Selas looked over to Halvin who sat on the other side of the table. With the mug in his hand he pointed towards the mysterious man. The words took time to leave his mouth.
“Now it’s just the two of us. Two old men. Tired. At least I am. Do you know that feeling?”
The Halfblood, who was staring into the fire raised his head to look at Selas and replied after a few moments of sizing him up. “I guess I do. But tell me, what are you tired of?”
“I don’t know…” Selas stood up and reeled slowly to the wall painting in the back of the room. It was filled with battle scenes and heroic feats of the past. The alcohol made him talkative.
“I think I’m tired of running after a purpose in life.” He paused. “Honestly, I’m afraid. Afraid of the fact, that this quest is also unable to fill my quest for purpose. What is the purpose in life after all?” He beamed over to the cloaked man.
“Sometimes” Halvin said slowly, “purpose isn’t something you can find, but purpose eventually might find you.”
Selas turned to face him. “Uuh, mysterious words by a mysterious man.” he scoffed. “You know, that didn’t help at all actually.” With large steps he approached the Half-breed, who was still sitting in his chair. Only his eyes moved, giving away the fact that he was actually following Selas’ every move. “What would you know about purpose? And what’s with all the secretiveness?” Selas’ hand reached out for the other mans hood.
“Calm down, my friend” Halvin said, suddenly raising his voice as well as himself up from the chair he was sitting in, looking Selas straight into the eye, “it wouldn’t be any fun if I told you everything.” With his nose still almost touching Sela’s forehead, he lowered his voice and continued, “You must find it yourself, in your own way. If you are looking for purpose, you should keep your eyes wide open.” He smiled and added “… in every direction…”
Selas resumed the attempt of unmasking hin and was surprised by the swift reaction of his opponent. His tipsiness didn’t help either. His movements were slow and inaccurate. Eventually he tripped over a small stool and fell hard on his face. As Halvin approached him to check if he was alright, the old mercenary was already sound asleep and snoring a little. “May you find your purpose, my friend” Halvin said and smiled again while leaving, since some servants entered to pick Selas up and carry him to a matress in a small chamber in the basement where he was left until the morning.
Before the first rays of light hit the big central tower of Algaman the party had already gathered outside the city walls at the western gate called Guthìden. They were loading their mounts, checking the weapons for the last time and preparing mentally for the journey to come. The chancellor, along with a few members of the high council were there to bid them farewell. The last time they sent a group of adventurers, the farewell was huge. The whole city came to sing and cheer them on. But now, considering the failure of the last attempt they wanted to keep it smaller. The Chancellor and his companions said a few encouraging words, but Boyle was interestingly quiet, as he didn’t have such a big audience to talk to, Selas guessed.
Soon they were travelling west, away from the safe walls of Algaman. They traveled rather quiet and Selas had placed himself in the front of the group to avoid questions about his bruised face. Even his fedora couldn’t cover the souvenir from last night. He remembered few of what happened and he decided it would be best that way. He reduced the pace of his horse until his pace matched Halvin’s.
“About last night…” he started as he shifted around uncomfortably on his saddle.
The Half-Blood lifted his hand without looking at him. “Nobody knows.” he uttered.
The first day of travel went by with not much to tell. Clayton had hunted some rabbits, Taberlin couldn’t stop talking about all kinds of food, and Jill was reading the whole time as her Pony was tied to the horse in front of it. She didn’t seem to notice that the land was becoming rougher as they approached the Valley of Ishon Ren, the great river running from north to south. Boulders covered in moss started to appear, the road became more winding and in the distance they heard the rushing water.
All of a sudden Taberlin stoppped talking in mid sentence. It was an unusual quietness, and everyone looked at him, just to see him standing motionless with eyes wide open besides Selas.
“Duck!” he screamed and pulled Selas down from his horse. In this moment an arrow bolted through his coat and hit a tree near Halvin.
“Bandits!”, Selas shouted lying on the floor. He was so surprised by the Elf, that he couldn’t react to the fall. It felt like his left shoulder was dislodged. Nevermind, I’m more than good enough with one arm left. He sat up and looked around, the gun in his right hand. They were on the main road in a hollow (in german “Senke”, I don’t know the right word) of about 150 feet in diameter, that was filled with trees and boulders. A perfect location for a trap.
“How many are there?” Selas cawed in the same moment as they started the attack. The group heard the fizzling of the arrows dashing at them.