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Adventures Of Vilven Ledsong (Chapter XI) – Ineffective Planning

Posted in Adventures Of Vilven Ledsong, Dungeons And Dragons, Fiction, Story, Writing with tags , , , , , on March 26, 2019 by darkjade68

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Chapter XI Of My Current Campaign, Which Began A Year Ago, As Written/Retold By My Player Who Plays Vilven

Chapter I: Ouroboros

Chapter II: Pact Magic

Chapter III: Choice And Notice

Chapter IV: Meeting Wiendle

Chapter V – Catlike

Chapter VI – Encountering A Wizard

Chapter VII – A Charge And A Flame

Chapter VIII – Followed By A Lion

Chapter IX – Acquiescence

Chapter X – A Dialogue Of Friends

The next morning Jaren came to consciousness, but in agony from him aching injuries, passed out again within minutes. Wiendle was very worried about him, but Vilven, silently, was relieved he was still even alive, as the cuts and bruises on his body looked dire. The Goblins seemed to have fanatically jabbed and slashed all over, with little finesse, but with efficiency nonetheless.

After their intimate talk the previous night, Grid revealing the tragic history of Beaumont by the Dragon Sabot and Vilven revealing her choice to make a Pact with Areiden, they took turns on watch. They were both a little jumpy at the prospect of more Goblins, or worse, coming into the camp. It was Grid who made the official decision that they needed to leave, as he determined the location was too dangerous to dwell in for another night. They all agreed, especially Wiendle, but that forced them to figure out what to do about the hurt guard that lay before them. After a quick conversation, they determined that the best thing to do was for Grid to carry Jaren over his shoulder, as Jaren was rather lean and wouldn’t be too difficult for a large Tigron to handle. However, this would leave Grid without the reach and the inability to use his bow, so he would not be able to protect any of them in the case of another attack. This left only Vilven to protect them all.

Vilven hesitantly agreed, knowing that there was no other way.

So they moved forward, Vilven leading the group, grasping her sickles like an anchor. Having only little experience with tracking, the forest, and where Warden was, Grid had to give her direction from the back. At first it was a bit awkward to understand what he wanted from her, but she quickly gained the skill of accurately responding to his guidance. Wiendle, her head low, was very silent and hardly moved without permission. Vilven knew the guilt of running off and putting the party in danger was still fresh in Wiendle’s mind, so she didn’t do much to try to change the princess’ mood. Some emotions only lessen with time, Vilven had come to understand.

They were able to make it through a full day, a little slower than they might have if all had been normal, but they thought it successful nonetheless. The preparations for camp were completed with relative ease, even Wiendle helped to set everything up.

When the princess did decided to retire, and go to her and Jaren’s tent, Grid glanced at Vilven with a pained look, and began to roll his large, lion shoulders.

“Are you alright?” Vilven asked, concerned, peering at him from across the fire.

“Muscles are a bit fatigued.” He said, sharing with her easily. He stretched his arms over his head, his bones seeming to elongate with the motion. Vilven stared, unable to stop herself from thinking how much the movement made him look like a satisfied cat.

“Can’t say I’ve ever carried another being such a long distance before” Grid continued. “Fortunately, I keep in pretty good shape.”

Vilven smiled with amusement tilting her head, then she stretched her legs out in return. “Not to compare, but I am quite sore myself. I just cant seem to get used to walking this much. It’s just so entirely different than swimming.”

“That it is, My Lady, that it is” Grid said, commiserating.

Vilven sighed, then stood. “If it’s alright, I’ll take the second watch. Unless you want to rest first.”

“Sounds good to me.” Grid responded as he took out his pipe. “Rest well.”

Vilven waved to him, with a big yawn, and walked to her bedroll, falling asleep almost as soon as she laid down.

***

Vilven woke to the sound of Grid talking with someone.

“Nice night, friend.” An unfamiliar male voice spoke. “Care if me and my comrade share your camp, safety in numbers, after all.”

“Well, that all sounds grand, friend.” Grid’s voice responded. “Other than just one thing, we have absolutely no idea who either of you are.”

Vilven sat up hastily, looking toward where she had heard the stranger’s voice.

She saw Grid sitting, cleaning his pipe, glancing up at two men. One of the men, she assumed the one who had spoken, stood at the opposite end of the fire, facing Grid, his head tilted to one side and his arms lifted in a friendly, inquiring manner. The other stood a few feet behind the first, though his expression, unlike his companion, was not so calm. The second was quite obviously nervous about something, his eyes shifting in all different directions.

Vilven quickly noted that they wore similar clothes to Grid, inexpensive blousey shirts, soft armour, and durable, inelegant pants in different shades of brown, except for vibrant cloaks. The first man wore a deep, forest green and the second man, a bright red. The first had dark brown hair, adored with a surprisingly well groomed mustache and beard, while the second was a dirty blonde. They both were armed with long bows on their backs and swords at their sides.

In something close to offense, Vilven shot up to her feet, pulling out one of her sickles and clenched it tightly in her hand. She walked dominantly next to Grid, and narrowed her eyes at the two strangers that had entered their camp.

“What’s going on here?” Vilven asked Grid, but did not stop looking at the men.

“Nothing to fear,” Grid began, his tone slightly sarcastic. “Just a couple of friendly Rangers passing through.”

Vilven looked at them dubiously, her eyes squinting even more than before. She saw the faint twitch of impatience in the eyes of the brunette man, failing to maintain his friendly demeanor, while the blonde continued his nervous glances.

She shook her head, and took a fighting stance. “They are not to be trusted.”

“My lady, by the God’s, I swear we mean you no harm.” The brunette started as he took a few steps around the fire, toward her.

“Liar.” Vilven spoke harshly,  instinctively lifted her hand in front of her, shielding herself from the man that approached. Before she knew what was happening she felt the magic spring from her, and a watery, blue orb blasted from her palm striking the man in his chest, knocking him to the ground. She gasped and her eyes widened in surprise.

The blonde man looked completely stunned as well, his eyes stared with shock at his prone companion, as he fumbled to unsheathe his sword. When he was finally able to wield the weapon correctly, Grid was already upon him. Grid leaped over the fire, with cat-like agility, and tackled him, pinning him to the ground.

The brunette man, however, jumped to his feet quickly. And with a sneer toward Vilven, he grabbed his sword and pointed it in her direction. “You’re mine.” He spat angrily.

But before he was able to make a move toward her, a frying pan smacked him squarely over the head. He stood there for a moment, but then his eyes rolled back and he fell unconscious to the floor.

Behind him stood the princess, her cheeks pink and her chest heaving quickly with adrenaline and fear, holding the pan over her head with both hands.

Vilven chuckled slightly, warmly looking at the princess. “Thank you, Wiendle.”

Then she turned toward Grid who was still on top of the blonde man.

“Let’s tie them up?” She suggested.

About ten minutes later, Vilven and Grid had taken all their weapons, their bows, swords, and daggers, and had them piled on the opposite side of the camp. The blonde man responded to their requests while the brunette was still passed out, so they just maneuvered and dragged him around. Vilven and Grid had the two men sitting on the ground. Grid, kneeling next to them, was tying them back to back.  The rope was taunt, but not overly tight. And just as Grid finished tying the last knot, the brunette man came to consciousness.

“Ow.” He said with a whine, responding to his aching head.

“Quit your moaning, you’re lucky to be alive.” Grid asserted as he rose to his feet.

While her Tigron friend was finishing with them, Vilven was on the other side of the camp, crouched near the weapons they had taken, inspecting them. “Do you think we can sell these?” She called out to Grid.

“In a heartbeat.” Grid responded.

“You’re gonna leave us in the middle of the forest without weapons?” The brunette said, exacerbated.

Vilven looked at the brunette man, then thought back to the terrible encounter they had with the Goblins. She looked thoughtfully down at the daggers they had taken. She picked them up and walked toward the tied rangers, dropping the blades about ten feet away from them.

“These should suffice.” Vilven said to them, sincerely.

“I’ve tied the ropes  loose enough, you’ll be out in about an hour.” Grid told them. “Next time you enter our camp, we won’t be so nice.”

“This is all your fault, Beaden” The blonde man said to his companion.

“You gave them my name, you idiot” Beaden responded back.

“Please excuse Beaden.  I’m Cho. Thank you for not killing us.” Cho said to them, with a friendly smile. Vilven smiled flirtatiously in return, noting how handsome this Cho was for the first time.

Just then, Grid’s eyes glanced sharply down at the two men, now revealed to be Beaden and Cho, noting small pouches at their sides.

“Well, well, what do we have here” Grid said, crouching down, cutting the bags loose with his knife, then tossing them to Vilven.

Vilven successfully caught them, then smiled mischievously.

“No, not the gold!” Beaden cried out at them. “I didn’t take you for common thieves.”

“Beaden, will you please stop insulting our captures.” Cho pleaded with him.

Vilven managed to open one of the pouches, it was, indeed, filled with beautiful, immaculate gold. It nearly overflowed with it. Vilven’s eye’s shined with excitement.

“This is a lot of money.” Vilven said dreamily, almost to herself.

“Vilven! Grid! Look!” They all turned to Wiendle as she emerged from the tent, with Jaren leaning on her. All of them stared silently at the young man. He was holding his side, but the slight smile on his lips showed how far he had come from his near death.

Vilven winked, then flicked a gold to him. “About time you showed up. you’re missing all the fun.” She told him with affection.

She sighed and smiled satisfied at Grid, “Tonight has been good.”

“Yeah, it’s been great.” Beaden said dryly.

beadenncho

 

 

Aventures Of Vilven Ledsong (Chapter IX) – Acquiescence

Posted in Adventures Of Vilven Ledsong, Dungeons And Dragons, Fiction, Story, Writing with tags , , , on March 9, 2019 by darkjade68

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Chapter IX Of My Current Dungeons & Dragons Campaign, Which Began A Year Ago, As Written/Retold By My Player Who Plays Vilven

Chapter I: Ouroboros

Chapter II: Pact Magic

Chapter III: Choice And Notice

Chapter IV: Meeting Wiendle

Chapter V – Catlike

Chapter VI – Encountering A Wizard

Chapter VII – A Charge And A Flame

Chapter VIII – Followed By A Lion

CHAPTER IX

So, they made their way West, in the direction of Warden. Grid took the front, Wiendle and Jaren walked side by side in the middle, which left Vilven to flank the group. It was about noon, the air was clear and the Sun was bright, creating good visibility. Still, she looked over her shoulder every so often to make sure there was nothing behind or otherwise following them. It felt quite good to be perceived as some sort of  protector, or even fighter, though it felt like playing a part most of the time. They had been travelling for three days, stopping only at night to make camp, and they had, surprisingly, not been confronted or attacked by anything. They spotted the occasional deer, and enjoyed the sights of the birds and squirrels who made their home in the beautiful, thick trees, but saw nothing of any real danger. Though Vilven was stunned at the beauty of the wildlife, the ease of their travelling put her on edge, not relieved as she probably should have been. It made her jumpy to think the danger could merely be hidden from them, playing them like fools.

Wiendle would innocently say, snuggling near Jaren in the warmth of the campfire, that it was royal luck that their journey had been so easy, or that it was a sign from the heavens that Jaren and Wiendle’s love was meant to be. As romantic as it sounded, Vilven wasn’t convinced, and even started to think Grid had over-dramatized most of the dangers. It even made her question his claims of the dragon Sabot living in lake Beaumont. However, Jaren could hardly speak to Grid about anything else but Sabot, though the conversation had very little substance, more like a man plagued with obsession, it did seem to confirm Grid’s assertions. Though there was so much conversation about the dragon, Vilven could still not discern why Sabot was there. It still struck her as odd a dragon would place itself in that lake in the first place. And Vilven couldn’t help but want to know the full story. Grid wouldn’t elaborate on the subject however, even when she directly asked, but she was determined, and told herself that at some point the whole truth would have to come out. So she tried her best to be patient.

Vilven was lost in her thoughts about tactics to trick Grid into revealing more information when a barley audible rustle came from behind her. She spun quickly, her eyes prepared, searching methodically for the source of the noise. Behind her a fawn stood frozen, staring up at her. Vilven relaxed her stance, Wiendle, however, got very excited. Wide eyed and with a loud gasp, the young princess jumped toward the small deer.

“Look, Jaren! It’s a baby!” She shouted.

The deer, surprised by the Wiendle’s boisterous demeanor, took off in a sprint.

“Wait! Come back! I won’t hurt you!” Wiendle called out to the fawn. And with unexpected speed, she lifted her dress, and chased after it with a desperate expression, disappearing into the heavy forest.

Jaren, Grid, and Vilven, staring after the princess, were beside themselves with shock, and reacted more slowly than they normally would have.

Jaren, coming back to himself, responded first. Unsheathing his sword as he followed her with worry and annoyance. “Wiendle. Wiendle! Come back here.” He shouted roughly.

Vilven looked up at Grid with a smile, on the verge of full blown laughter. “Well, he is going to have his hands full, isn’t he. She seems to have a particular affinity to run away.” she said with both adoration and sarcasm.

Grid glanced back at her with amusement. “Well, I suppose love does conquer all. We best go after them.” He said, pouncing in their direction.

Vilven sighed with resignation, then jogged after him, wincing as her sore legs ached. She made sure to keep Grid in eye shot in front of her, but otherwise kept her pace as slow as she possibly could, a petty rebellion building inside her toward running.

Vilven tripped then, almost falling, but she was able to balance herself before it happened. In the process, however, she lost sight of Grid and the direction he went. In near panic, Vilven glanced around in front of her, unsure of where to go. Then she heard the loud, terrified cry of Wiendle toward her left. Without thought, anxiety making her stomach and throat tight, Vilven ran as fast as she could toward the princess’ voice.

Vilven entered the scene, halting at what she saw. To her left, Wiendle cowered behind Grid, her eyes full of fear. Grid was standing tall, his large bow tight in his paws. He had the bowstring pulled back as far as it could go, the arrow shaking in tension, aimed in front of him. Jaren, about fifteen feet before them, was flailing his sword toward six small creatures that were attacking him with short, sharp spears. They looked vaguely human, but they were very ugly and clad in clothes that seemed rather primitive. They danced around Jaren, grunting horridly as they stabbed at him. Though one was dead on the ground, Vilven could tell that they were too quick for Jaren, as they easily avoided his panicked slashes. And though Grid was skilled, she could tell it was too risky for him to shoot, as he could accidentally hit Jaren. And moving was impossible without endangering the princess, as she clung to him, sobbing uncontrollably.

Vilven watched helplessly, one of them stabbing Jaren in the stomach, right under his armour, making him cry out in pain. She was paralyzed, she couldn’t even bring herself to draw her weapons. Vilven watched, out of her body, and realized in that moment, dismayed, she wasn’t a protector at all. She was weak. She knew Areiden was wrong to have chosen her. All she wanted was to be back in the Water Plane, where no one had to rely on her for their life. She turned her back, in shame and in sadness, not wanting to watch her friends die, ready to walk away.

Then, in a rush of energy, she felt Areiden inside of her, a deep burning in her chest. She felt the water elemental race come to the surface. She heard Areiden’s voice, hardly audible in her mind, echoing as if she was in a large, cave. “Vilven….Don’t run away from your greatness…Embrace yourself….You must only believe…Your will is power…Your power is will…Let it run through you…Let me run through you…”

Vilven hypnotically turned back, the scene moving in slow motion now, all the physical sounds inaudible to her. Grid’s arrow released, hanging in the air longer than it should, as it penetrated the skull of one of the creatures. Jaren was nearly on the ground, very injured. Grid dropped his bow, it fell soundlessly, nearly gracefully. He ran forward, extending his arms, stretching just far enough to pull Jaren out of the attacks of the small, ugly men. Wiendle ran forward, each step hitting the floor silently, a rainbow almost following her frame, to help pull Jaren back. The creatures turned then, preparing to throw their spears at all three of them. Then, Vilven was overcome with energy, and she walked forward right into the cluster of the enemy.

Quicker than a thought, her eyes glowed a bright blue, and water blasted out of her body, turning into dark, tendrils that wrapped around the creatures, enveloping them completely. She could feel the life drain out of them, though their screams of death were inaudible to her. As the tendrils slithered back into her body, the small, men fell to the ground, nothing but blue-black husks. Their bodies hollowed of all life. Vilven fell to her knees, the environment returning back to normal.

Jaren was laying now, going in and out of conscious. Grid and Wiendle, unsure of what they had seen, stared at Vilven, a mix of awe, disbelief, and horror on their faces. Though still in shock from what she had seen happen with Vilven, Wiendle was more shocked to see Jaren so hurt, and began to cry hysterically, falling next to him, pulling at his armour, trying to take it off. Grid, coming to his senses, looked down at the princess and her injured lover. He lowered to his knees, taking off his pack to pull out a long roll of bandages. He then took off Jaren’s armour carefully, to expose deep wounds all over his body. Wiendle began to cry out loudly in response, Grid looked at her, trying to console her, but his focus was mainly on wrapping Jaren’s injuries.

Vilven looked up, suddenly aware of where she was. She looked at the husks of the enemies she had defeated. She was somewhat emotionless, she felt almost nothing about what she had done. But she was sure she was just in shock, and that her true emotions would come forth with more distance. She shakily stood, dizzy but still able to keep her footing, to walk over to the three of her companions. When she was near, she fell back to her knees, pulling Wiendle into a deep embrace. Wiendle cried, full of pain, into her shoulder, muffling the sound. Grid looked thankfully at her.

But the truth was, Vilven needed the hug just as much as Wiendle did.

vilven15(1)

 

Adventures Of Vilven Ledsong (Chapter VIII) – Followed By A Lion

Posted in Adventures Of Vilven Ledsong, Dungeons And Dragons, Fiction, Writing with tags , , , on March 2, 2019 by darkjade68

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ADVENTURES OF VILVEN LEDSONG

Chapter VIII Of My Current Campaign, Which Began A Year Ago, As Written/Retold By My Player Who Plays Vilven

Chapter I: Ouroboros

Chapter II: Pact Magic

Chapter III: Choice And Notice

Chapter IV: Meeting Wiendle

Chapter V – Catlike

Chapter VI – Encountering A Wizard

Chapter VII – A Charge And A Flame

CHAPTER VIII

Vilven was shocked at what Grid had told her. A dragon? Living in the lake? A deep part of her thought he was just trying to jest, but even if  he was being serious, he must be misguided, right? Though the lake was enormous, she surely would have seen some evidence of a dragon. I mean, it was a dragon.

She turned to look up at his beautiful lion face with questioning.

“Grid, you must be mistaken,” she started as she picked up the bowl she dropped, the contents not salvageable “I have been in that lake for the past two days, I even searched it rather extensively, and there was no sign of anything remotely similar to a dragon.”

Grid took a long, final drag of his pipe, then proceeded to clean it expertly into the fire. His yellow eyes focused before him at what he was doing.

“Well maybe not now, but she’ll be back ” He responded, pausing for a moment as he almost formally put his pipe back into his pouch.

He moved his gaze then, to look upward into the night sky. The movement was subtle, but Vilven was nearly taken by the drama of it. His long, flowing mane practically glittered from the firelight, as his eyes bore into the heavens. “She always comes back.” He repeated, almost as if he were somewhere else.

Vilven was silent, her large, black eyes staring intensely into the lake, unsure of how to respond. The mood had drastically shifted between them, she could tell, to something very serious. Careful of her words, she quietly inquired. “So she comes and goes?… Where does she go then, do you know?…. And do the inhabitants of the castle know of her?” There was a deep pause as she retreated farther into her mind. “I find it strange…” She said, somewhat deviating “that this dragon would call this place home. It’s beautiful, yes, and don’t get me wrong I’m no expert when it comes to dragons, but…” she turned her face to look at him then, “Well, it is strange, don’t you think?”

His head pivoted, so that he could look at her, and when he did, Vilven saw no trace of the soberness that had been there just moments before. She, in fact, saw something closer to delight in his eyes. It took her off guard, and before she could say anything, he stood. “Another time.” He said, ending the topic. “We best hurry if we want to catch up to your friends.”

Grid began to get his things together, collecting his cooking supplies first, absentmindedly nipping the bowl out of Vilven’s hand. Vilven stared at him, then into the forest next to them.

“What is it that we should do when we find them?” She asked, following his lead to stand. “I’m pretty certain they just want to escape and disappear into another life they create together. Alone.

Grid shifted his weapons to be in a more secure place for carrying, then began to put out the fire with his boot.

“Your friend is a princess and so surely has coin, and I’m sure would gladly pay us to protect them on the road to wherever they’re going. I wasn’t kidding when I said they wouldn’t make it out there” Grid said looking at her sincerely. “These forests are fraught with danger.”

Vilven’s eyes widened with realization, “Are you sure they’re not too far already? How are we to catch up to them?” She gazed into the ominous forest with unease, putting a hand onto one of her sickles and inhaling deeply. “Especially in the dark…”

“You’ve answered your own question.” Grid said, and smiled heartily at her. “The dark will surely slow them, especially with the lad’s armour. Trust me, I’m a hunter. We’ll catch them.”

Vilven thought to herself that she didn’t really have much choice in the matter. And she hoped, from the depths of her heart, that this was what Areiden wanted.

***

Though hesitant at first, Vilven proceeded into the forest. Admittedly, she was a bit jumpy, but, to her credit, fiercely focused on the goal. It took her a bit to get used to the towering trees that nearly blocked out the sky, as well as the skittering of different small animals both on the ground and flying about. There was something strangely hypnotic, she found, about being surrounded on all sides by the nature of the forest, especially since her night vision poetically turned the vibrant colors ghostly and hazy.

And though she was used to nature, the sea was almost the opposite of this near claustrophobic space, the sea, and most waters, were so open and clear. And at times when you would feel too vulnerable, you could always revel in the feeling of the water around you, carrying and cradling you.

Grid, on the other hand, was right at home here.

Vilven watched as his gait became paradoxically both relaxed and tense at the same time, it was almost as if he could see through the trees and was prepared for anything that might happen. After a few minutes, however, Grid stopped her, speaking quietly.

“We’re going to need to quicken our pace, can you keep up?”

Vilven looked concerned and hesitant but nodded her head in agreement. Almost before she finished the movement, Grid took off in a flash, making Vilven nearly shriek in surprise. He leaped into full speed, his muscular legs flexing naturally with the motion. He looked more like a lion than ever, both ferocious and graceful, weaving and leaping in between the trees effortlessly.

Vilven blinked a few times, then began to chase after him.

And after some time had passed, she decided she was actually quite impressed with herself, as she succeeded in keeping him in her line of sight, only falling and tripping on lay branches and other such things a few times. Vilven knew she was fairly strong, she knew with certainty she wasn’t fragile physically. But she had never used her legs out of water so much in her life. She knew that this would be, would have to be, a learning experience.

Suddenly, Grid instantly froze in place before her. Vilven nearly ran into him, but was able to stop herself, falling in the process, to her knees. She cursed herself as she pulled herself up to her feet. Grid shushed her, and pulled her with him behind a tree. Angling his head around the trunk, he pointed forward to a distant dot of firelight. Vilven squinted, but could tell it was indeed, a torch. Vilven looked up at him and whispered,

“Do you think it is the princess?”

Grid visibly relaxed, then replied “I do… Best if you approach them first.”

Vilven chuckled quietly, “Yes, we wouldn’t want them to think a lion is trying to kill them.”

Grid looked at her with a gleam in his eyes, then responded “Just go…”

Vilven chuckled again, and began to take a few cautious steps toward the direction of the torch, unsheathing her sickles as she did.  Vilven was sure Grid knew what he was talking about, this was his territory after all, but she couldn’t help feel she better be prepared if something unexpected were to happen.

As she got closer and closer, and the torch became brighter and brighter, her nerves began to surface. This was still so new to her after all, and who knew what or who could be on the other end of that torch if it wasn’t the princess.

Just then, with another cautious step, Vilven landed on a branch making a loud crack.

The torch jerked swiftly in response, and she could hear the unsheathing of some sort of weapon. Vilven lifted her foot instinctively with a wince. Her body was crouched slightly, holding both her sickles tight in her grasp, and though she wasn’t sure who it was in front of her, she took a chance and called out toward the flame.

“Wiendle? Jaren? It’s Vilven.”

There was no reply, but the torchlight seemed to halt in alertness.

Vilven took a few more steps forward, not concerned about making noise at this point, but cautious of danger none the less.

“Vilven?” She heard the delicate, high pitched voice of Wiendle call out.

Relaxing now, Vilven took the final strides forward, until she was illuminated by the flames of the torch. Before her was Jaren and Wiendle. He was standing in front of her, his sword grasped in both his hands in a defensive stance, she was behind him holding the torch in one hand, and grasping his shoulder with the other.

Once Wiendle saw that it was indeed Vilven, she gasped in relief and rushed toward her, despite Jaren trying to stop her. Vilven sheathed her weapons and progressed halfway, opening her arms to embrace the princess.

“Oh Vilven, I’m so glad you’re here, it’s so frightening. We are lost!” Wiendle wailed.

“We aren’t lost!” Jaren said defensively “It’s just dark…”

Just then Grid emerged from the darkness into eye shot, making Wiendle jump backward in retreat. Jaren, however, had the opposite reaction, he looked at Grid wide eyed and with recognition.

“Hunter,” Jaren addressed Grid with a respectful nod “You have missed her. She left a few weeks ago.”

“Yes, dragons are hard to predict.” Grid replied graciously. Vilven looked up at Grid, somewhat amused by his formality.

“Do you know each other?” Jaren asked Vilven and Grid, eyeing them both.

Vilven looked blankly at Jaren. “Well… not exactly. Sort of. We met tonight.” she replied awkwardly. She cleared her throat, then continued. “You see, Grid, here, brought to my attention that these forests might be dangerous terrain to be travelling alone, and thought that you perhaps would like some more protection on your way to Warden. And perhaps some help with direction as to not get lost on the way. ” Vilven winked at Wiendle with the last sentence, making her giggle girlishly.

“Yes! That would be marvelous.” Wiendle said excitedly, her head falling back and her shoulders dropping in relief. “I feel so much safer now!”

Jaren looked a little hurt at that comment, but nodded in agreement.

“But you must be paid!” Wiendle exclaimed, pulling a large bag of coin out of her pouch.

Vilven stared at the bag hesitantly, but Grid grasped it in a proper manner and took it from her. Tying it expertly to his belt.

“Well then, let’s be on our way” Grid said, walking past them toward the direction of Warden.

 

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