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“Rohl, do you have any adventures to tell us?” Mimi asked whilst her party sat distracted arguing over who would get the last share of rabbit. Her voice seemed inquisitive as if eager to hear Rohl speak more.

“My life’s been rather dull until now. I’m afraid, these past few days have probably been the most eventful I’ve ever had.” With these words, it all came back to him. As if until now the events had all been a dream that he had yet to awake from or a fear he had been distracting himself from facing. Rohl had never truly allowed himself to process what had happened.

Unable to keep his emotions subconsciously repressed any longer, he let it all out unable to stop the words that rushed out of his mouth.

“These past few days have been so horrible, so much evil and terror done in such little time. I failed to protect those I care most deeply for, I failed everyone I care about,” Rohl continued with a voice chaffed in regret.

“I should have been there with them, I should have been stronger, I should have protected them. I can’t make that mistake again, I just can’t, I can’t be so useless again.”

Tears soon began to glisten in the corner of his eyes despite Rohl’s attempts to wipe them away. Tears to remind him of his failure.

“Yet as much as I hate what’s happened, a part of me deep down is glad, glad I got to finally go on an adventure, glad I got to finally meet so many wonderful new people. I hate that I feel this way but at least there’s some tiny bit of good in all this. Something I can use to hopefully set it all right,” Rohl finished with a sad smile, embarrassed at how he’d just opened up to relative strangers.

Another tear made its way down Rohl’s bright red cheeks, a tear he was quick to wipe away before returning to his drink as if trying to blame his emotional state on it. As if by keeping his gaze focused on the drink, he could wipe away the embarrassment and shame brought about through his honesty.

Rohl remained focused on his drink and in doing so missed the look of admiration Mimi gave him. Admiration for staying strong, for still being able to laugh, for not getting angry and blaming the world for his problems and finally for being honest with himself about his failings.

It would have been easy to get angry and shout at the world for all that had happened but Rohl had taken responsibility for his failings and would now do all that he could do to make amends, to undo what had befallen him and his dear ones. After a couple more swigs of his drink, Rohl was finally able to put aside his feelings and emotions, unwilling to let himself dwell on such depressing thoughts much longer or bring down the mood of those around him.

After all, Rohl didn’t want to bother his new companions with tales of his own failings and weakness. Such talk didn’t suit the cheery atmosphere of the others within the clearing.

Quinn in a rather typical fashion of his had missed most of Rohl and Mimi’s conversation only catching how glad Rohl was to have met wonderful new people. Taking this in stride Quinn moved over and clasped Rohl tightly before rubbing his head in a joking fashion

“You’re not so bad either kiddo,” Quinn said in his usual cheery mood as he dragged Rohl over for more drink and song. The party atmosphere soon picked back up with Rohl and Mimi’s conversation forgotten in their cheer. Something Rohl was rather glad for, happy to latch onto anything that might drag him away from his current thoughts, mood and mental state.

With Rohl’s minor breakdown over, he could finally return to enjoying himself. For Rohl, the highlight of the night came when Mimi requested the famous elven song- his most beautiful night. An old but well-known song. It had few lyrics, but the music was uplifting, harmonic and happy, it gave the feeling that all was well with the world. Rohl performed with a bright smile adorned on his face, as he watched Mimi dancing happily around the campfire, her long hair flowing around her.

Her eyes were shining with joy, with a wide beautiful smile to match. Mimi would clasp her body before shooting off in each and every direction. Arms out wide, spinning wildly. The group laughing and occasionally dancing with her amid the blue lights.

At one point she grasped Rohl's hand and had him spin her off to one side. One hand holding hers as she spun out in front of him. Mimi twirled in front of him, their hands locked and raised high in front of them, with her sparkling silver eyes locked on his. Rohl was enchanted, not that he would admit it.

This signalled the end of the song, its happy music matching the smiles of Rohl and Mimi. The remaining party members were quick to break out in cheers and laughs at the performance. Thaddeus of course only clapped politely.

As the cheers began, Rohl’s and Mimi’s hands separated, their eyes lingered on each other for a quick second before breaking away. With the music now at an end, the rest of the group not already sat soon collapsed in front of the fire. It had been one of the best nights Rohl had in a long time. One he would surely not forget.

With the moon now shining brightly above them, the blue lights soon faded and with them, the party atmosphere began to slowly disperse as well.

Every one of them of the party was spent and one or two slightly tipsy from drink. The perfect time to end the night, they still had a long day ahead of walking ahead of them. Thaddeus as the most energised would take first watch, you could never be too careful.

“Rohl, my friend, I never doubted you, that was great, you can travel with us whenever you like, we're based at the Roaring Lion Inn in Elmon you see.” Here Quinn giggled at saying inn in possibly due to his intoxication “Hit us up whenever you like though we are usually split between Elmon and the other towns around here.”

Quinn’s party wholeheartedly agreed with him, each of them giving their own chorus of agreements at Quinn’s words. Rohl couldn’t help but flush in embarrassment. Mimi gave him a look of esteem soon followed by a bright smile that made him turn to hide his blush. Quinn only laughed further at this.

“Now then my good fellows,” Quinn said rather slurred “it is time we all got some sleep,” and with that he collapsed, his gentle snores followed soon after. Terrance and Quinn’s party sighed once again as if Quinn also did this often. They soon followed suit, with Rohl and Mimi giving each other one last glance before heading to sleep themselves.

Rohl had not felt this good in a long time, his spirit filled with cheer and happiness. Yet, as he dwelt on the night, he was soon grounded. There was a reason Rohl had come to an Elmon, there were people there who needed his help. He couldn’t afford to get distracted, his time had to be focused on caring for his family and getting the money required for their treatment and care.

If Quinn, Thaddeus, Terrance, and Mimi spent too much time in other towns and villages outside Elmon, he wouldn’t be able to join them. Plus, there was one thing he didn’t want and that was to drag them down with a rookie adventurer forced to stay near one city. Such a thing would be unfair given they had not only saved his life but been extremely kind to him as well. Rohl’s pleasant mood didn’t last much longer in the face of reality and with his depressed mood came one equally saddening thought.

I will not fail my family again.

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Arthur-67

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