“You bet!!”, Chester and I shouted in unison.
Sarah looked concerned. Fighting just wasn’t her thing, and we all knew it.
“We need you, Sarah”, Chester encouraged.
“I… I don’t know…”, replied the uncertain Healer.
I walked over to her and clapped her on the back.
“Chester and I will take care of you, are you in?”, I asked, hopefully.
Sarah glanced round at the people who were clearly counting on her. I smiled and reminded her, (albeit with a hint of jest) “The fate of the continent hangs in the balance”
Reluctantly she agreed. The room echoed with the exhaling of a half dozen people who had been holding their breath with anticipation. The tension was gone, and if I had my way so too would the threat to our people.
As we left the castle, Astral approached me with a stern look on his face. As he drew nearer however, it became a slight smile.
“Well, you’ve really done it this time, haven’t you, boy? What will your mother say?!” he teased.
My mother! I had forgotten about her… no matter though, once she knew how important this mission was she’d be okay with it. And for once in my life I was right. She bundled me up in some warm clothes and sent me on my way.
I met up with Sarah and Chester later in the day, when we decided to take a wander around the town, in case it was the last time. Going past the docks I noticed some strange green leaves growing on an old empty barrel. I tore them off and put them in a little bag, so that I could show them to Astral and ask what they were. I forgot. Sarah found a store of meat and took a couple of chicken legs in case we got peckish. Once they were salted for preservation she put them in her knapsack.
It was dark as we were about to leave the town, and suddenly a voice came as if from nowhere…
We looked around, then continued to walk.
“I said WAIT!!!”, came the voice again.
I felt the air move around me, and noticed a flash of light. And another. Light on metal. An axe! I ducked just in time to avoid my attacker. Chester took an offensive stance. Sarah cowered behind him. Jaha plunged his axe into the ground, clearly annoyed.
“When I say ‘wait’ I mean stay still!” he growled, but I could tell he wasn’t really that angry.
“What are you doing here, shorty?”, I teased my friend.
His eyes flared in the darkness, and he raised his axe above his head.
“NEVER call me SHORTY!!!” the dwarf hissed.
I pretended to be scared, just to appease him, “Okay, okay! What are you doing here anyway, bud?”
“I would have asked you the same question if your mother hadn’t just told me”, he replied, a little less defensive.
I cocked my head, indicating that he should continue.
“I just went to your house and found your mother there alone. She told me that you’re off to save the world or something dumb like that.”
I resisted the urge to act like a Hero and justify my actions, and instead I just replied: “The King requested that we fetch someone for him, so that’s what we’re doing.”
At least that didn’t sound as stupid as what Jaha had said.
“Oh…” said Jaha. I guess I took him down a peg or two.
“So, are you gonna come, or are we just gonna stand here arguing all night?” I asked, getting impatient by this point.
“Well, if the arguing all night’s an option…” said the dwarf, who always enjoyed winding people up.
“NO!” I said, in a hushed, but serious tone.
I gestured to Chester and Sarah, who were now sitting down chatting quietly. They rose and we started off at a fair pace. Jaha stood where he was. We walked on further, out of the town gates. Looking back, I saw a stumpy little fellow trying to catch up. Maybe I would become a leader of a great Force after all!