“Ah, hold on a second guys, I almost forgot the map!” Lann shouted back to his comrades as he jogged his way back toward Mercenary Outpost. He had spent a lot of time at the outpost fashioning his equipment and brandishing his armor in order to prepare for the coming journey. Needless to say he was very excited.
A waft of freshly cooked fish permeated through the docks and filled Fiona’s lungs along with the salty breeze from the Tahtich River. She turned toward the source of the scent and found it coming from a pot strung by an iron stand over a roaring campfire. By it stood Evie, on one of the large stones that circled the fire. Her eyes reflecting the scarlet from the blaze and focused intently on the complicated dish. Her hands gripped the wooden spoon with knowingly and professionally as she stirred. Across from her, a large hulking frame sat perched; close to the large fire deep in concentration at the preparation of the meal of his own. Karok’s two trout were pierced on a stick, dangling above the flames that grabbed and lashed out to meet them. Fiona couldn’t help but grin at the humorous scene of someone of Karok’s size preparing two measly fish in juxtaposition to Evie’s skillfully crafted fish stew.
Lann kicked open the door causing it to slam inward as Marrec started in his seat. It was so sudden that his helmet clicked and clanged briefly and gave Lann an angry look.
“Forgot something, I’ll only be a minute!” Marrec was about to seriously discipline Lann about house rules but before he could utter a word. Lann was already halfway upstairs. He sighed and slumped back into diligently finishing his report. Lann searched the highs and lows of his quarters, but the delicate scroll of parchment was nowhere to be found. Fiona’s gonna be pissed. She said I would lose it too…
He echoed the resentment in his mind, of telling her that he had in fact lost the map and seeing her condescending grin. “No surprise Lann, that’s why I drew a copy, ohohoho.” He mimicked, prancing about the messy room in mockery.
“And…finished”, said Marrec quietly to himself as he placed the final punctuation mark on the stack of pages. He tried his best to ignore the ruckus going on in the room directly above him, but could ignore it no longer when Lann came crashing back down the stairs.
“Have seen an old scroll? ‘Bout this big, left it upstairs overnight.” He asked Marrec from across the room, probably louder than what was necessary.
“I have not Lann. Maybe I can help –“
“I wonder who could have taken such thing…” spoke a voice from over to the side that managed to somehow sound like sly rat. There stood Gallagher grinning like a fool.
“Just give it back man, I have to get goin’.” Lann wore a bored expression as he held out his hand.
“Maybe we can help each other out. See there is this special erg in Hoarfrost-” he didn’t get to finish because of the firm grip Lann had around his collar.
“Do it yourself weasel, I don’t have time for games. Now give it back.” Lann said as he attempted to put the most menacing face he could. Though it only succeeded in making Marrec stifle a laugh under his helm. Gallagher also grabbed Lann’s shirt and returned the menace. The on-looking Marrec couldn’t hold back anymore.
“Eh, you pickin’ a fight? What makes you so sure that I have the stupid map anyway!”
“Because since I came here, I’ve never told anyone that it was a map!” A long silence followed as a bead of sweat rolled down Gallagher’s brow. The only thing that could be heard was Marrec’s stifled laughing at the two morons.
Gallagher was about to retort with something clever when the door in the back of the room swung open. Captain Aodhan followed by Ceara walk out from the Outpost’s library. The Captain didn’t seem particularly interested in what was happening and strode toward the Outpost’s exit, only before stopping before Marrec’s desk, who was struggling to clear the tears from his eyes from laughing too hard. Not an easy task with a helmet equipped.
“Sir!” said the mercenary, snapping to attention.
“Ah, fine job Marrec, I’ll bring this report with me on my way to Rocheste. I’ll be back in two nights.” He turned to address everyone else in the room. “Marrec will be in charge until then.” He nodded and existed through the door where Lann caught a glimpse of Gywnn. He waved with one free hand while still in a death lock with Gallagher and she pretend not to notice as the doors shut themselves once more. Ceara looked surprised to see Lann.
“Lann, you are here, I thought you had already left. Regardless, I’ve learned something very-…What’s going on?” She looked in confusion at the two angry men. They both released one another and Gallagher threw his hands in the air.
“The jig is up. That map that I gave you earlier was Lann’s. But since you were able to put it to good use… we can all get what we want.” He smiled, showing ALL of his teeth. Ceara’s gazed sharply at him and held it like ice. Lann folded his arms.
“Let me guess, you gave it to her asking if she could find a good place to harvest ergs from the Hoarfrost Caverns, she agreed, and then he would strike up the offer with me and make a nice profit of suckering us both. Is that about right Gallagher?” Lann stared hard.
“You told me those ergs would be for Brynn to research. It also isn’t right to steal things from people!” she cried whacking him with a book.
“Yow! It worked out fine didn’t it? Lann has his map, you’ll get your ergs if he goes through with it and yes we can use them for stupid research.” Gallagher said shoving his hands in his pockets. He walked off and sat on his own desk, scribbling hastily on parchment, probably devising a new scheme Lann figured. Ceara sighed.
“Lann... if it isn’t too much trouble...” She handed the modified parchment into his hands. Lann gave it a quick inspection.
“Doesn’t seem too far off track. No problem, I’ll check it out.” He said giving an assuring smile.
“Thank you, I will wait for you to return to me…uh! I mean return to Brynn because he will want to see - but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to see you – um...” Ceara’s cheeks quickly because the same color as her hair.
“I’ll come back safely Ceara.” He made his way to the door. “Wish me luck guys! I’ll come back with that Polar Bear’s head on a mantel!”
“If ya can find a mantel that big”, Gallagher sneered under his breath.
“Good luck…” said the embarrassed Ceara. Marrec gave him a nod, slid a fine health potion flask his way, and with that Lann slam the door and was gone.Ha, that girl. Lann thought to himself on the path back to the docks. Getting so worked up all over Brynn. A single black bird rose above the reddish shine of the late afternoon sky, crowing loudly above Lann.