The rest of us sat together in a corner of the room. I finally felt as if I was starting to understand their group a bit more. Kiffi was the leader in the absence of Tobih. This was because she was the best at speaking with others, which was important for negotiations. Her sentences were generally long and she liked to speak what was on her mind, though. She could get caught up in a tangent if left alone. Kau was not only their navigator but also the one there to keep Kiffi from getting away from the point she was trying to convey.
Tullia, as Kiffi had told me earlier, was their healer since she knew the medicinal properties of the environment around her. She was more learned in the art of making poisons than medicine, but her medicinal concoctions had gotten them through a few illnesses. She also played lookout for the team. Tullia would scout ahead to check for any dangers on the road.
Then there was Cinder. The playful thief was perfect for discretely killing any creatures that dared to hinder their progress. If Tullia’s well-aimed poison tipped arrow couldn’t dispatch a monster, Cinder wasn’t far behind her to help finish it off from the shadows. Cinder also played cook for the group while Angel was away. She had only recently learned how to make anything other than food for farm animals. Ragnvaldr was giving her a lesson in cooking and she seemed quite excited to learn more of the art.
Zen was quiet, as always. He was old and always seemed tired, but that was never the case. He was losing his sight, so he kept the illusion that he was always asleep by keeping his eyes closed. Instead, he was using the sound around him to feel where everything was. As a result, he was good at picking up conversations, which is great when you are making negotiations with someone. More than once he had found out problems within groups – their weaknesses. He relayed the message to the other guild members. They would help solve the group’s problem, which usually gained favor for them. He hadn’t quite gotten used to having to hear everything rather than see, so Zen prefered to stand against walls whenever possible.
They were truly an exceptional group that found strengths in each other’s weaknesses. It’s like they belonged together.
And Tobih had pulled them all together.
The group spoke very highly of Tobih, which made him blush and chuckle. That sheepish grin of his never left his face. They all cared for him very much. All of us cared about him.
Tobih, however, spoke very highly of our group. He told the guild about our adventures since leaving.
“Back in the Granite Citadel, we got to stay in these small dwarven houses that Angel had trouble fitting into,” he was onto another story, “Angel had started another one of her fights, this time with Claire. You know how she gets. I woke up to this and had to scold her for it. Turns out there was this huge explosion I had slept through earlier that morning. One of the dwarven houses was completely totaled.”
“You’d sleep through a dragon invasion,” Cinder laughed as she assisted Ragnvaldr with delivering our food in front of us.
“That left Claire with a choice and she decided to go to the Eye of the North by herself.” He continued after a chuckle.
“Isn’t that the place where they record the deeds of heroes? I heard that no one ever sees anything more than rubble when they go there,” Kiffi butted in.
“Claire is…. different. Maybe one day she can tell you her story herself, but I’ll leave that to her. She went and only a few moments later, she was back! Just like that! And she was carrying this really nice staff. So I figured she must have found something in there.” He made all of these wild gestures with his arms and hands while he told them the story. “I was right, but I’m not sure it was what she was looking for. She and Angel had a talk and came back and that’s why we’re headed to Orr now. Claire is going to ask the gods on their altars to help her.”
“There’s a point when you should cut your loses and give up,” Tullia broke her own silence and spoke up.
Surprisingly, it was Angel who had words for her. “We all have our own challenges we need to overcome before they eat us alive.” Her voice was serious and she folded her arms.
Tobih looked just as surprised as I did, “Uh, yes.. that is exactly why we must go.”
“I, for one, love the idea of our leader getting to know the environment of Orr. He can report back and let us know how we should be handling the area, especially if we plan to fight the undead at their source.” Kiffi also came to our defense.
I didn’t have any hope for anyone understanding my story beyond those who knew it. I needed to do this. “It’s okay if you don’t understand. I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense and it doesn’t get better in that respect. But for once Angel is right. If I don’t do this, then it will eat away until I’m nothing more than a hollow shell of my former self. I’m sitting here with three people who care very dearly for me and are willing to risk their lives for my happiness… It’s terrifying. I know that they are risking their lives and there’s nothing I can do to stop them from trying to make me happy.
“I only hope that one day in the future I can do something to return the favor,” I finished. Tobih pulled me close to him again, having me rest against his shoulder.
“It will be enough for me to see you happy.” He smiled and looked sideways towards me.
“Any more stories?” Kiffi questioned eagerly. It seemed she liked the stories he was telling. They seemed boring to me, and I’m not sure how many of us were actually excited by them, but I liked to listen to his voice at least.
“Let me tell you about the never-ending mugs of ale in Hoelbrak….”