"How is he?" The grey-eyed man asked Caldera.
"He"s fine, much better than expected really." The woman named Caldera answered with some surprise.
"Great. Really great." The man looked around at the mess caused by the fight here. The archer, Orven, stepped forward.
"So, I hate to ask this now... but is he the one?" He was asking Caldera.
"No, I said we should look in Ado"merin." Caldera replied, annoyed.
"When have any of your revelations been accurate?" Orven asked but it was clear he wasn"t waiting for an answer. "I thought we might have gotten lucky."
"Our search continues." The smoking man answered from behind.
"Well maybe this is our guy. We should ask him," the grey-eyed man finished looking around the battlefield and came back.
"It"s impossible, Ayemon, I would know if it was him." Caldera responded.
"I"m just saying we should ask him just in case. You never know." Added the grey-eyed man, Ayemon.
"Fine by me."
"Uh, while I am grateful for the help just now," Aldrich interjected, "but I must ask, who are you? And what are you talking about?"
The group looked around and when it looked like none was going to answer, Ayemon smiled slightly and said, "well, we are the good guys."
Aldrich helped Tarzin up the wagon and shook hands with him. They both actually made it out in the end.
"Are you sure that you must leave?" Aldrich asked regretfully.
"I must. I have urgent business in Izki, I cannot delay. We"ll meet when you get to Voryhrm and we"ll drink to being alive after a shit experience!"
Tarzin found a wagon going to Izki. The wagon transported people, not goods, there were many people sitting in the back. He was an owner of an inn in Voryhrm quiet the impressive halfling.
Aldrich watched and waved as the halfling"s wagon disappeared over the horizon. Although it was only a few hours since they"ve met, he felt that it was a good experience after all.
Then he walked off the main road and found a carriage stopped by a small clearing.
A campfire burned in the center of the clearing. The great boar was hung upside down by a rope over a tree branch. Orven and Norge—the man who was smoking— were skinning the beast.
Norge is the one that carried the body of the beast with one hand and made it look easy. The boar was two meters long and as tall as Aldrich, even after he increased his strength doing something like that was impossible for now.
Caldera and Ayemon were sitting on a log by the campfire. Caldera was reading a book while Ayemon was drinking water. Ayemon gestured at him to take a seat on the log too.
Aldrich obliged. Ayemon finished drinking water and looked at Aldrich and handed him the waterskin.
"I"m not thirsty thank you."
"Good. Well ask away." Ayemon said with a smile.
"Why are you willing to answer my questions?" Aldrich asked curiously.
"Well we want ask you some questions of our own so I thought it only fair if we answered some of yours first. Besides you gave us such a good boar for our lunch."
After all Aldrich learned that Crestmasters don"t work for free or anyone as a matter of fact. So he decided to pay them with some of the silver he had but Ayemon refused and insisted that the boar was payment enough.
"Are you all Crestmasters?" Aldrich decided to start with an easy question.
"Yes, we are."
"Is Caldera an Archbishop?" His question was followed by silence.
"Ahem, no, that— she is not." Ayemon had a bewildered look on his face.
Of course Aldrich had expected this but he was still disappointed nonetheless, "do you know who Enthelmyre is?"
Aldrich still remembered that fateful night clearly. He remembered the name of the lord that sent the soldiers to burn Wakefield.
"Why, of course I do." Aldrich was surprised by the unexpected answer.
"Who is he?!" He demanded.
"Wah, take it easy. I mean who doesn"t know who Enthelmyre is? He is the deputy governor of the province of course. Always has been ever since the end of the war."
Aldrich finally remembered how he felt that the name was not unfamiliar to him. He heard it whispered by the adults when they got drunk. He sat back down.
But this answer, only gave him more questions. Why would the deputy governor of the entire province send an army to burn an insignificant village? That obviously made no sense.
"Are you lying to me?!" Aldrich couldn"t stop himself from yelling the last part of the question.
"Hahaha, calm down. Why would I tell you such an easy lie to disprove? I have no reason to make a fool of myself. I don"t know what you"ve been through but you better take it easy."
True. Aldrich could easily find out. He knew this but still lost control of his emotions and yelled at a stranger, he regretted his outburst.
"I"m sorry. I was out of it for a bit."
"Don"t you worry about it," Ayemon dismissed, "listen, if you want, why don"t you tell me your story so I can better answer your questions. I am quite well informed. If you like of course it"s up to you."
Aldrich thought about it. He was tired of knowing nothing he wanted to know who was behind it all. He wanted to know why Wakefield burned. Why did innocent villagers have to die horrible deaths?
Aldrich retold his story but only the relevant parts without mentioning anything about the nightmare realm and Harvick. By the time his story was done, night had come. The boar meat cooked in a stove over the fire.
"I"m sorry for your loss. It"s a terrible tragedy what they did to your village." Orven, the archer said. The rest nodded in unison as they offered him their condolences.
Their pity served only further anger Aldrich. He knew that they couldn"t do anything about it but he didn"t want their pity, their understanding, he strived only for answers.
How could they, these strangers understand him, how could they understand the reverent relief at being alive, the hidden bone-deep anger at being alive, the ripping grief at the loss of a thousand little familiarities.
"These soldiers, did they have a coat of arms? Some kind of sigile?" Norge asked.
"No. Actually I"m not sure it was in the dead of night. Aren"t they just Enthelmyre"s soldiers?"
"It could be. Unfortunately Enthelmyre has no private soldiers and has no right to command any imperial division."
"It doesn"t matter, we must tell the governor, no, the emperor. The emperor wouldn"t allow such crimes to be inflicted on innocent civilians." Aldrich suggested.
"And how will you tell the emperor. Will you send him a letter or will you personally meet with his imperial highness?" Ayemon asked a question deflated Aldrich.
"In fact, even if I were to arrange a meeting between you and the emperor right now, prey tell what would you say?"
"I"ll tell him about all the crimes committed by Enthelmyre!"
"With what evidence? You don"t even know half of what you saw back then. You juat heard someone say the name Enthelmyre, and now you want to accuse the deputy governor?
Hell, let"s imagine for the sake of argument that you had definite evidence of Enthelmyre"s involvement. Who are you? Nobody. Nothing. It"s you against lord Enthelmyre."
Aldrich didn"t like what he was hearing. At this point it just seemed hopeless no matter what he did he couldn"t even look straight at someone like lord Enthelmyre.
That was of course besides the fact that he had no reason to doubt lord Enthelmyre other than something he heard offhandedly. But it was a clue.
"What about the order of the True Saint"s Folk? They"re an evil organization that employs and shelters Oathbreakers. Isn"t that enough to condemn them?"
Aldrich still remembered it was two forces he was after. Not just an army but an evil heretical organization too.
"That is true, of course. It"s just that I regret to inform you, the True Saint"s Folk is an organization that has already been purged by the inquisition fifteen years ago after the war. It"s probably another force relying on the infamous name to establish themselves."
Aldrich was silent for a moment before he spoke next.
"Alright, your turn." He was done with his questions for now.
"Well, tell me Aldrich did you receive a revelation?" Ayemon asked as everyone payed closer attention to him.
"A revelation? Whats that?"
"A revelation is basically, something horrible is going to happen in the future so god tells you about it in advance to prepare yourself. Have you seen any saint in your dream? Any Aspect?"
"No, not particularly. No." Aldrich saw monsters in his dreams but no saints to speak of. And certainly not any Aspect.
"Well it was worth a try. Actually we"ve been looking for the oracle for past couple years now."
"You haven"t even met this oracle?"
"Then how do you know that there is an oracle to begin with?"
"Well, Caldera here, received a revelation about a finding a person who received a revelation." Orven laughed.
Aldrich smiled too. That was quite the amusing idea. But soon his smile faded, his quest for vengeance seemed nigh impossible with not even a single clue.
"What are you mopping about?" Norge asked him.
"Well, I"m without any clues I don"t know what to do."
"Without any clues? Who said that?" Asked Ayemon in seeming confusion.
"You did!" Aldrich exclaimed, exasperated.
"Me? Now when did I say that? Tell me about the strangers who visited Wakefield the day before the attack. In detail."
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