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Everything just wasn’t working out today. 

First, she spilled tea on her favorite bathrobe. And then Jaikur tracked mud onto it! Stupid bear. 

When Kana happily informed her that there was a Shadow Reaver camp near the Keep, she wasn’t excited at all. With Ammon and Zhjaeve up her ass over reforging the sword and Grobnar singing nonstop, her patience was very thin. Minuscule infact! The only thing keeping her sane and not hurting everyone in sight was Sand, and even he was a little agitated too. But Kana insisted that this was “a very important task that need to be handled as soon as possible.”

So off her and her party went that afternoon, heading south to the camp. It wasn’t too far away, a day’s trek in total. She took Khelgar, Sand, Casavir, Ammon and Bishop, who wasn’t eager to go either. He had been following her around all day, much to her dismay, and witnessed her shout at Sal for making her eggs scrambled. Who then proceeded to growl at anyone who even glanced her way.

Yeah, she wasn’t in a good mood today.

’At least I didn’t bring Grobnar with us, or I would ask Bishop to slit my throat.’ She sighed, dreading having to climb an incoming hill. At least it would give them a vantage point on where the camp was. They reached the top and had to stop for Khelgar, who was wheezing. Everyone else wasn’t feeling good as well; even Casavir was breathing heavy. Bishop was perfectly fine though, staring at Briale out of the corner of his eye. 

“Damn hills,” Briale complained, wiping her forehead. Casavir put a comforting hand on her shoulder and she turned her head toward him, smiling. Not without catching the dark look she got from Bishop behind him. She took a deep breath and turned toward her tired group.

”We should be there within an hour or so. Then back in about a day and a half, depending on how it turns out.” She said determinedly. 

Oh how wrong she was.

The battle was tough. The Shadow Reaver kept spawning minions left and right and Ammon couldn’t read the True Names scroll quick enough. Briale wiped a bead of sweat off her forehead and looked over at her companions. Khelgar was fighting two shadows at once, with Casavir right behind him taking down a wreath. Sand was near Ammon, raining down wide ranged spells. Bishop was no where to be seen, but Karnwyr was tearing through enemies like it was a breeze, Jaikur helping him. It seemed like there would be no moment of rest.

A sudden movement in her peripheral caused her to turn her head to a skeletal warrior lifting his greatsword high, and she prepared for a nasty wound when an arrow flew past her — very closely — and hit the skeleton in the skull, killing it. It landed to the ground with a loud thud, and she looked over to the ranger, who was staring over at her.

His yellow eyes were sharp, and she couldn’t help but shiver from them. They always had that effect on her. He might’ve been a bastard, but gods be damned was he good looking. She let out the deep breath she was holding and his eyes narrowed a little.

He gave her a smirk and she smiled, thankful but not for long. ’Oh no.’ She gasped. 

Everything seemed to move in slow motion. He raised an eyebrow but the other followed shortly after.

“Bishop look out!” She yelled and reacher out, but it was too late, for a skeletal warrior dug his long sword into the gut of the ranger. It went to the hilt, and Bishop grunted. He took the dagger on his belt and stabbed the skeleton, gritting his teeth.

’No no no no no!’ He pulled the sword out and dropped to his knees, holding the stab wound. He looked up at her before falling over.

Her legs wobbled as she ran over to him, falling down to his level. “Bishop!” She picked his head up and put it in her lap, careful not to move him too much. His breathing was unsteady, and his eyes were lidded.

”Fuck, fuck, fuck! Don’t you die on me you bastard!” She shouted as she ruffled through her pack, searching for bandages and healing potions. ’Where the hell are they?!’ 

Panicked, she ripped off a piece of her leather armor and pressed it into his wound. He hissed through his teeth as she poured a healing potion directly onto the wound. 

It just wouldn’t stop bleeding! She tied the material around him and looked up to see Khelgar decapitate the Shadow Reaver. ’Finally!’

”Sand?!” She shouted, seeing the moon elf turn around. His eyebrows rose as everyone ran over to her. Ammon was looting the bodies while Khelgar and Casavir watched helplessly. ‘Of all the times to be helpless, don’t let it be now!’

”H-He won’t stop bleeding! Help me!” She ordered, and Sand quickly started casting healing spells. Casavir mumbled a silent spell and Khelgar rubbed the back of his head. 

“He won’t live with those wounds. Especially if they’re poisoned.” Ammon stated. Briale groaned. ‘I didn’t even think about poison!’ 

Sand threw the warlock a hasty look. “Not helpful. We have to get him back to the Keep as soon as possible. My healing spells aren’t as good as Zhjaeve’s or Elanee’s, my dear.” 

Briale watched the steady rise of his chest. She couldn’t bear to lose another person to this damned war. Especially...

Especially him.

“He’s in stable condition but if you had brought him in later he would’ve bled out.” The healer looked at her with disdain. No one in the Keep likes Bishop that much.

Actually, not at all.

For Briale Surana to barge into the Keep demanding a healer right then and there for Bishop was...peculiar to everyone. For all they cared, he could bleed out and probably save them the trouble of having to deal with him. Since she is the Captain, they had to obey her orders. Though she didn’t hear the end of it from Neeshka.

”Of all people to save, you save him? Briale, what the hell?” She screeched. Briale rolled her eyes. She didn’t have to explain her actions to anyone. She was the damn Knight Captain, not them!

Briale took a swig of her ale and rubbed her temples. If she had to hear one more person scold her for healing Bishop, so help them Gods...

”I’m sure she had her reasons. Questionable reasons, but reasons no doubt.” Elanee chuckled, sipping her water. Neeshka rolled her eyes at her.

”Come onnn, it’s Bishop! No one likes him! If I were her, I would’ve just let him bleed out on the ground for all I care. He’s been nothing but a burden on us since we rescued Shandra!” Briale’s heart panged at the mention of her old friend. If she were here, she’d be defending Briale and helping her feel better.

Briale’s ears perked up at the sound of a voice asking for the Knight Captain, and she turned around to see one of the healer’s aides standing there. He spotted her and walked over to her. ‘Please be good news, please be good news, please..’

”I bear... unfortunate news.” Of course it was unfortunate news. Briale sighed and crossed her arms. The aide gulped and pulled his collar away slightly, as if constricting him.

”T-The man you brought in to us is in stable condition, as Healer Farel said, but he won’t be able to move around much due to where t-the, impaled him.” Well, that’s not too bad of news. It’s a bit of an annoyance considering how useful he is, but she’ll just bring Grobnar along if she needs an archer. Or maybe not, considering how he was singing sad ballads about Bishop.

Gnomes are odd people.

Briale stood up and nodded, smoothing out her armor a bit. “Can you take me to him?”

”Y-Yes, though when I left, he was asleep, s-so he might still be when we get there.” The aide smiled nervously. Briale nodded and let him walk first, lost in her thoughts.

They trudged through the courtyard and Briale couldn’t be more relieved to hear that he was okay. 

Her relationship with Bishop was...complicated. There had never been a declaration of feelings between them, and there probably will never be, considering how Bishop feels about love. Did she love him? Maybe. Maybe love was too strong of a word to use...

’You love him and you know it.’ Her mind taunted. She sighed.

Yeah, she probably loved him. It wasn’t hard to, despite the fact that he was unbearable to be around sometimes. But then again, who wasn’t? Sand can be a pompous ass sometimes, and Casavir was too overprotective of her to even consider having feelings for him. She knew he was in love with her. Anyone could see that. But he was too good for her. He saw her as a God more than a human. She’d rather take a dodgy ranger than an obsessed paladin.

The aide pushed the door to the room Bishop was in open, and there he laid. His chest was bare, beside the white bandage wrap around him. ‘He looks damn good...’ His toned stomach was better than she’s ever seen, and his biceps...

Stop it Briale, you’re drooling.

She gave a nod of thanks to the aide and shut the door behind her, taking a seat near the bed. He looked... peaceful. Not alert or hardened like he usually was when he slept around her. Or around others, at least. 

She reached out to touch his chest when her hand was caught in a vice grip. She swallowed meekly and looked at the ranger, another hard look on his face. ‘Damn.’

”Isn’t this a surprise?” He said with a flat tone. She gave an embarassed smile and he let go of her hand, placing it back on his chest. She couldn’t help but look at his chest again.

”See something you like, Captain?” He asked suggestively, a smirk on his face. She shook her head roughly and stood up, recollecting herself and praying he wouldn’t notice.

Which of course he did, but he wouldn’t admit that.

”Just checking in on you. That would looks bad.” Briale said cooly, crossing her arms. He snorted.

”It feels bad. Worse than having to listen to Casavir preach about the holy righteousness guidelines you have to follow. Or worse than Grobnar’s terrible singing.” He closed his eyes, breathing in. It looked painful. 

“I bet. The healer said you would be out of running missions with me for a while.” He shrugged.

”As if I care. It’s not like I want to go anyways. Laying around is better than hearing you trudging through the land breathing heavy like a boar.” Bishop snickered. Briale narrowed her eyes at her. Such an ass!

”Good thing I’ll have Casavir with me then. At least he can handle it.” She smirked. She knew it would get to him. 

His eyes snapped open and he glared at her. Knew it!

”I bet you just can’t wait to be with the paladin. Makes me wonder why you’re even here now than listening to him sucking up to you.” He sneered, causing her to roll her eyes. 

“What can I say? I like to be unpredictable.” She smiled. He rolled his eyes and looked out the window. That woman can be insufferable.

Bishop looked over at her. Her brown hair came past her shoulders, two thick strands tied up in the front. Her green eyes watched the fire in his room dance around. She looked beautiful in the fire’s glow.

‘Dammit Bishop, stop it!’

He never wanted to travel with her anyways. If it wasn’t for that worthless elf calling his debt due to save that farm girl, he would be halfway to Waterdeep by now. He watched her in the shadows, bickering with the paladin and laughing at the wizard’s remarks. She was tough, wielding two kukris that glowed with dark energy. When she had first come up to him, she came back at his insult with a witty remark. That’s how he knew she wasn’t like the rest of them.

Why she’s even working for Nasher, he wouldn’t understand. He could tell she didn’t want to do it; laws were of no importance to her. She did as she pleased, despite the backlash she would get from the paladin. He admired her for that.

Sure, they’ve tumbled in the same bed before, but he would never be with her. To get tied down like that just wasn’t his style.

’Even though you want to be..’ his mind taunted. He narrowed his eyes.

She’d be better with the paladin or the elf. She’s too good for a hardened criminal. 

Despite that, she still had faith in him. She still kept him around, bringing him on every adventure they got. She even took his advice with the battle against Lorne.

He would never understand women.

She stood up slowly, brushing dust off her clothes. She gave Bishop a warm smile.

”Well, I better leave before Kana sends a search party after me. Gods know what she wants now.” She rolled her eyes. Bishop’s lip curled up slightly.

”My offer to leave still stands, Captain.”

”Trust me, if I didn’t have to be here to run this stupid Keep, I’d take it. I really would.” She smiled sadly. There was true sincere in her voice.

”You don’t have to do anything. Fuck Nasher and Neverwinter. They don’t matter. We can leave before the battle, hide in the forests and travel. I overheard you saying that you wanted to travel to the dwarf. You can.” Bishop jeered. Briale looked down at the floorboards, seeing the cracked stone display a pretty patern. She looked back up to Bishop, who was frowning angrily.

”Even if I could, there’s no way you could travel in your state. I’m not having you die on me now ranger.” She laughed. Bishop rolled his eyes. ‘That must be his favorite thing to do.’

”I’ve suffered through worse, trust me. A stab wound isn’t gonna slow me down, especially with a...delicious target in front of me.” His voice lowered to a seductive tone, his yellow eyes looking her up and down. She shuddered and blushed, looking back at the fire. He always had that effect on her.

”I...I-I see,” she cleared her throat, trying to keep the blush down, “I told you already Bishop, I can’t. The least thing I want right now is to be called a traitor and deserter of Neverwinter and be hunted for it.”

Bishop frowned, looking away. “If that’s what you wish. I’m sure the paladin will help keep you in check.” Briale sighed in exasperation.

She turned to him and glared. “There is nothing between him and I. You know that. I would never be with someone who gets hard for a God. I’m not like that.”

Bishop laughed, a real laugh for once. She sure did make his heart flutter.

”You keep telling yourself that, Captain. I’ll make sure to send my best regards to both of you at the wedding. That is, if either of you survive.” Bishop said sarcastically. She raised an eyebrow at him.

”You can send that if you survive. You’re fighting with us there, you know.” His heart panged. He never told her what his plan was. 

“Yeah. Right.” He swallowed hard. Her features turned to a look of confusion, but was quickly replaced with a blank look.

She shook her head and walked to the door, pulling it open. ”I’ll let you rest. Good night, Bishop.” She said softly. He gave her a dry look.

”Good night to you too, Captain.”