Of course this would happen to him, Bolderfall usually has some of the best info around especially the shady tavern in the under parts of the clefts. To be fair it was accurate info; There was a treasure, It might've been worth enough to buy a whole town who knows, and the Ravus' definitely weren't kind to Therion who snuck in to steal this fabled Dragonstone or whatever they called it.
That last thing was for certain
It couldn't have been some low profile thief that started getting cocky after one successful heist no, instead it was one of the best thieves in the land who fell for such a stupid trap and such an obvious set up. As he set the last of his things in his bag a sigh fell from his mouth. It was early afternoon if the day was going well he'd usually be in the Tavern for a cup of mead or two instead he was ready to hit the road on request of the Ravus family.
-Earlier that day-
"Find the other three Dragonstones and bring them here." Heathcote explained.
"And what if I decline?" Therion replied flately.
"Then feel free to wear that mark of shame for the rest of your days or until you lose your arm, It's really your choice"
"Heathcote!" Cordelia cried obviously upset with what the butler implied.
Just remembering that made his blood boil but Heathcote was right Therion really didn't have a choice in the matter. He needed his arm for his profession and constantly hiding his wrist was out of the question honestly that would be a huge pain in the ass. Climbing up the stairs fists clenched he looks out to the clifts in the distance causing another sigh to fall from his lips, Speaking of huge pain in the ass getting across the clifts via the tiny shaking bridge was going to be 'fun'.
"Why do I do business here again?"
"Was the intel not good enough"
Without another word Therion turned to the man that had somehow creeped up behind him, He wasn't shocked or scared but being that quiet was some sort of gift. Was this guy really just a regular old butler?
"No no it's great.." Sarcasm oozing out of his mouth at every syllable. "Why are you here anyway?"
"We came to see you off!" A familiar voice claimed still trying to catch up with Heathcote apparently.
"That really isn't necessary." He scowled.
"The Lady insisted we do so."
Whose guarding that last stone then? No wonder the other three were taken so easily. Therion decided it was best he kept his mouth shut and just let out a 'whatever' kind of grunt as he pushed past the two of them towards the north entrance to the town.
"Noblescourt right?" He waited for the butler to confrm. "Great rich snobs and stuck up scholars this will be a piece of cake." Once again sarcasm thankfully it seems the other two didn't hear his antagonistic ramblings. Without another word he turned his heel and left ignoring the 'take care Mr. Therion.' he heard from behind.
Noblescourt was all the way in the Flatlands there's no way it's going to be a short trek. The fastest way was certainly to travel through S'warkii but he needed better supplies before he could even attempt to cross the Frostlands. I could always go down through Clearbrook but then there's the problem of the gods damned desert too. Before he knew it all his planing was put on hold as he came up to a bridge across the gorge.
This is why the Cliftlands are the worst.
He carefully put one foot on the bridge after temporarily putting his map away, there's no way he'd half ass this walk across this rickety old bridge seriously shouldn't someone make them more stable? He shook the thoughts from his mind to focus on his steps more then anything, his hands were on both ropes to his sides and every gust of wind made his heart skip ten beats at a time.
"Almost the-" a gasp flew from his mouth as his feet slid through the bridge after breaking one of the planks luckily he was able to grab onto the next one but only by a few fingers. His slim body squirmed as he tried to pull himself up when a gust of wind shook the bridge causing him to lose his grip and plummet.
He didn't have time to keep panicking he was falling again, and fast. Trying to keep the heinous laugh from over taking him he landed on a not so far clift before continuing to the bottom. Therion felt a sharp pain in his shoulder where he landed, if this keeps up. He held out his hand hoping expelling fire from his palm would stir enough force to stop his descent if even just a little.
It might've worked if he thought of it earlier but the momentum was too much by the time the fire left his hand. Therion collided with the ground for the second time in his life and as much as he was trying to stay conscious his body gave in letting the laugh he tried to keep out lull him into darkness just like before.
"Oi Tea leaves I wanna talk with ye" His partner looked serious even after after all the drinks he's had.
Darius never wanted to talk with him while they were resting, he always talked to his ale about how their heist was a success but this time was different. He took Therion out to the clift sides leaving their safe house behind.
"This is a rare occasion usually you have 2 more drinks before your ready to throw in the towel."
"Pfft aye don't worry 'bout me. Ye the one that you should be worried for."
"Excuse me?" He was utterly confused, even when he's drunk Therion could usually tell what Darius was thinking he's a complete open book. "You think the Ciannos are gonna come after us? Those guys don't know a Ruby from an Emerald." He let out a small snicker but soon realized Darius wasn't too fond of that remark instead he pulled out his trusty dagger he always keeps with him.
"Aye but they do know a dead man from an alive one." That's all he said before striking Therion in the shoulder giving the smaller thief barely anytime to react. "Yo see, the Ciannos offered me a place in their ranks in exchange for your miserable existence. gets me riled t'see that even though ye 'so much better then'me that you still fall after only a singl' strike." He laughed that loud, hearty, obnoxious laugh of his for the whole town to hear.
"Where is this coming from?! We just pulled off our biggest heist yet!" He didn't have the strength to stand for long he was already tired from their mission and the fresh stab wound was making anything easier. "Partner-"
"Don't call me that! I'm tired o' listen' to ye! I'm done with ye thinkin we equals! Ye nothin' but a small stone on me way to the top."
"So that's it then? You think you'll be a better thief when I'm gone. You'll screw up and nobody but a bunch of imbeciles will be there next to you, and what would they do? Leave your clumsy, uncoordinated, weak self behi- hng!" Darius grabbed him by the hair showing his eye that he keeps covered, looking directly into it not that'd do anything.
"That's how ye feel huh?" Darius slashed his chest as deep as he could which wasn't all that bad due to the thick layers Therion always wore. "You're worth nothin' to me, nothin' to this earth, the only use you'll ever be is t' the Birdian that'll be circling your corpse after you paint the ground red." With that last remark Darius shoved Therion down, laughing all the while. "WHAAHAHAAHAH Not too clever now are ye!? HUH!?"
======== signify the beginning and ending to a nightmare sequence! It'll happen one in at least every chapter~
Chapter 2: Clearbrook
Therion wakes up in a panicked state after suffering from his injuries in Bolderfall
This long boy took AWHILE but I hope you guys enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Where am I? There's talking but, who is talking anyway?
"Listen Alf it's been a few days now and you still haven't figured out what to say yet, Are you really sure we shouldn't take up the offer to have him moved somewhere else? Clearbrook isn't exactly the place for... thieves." It's obvious the more sensible of the two was worried, if anyone in town knew about the fools bangle adorning their patients wrist there was sure to be complaints about helping someone like Therion.
A thief? Me?
"I know I know, I couldn't just up and leave him though Zeph. He was hurt so badly and you could tell if he didn't get help soon that he'd.." Alfyn's voice trailed off not wanting to continue. "Die..." He grasped his vest nervously. "I'll think about it, I swear this time! We've just been so busy tending to him and the others around town so it's been a lil' hectic."
I guess I'm not dead then...
"You can say that again." Zeph laughed. "But hey when he does wake up tell him who his hero is!" He gave Alfyn a big ol' grin.
"So the merchant that was passing through the Cliftlands on her way to Clearbrook?" Alfyn joked jabbing Zeph lightly in the ribs. "Go on it's almost dinner time I'm sure Nina's tired of waitin' for ya."
"Ah shoot yer right! See ya later Alf oh and if you need dinner don't hesitate to stop on by~"
"Only if Nina's the one cookin' that is!" They both laughed as Zeph stepped out of the house waving goodbye before closing the door. "Alrighty then gotta mix up some more nutrients first and- Sweet Dohter you're awake!" Alfyn immediatly dropped what he was doing to walk over to the bed Therion was residing in. "How are ya feelin'?"
Therion shot up defensively when Alfyn came towards him, he felt for his dagger but soon realized that he was stripped of all of his weapons and almost all his clothing entirely. He grabbed the closest thing which was an unlit candle stick from the nightstand to point at Alfyn. "Don't.. come...near-" Before he could finish his 'threat' Therion dropped the candlestick to grasp his shoulder instead.
"Woah now it's okay." Alfyn held up his hands. "Let me get you some water, I can't imagine what ya throat must feel like." He retreated back to his work area to retrieve some water that was stored there. "Here, if ya can't hold'it I can help ya." Stubborn as he was Therion didn't trust some random water, that some random hick was giving him. like who was this guy anyway? Why'd he take him in? Why'd he care. After awhile of staring the man clad in green down Therion eventually took the glass carefully as to not spill it. "Go ahead and drink it all, I got me some more water if you need. Yer gonna need that voice too so I can get a good idea of how yer injuries are healin'"
Alfyn just stared there expectantly waiting for Therion to drink everything then waited to see if he wanted more which he did and Aflyn happily complied. "You were in pretty bad shape back there. The worst seems to have passed." Before Therion could move Alfyn took the glass from his hands placing it in the spot where the old candlestick was. "Oh before anything! I'm Alfyn, Alfyn Greengrass one of the apothecaries here in Clearbrook sorry I should've mentioned that sooner." He let out a slight chuckle.
What was so funny? The fact that I'm here at the mercy of some back water, scruffy looking hick? He let out a sigh giving in to that stupid looking smile. "So?" He sat there waiting for Alfyn to continue talking which sure wasn't an issue the supposed apothecary ever faced considering ever since Therion woke up Alfyn hadn't shut up.
"Oh um how's yer shoulder? I managed to pop it into pla-"
"Bad, next?" Therion didn't even wait for him to finish talking before responding.
Alfyn just looked to the journal he was holding. "Ya had some burns around yer arm that I patched with some salve. They looked a lot better last time I checked but I wanted to know how they felt." Instead of that gleaming smile he actually looked serious but still cheery how was that even possible?
"Can ya move it alright?" When Therion went to move his arm to show it being fine the bangle slid on his wrist sounding with a 'clink' that Therion tried to hide immediately as if Alfyn hadn't seen it already. "Mhm a little stiff it seems, that'll clear up soon. The burns weren't severe but the injury did burn some nerves they just need a chance to rebuild." Alfyn smiled at him before he started writing down details in his journal. "Ya.. Don't have to worry, about the bangle I mean. Most people in town have no knowledge 'bout those sort of things. Heck I'd be surprised if anyone but Zeph an me knew oh he's my best friend by the way as well as my fellow apothecary kind of like a medical partner!"
I didn't ask medicine man
"Now let's see here. The pain you feel in ya chest is due to a few broken and cracked ribs nothing much I can do for ya there except give ya some medicine with anesthetic properties to sort of numb that area. Same with the gash in your si-" He stopped himself mid statement causing Therion to raise an eyebrow in confusion. Zeph had told him that it was dangerous to treat him, that the bangle was the mark of a thief. He couldn't deny care no matter who this man was, he didn't even ask for his name yet.
Therion waved his hand in front of Alfyn's face. "Can we get this over with so you can give me my stuff back?" It was a fair assumption that he'd have to wait for the whole medical questioning process to be over before even getting the chance to leave. Sure he could just get up, get his belongings, and walk straight out the door. Problem was his wounds were still healing, this over sized apothecary would most likely try to stop him, and honestly how far could he actually get with monsters outside of town at every corner? Not very.
"Did ya.." Therion's attention snapped back to the man in front of him instead of scheming about getting out. "You weren't hurting people right? T'get these injuries I mean." His voice grew softer upon the realization that he might've helped a murderer get back on his feet. Sure Alfyn could keep an eye on Therion the whole time to make sure every soul in Clearbrook was undisturbed, but he couldn't bear the idea of putting any of the town in danger.
"Stop." His piercing glare shot right through Alfyn's thoughts. "Nothing like that happened."
"So you remember what happened to you?! It would really help if I knew, I need t' look over your body to make sure ya back in perfect condition uhh.."
"That's my name, as for what happened..." Therion's voice stopped, of course he remembered falling through the bridge everything after that however was hazy. It's a sore subject he'd rather not talk about and instead just averted his eyes.
"If ya don't want to say what happened it's okay, we'll get through this together and get ya all patched up." He shot him a quick smile and nod before returning to asking about the different injuries he had noted during his first meeting with Therion. "Ya have a fresh gash on yer side which, paired with your shoulder, might make it harder to hold things especially weapons." The audible sigh from Therion wasn't happy at all rather it was more annoyed then anything. "You also have a few older looking scars-"
"They're older don't worry about them, Are we done here yet?" Cut off once again.
Alfyn shook his head in confirmation. "I'll keep ya here for a few days to make sure ya recovery is on the right track." He gave Therion a classic wink and thumbs up combo which didn't seem to go over well with his patient due to his annoyed look. "Zeph's cooking up some dinner at his place so I'll be back soon with a bit of food for ya. I have your clothes and weapons by the fire, let's see.. where did I put that darn cloth... oh!" After rummaging around he handed a large soft cloth to Therion. "When ya got here Zeph and I washed yer body with some of our freshest water, Clearbrook is kinda famous for that. That was a few days ago so if ya wanna go wash up while I make you a light meal go right ahead! Otherwise ya can stay here and rest."
The dim house hid Therion's flushed cheeks. "You washed my body? Along with all my clothes?" His tone gave away that of someone who was furiously holding in their anger. He wore several layers for a reason after all, sure he knew he was almost naked now but in the middle of town?
"Mhm all but yer small clothes that is." A sigh of relief left Therion before he attempted to stand up with a few struggled grunts, soon realizing that trying to stand with almost fresh injuries was the worst idea he had since trying to steal from the Ravus' which wasn't even that long ago. His legs were weak, sore, and slightly unresponsive thankfully there was the bed behind him to catch him in his fall. Alfyn also tried to catch him but decided against it not wanting to hurt him even more. "How bout I help ya after dinner?" Alfyn laughed nervously before aiding Therion in laying back down on the bed before leaving to get the food he promised before.
All alone in the house with nothing to do but lie there he was finally alone but that only left him with his thoughts. Alfyn didn't seem like a bad person at all 'Don't trust em' that coarse yet familiar voice haunted his very being. 'I'm not dumb Darius there's no way I'd ever trust someone I just met' The conversation in his head made him feel sicker then he already did. The anest- whatever that green giant said must be wearing off, I should be more worried about the food for now but..
"Seems like the perfect chance to stick some poison now that you know I'm not good enough to have around." He didn't mean for the words to come out aloud it's just what happened when he had something on his mind. Therion often kept to himself but he was alone so it didn't matter what he said
"I wouldn't do that."
Or so he thought.
Therion's head snapped to the door. Did he really not hear the other man come in? Was his senses really becoming that dull? No wonder he failed to steal from the Ravus family he can't even fool this guy. "I can't give ya too much since it might mess with the medicine in yer system, If ya still wanna wash up after dinner I can help ya. If not then I can give ya some of the meds you need with some sleepweed. If not for sleepweed then ya might be up all night from the pain, it's yer call." He scratched the back of his neck nervously waiting for an answer.
Of course I've heard of sleepweed, would that not be the perfect opportunity for someone to come in and just end it all. Doubtful.. some miraculous force saved me twice from that clift fall I doubt I'd be taken out so easily by this guy or anyone else in this town for that matter. "Fine.." The man smiled setting down the food carefully onto the bed it sure wasn't much but that didn't stop Therion from inspecting then wolfing it down, After all he hadn't eaten in a few days.
"Get some rest it's late we can get ya cleaned up in the mornin'. Honestly I was surprised by how late it got while we were talkin' I guess friends do that yeah? I mean I'll tell you what they were already gettin' into bed over at Zeph's place, good thing he's such a good friend to leave out plates for us an' all." Alfyn spoke happily while stripping down into undershirt and smallclothes getting ready for bed.
Friends? With you? Yeah right.
"Goodnight Therion~" He got comfy into a pile of blankets on the floor not even waiting for a reply from Therion who just let out a simple grunt before rolling onto his good side letting the sleepweed take effect.
-The next morning-
The birds were chirping, people outside were chatting happily, children from the town were playing while laughing along the paths. All of that sound could be heard from the inside of the small house Therion drearily woke up in. It couldn't have been too early judging by the fact that Alfyn was already out around town, that sleepweed really was no joke. Picking himself up caused several grunts and groans to escape his mouth, getting up wasn't easy but it was a hell of a lot easier then yesterday was.
"That guy really knows his stuff huh? What was his name? Alfryn?"
"Alfyn!" There was a small voice outside cheerfully greeting what looked like the very man Therion was thinking about.
"Hey there Nina what'chu got planned for today huh?" The green giant as Therion has come to know him as disappeared from the sight of the window when he bent down to talk to the young girl.
"Lily and I are gonna play! We have the WHOLE day planned out! How's your patient doing?" Little Nina tried to sound professional like Zeph or Alfyn but it just caused a laugh from the apothecary instead.
"He's doing great, I still need to check on him so you run along with Lily okay? I wouldn't want to throw a big ol' hitch in yer plans by talking to you all day."
"Okay! See you later Alf!" She ran off waving to the other young girl up the road. Alfyn stood up with a grunt waving back to her before entering his house.
"Ah yer up! Great timing, I just got done checkin' in on Meryl's pa. How're ya feelin'?"
He was still tired and groggy but managed to show Alfyn he could actually stand on his own this time instead of falling back onto the bed. "Better, just hungry..."
"Ah of course, of course here." He held in his hand a shiny red apple served up with a smile so bright it could've rivaled the sun at midday. "If ya still wanna get washed up there's a place under the bridge that's outta sight. I go there all the time." The last line didn't call for a whisper which irritated Therion. It's not like he wanted to get all buddy buddy with this guy for more reasons then one, for the most part it's due to the fact that he talked WAY too much. Secondly he wasn't about to make the same mistake he did 10 years ago.
"Yeah I got that." He grabbed the apple from the Apothercary's hands as well as the cloths for drying and washing himself that were offered last night which were placed neatly by his folded clothes. "You washed my clothes right?" He waited for a sound of confirmation before pulling out his undershirt and pants. There's a lot that he was willing to do but walking around in a town where he knew nobody was not one of them. "I'm off." After getting half dressed he went for the door to finally step outside for the first time in how long?
"Just go east when ya walk outside, then you'll see the place I was talking about!" Alfyn waved him off cheerfully from the door to make sure he was walking alright, Though it seemed he had nothing to worry about compared to yesterday Therion's body seemed completely stable. That is until two girls ran rushing past Alfyn who was staring at the door and one one them who the town knew as Lily ran right into Therion almost knocking him over.
"Hey! At least watch-" He stopped mid sentence to see the girl's almost crying face, what could he do? Therion could say something or help her up considering that'd be the nice thing to do before he could though Alfyn had already rushed to help Lily off the ground and quickly checked if she had any scrapes.
"Yer all good now, Run along." He patted Lily on the back to redirect her around Therion who was still just standing then not knowing what to do. "Watch out fer other people on the road now y'hear?" After giving him a nod the two girls continued running east of town. "So full of energy those two, Ya feeling alright there bud?"
"Yeah.. great." Without saying much else Therion continued to the promised secret spot of privacy where he could finally get all cleaned up without that annoying guy around. He did take notice to the surprising clean water of the creek guess Alfyn really does know what he's talking about, never mind him. This was finally his chance to be alone, stretch, crack his bones (Well besides his ribs that were already cracked), pop his joints, and just relax. Therion rested in the water for what felt like an hour occasionally scrubbing down his body removing the seat and dead skin leaving most of it feeling refreshed. Hair already washed was pulled back away from his face revealing the scar over the other eye, He looked to the reflection of the water annoyed this time over how clear the water was showing a perfect image staring back at him. Letting out a sigh he finished up, quickly drying his hair to place it where it has always been then drying the rest of himself off to put his underclothes back on for the first time he's been awake. Thinking back on it now he should've just grabbed everything from the house to take off and leave town, but maybe Alfyn would've found that odd. He gathered up the pieces of cloth he used to wash and dry himself before making his way back up to the central part of town.
"Perfect timing! There's someone I wanna have ya meet." Suddenly Therion was being pulled off the path to what he presumed to be Alfyn's house moving towards the eastern side of town instead. "This heres Zeph! My childhood friend and fellow apothecary, he's the one that's helped me care for you this whole time to be honest he's the better Apothecary out of us two."
"Shucks Alf ya don't have t'go that far. It's nice to see ya recovering so fast Therion." He held out a hand hoping for a handshake from the thief with a what seemed like a forced smile.
So Alfyn told him my name? This Zeph guy doesn't seem very genuine though.. Therion took his hand anyway making no effort to hide the bangle on his wrist causing Zeph to wince though it was obvious he was trying to hide his disdain. So that's it huh? "Don't get a lot of thieves here do you?" Therion just went for the kill causing Zeph to look even more uncomfortable. "Not that anyone in this town has much of anything. No point in taking from others who have next to nothing."
Zeph shot a glance to Alfyn hoping he'd help. "Therion tha-" Before he could even finished his statement a familiar crying girl came running up their group in a panic. She was breathing heavily and her face was all red whether it was from the crying or exertion Therion couldn't tell, what he did know was this was the same girl who ran into him earlier. Lily"
"Hey now what's got you all in a rush?" Alfyn kneeled leveling with the girl. "Yer crying again too what happened."
"It's Nina!" Therion noticed the sudden shift in Zeph's mood, switching to panic in a way similar to Lily.
"What about Nina?!"
"She... She got bit.." Lily sniveled before grabbing onto Alfyn and Zeph's sleeves running off with them to the edge of town.
"Doesn't have anything to do with me." Therion turned his heel leaving to his destination he tried to reach the first time before he was dragged off. Back at the house he started doing inventory of his things, noticing some items were missing it didn't bother him too much considering how far he fell at least his favorite weapons were still in one piece. Taking mental note of some things he needed Therion got fully dressed aside from bringing his sword, the dagger was enough to protect himself for the time being until he's ready to fully set off.
The door to the house suddenly swung open causing him to jump sightly. Alfyn rushed in going through his belongings with a tired huff and packing multiple empty bottles with what looked to be some other medicines into his bag as well as grabbing a large axe near the fire place.
A wood cutter axe? Hunting axe?
"Sorry 'bout rushin' in an leavin' so suddenly but I gotta make a trip t' the cave east of town. Poor Nina got a nasty ol' bite." Alfyn sighed checking all his bags. "I wouldn't recommend drinking in your state but the tavern does have some pretty good meals if ya get hungry just try and stay away from the mead even though it's awfully temptin'." Without giving Therion a chance to respond Alfyn almost got completley out the door before Therion grabbed onto his wrist.
"Slow down Medicine man." That line caught Alfyn by surprise for sure. "You're going to the cave with Zeph?"
"Nah he's lookin' after Nina."
"So you're going alone?" He didn't have to wait long for the nod of confirmation. "Fine, but I'm going with you."
"Huh? But yer still recovering! There's no way you could make it there and back..."
"You think I'm gonna slow you down? Give me a break." Therion held up one of the vials from Alfyn's bag. "You packed the meds meant for me instead of your concoction materials." Therion slyly smiled.
"Oh shoot!" Alfyn ran back to his table gathering what he meant to get the first time.
"My body might be in a weakened state though I guarantee that I won't slow you down. You however need to slow your roll." He crossed his arms carefully vile still in hand. "This'll numb the pain right?"
"Y-yeah." He looked sheepishly at the thief ashamed he almost made a terrible mistake.
"Good." Tipping his head back Therion chugged down the vile Alfyn had made for him prior. "Let's get this over with." Why he even offered to go to the cave was beyond him. To repay Alfyn for the medical care? To earn his trust even more to eventually steal everything he has? Who knows, it just felt right in the moment.
"I knew yer a good guy." He carefully patted Therion's back while closing and locking up his house. "Zeph was worried for nothing."
"I wouldn't say for nothing." Even though Alfyn turned his head for a second Therion was sure he didn't hear that part.
"Zeph's a real nice guy, a bit on the paranoid side it seems." He chuckled softly. The roads were clear making it all the more easy to get to the edge of town where Alfyn and Zeph picked up Nina. He made sure to point that out to Therion as well as all the different buildings and who lived there in a long bunch of details that Therion had no care for. When they got out of town they both decided taking hidden paths away from the monsters was a good idea, seriously how the hell did two little girls come out this far? And why for that matter? Alfyn spared no breath in asking how Therion was holding up or his he needed to sit down for awhile.
"Listen, if I need something then I'll say it out right." That was a lie. "Just take my advice. Slow down, that includes your thought process." Alfyn couldn't help but worry about every little thing, Nina was in trouble and the man he had been caring for is about to enter a Vipers den.
"Sorry I just, shucks it's so hard not to worry." He rubbed the back of his head causing even more stray hairs to go flying from the tie. "Zeph and Nina lost their folks awhile back now he's been having to care for both of them.. Poor things. I remember Nina wouldn't stop cryin' for days it was rough seeing Zeph act strong only to fall apart when he thought he was alone." It's not like Therion asked to hear his friends whole life story. "When I left his house he was lookin' at Nina the same way he used t' look at me. Worried, sympathetic, on the verge of tears."
"Wha-" Before he could finish they reached the entrance to the Cave of Rhiyo where the Viper would be. Alfyn unlatched the lantern he'd attached to his hip before they left feeling his pocket for what Therion assumed would be a match.
"Uh oh." Alfyn started frantically patting all around his vest pants then ended with his bag.
"No matches?" Therion rolled his eyes after speak in such a dull voice. "Hand it over." He breathed out with a exasperated sigh. Alfyn did as he was told unknowing to what Therion planned to do about the situation, He stared quietly watching Therion as he lit the lantern with a quick ember from the tips of his fingers.
"Ah fire magic! You're amazing!" He seemed more excited then he should've been but the praise was nice to hear. "Let's go, hopefully we can finish this up quick as spit." Alfyn decided to let Therion hold the lamp for them while Alfyn led them Axe in hand ready to strike if they got attacked.
Which they did, Multiple times in fact. Every time Alfyn had cut the beasts to pieces before Therion had a chance to react, now he definitely knew not to get on Alfyn's bad side if he didn't want to end up at the end of his axe.
Well now I know that if he really wanted me gone he wouldn't have to rely on poison.. Somehow that didn't make Therion feel any better. "Here!" Alfyn pointed to a clearing up ahead. What a sight it was, the light filtering in through the top illuminated this small section of the cave causing beautiful flowers to bloom in a small patch of grass. "Lily had said they went to pick flowers so this has to be the place." They both walked forward Therion was a little more hesitant then his companion.
"There's something there." The thief warned him sensing the cave rumbling beneath whatever would come out of the shadows.
"Well ain't you the fella we're here t' see." A noise sounding almost like rushing water started getting closer and louder to the two. Hisses sounded as the creature got closer causing Alfyn to raise his axe and Therion his dagger from his leg. "We need that venom for Nina! Let's get'er done!" Immediately after talking Alfyn threw himself at the large Viper making a decent slice through the creature. Despite wielding a large weapon he was fairly agile when it mattered, the attacks the Viper threw all missed and the ones that would hit were blocked with the axe Alfyn wielded.
"You have to move!" Therion called out as the large snake circled Alfyn trapping him in between his body. "No you don't." Therion jumped up stabbing the snake in the upper part of it's body near the head causing it to go limp long enough for Alfyn to get out, slicing bits of it's body on the way out. Therion who was was still hanging onto it's body through his dagger was trying to pull out his weapon before his foe fully recovered. The Viper whipped his head around throwing Therion against one of walls then to floor.
"Therion!" The Viper ignored Alfyn and quickly sped up heading straight towards Therion who was having trouble standing after the attack. "Hold it!" Alfyn held out his hand casting his ice magic towards the snake, slowing it down enough to eventually stop it in it's tracks before it got to Therion. He took his axe slicing near the chest of the beast to put an end to it's life, Therion just stared in amazement before fully giving into his limits. He was breathing heavy and his wound that Alfyn had meticulously sewn shut was ripping at the seams. "Hold on Buddy I got'cha!" He carefully straped his ax to his back after checking Therion's condition sure he was wounded (again) but it's nothing Alfyn couldn't fix and with that it caused him to exhale in relief. "We'll get ya back soon but first." He turned his attention away from Therion but only long enough to collect the very thing they came for, taking on of the viles in hand he carefully and very quickly extracted the venom from the beast. "Let's get you back home." Alfyn took a deep breath before lifting Therion into his arms, much to Therion's dismay though he couldn't exactly argue before blacking out.
"AH!" Therion clenched the bed sheets right when he felt the needle going through his skin closing the reopened wound, his panting was heavy teeth clenched in pain. Though that didn't seem to distract Alfyn who was getting close to sealing the last bit of the wound. He made sure not to struggle or move too much until Alfyn had cut the thread from his body.
"You can breath easy now. It's all over."
"You couldn't have done that while I was still unconscious?!"
"I had to take care of Nina, I'm sorry!"
"You should've at least said the numbing antesep- whatever you called it couldn't be taken again today." He flopped against the pillow arms lightly crossed. Once again he had to suffer without his shirt for awhile longer.
"Heheh sorry.. I.. Nina's doing a lot better, and.." His voice trailed off.
"Mm?" Therion turned back to Alfyn who became rather quiet all of a sudden.
"Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You saved me and risked yourself to help someone you didn't even know. I'm so grateful really!"
"Consider it payment for the medicine."
"Oh no I don't accept payments. I feel like I'll forever be indebted to you." He laughed nervously but Therion couldn't decipher why.
You don't accept payments? That's why you have nothing here huh? "You really are an idiot."
"I guess I am." Alfyn smiled back at the man in bed, there it was again a smile that was too bright to comprehend. A smile that Therion couldn't understand. "Alrighty get some rest, by the look of it you were hoping to leave tomorrow huh?"
"What? You wanna tell me to stay and rest up is that it?" His tone sharply accused Alfyn who was caught of guard by the sudden change in mood.
"No not at all, I was gonna pack you some supplies for the road that's it." The green clad man stood up to stretch. "Get to bed I'm gonna go check on Nina and Zeph one more time."
Therion wanted to shoot him a quick don't tell me what to do but Alfyn was gone before he managed to speak. Left all alone once again, being by himself made him realized that his cheeks were warm he sighed to himself dropping his hands to his side.
Don't do this to me again, Don't make me regret leaving
His exhaustion was becoming unbearable maybe he would take Alfyn up on that offer rest sounded nice after the day he had.
"Keep up medicine man." The white haired boy called out circling the serpent before delivering the final blow with his sword straight to the heart of the snake. "That's how it's done after all." Therion clapped his hands together before removing his sword from the dead beasts body.
"I really can't keep up with ya huh? You weren't jokin' when ya were boasting about yer speed." The taller man reached his hand out for a high five which Therion reluctantly went for. "We really do make a good team. Hows about we team up for good? I travel with ya t'get them dragonstones yer after?"
"Really? It'd be nice to have your expertise but what do you get out of it?"
"Well I owe ya for one, and honestly I'd really like to partner up ya know? Get to each other cause I think yer interestin'."
"Pfft sounds like you get the short end of the stick." Despite his words he held out his hands to shake Alfyn's "Deal." He smiled as they shook hands. "Uh you can let go now, Alfyn?" The other man held a tight grasp on Therion's hand no matter how much he tried to get away Alfyn's grip was too strong. "What are you?! Let go!" Ice started forming around Therion's feet working it's way all up his body before Alfyn let go of his hand.
He was trapped unable to move of look away from the sight in front of him. The same man who had cared for him so tenderly now was smirking devilishly at his body almost completely in cased in ice. Standing behind him another figure encased in shadows hid, A form Therion knew all too well. "Don't worry you won't feel a thing." He chuckled slyly before placing his hand on the ice in front of Therion's chest. He could feel his insides chilling, his heartbeat slowing down.
"Alfyn!" Therion shot up breathing heavily enough to cause pain to his ribs. He looked around frantically trying to find if Alfyn was in the room or not, a few minutes passed before his breathing slowed. "What was that about?" He looked out the window to see the sun rising greeting a new day to clearbrook where was again the birds were chirping happily. Therion slowly stepped out of bed, gathered his belongings, got dressed and walked quietly out the door hoping to now wake any residents. He looked to the east of town where he swore he could see two figures standing by a bunch of stones.
"Are ya sure about this Zeph? I mean it is YOUR bag."
"Yeah take it, Once you become the Apothecary you dreamed of being you can return it. But until then keep it." Alfyn delivered a heartful hug to his best friend in a attempt to hide the tears in his eyes. "Your ma would be proud Alf. No I know she's proud." Zeph gave Alfyn two hearty pats on the back before leaving Alfyn alone in the graveyard.
At this point Therion has snuck up to hear their conversation, right when he was going to approach Alfyn he stopped himself. "Ma if yer listenin' please watch over me, I'm still uncertain about this decision though. Zeph said that it was the right move, and I believe em' to achieve my dream of helping anybody and everybody I can't just stay in Clearbrook all my life. I just hope that Therion won't mind me taggin' along... Well ma I'm off, talk to ya soon."
Therion traversed back to Alfyn's house before he'd been seen and decided to wait for the Apothecary by the front door. "Oh Therion! I didn't wake you up did I?"
In a way, yes you did
"I got up on my own, I'm all packed to get moving out of here." He let out a deep sigh, Therion knew Alfyn was hoping to come with him and as much as Alfyn tries to deny it Therion really does owe him a lot.
"Oh I see, well if ya don't mind waitin' a little longer.. Um what I meant to say was I don't have much stuff so if want I can come with you! Your injuries still aren't fully healed and if anything else were to happen to you I could help!" Therion raised his eyebrow at this sorry excuse to bring him. He still wasn't too pleased with that nightmare but even with only knowing Alfyn for a short time he knew that wasn't what his personality was like. Then again Darius was nice to him in the beginning too. He looked back at Alfyn who still held a pleading look on his face which Therion felt like he couldn't say no to.
"Fine get your stuff we're leaving in 20 minutes." The biggest smile yet appeared on Alfyn's face before he went to hug Therion momentarily forgetting about his wounds the immediately apologizing for hurting him.
"Alrighty so where to next?" Alfyn smiled happily map in hand as the two walked closer to the edges of the town.
"I need to get to Noblecourt, I've already wasted so much time here so the faster the better."
"Weeell we could head east to Goldshore and take a boat to Noblecourt." Alfyn was drawing out and imaginary line with his finger.
"Couldn't we just sail from Stonegard if that's the case?"
"Stonegard doesn't have ports like Goldshore does. It'll be fine don't worry! We'll get to Noblecourt in no time!"
"So you say.." Therion was unconvinced but decided to believe his logic anyway. Turns out Therion wasn't aware how dangerous it was to have someone like Alfyn travelling with him.
Chapter 3: SunShade
In the lands of golden sand the two meet an unexpected group of travelers who all are sure to make unlikely companions.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Sweat dripping down the sides of his face, Heels dug into the hot sands of the desert, and the overly friendly chatter heard from a few feet away.
Just how much could one guy talk? To random strangers nonetheless!
"Ridiculous." Therion sighed under his breath waiting for his traveling companion to finish up his conversation with a nearby traveler.
The city of Sunshade was in sight. Therion could just leave Alfyn to his chatter and head for the city on his own, though walking in the sand partnered with how much they've walked already He wasn't sure he'd make it. His body was still torn apart from the Viper but, he did insist they both keep walking while heavily hinting that he wanted to get to Sunshade today. By the sound of it they wouldn't make it in the next year, so of course Therion had to do something.
"Arg!" Therion keeled over suddenly in the sand with a loud enough grunt to make sure Alfyn could hear, and sure enough the apothecary turned at the sound.
"Therion!" Alfyn apologized quickly to the traveler before running off to where Therion was lying. "Oh gods, Therion are you okay?!" He partially lifted up the other carefully avoiding any of his injuries.
"Yeah I jus-" He let out a dry, raspy cough. "Water?"
"Right, right! Come on let's get you to town." He helped Therion up putting his arm cautiously around his waist and holding Therion's arm over his shoulder to help him walk to town. "Gosh you should've said something sooner, agh no it's my fault I'm sorry for taking so long."
Yeah you should be.
A small smile of relief formed when his plan worked, He knew they were out of water and there's absolutely no way Alfyn could ignore his plea after 'collapsing'. "Thanks, I think I can take it from here." Therion let go to begin walking on his own even if he never needed Alfyn's help in the first place as they entered the city. Thankfully there was no more slippery sand that was hard to walk on, instead the city has cobblestone which already took a huge pain off of both their backs.
"Have you ever been to Sunshade before?" Alfyn smiled to his companion.
"Nope. It's to hot." In a rare turn of events Therion had loosened his scarf to allow air to his neck.
"Let's get a room at the end so we can get you nice and hydrated! I hear the Tavern here is really somethin' though! It's not just for drinkin' or conversin' but instead it's got a giant stage where dancers perform."
"If we're just getting drinks why don't we head to the Tavern now? We'll get a room later after some good info and mead." Therion paused, he was able to feel that icy stare of Alfyn that vaguely reminded him of his last night terror. "Alfyn?" He felt his heart stop just before Alfyn gave him a big old pat on the back.
"Of course you can't drink that yet! Listen bud I'm always for a big glass of Mead but in your state we need to get ya some water. Hahaha" That laugh. That laugh filled with happiness and glee despite the fact that he said nothing to be happy about.
"You can order me a water if you don't trust me then." Before he gave Alfyn a chance to respond Therion tugged him by the sleeve pulling him away from the entrance to the inn.
"Don't ya at least wanna leave your things in a room? You sure do look awfully warm in all those clothes." Therion stopped walking and let out a sigh before pulling Alfyn by the collar to where his ear was almost touching Therion's lips.
"Do you want to be put in a gaol?" He waited for Alfyn to shake his head 'no'. "That's exactly where we're gonna end up if I take this cover off, got it?" Alfyn then shook is head in understanding before he was able to stand up straight again. "Sunshade isn't Clearbrook. If they have any reason to put you away they won't hesitate."
"Even if you ain't done nothing wrong?" Alfyn skipped to catch up to Therion who was already a good ways into town heading for the large building in the back.
"That won't matter, I have physical 'proof' of a-" He stopped talking when he heard 2 citizens talking about an establishment owned by a man named Helgenish.
"What's wro-" Therion quickly covered Alfyn's mouth to continue listening. Apparently he was the man that owned the building at the entrance to the town as well as the performers who use the Tavern here as their stage. "Did ya really need that info though? We were already goin' to the Travern."
Therion let out another sigh as he continued to the Tavern where he saw a guard let two 'well off' looking people in for a fee. The implication turned his mood sour faster then the hot weather had, Alfyn never charges for services so of course he didn't have money so that meant..
"Good day sir." Therion let out a tone Alfyn has never heard before despite not leaving his side for days. "This is the place right? Dancer's, drinks, and fine company?"
"Ye what of it?" The gruff tone of the man only seemed to be an act though Therion could tell he clearly had one too many drinks on the job.
"We were summoned here by Master Helgenish. We got word that one of his Dancers has twisted their ankle, and as you can see my partner here is an Apothecary." He motioned to Alfyn.
"He can go for free, you however have to pay the fee." The man held out his grubby hand towards Therion. "10,000 leaves for entry." Alfyn coughed at the price finding it hard to stay silent at the sheer amount the man was asking for.
"Of course." Without question he handed the man a small sack of money then waited for him to count and approve of the transaction. "Don't worry we'll be reimbursed once the master hears about our job well done." He shot a smile at the guard before pointing to the building so many people were wary about at the entrance of town causing the man to follow his finger. "Usually we work at his estate if the master encounters any problems."
"Oi no wonder I've never seen you two b'fore."
Therion nodded before bowing his head slightly. "If you'll excuse us we have a patient to treat. Come on Alfyn." He marched ahead with Alfyn following close behind.
Reaching inside Alfyn turned to Therion smiling at him. "That was amazing! It's a shame you had to end up paying him, 10,000 leaves ain't nothing to scoff at. I wonder why entry is so much." Alfyn pulled out a chair at one of the smaller tables motioning for Therion to sit beside him.
"It's nothing." He kicked his feet up on the table. "The people of this town have more then enough to cover it." Alfyn's expression dropped obviously not happy with what he was implying.
"You mean to steal from everyone to make up for that money?"
"Some." He threw a large coin purse on the table in front of the other man. "You just have to know who." Therion's eye didn't leave Alfyn's face waiting for him to peer inside the bag.
"Criminy!" He looked back up at Therion shocked. "When did you?!"
"That oaf outside isn't too good at his job let's just say that." Alfyn's look of amazement when back at the bag before Therion snatched it away again.
"I... I didn't even notice." He shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"Of course you didn't, I'm not well known for nothing." He threw a different coin purse at Alfyn which was considerably lighter and familiar to him. "Go on, I'm still thirsty as hell."
"This is mine!" He pouted to Therion who then motioned to look inside. "Wha-" The purse was filled with a small amount compared to the other bag he had, Alfyn looked back up to meet Therion's uninterested gaze. "But why?"
"You gonna get the drinks or are you just going to sit there?" Alfyn stood up quickly probably due to excitement if Therion had to guess.
"Yeah! be right back!" He ran off excitedly to the bar leaving the other boy alone finally giving him time to observe the company of the other customers of the bar.
Most of them were exactly as he expected, Lavishly wearing clothes and jewels to show off their status as wealthy patrons. "It's like a massive jackpot." His eyes made their way to a table filled with 5 others who obviously stood out. "What the hell?" He spent a long time examining them, there was a girl with a braid covered in fur, A posh looking man who seems like he's the only one able to afford the entrance fee, A young girl with a large bag and a hat, A soft looking girl in all white along with blonde hair, and lastly there was a girl wearing a dancer's garb standing next to the table talking with them.
His attentions was cut off by the sudden thump at the table. "Okay I know I suggested water but get this while I was up at the bar there was a large swordsman who recommended getting some flavored water since it had more nutrients, which made me question why didn't I think of that." Therion's attention shifted back to the other table and sure enough a large swordsman that Alfyn had presumably met at the bar sat at the table with the others. "So here! They told me that they mushed apples for the juice then mixed it with water, You're always eatin' apples so I got it for ya!" Alfyn had a large grin on his face looking so accomplished with himself.
"...Thanks?" He took a swig of the drink testing if it actually tasted good, to his surprise it actually wasn't bad too bad other taverns don't sell this. He'd stop drinking mead if that was the case but it seemed to only be a Sunlands specialty and there's no way Therion would put up with this heat willingly again.
"That really hits the spot! 'Course it's got nothing on a good ol' classic glass of mead but it'll do for now."
"It's not like you can't drink, I'm the one with the Doctor's orders." Therion put his feet down to visually cross is arms and pout at Alfyn.
"Oh well.. I'd feel bad drinkin' in front of you an' all so I got me one of these drinks too." He held up is glass. "I shouldn't be drinkin' before I give ya a check up too, can't have me makin' mistakes or missin' something."
"Ladies and Gentlemen! I have the pleasure to introduce to you all the finest dancer in all of the Sunlands!" Therion and Alfyn turned towards the stage where a man stood in front of a curtain. "May I introduce you to the lovely, Primrose." The curtain opened up to reveal the dancer Therion had seen earlier chatting with the oddball table as he now refers it.
As the woman known as Primrose began dancing Alfyn became entranced directing his attention fully to the stage while Therion half heartily paid attention. "She's amazin'! It's like she's makin' a rhythm with just her body and moves~"
"Ah so that's the type of person you're into." Therion rested his elbow on the table, chin in hand smirking at Alfyn who was blushing.
"No! I uh-" He nervously was trying to explain himself. "I guess it's the mysteriousness of her I can't really explain it.." Therion's attention switched to a large man in the corner of his eyes. He wasn't there when Alfyn was getting drinks or when they arrived.
"An assassin? No." The large man was talking to one of the workers Therion's eyes followed him as he walked out of the bar, but his attention shifted to the gasps of the theater and more clear was Alfyn who was shocked next to him. He noticed the Prim rose had jumped from the stage in hot pursuit of the man.
The group that had caught Therion's eye before started moving after her as well trying to catch up it seemed. "Well that's strange." He downed the rest of his drink causing him to exhale after he swallowed.
"I got it!" Alfyn stood up quickly obviously excited about something, what exactly is there 'to get'? "That group that just left, I think they had a cleric!"
"And?" Why should they care? Did they really need to be excited that there's a cleric?
"We have to follow them!" He grabbed Therion's arm pulling him out of the Tavern and after the group that ran out before them. "An Apothecary can do a lot of good sure but I think that girl can help getcha bones mended a little faster ya know?"
"Hold up.." After running to the edge of town where they saw the group last Therion bent over, hands on his knees trying to catch his breath. "When we first got to Sunshade there was a cavern near town. That's probably where they'll end up."
"Should we cut them off then? It's true that it would be easier on your body I'm in!" Alfyn raised his fist. "Alrighty let's go this way." He pointed to a second entrance of town. I heard from the traveler that I was talking to, that way leads you to a small overlook so we'll definitely see them!" Therion nodded, he wasn't too sure why he was going a long with this so willingly but Alfyn did mention his bones getting fixed even if it's just a little bit the pain was a constant problem that he didn't have time to wait for.
Climbing up to the overlook wasn't so easy at least for Therion it wasn't. "Wait.. Do you hear that?" They both stopped expecting not to hear anything but the winds blowing sand. "It sounds like voices?" A man and woman's voice could be heard a little up ahead but it didn't seem to be the people they were looking for. Up at the peak they got their answer, down below on the sands was a lone woman fighting a large man with a dagger. "It's that dancer."
"We have to help her!" Therion stuck his arm out stopping Alfyn from jumping down. Just then two of the lackeys started heading towards Primrose swords in hand ready to cut her down. "Therion!" Before they reached her however an arrow flew from the cavern down below along with cracks of lightning magic stopping them from doing her any harm.
"Excellent timing if I do say so myself." The man from the tavern who wore fancy looking clothes boasted as him and his group stepped out into the open.
"Thanketh thou for smelling outeth our friend." The woman with a braid pet the enormous leopard beside her.
The dancer looked back at them elated to see the group had her back. "Thank you." She turned back to the large man surrounded by more individuals.
"What are you waiting for!? Take care of her 'friends' but forget not that I will be the one to put this kitten down." Just like that the other men rushed past the dancer to the group that was behind her while Helgenish threw himself at Prim dagger in hand as the exchanged blows almost like a dance.
"She's gonn..a need a hand." Therion felt a little too weak to stand completely on his own.
At the Tavern.. the look in her eyes was familiar, they were hurt and sad..
"It'll take too long to help you down there." Alfyn put his arm around Therion's waist holding him up straight, he in turn put his hand on Alfyn's shoulder to steady himself.
"Die whore!" Helgenish dived to attack her, Therion threw his dagger directly into Helgenish shoulders before falling to his knees softly. Primrose took the opportunity to drive her dagger directly into his stomach ending the battle.
"I will never dance for you again, swine." She retrieved her dagger shaking the fresh blood from the blade. "The second blade." She looked up to the peak where Therion and Alfyn were. Alfyn was checking if Therion could stand on his own but was pushed away.
"We came here so you could talk to the cleric, go. I'll be fine just make it quick." He nodded at Alfyn who nodded back before making his way down the cliftside. Primrose's eyes followed Alfyn as he climbed down the mountain.
"Prim!" She turned her head towards the group approaching that pulled her into a hug, the merchant especially. "We were so worried when we heard you yelling. Are you alright?"
"Just a few scrapes nothing major thanks to H'aanit and Cyrus. Thank you all for coming after me. I just wished it was a bit sooner." She looked towards the body of a young dancer motionless in the sand. "He'll never hurt anyone ever again."
"We couldn't help but worry when he unleashed that final attack." The larger of the two males came forward. "I was almost sure your stomach would've been slice before his."
"Yes Olberic you are correct, It seems I had some help." She turned the groups attention to the top of the mountain where Therion sat watching the group come together.
"Hiya!" A little out of breath Alfyn disrupted the gathering to greet them. "Sorry to bother ya'll, my friend and I were wondering if we could talk to ya." He directed his question towards the small cleric. "Oh sorry for my manners, The name's Alfyn Greengrass pleasure to meet ya." He held out his hand toward her.
"Ophilia Clement." She smiled back. "It's a pleasure to meet you Mr. Greengrass~" She bowed before taking his hand in a shake.
"Ophilia dear, It would be better if we talked back in town. It's dreadfully hot out in the desert." As theatrically as he was this man was right.
"Of course Cyrus let us return, Mr. Greengrass-"
"Just Alfyn is fine, or Alf if you wanna be like my friend back at home."
"Alfyn we have 2 rooms back at the inn, We'll be waiting in the lobby for you and your friend."
"We'll be there!" He nodded to the group quickly turning heel to get back up to Therion, he was injured after all but even so the thief caught on and began to slowly make his way down the path they traveled before to meet up a little quicker.
"Aye are'st thou certain of thy travelers?"
"They don't seem like bad people at all, but if we had too." The small merchant flexed her arm. "We can take them!" The group chuckled their way through the desert after giving Yusufa a proper parting and leaving the incorrigible man known as Helgenish to rot in the burning sands.
Therion was able to make it back to town before Alfyn even got to the second entrance of town. Not much to do besides wait for the Apothecary, Therion didn't know what the plans were with the other group so he surely didn't want to walk into town without Alfyn. For all he knew it could they could've set up a trap against him, or worse sold him out to the authorities for whatever reason.
Maybe Alfyn told them about me stealing from the residents here? Maybe he wanted help apprehending me... even though I..
He stopped, It's best not to think that sentence all the way through.
"Therion! Over here!" Alfyn was waving from down the road hollering for him.
Once Therion made his way over to Alfyn they both began walking to the Inn per Alfyn's lead. "Don't just go shouting people's names. It could be troublesome."
"Oh sorry, hehe I'm jut so excited for ya to meet them! They all seem really nice, well Ophilia does oh she's the cleric I want you to see."
"Ahh so she's your type then." Figuring they were headed to the inn Therion took the lead while Alfyn was embarrassingly trying to hide the obvious blush on his face, again.
Therion stepped in first and was met with the large Swordsman along with Ophilia. "So you are Alfyn's friend we heard about." She clapped her hands together. "I'm Ophilia Clement a sister of the church who hails from Flamesgrace." She held out her hand. "It's a pleasure." Even though Alfyn had shaken her hand earlier Therion wasn't eager to greet new people especially ones like Ophilia.
"Therion." He reluctantly met her hand with his.
"Sorry he's had a hard past couple of weeks." Alfyn rubbed the back of his neck afraid that Therion might ruin their chance to get some help.
"It's no problem, come. We have two rooms here we should talk with Prim too she wanted to have a few words with Mr. Therion."
"Just Therion is fine." With the 'Mr.' added it sounded like a certain other person he didn't want to think of right now.
"If you insist." She chuckled. "Oh yes and this is Olberic." She motioned her hand towards the large man beside her before they started walking down the hall.
"Nice to meet you Olberic! That must've been awfully confusing in your travels. I can't imagine how many people must've thought you were Olberic Eisenberg, The Unbending Blade himself back from the grave!" Alfyn enthusiastically raised his arms up in a manner where he was careful of the hall walls.
The older man chuckled. "Well let's just say I'd feel sorry for other warriors with the same name." He opened the room to where Primrose was sitting up in the bed. H'aanit was beside her along with her large snow leopard.
"We're back~" Ophilia chimed bringing in both Alfyn and Therion. "Olberic would you please go get the others? I feel it would be best if we all got to talk and know each other together."
"Of course." He smiled then left the room.
"You." The girl in the bed who Alfyn knew as Primrose pointed directly at Therion. "You're the one that threw that dagger correct?"
"It certainly wasn't this guy." He pointed at Alfyn who was beside him.
"I wanted to thank you, if you hadn't injured him then.. that fight would've gone the complete opposite way." She held out a dagger to hand Therion.
He walked over to the bed to accept or more so to look at the dagger she was handing him just as the other 3 walked in. "It's mine?"
"Indeed." She nodded with a smile. "I wouldn't want you to walk around without your weapon after all."
"Thanks." He went to grab the dagger.
"Halt!" Therion immediately froze realizing he let his guard down, when he turned to the women who yelled at him he felt the chains on his held out wrist rattle. "Thee is a thief no?" She shot her gaze at his wrist then back at him. "Thy Fool's Bangle telleth no lie."
He grabbed his dagger despite H'aanit's accusations letting loose a sigh, feeling everyone's eyes on him. "Yeah." He stored the dagger on his thigh freeing up his hand to hold it up for everyone to see. "I came here per Alfyn's request to have me looked at and Ophilia agreed to have us both here. If you.. Don't want me here then I'll go."
Please let me leave, these stares are burning a hole through me I can't take it anymore!
"Therion." Ophilia's voice snapped him out of the daze he was thrown into. "You helped Prim, and Alfyn has put his faith in you right? Then I will listen to you both out." She gave him a gentle, warm smile in an attempt to make him feel more comfortable though it only made him a little more anxious about what to say next.
"I'll just come right out and say it then." Alfyn spoke up amongst the silence. "He's been put through the ringer to say the least. He was brought to Clearbrook battered and bruised, honestly if he hadn't received help from Zeph and I Therion wouldn't be here right now."
"You helped him even knowing what that bangle means?! Seriously Thieves are the absolute worst." Tressa stuck her hands on her hip.
"I couldn't let Therion die." Alfyn looked up at him eyes full of pity. "His bones haven't mended, he even had burn up through his arm. I was told about what the bangle meant from the person that I trust the most in this world, but that didn't stop me from caring for Therion. I'd say more but I don't think he'd want me to say it with this many people around." He let out a nervous laugh.
"You two do seem close, He was the one you buying drinks at the Tavern right?" Olberic crossed his arms.
"That's right, Originally I was gonna help him then let him go off to take care of whatever he needs to do. Before I could even get him back to 100 percent one of the kids in Clearbrook was poisoned by a giant Viper near the town. I was originally gonna take the journey alone but Therion's the one that fought to come with me even when he was still recovering and when I was about to be attacked he stepped up to help me then. Others can see that bangle and call him whatever they want, all I know is without him Nina and I wouldn't be here anymore."
Therion pulled up his scarf in an attempt to hide his face. "Alright then~" Ophilia joined her hands together on her chest. "Is that what you wanted to ask of me? To help speed up the healing process?" Alfyn nodded his head. "I accept, We can take you to the boys' room where you can rest after I use my magic will that be alright?"
"I suppose it's going to have to be." Alfyn and Therion followed Ophilia to the room across the hall, of course it had to be unlocked so Olberic followed the 3 not only to give them access to the room but to also watch over Ophilia to make sure she was safe.
"Please know that you'll have to remove a few of those layers." Ophilia blush to herself turning around to avoid looking at him. Just as he was told he started removing both his scarf and mantle leaving only his battered undershirt. Therion gave her a small 'kay' to let her know he was ready for her to start.
"Before you start, Therion may I have your dagger." Olberic walked up to the bed Therion was already laying down in. "Just as a precaution." Nothing else to do but comply, he couldn't blame Olberic for being wary these people didn't know him after all. "Thank you. Ophilia do your thing." He patted her lightly on the back causing her to nod happily in return.
"The pain you feel will be from your bones being joined together. I possess light magic along with healing magic that will help return your body to the way it's meant to be." She adverted her eyes with an expression Therion could only assume was sadness, but why? "Um outer scars will remain in tact, I'm sorry I can do nothing for you there. However this magic will only speed up your recovery by a large margin, you'll feel like your drained of energy and won't be at your best until a few days from now. Is that acceptable?"
"Better then what I'm having to deal with now." Taking deep breaths while being a bit nervous caused Alfyn to put his hand on Therion's shoulder.
"Would squeezing my hand help?" A hand was offered to Therion but was quickly swatted away. "Alrighty then, I'll be here if ya need me 'kay?"
"Then I shall begin." Ohpilia placed one hand over her chest and her other slightly above Therion's chest. "O' Sacred Flame grant me the power of light to turn back time allowing this body to return to how it once was." A flash of white light came from her hand enveloping all around to transfer into Therion's chest, even though it looked so peaceful and elegant the process turned out to be one of the most painful experiences he's had to deal with almost like he had relived the pain of hitting the canyon ground again.
Through clenched teeth you could hear his heavy breaths and desperate attempts not to scream out, He grasped the bed, shut his eyes tightly, and anything else he could think of to distract himself from the pain he was obviously feeling. So obvious that Alfyn placed his hand over Therion's clenched fist in an attempt to distract him from the pain.
"Aelfric bestow thy blessing upon this soul and heals his wounds." The light left Ophilia's hand to be completely absorbed inside of Therion who had stopped squirming and was just left breathing heavily. She fell back on to the bed behind her softly tired from using so much magic. "Therion? How do you feel?"
"It.. hurts less to breath." He hoisted himself with the last bit of energy he had left. "It does seem like it worked." He felt his chest and sure enough there was considerably less pain then there was before.
"I'm so glad~" She smiled again at him. "The exhaustion should really only last today, so eat up and get a good night of rest."
"I'll make sure to talk to Cyrus about you two staying with us, we're the only two in this room so he should not see it as a problem." Olberic nodded and smiled at them. "Come Ophilia you must get some rest as well, Prim also has some injuries that should be looked at."
"Ah yes let's get her better too." The two of them were heading for the door to leave Alfyn and Therion on their own.
"Wait! I'm an apothecary I can help Primrose I'm sure! I'll be there as soon as I make sure he's gonna be okay." The two of them looked at each other and just nodded in confirmation.
"Just knock on the door alright? We'll be waiting." With that the two left the room leaving only the thief and apothecary.
"How ya feelin' bud?" Alfyn placed himself on the edge of the bed slightly bent over to check how the other was fairing.
"She wasn't kidding about being tired.. I feel like I'm going to pass out." He wiped the sweat from his face while finally getting control over his breathing.
"That means it's already workin'! Get some rest 'kay? I'll be back in a bit with Olberic and Cyrus was it?" He patted Therion's leg before getting up."
"Hold on there." Therion quickly grabbed Alfyn's wrist though immediately let go when he realized what he'd done which caught the other by surprise. "Um, I just wanted to know what you were planning on saying back there, when you were defending me... It's nothing actually don't worry about it." He shouldn't be defending a thief not when all 6 of them were going to cast me aside.
"Oh that? Sorry it's not really something I thought you'd like them hearing but.. I was going to mention how you'd never betray me or them. When you woke up you looked so terrified, I couldn't getcha to say your name, I could tell that ya didn't trust me, you even were wary of the food no matter how hungry you were. It made me think that someone must've hurt you real bad in the past, I won't pry or nothing that's just the feeling I got." Alfyn opened the door to leave. "I'll be back soon duty calls!" He lifted his satchel from beside the door and gently closing the door after he left.
"I don't need your pity."
Hours passed through the afternoon to the night without word from the other 7, resulting in Therion rummaging around the room he couldn't sit still forever. Though he could always get up to wonder around town but without his dagger the idea didn't sit well in his stomach, he did end up finding a tome that details techniques for practicing fire magic it wasn't much but at least it would keep his mind of the pain and the fact he's trapped in this small room. More time passed until he heard voices in the hallway that eventually stopped in front of the door to the room, voices that were vaguely familiar till the door opened and confirmed his suspicion.
"Oh you're up! I'd expect you to still be restin' a bit, how's that chest feelin'?" The man who abruptly entered the room followed by 2 others behind him, one taller and the other shorter.
"Painful enough to keep me up.." Therion closed the book to place it beside him turning to Alfyn who was dimly illuminated by the lamp he was using to read.
"So ya haven't slept at all?" A frown quickly formed on his face with worry. "I'll whip ya up somethin' to help with that don't worry. Oh and before I forget I picked up some food for ya in town, it ain't much but Ophilia suggested something light until tomorrow." Aflyn handed him some mixed fruits that were glazed and chopped finely.
Ophilia isn't the one who's fucking starving
While he ate his fruit the two other men that were with Alfyn stepped up. "It's a pleasure to meet you, I never got a chance to officially introduce myself I am Cyrus Albright, A professor from the university of Atlasdam currently searching for a missing tome from one of our archives." He bowed to Therion one held out and the other on his chest. He certainly had a theatrical way of introducing himself.
"As you know I am Olberic Eisenburg, I wanted to apologize and return this to you." The large man stepped up with Therion's dagger in hand.
"It's about time." Therion took the dagger slipping it once again to the holster on his thigh. "As I'm sure this big mouth mentioned already I'm Therion."
"Oh my tome!" Cyrus rushed over to the bed snatching away the tome Therion had been so invested in. "Are you to in the pursuit of knowledge to better oneself?!" He excitedly stood there unable to keep still and from what Therion could see eyes gleaming.
"Not a chance." This guy already annoyed Therion to no end with his constant blabbering. "Just bored to death in this room without being able to sleep."
"Well that'll be a problem no more my friend." A bottled concoction was held out to him. "Mixed sleepweed and some pain relieving herbs! Now you'll be able to sleep while also getting back to not being in pain even faster."
"Speaking of sleeping." Olberic spoke up before Therion had a chance to respond. "We should get sleeping arrangements out of the way."
"Yes certainly, well based on our size to fit two to a bed it would be most advantageous for sir Olberic and dear Alfyn to sleep in different beds due to their size. As for Therion and I we are considered smaller so we should pair up based on those combinations." Though that much was obvious Cyrus took pride in explaining the reasoning for the match ups.
"Since I'm smaller then Olberic I guess I can sleep with Cyrus? Therion's pretty small so having him sleepin' with Olberic would make the most sense." He looked to Therion who was just now finishing his food. "Sound good?" all Therion offered was a nod.
"Sounds good to me as well." Olberic claimed getting ready for bed along with Cyrus and Alfyn.
After about 10 minutes of everyone getting properly prepared for bed and getting Therion some of the medicine to help him through the night they all laid in bed in the suggested combination of Therion with Olberic and Alfyn with Cyrus. Which seemed good enough for everyone thankfully the beds at the inn were a fair size enough to give everyone the proper amount of room they all wanted. Therion was never one to use a lot of room anyway but kept his dagger beneath his pillow, Olberic on the other hand slept on his side his weapon also nearby him for safety measures. The other two however weren't even trying to get to sleep their constant babbling filled the room more then Therion would like.
"Old man." Therion poked at Olberic's backside.
"Hm?" Olberic responded not moving an inch when addressed.
"Is this always how he always is?"
"Pretty much I usually just ignore it until he falls asleep, your friend as well?"
"Not friend, but yeah." They both sighed in discontentment before Therion ended up getting out of bed and making his way to the other bed. "I realized that you gave me medicine to help me sleep but if you don't shut up then none of us are going to be very happy in the morning."
"Oh my apologies we were just discussing the use of herbs in a way that would be useful in-"
"Cyrus." Olberic called out. "It may be best for you to sleep over here instead, you may feel less inclined to converse if you were with someone who won't talk back hmm?"
"Oh um yes certainly I must apologize again I know you have had a long day Therion." Cyrus lifted himself out of bed to make his way over to the bed Therion just came from.
"Sorry Theri we kind of got carried away." He chuckled lightly.
"Don't call me that." Once again Therion got into bed, slipped his dagger under pillow, curled up and fell asleep easily without the chattering throughout the room this time.
"He's down. We can move in for the finishing blow." Therion looked to the girl beside him who narrowly avoided being slice in half my the man in front of them. "Without my dagger I'll have to wait for a good opening for a sword attack."
"You can leave the final blow to me, I have more then enough reason to bury this sorry excuse of a man beneath the sands." They gave a nod to each other before employing their plan. Therion called a quick spell of fire to his hand casting it beside Primrose to aid in her attack which she executed swiftly stabbing Helgenish through the chest planting her dagger besides Therion's that he had thrown earlier.
"Good riddance, Your friend can rest easy now." Therion fell to his knees relieved that the long battle had finally ended. "Let's get back to Alfyn so he can get us patched up."
"Yes let's." She pulled the two the two daggers from the lifeless body before joining Therion a few feet away. "You're tired from THAT?" She chucked. "You must be exhausted Therion." She held out her free hand to help him up from the ground.
"The trek here was grueling combined with stress I guess." He accepted the help retrieving his dagger from her other hand in the process.
"There's little need to worry now, The others are waiting for us we shouldn't keep them waiting." With Therion in the lead and Primrose close behind him the two turned to head back to the town where they could rest.
"YOU, Oi Tea Leaf." Before Therion had a chance to turn around and arrow shot from where he heard that familiar voice right into his leg causing him to fall to the sands.
"Wh- Dar-" He was soon cut off by the sudden weight on his back. "Prim? He's still alive!"
"I know~ I have very specific instructions from my master, so sleep quietly now." A short gasp was heard before she dug her dagger into Therion's back followed by an exhale of breath.
Therion's eyes shot open unable to move due to the body attached to him which he pushed away in an attempt to get his bearings straight. He looked down at the body next to him still breathing heavily from the sight he was forced to witness and there he was Alfyn had apparently attached himself to Therion in the midst of sleeping.
What an idiot
Therion rolled Alfyn over to his side of the bed before laying back down, not to sleep just to lay down in the dark room amongst the sleeping noises of those with him.
Without much of a word everyone had basically the same idea in mind, get dressed and ready to leave town. According to Cyrus there was an investigation going around to find the person that harmed Helgenish so staying in town long wasn't an option.
"How'd ya sleep." Alfyn who was gathering his scattered materials from the table finally managed to wake up enough to start chatting.
"Better after you and that professor stopped talking." It was a straight up lie but what else was he supposed to say? Oh yeah 'Prim stabbed me to death in a dream after I heard the voice of someone who makes my stomach churn to no end.' absolutely not happening. He sighed deeply. "Are there any side effects to your medicine?"
"Hmm? Uhh not that I know of? Did it not help last night?" He removed a tome from his bag checking through what seemed to be an ingredients booklet filled with herbs and other materials.
"Well yeah I was able to sleep but.." He stopped himself, It's been a few times now. Not like nightmares were anything new to Therion but usually they only consisted of him falling not any of the recent nightmares have been about that though. "Never mind it's just my imagination."
Alfyn was about to argue that it did in fact matter however a knock at the door stopped his voice. "Therion! Alfyn! Come downstairs, H'aanit made us all breakfast!" Saved from having to deal with Alfyn's worrying the two of them left the room together.
"One more thing, can you not wrap your arms around me in the middle of the night." It was more of a demand rather then a question, but even so Alfyn stood in the door way redder then the Prim's clothes.
"I oh um I can explain, um... Y'see Zeph's always tellin' me I got this bad habit." Alfyn was moving his hands around rapidly trying to explain himself.
"Next time it happens I won't be so nice about it." With that Therion left an embarrassed Alfyn there as he continued to the lobby area he assumed everyone else was, Alfyn caught up quickly seemingly over the conversation they just had.
"Oh they're here~ Good morning you two." Ophilia greeted them sweetly. Apparently there was a small dining area in the inn where everyone else was already sitting, H'aanit had used the inn's food and supplies to cook up what smelled to be a mix of savory and sweet ingredients. She offered the two of them a full plate at the table with both her and Primrose, Alfyn happily thanked her and Therion was a lot less enthused but still thankful none the less.
"Alfyn." Primrose's voice seemed serious. "Have you thought about our offer?" Therion looked back and forth between the two.
Offer? What offer?
"Yes I have, You said that you needed an apothecary to accompany ya to Stonegard." He sighed. "I'll have to decline, ya see as I mentioned yesterday Therion and I are headed to Goldshore. While Stonegard is on the way we need to get NobleCourt as fast as possible."
They want Alfyn to join them?
"I never said I needed you to join me in my mission." Therion coldly said before taking a bite of the packed buns H'aanit had placed in front of them.
"Thou must be delusional." H'aanit's icy glare never left Therion's direction.
"Alfyn spendth the last day worrying for thee, yet thouest have not a single qualm about casting him aside."
"That-" Therion banged his hands on the table unable to come up with a rebuttal.
"Relying on others is not a bad thing Therion." Primrose calmly chimed in. "We'd be happy to have you both travel with us if leaving Therion is your only concern Alfyn."
"If it's okay with everyone then I don't see a problem with it."
"Well I sure do!" Tressa raised her hand. "That man's a thief after all, how long til he steals from any of us."
"Who even are you?" Therion leaned back with a smirk obviously trying to anger her which it did.
"Now, now let's calm down." Ophilia's voice became the voice of reason along with Prim's. "Therion if there really is no reason to decline won't you both join us? In exchange for accompanying us we'll do what we can to help make your job easier as well."
There's that feeling again all 7 pairs of eyes were on him, He looked to Alfyn who still wore a guilty expression over denying them an apothecary.
"I get it okay, As long as none of you slow me down I guess I'll join you." Obviously happy Alfyn jumped up from his chair cheering.
"You won't regret it Therion I swear! We'll getcha to Noblecourt quick no problemo."
"We'll see about that."
The rest of breakfast went smoothly, light chatter filled the room as everyone talked about how they met. Apparently it all started with H'aanit who's looking for her master and eventually met and helped the others along the way. Their team was going to stop in Clearbrook to find an apothecary but instead stopped in Sunshade when they met Primrose and decided to help her.
After everyone was finished up they packed up, checked out, and headed east towards Cobbleston which would lead them to Stonegard. With H'aanit, Linde, Olberic, and Cyrus leading the group monsters were never a problem. For now.
Ah Sorry this one took so long, but with the chapters being longer and with more characters it takes a good bit longer but I hope you enjoyed it~