Alfhidr sat there, tapping her fingers on the rough wood, her eyes darting about the tavern as low candle-light flickered and danced along the walls, as cheerful banter permeated the interior. She took a swig of the ale she was previously presented with and waited. "A while yet.." she muttered noting the ever sinking sun and increasingly darkened sky.
"This yer first time in the likes of Calendale?” A hoarse voice bluntly interrupted her thoughts, and a burly drunkerd plopped himself in the chair across from her.
Alfhidr sighed and stood up, catching the table with her legs before she steadied it, noticing the uneven leg lengths and grasped her mug, taking her final gulp before chucking a copper onto the same wooden table, leaving the man to himself. Not wishing to be pursued any further Alfhidr exited, making her mind up that she would wait for the man outside.Now veiled in early darkness, and quite aware of the sorts that wandered at night, Alfhidr gripped the handle of her battle-axe and watched tentatively as a cloaked figure, tall and lanky made his way over to where she stood.
"Might you be Alfhidr?" He spoke as he pushed back his cowl, noticing her hands shift to her weapon earlier.
"Tis I, have we a deal?" She questioned tossing a small bag into his hands. He examined the contents within and retrieved the jeweled pendant from his cloak. He held it above her open hand, pausing for a brief moment in hopes to gain some information about the strange traveller.
"And what do you plan on using a relic such as this for?"
Alfhidr grasped the pendant, feeling the surge of magical energy in the item. "My reasons are not for the ears of strangers, and certainly not for the ears of those who dwell in the shadows of the alley" She said aloud, watching the shift of bodies to the right as she made mention of them. She had noted them earlier but had no worry, understanding that a band of small thieves were not worth her strength.
With the relic around her neck she dismissed the man and swung her battle-axe over her shoulder, taking up a brisk pace to the ports of Calendale. When she looked back the man was gone. She had wondered for moment, who the man may have been, the stare he had given her alerted her that he knew more than just her name.
"Perhaps, you know more of my journey then you let on" she whispered to the stars before a sharp movement was caught in her eye. Alfhidr stopped, making no move of defense or pursuit and listened keenly to her surroundings picking up the quiet crunching of footsteps emerging from behind several carts. At this, she brought her axe down to her side and spoke.
"You are not very stealthy for a thief if that's what you may be"
The crunching stopped.
"The pendant...what is it's worth to you?" Someone called out and she smiled wryly. She knelt down and darted her eyes to the source catching sight of a feeble looking Halfling.
"What is it's worth to you?" Alfhidr questioned back. "If it is coin you desire, have this and be gone"
She tossed a few gold pieces down and went to continue on her way when once again the Halfling called out as it scrambled out to hastily collect the coins before any thieves came by.
"It has been imbued with magical essence, surely being what you are, you do not tolerate magic, so why then?"
She took his question as genuine intrigue and answered briskly.
"It has special significance to the journey I must complete, that is all i will enlighten you with" Alfhidr began walking again, leaving the Halfling behind, contented with his new currency. Night had fully crested when the next ship arrived, and Alfhidr by this time had taken up position by the very edge of the dock, glancing down at her newly acquired possession which seemed to glow and glitter in the starlight.
"Where ya headed missy?" An elderly man shouted as he approached to dock his boat not understanding Alfhidr's height and strength until she stood and helped assist him in tying off the boat.
"I wish to cross the red coast to the plains of Valyndhel" When she mentioned Valyndhel a thick sweat formed on his brow, and he nervously wiped away the beads, nodding.
"To go there you need a pretty penny." He started as he bent down, moving some rusted buckets aside, assembling more rope.
"And you must know about what happened to that city, don'tcha? You look like the sorts to be travelling a lot"
Alfhidr only replied with a silent nod of her head before fishing out some of her last gold pieces.
"How much will be enough to get me there?" The old man threw his head back in gravelly laughter, ending with a harsh cough before he wiped his forehead once more. "I reckon what you have is fine but even the coastline may kill ya lass, it isn't worth the trouble"
She sighed heavily before stepping onto the boat."Take me there I am more than capable of protecting myself I assure you I have faced worse in my past" She mentioned with a grim smile pushing the furs off one shoulder to reveal a massive scar that ran from the side of her neck down past where neither of them could see with the rest of the furs covering her lower back.
"A dragon my friend..i know well the dangers that lurk and infest my homeland" she shrugged the fur back over the healed wound and sat down.
"I know well" she repeated and the man with a look of fright but admiration painted across his face, agreed to take her across for no fee at all.
"If ye don't mind the likes'a me asking miss, what's yer tale with the dragon?" Curious eyes glanced back expecting an answer and she shifted her sitting position to lean on her axe handle.
"It lives I can tell you that, I was just a young elfling back then, it was my parents who had decided to fight it, unsuccessfully I will say but in bitter circumstances I believed it to be my place to help, of course dragons have more than breath weapons and I failed to see the claw coming until it had already dug into me... that is all you need to know..how the city was destroyed, is not for now for there were more than dragons" she explained, picturing that moment again in brief pain. The man nodded satisfied.
"An elf yet a savage as well..." He commented and she understood it was unusual for an elf to take up the ways of anyone who wasn't persistently trained and held high power in their trade.
"Yes" was all she said before she allowed sleep to take her over for the night.
It had been nearly a week since she had arrived on the plateau that was once scattered and decorated in greenery and trees and she remembered beasts of all kinds that once roamed the forests Valyndhel had to offer.
The sight left a deep feeling of anger and disappointment boiling in her stomach but she took in the sight with another feeling as well. The feeling of revenge. She observed the area around her carefully, noticing the stench of bogs and swamp nearby which had never been there before. Her city would be a far trek, a few days by foot and she knew there would be no easy way around the sharp crags that went up for miles, adding more days to her solo adventure. Still exhausted and hungry Alfhidr began to walk, away from the smell of the bogs to sandy open land but halted when she saw large figures trodding across, shaking the ground under her feet.
"Giants" she stated but also spied how they were dressed. Thick leather and heavy scraps of metal hung around them, small trees clasped in their hands. They usually did not have the common sense to wear any armor outside of a thin hide around their waist and the observation sent a flash of worry through her mind. Flicking her gaze to the opposite direction Alfhidr focused her hearing on the bubbling and crackling coming from the stenchy bogs before turning her attention back to the giants, clearly distressed as the atmosphere seemed to weigh down on her shoulders.
sweat trickled from her brow down her face from the beating heat of the sands as she hesitated on choosing a direction. Removing her axe from its hilt she surveyed each area once more before turning heel, deciding the better fortune lied within the bogs.
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