The day continued on and our bodies were covered in snow as we trudged through the knee deep powder and ice. While the norn were used to the below freezing temperatures, Tobih and I were slowed by it. Our hands and feet were frozen and stiff and we gave it our best just to keep up with our norn companions. Angel had insisted that we continue our journey through the sudden blizzard rather than stopping. It was a terrible idea and we all knew it. Tobih and I received the worst of the storm; unlike norn, we didn’t produce a lot of body heat. Before long, Tobih and I were lagging behind our two companions.
Honestly, it would all be worth it if I could find out who I was.
I strayed towards Tobih and warmed my wand up. I placed my hand on handle and invited him to do the same. The flame burst with life at the top, creating a small fire to keep ourselves warmed with.
Ragnvaldr looked behind at the sudden light and I gave him a nod to show that we were okay. He slowed down a bit, but Angel kept at her usual pace, determined to make it through the storm.
Without the feeling in my toes, I was off balance through most of the trek. I’d often trip over my other foot, catching myself before I hit the ground. The others seemed more well balanced than I.
Angel halted suddenly, and threw her arm out to keep us from advancing. It was laughable seeing how the rest of us were at least ten feet away from her. Luckily, the red of her armor made her easy to spot through the grey storm.
“I heard a growl,” She warned, “and I’m afraid what it came from may have an idea for dinner.” In less than a moment her sword was in her hands and she ran to our left, disappearing quickly into the storm.
A sickening sound played in the distance and I could only hope that it was Angel’s sword making it. My hopes were confirmed when she walked back to us, her entire sword bloodied and her armor splattered. “Keep moving forward,” She demanded. Her exhaustion was beginning to show.
I lost track of time as we made our way to Angel’s ‘secret’ location. Only when we had arrived did I even see the crumbling walls and splintered arches. Broken dwarven homes littered the site. It was quiet and seemingly abandoned. Angel led us into the place as if it were her own home and eventually into a building much too small for the two norn. We all ducked through the entrance and as we did, the heat from the fireplace warmed our bodies. I shook the snow off before entering and peered around the room. Two asura dressed in Priory robes sat by the fire drinking from small mugs.
“Oh, it’s you,” One of them remarked upon seeing the warrior barge into the home. Obviously he wasn’t very pleased to see her.
“What is that supposed to mean?!” Angel snapped back at the asura as she ducked through the room to his side. It was surprisingly amusing to see a norn try and fit into a dwarven sized building.
With a sigh he answered, “Nothing.” Setting the mug down next his chair he stood up and faced all of us. “You brought prisoners?”
“Prisoners? These are my friends!” She growled.
“Friends? I thought surely someone like you wouldn’t keep company on their own free will. Maybe you meant pets.” The female asura next to him laughed before the male asura turned to us, “I’ll hold her here if you want to make your escape.”
“Stuff it, Klatt,” Angel threatened and sat down. “I’m here for that favor you owe me.”
He sat back down, “Business, eh?”
The three of us found seats and listened in on the conversation. Ragnvaldr held me close. Maybe he had realized that this may be a defining moment in our journey while I hadn’t realized how important it might be.
“I need another portal stone, but I need it to be able to transport all four of us here and back.” Her words lit up the asura’s face.
“A challenge! Oh, when you want a favor, you certainly make it a big one. It should be fine if I can just sync the magic between there and here in the Granite Citadel…”
My heart fluttered in my chest as I heard our location. I had always wanted to visit the Granite Citadel and by chance I had finally made my way here. If it hadn’t of been so rude, I may have jumped up from my seat and ran outside, but I stayed in long enough to hear our plan.
“….Oh! Klarra! Do grab me a charged lodestone from that knapsack there. No! The other knapsack. This will take all night, you lot should try and board in one of the Priory houses.”
“I’m counting on you.” Angel grinned and left through the door. We all followed suit and found our housing with some of the Priory members. Unfortunately we had to be split up due to an ‘exceptional number of norn’ staying in each house as they, too, were dwarven in size. I didn’t want to be split up from Ragnvaldr so we volunteered to board up together as Angel and Tobih would take another.
As evening fell I found myself outside and discovering the ruins of a place I had dreamed of seeing. As the snow refused to let up, the visibility was terrible, but I had the walls to guide me through the location. Everything about it was beautiful. Huge icicles had formed on the underside of the arches and rows of them hung from the bridge overhead. Dwarven cottages lay broken and yet mostly intact beyond walls of hand laid stone. Unlike our roads today, there was no cobbled ground, only snow beneath us and dirt beneath that.
I sat on the bridge, drawing in the snow on a plank beside me and looked into the outpost. Priory members traveled from cottage to cottage, some carrying books and scrolls to the next shanty. What would it be like if I had joined up with the priory, I wondered. I would be able to see places like this often, perhaps even live in them. Dwarven ruins, perhaps, interested me the most. They were ancient and I hadn’t seen a Dwarf in this lifetime but that was typical.
Ragnvaldr trekked up the hill and to the bridge.
“I’ve always wanted to see this place, you know,” I told him as he sat down beside me.
“What’s stopped you up until this point?” He asked.
“My parents,” I sighed. “Er… The family that adopted me when I woke up. They never wanted me to leave the house; they said it was because they didn’t want anyone in town asking questions because it would ruin their reputation. The more I think about it, the more I realize that they must have been hiding something.
Once I got the chance to leave, I did. I saved every copper I could until I had enough to leave their place. Allowance, selling my possessions odd jobs, you name it. To be honest, I did it behind their backs. I just got up and left one day. I’m grateful that they kept me and treated me so well, but I felt like a prisoner. It wasn’t long before I saved up the money to go on this trip.
I do wonder if I was an adventurer in my previous life. I’d like to think a weak scholar like me could ever do anything as taxing as adventuring.” I gave a smile on that note and looked to Ragnvaldr, “I guess I’ll find out soon enough.”
“Well, we’ve had a pretty incredible journey so far. I think it’s pretty possible that you were an adventurer,” He assured me. “I hope that we’ll be on more after this one. I have a few places I would love to visit, myself.”
“Can I ask where?” I questioned him, interested to find that he, too, wanted to be an adventurer rather than settle down. I rested my head on his leg and watched him speak.
“Anvil Rock is probably the place I want to see most. That’s where real legends began. Orr is another; you don’t get much more interesting than a sunken kingdom.” He responded with certainty, as if he had been planning this for quite some time.
“Isn’t Orr a bit dangerous right now with Zhaitan and his undead army?”
“Not for a norn. It’ll be a challenge, but a good one. It’s about time we take back the land from these dragons.” He spoke strongly on the subject, of course in a very norn manner.
I took the his ponytail in hand and ran my fingers through his blonde hair, dust the snow from it. “Sometimes I forget you are norn until you say things like that,” I laughed and tossed his hair back and sat up.
“Should I act more “norn-like” then?” He teased and bumped my shoulder with his arm.
“By Bear! I don’t think ye could act more norn if Angel ‘erself gotcha drunk,” I put on my best norn impression in an attempt to poke fun right back at him. We laughed together at my terrible impression and decided to call it a night. Big things waited for us in the morning.