They headed off to the docks, Jack happily leading the way. Jack’s merry, metallic tromp turned into a slower, wrathful march. Evalyn peeked around him and saw another paladin in dark armor, helm off, speaking in loud, attention-grabbing tones.
“Here’s another of Ern’s people. Proud and ignorant as ever.”
“And here’s another coward who hides behind his words because he doesn’t have the steel to fight,” Jack brashly proclaimed back.
The man’s eyes hardened, and he paused to size up Jack and his companions. A small, angry smile played across his lips. “Bold words. If you believe what you are saying, you would not back from a challenge, right?”
“Of course not!” Jack belted.
“Then tomorrow, here, noon. We’ll duel and see who is the lesser man.”
Jack nodded firmly, and the man with his own companions clanked away. A moment passed as Evalyn and Unforn exchanged confused glances, and suddenly Jack seemed to almost melt. “Shit. That guy is a badass. He might murder me tomorrow. Care to be my seconds?”
“Uh, suuure. . . Who was that?” Evalyn’s tone was forcefully blithe.
“Remember those enemies of my church? The Fallen is one such group. That man is Marus, leader of the Fallen. . . And brother to Ern.”
“Ern? Like, the god you follow Ern?” Evalyn asked, stunned.
“Yeah. . . Remember how he used to be a mortal? Well, that was his brother.” Jack sighed. “His helm was awesome, too.”
The trio walked to the docks in relative silence. The docks themselves were as expected: crowded, smelly, and loud, but oddly not unpleasantly so. They managed to make their way through the masses to one of the smaller vessels. As Jack stepped up to climb aboard, a decrepit woman hailed them, her voice somehow cutting through the din.
“You are travelling to the island that once was lost.” It was not a question.
Evalyn answered anyway. “Yes. . .?”
“Then please, take these trinkets for good luck.” She handed carved wooden necklaces to each adventurer. Evalyn immediately put hers on with a shrug of her shoulders and noticed the others do likewise.
“Thank –” Evalyn began, turning toward the woman. . . who was hobbling away. “What is it with these people?” Evalyn muttered under her breath and swiftly caught up. “Thank you!” She said quickly before the old hag could escape. “Take this with my gratitude.” She handed the woman some copper pieces. The crone accepted with an expression one part amusement, three parts condescension before shuffling away. Evalyn turned back toward the others who both had similar gazes. “What, I can’t give a bit of compensation? It’s luckier that way, right?” She grinned widely, and they rolled their eyes nearly simultaneously. What a couple of wet blankets.
The two men walked across the gang plank, wolf trailing uncertainly behind them. As Evalyn began to follow suit, she looked back toward the old woman in the crowd. That druid from outside the wall was talking to her, accepting one of her trinkets. HE definitely needs one, Evalyn thought. He can use all the luck he can get. Ha! Petition. But he wasn’t her problem, so she hopped onto the deck to catch the last of the discussion between Jack and the captain of the ship. Money exchanged, hands shaken, and they were off the boat once more. . .
. . . And the druid walked aboard after them. Great, maybe he will be my problem. The elf stopped as if he heard her thoughts and turned to them.
“Hey, are you guys going to Lemuria, too?” His voice was gentle but not nearly as musical as she thought elven voices were normally.
“What’s it to you?” Evalyn asked before Jack could respond. He elbowed her in the ribs.
“Shut up, maybe this guy can help us,” he told her then turned to the druid. “Yes. Do you want to join us and share resources?”
“Sure! I’m not good with people, so. . .”
“So what?” Evalyn asked irritably.
“So. . . if you have a problem with me, you’ll have to tell me. I won’t really get hints.”
“Ookaay. . . who would ever have a problem with you?” She rolled her eyes.
“Wow, what’s your problem, Evalyn?” Jack asked with an amused half smile.
“Yeah, Evalyn, what did this guy do to you?” Unforn joined in, looking as if he held back a laugh.
“I don’t know what’s going on or what seems to be funny, but my name is Taurvantian,” the druid said slowly, glancing among the three of them confusedly. “And I like your wolf.”
“Thanks,” Unforn replied, puffing up his chest slightly. “His name is Turchak. Good to know some people appreciate him,” he said pointedly. Evalyn waved dismissively.
“So, Torvanton?” Jack asked.
“I’ll just call you Trev, how about that.” Jack looked pleased with himself; “Trev” did not. Evalyn grinned wickedly.
“Trev it is,” she said cheerily.