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Sep 19

Chapter 1: Part 2

Nonexistent Hearts
Chapter 1: Part 3

We had begun to travel onward; we stopped for a brief meal then continued as the sun signaled that it was mid-day. The fields of green branched into the horizon, meanwhile my mood had not changed one bit. Daniel’s, however, had seemed to become even more cheerful (if that was even possible). He walked slightly ahead of me with a spring in his step. We walked in silence for the moment; normally a long journey would end up as such. It was normal for the both of us to examine every detail possible of areas we had never explored before. Despite this, inevitably we would enter conversation.

“So how do you do it?” I asked as we walked across the dusty road.

Daniel seemed a bit taken aback by the question, he looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said, “do what?”

“Maintain your cheerful mood, Lion’s Arch was a few weeks ago and you still manage to wake up with a smirk plastered across your face.”

Daniel placed his finger on his covered lips as he pondered his answer, in that time I wondered if I had offended him. “Why do you ask? Is it annoying you?”

His tone seemed the same, however reading any emotions from his face proved to be difficult when most of it was covered by a hood and mask. I did not know why he insisted on wearing it when we were quite a ways from any settlement.

“No,” I replied indifferently with a wave of my hand. “It is just an observation that I would like for you to elaborate on.”

Daniel’s light green eyes seemed to have lit up; I could tell that he was smiling underneath his mask. “Well you see my furry charr friend,” he said. “It’s something I like to call convenience, do you know what that means?”

Such a question caught me off guard, of course I knew what the definition of the word was, but it was obvious that Daniel had something else in mind.

“Anything that simplifies effort?” I offered.

Daniel nodded a bit, “It can be that. But you can’t just define convenience as a simple word; it’s a way of life too!”

“I do not believe I fully understand,” I replied thoughtfully. “Can you clarify?”

“Think of it as this, you can sit around and mope all day about how your back hurts, how your feet are sore, how it’s been days since you’ve slept on a warm bed with your belly full of any decent food, how you-”

“Alright I get it! So what is your point?”

“Well if you brush off all the bad parts of life and focus on the good ones your day will be that much better! You should try it sometime; I hear that if you go into battle with a smile, you’re more likely to come out of it alive.”

Or to end up dying with an idiotic smirk on your face, I thought.

The notion was familiar to me but it was not a point of view I was used to. I did not necessarily disagree with it, but I was not too quick on accepting it either. It was not in my nature to expect the best out of everything, however there were very few exceptions.

I simply grunted in response and said. “I will make a note of it.”

Admittedly, I did enjoy the fact that I had Daniel with me on my travels. Journeys would seem shorter and, although I will deny it if anyone would ask, he always did make my days seem like much less of an ordeal.

“Alright now let me ask you a question,” asked Daniel. “Remember when we first met?”

“Quite vividly in fact,” I answered.

“Then why is it that you trusted me right away? Don’t get me wrong I’m glad we’re friends and all, but most charr would just find any excuse to pound my face into a fine paste.”

Daniel’s eyes looked at me expectantly as I thought about my choice of words.

“…your appearance mattered not to me,” I said indifferently. “Why would I be so quick to reject an ally when I did not know a single thing about you at the time.”

“Mhmm,” said Daniel unconvinced. “What about when that Sylvari asked to join us for one of our jobs? You didn’t even give her a chance to finish her sentence.”

“Sylvari are different,” I dismissed with a wave of my hand. “You could tell she was the inquisitive type.”

Daniel laughed at my comment.

“You never were that patient.”

“I dare say that I have more patience than most,” I protested. “I travel with you after all.”

“Oh ha, ha.” said Daniel sarcastically. “But anyway, you don’t really act like most charr. I find it… interesting to say the least.”

“So did the rest of my warband,” I chuckled. “Needless to say, I was considered the odd one of the group… the very odd one. The Legionnaire would get angry at me for the slightest things as well, and he would get furious when I doubted the efficiency of his plans.”

“I guess you can’t please everyone,” Daniel shrugged. “Well you don’t have to worry about me, you know it takes a lot to get me angry.”

We continued walking, keeping small conversation. During our trek we passed several outposts and settlements, and we did our best to stray away from them. Eventually, we had to prepare camp once the sun began to set. Unfortunately camp only consisted of a warm fire and the bed of grass on the side of the road. Daniel and I never did have a chance to purchase a decent set of camping gear. We both remained awake quite late into the night, talking about our expectations of Divinity’s Reach. I could tell it was well after midnight once we finally decided to get some sleep.

 

I did not dream that night, or at least I did not remember it. However, that was the least of my problems once I was suddenly awaken with a kick to the back of my head.

In mere seconds I found that I had a dagger pressed up against my throat. My eyes began to dart around the grassy fields; I found that Daniel had been bounded too. An assortment of chains secured with a padlock was wrapped around his arms and torso. I began to carefully examine our captors; they were clad in strange dark leather armor, the likes of which I have never seen. Their masks completely covered their faces, hiding their identities. However none of them were close enough for me to make out the details, but I believe that the way these individuals were dressed was the least of my worries.

After my quick survey I discovered that it was a grand total of four masked men, all of them but one seemed to be Human. The odd one out was an Asura, his large red beady eyes were fixed specifically on me for some reason.

I felt the masked man tap the tip of his blade on my neck. I took that as a signal to stand up, and now did not seem like a time to be defiant… for now at least. The rest of the masked men quickly bound me as well, my arms were restrained around my back with chains and they also fastened a leather muzzle around my mouth. With that they took our packs and shoved us towards a nearby forest.

My eyes met with Daniel’s as we walked further away from the road. He managed to send a wink towards my direction; I could tell that he was wearing that same smile underneath his mask that he always wore.

As we traveled deeper into the forest these individuals in black armor began to search through Daniel’s pack. Before long we found ourselves in a small glade. The trees were tall enough to block out most of the light and there seemed to be just enough room to walk around freely. Then I was shoved into a bramble. I could see a familiar fruit of the plant as the thorns dug through my coat.

Damn blackberries.

It was clear to me now that these were no bandits, it seemed too organized.  It was common that Daniel and I would see opposition in our line of work. The simple fact that they had begun to search our packs and ignored our equipment told me that they were most likely searching for our cargo. It was common to be sent the occasional assassin in order to prevent delivery. However they would not find it in my pack, when someone works in the courier business for a while, you learn to avoid placing your cargo in any place that may seem obvious.

I rolled off the blackberry bush and sat up. It was fortunate that the assassins were distracted. If not they would have noticed that Daniel had already freed himself. The chains and padlock were thrown into a pile by his side. He then moved towards my position and began to work on the leather fastenings around the muzzle attached to my face.

“You alright?” asked Daniel as he released the straps binding my mouth shut.

“Yes,” I nodded bitterly. “Something tells me that we are transporting something much more valuable than what we were paid for.”

“I am definitely asking for more coin once we get out of this,” said Daniel excitedly. He immediately began to release me from my chains. “Now to get our weapons back.”

“I swear if they touch my-” I began, but these assassins had found my weapon. They pulled out a sword from my pack. The blade was covered by a discolored scabbard that was made specifically for it. The guard consisted of a two metallic spikes that curved over the hilt of the blade. And underneath the handle was an empty socket, an addition I had added only recently. That sword mas mine and no one could touch it without my permission.

Daniel fiddled around with something in his mouth, a small metallic needle slipped out between his teeth. He then took the needle in his hands and made it spin around his fingers.

“Ready for this oh furry friend of mine?” asked Daniel.

I began to gather an aura of shadowy magic around my hands. It looked as if my palms fumed black smoke.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

Nonexistent Hearts
Chapter 1: Part 3
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