Chapter 1 - The City Of Saramis.
(Thank you for reading my book. Please forgive me for this short addon at the beginning. The book is being edited from time to time. Grammar mistakes will be fixed and character communication style will be adjusted for easier reading. Right now my focus is on continuing the story. If you find any major grammar mistakes, please let me know and I will fix them. I appreciate your feedback. Thank you.)
I opened my eyes slowly, as if the eye lids didn’t want to lift. Muscles felt sore and stiff. It’s like I was asleep for several days.
Where da hell did I end up?
The thought flashed as quickly as it vanished.
Does it really matter...
It didn’t. It’s not like it’s the first time I woke up in a strange place.
On sitting up and looking at my surroundings, I was rather pleasantly surprised. It was daytime and the greenery around me was all but blooming. Fully green trees and bushes, smell of flowers and the sound of bird songs I never heard before were mesmerizing.
Oh well. - I mumbled to myself. - How about I get my ass up and look around? This place looks promising.
I made a cheeky grin thinking about possibilities. The type of grin you make, when you know you gonna do something really fun that will make other people mad. Excitement filled my whole body and I could barely keep myself still.
Right, what do we have here?
I stood up and checked my gear. At least my stuff was still with me.
I better change for travel.
I closed my eyes and focused for a second. In an instant my armor disappeared together with the sword. They were replaced with leather boots, simple pants and leather jacket. Those were my traveling clothes. Slightly worn out, not too shabby, and simple enough not to draw too much attention. That’s how I liked it.
My brown coat was lying just two feet away from the spot I woke up.
And why are you on the ground?
I picked it up and put it on. It was funny talking to myself, or to my clothes for that matter. I stretched like a cat stretching after a good nap. If you draw too much attention, people start asking questions. And that’s the last thing I wanted to happen. Of course deep down, I knew it will happen sooner or later. It always happens.
Ah, who cares.
The most important thing was, I still had my bag. I peeked inside. At least everything was still there. Not that anyone could see what was inside. It looked like an old carrier bag. Few cloths, some dried meet, crust of bread, handmade leather water bottle and few apples.
I’ll have one of those.
I eagerly picked one up and started munching like a little child. It was fresh and tasty as if it was picked from the tree. That was the secret behind the bag. It could store anything and could keep food fresh for as long as it was inside.
So, shall we explore this place?
I was used talking to myself. It kills boredom and helps to clear the head. I looked around again. Tall trees with lianas growing around them. Plants and bushes I’ve never seen before. They looked familiar in certain, mysterious way.
I strolled down via narrow path. The scenery was amazing. Birds were flying and singing their songs without any of a distraction.
Guess they’re used to people walking here... Oh wait...
I stopped for a moment. I realized I can conceal my aura without disturbing the surroundings.
Right. Haha. Let’s just move on.
I walked for a good half an hour admiring the surroundings and trying to figure out where I was going. The path opened into a small meadow and I heard water running. A stream was nearby I thought.
Yes it was. That was lucky. I tasted the water. It was fresh and clean. I took out and filled up my water bottle. Before I finished, I already noticed that birds weren’t singing as loud as before.
Aha. So we do have someone living in these woods.
I grinned. Someone or something was watching me. I walked as if I didn’t notice anything. It’s better not to provoke anyone. Walking out of this forest without a fight would be a more convenient option. Unfortunately I had no idea where I was going. And it seems my watcher did not appreciate it.
The feel of the air changed around me. I can always sense when there’s a sinister or violent intent towards me.
Bah, why does it have to happen? I didn’t even do anything.
I wasn’t happy about it. Getting into a fight was the last thing I wanted right now.
A shadow flashed through the tree tops. Like an arrow flashing it’s tip before your eyes. It stopped on one of the trees in front of me. A figure stood on the tree branch gazing directly at me.
Just leave me be. I’m just walking here.
However that thought was changed immediately after the image of the person cleared.
Oooh! I take that back.
She was standing on a tree branch with one hand leaning towards it. I could sense her eyes staring at me with distrust. I must’ve looked like some lost villager. But I doubt she thought that was the case.
Her dark skin was bouncing sun rays that were able to shine through the trees. She jumped down and started walking slowly towards me.
I don’t know what kind of place I ended up in, but I’m certainly grateful for the view.
One can hardly describe her electrifying beauty in words and I was certainly lacking them.
If there is a perfect woman in the world, I was looking at her right now.
She looked nothing less, but gorgeous. Her graceful walk could make your heartbeat explode. With hips moving side to side I couldn’t do anything, but stare. Slim waist magnified irresistible attractiveness of her curves.
Glittering strap was connecting a huge decollete revealing her massive breasts. It almost looked like the top piece was designed to hold em from falling out rather than protecting them. Any man would die happily if he could sink his face between ‘those’ kind of breasts.
Her provoking outfit was part of it too. She was wearing silver armor, that made her look even more attractive. It had a white short collar that was covering her neck. Short sleeves and long gloves emphasized her slim waist as she walked. Short skirt with blade like finish was covering her hips. Shoes were the only piece of armor that looked like they offered decent protection, but still added the ‘hotness’ element.
As much as I wanted to see her face, my eyes wouldn’t lift higher than her chest. Pretty rude indeed, but those were most entrancing breasts I have ever seen. As thought I was bewitched and my senses weren’t responding to sound reason.
She covered her chest with one hand, which made me lift my eyes up. Long, white hair falling on her shoulders emphasized her chocolate like dark skin. Seductive lips, dazzling cheeks, cute delicate nose and captivating eyes. On top of that she had long pointy ears.
That would mean she’s... and elf? This is getting better and better.
– What are you doing here human? – she suddenly asked.
Wow, I can understand her.
Before I could answer her, she leaned forward and vanished like a mirage in a desert.
What the? Oh crap...
In an instant she reappeared right next to me with her blade touching my neck.
Right... so she was reaching for the blade on her back, and not simply covering her chest from my perverted gaze. Sigh...
Quite an irony – you think you met a woman of your dreams. And first thing she did was put a knife to my throat.
Women... – I almost laughed out load. - However, that was a surprise. She used a Flash Jump to get close to me. Haven’t met anyone who could do it this fast.
– What are you doing here? – she asked again in an angry voice.
She’s clearly not happy to see me... I wonder why?
– I’m sort of lost. – I said without moving. – I’m trying to find a way out of this forest.
She looked at me with quiet distrust. My appearance wasn’t threatening, not with my current outfit. I had no weapons on me. And not a drop of malice or hatred was emitting from my aura. She slowly retracted her blade and jumped back as fast as before.
– Turn east. – she said while turning away from me. I didn’t have time to admire her ‘behind’ as she vanished from the tree tops into the forest.
That was fun, somewhat scary, but fun.
I massaged my neck with the right hand. The mesmerizing image of her wasn’t going to fade from my memory any time soon.
An elf, eh? And a pretty damn hot one too. I hope I can meet her again. And hopefully in a more ‘friendly’ circumstances.
After the excitingly dangerous encounter with the super sexy elf I turned east. I wanted to leave the forest and find the nearest city as soon as possible. But my mind was still wondering somewhere between her face and her knees.
Meeting an elf so early after arriving was quite a surprise. But more surprising was her attitude.
Elves are usually friendly towards humans. At least from where I came from. However, she definitely wasn’t happy to see me. Did I do something to upset her? Ghm... I just got here, so that wouldn’t be the case.
Something must’ve happened between humans and elves. Will need to find out more when I get to the city.
Putting that aside, her Flash Jump was impressive. That was quite a feat. She’s an elf of course. And elves have speed and agility that other races don’t, but still. It’s not enough to have high speed and agility to learn Flash move. She must’ve been training really hard.
Or maybe it was just me dazing off, cause she was so hot and sexy. And she used it against me very successfully.
- Hahaha! - I laughed out loud.
Sure enough, going east proved to be the correct direction.
So she wasn’t lying about going east. She definitely wanted me to leave the forest. Very nice. I’ll have to thank her next time I see her. - I grinned imagining meeting her again.
A small path opened to a vast meadow. I went up the hill to look around. There was a road leading east and I could see a small village far in the distance.
It took almost two hours to reach the village. Folks looked busy, but friendly at the same time. They offered some food and drink.
Seeing travelers is probably a common thing in here.
- Which way is towards the nearest city? - I asked one of the farmers.
- You can follow the road to the east and then go north at the first crossroad. - he replied, and then added. - However, old Carl was planning to take some grain to the city. Maybe he could give you a ride. His house is just up ahead.
- Thank you. - I waved and went looking for Carl.
Few houses ahead an older man was loading his cart with grain. Full sacks looked heavy, and he was struggling loading them.
- Let me give you a hand, - I said and grabbed two sacks from the ground.
- Oh, that’s so nice of you. The grain becomes heavier every year. - he sighed.
- Are you Carl? - I asked. - My name is TC. One of your neighbours mentioned you’re planning to go to the city.
- Yes, that is correct. I can give you a ride if you’re headed that way. This is the least I can do for your help. - old man offered.
With my help, the grain was loaded in no time and we were ready to leave.
- Hop in. - Carl motioned after he sat down at the front.
I made myself comfortable in between the sacks of grain.
- Off we go. - he signalled his horse to move.
- Mind if I take a nap? - I asked.
- Go ahead. I’ll wake you up when we’re close to the city. - he said.
Old Carl hummed some old village song. It was pleasant to the ear and I dozed off and fell asleep quickly.
It felt like I only closed and opened my eyes, but the loud noises around me made it clear I slept for more than five minutes.
- Good morning mister traveler, - Carl said with a bit of a smile. - You sure were tired. We’re almost at the city.
I probably was. It feels good to reload the batteries. I must’ve been drained from my ‘travel’.
I stretched slowly and sat up to look around. There were lots of people in front and behind us. Some of them were walking on foot, others rode in a carriage, just like us.
- So that’s the city? - I said and sat next to Carl.
- Yeah, one of the biggest cities in the continent. - he replied.
It looked magnificent from the outside. Huge walls with towers made it look impenetrable. Guards patrolling high on the walls, massive gate at the entrance, wooden bridge with steel reinforcements. Good luck to anyone who decides to take it by force.
- Thank you for the ride Carl, - I jumped out of the carriage.
- All the best to you mister. - he said.
That was easy. I slept for a couple hours while traveling without any incidents. I thought we’ll be attacked by bandits on the way. On the other hand, what kind of bandit would want to steal few sacks of grain. Unless they wanted to start a farm. Last thought made me laugh.
The city was as busy as it could be. Lots of people on the streets. Some were merchants entering the city, others looked like adventurers.
One interesting detail caught my attention right away. Some people had tattoos on different parts of their bodies. It wouldn’t have been a big deal, but all the tattoos were star like symbols.
What’s the deal about that? Maybe they got hit hard on the head and are still dizzy. - I thought laughing to myself. - Jokes aside, what does that mean anyway? And nobody’s bothered about it. On the other hand, why would they? They’re locals, I’m the new guy here.
Hmm... would be good to learn more about this place. What is the best place to get information?
I thought for a moment. There was one place that always had some answers. If you need information or rumors, that’ll be the first place to check. I needed to find an Inn. And so it happens, it wasn’t difficult to find it at all. Few pointers from locals and here I was standing in front of one.
The building itself looked older than others, but was in a great shape. Big two sided doors were open, and I could see people sitting at the tables enjoying a drink or a meal. Also the big sign above the entrance with “Welcome to Grog’s Inn” kinda gave it away.
Huh, what the?
I was strangely surprised as soon as I stepped inside. Everyone in the Inn was sitting in couples - chatting, holding hands, even kissing. I saw people on the streets hand holding and stuff, but seeing this in the Inn was somewhat disturbing.
What da hell is going on here? I definitely need to get some information about this place. This looks too weird for just a regular Inn.
I went to the counter in hope to meet the owner. If anyone can give me answers it would be the man behind the counter. I was glancing to the sides while walking through the inn. Nobody was bothered by anyone else. I looked towards the counter and stopped for a second.
Wow! Now there’s a guy you wouldn’t want to mess with. I wonder if he’s the man I am looking for?
One look and you knew you better not get on his bad side. He seemed like a man who had seen few places. Close to sixty years of age maybe, a bit bold on the forehead with some grey hair on the sides. Wide shoulders and muscular arms showed he wasn’t just an inn keeper. His hands were so big he could probably squash your head with one hand. Quiet, calm demeanour and deep look in his eyes showed years of experience.
I bet he was quite an adventurer in his time.
Despite his threatening looks he always smiled when serving customers. The inn looked full and busy, which meant he was doing a great job running the place. I approached him with a smile:
- Hello there. Are you the Inn Keeper? -I asked.
- Indeed I am. - he answered with a smile. - Grog’s my name and I run this fancy place.
- Fancy place you say? - I looked around.
- Haha, don’t judge the book by it’s cover. - Grog laughed. - What can I get you?
- I’d like some hot food please. Also I’m new here. Can you tell me more about this city? - the smell of food tickled my nose.
- Sure can. Are you an adventurer? - the innkeeper asked.
- Sort of... - I replied.
- Sort of? - Grog raised his eyebrow. - I must admit you don’t look like most of the bozos here. Let me get you some food first.
He turned to one of his servants:
- Hey! Get me some freshly cooked meet for my new guest, and quickly!
The servant bowed and rushed into the kitchen. I noticed she also had two stars on top of her forehead. Then he turned to me:
- The city is called Saramis. And it’s one of the biggest in the continent. This is where adventurers gather to become famous.
- You mean rich and famous? - I commented with a cheeky smile.
- Haha, yes, rich and famous. Sorry, that other word slipped my mind. - Grog laughed wholeheartedly. - Becoming rich isn’t as easy as people make it sound. You’ll have to do your fair share of work first.
- I don’t mind doing the work. But tell me one thing – what’s the deal with all the lovely-dovely behavior in here? Are you running ‘that’ kind of inn? It’s still a day time you know. - I said as politely as I could.
- You really aren’t from around here, are you? - Grog was clearly surprised. He took a good look at me. - To answer your question – no it’s not a brothel of any sort. That’s a common behavior between a Master and his Companion.
- Master and Companion? - that was an answer I didn’t expect.
- Yeah. See the stars the ladies have? - Grog asked me.
- Yes. Is that some sort of decoration? - I was curious.
- No. That’s an indication of companions strength. The more stars they have the stronger they are. At least initially. You see, in here all men are called ‘Masters’ and all women who have stars over their heads are ‘Companions’.
Now that he mentioned it, I realized only women had star tattoos. Some had one, others had two.
- So wait. Are you saying men are Masters of all the women? And women do anything their Master wants? - that thought was too good to be true.
- Not all of course. You see Companion cannot survive without her Master. They can’t work on their own and only adventurers with a companion can pick up jobs at the Adventurer’s Guild. - Grog explained.
- Adventurer’s Guild? - I repeated his last words.
- Yes. Adventurer’s Guild gives out jobs only to adventurers and only to those who have a companion. But more about it later. Here you go, your food is ready. - he made way for the maid.
His servant returned carrying a plate filled with grilled meat and steamed vegetables.
- Ah, that smells so good. - I commented.
- Hah, enjoy your meal. We can talk more later. - with that Grog turned to the next customer.
That was very interesting. Men are ‘Masters’ and women are ‘Companions’. Sounds like a dream world for men. I bet there’s more to it though. But my thoughts were interrupted by tasty smell of the food in front of me.
More about it later. Let’s dig in.