“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!”
Britaska Pine turned from where he was greeting his wife to grab his daughter as she launched herself at him. He smiled as he listened to her laugh as he spun her around. The work he did was worthwhile but he found he much preferred them moments when he returned home to his family.
“Have you been good while I was gone?”
Delvenie giggled. “I’ve been having adventures” she told him. Ignoring her mother’s tired sigh, she lunched into the story of the dark creepy dungeon she had been exploring. Full of dangerous traps and terrible creatures. Like Spiders!
Shoving a piece of paper into her father’s face she concluded with, “And I found this treasure map!”
“She’s been in playing around in the attic again.” Her mother explained as her farther put her down and looked at the scroll of paper.
Recognising it he winced slightly. “She’s been getting into her grandmother’s things.”
“It’s a pirates’ treasure map.” Delvenie happily exclaimed. Children had a very clear-cut view of the wold. She knew her Grandma had been a pirate. This piece of paper was hers. Ego, this was a map to pirate treasure.
“Actually dear, this is a deed to a piece of land,” her farther tried to explain.
“What’s that mean?”
“It means there a piece of property somewhere that you grandma, er, was given. It’s not very clear how big it is or what’s on it. It could just be for a field somewhere.”
“Can we go check? Maybe there is something buried on it.”
“Sorry honey, see here?” he pointed to the mark at the bottom of the scroll. “This isn’t a royal seal, it looks like a local magistrates mark. Your Granma travelled a lot. We can’t even be sure what kingdom it’s in.”
“Oh,” Delvenie thought about it, “Well, when I grow up, I’m going to travel places to. Maybe I’ll find it.” Suddenly she looked shy as she realised what she said. “Um, I mean, after I join the Order. I’ll travel then.”
“Oh, honey.” Britaska knelt down. “You don’t have to join if you don’t want to.”
“But I do, I want to be a hero like you” then she looked down and mumbled, “I want to make you proud.”
“Listen, I’m sure no matter what you do I’ll always be proud of you,” He lifted her chin up, “Here, why don’t you take this?” He handed her the deed. “Maybe you will find out where it’s for. But you have to take care of it, ok? If you lose it, you’ll never know.”
Delighted Delvenie hugged her father. “I’ll put it away safe right now!”
Turning she barrelled away up to her room, not paying attention to the conversation between her parents.
“Are you sure that was wise?” Her mother asked.
“That old thing’s just catching dust up there. It’s not worth anything to us. Besides, she’ll probably forget about in a week. Now,” he moved closer to his wife, “As much as I love my daughter, I believe she interrupted my welcome home.”
Jewel toned laughter, a deeper pitch then Delvenie’s, rang out and then was cut off as the two kissed.
“You be careful there my boy.” Vale smiled at his friend as he poked carefully at the side of the old ruin.
He was so grateful to have the ghost around. He didn’t like remembering the time between running from his village and finding this place but it was a loneliness he never wanted to go back to.
He knew he had been lucky to reach here, and even luckier to find someone that he couldn’t hurt. He tried not to dwell on the fact that it was because his friend was already dead.
Things still happened around him some times.
Vale was pretty sure that the storm last night hadn’t been his fault but that didn’t mean that it hadn’t rattled something lose. Long experience with the old ruin meant that places could become unstable even in good weather. Best find the problem areas now.
“Could you check to see if this bit of the roof is still intact?” He asked his friend.
“Not a bother, not a bother,” the old ghost floated upwards. “You’ll be alright here? Don’t go poking too hard now.”
“I’ll be ok,” he replied, his cloak turning slightly pick at the gentle admonishment.
As the ghost checked the roof Vale poked a piece of brick along the wall. A slight grinding noise was all the warning he got before a whole section collapsed downwards.
“My dear boy, are you all right?”
Coughing Vale tried to reassure his friend, “I’m ok, I got out in time. Just some scrapes and bruises.”
“Oh good, good.” The ghost floated nearer. “Now I thought I told you to be careful?”
Cloak now definitely pink Vale cast around for something to distract his friend from his scolding.
A brass orb glinted from the rubble.
“What’s this?” he picked it up
Habits of life had the ghost squinting at the trinket. There were some strange runes etched onto it but absolutely no clues as the where it had come from or what it was for.
“Humm, perhaps it’s from some sort of larger piece,” his friend mused. “You know, we used to have so many wonderous item come thought these halls in my day. You should have seen it. This used to be a fabulous place to live back then. Fabulous.”
Now totally diverted the ghost looked nostalgically over the grounds of the ruin.
“Will you tell me?” Vale asked happily.
“Of course, my boy, of course,” Vale listened to his friend tell a story about when he was alive. He had heard this story many times before but it was always nice to hear his friend speak of the old days gone by.
It was nice to not be alone.
She knew she didn’t need to; no one was coming after her, They promised.
But she could stay there.
She had trusted them.
She had believed all their lies, all their promises. They had been her friends. And then they went and tried to scarify her to-
Stumbling her strength finally gave out and she slumped down to the ground trying to chat her breath. A sop escaped her but she cut if off before it could turn into more. They didn’t deserve her tears. Jiangling on her arms brought her attention to the fact that she was still wearing the jewellery that they had adorned her with before the sacrifice.
With a cry she ripped off one of the bracelets and flung it from her. Scrambling at her other arm she broke another and the dangling charms shot off in all directions, one of them hitting her in the face.
The sharp short pain abruptly paused her growing hysteria.
Panting, she tried to calm down. She was being stupid. The jewellery she was wearing was actually pretty good quality.
She picked up one of the pieces that had landed in her lap, a small silver skull the size of a coin, and rolled it in her fingers.
She needed to gather up all the pieces, find a town and sell them. That’d keep her going for a while.
Then she could go far away from all the people who betrayed her. The people she had called her friends. The people who had laughed and invited her to join them and then stabbed her in the back. Almost literally.
After all, she had things to do now.
She just had to make sure she never made that mistake again.
Raynor tired not to clench his back as he walked to the armoury. He had been fully healed from the injuries he sustained from the clash of the star-metal hills but his skin still felt-
“Raynor, glad to see you on your feet again,” the armourer greeted him.
“Glad to be up and about,” He replied back. “You wanted to see me?”
“Yes, well. We have a bit of a good news bad news situation here.” She gestured Raynor to follow, “This way.”
Walking towards the back of the armoury they stopped at what looked like a lump of rock. Raynor waited for the Armour to explain.
“The good news is, we found your sword.”
Raynor didn’t react at the visceral memory of being unable to pull his sword free from a dead ork that crawled trough his mind.
“The bad news is,” She gestured at the lump, “That fireball seems to have gotten it somewhat stuck.
Looking closer Raynor realised what he was looking at. The intense heat of the magic fire seemed to have made a large lump of obsidian around his blade. A normal sword would have probably been melted into a puddle but when he had made his captaincy he had enough to invest in a magic sword. He had followed the advice of a friend and gotten a good blade for a solider. Looking at it now though-.
It may be only in his head, but remembering the way it had drunk form the deaths of his enemies made his newly grown skin tingle.
The armour picked up a hammer and took a wide swing at the lump but only manged to chip of a small shard.
“As you can see, we can maybe chip it out in time but I don’t think it’s going to be very fast.”
Picking up the piece of obsidian Raynor absently noticed it was still warm to the touch. Tuning it his hands he thought back to the decision he had made while had had lain healing. He still had some time left in his tour of duty, but he already knew he was going to leave the Order of the Gauntlet. Picking up that sword, picking up any magical weapon, felt wrong to him. He was so sick of death.
He still had his hammer that would be good enough.
“That’s alright,” he turned to the armour, “I can requisition a standard sword for now. If you manage get that out you can keep it for the armoury.”
“Well, if you sure. You might as well go find one now.”
Felling a lot better about things Raynor absentmindedly pocketed the shard of obsidian and went to borrow a sword. He wasn’t going to abandon his comrades but he knew he wasn’t going to stay here much longer.
There was a whole world out there for him to do some good in.