This is the tale of two adventurers, Aurion and Addison, and their journeys.
In all my time alive, never have I once seen a woman with such tenacity, and at such a young age. She was exceptional in every regard, both physically and mentally. I watched her grow up and I must say I have never felt a deeper love than I have for this girl. So I followed her. I was there for her first steps, and I will be there for her last breath. I have decided that it is my duty to protect her from the evils this world brings upon its people. My name is Aurion, I am 432 years old, and I am in love. She was all I could think about, the supple young girl of twenty-three years of age. She was a virgin almost certainly, and the way she carried herself gave me excitement I could never contain. So it was almost comical when she called out to me.
Master Aurion! Come look at this!
We were hunters and adventurers and thrill-seekers among other things, with our sharp tongues keeping us alive just as much as our sharp blades. She had just slain a beast when she called out to me, and we were lucky to be alive after such an ordeal. I thank the gods above for her presence when the going gets tough, as she finds a way to make it out of everything alive, and that’s more than I can say for most of the people I’ve spent time around in my life. She was silly, as humans are, and ambition-driven. She had hopes and aspirations of living her life to the fullest before settling down and homesteading with a husband. I remember because she spoke of her dreams to me often when she was a child. We would lay under the stars in our camp and talk about our futures and what they would hold. Never once would she ever acknowledge that I would outlast her by hundreds of years. She only ever talked of what could happen in her lifetime, and for that, I was thankful. But she called out to me, asking me to look. So I did.
What I found, however, frightened me. The beast we had slain was no normal ghoul, but it had an inscription in it’s forehead, written in old elvish.
Meet me where hope meets despair.
Meet me where hope meets despair.
Where hope meets despair? I said, unknowing that I said it aloud.
What’s it say? I turned away from her, but her beautiful green eyes followed.
Meet me where hope meets despair.
That’s strange, innit?
The beast is marked by something. I’ve seen this once before, and it was with a man summoning beasts from thin air.
So you mean to say that this beast was summoned?
Hard to say. Keep watching it. It may turn to ash.
And so it did. Her mouth was agape when she saw it, and all I could think about was slipping a finger into it, feeling her tongue and wetness of her mouth, twirling it around against her gums until my finger was wet with her saliva. It was intrusive, my thought, and I know I shouldn’t have thought it. But I did. I could not help such a feeling. I backed out of my fantasy as she looked at me once more, mouth still wide open. She had never seen such a thing, though I suppose it’s understandable, being as young as she is. I could feel a lump in my throat as I went to speak to her, the weight of her beauty making itself known in my rosy cheeks and fluttering stomach. Still, I managed. Paternally, I spoke, as to learn her something.
Yes, young one.
Why did I say young one. That was the most awkward of all titles for such a trifling beauty.
Yes. Meaning the summoner must be nearby. Meaning a fight, and a harder one at that.
I’m ready, Ser.
Ser. I hated when she called me Ser. I am not your better. I am your equal in all things, including matters of the heart. Ser made me sound too important for love, and too important for her to have eyes for me. It gave me a chill whenever she said it, but I pushed through.
Our job was simple. We had been contracted by the local lord Hamish to dispatch of the ghouls plaguing the countryside. It seemed easy enough, but the more details we acquired, the more complicated this job became. A summoner of creatures meant magic, and magic meant danger, and danger meant putting her life at risk. I was not willing to do that. So I told her to head back to town and spend the night at the tavern and get rooms for us, as sunset was coming soon anyway. I would be back before dawn, I said. I watched her walk away, and oh, so I enjoyed it. After my gawking, I decided to take a sample of the ashes in a vial as a trophy before moving forward. The sun was setting, and the countryside of Breckenridge was beautiful at sunset, with a purple and orange glow bouncing off the hills. I went east, following an imaginary trail. Well, not imaginary, but I could not explain how I found this trail. I consider it divine providence that I ever knew where I was going, but I always knew it was the right way. The gods looked out for me like that.
Still, I wondered about the girl the whole time I was traveling. I wondered about her when I found the man behind the ghouls. I wondered about her when I struck down the summoner with my blade. It was probably a bad distraction, to be honest. It’s not good to fight when you’re not in the moment, but I couldn’t help it. I had hoped she hadn’t found fellow from the tavern and spent the night with him. I had hoped all along that she would go to sleep, pure and virgin as ever.
The fight was long and tough, and I took a few blows on my sides and legs, so I limped back the few miles into town, bleeding. I didn’t feel much of the pain, however, as I knew my lover would patch me up once I returned to our temporary home for the night. The trip was long and tenuous, especially with the rather sizable holes in my body and blood spilling from me. The last thing I remember was making it to the stables and collapsing. After that, nothing.
I came to in a bed with her standing over me. She was in her nightgown, and I don’t think I’d ever seen something so elegant. She was so focused on me, so determined to keep me alive, so gracious in her effort. The pain was secondary still, though it surged through me. I was alive, barely so, but alive. Meaning I could see her again. She told me that I had been out for almost a week, and that we had paid the apothecary everything we had to keep me alive with his potions. I told her she shouldn’t have wasted the coin on me, and she laughed.
By the gods, if I could hear her laugh forever.
It was slow and painful, my recovery, and I sometimes had wished I brought her along with me for the fight, but every time I thought it, I knew better. It was worth being so hurt that she would not be in harm’s way. The apothecary said that I broke a few ribs, my collarbone, and that my gashes were almost deep enough to kill me. He said it was a miracle I survived. I thanked the gods everyday that I survived, for I could see her face again. It took about two weeks for me to get back on my feet again, but I felt better than ever after coming back from the injury. The apothecary patched me up good with all his potions and whatnot. But, I knew I owed him a lot of coin. I was prepared to work for it, but I was not looking forward to working on the fields for a few months to pay for this. Much to my surprise, he did not tell me to grab a hoe and work the fields. He told me he needed someone with my specific skills.
For a delicate job, he said.
And that is?
He asked me to journey to the capital, Kalendria, and find for him a rare herb called Sunspear. Apparently it had healing capabilities worth any price. He didn’t say what he needed it for, and I didn’t bother asking. I figure if it was worth sending me to go get it, it was for something important.
She was waiting for me when I returned to the tavern from the apothecary.
We leave at dawn, I said. She cocked an eyebrow but didn’t question.