Chapter 58. New Faces.
- Welcome back. - Grog greeted us.
- Hello. - I said.
- Table for two? - he asked.
- Nah, we’re full. We ate at the Passion Springs Restaurant. - I told him.
- It’s good to be young. - the innkeeper grinned.
- Yeah, yeah. Don’t make it sound like you’re some old geezer. - I responded to his comment.
- Haha. You may be right about that one. - he laughed.
- We’ll be going upstairs. Goodnight. - I said.
- Goodnight Grog. - Eve smiled.
- Goodnight you two. - Grog said.
I had a lot of thoughts and questions about tomorrows expedition. But had no one to ask to get the answers.
I am probably worrying too much about it.
Eve changed to her pajamas right away. She spun around in a swirl.
- Hihi. - then smiled at me. - Uhm... yaaawn...
- Haha. Someone’s tired. - I smiled back.
- Aren’t you too TC? - she asked.
- Yeah, I certainly am. Lets get some rest. Tomorrow might be a long day. - I changed to my pajamas as well.
- Goodnight. - Eve kissed me.
- Goodnight. - and I closed my eyes.
The sun was high up when I woke up, indicating it was past early morning already. Eve was still asleep. She was waking up early recently, but the lack of sleep probably caught up with her.
Vorin said we won’t be leaving until midday, so there was still some time left. I dressed up and went downstairs by myself. Eve was so cute and charming I had to let her enjoy her beauty sleep for a little longer.
- Good morning TC. - Grog greeted me.
- Good morning ‘old man’. - I was in a good mood.
- Haha. Now that doesn’t sound as uplifting as I thought. - he laughed. - What can I get you?
- Regular breakfast and something to drink. - I said.
- Coming right up. - he went to the kitchen.
In a few minutes Grog brought me some food and a drink.
- Thanks. - I said.
- Care to enlighten this ‘old man’ about what happened during your journey? - Grog asked politely.
- You can stop with the old man thing now. You’re not that old really. - I commented.
- Hah, thanks. - he smiled.
- And about the journey? Well, not sure what to tell you. We did get attacked by some bandits not far from the forest, but they were no big deal. Luna’s village was attacked by goblins and Orgobs, which was very strange. Luckily, we reached it in time and helped the locals to fend them off. - I paused to have a bite.
- And Luna? - Grog asked.
- She’s fine. But you really wanted to ask about Eve’s evolution, didn’t you? - I smirked.
- Well, you don’t meet someone who’s companion evolved more than once. - he commented.
- How do I know? I’m not from around here. - I had a drink.
- Haha. You’re a funny one. - Grog laughed.
- And regarding Eve’s evolution, she evolved to three stars on her own during the fight against goblins and Orgobs. And the forth star... well... I don’t remember. - I was certain my face was red.
- Hahaha. I’m happy for you two. - Grog was ginning from ear to ear.
- Did you know? Elves have companions too. - I wanted to change the subject.
- Really? - the innkeeper seemed surprised.
- Yeah. But they don’t treat the woman like most adventurers in here. The pact for them is more like a commitment between a man and a woman. A lifetime partnership if you will. - I tried to explain it.
- I see. That’s a wise approach if you ask me. - Grog wondered.
- And if I don’t? - I smiled.
- Then I will still tell you the same. Haha. - he laughed. - But wait, you met other elves too?
- Well... yeah. I already told you we helped them defend the village against the monsters. - I thought it was obvious.
- I never thought elves would let other humans into their territory. - he said.
- Elves aren’t really hostile towards humans. They are quite friendly. But they do have to protect themselves for obvious reasons. - I added.
- I can’t blame them. - Grog sighed.
- Anyway, Luna is back home safely. I’m sure she will be fine. - I finished my meal.
- Glad to hear that. - he took away my empty plate. - What are you up to today?
- Nothing much. We’ll be going on an expedition to the Frozen Mountains. - I said as if it was no big deal.
- What? I can’t believe it. - he exclaimed.
- Why not? - I looked at him.
- Or maybe I can. - Grog sighed. - How did that happen?
- Vorin invited me to join. Actually, he almost insisted I’d join. I mean, it’s not like I have anything better to do anyway. - I honestly didn’t.
- Haha. I guess all I can say is good luck. - he said.
- Thanks. - I smiled.
I was still enjoying my drink when I saw Eve coming down the stairs. She looked incredibly charming.
- Good morning TC. Hey Grog. - Eve said cheerfully.
- Good morning Eve. You look full of energy. I’ll get you some breakfast right away. - Grog smiled.
- Thank you Grog. - she sat down next to me. - Did you sleep well TC?
- Better than well. - I smiled.
Her breakfast was brought in a few moments and we enjoyed a little chit chat while Eve was eating. Grog didn’t forget to bring some Croberry Juice as well, which was joyfully appreciated.
I still had to pick my shield from Sieran, so after the breakfast we went to his shop first.
- Good morning Sieran. - I greeted him.
- Good morning lad, lass. - he greeted us.
- Hi Sieran. - Eve smiled.
- Let me get ya shield. - Sieran knew why I came.
His shop looked more like a shop now. Enough weapons and armor to choose from. Marron must’ve helped him to craft new equipment.
- Here ya go. - Sieran brought my shield.
- Thanks. - I picked it up. - I don’t see Marron around.
- Yeah, he went back to Yornforge. Excited like never before. - Sieran stroked his beard.
- About what? - I was curious.
- The old bugger wants to craft a new magic gear. After seeing ya weapon, and the armor we crafted together with Madam, he is eager to learn how to do it himself. - he replied.
- I see. Best of luck to him. - I smiled. - See you later Sieran.
- Take care lad. - he said.
- Bye Sieran. - Eve waved.
- Lass. - Sieran bowed his head.
Time to go to the Guild. A big day, hah. I wonder who will be joining us besides Roland and Meera.
We went towards the Guild after leaving the shop. The fountain square was somewhat busy. Two carriages were parked close to the Guild. People were still loading one of them.
- Hello TC. - Roland greeted me.
- Oh, hi Roland, Meera. - I greeted them.
- Hello. - said Meera.
- Hi. - Eve smiled.
- Good to see you TC. - Vorin was here as well.
- I see you’re busy already. - I looked over the carriages.
- Yes, we are finishing the preparations. You will be able to leave in about an hour. - the Guild Leader said. - Come, I will introduce you with the rest of the party.
Me and Eve followed Vorin inside the building. Roland and Meera came over as well. Vorin approached a group of six people at one of the tables.
- Let me introduce you with the rest of the party. This is TC and Eve. This is Sebastian, his companion Rlani, Kalim and Narima, and Horrace with Inri. - he introduced everyone.
- Bah, you weren’t joking when you said a Silver Rank will be joining this expedition. What a let down. - Horrace wasn’t happy.
Another Gold Rank morron... meh.
- Don’t be so hasty with your judgement Horrace. - said Vorin. - TC proved his strenght during the tournament. And you were a Silver Rank yourself once, remember?
- Tsk... - Vorin’s words didn’t impress him.
- Now, now. Let’s get a long, shall we? - Sebastian, on the other hand, was overly friendly.
- As someone who fought against him, I can vouch for TC’s strength. - added Roland.
- Whatever... - Horrace kept the same attitude.
Kalim, on the other hand, didn’t say anything at all.
- Nice to meet you. - said Narima. - Forgive my Master for he is not very talkative.
I looked at Kalim and he nodded his head with a serious, yet polite expression on his face.
- Nice to meet you too. - I nodded back.
- Hello. - Eve smiled at Narima.
- You will be able to leave soon. Remember you were chosen for this Quest for a reason, because I believe you can help each other on this expedition. And you will need to work together for it to be successful. If anyone feels like they don’t want to go, we have people willing to replace them. - Vorin wasn’t joking.
- I am sure we will get along nicely. - said Sebastian glancing at Horrace.
- Fine. I’ll do what I must. - Horrace unwillingly agreed.
- Good. Your Quest is to reach Frozen Mountains and make a contact with the Frost Giants. If they are willing, start a dialogue to develope friendly relationships with them. This is an official Quest from the Guild. If you see that the giants are hostile, don’t attack them, but return immediately. - Vorin went over the quest details.
- Yes sir. - people agreed.
After that, everyone discussed the expedition in more details. Roland was put in charge of our group with all of us agreeing to it. I was mostly listening to what everyone else had to say without talking.
- Ok, that should be all. I will go check the preparations. - said Vorin.
Myself and Eve went outside as well.
- Oh look, it’s Farla. - Eve pointed out.
- I don’t think we are leaving quite yet. You can go talk to her if you want to. - I offered.
- Ok. - she smiled and ran off.
I went and sat down at one of the benches in front of the fountain. Since we had few minutes before the departure, I decided to relax a little. My mind was going through the little details we discussed and the party members I will spend the following week or two.
All of them, except me and Eve, were Gold Rank adventurers. And their companions were Gold Stars as well. Narima and Meera were three stars, while Rlani and Inri were four stars. All of them were strong by what I could tell from my first impression.
I knew Roland was a decent guy, but wasn’t sure about the rest. Horrace had an ‘I’m a Gold Rank’ attitude and Sebastian was too sweet for my liking. Kalim made an impression of someone reliable. ‘Less talk more action’ type of the guy, but didn’t seem arrogant or prideful.
Ah well. We’ll see how it goes. Frozen Mountains is unexplored territory and nobody knows what to expect. Hopefully those giants aren’t that bad. Worst case scenario we’ll turn around and go back. Unless someone decides to do something stupid.
- Enjoying some peace and quiet? - Roland disrupted my thoughts.
- I was. - I smirked.
- Hah. Sorry about that. I came to tell you we are almost ready to depart. - he informed.
- Ok, I’ll go get Eve. - I said.
- See you at the wagon. - Roland went back.
Eve was excitedly telling Farla about something. Seeing Farla’s face expression I dared not to ask what they were talking about.
- Hi Farla. - I greeted her.
- Hello TC. - she smiled.
Yep, I definitely won’t ask.
- It’s time to go Eve. - I said.
- Oh, ok. See you later Farla. I’ll tell you the rest when we get back. - she said goodbye.
- Bye. Be careful and enjoy yourselves. ‘Wink!’ - Farla winked at me.
Sigh... I knew they weren’t talking about the weather.
- See you later Farla. - I tried to act normal.
Roland was waiting for us at one of the carriages.
- Hop in and make yourselves comfortable. - he said.
We climbed in and sat down at the free spot. Everyone else was already inside.
- Remember, your quest is to make contact with the Frost Giants. - Vorin was seeing us off. - Avoid fighting them even if they were to attack you first. And be careful. We know nothing of what you may encounter up in the mountains.
- Won’t be a problem. They can’t be stronger than slightly oversized Orgob. - Horrace was oozing with overconfidence.
- Horrace! - Vorin looked at him. - Remember why you are going.
- Yeah, yeah. We want to be friendly. - Horrace toned down.
- Ok, of you go. - the Guild Leader gave the signal.
It was exactly midday when we left the city. All of us, except Kalim and Narima, were sitting in one carriage while the other one had food and supplies. It would take several days for us to reach the mountains. Then probably few more days on foot up the mountains, depending on how fast we will find the Frost Giants.
In reality, nobody knew for sure how long it will take us to reach any of the Frost Giants settlement. Add to that freezing cold and the low chances for us to find any food, and it makes sense to stack on supplies. The road ahead wasn’t looking too exciting, at least at the beginning.