“Aye, she kneeled before the norn and started begging ‘stop, please, I beg you, no more.’ ” said the lionguard to a fellow companion as they guarded the ship’s gang plank. He was mimicking the charr officer’s voice when she confronted Patrick. “She then started crying, repeating ‘no, no… no’. I felt frightened.”
“What was he doing? Why would they carry such a monster in this ship?” Said the companion, staring into the lionguard’s eyes.
“He did absolutely nothing. He just sat down, closed his eyes. That norn is indeed a monster.”
Both lionguards kept talking, while a group of men were leading the officer across the gangplank, heading into Lion’s Arch where they could treat her. She seemed to have hallucinations, repeating in whispers: no, get me out, far from that norn, please, not again…
On the ship’s deck, Ross and Anna were holding Patrick’s hands behind his back. “You are coming with us, Patrick” said Ross, pushing the norn forward. “We are grateful for your assistance, but we have duties to perform and I was given the order to carry you all the way from Orr to The Crow’s Nest. Let’s head there” Ross started to walk alongside Anna, while Patrick struggled, trying to free himself from them.
“What the hell are you doing, Ross!?” exclaimed Patrick in Ross’ mind. He didn’t even flinch. Ross wouldn’t be frighten by his mind tricks anymore. “I don’t have time for this. I need to go as soon as possible.”
“I cannot do that. They won’t condemn you, I guarantee it. You will be free sooner than later” answered Ross.
“Uh, whatever.” Patrick stopped troubling their way to The Crow’s Nest.
“Oh, are you done acting like a child, now?” Asked Anna, noticing that Patrick had stopped hassling them. “You look uneasy, Ross. Is something in your mind?”
Ross drew a smile. “It’s nothing” he said, while laughing briefly with Patrick at the suitability of her question.
She surveyed carefully the man and the norn. “You were being a hassle just a minute ago and now you’re laughing, Patrick? And Ross, you sure changed a lot since the last time I saw you. To think you are my superior. You two are very odd and I don’t know if that scares me or not” she looked at them again, as if she was trying to find any oddity on both. “On another note… why are we going to The Crow’s Nest?”
“Irondawn himself requested me to bring him safe and sound. I almost screwed it up, but everything turned out great, didn’t it?”
“Stop right there. Irondawn? Are you that high ranked for Irondawn to trust you? Don’t take me wrong, but…”
“He trusted this mission to a team of five men, from which I was part off. I was the least prepared between us, but they had no one else”
“That makes sense now. Though… where are they?” Questions kept popping up in Anna’s mind, as the situation was greatly confusing for her.
“Go figure! I don’t know, I lost track of them In the battle against Zhaitan in Orr” said Ross with a calm voice. The answer seemed to convince Anna, who kept chatting about their lives and jobs as part of the lionguards. But Patrick didn’t look convinced. Hearing the response, he looked to the ground, remorseful.
“Everything’s okay?” Asked Ross and Anna, noticing how absent the norn was.
“Yes, I’m just thinking about what happened these past few days. Don’t mind me, keep talking” Patrick looked at Ross and didn’t find peaceful eyes, but found mournful eyes which only made him confirm his thoughts.
Ross and Anna kept talking, until they arrived to The Crow’s Nest. “We arrived, it seems!” cheered Ross.
“Should I wait here?” Asked Anna.
“Of course not. Come in, you should meet the boss of your bosses!”
A big norn walked from the tavern towards them. He approached them and stopped face to face with Patrick. “Aye, you are of my kind too!” He exclaimed. “Look, I am Captain Magnus “the Bloody-Handed” Irondawn, the leader of the Lionguard military group.” Without waiting for a response, Magnus punched Patrick’s stomach, leaving him unconscious. Ross separated them and approached Patrick to see if he had any severe injure. “Don’t worry, I didn’t hit him hard. I just wanted him to sleep. Now, you two come with me and explain me everything that happened.”
“Though, why did you have to do that?” Asked furiously Ross.
“Let’s say he should mind his own business” he said curtly. The anger from Ross’ face disappeared and was replaced by a serious expression. Anna glanced at them, having no idea what they were talking about.
The northern Shiverspeaks were as cold as always. A mantle of pure white snow covered every corner that could be seen. A norn was waiting at the foot of the mountain, reclined next to a rock. Ugh, she’s always late, isn’t she? Someday I’ll just start without her and hunt by myself thought the Patrick, his patience decreasing as time went on.
A pretty and rather small norn showed up. She wore a thick beast skin that greatly helped to battle the cold and cover her skin from the snow that started falling not long ago. “Hey, Birddie!” She said when she got closer to the already sleeping norn.
“You are late, Nertalyn…” he tried to say, but he was still busy yawning and making sure he wasn’t just dreaming she finally arrived. “Couldn’t you have chosen a… an original name, instead of ‘Birddie’?” He said while stretching.
“Aw, don’t tell me you don’t like it?” She grimaced, looking at him with a sad expression on her face.
“Nope, cut it out. I won’t feel sorry for you again” both of them turned silent. The fierce wind and the snow falling, along with beast roars, were broke the silence. “Did you hear that? Our preys are close” he stood up, grabbed his heavy-looking package, shaking off it off to remove snow it had been buried under.
When he was ready, Nertalyn was still standing with her sadden tone. “C’mon, let’s go” he started walking, the other norn following close without a word. “Yes, I like it. But I cannot say my name is ‘Birddie’ if I meet someone, okay?”
Upon hearing his words, she quickly drew a smile, happiness empowering her. “Yes, you are right, Patrick!” She jumped on Patrick’s back, hugging him and setting him off balance. “You look really awesome when you are sorry and try to make it up, did you know?” She laughed as Patrick sighed deeply. “I hope you like that name, Pat.”
“Yes I do ma’am, I’ll be sure to make good use of the name” he smiled for the first time that day. “Let’s get going, we need to hunt something for dinner.”
“Hey, you are still holding me!”
“Your clothes are soft.”
“You have a ton of work regarding your social skills and expressions, Birddie” she smiled, pulling herself closer to his back.
“You are the only person I’ve ever really talked to. You could guess I won’t be good at that.”
“You are still awesome!”
“Hell yes, I am” he said, while dropping Nertalyn without a warning. She fell to the ground on her back. “And you have gotten too much on my nerves today” he said while laughing, looking at her posture and looks, covered in snow. “You look so ridiculous!” He started running, as he saw her face turn all red, embarrassed.
“I’m so killing you!” She exclaimed, chasing after him with her staff.
He woke up disgusted by his remembrance of the past. Why did I have to dream about that now? That happened many years ago. Nertalyn… she’s dead, isn’t she? He wondered about his dream, recalling Sky’s words before disappearing again. How would you know, Sky? You have always kept an eye on me, even though I’ve never noticed you. The question as to who was Sky gave Patrick shivers.
He slowly recovered his composure, sitting in place with slow, seemingly painful moves while trying to remember where he was and why. My stomach hurts a lot… that freaking pirate. After struggling, he stood up and realised he was inside a camp tent, guarded by two men in armor similar to those of the lionguards.
“Hold on. We have been ordered to keep you inside until further notice. Stand back and you won’t get hurt.” Both lionguards spoke as one and crossed the spears they wielded, blocking the path.
He was surveying the place, when he heard people talking outside. “He doesn’t seem like a bad norn, but how in earth are we supposed to trust him on this?” Said Ross voice.
“He is the only qualified person we could find after scrutinising every place we could think of.” Irondawn voice was harsh, reproaching Ross.
If they are talking about me, I might as well know what I’ll be up to. He took one step forward, but he met again with the lionguards’ spears. “Do not move any further step.”
“Move.” The very tone of Patrick’s voice sent a surge of terror down both guard’s spines. He took one more step forward, standing between them. Upon this, they broke their firm posture holding their weapons and faced directly Patrick, putting their spears roughly touching his neck.
“Do. Not. Move.” They blared the words, as Patrick decidedly took another step forward. The three individuals that were discussing moments ago, looked at the scene with incredulity. The lionguards not only lowered their weapons, but resumed their usual stand-up posture. While Patrick advanced towards the table they were arguing around, the guards told Irondawn in a loud voice that the “subject” was waiting inside the tent without resisting anymore.
“Is he a Mesmer, master?” whispered Anna to Ross.
“No. He doesn’t use physical illusions. More exactly, he seems to cause hallucinations.”
“Yes, he does. Have you ever seen someone do that? Everyone we sent to do this mission came back crazy or betrayed us. But him, he is special” continued Irondawn, pained to see two of his men falling so easily to Patrick’s tricks.
“Yes, I am. You better tell these poor men to stop guarding the door of the tent” told Patrick into Irondawn’s mind.
“What the…? How did you…?” he panicked for a few moments, feeling immediately embarrassed at the sight of the illusion they thought was the real Patrick disappear.
“Stop guarding the tent you two” shouted Irondawn at them. Both Anna and Ross looked at Magnus helplessly wondering what the hell was happening. The lionguards looked one last time inside the tent, just to find there was no one.
“There is no one, boss!” Their eyes opened when they saw the norn standing behind him.
“Boo” whispered Patrick at Magnus’ ear, making him jump at the surprise.
Though Ross and Anna found the situation quite hilarious, they resisted the urge to burst laughing at him. It certainly wouldn’t be a good input to their careers and promotions to higher rankings.
“How in the Spirits…!” Irondawn was about to curse at Patrick, but he soon realised that doing so would only humiliate him even further. He took a moment to regain composure, to keep calm, and resume their conversation with their new company. “Alright. You are here now, invited or not, we don’t care. We need you to fulfil a mission.”
“I’m sorry, I’m busy enough with some other personal issues to attend your job.”
“No you are not. You are going to be charged for the death of four officials, high ranks, of our military. You will likely be sentenced as the culprit of them.” Anna’s eyes widened, recalling that Ross went into the Zhaitan mission along other high ranked. Did Patrick really killed four of them all by himself? He didn’t even know how to properly wield a weapon back in the ship!
“You know I didn’t kill anyone.”
“He didn’t kill them, boss” intervened Ross into the discussion, at surprise of Anna.
“Why are you defending the man that killed your mates, Ross!?” She shouted at him.
“Because it isn’t that simple.”
“You saw it all, that’s why you were that afraid the first time I talked to you, right Ross?” Asked the norn, rhetorically because he already knew the answer.
“That is correct.”
“What are you talking about?” As the conversation went on, Anna felt more and more confused about the situation.
“He is talking about this.” Patrick spoke into Anna’s mind. She jumped off the seat, drew her weapon and pointed at him. “Hey, calm down, I won’t do any harm.”
“Stop… please.” Begged Anna.
“It’s curious how much pressure it puts into our heads, right?” Affirmed Irondawn, who was looking at the scene quietly. “We still don’t know which kind of power or magic this is.”
“I doubt this curse comes from any kind of magic” said Patrick, with solemn voice, damning the fact he was born with this skill.
“You cannot use him this way” interrupted Ross from the deviation the conversation took.
“I can” defied Irondawn.
“You. Should. Not.”
“Do you agree on this job, Patrick?” Asked Irondawn, ignoring Ross who gritted his teeth with rage towards his attitude.
“There are rumours that something is going wrong in The Mists. I cannot give you any more information for the time being. We want you to familiarise with the place first and report any sudden oddity you find.”
The norn laughed. “Do you really want me to commit to a mission with so little information? I sure have better things to do.”
“I’ve investigated you, little norn. We sent your “friend” on this mission, but she hasn’t come back yet. Should something have happened to her, you could find out.” Patrick’s time stopped, freezing when hearing his words. Is Nertalyn alive? And working with them? She would not do that!
“I’ll bite. I’m going to The Mists right now.” He stood up, and started walking to the nearest asura gate leading to the Heart of the Mists.
“We still need to hold you on a trial” said Irondawn, walking behind the norn.
But Ross held his hand, stopping him from moving. “Just let him go. It’s enough for him to have accepted your request. He could have just deceived us once again and not accept this. It’s not like we can jail or retain him in any way.” Ross sighed and looked upon the sky, as Irondawn left the place and went elsewhere. “It’s a good day, right?” He asked Anna. “I am going to investigate about all of this. Will you come with me, Anna?” She nodded, still confused and insecure about what had just happened.
“Where can we start?” She asked.
“The norns’ homeland. I don’t know if we will ever find anything worth our time there about him, but it’s the only place we could find any clues.”
Anna and Ross grabbed some supplies and departed on their own journey, trying to gather information about everything that happened before their eyes.
Patrick stopped at the place where they were treating Drac. “I hope we meet again. Everything will be fine, don’t worry” he said to the unconscious man. He then resumed his walk towards the asura gate.
Nertalyn… what have you been planning all this time? He questioned himself as he walked. Only theories popped up on his mind, none of which were secure, nor made sense. Well, it’s not like any of this makes sense, right?