Part 7 of Epic Co-written Story
Despite her new friendship with the tavern boy Nikke didn’t want to abuse of his hospitality so she went back to the Quest Hall to do the honourable thing and apologise. When she arrived she found the guard she had rudely (but not quite wrongly) attacked, “Sir, I am sorry for my conduct yesterday, I was surprised and I reacted too fast, I should not have hurt you and I should not have run away after doing so. I present to you my humble apology.”
The guard was flattered by the “sir” but still he replied:
“Your apology has been accepted, you may enter this hall however I will not permit you to take any quest.”
Nikke was profoundly hurt by this but she acquiesced. All she could do now was look, so she would look and wait. A guard putting up a quest on the last board caught her eye, it seemed the statue glanced at it then had an annoyed twitch but she couldn’t be sure if it was real or only imagined, it had lasted less than a second and had she blinked or looked elsewhere she would’ve missed it. Nikke moved closer to see…
ESCORT A PRINCESS
it was a very small sign and Nikke had barely read it before the guard came to her asking why a girl like her was looking at these high ranked quests. But Nikke had understood. And she didn’t need to check the back of the quest for more information, she knew exactly where her friend would be. And she hoped with all of her heart that the mysterious woman would be there too. And she waited to see who would take the quest.
The young quester waited a for long time, she almost fell asleep, she was ready to give up when she saw a graceful woman in a long dark forest green dress, long black curly hair and small daggers in her boots. Her face was determined and her eyes inspired respect and a “I should stay away from her if I don’t want to get hurt” kind of feeling. She strode confidently towards the last board, took Mali’s quest without so much as a glance and left, holding her head up high. She was beautiful and for the time she was in the hall, time held its breath, everyone stopped and turned in wonder. Once she left everything went much faster, as if trying to catch up on the lost time, Nikke sprinted out but by the time she was outside the woman had disappeared in the crowd leaving no trace to follow. Seeing the dense crowds Nikke quickly climbed up on the rooftops to get to her and her old friend’s secret hiding place from all those years ago. Running against the wind she had to hold her hood down and reminded herself to get a bigger one (preferably with a longer cape) when she had the money to spare.
Finally she got there but the place was empty; it was a small rooftop garden never used by the people who lived there so that the vegetation had gone wild in the small space and vines climbed up the chimneys, it was a place where you were hidden from the rest of the world, but if you looked out you could see the streets around without being seen. No-one seemed to be about so she found a good spot to hide and waited. She quickly regretted not having accepted Arthur’s picnic and wondered why even at her poorest she could never accept hospitality very easily. But then she knew why: growing up mostly on the streets had made her used to taking care of herself alone with no-one to care about her. She wasn’t used to people offering her things or taking care of her, and she wanted them to see that she could do it alone. It sounded stupid but it was also a personal pride.
After having waited,watched an listened for hours Nikke was wondering at what time her friend was supposed to come. Thinking about it, it would most likely be at night. Unaware of having been found out, she felt a cold steel blade tickling her neck…
As soon as she heard about the war Marissa knew she had no time left. She also knew that she had no way of finding Nikke. She remembered her friend talking about how when she was older she would take quests and eventually become a famous adventurer, so she figured that if she found a quester then they might know Nikke. She decided to ask her most trusted servant Sebastian to put the small sign she had made on a quest board, giving him a little money because she knew that the higher level quests cost money and she didn’t want just anyone to find her. Then she packed, what would she need? Definitely her bow, but it would need to be concealed, at least at first because ordinary people didn’t walk around with such fancy weapons. In the kitchens she found a big enough baker’s bag for bread, it was long and wide enough to hold her bow and rapier (she left an envelope “for the bread bag’s owner” with some coins in it). Then she took a big bag with two straps and put her armour in it. She also added a few thing which she felt might be useful on her journey (some of which she then had to take out because she couldn’t lift he bag). She had swapped some clothes with Sebastian’s sister and she would leave with the servants when Sebastian would go with her to the meeting point and the next morning he would come to the castle as usual and pretend nothing happened.
There was a lot of running around in the castle but none of it concerned her so she managed to easily slip in and out of rooms preparing for her great adventure. She knew that she wasn’t ready to face this alone and hoped that Nikke would be. If not then maybe the quester who picked up the quest could help. If they could cross the mountains then maybe they could be safe from the incoming invasion. The last thing to do would be to leave a note saying that she had left of her own will (so that the enemy couldn’t use her disappearance against them) hidden somewhere in her room where it would be found in a few days at most. That night she left as one of the common folk, into the unknown wonders the city had to offer her…
“Who are you and what are you doing here? Do you know why I’m here?”
The voice was soft and firm and definitely a woman’s one. Most likely she had been watching Nikke for a while and she felt stupid for thinking she could hide from such a person. She decided not to lie as that could only make things worse.
“Mali- princess Marissa is coming here and you’re going to escort her she used to sneak out of the castle when we were younger and we were best friends my name is Nikke Raven!”
She had spoken fast in fear of being interrupted because she knew too much and there was a terrifying silence for a while. Then the knife was withdrawn and the woman stood in front of her.
“What are you doing here?” She repeated.
Nikke had a bit more trouble answering that question. “Well…” She started, “at first I only wanted to see my friend again… but when I saw you take the quest…” And she explained how she had heard of her, at first from one person then when she looked for her she found other signs or rumours of this woman’s existence, enough to persuade Nikke that she was real. Since then she had spent as much time as she could trying to find her and hopefully learn from her because not many people would teach a girl and even less a penniless orphan so in the small hope that this woman would teach her she had spent so much time looking for her.
By the end of her story she was very embarrassed but at least the woman had lowered her weapon. Nikke didn’t know what to do now. The woman broke the silence: “You might not like what I have to teach you”, she spoke softly but clearly, Nikke thought she could have a voice to charm an army, ok maybe a small one, or a tavern full of soldiers…
“I want to learn how to fight anyone! I want to be able to use weapons… At least daggers or throwing knives, I want to be able to have the level to take a level 7 quest! Or almost…” she replied.
Then the woman had a sad look on her face but she said “If that is what you want, then I suppose I am the best person to ask.”
Nikke decided that was more of a yes than a no and she grinned.
I was writing… And writing… And I realised that I had already written a lot so I figured I might stop here and let DragonSpark continue a bit (don’t worry you don’t have to write as much as I did). These bits of story (I think we could call them chapters) are getting longer and longer!
Sorry DS for finishing this fast, I guess I was really into it…
Exclusive: a memory of Nikke and Marissa AND a map(-ish looking thingy) of how I see this ever expanding world for the moment (DS feel free to use it or completely ignore it or even make one of your own)!