills inherited from his ancestors. "I'm just...Going to climb this." His voice showed the kind of confidence only a drunkard would show, meaning this won't go well.

    So he did the unthinkable, only to help with spotting anything remotely close to them. He climbed the palm tree, almost falling due to the world spinning around him. Or was he spinning around the world? Eventually, he came back to his own senses, once he reached the top of the tree. The view was fine, as he looked around for anything, accompanied by the headaches and overall numb state. That was, until he heard a crack and fell out of the tree. When he landed on the sand, the thing that was changed to the island was the palm, cut in half by his weight and him, hugging the other part. And so, he learned he's not a monkey, but a drunk idiot. And with that, a boat was coming, which may or may not have seen him tearing a tree apart with his own weight.

  10. Whistling was the first thing you'd notice when around the trio. Rolliam was, according to his experience, just on another simple trip, watching the vista of broken buildings, ruins and chaos with an intricate expression. Recent rain had probably washed most of the blood stains on the walls, ground and rubble, but the immense amount of dust would also play a factor in this. And in this way, Rolliam's view about life didn't change: Everything has a cycle, which involved its birth, the absolute apex and slow or... rather terribly quick downfall. Everyone knew The Walled City would fall in time, but nobody expected such a deep drop in one siege. He shrugged and went on his way, with a few other guards which led them to the Exarch's palace. The ruins were melancholic, along with the beauty of nature, slowly taking what had once belonged in the womb of nature back. 


    The Exarch's palace finally was within their lines of sight, from top to bottom. A magnificent look, in the middle of the destroyed city. Rolliam wished it would be taller, though.

    "We're here. Magnificent, isn't it?" He said, not looking back at them, as he was slightly busy counting all the soldiers guarding the palace, as if he was going to be assigned to assassinate an important person from within it. But he was just bored, making steps towards the stairs, slowly ascending where one of Ebon Knight's most skilled persons was standing, waiting for them. It was Jill, with a face which would be easy to assume would murder anyone who makes another bad joke at the moment. Another spree of bad jokes coming from Innes? When they used to stay under the same roof with Jill and Innes, these jokes were running from day to night, accompanied with slaps and, probably, stepping on Innes' foot. He slowly smiled and regained his neutral expression back, waving at her slowly. At a close look, her face was red enough to take in consideration the posibility of steam coming out of her ears, in a cartoonish way.
    "Yo. I guess you heard the news from the gate." He quickly moved his shoulders to balance the weight of his bag, which was still half full with food. "Roland has some... interesting news, to say the least. I think all of you have been waiting for this... For a while."

    And so, Jill lead them to where the Ebon Knight was reading the reports. Rolliam had the same, bored look on his face while looking at the palace from the inside. Now it was up to his brother to explain the whole episode they went through, which he had been waiting for a while to hear. If Roland held out so much not to say much about it, this must have been more important than expected.

  11. "No, it's not injustice." He sighed, running his index finger on the edge of the table, most likely without realising. Nobody was around, that would listen to them, excluding the people around them, that were so caught up in their discussions, an amalgam of words over words, incoherent when one would try to listen closely to a table, as if the sounds themselves were a curtain strong enough to cover the other tables as well, creating layers, upon layers of impenetrable sound barriers.

    "It's pity. Pity for the poor, innocent people that ended up crushed by ruins, slashed by blades, those which suffered a dark, horrible fate. When a man or woman opts to wield the weapon, attach the heavy armour, under the banner of its land, they knowingly give their life, they know they might end up in dirt, they know everything they know and love would end. They take this risk and move forward with life. This is us, Owend. Our squad, the Glian army, Isorian, Dodon, Byrn. All of its soldiers know what they are in, they know they could die within the first second when the war cry is being shouted. Knowing this, they are fine if they will die Not all of them, but most. It is normal that all of them want to cling to their lifes as much as possible, but they do not fear death, like the innocent people, which we know. Civilians." He sighed, again.

    "I always hated, despised wars, death and pain to an extreme degree, when it is afflicted upon a person who would have never picked up any of a soldier's equipment, with the exception to defend themselves or their family. The innocent people should never, ever have to the true face of war. When I was a child, I used to love the stories about the great heroes, leading huge armies, on great marches which would ultimately defeat the evil and save the world. But... I grew up. I grew up when I saw their bodies, Owend. Ever since then, I hated the pairing of romanticism and war. Not just war, but all violence that is being poured, for no reason, to kill people which never deserved it. Not just them, my parents. But everyone else."

    He took a long pause to breathe. Tolok's bright smile changed to a defeated, humiliated face, which was completed by the eyes devoid of meaningness. This was poison, which he's actively spitting out, not to hurt others, but to exempt himself from it. "Being a wanderer, after that episode, turned out to be nothing more than a blind rage towards the unnecessary, murderous characteristic of some humans. Ever since then, I worked with other mercenaries, to actively take out gangs, take bloody jobs and do what an innocent person wouldn't dare to do. I avoided talking to them, the parties. And even if I would talk, it would be small, to pass time. Not because I hated being social, but because I would start caring. If they were to die, I'd weep the same way, because they would show me a part of their good-will, hidden between the layers of steel, protected by a will to survive. My hate kept growing more, more and more, my hope for this world would shrink again, again and again, along with my hope for finding out what happened to them. Who caused it, and why..." All this time, he avoided eye contact, because he feared what her reaction would be.
    "...Until I saw the Exarch in the Valley. Something was special to him. Maybe it was his cloak, lance or his bulky armour. I always considered the armour to be bulkier for the people which would try to hide their true selves, their true good-will. It was not just protection from their attacks, it was a protection for their souls. I never lost my hope, even though it kept shrinking, but I felt as if I could do things right. It was as if this was my call, to do it right and save the world in the true meaning of it. Even though I could have never found out anything about my parents or these gauntlets... I would have been happy to do what I should have from the beginning. That's why I care now, Owend. About this party. Because I might never live to tell the tale."

    It seemed the rant was over, once Tolok looked up at her, again. "That's why I am here, Owend. If I can help end these wars and, possibly, the whole evil that lurks in this world, I would be more than glad to give it all. My father aspired to help the royalty when he was assigned to make the required gear. He made the finest of the weapons, hoping they would be used to protect or burn the menacing roots of the darkness. That's why he also made mine. He probably knew I'd follow the steps of war, so he made sure I'd come out alive and well." And then, silence. No other word would come out and he ate his order in complete silence, only nodding or moving his head left and right in disagreement. It was as if he exhausted his word count after this. It wasn't a bad thing specifically, but it could have been, probably, worse.

  12. The talk about the Walled City took over for the few hours that were passing by. Right after Rolliam had asked what's wrong, he kept his attention to them for a while, only to check on his quiver, pulling it from his back. He took an arrow, gently and spinned it between his fingers a few times, before resting it in his palm. 

    "We had no right prevailing in that assault, you know. The Knight thought it was ill-advised, that Isore would fall to nothing less than a proper siege backed by monstrous siege engines... which would inevitably lead to being flanked by Glian or Dodonian forces, pressing us between them and the Isorian defenders. But what happened instead, well, it was inexplicable. Somehow, Isore was not prepared for us." The archer looked up at his brother, then back at the arrow, fiddling with its tip, as if an wooden, harmless toy was the killing product of a state-of-the-art fletcher. Rolliam never feared his arrows, for some reason.
    "Since my brother was aiding to spot the incoming relief forces, I was assigned to send the word straight to the one we were under the command. Both of us are good at spotting even the slightest changes of details, but I would have a better advantage to not be caught, while running back to the command. Even though we chose the best available vantage point, we would still be under uncertain conditions, given our positioning. But... as Roland said... nobody came. It was an unfair, cruel, violent assault, where the defenders couldn't stand even the slightest chance. It was a massacre. But this is war for you."

    He took a pause, after the long monologue. He showed no expression, outside the words he had spoken, as if he wouldn't care about the result. Truth is, he did. But for one who'd have to see the body of an enemy downed, with an arrow to the head, resting in a crimson pool... He'd have to get used to it. There was never a moment to mourn while putting his archery to work. Not even when he'd have to pull the projectile out of his victim.

    "You can have the best spies, but."  "But... Let me rephrase." He straightened his voice in a fashionable manner, "What if the Glian spies saw them? We know there is a spy network and they are able to catch, at least, glimpses of everything. You know where I'm getting?"

    "It sounds plausible to me, but it's probably unlikely, since the circumstances of war change all the time. But all I can say is that for one to win the war, he must lose a battle, if he has to. Sacrifice can be hefty, like the Walled City there, but a leader is more important than a thousand soldiers with no orders." He sighed. "I dislike making these comparisons, but that's the truth. This is coming from my perspective as a man. We may be enemies, Isore and Byrn, but I don't think anyone would take the Exarch as a coward, would it? He will, surely, come back to reclaim his land. I feel bad for the regular guards, too, brother."

    He put the arrow back in the quiver and laid his back on the grass, exhaling loudly in the process. "Black Knight's squad is a good bunch. That's all I am going to say about them. It's up to you to decide, but they are nice people, Lily."



  13. "Phew, he will eat some hot food for once and It's not mine. Or is it?"

    He closed the door behind him with a smug smile and made his way to them.

    Rolliam was whistling behind them, as he added more and more groceries to make some great food. While he'd be considered the "woman" of the house, considering he finds joy in cleaning, making food, general household chores, he mostly took all this as part of his archery. As one would consider shooting an arrow as easy as, say, cooking, both of these have their little things to manage. Preparing the bow and finding a place to hide, climb a tree was just as beautiful as preparing all the utensils one would need for making a good, long lasting food. Aiming downards, as a ranger would acquire sight, was just as choosing the right way to cut the meat, in order to achieve the best crisp while cooking. All the little things that one would prepare to make the final action, holding the breath, calculating the trajectory would be compared to the required amount of precision you'd need to cut the fruits, if one wants all the cuts to be perfect by centimeter. He found joy in all these. He found joy in all that is difficult. He wouldn't like admitting, due to his brother fighting close ranged, but his thoughts around melee weapons are always... barbaric. He mostly can see it as flinging the lance left, right, above, down, but never doing the swooping, dance-like moves that he would dream of. 
    He would see the battles as a certain form of art, where the brutality combines with the skill. He believed bows were fitting to art. The amount of time required to do a clean shot, as so no one would see the bowman. He appreciated art. Cooking was art, house chores were art for him. Bows were art.

    And that was why he was stuck into his little, own world, where he'd consider every single fine detail about the grocery he'd pick. And that was filling his own time. He appreciated filling it with something he'd do. He never seemed to lose energy, even if he'd work for hours in a row, with no pause. 

    He finally came back to them, greeted by Lily's shaky, shy words, her wish to wield a sword. Defence, self defence or straight up slaughter... She never looked like it, in any way. He kept it hidden, but he was concerned that her innocence was finally giving in, only for the violent nature of battles, the sudden realization of killing a man, the guilt. He went through this, but he managed. He could never forget the face of the first man he had killed, so he'd doubt if Lily will never lay, even if a single tear at only the thought of that. Such is life, though, he thought. If that's what it comes to, he can't say anything against it. After all, they might get in trouble soon. He nodded to Roland, after he made his way on the other side of Lily. It is what it is, anyways.


    A snort could be heard from the door, as in mockery to the size of the sword. He looked at Roland, then at Lily, as he waited for the blacksmith to come back with another sword. A rapier, while at it. It looked far more different than other swords and could see some... moves with that.

    "I agree. You know what I think of swords, Roland, but I like this rapier. While it might take a while to take down those..." He snorted again at the thought of it, "turtles of knights, you'll do just fine. Besides, I like its look. It's simple and well-made."

  14. Once they had settled down in the restaurant, Pearl of the Keys, with the breeze of the wind calmly wiping away fears, dark thoughts and what not, Tolok listened to her talking while looking at the menu, with a rub to the head, whenever he'd see a word he'd consider a tongue twister, just by trying to speak into his mind. The prices were enormous, feeling a bit out of shame for not accepting the gold the Exarch had offered him. But, most likely, that wouldn't have been enough for a full course meal, though, so her response calmed him down, breathing out some air, in a sigh of relief. "Thanks." He said, as she poured him another bit, sipping not before he took off his father's gauntlets, the legacy he'd sworn to keep safe. He put them on his lap, as to feel just fine, knowing there'd be no way to lose them.

    “I hadn’t told you before, Tolok, but I’m glad we got to meet.” A small, yet smile slowly made its way on his face, as he was looking at the menu with a somehow inhuman focus, trying to hide the embarassment of him not handling emotions, feelings and the jumble of things happening in the background, considering the adventure the whole party is in at the moment. But deep inside, he was happy he heard that. He kept listening to her, sipping some wine and checking if his gauntlets are still there, but his eyes rose to her, once it had been mentioned she'd doubt her circle of friends, or rather the lack of. "What about camaraderie, Owend? That is a friendship, as well. I think it is not as superficial as some other would think." His eyes showed a tint of sadness, as those words had been spoken. And one could have admit, his eyes' dark green colour amplified that feeling, any human would recognise that he wouldn't lie.

    "But I understand what you mean. I didn't live with knights, commanders, a chain of command, all in all. I was a free soul, who'd take up jobs for coins and to help others. Even if you could explain to me, I'd probably still be cryptic and only understand when compared to my life." He poured her another glass and laid back on the chair, rubbing his nose in a calm, thoughtful silence and not awkwardness, as one would expect.

    He snapped out of it, once she made the joke. He smiled again, but probably had a feeling she was deeply affected by this. Now, that he recalls it; back when they were in Glia, the subordinates greeted Owend as a soldier, rather than a friend. They had known eachother for, at least, several years, where one would expect they'd become great friends, the link, string of that would be tied from one to another would be as tough as steel, unbreakable and only becoming stronger with time. But, he might just consider it as a façade. Nothing more, nothing less.
    "You're welcome, Owend. The feelings are mutual. I've gone through different parties, but none of the people I've met managed to be out of ordinary, like all of you. This party both of us are part of! It is true, we may not be as strong as the Princess and the Exarch, but we can only aspire to be better and help, in any way we can. Not only to avenge the nations or people, just like how they want, but to also find what we're looking for, whatever it may be." He smiled brightly, as if a ray of light came up from him, like a pocket-sized sun. Was he as much of a brute as others would think? Sure, he may fight, fight and fight. He may not be the best talker or to be skilled in any other things, other than battles, strategies or exploration. But he was just hiding behind a shell. And it started breaking, slowly, as if someone used a spell to wither it away.

    None of that mattered, battles, fights, blood. He had to cherish this moment. He felt special and he wouldn't know why, but the setting was unbelievable to his eyes.

    "But, why are you saying you've got no friends? What about your childhood?" He only said two simple questions, and waited while looking through the menu.

  15. Lightly tapping a wall that was not connected to the bathroom, Rolliam had his own thoughts, related to the two coming back safe and sound. He was lost in the details of time, place and what was next. Maybe taking care too much, preparing anything was too much? Such thought would storm in like a lightning and disappear just like that, knowing it weren't true. Certainly, even though his brother took care of her, she looked like a person who'd take the time to trust someone, no matter the circumstances. But this was a normal thing to do, that some people would forget about. He stopped tapping, only to see the wall, dirty again of the brown filth that was adding up. Dust; anything he'd clean up, dust would come back, like a parasite, destroying beauty, turning objects into antiques and ruining people's work. He had only cleaned it a few days ago, comparatively to other places he had been, this was not so normal. Just like life, it always finds a way to change the perspective of the people whose hearts, souls and minds were not singed by the impurity of the real world. Looking back at it, Lily seemed like that. She was slowly learning to see everything ugly about the world. Slowly, learning everything which she had never hoped to see. Unfortunately, life finds a way, at its worst times.


    After Lily was done, Rolliam and her came back in the main room, with Roland waiting as a hunter, his eyes showing a slight tint of annoyance. Rolliam noticed it and waited for Roland to say his thoughts, as if a barrage of arrows came out, not actual words. After it was done, Rolliam looked down, into his pockets, only to reveal two gold coins and a gentle placement of those on the table.
    "It was that bad you even lost the coins? This is what I have for backup. You might get everything you need with that: food, clothes, fixing gear, whatever." He sat down on the chair, gulping as if he had to swallow another hard truth, the bedroom.
    "The bedroom, you say? Hm. I haven't looked there, inside the wardrobe because I thought it would be empty." He sighed, then came back to his sentence, "But well, whatever it is, I guess. Most part of the safehouse is clean, except that wardrobe and... maybe... the chimney..." He instantly regretted mentioning it, but there was no going back now, those words slipped as if another entity drew them out of his mind, wanting to hear them itself. As brutal and horrendous he had imagined, it would be just a perverted excuse. "We will make sure the safehouse will look good after our departure, make sure she is dressed well and... What else. Making sure everything is done correctly, so our body and mind can relax and fare safely to Knight." And with that, he he sat on a chair, comforting himself, even for five seconds, those considered golden for all the work he'd been doing these past days, until they were off to work on the aforementioned.

  16. Tolok listened to Owend's speech, taking some time for himself to think, as well as digesting her words. He never had the luxury to read a book about mystery, even though he had the feel for solving things. He listened, more and more, as he was absorbed even more by her words. She was the one to bring him hope, now that he is at a low point, right? He would have thought that this is a payback for helping her in Glia, where Owend had to prove she had changed into better, her cowardice turned into willpower and following the greater good. They made it, however hurt they ended up, but it showed what kind of persons they really were. Not just this, but the nobility... The one he despised, when no one was there to help him solve this underlying problem. When his screams echoed through the silvery halls of the noble persons, with the light of their stained glass, a gift to God for his willingness and acceptance, protection and prosperity, nothing came back to him, but the grievous silence, which cut its way into his heart, poisoning it with hate. But now, he felt as if someone lifted a stone off his heart, revealing a lighter side. Nobility wasn't that bad, was it? She is a heir to the throne, after all. 

    He gave her a heart warming smile, still thinking about what's left to do. If they can change the future, there's got to be a chance for him to stay alive, finish his quest and find the mystery behind his parents... Right? At that, he took a deep breath and closed his eyes, in his mind, speaking only to himself, as if he wanted to hear his words echo through his conscious, "We'll get through this. Wherever you are. I'll be fine."  He quickly woke up from his seconds-long meditation after she punched his shoulder. She might look weak, but she got one hell of a force in that knuckle, he chuckled. "Wine? I'm a fan of beer, but something sweet's all good! Wait. Isn't that stealing... Nah, screw this." Owend chuckled at that and they went inside, probably emptying a barrel worth of wine in three gulps.


    The sun had finally set down and the party reached the inn, with Owend and Tolok's cheeks slightly red from the chugging they had. At first, it seemed like a normal, simple drinking sessions, but it turned out into a competition, such as back when Tolok downed a couple dozen of beers to get noticed by the Exarch. God, noticed by how much one drinks? If only his previous party knew...
    "Well... Swimming?" He let out a long whistle, seemingly amused by this turn of events. "Well, I suppose... If it's a festival, there might be a feast, yes? After a long, swimming sessions with the chilly water relaxing every pore of your skin, the stomach will want to devour something, yes-" Owend nudged him with the shoulder, shaking her head slowly. Tolok stopped, but it looked to be the right time, because it was at the time Wymp mocked Madon for wearing that piece of armour, like a masculine Iron Maiden. He snorted and Owend brought them inside where the rooms were set, chuckling a bit. "And you think with your stomache, Tolok."

  17. Rolliam took a more relaxed position as roland responded to him with the grin. The mocking response came with a welcome breeze of wind, knowingly the man did things right in his way. Behind Roland's grin, there was another part of him that was tired beyond limit. Did they actually get into as much trouble as he thought, things which blurred his vision with worry? He'll find out soon, once the Ebon Knight meets the trio, thus the mission being unfolded to its last bit, checked, rechecked and plans remade, until the group agrees to everything being discussed. He rolled his eyes while thinking about it, the wait would have to get even longer. And knowing how Roland gets into trouble, he'd need a bit of rest, at least.

    "... The Wizards sent her off with me. Don't know if they're trying to earn goodwill with the Knight somehow, or just saddling us with a problem they can no longer be bothered with. Either way, she's carrying the stone. So, be nice to her, even if she probably won't show any appreciation for it-" 

    Like his brother, he glanced at Lily, his suspicions being confirmed about Roland. Aside from the etiquette (even though both of them were assigned in this safehouse), they came back after a long and excruciating travel, potentially fatal, given the circumstances. He nodded, smiled and pat his shoulder as he made quick steps to where Lily is. "We have a stove, Roland. If you are willing to wait, I'll heat the food for you. If not, that's fine, eat well. And by the way, your winged buddy also came back home safely." he said, turning his head back to him.

    Now it is unknown if Roland's hunger was unbearable enough that it forced him to eat the food as cold as it is, but the archer wasn't the fan of cold food of any kind, but his snobby characteristic would only rise when they would be anywhere considered remotely safe. His thought faded, as he approached Lily. He spun his finger slowly and pointed behind her towards a dark, wooden door. "Right there, miss. It's got a tub that I'll have to fill, so give me a few moments. Hot or cold water?"

    A bit of time had passed, as Rolliam filled in the tub of water with the water she desired and brought in other things, like soap and a towel, what is necessary for her to feel at home. He rubbed his forehead of sweat and put the bucket of water back where it belonged, at the well and came back to Lily, which was waiting at the door. "Well, sorry it took me that long. Getting everything ready's always a lot of work, but now, that it is done..." He took off his gloves and put them into some hidden pockets followed by a stretching of his shoulders, causing a pop to be heard. "My name is Rolliam and I may assume you know I am Roland's brother. Nice to meet you." He held out his hand to her.

  18. An arrow tip was thrown on the table, with a loud knock coming from its impact with wood. A few heads turned, curious, but they went back to their business, noticing one of the scouts. He was tinkering with the arrows, trying to make specific heads that would suit his missions. The man was bored from tying, loosening up and fixing the customized projectiles over and over again. It's not as if he'd do this to all his arrows, but he had a far greater quantity of arrows which were all the same, boring sight when picking up one from the quiver. 

    Rolliam was doing this for more than a few weeks, every since he was relocated here, in order to secure the highways from any further incidents and threats, clearing the way for his brother to come back with whatever he was tasked to bring. Dragonstone was it, right? Yeah, right. Roland would surely be able to steal that, considering how much him and I used to steal before they were recruited by Ebon Knight. Hell, it feels like days since then. But... Roland's wyvern came back recently. It has been a good amount of days since then and there's no sign of his brother. What could have happened to him? Roland's as slippery as a fish, but this is extremely concerning. Did he cross any borders and got himself into trouble? Was he caught by any other patrols? Partisans took him as prisoner?

    Hell if he knows. Every morning, noon and evening Rolliam would sit in one of the highest trees near the safehouse to seek the lands. The landscape, as beautiful as it is, with the sun bathing him in its holy light, wind blessing him with its gentle touches against his pale skin, his heart was being filled with dread and fear. Fear, the strongest at the moment, that he won't see him back...

    But a few days later, when he was up on the highest tree, camouflaged, while the sun would rise, he saw a duo. A duo of horses, with a person each. He recognized his brother straight away, with a smile on his face, but it faded once he looked over at the other person, riding the horse. A woman with him, here? The duo was approaching the surroundings of the safehouse at such a fast rate and Roland would let a stranger come with him? Nothing at this moment is part of the plan and Rolliam was getting suspicious. He let them walk, as he stayed hidden in the tree, hoping Roland wouldn't notice him hiding there. After all, their childhood game was Hide and Seek. Both of them were good enough at it to notice eachother hiding in trees, in high foliage or even camouflaged. How? None of them know. Maybe talent?

    It didn't matter now. The duo would approach a bigger than average Isorian village, where the people looked all lively, doing their daily things, never noticing the others. They were all busy helping themselves in times like these, when Isore would fall to its knees due to the attack of Byrn, which hurt hard enough to destroy most of the remaining remnants of Isore's infrastructure. Roland was approaching a house, with a hand rummaging through his bag, looking for what would seem to be a key, an old, black key which seemed like it would open another old door... With the lady behind, Roland got off the horse and went downstairs, right outside to this house to what would seem to be its basement. With a swift move, he inserted the key and a click was heard, the door was opened. Rolliam wiggled his nose and followed the two, as they entered the basement. He followed them, entered and locked the door behind, giving both of them a good look, as they were looking around at the house. Roland was checking his bag once more, trying to find the thing he was missing after putting the key inside. Rolliam opened his mouth, "Welcome back, brother. Got what you were assigned to find?" He looked at the lady for a slight of a second then back at him, with his head tilted in curiosity and suspicion. 

    Rolliam is a young lad with white, spiky hair which would occasionaly cover his brown-blue eyes. He was dressed in coloured leather armour, fitting the lands they were in: Green, with brown and specks of in between, blending in with the nature. He has a brave bow on his back, made from dark wood with several green tints on it, for further blending in with the enviroment, including his quiver. His face was a bit dirty from one of his recent missions, where he painted himself in all sorts of colours to take down a few bad guys. He seems like he wasn't really paying any attention to this, his mind seemed to be in a whole other world, coming back only to focus on his brother and the lady. Otherwise, his face is not really so dirty as one would expect from a scout. Not like he'd care, anyways. He preferred being stealthy over looking nice any day, but he'd forget the line between a task and free time.

  19. Tolok was watching the steam rise behind them, as a spirit raising in the Heaven, where God would judge them for their sins. He was standing at the prow, thinking about everything. He was deep lost in those thoughts about what else would come, as he was for several days after the talk with Severa, where Owend and him fought to regain the green haired girl's honor in Glia. Should one still talk about the future, when no one knows about it? He heard it brings bad luck but... He misses them. He misses a future without them and he'd fear that this future they will settle in will seem normal, after he would, seemingly move on, a more mature Tolok. He was ocuppied with all this, playing with the gauntlets and being fidgety for quite a while, trying to regain sense in the world around them. A bird flew by, which woke him up from this slumber of thoughts and looked at Owend, who seemed worried. Perhaps because he was so deep in thoughts the anger showed up? Was this another thing to care of? No, it wasn't. Luckily, it helped him regain his control.

    He took a few seconds to see reality as it is. "Food, you say?" He smiled slightly in surprise, as if she had some sort of ancient technique named telepathy. But perhaps, his stomach growl gave this away. "I think we'll be there by nightfall, or even faster, who knows? I'd watch the dusk on the river, I haven't really experienced that sight on water for so long. And... Pearl of the Keys? I've never heard of that place, but it sounds exquisite."

    The gauntlets' gold-white sun shone for a bit in a bright yellow, which Tolok looked at with confusion. He wanted to touch the glowing mark, as if it was calling him, the temptation growing larger and larger with every blink passing, but the glow faded. He looked back at Owend and sighed. "I dislike that <<Stray-Cat>> nickname. It feels like someone would put salt on the wound and enjoy the sight. But it's not just that. I fear... I fear a dark future where I would miss them. I think you know who I mean, right?" He turned back against the fence at the prow and rested on it, crossing his arms and biting his upper lip. "I've been exploring for seven, eight long years to at least find out a clue about my parents. I feel like the more I explore and try to find out something, at least a ray of hope in the dark, I drag and weaken myself. I thought it would be brighter to have these gloves but... I feel like it's worse, for some reason."
    "...I miss them. I couldn't tell them a proper goodbye." A tear shed from one of his eyes, "Let's hope this adventure will help not just me, but everyone with their inner demons." He shrugged.

  20. Tolok's breathing eventually went back to normal after spitting flames out of his lungs. It was seemingly as if he was a dragon in disguise, but it certainly was, taking the gauntlets in consideration, some kind of unlocking of his powers, tapping right into his blood bound flames, the essence of life holding the weight of his magic, his signature in the battlefield.  

    Luckily, it seemed like nobody had noticed his out of ordinary action and sighed, silently in relief. The last thing he'd want from this Princess is to use him as a fire for cooking a wild animal, a boar or so. He is too young for this and it would feel like wasting his power for the sake of selfishness. Fortunately, this did not happen. And fortunately, again, his uncommon dislike for nobility (except for Madon, who's loyal to him even though his dry humour almost caused him a defenestration) did not rise... Not this time.

    But, as it seemed like he could be relieved, her "Siblings in arms" remark was quite enough to make him rethink the defenestration coming from The Exarch. Who knows when it could go handy, in case everything goes south. What else is there? Two commanders, one squad? Hell yeah, he thinks, this WILL go south. But then, confusion kicked in, once he eyed her, trying to find out what kind of person she really is, but was quickly startled by her quick reaction to his eyeing, Madon offering to help him out of the awkward situation.

    Although Madon's words were an attempt at getting him out and making him seem like a... Decent person, he quickly replied by saying his name out loud for her, along with the "stray cat". He was not so fond for this comparison, since his past is a train wreck which became worse after his parents' mysterious deaths. This was one of his goals in his life, discovering what happened to them and sending justice, filled in with unholy rage. But was he even remotely close to this goal that he had made in his mind? Of course not, but the gloves seemed like a slight hint for... something. 

    His focus came back once he looked back at Olivia, who tasked him with taking care of Owend. Now, This would not have been so bad if the Princess wouldn't nickname him "Stray-Cat" in such a manner, as if he is nothing but a wind, a breeze you would feel for just a moment in your life and it's gone. You know it's invisible, but you can feel it. He nodded though, he wouldn't want to destroy the party from the inside since this was the last thing he would do, but oh boy, he had mixed feelings about Olivia. Once she turned to the other side of the railing, he shot a glare, a flame flickering in his eyes before extinguishing. He sighed, again, silently and turned back to his side of the railing, playing around with the gauntlets, making a few balls of fire which he would throws from one hand to another and catching them, at first loosened up, but becoming more and more focused on it, until he threw it in the sea as if it was a rock. May God have mercy on him, this festival shall give him enough food to be happy for a week and he will forget about this bitter taste in his mouth due to the presence.

  21. Even though Tolok is a man of fire, whose power would be fueled by anger and potentially turn into an infernal beast of hell, he burst out in laughter as well, expecting the bird to do its thing on his hand. His look jumped at Wymp, who started cleaning that place.

    "No, Wymp, that is fine. No, you want to clean it? Well, alright, if you insist!" He shot a smile at Wymp's maniac nods, as he cleaned the place until some sort of shine came up on the gauntlet, where part of the "job" landed. 

    He kept laughing with the rest. He saw Olivia, but his laughter would keep going, unable to control himself. Her arrival meant honor, respect and... judgement, but gods decided to roll an unlucky dice against his will. He breathed in and out, exhausted, his lungs burning. He quickly opened his eyes, like an owl, raised a finger upwards in sign of taking a moment and turned backwards to where they came from with the ship. He breathed out, a thin flame making its appearance, as if a weak dragon would breathe out fire. Thin and short enough to not burn anything, long enough for the rest to notice. He turned around, embarrassed and bowed, courteously, his gauntlets lighting up slowly, as if weak fire covered them.

    "Sorry... This is the first time it happened to me."

  22. "...Wymp..."

    He looked at the seagull which met its eternal fate and the specks of blood on the fence. Was this an actual sport, hunting poor creatures whose only use is to defecate on the person you dislike? He swore he saw the bird again in the water, but only a few feathers were left from the impact, on the ship and the water. The rest had sunk like a rock at the bottom of the river.

    He looked at Madon and then at Owend, who both knew this is something usual that would test their precious, dripping patience they had. Wymp looked serious about it, but he saw a mere sanctified justice in his eyes, shining at Tolok's flaming gauntlets. The fire faded away and he looked straight into his eyes, with a slight, forgivable frown.

    "...You've heard this many times. But I'll bring my reason here: seagulls are not food." He grinned sheepishly, his gluttony showing up roughly, "They are some mere birds. Your belief for God must be true, so we shall crusade other bigger birds... Wyverns, when the time comes." He pat his shoulder while moving past him with large steps, but turned towards him with a rather curious look.

    "But may I ask, since my curiosity is increasing... Why are seagulls considered evil?" At this time, another seagull flew past by and Tolok didn't hesitate to hold his hand out in the air. After a few spins in the air, the bird sat down on his arm and pecked his now warm gauntlet. "Ravens sound more fitting for scouting than seagulls, I think?"

  23. He didn't know. He couldn't have known, not even if life itself would extend by decades and helped him gather more knowledge. This fate would bring more dread than a content smile on the face, had Tolok went with the rest on the ship without checking the place. but...

    ...Here he is. Tolok and Owend in Glia, rushing on a great pursuit of finding out buried past memories. The long road made of shiny cobblestone, glimmering in the lamp lights on the side; the road seemed endless, as the duo traveled towards the blacksmithery of Tolok's father. He wondered, why he never had his stuff officially inherited in the first place, even though age was a leading factor: perhaps the only gifts he'd received were the actual inheritance? His sword, shield and trinket, the trio that would lead to uncovering truths? How could he have known... Poor, lost man, in a world larger than he would have thought. But there were people to guide him.

    And they had finally reached the place: A red, brick-based building. The colour seemed washed off by the time, it seemed like nobody dared to enter the house without the proper invitation of its owner. The place felt empty and devoid of any meaning. Tolok sighed and looked up, noticing a dusty sign with washed off letters: "Barkul Sur's Everflaming Smithery". Hah. Everflame. His blood causing the gear to be enchanted. Veeeery clever name..... Poor Tolok. Owend noticed his stressed face over reading the sign and quickly nudged with her head towards the entrance. It felt like a Rite of Passage for him, entering the soulless building and acknowledging the darkness inside. But the trinket... It grew stronger. There was not much of a difference between the road from the castle and to his father's workplace, but once they entered? Even with small, mindful steps, the necklace would show the way more brightly with warm, protective light. And Tolok's fear would retreat slowly out of his mind, making way for curiosity.

    The inside was, of course, dusty. Weapons of all kinds were sorted on a wall, from small daggers to mighty warhammers held by guardians of many places. But as of now, this was more of a showcase, a display of mighty skill, than a shop. On the opposite wall, however, there were all sorts of armour pieces regarded as outfits, the set put together to never leave each other in a frenzy of fear. But, on the furthest side of the wall from the two, there was a leather bag, which drew Owend's attention. She quickly went towards it and touched it with care. It seemed like an armour piece. It seemed like a pair of armour, which felt different from the rest. Tolok followed and as soon as he touched the bag, the necklace grew strong enough, all of a sudden, to light the whole corner and the wall, as if it was in the midst of daylight! Owend's face slightly dropped at this bastardly magic, but Tolok managed to shoot a small smile while pulling its contents out of the bag. Inside? A pair of gauntlets, looking like they were tailored and specifically made by someone special, for someone special to them. They had a certain, glowy aspect to them: the metal felt strong, but yet light, the design felt familiar and its aura... There was an aura. He took his old gauntlets off and put those on. And it seemed like it was the perfect fit; 



    "We missed you, our son. We are glad you found your deserved reward. We are glad you are still alive. We love you." A voice of a woman came up in his head, oddly familiar to him and caused him to have a chill run down his spine. But then, the gauntlets shone, revealing the aura he had sensed berfore. It was a show of lights, the thing covering the gauntlets seemed endless. It seemed like it will never stop. But at the same time, the feeling of this aura was soothing, powerful and looked like it boosted his power. Or caused his flames to work more efficiently. 

    "You spongebrain, couldn't have you left the ceremony at the docks?" Owend said, with a small frown.
    "No." He followed it with a smirk. "These gauntlets... Completed me, of some sort. And.. I heard her again. I don't know if it's in my head or not but... I'm happy."
    She wanted to add something, but Tolok's smile, which came after he finished, managed her to stop. "Let's meet the rest, you sp- Tolok."


    This was a few days after the whole incident in the castle; preparations have been made in order for the journey to go nice and smooth. But the two seemed to take longer, after they had helped with whatever jobs they had to make done. Eventually, Tolok's quest came last. They had reached the docks, where everyone else was ready. He had a small smile on his face, watching the gauntlets shining in yellow flames, dancing and moving like a living thing. Tolok kept his heart-warming smile as he stood at the stern of the boat with the rest. It was not that bad, was it? It felt like his mission would get so much better. But this would require higher, and higher, and higher risks to take on. Was he ready? Depends. But he wished to enjoy this time now. Owend was watching him, as if a child opened his Christmas present, but she looked another way, staying closer to Madon as the guard she is.

  24. The two entered Anselm's quarters and sat down, Tolok with his sudden, almost heavy movements which made it seem like a boulder, not a human sits down and Owend sat gracefully next to the couch. He was about to answer Anselm's first question, but it seemed like a force or magic of some sort cut him off. Of course, it was the necklace in discussion: He could not only see its magic, the bring orange colour surrounding the silvery sun, a trinket of purity and power, but feel it. And he was truly aware about that. Just like Tolok, whose eyes went from Princess, to the necklace and back to him. Their eyes met and Tolok opened his mouth again, to speak. Quietly, as well.

    "Aye." He put his hand over the necklace gently, "Indeed it is. Princess Severa vouched for your magic... dissecting."

    Anselm relaxed ever so slightly, but kept his look on the necklace, sometimes looking up at Tolok to analyze his face. "If Severa herself told you to come here, then I shall do a service. But I need to know something beforehand...." He then proceeded to hold his hand out, waiting for Tolok's answer with the same intent gaze as before. 

    "Well... My parents gifted me this necklace, along with some other gear." He points with his eyes towards the sword and shield, as if he is trying to make a point. "It started glowing when I got close to Glia. Perhaps you may know what it is about?" Watching Anselm's palm, Tolok took off his necklace in a slow manner and laid it on Anselm's palm. He clutched it slowly and drew it near his chest, taking a look and pointing it with the nails. 
    "I see now. My first guess would be your little, bright sun is tracking something special. Like a piece of equipment with the same magic." He looks up from the necklace to Tolok and waits for some kind of an answer.
    "...Piece of equipment? Uhh... My father was a blacksmith."
    Anselm grinned. "Good. I'll check this necklace now." He clenches his fist, closes his eyes and one would feel like he is taking in the magic and making it human. Talking with it and finding out what's it all about. He finished after a while and looked back at Tolok with a grin. "Seems like you had an interesing person, Tolok. A blacksmith's magic resides here and I know precisely who he is...." He puts the necklace on the table and quickly goes to a bookshelf, taking a cylindrical object with him and putting it on the table near the necklace. "Now, I know your family name, Tolok Sur." He giggled, "Your father was quite remarkable, indeed. Enchanted weapons, armor and all, he was considered one of the best. I'll take that your sword and shield were made not only with mastery, but also love."
    Tolok kept silent as Anselm started reading a parchment which seemed older than both Tolok and Anselm.  "Yes, your father had a blacksmithery in Glia. It is on the main road to the East. You will know about it once you get there. It's abandoned, but in good shape and nobody entered out of pure respect for the dead."

    Tolok smiled at that and nodded, "I appreciate your help, Princess Anselm. Is there anything I can do for your majesty?" He was finally learning how to use respect as a tool for making some connections, as faint as they could be.

    Anselm shook his head, "Don't do anything stupid. And if you need Owend in your journey there, you better ask her."

    Tolok stood up and headed towards the door. "Alright. Owend, do you want to come with me?"

  25. "What do I think that was about?" Tolok took a moment to think. "No idea but I will state the obvious here: It's really important for Glia. Maybe it's a surprise offense, God bless us if that's the case."

    He turned around and strolled lightly through Severa's room, inspecting the little details, as if he tried finding out something to say. "But I feel like the more we stay in one place and do nothing, the louder I can hear some sort of clock ticking in my head, as if something bad will happen. Perhaps we should go to Anselm's quarters?"

    Owend nodded. "That if Anselm is there. She might be busy around with few things, but I think it's unlikely. Now let's go, we'll walk for a long time to get there."

    Tolok took a long, last look at Severa's room, as if he wanted to absorb her energy. He felt like he won't see her ever again and that was already a reason to remember the talk about loyalty, duty and camaraderie. Things he had never experienced, but he heard of through stories from parties of people who achieved something in common. Would he and his party achieve the common objective to protect this world? Who knew. Maybe him being the weakest link, due to having almost no experience of teaming up, since he had lived as a lone wolf during his explorations is what might bring them down in the future. But he will learn from that... Right? Right.
    "Alright, let's go." He said after a long moment of thought and Owend started her walk to Anselm's quarters, with Tolok on her tail.

    A long time went by, as Tolok admited the architecture of the royal building: The marble, the arcades with their little details that an aspiring eye would analyze. Everything was of such a luxury, that he felt like they were stepping in Heaven for the time being. And his adventure through the impersonated heaven ended once they stopped at a room on thirteenth floor. Owend stood there, waiting for Tolok to knock on the door. And so he did, knocked three times and waited. He took a quick glance at the necklace before his sight went back at the room, watching over it with some sort of impatience.

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