Kross walks down the stairs of the tavern. The day has just passed noon and he awoke to find himself alone in the room after a restless night of stress steaming from the task at hand and the reality that they most likely will all die trying to complete it. Having not spoke to nor seen the white raven in days his mind wonders on to what the future could be waiting for him and his friends.
When he enters the lounge of the tavern he is surprised to see all of his friends laughing and gathered around a table in the corner. Argo’s smacks Chuck on the back as they comment on the fight that they barely survived. Their injuries were no longer on them as Kross eyes them closely making his way over to them. Snowy and Ash are listening intently as Kross listens closely making his way over and sitting down in the empty chair as Snowy looks at him and her cheeks turn red as rage fills her eyes.
“That is just like you Kross sitting down taking Cecil’s seat without even asking if it was okay.” Snowy continues to comment on manners. Rumbling on about how irresponsible and rude it was. Kross has a blank expression on his face looking around the room he now notices there is no one else in the room.
“Snowy, I am sorry but where is he?” Kross questions as the voices of the others fade out and Snowy ignores his question and continues her parenting.
Kross now getting annoyed that no one is listening to him begins to speak up and repeats his question to a room that wont listen. IT was at this moment the door is kicked in and the seraphs enter followed by Gilgamesh. They charge the table as Kross stands unsheathing his sword. The others however, continue their conversations as Gilgamesh walks up and stabs Argos through the chest and the seraphs fire arrows into Grendel and Chuck. Kross grabs Snowy who grabs Ash, tries to pull them but they wont budge. Kross goes to block Gilgamesh’s spear but his sword shatters on contact with Gilgamesh’s blade. Kross then watches the spear tip protrude out of Snowy’s throat and is used to tear her head off of her shoulders and the angels stab Ash in the chest. Kross can not move having seen this sight as the three Immortals begin stabbing him in the chest. He looks down to Snowy’s head.
Snowy’s head sits on the floor and begins to speak,” Why Kross…Why? Stop fighting…Let go….LET GO!” This causes the world to fade as Kross lays in a pool of his sweat and his hand on Ash’s throat.
Kross, sweat drenched and with tears on his face, awakens in panic on the floor of the room he had rented with Snowy pounding away at his chest and his right hand grasped around Ash’s throat. Ash had already gone limp and her lips had started to turn blue before he let go. He sat up almost knocking over Snowy who was historically calling for help at this point. Kross begins to pound on Ash’s chest and commencing crude CPR.
A set of knocks comes on the door and Snowy rushes to open it, on the other side is Cecil. He comes in and looks down at Ash. Cecil nudges Kross out of the way and places his hands over Ash’s chest and neck. A second later she is gasping for breath, her eyes opening wide as Kross’s hand print on her throat begins to fade and her lips return to their normal shade.
“Ash, I am so sorry…I can’t,”Kross says before Snowy slaps his face and rushes over to Ash helping her up and holding her as Ash grasps onto Snowy with the fear of death still in her eyes.
“Snowy, take Ash to the third door on the left Chuck and Grendel should be in there sleeping off last nights bender. Argos has gone to fetch the wagon and supplies we will be leaving soon. I found information on Poseidon we head for the water elves in an hour. ” Cecil orders and Snowy follows the instruction with tears on her face as Ash has tears just beginning.
Cecil closes the door and looks down at Kross before making his way over to the bed and sitting on its edge. Kross looks down ashamed but still confused by what he dreamed.
“Are you alright?” Cecil inquires
“I am fine…I hope Ash will be alright.” Kross responds
“She will be fine, I am far more concerned about you. Must have been an intense dream to have that reaction.”
“Oh you know the death of everyone…”Kross mutters softly before loudly asking,” So where have you been?”
“I have been collecting information on my own, no offense but I tend to travel faster alone. The scent of Natalie is on you, and I am sorry your friends were hurt facing off with the immortals. They are lucky they are not dead. I have come to the conclusion that you all will need better equipment if your going to stand a chance against them. Do you have the key?” Cecil rambles off a series of topics and while his does it his eyes vibrate ever so slightly is barely noticed by Kross who says nothing about it but instead tries to focus on what had been said.
“Scent? Natalie? I have the key but was going to give it to one of the girls. If things go bad they should be able to slip away easier than any of the others.
“Natalie is an Immortal I attempted to lock away, her obsessions are matched only by her complete mastery of the elements. She is one of the strongest of the immortals their are only a few things she can not alter in this world. Down side is she is completely ruled by her emotions and only defies logic and reason. Now giving the key to the girls isn’t a terrible idea but whoever has that key will be the target of the immortals. The enemies you have faced so far have balanced temper and control over their impulses; the others not so much. I have a feeling that eventually the Immortals will break off into factions as Gilgamesh really isn’t strong enough to keep them all in line, but he is a leader…always will be. ” Cecil states.
Kross gets himself up and changes his shirt before taking a long drink from his canteen.
“It will be rough traveling with the girls after this…still can’t believe I almost killed her.” Kross says shaking his head before placing his canteen in his bag and begins collecting his other gear.
Cecil does yield from doubling down on Kross’s guilt about the true condition Ash was in when he arrived and instead says,”The others and myself will be waiting for you down stairs. Take your time gather your thoughts and nerve.”
It had been about a week since the King had been attacked and his armies regularly search the march throughout the city and Kingdom trying to locate those responsible. A minor panic and hysteria has begun to take hold of the villagers. With the city on edge it appears that defensive measures will not let up any time soon.
Cecil heads out of the room to leave Kross to collect his thoughts. Heading down to Chuck and Grendel’s room knocking on the door. Snowy opens it and he waves the collection to follow him down stairs. They heed to his lead and depart to the tavern lobby. Cecil proceeds to order them breakfast but doesn’t order himself anything. Chuck notices this but says nothing holding onto his head trying to keep his brain from pounding its way out of his skull. Grendel is in similar shape but is shielding his eyes from the poor lighting provided by the local atmosphere.
Argos returns and updates Cecil on supplies as breakfast arrives. Cecil offers his seat to Argos who takes it and Cecil heads out to watch the wagon. Kross makes his way down carrying Snowy’s belongings as well as his own. He takes up a seat next to Chuck and Argos doing his best not to match the Snowy’s glare or Ash’s horrified stare. Argos notices the tension and requests information, though Grendel changes subject to their next mission as to not add to the minor hostilities between Argos and Kross.
“Aye, Water Elves, had to be them…Gross…You all don’t understand all they sell to eat is seaweed and fish. They have no concept of real food and God do they hate outsiders.” Grendel mention having never actually been to their realm before only regurgitating local folklore and racist remarks he had be exposed to as a child.
“They are not all that bad, and they do sell other food its just a higher price cause they have to have it shipped in. Now they don’t take kindly to dwarfs, do to the fact that dwarfs tend to spread false rumors about them. They also have quite a fascination with Coconuts. “Chuck says trying to dismember Grendel’s illusions on the matter.
” It will be exciting to see a village of Elves…I am sure it will be amazing don’t you think?” Snowy asks Ash trying to bring her around.
“I guess so, ” Ash responds rubbing her throat surprised by the lack of pain she has had eating but also still not over the trauma of being strangled.
Kross feels awful and it shows on his face as he forces some food down not really hungry after the morning activities. He looks around the table at the family he finds himself apart of. A group of people that he may actually care about have included him and gave him a sense of purpose. Images of his dream flash across his mind as he tries to shake the visions from his eyes he looks down and away seeing Snowy’s head on the floor he shoots up sliding whats left on his plate to the center of the table.
“I am going to wait for the rest of you with Cecil outside. Don’t let that food go to waste it will be a long time before we have something prepared for us again. ” Kross turns and departs the tavern.
Each of the members of the table now have their attention focused on the abandoned plate on the table. Each of them shoot a glare at one another planning all reaching for it at the same moment, but with Ash’s speed she slides her hand across the top of the table and aims for the plate pulling it out of the way before the bumbling collection of hands crash into each other above it each after a different item, each one of them ending up empty handed. Ash grins having won the contest for the extra food, causing jealous snorts from the men, and a pouting lip on Snowy’s face.
Ash divides the food up in equal shares for everyone to get a little more. Smiling as she does it though not use to being the center of attention, and quietly panics under the pressure, causing her movements to be rapid to get their gazes focused on the food.
It is not long after that they finish their meals and go out to join and Cecil who have taken the key positions on the wagon’s coach. Causing Chuck and Grendel to grumble over the situation of having to walk for miles after drinking so much the previous night.
They form up and head out of the city passing by a the gated entrance it was Kross who notices one of the soldiers has red eyes. This soldier seems to be glaring at Cecil, and the wagon as it passes. Once they pass the man and Kross loses sight of him for a moment he stands and looks back to find that the soldier was no longer there. Unsure of what he exactly saw Kross disregards it, as his head hasn’t been right all morning. After a few days of traveling and they see the mountain range ahead.
Grendel,” We should stop at the Diamond Castle on our way pass that way we can inform them of what we have dealt with and see if we can convince them to patrol past the gate!”
Cecil sighs,” it would be faster if we didn’t go into the mountains the terrain is too rough for the wagon and would delay us. It would be in our best interest to go to Port Goldsalt instead and rent a ship to the village of the Water Elves.”
Argos,” Port Goldsalt? The smugglers paradise? Its a place of thieves and con men. I can help the wagon through the mountains if need be, but as your way may be quicker but it certainly isn’t safer. not to mention the slave trade is still alive and well here.”
“Well would you look at that, boy scout is using his brain for once and trying to not head towards danger and glory,” Kross says with a snide tone, the first time he has really said anything since leaving the previous Village.
“Shut it low life, should have known your silent ways wouldn’t last. ” Argos grumbles with an agitated tone.
“How about this baldy, we leave it up to a vote let the group decide which way we head.” Kross offers seeking compromise.
Argos grunts a moment before nodding and speaking up,” All those who want to head the safe route into the mountains raise your hand.”
Grendel’s hand shoots straight up, as Ash raises her hand weakly and lastly Argos adds his vote in as well. Grendel glares at Chuck who merely shrugs in response to Grendel’s dismay.
Chuck,” We just left the Diamond City rather not just go running back, besides we can send them a raven from Goldsalt I know a guy out that way and warn your homestead.”
Gerndel mocks” You know a guy, is this like the last time you knew a guy and had lost at a cards game and owed money, granted he did know where my axe had gotten to however you had me pay your debt in order to get the info.
Lost in thought a moment chuck responds,” might be similar,” causing Grendel to grunt and curse for moment under his breath.
Kross,” then its decided we go to Goldsalt, and put Cecil’s plan into action.”