“I am here, to this goat fence. I taste for Quest!” the man informed the curious passer by. The young woman pursed her lips.
“Well, we don’t take kindly to that word here,” the young waitress informed him, her prim uniform of slacks and blouse made her face look more mature than it was.
Sethamus, Seth to his mother, blinked and ran the woman’s words through his head. The man’s grasp on the kingdom’s language was... very basic and the grammar was very foreign to him. No one had told Seth that his Velurian was anything less than good. No one really had the heart to tell the man that as he belted out poems designed for the native language it transformed a once simple and elegant poem of two lovers into a war between three donkeys.
So, Seth had finally reached the little town of Durence, his intentions clear and his language foggy. He smiled and tried again, his purpose for coming to this town was to speak to an old friend.
“I seek Quest! I seek hot masculine lizard!” he tried and the waitress raised both eyebrows. Seth waited to see what she would do as her lips curved up into a slow smile.
“Where are you from?” she asked and Seth perked up at the simple question.
“I was... bred in Julipyso, very very away from here,” Seth informed the woman proudly. He looked around at the quaint buildings, eyed the people walking around in the light of day, noticed the way some carried themselves.
Yes, this would be a place Quiss would end up tangled with. His speaking companion took a long look at his travelling boots, their battle-scarred leather, and at his weatherbeaten clothes.
“Listen, you want some... hot lizards, we got some nice stew in the pub but other than... well, you never know, Durence has pulled weirder things out its skirt. I am Nina,” the woman offered Seth a hand.
Seth took the hand without blinking. This was good, the woman knew about the fire mages in town. He tasted the other word slowly. Stew...
His Velurian came up empty so he merely nodded. A pub would be some mage gathering tower or arcane spot. This woman must be an involved or perhaps a mage herself if she was offering to lead him there.
“I doubtedly accept!” Seth beamed and Nina paused then that small smile reappeared. Seth took that as a sign and followed the powerful mage before him. Nina, her simple but pretty appearance made this town seem even odder.
Quiss’ letters, translated just as badly into his language as Seth spoke Quiss’ tongue, spoke of a town that was either filled with raging rabbit demon bats or crazy old people. Seth wasn’t sure if he felt happy or let down at the reveal of the answer.
When Quiss’ letters stopped reaching him, he had decided to take a little journey to expand his mind. Being a mage himself, he was excited to see what the world offered him.
He had met Quiss in the very mage school that he had grown up in. Seth walked quietly behind Nina as he watched her point things out. Words zoomed past and he could only grasp some in a fumble, trying to match them to faces or buildings.
A mage school was not so common that every land or kingdom had one. In fact, it would be more correct of Seth to say that Mage schools popped up at a set distance from each other. Like animals declaring a territory as their own.
Since the schools could be so... sporadic, they often took in many students from many different cultures and lands. It led to many young children, teens, and even old people, being seated next to someone who didn’t speak a lick of the same language.
It was chaos and yet, it worked. They had all come to study one language after all: Magic.
“-she is a druid, you know what a druid is?” Nina asked and Seth nodded, pleased to know words as she listed it. Nina stopped outside a rather plain looking building. She offered to let Seth go first and when he entered, the smell of alcohol, loud noises and body heat assaulted his senses.
It was the perfect place to find a fire mage. Seth looked around but didn’t see anyone on fire or trying to strangle someone so he assumed Quiss wasn’t here yet. This den of fire mages, there sure were plenty, all eyed him as he entered.
He sat, softly, down on an empty bar stool. He watched with some surprise as Nina split into three versions of herself to collect a rather large amount of glasses at once before she snapped back together and carried the load to the large sink in the back room.
“What? Never seen a splitter?” Nina teased and Seth shook his head.
“You became tree!” he said with interest and Nina looked like she had just heard something very amusing.
“That would be the druid’s tricks... three, three. I split, I don’t bark,” she nudged him as she poured him some odd looking soup. An old man that looked like he had lost a fight with a rather upset axe, nodded at her.
“Boss, put it on my tab. Newcomer gets a good welcome to Durence,” she said as she poured a jug of water into a clay cup for him. Seth smiled and lightly inhaled. The water was clean and didn’t smell stale at all.
He gave it a sip and his attitude of this ‘Pub’ went up. Still, it was an odd place. None of his buildings back home looked like this. All stone and wood. But it was a whole new land. It was Quiss’ land and he had much to learn.
“This me offers his soul for puddle,” Seth bowed his head and dug into the soup. Nina closed her eyes and fought a smile. She opened them a moment later and just winked.
“Enjoy. Now, you said something about... looking for something?” Nina’s tone went soft and Seth nodded, swallowing the odd tangy meaty soup.
“I seek Quesst!” he pronounced slowly. His native language was filled with sharp ticks and words, Quiss’ name had always been hard to not add a sharp inflexion to.
The pub went quiet and Nina winced.
“Hun, that word is not good here,” she whispered and Seth blinked.
“Quesst is... no good? He is...” he trailed off and his mind finally offered a phrase with some triumphant, it had been a favourite of Quiss’
“Bag of dicks!” he grinned and Nina just blinked, her mouth dropping open.
“He? You want to see someone?” Nina clued on and Seth nodded, the water rippled at his excitement. The mana in the air here was very... tight.
“I find lost fire...man. I look for loud...man! Queeest. He...makes hot fire!” Seth waved his hands slightly. Something in Nina’s eyes lit up and her smile became warmer.
“You want Quiss?” she said and Seth was about to kiss the girl when the door banged opened behind Seth
“Seth, you kiddie-pool, river dancing, tongue disaster, water fairy!” Quiss bellowed, smoke curling out his nose and Seth stood, pointing.
“Quisst! You big noise, backwards hot monkey, dirty mouth snake, hipstioi!” Seth slipped into his native language as he walked formed, finger jabbing into the Quiss’ chest.
There was a beat of silence before Quiss snorted and grasped Seth’s wrist and shoulder.
“How can you still suck so much at speaking my language? Feduskti,” Quiss joked and Seth snorted as the man just called Seth a royal son of a kitchen table.
“You are very ungood at my first-born language,” Seth chided and Quiss directed Seth back to the bar and raised two fingers as Nina looked at them. She nodded as if Quiss had given Seth the last thing he needed to be fully welcome. The pub became noisy again and Seth stared at the man before him.
Not much had changed. There were the same old features that most would call handsome, some would say noble. The beard was new but Quiss suited it more Seth thought. The clothes were what Seth expected but something jarred the image.
A sense... or something. Quiss still burned to Seth’s magic. But there was something to the fire now. A solid foundation if Seth had to guess.
“Still foretelling the not fast fireing of land tree?” Seth sipped his drink and Quiss looked pained.
“Burning, just say it, burning. Yes, I do plan to burn the world tree. How about you? How is that... what was it... Deimno...Revant...something, something,” Quiss gave up and Seth almost choked as Quiss offered to sell his personal woman.
Seth inhaled and sipped his drink.
“Demenion Rovesiant Vigucit Julipyso. I seek to... water death my city,” he translated well in his own mind. Quiss shook his head.
“Drown the capital city of your kingdom. Extreme but I guess none of our class exactly graduated normally. Sethamus PurgingRiver,” Quiss whispered, saying Seth’s full mage name in a way that they both understood. In a way that was neither Velurian nor Julipian.
It was said with magic and Seth reacted as if Quiss had put a hand on his heart.
“No, we did not, Quiss FireSmasher,” he smiled as Quiss sourly reacted to his name.
“Bah, I got my hands full, what do you want?” Quiss dismissed the sudden personal moment and Seth played with his soup.
“I desired... days. Too many battles, too many doing things,” Seth sighed and Quiss nodded, taking a deep drink of his own drink.
“You’re telling me,” the man sighed in return. Seth stretched, feeling his black ponytail slide down his shoulder.
The sounds of the pub took over their sense for a moment as the bartender took some care to mix up a new drink on the spot as he watched Seth.
Seth watched with some delight as a drink he often enjoyed in Julipyso appeared in the shaker. The bartender grinned, making his scarred face wrinkle like leather as he poured the sour drink for Seth.
Quiss rolled his eyes as a little umbrella was added for Seth’s amusement.
“Water fairy,” he grumbled and Seth took a sip and smiled wickedly.
“Grump monkey,” he retorted.
Cram was strong.
Delta watched as he pushed Bacon away again as Fran took a jab with his lance. The lance struck the fur cut but it didn’t pierce due to the material. Delta was curious about what it was but Cram shoved Bacon’s charging face aside and grabbed the lance to yank Fran clean off the pig.
Delta had become absorbed in watching the fight. Every smack Cram took, every misguided charge of Bacon, the times Fran fell or got thrown away.
She expected it all to go so wrong but this fight below...
Fran leapt to his feet and spun the lance so it rested in both hands, pulled back so Fran could jab it forward at a moments notice. Bacon was breathing heavy but he stomped the ground with a light to his eye.
Cram was laughing like a maniac. Fran responded in kind.
This was not what Delta predicted. This wasn’t what she thought would happen at all.
“They’re having fun,” Delta said quietly.
Fran spun and tried to something fancy to confuse Cram as Bacon took another charge with his tusks. Cram’s fists never waved, his axe still not drawn.
He lashed out, sending Fran stumbling back and then flying as a foot connected with the goblin’s torso. Delta winced as he crashed into the wall. Cram took the moment to use both hands to grab Bacon’s tusks.
The other goblins cheered for Bacon as Smalls knitted a small sweater for each of them from the spider web he had collected. The man’s hands moved with the needles but Smalls’ eyes never left the fight. Numb dutifully held the web for Smalls.
Cram heaved, veins pulsing madly, and Bacon squealed as he was lifted clean off the ground. Delta’s mouth dropped open as Cram tossed Bacon at Fran.
The goblin was still climbing to his feet, he threw himself to the side as Bacon hit hard and stopped moving, stunned. Fran picked up his lance and a trail of blood leaked out one corner of his mouth.
Should Delta stop this? It was getting too much. Fran’s connection radiated joy but Delta could only see the pain he was in, the sheer one-sidedness of the fight. Mr Mushy clapped and the Greater Mushy outside was tapping some fast beat, it was making Delta’s head spin slightly.
“You are holding back!” Fran accused and Cram paused in his stance to tilt his head.
“Yeah, sorry, knight but I didn’t want to end it too soon,” he explained sheepishly and Fran gripped the lance, looking down. Delta was sure he was angry or... crying.
He looked up and the shaking excited smile made Delta freeze.
“Show me. Show me the power of Mother’s guests. I want to see it!” he shouted and readied his lance, he was shaking and nearly jumped as Bacon nudged him. The beaten pig stood up with some effort and bowed to let Fran climb on.
“Together!” Fran agreed and patted the pig’s snout.
“Show us! Show us the power of Cram!” Fran announced and Bacon took a running charge. Cram relaxed and let go his defensive pose to unhook the hand axe at his side.
“I can’t soften this, you want this then it might kill you,” Cram warned as Bacon began to pick up speed. Fran’s eyes lit up with some pure emotion that made Delta gasp. It was crystal clear in his desire.
She crossed her arms over her chest. She understood, just for that moment, Delta understood. The emotion of needing to test himself against this unbeatable titan. Fran desired it so much that it burned like a star in Delta’s chest.
She staggered to her feet.
“Do it, Fran! Show him how brave you are! Show Cram why you’re my first boss! Show him why you’re my protector!” she yelled, jumping as if to make herself louder. She poured her heart into the act and Fran let loose a scream as Bacon rushed forward. Fran’s spear glowed orange in an explosion of light. Fran looked not like some silly goblin on a pig.
Delta bowed her head and a small smile appeared despite how her insides felt so confused.
He looked like a knight that Delta could never be prouder of.
Cram swung his axe and the room, the very dungeon, shook.
Sir Fran and his steed, Bacon, will respawn in 10 hours.
Boar Helm has been dropped for the victor!
Sir Fran has learned Bravery Lance!