It was already noon by the time Aldrich left Mr. Krynt"s place. Aldrich decided that it was about time to go home and see his lovely mother.
Fewer people were on and about. Aldrich still dreamed of the day when his ring awakens, then he will be truly on his way to become an adventurer. This was a ripe age for awakening according to Mr. Krynt.
Adera was two years older than Aldrich and she awakened around the same age. She was the first to awaken in the village in many decades maybe even more. Aldrich still remembered the fever it caused throughout the village.
Aldrich believed that one day his crest will awaken, then he will leave to one of the big cities, preferably Voryhrm, there he will become a great adventurer. He will join a renowned guild and rise in honor, by then he, too, will be the talk of the village—no even the entire Drnaine territory.
He would live in a huge manor looked after by slaves and servants, eating the best food, wearing the best clothes, bedding the best women, riding the best mounts and living in luxury generally.
But then again there was a real possibility that he might not awaken his crest. As a man who had been not only taking care of himself but even his addict mother, he naturally had to prepare for that possibility, no matter how low of a possibility it was.
His contingency plan is to study in any random academy, get into an alchemy workshop. Or he would start out as an accountant to some merchant and then make his way up.
He has been reading when he wasn"t working. Mr. Krynt"s library is extensive but he decided to focus on these to topics. Mr. Krynt in this regard was highly generous in lending him books and explained whatever Aldrich didn"t get.
While on his merry way Aldrich happened on another stranger, he was a short man with a light beard. He was drinking from a jug of beer as he rested his back on a random tree.
The man was wearing a clean leather armor and boots, the armor was reinforced at the shoulders and the gut, a long sword dangled at his hip. Aldrich figured that this must be the infamous Keld. His garb was definitely a few levels higher than the villages own gaurd.
Aldrich heard that most of the other guards don"t leave the tavern much, which is normal since their employer is staying there.
Unlike their captain who was mostly seen out and about. And he was drinking heavily at noon, it"s not like Aldrich didn"t understand since theres hardly any danger in Wakefield whatsoever.
Aldrich decided to hide and observe this drunk captain, perhaps he could play a prank on him for harassing the girls.
As Aldrich observed him, he noticed that Keld had a pen, this sort of pen had ink stored in it, he was writing something on a notebook in between gulps. Keld had a nasty grin the whole time as if he knew a secrete that none else way privy to.
That grin irked something in Aldrich as he watch on, the village was mostly silent now as everyone was having lunch or otherwise. This is the best time to do something but he didn"t know what exactly…
Also he was apprehensive of how might this drunk might react. After all he did have a sword. "Patience, a chance will come".
After a while something did happen, Keld passed out. A chance. At this moment Aldrich decided what to do, he"s going to steal this loser"s notebook.
It looked that Keld fancied his notebook quite a bit, the only other target was his sword and Aldrich wasn"t fool enough to steal a sword from a guard.
Aldrich moved from his hiding spot noiselessly, or at least he hoped he did. The brown leather notebook was held close to his chest as it heaved up and down with every breath.
Aldrich was close enough to smell the beer stench emanating off of Keld, he saw although Keld had the notebook close his hand around it was loose. Aldrich held it and tugged slowly, very slowly.
By the time Aldrich"s sweat was about to fall into Kelds wide open mouth, Aldrich was able to snag the notebook successfully. As he held it in his hand, Aldrich smiled triumphantly and swiftly backed away just as slowly as he had approached.
Aldrich intended to stash it away and watch Keld flounder looking for it, so he didn"t go too far he hid behind a well from which he could easily watch Keld"s sleeping form. When suddenly he was overcome by curiosity. What was Keld writing about so intently?
Aldrich didn"t waste time and immediately opened the notebook. This was a fairly new and unused notebook, the paper was so neat and pure whiteonly the first few pages were used.
The contents were equally curious, there was mention of the number of village guards, their weapons and even their shifts. There was a detailed description of the village"s situation and condition of the walls and such.
This struck Aldrich as extremely suspicious. This flirtatious man who went around chasing women did not writing about any women but about strange things.
Aldrich felt an uneasiness creep on him, he decided to call of the prank and return the notebook back before Keld awoke. He sensed that perhaps this notebook might be dangerous, it would be even more dangerous if it was found that he stole it.
Aldrich hurriedly returned the notebook and ran away swiftly. Aldrich decided that he should tell someone about this tomorrow just in case Keld was up to no good.
Aldrich followed the familiar path to his house, and faster than he would like he arrived at his destination. A small shack in a tiny piece of land.
Things weren"t always like this, back in the day his mother inherited a decent house before she sold it to buy more dreamshade, this happened when he was three years old so his memories of living in the house were hazy at best.
As for his father? Aldrich was an orphan, which was normal throughout all of Vorian since the casualties were that sever. There are many orphans in Wakefield, their fathers died as soldiers in the war.
But Aldrich was different, his mother wasn"t married to anyone when she got pregnant with him. He had no idea who his father is or was, he did ask once, he didn"t get an answer and from then on he didn"t bother asking again.
It doesn"t matter, he was a bastard son of a drug addicted mother, and he had grey eyes, enough reasons to be ostracized. Unlike everyone else his father wasn"t from the village, likely not even from Vorian at all.
Meaning? That his father was from one of the provinces that Vorian fought against in the war, and lost. Aldrich didn"t think it was unfair that he was ostracized, these reasons all made sense.
Nobody went too far. He had no friends, besides Adera, whom Aldrich wouldn"t really call a friend, she was just nice to him. They were both strangers, she and her father had blue eyes but nobody ever gave them trouble for it because he is a Crestmaster.
Crestmaster, a special being, that defied all rules. Whatever that applies on all peoples might not apply on a Crestmaster.
Aldrich took a deep breath and didn"t hesitate any longer, he opened the door to a smell of stale air. He sighed, "mother, I"m back", no response.
Aldrich made his way through the narrow hallway past the common room and into the only bedroom. There he saw his mother sitting on the bed, she did not turn to him.
Her skin was sickly pale and her cheeks sunk to her bones, her whole body was like that. Her once blond hair was bone white, and she reeked.
Aldrich wasn"t discouraged by her silence, "Had lunch yet? Here, this a gift from the mayor, he gave it to me in the morning but I got caught up in something."
Aldrich put the plate on the bedsheets and opened the cloth wrapped around it. There was mashed potatoes and four loaves of barley bread. Aldrich started happily eating.
His mother was still silent, but Aldrich was not deceived, her mood could change from this to violently throwing things around at the drop of a hat.
Their relationship was already bad before Aldrich stopped giving her money, she was spending all of it on dreamshade and getting even deeper into debt, the debt which Aldrich was intent on repaying.
Being cutt of from dreamshade, she threw violent fits but Aldrich was not a child by that time and she was laughably weak and frail, he easily subdued her. And that"s how they ended up like this.
After eating Aldrich drew water from the nearby well and heated it on the fire with a large kettle, after it was heated, he pored the hot water into a basin already half filled with cold water.
"Ahh, I"ve had a crazy day, but it"s at times like these that I can just put it all at the back of my mind."
After his bath, Aldrich found that the rest of the food was eaten, night has already replaced day.
Then he started cleaning the room, in the time he was in Uleq with Mr. Isger his mother didn"t bother to and Aldrich found it hard to sleep with all the dust.
Aldrich settled down on the bed and almost fell asleep before he was overcome by an unexpected notion, he recalled his encounter with the giant crimson serpent. He got off the bed and to the water basin he touched the water with his index finger, with the remaining droplets of water he drew that word in the palm of his left hand.
As he read the word out loud he felt a wave of comfort wash over him. He didn"t know why he did that but he felt much better, finally sleep came easily after his head hit the bed.
Aldrich felt his left hand where he drew the word burning up, he opened his eyes abruptly, he looked around, definitely not his room or any room for that matter.
He was in an unknown place. He found himself in a corridor with doors lined up at either side, the walls were light green and the doors were pitch black. There was a piece of paper on each door filled with signs Aldrich could not comprehend—
No... he knew this place very well, this was the nightmare that he"s been having ever since he could remember anything, yet he would forget every time he woke up.
But today was different, this was the first time he was so aware of himself here. He looked at his left hand and saw the sign he drew shining light blue.
Aldrich suddenly broke into a run, because he heard the footsteps behind him. He didn"t bother to try and open any of the doors, none of them would even budge. This nightmare was simple he was being chased by the owner of the footsteps behind him and he keeps running.
There was nothing to do but escape, his heart was full of dread when he heard the footsteps behind him. They were hurried and frantic. This corridor was endless, he had no goal but not to get caught.
"Wait! So what if that thing catches up with me, I"m tired of this fucking nightmare. I want to see exactly what this things is!"
Aldrich was angry and exhausted. He wanted to see exactly what is this all about. In the past he was constantly running because he wasn"t fully aware, but now he could do something other than running.
Aldrich stopped running and waited. Behind him the footsteps never stoped they got even faster. Aldrich felt his body shaking.
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