"Because I don"t want another war to break out. If Lord Enthelmyre is really trying to rebel against the emperor then things here will become even worse than they already are."
"The last civil war had driven a wedge deep enough in the empire and the result is a division that the empire hadn"t seen since the era of dread." Ayemon stopped to take a sip of water.
"Now I don"t know if Enthelmyre is really behind it. Personally I doubt he is. I just don"t see how he could be mad enough to try something like that. But if he is, then the chances of victory in this rebellion are even worse than the last time. So I want to find out what is really brewing."
"And I am a clue that could lead you to the truth." Aldrich stated with certainty.
"Correct. Personally this conflict is looking to be a bit too much for me. My goal is to avoid the conflict entirely if possible. Will you work together with me?"
"Can you help me contact an Archbishop?" Aldrich inquired. This was an important goal for Aldrich. Other than revenge, he had an even more important goal, to save Isger.
"An Archbishop? Well, I certainly can arrange such a meeting but why?" Ayemon had a curious glint in his own grey eyes.
"I want to save someone important to me. For that I need an archbishop to find his soul and return it to his body."
"Where is this person? Will you take a lifeless body to Ashphim?" It seemed like Ayemon had many thoughts in that short pause.
Aldrich smiled bitterly, "I have to take the archbishop to the body not the other way around."
"What do you want an Archbishop for precisely? I assume you you know that an Archbishop can"t return the dead back to life."
"He"s not dead." Aldrich looked straight into Ayemon"s eyes steadily and stressed his words firmly. Perhaps his words were meant for both Ayemon and himself.
"So he must be in a sorry condition but actually it might not be an Archbishop that you need. I assure you, most injuries can be settled easily by grade two cleric."
"Well it"s not exactly an injury so to speak, his body is fine," Aldrich paused to take a look at the people on the table before he resumed, "his soul left his body but he is still alive and kept as such."
There was a pin-drop silence before Ayemon asked, "I don"t mean to discredit you but allow me to ask, how did you find this out? If you truly are a shepherd from some backwater how could you recognize this particular state?"
"I-" it was then that Aldrich realized that they didn"t completely believe in his story and that made sense, they just met and he came to them with some sketchy fairytale, and without any real evidence to boot.
From their perspective it was only natural to doubt, the fact that they took him seriously enough until now is very generous. And yet Aldrich couldn"t tell them about Harvick no matter what.
"I, got help from someone trustworthy." Aldrich could only dodge the question like that.
"How old are you, Aldrich?" Ayemon suddenly asked.
"Fifteen and a then some."
"So you"re already a man, and I will treat you as such. I can arrange a meeting between you and an Archbishop but I can guarantee the Archbishop won"t take half a step outside Ashphim for you. To be frank with you, you aren"t worthy."
Aldrich clenched his hands in frustration. But Ayemon continued.
"Now, I can insist on the Archbishop to do so. But why should I? Whats in it for me? I don"t think you are valuable enough for me to waste such a favor on you. If you want such treatment then you have to earn it."
"By achieving great things. Become a remarkable man, have some achievements under your belt. Grow into a powerful Crestmaster. Or you can become filthy rich, that works too."
"I only have two years. Three at most." Aldrich clarified.
"That"s enough time. If you"re talented enough. Let"s make a deal, if you ignite your first symbol within two months you can become an adventurer then if you accomplish five grade two quests within two years I will adopt you."
"What? How could that help me?" Aldrich was dumbfounded, he had bo idea how the conversation got here.
"Of course it"ll help. Think about it, is meeting an Archbishop as a commoner and meeting him as a noble the same thing? And being both a noble and an accomplished Crestmaster will give you enough weight."
True, that would definitely make things easier for Aldrich. But he didn"t think that the rest of Ayemon"s household would be in agreement. Actually wouldn"t that cause some nasty problems?
"Ah, don"t worry too much. If we have a deal and you managed to meet my expectations I will definitely be true to my words."
"We have a deal." Aldrich decided that he might as well agree, he would do anything to increase his chances of success. This was a path of no return to begin with he would either succeed or be buried in a nameless grave.
Ayemon stretched his hand across the table and they shook his hands just in time for the waitresses.
The waitress came carrying a tray, she distributed the drinks and the dishes to the four people that ordered.
"How can I help you sir?" The waitress asked Aldrich who promptly realized he hadn"t thought about it at all.
"Err, give me a loaf of bread and cheese platter."
"No, just some water."
"Right away, sir"
Aldrich looked back at the group who appeared quietly amused by his forgetfulness. Aldrich chuckled as he thought about that too.
"Then tomorrow we"ll make our journey back to great Voryhrm! You"re with us now. You"re going to be a Crestmaster right? That"s the city you ought to be at." Orven declared, while patting Aldrich on the shoulder.
"Yeah, this guy can easily register you in the academy and insert you in an ongoing semester just fine." Caldera pointed at Ayemon.
Aldrich"s jaw fell open, "you can?" He asked in disbelief.
"Sure, I can. I"m sort of an honorary profesor there. It"s nothing big, I just give a class or two wherever I feel like it. So I can definitely open some back doors."
"Aren"t you abusing your authority? Isn"t that... bad?" Aldrich inquired hesitantly.
"Yes I am. I do frequently abuse my authority and position. I didn"t want to be an honorary professor to begin with, but they forced the position on me. So why the hell wouldn"t I abuse my authority?"
Perhaps Ayemon might be a more influential noble than he gave him credit for? Nah, it"s probably not as he exaggerated.
Aldrich grinned, Voryhrm that"s the most famous city in the entire province lately. It was always one of his dreams to go and live there a life of luxury and plenty. Now his purpose was darker.
There was also, Adera, Krynt"s daughter. She was studying there for the last three years. He didn"t forget that Krynt"s last wish was for him to help her out.
"But what"s the use of opening a back door for me, doesn"t it take years to graduate?" Aldrich was curious. If it took such a long time then he didn"t want to waste his time on it.
"It could take years, yes. But it could also take only a year or even less. To graduate you need to ignite your first symbol that"s the only condition, that is the only thing that matters everything else is just horseshit."
The waitress came in again and brought his food. Aldrich ate his food in silence appropriating the sour taste of the cheese. The bread was different from the bread baked in Wakefield, it was more white than brown and easy to swallow.
After the meal was done Aldrich decided to ask a question that troubled him lately.
"How do I ignite my symbol faster?"
"You should be patient. When you get to the academy they"ll give you a meditation incense." Answered Caldera.
"Anyhow it depends on your talent. You will be hearing this phrase a lot more from now on. The basic idea is that your spirit is growing and depending on the rate of growth your body adapts." Remarked Orven.
"The growth of the spirit isn"t something that you should be concerned about, it happens naturally and you must simply wait." Agreed Ayemon.
"Spirit... that"s the most important."
Aldrich smiled, "ah, really? That sounds interesting. By the way how did you get the list of all the bank"s employees? Why did you get all of them? we just need one." He asked Norge.
"Because I got the information through an information guild that has a branch here. I didn"t ask for the name because that might alert our query, we don"t want that now do we?"
Something about his smile just now gave Aldrich a chill.
"N-no we don"t."
"Besides it will take time to investigate these people."
"We"ll be leaving early in the morning, go get some rest everyone." Clapped Ayemon.
Aldrich returned back to his room, closed the curtains and the shutters, he left the fire on for the night. He took off his new clothes and when his head hit the pillow he was in deep sleep.
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