Before we actually made it to Brackwater, our carts had to trek across the swamp ahead of us. The water was mostly shallow, so our carts could make their way through it, only very slowly. I could already see the plant-made houses behind the trees and thorny fence.
Cinder had exited the cart in order to scare off any drakes lurking around the water. Her scruffy “Get lost”s and “Go on, get out of here”s made it seem as if she was scaring off drake hounds rather than drakes themselves. I couldn’t see her most of the time, so I’m sure she was doing much more than yelling at them to keep them off the ankles of our dolyak.
Everyone seemed a lot more accepting of Tobih’s lies than I originally thought they would be. None of them pressed him for more details though I could tell they were all curious. Even through curiosity, maybe they still didn’t want to know. Perhaps no one had to know that he was sick until he was ready to tell them as well.
“What kind of place is Brakewater?” Tobih asked as he looked up from his hands clasped together in his lap.
“Brackwater.” Cinder corrected as she climbed back in. I assumed all of the drakes had been taught a lesson. “It’s a quiet outpost as far as the people living in it goes. Not a lot of them there but it’s also attacked by undead often so take that as you will.”
He simply nodded to show he understood and began whispering “Brackwater” to himself as if trying to remember the name for good.
“You guys are going south from this place directly into Orr. I hear the pact is beginning to set up there. The rest of us are headed west to an Asuran research facility to start tracking a dragon champion. If we’re lucky, some of our allies will have spread the word and get others to join us.” She pressed the pads on her paws together and looked towards Tullia.
“So, we can celebrate in Brakewater tonight?” Tobih suggested. I couldn’t stifle my giggle. “I told myself not to say it! Brackwater! You know, it’s one of those moments where you tell yourself not to say the wrong thing while reminding yourself of the right one and it comes out anyway.” Cinder patted him on the back.
“Sorry, Tobih, I just couldn’t help it.” I apologized while coming off of my laughter.
The cart came to a halt and I pushed back a blanket and looked outside. We sat in the middle of what looked more like a camp of sylvari style houses surrounded with a wall of thorns rather than an outpost used to fighting off undead attacks.
“Seems like we’ve made it.” Ragnvaldr said. He stood up, crouching a bit to avoid the top of the blankets covering the cart, and stepped out of the back.
“Ride’s over.” Angel shouted shamelessly and left the cart as well. I followed behind everyone else.
Kiffi was already talking to one of the Sylvari in the camp, “We’re Ventari’s Refugees. We were told you could use some help whenever we could pass through.” She pulled out a bunch of papers with their corners bent and parts ripped. “This should explain. We talked to the pact and they said our help would be best here on the way to Splintered Coast.”
“I heard your guild was on the way. Well, we can use all the help we can get. I was surprised to hear you all do it for free.” The Sylvari responded.
“Think of it as a mission of peace. We hope that one day you could help us in return,” She looked up from the papers and saw the concerned look on his face, “I just mean that we help others in the hope that one day if we were in trouble that you could send someone to help us. We work to create a united peace amongst different races and different locations in the world.”
“I think I understand what you’re saying. It sounds fair to me.” He responded and signed something on one of the papers that Kiffi had handed to him.
“They’re working here?” I asked Ragnvaldr.
“It seems to be part of their mission.” He responded.
“I wonder how many places they’ve done this for.” I pondered out loud.
“Any and all that will accept help.” I didn’t realize he was standing behind me; Tobih’s voice made me jump a little. “It was Cinder and Kiffi’s idea. I’m glad to see they’ve been talking through the Pact to find places that need help.”
“The Pact…. I don’t think I’ve heard of them.” Ragnvaldr spoke.
“They’re pretty new. The orders of Tyria all came together to start it up apparently. Their mission isn’t much different than the guild’s. Uniting people to fight the dragons together.” Tobih explained to us.
“Are there any plans to join the Pact then?” The norn questioned as Kiffi waved at us. “I guess that’s our signal to start unpacking.”
“No plans right now,” Tobih replied before breaking off from us and walking towards the tiny asura. I saw him introduce himself to the sylvari before Ragnvaldr patted my shoulder. I turned around to help him unpack.
We only needed the necessities for the night- our food and sleeping gear. A lot of these things weren’t going to make it the rest of the way on the trip with us. We would be traveling on foot the rest of the way. It would be safer to do so.
I handed the last of the things off to Ragnvaldr, who was setting us up in one of the communal houses we had been offered. When he left, I jumped down from our cart only to find Tullia leaned against the side.
“Oh, you scared me!” I exclaimed with a nervous laugh and tried to regain my composure. She glanced over to me only briefly. I crossed my arms, “Tullia, do you hate me?”
Her eyes rested on me this time around, “No.”
“Did I do something to offend you?” I continued. Her answer had been blunt but I felt a bit of contempt from the word.
She walked to me and studied my face, “I actually like you as a person.” Relief rushed over me until I realized that there was something else she had wanted to say. “What I don’t like is competition.”
“What do you mean?” What was with that answer?
She shook her head and walked away.
“Please, just tell me!” I called after her but was ignored.
Kiffi approached me instead, “Is everything unpacked for the night?”
I nodded while still watching Tullia saunter away, “Do you know what that’s about?”
“Nope, no clue. I wouldn’t let it get to you, she’s a little weird like that sometimes,” She replied. “I’ve got to go talk with the others about taking shifts for the night.”