Chronicles of Dreven Trenz

First run of a series I may continue. Be gentle. Its my first time.

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10. Tale 3: The Hinterlands Call

Tale 3: Chapter 1: The Hinterlands Call
 

     "Hello and well met! Glad to see you again! Or...was it someone else again?" Reiken waves a hand and motions for you to sit nearby. "Regardless, I'm glad you are here. I do love telling stories about my travels, and you are right on time for the next one! Let me begin with a long hike."

     After leaving a small hamlet behind, as well as the new budding romance of a certain black armored knight and red haired rogue, we made our way northward. We took our time, as Dreven said though the trip would be long, there was no rush to complete it. During our travel north, the weather began to shift. The trees became more sparse and their wood was a dull grey. The ground began to feel cold, even through my shoes. We had stocked up on supplies at a trading outpost along the way, but I feared it may not have been enough. Eventually even the few trees gave way to barren stone and very little grass.

     "How much further is this place Dreven?" I ask in between heavy breaths.

     "Should not be much further." He points to the distance with his walking stick, a rather jagged looking mountain as its target. "Just beyond that mountain is the place we seek. From there, well, that's a surprise." He grins and his eyes sparkle. I have always gotten feelings of both dread and excitement when that happened.

     "Beyond the mountain? That could easily be a few days travel!" I complain. We'd been walking for quite a while, and the mountain still seemed to loom far in the distance.
    

     "Days? Not likely. We'll be there before you know it young Reiken. Though, its not really a matter of when we get there. Its more of a matter of if our destination will be there when we arrive." My brow furrows, and my mind swims.

     "That makes very little sense. How can we arrive to a destination before the destination even exists? Shouldn't it already be there?" My head had begun to ache. This odd circular logic brought a pounding between my ears. Dreven just smiled his trademark smile and we walked on. We spoke of common things, and how we each missed our homes. I wondered how my mother was, and how my friends fared. Dreven insisted they were fine, and that before long, I would be able to speak with them again. It gave me something to look forward to, and with that, we fell silent. I began thinking about what I would say to my friends when I could speak with them. Would I tell them of the Mad Witch? The knight and the rogue? Perhaps those stories would seem beyond fiction to them. Perhaps I'd only tell them of the travels and what I had learned from Dreven. That seemed like a much more fitting story. It would also assuage the fears of my mother instead of stoking that fire. I laughed a little to myself at the thought of my mother giving a proper scolding to Dreven for putting me in danger so often. She could have a temper, but it was usually in defense of someone. I can see his face beneath the brim of his hat, smile all but vanished and his cheeks flushed red at the terse words my mother would lay upon him. Shortly, I found myself broken from my short reverie into my own mind as I bumped into Dreven's back. Shaking my head I looked around him. We were halfway up the mountain! How long had I been lost in my thoughts?! I hadn't noticed time passing, but here we were! I saw Dreven's hand slip into his satchel, a quick glint of gold dropped into its depths. So that was it! He used a spell as I was daydreaming. The sly devil. Always trickery with him, yet it easily saved us days of journey through this harsh environment.

     We found ourselves staring at the entrance to a cave. Its cavernous opening loomed over my head like a tree of stone. The stalactites and stalagmites almost seemed to create the illusion the cave was the maw of a massive beast. I give a slight shiver at this thought. Considering what I had seen so far, mountain sized behemoths could be a very real thing. Seeming to sense my trepidation, Dreven turns to me.

     "Do not be afraid Reiken. This cave offers only safety and respite for us. It will do nicely for what needs to be done." He drags a pair of large rocks to the center of the cave, and creates a circle of smaller stones. Digging through his bag, he pulls a myriad of sticks and kindling, and placing them in the circle, ignites them with his magic. "Do come sit. It is time I tell you what I have planned." I sit next to Dreven and place my near frozen hands towards the fire.

     "You are always so cryptic, Dreven. Honestly, it would be nice if I were to get a straight forward answer from you occasionally." He laughs a bit at this and nods. "Why exactly are we in a cave so far north? Did you not say our destination was just on the other side? Why not just continue and stay at an inn? We do have the silver from our time with Sir Roy. More than enough for a warm bed and a hot meal."
     "As I said on our way up the mountain, " Dreven stood and gave a slight smirk. "we may need to wait for our destination to arrive, before we ourselves can arrive at our destination." With that mystifying remark, he steps to the cave opening, his hand gilded with his bracelet and its rings. He holds his hand upwards, palm outstretched. "Friga Sanctorum" What appears as blue wisps of smoke travel from his hand and surround the cavern entrance. There is a flash and the crackle of suddenly freezing water. The cave was sealed tightly, a thick wall of blue ice now stood between us and the outside world. Before I could ask why he had done this, Dreven hands me a vial of red-orange liquid. "Drink this. It will keep you warm." He downs a vial of his own and shudders at the taste. I do the same when I drink my own. It tasted like burnt onions and stale bread. Looking back towards Dreven, he now has his hand extended towards me, a pale yellow glow emanates from his palm. Just before everything goes black I hear him whisper, "Noctis Tempora. Sleep well, Reiken. Dream of home."

End Chapter 1

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