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Path of a Rogue - The Tale of Roelon [Closed]


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The moon shining through the single plate-glass window was the only source of light in the room. The walls were red brick, the floor a simple hardwood. Tattered furniture, leatherworkerâs instruments, and the overall look of a simple man's life filled the room.


Jude comfortably lounged in a chair next to Roelon. She was a gorgeous young woman. Her thick brown hair sprawled across her shoulders and seemed to caress her skin. She was naturally beautiful, though she would never exploit it. Her modest demeanor made her even more attractive.



Roelon was nervous and careful not to make excessive contact with her tall, athletic body - he was afraid to "cross the line." For the past 3 years, they had been great friends, but made no advances toward each other. Now they sit alone in a dark room together.


He was unsure of her thoughts. Though they sat there talking idly about what was going on in their lives, he couldn't help but think about how much he loved her.


He found himself fighting back the urge to just reach out and kiss her. He feared that if she didn't feel the same way, then the years spent as friends may be lost. It was for this reason that he seemed increasingly nervous over these past few months. He was unsure of how or even if he would tell her how he felt.


He caught himself staring at her. Her radiant beauty, along with the full moon's light seemed to make her glow. He wondered if now was the time to tell her...


"So, I heard you had your eye on someone." Roelon muttered, stammering to find words.


"Oh, really..." she said slyly. "Where did you hear that?" she continued, obviously intrigued by the sudden change in conversation.


Roelon replied, "A friend." He was careful not to approach the subject quickly. This way, he could back out of it if the conversation were to turn awkward.


"Well actually, there is this one guy." As she replied, she turned her body more toward him.


"Really? Do I know him?" Roelon was visibly nervous now.


"Yeah. I think you do.


He was unsure if she was playing along with his conversational sidestepping, or if it really could be another man. He set up his next statement to allow him his escape if he needed it. He sat back and spoke as if he were indifferent, "Really? Who would that be?"


A silent moment passed over them both. It seemed to last an eternity.


Roelon hadn't realized it at the time, but he was holding his breath, waiting for her response.


Jude suddenly broke the awkward silence, "It's you... I love you."


Roelon's heart began pounding. He got an awkward feeling in his stomach.


His head felt light, he suddenly became short of breath. He stared at the wall, a moonlit shadow of her was cast against the brick. He didn't know what to say. For such a long time he'd wanted to tell her what he felt, but now he couldn't find the words.



A sudden noise... Screaming... White light. He felt cold...



Roelon suddenly awoke, soaked with sweat. He was dazed, unsure of where he was for a moment. He then realized, he'd dreamt about her again.


Shaking his head, he rose, tore off his sheets, and padded over to a wooden table with small basin set under a large mirror. The stone floor was cold on his bare feet.


He leaned against the wood paneled wall and turned slightly to see his scarred back in the mirror, thinking aloud, "I missed my window. If only I hadn't froze up. If only I could have told her I loved her, She might not now be gone..."



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It has been some 8 years now since that pivotal moment in his life. He will never forget, and never again mention what happened that eve. All he has left is to learn from its disastrous subsequence.


In an effort to escape what took Jude from him that Autumn's eve, he abandoned all that he knew, including his possessions, and he went into hiding. Roelon has since learned to live on his own accord, and out of necessity, taught himself the arts of a Rogue.



His clothes are now faded and worn. Tanned skin, rough calloused hands... From the look of him, one might assume that he is at home outdoors. He carries about him the odor of burnt timber, and the slightest hint of alcohol. As he moves, a small flask can be seen on his hip.


He now sits alone at a small table at a dim tavern drinking an ale. Though, out of the corner of his eye, he sees some adventurers from his fellowship sitting at the bar sharing a laugh with others, he chooses not to acknowledge them. Roelon is content with sitting alone, burying his face in the large mug in front of him.

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Chapter 1


Three Years Ago:


Dusk rained down a glow upon a small settlement. Hand carts and kiosks lined the main road in the center of what appears to be a marketplace where vendors would hope to peddle their harvest. Wooden hand-carts and small canvas tent-like kiosks stood out in contrast to the dull grey of the stone-paved street.


Welkin tirelessly carried seemingly endless crates of greens from a larger pile over to his wooden hand-cart of assorted fruits and vegetables. He was in his late 60âs from the looks of him, but could lift the heavy load with the vigor and strength of a man in his prime. He had about him the look of a farmer, thick, sweat-soaked clothing, rolled sleeves, and a firm grip no doubt brought about by years of tilling soil. Small scars were visible on his knuckles and exposed areas, quite noticeable in contrast to his weathered and sun-dried skin. A working manâs hands, one would assume. The on setting dusk had cast an orange light on the area, causing Welkinâs coarse features to soften.


Welkin set the cumbersome load down. His back was turned to his cart as he shuffled away for the next load. Just then, a strangerâs outstretched arm cast a long shadow on an assemblage of fruit on display. The silent stranger hovered beside the display waiting for his moment. When he saw the opportunity, he palmed several large pomegranates. He then froze, looking toward the old man, as if to determine if he still remained undetected. Hesitantly he reached out again, this time for small wooden box that sat upon the ledge of the kiosk. With a mild desperation the stranger made for the box.


Welkin stood a distance away, turned away from his kiosk, stacking two more crates from his stockpile. âPomegranates are my favorite, too.â The old man said calmly, not bothering to turn around. âNot many people enjoy them. They seem to be too much trouble for such little reward.â


The man froze with one hand outstretched, fumbling for the wooden box, the other cradling some pomegranates. He was unsure if the old coot was talking deleriously to himself, or if he himself was found wanting.


Welkin picked up the heavy load, now turning back toward his cart and the would-be thief.


âI could use a hand, if you have one to spare.â Welkin said with a calm slyness.


The man lay in wait. Arm still outstretched toward the box, he contemplated his options.


Now walking toward his cart, encumbered by the heavy load, Welkin continued, âIâm an old man. My knees are not what they used to be.â


The man, still unsure of how to respond, quickly grasped the wooden box, fumbling as he clutched it, defensively drawing it into his chest. He froze again. The color seemed to drain from his face.


With the sun quickly setting in the distance, Welkin bent down to set the crates at the feet of his would-be thief. As he raised his head back up, his deep brown eyes met those of the thief. Welkinâs face wrinkled as he tightened his gaze upon the stranger and spoke lightly, âI donât have all evening. Make yourself useful or be gone.â


The stranger tightened his grasp on his loot, and in a desperate moment, turned to run.


In an instant, without hesitation, Welkin kicked the crate that lay at the thiefâs feet. The crate hit the would be thief with enough force to effectively destroy it, sending wooden slats off in all directions. The thief was sent flying backward, loot still in hand, toward the wooden kiosk. All that he could recall was the sound of breaking wood, and the old man speaking these words, âNever steal from a humble man, Roelon.â



Roelon awoke, expecting to find himself jailed by the town guard. He let out an audible sigh, but not one of relief. He found himself lying in a bed. At the foot of his bed, arms folded, stood the old man, Welkin.


Welkin spoke with a warm calm, âYou carry with you the burden of your past. Your tragic tale has preceded you.â


A puzzled, terrified look came over Roelonâs face. The old man knew him by name! Looking out the window, he now saw that the sun had set, a full moon visible in the distance. Only now did Roelon speak.


With a soft, despondent tone Roelon answered. âAnother moon... It's been some time now..."

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Chapter 2


Three Years Ago:


A tight blindfold covered Roelonâs eyes. He used all of his remaining senses to try and figure where he was being taken. All that he could discern was the scent of cut apples, the feel of tall grass at his feet, and the hand on his arm that led him to his unknown destination. He stirred, obviously uncomfortable with the lack of control that he had over the situation.


With his low, coarse voice, he spoke with his usual calm, âWhere are you taking me? You should know, Iâm not fond of surprises.â


A harsh âShhh!â was the only response.


A sudden tug on Roelonâs arm forced him to stop in his tracks. Now, the arm pulled him down to the ground, dropping him to his knees.


The blindfold was tore off of Roelonâs eyes, his thick brown hair now falling back into place.


He was indeed surprised at what he saw around him. The area was unfamiliar to him. The faint haze of a white fog surrounded him. Canopies from the high trees seemed to play with the daylight that cast down. Swaying in the wind, the vibrant light from the midday sun shone down, dancing through the thick foliage above. In front of him, a breeze cast ripples on the surface of a large, clear-water pond. Green grass, tall trees, and small woodland creatures adorned the opposite bank. Fallen trees lay sporadically about the edges.


Beneath him, at the shore of the basin, lay a small hand-quilted blanket. At his left, lay a small basket, a bottle of wine, and 2 glasses.


Two hands suddenly reached out from behind Roelon on either side, startling him. As the hands pulled him closer, he felt the rapidly beating heart of a warm body embracing him. He turned to look over his shoulder, one of the hands moved a strand of hair from Roelonâs brow. Roelonâs eyes were still adjusting to the light when he felt the warm soft lips meet his. Closing his eyes now, the two kissed.


âI love you.â whispered a soft, familiar voice. Slowly opening his eyes, Roelon saw the figure of a beautiful brunette now looking deeply into his eyes.


Roelon turned toward her, pulling away slowly, as if to take in take in the moment to memory. He responded softly, âAnd I, you.â


The fog seemed to roll in slightly closer. Even through his rugged, defined facial features, he seemed to soften, eyes glazed as if he were ready to cry with joy. âIâve missed you.â


âI know. Iâm sorry.â She responded.


He sighed, pulling her closer. His face met hers, softly resting his forehead on her brow, staring into her eyes. âWhy? Where have you been?â Roelon said, now realizing that the white haze was not a fog⦠he was in dream.


âYou have to be strong.â Jude said, her eyes glassing over. âYou need to know something.â


The haze seemed to thicken as tears rolled down Roelonâs face.


âItâs not over.â She softly said. âThereâs still time.â


Roelon looked back at her, tears steadily streaming. He noticed the haze thickening even more. Still on his knees he embraced her.


Pointing to a small spot on the ground, near the base of a downed tree, Jude spoke, âIâve left you something. Donât forget about me.â


The haze enveloped Roelon. He tried to speak, but found himself unable. Arms outstretched, he reached for Jude again, but felt himself being pulled away.


The haze had completely consumed him in a white lightâ. He felt cold.




Roelon raised his hand to his brow, pinching the bridge of his nose as he squinted. Lying in bed, he looked about the small, familiar wood-paneled room. Clambering to his feet, he walked across the coarse wooden floor to an open window. Roelon placed both hands on the sill, now staring out, looking over the grove of apple trees that spread out into the distance to the horizon that gave way to an orange setting sun.


Leaning in the doorway, with arms crossed, stood the modest, aging form of his new friend and mentor, Welkin.


âGood. Youâre awake.â He spoke, taking a long moment to inspect Roelon, squinting, as if he knew what was going on. âCome with me. It's time for your training."

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Chapter 3


Present day:


Roelon lay in wait. He squatted low, hidden only partially by the shadows of the stone stairway he was crouched upon. The daylight had just broke, and off in the distance, a bell could be heard, no doubt inviting commoners to worship at the cathedral that stood in grandiose form not 30 meters away. The cold, grey stone of the surrounding buildings rose into the dull sky. The highest peak, that of the cathedral, disappeared into the haze of the morning fog that had not yet been lifted by the rising sun.. The cathedral was the tallest building in the land, as it was law that no other building could be taller.


At that moment, the second bell rang. Roelon saw his target. A fat man sporting an obnoxiously-large hair piece entered his line of sight, lumbering toward the cathedral. The man was wearing an absurdly extravagant robe; a not too uncommon type of garment that the well-to-do would often flaunt on the holy day. A ring adorned nearly every finger on both of his hands.


A few beggars sat with outstretched hands on the stairs of the cathedral. Hoping for the kindness of those coming to attend the sermon, they would cast a longing glare to the passers-by. The town guard stood at the entrance to the cathedral, and sporadically throughout the town plaza, closely monitoring everyone around them. Roelon watched as the fat man pulled his purse in tighter, turning his nose up at the commoners on the stairwell.


From the shadow, Roelon leveled a tight stare on the man. He examined him as he walked. The way he shuffled about without swinging his arms... the general stiffness about him... Roelon knew he was hiding something.


Tightly closing his eyes, he focused on the fat man in his mind. In a familiar haze, he caught a glimpse of a shortsword tucked beneath his robes. Opening his eyes, his glance returned to the fat man. Without breaking the stare, Roelon felt for his own left side, confirming that his own blade that he had concealed was still in place. As the bell rang a third time, he sprang forth.


Jumping off the side of the stairway, he fell 5 meters before rolling onto the soft tuft of grass, never making a sound, and never breaking from the shadow that the rising sun had cast. He fluidly crept alongside the red-brick building directly adjacent, and parallel to the nearby cathedral. He came to rest at the corner of the brick building, his back to the wall. As Roelon looked out from the corner of the building, he felt a stinging gust of cold air blow his hair back from his brow. It was at that point that he sensed that autumn was upon the lands.


Roelon thought back to the first autumn of his âawakeningâ:

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Three Years Ago:

Though he was aware of Welkinâs presence, Roelon still stood motionless, both hands placed upon the wood sill of the window to his room. He stared outside, watching natureâs scene play out in front of his eyes. It was apparent that autumn was upon the lands. As he watched the sun set, he could feel the temperature dropping. A constant breeze tossed the leaves that had fallen from the limbs of the perfectly-lined apple trees that continued on into the horizon of the plantation. The cool breeze blew Roelonâs thick hair back. Though his side still ached from his first encounter with his soon-to-be mentor not more than a few days ago, Roelon didnât care that all of this was new to him. He didnât bother to inspect his new room, and didnât care to speak to the aging man still standing in his doorway. At that moment, Roelon heard the creaking of the old, wooden floor. Welkin had walked away.


Roelon closed his eyes tight. He was sure her scent was in the air, but dismissed it as part of his dream, shaking his head. He stared out to the horizon. Through the window, the autumn scene continued on. The rustling of the dried leaves could be heard in the ambience.


A moment passed, and the groan of the worn floorboards had returned. Roelon never turned to look toward the sound. -In an instant, everything seemed to stand still. That moment, the wind seemed to stop, the sound of the rustling leaves was suddenly replaced by a definitive silence. Time seemingly stood still as Roelon instinctively flinched and with no hesitation, forcefully pushed himself away from the wooden sill of the window, just as the blade a throwing dagger imbedded itself in the wall in a direct line of where Roelonâs head just was.


Roelon turned toward the doorway where his attacker stood, arm still extended in perfect form from his expert throw. Roelon stood motionless, unsure what to expect next.


âHa! Good!â Welkin exclaimed, as he repositioned himself. Now crossing his arms he leaned in the doorway to the room. He examined Roelonâs expression with a satisfied grin on his face. Charged with delight, he spoke again.


âI was right! Do you know what this means?â


Roelon remained frozen. His stance was wide, one of surprise, anticipation. He looked at the knife buried to the hilt in the wall. He raised a brow at the old man and despite the situation, spoke in a low, calm tone.


âWhy would youâ¦? How did Iâ¦?â


âForeknowledge. Evasion.â Welkin nodded. âThere is much more I can show you.â Welkin, still grinning turned to walk away.


âOld man!â Roelon motioned to the large split panel of the wooden wall where the knife rested at his eye level, and said forcefully, âIf you would have been wrong about me, what then?â


Laughing to himself, Welkin left the room.



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Present Day:


Snapping back to the matter at hand, Roelon stood. After a nearby guard passed, he stepped away from the cover of the shadow, and blended into the crowd, sneaking a nonchalant glance at his target.


Near the base of the stairs of the cathedral stood a community board. Roelon grinned as he noticed one of the flyers. Information about a fire requested... advertisements... engagement notices... Amongst the collage was a bulletin with the picture of a hooded figure, a poorly-done, hand-drawn artistâs interpretation of Roelonâs face.


Walking up the stairs to the cathedral, he placed a few coins in the palm of a young girl.


âBlessings be with you, -Priest.-â said the young girl, as she retracted her outstretched arm, palming the coins.


Roelon looked down at the girl, and nodded, âAnd with you, dear.â


Roelon looked down at his garment. He grinned as he adjusted the collar of his âËacquiredâ Clericâs robes. He steepled his hands and bowed, strolling past the guards at the cathedral entrance unnoticed.

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Chapter 4


Present Day:


As Roelon passed the temple guards, he again caught a glimpse of his target. The fat man now sat on a simple, splintered, wooden bench at the very front of the cathedral ââ one of many that lined the main hall. Roelon approached his target with a brisk pace. His eyes were fixated on the man's extravagant hairdo, absurdly exorbitant robes, and egotistical âholier than thouâ attitude. Roelon was lost in his quest. He moved with such a purpose that the beauty of the structure in which he stood was lost upon him. The grand stone walls rose some 15 meters above him. The air was heavy with the scented smoke that billowed from high-wrought incense burners in every corner of the room. An ornate mosaic-covered dome ceiling was accented by pillars of hand-crafted stone, but set in contrast to a simple hardwood floor. Plate-glass windows sparkled distorted colors about the room that was otherwise lighted by the yellow glow of large oil lamps that were suspended from high above.


Roelon leveled a stare as he made his way down the main isle of the cathedral. His gait quickened as he closed in on the paunchy man's position. A sort of tunnel vision set upon him as he advanced, brushing past the worshipers in the isle with increasing momentum. Roelon broke into a sudden sprint about 20 meters from his objective, knocking a robed squire to his feet. He never broke his stride or his stare. The calamity caused an uproar in the once-quiet temple. Onlookers froze in their tracks, trying to make sense of the commotion.


Roelon came to a sudden stop as he reached his destination. He now stood an armâs length away from the portly man. His eyes met those of his mark. Roelon drew his blade from beneath his priest robes.


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Three Years Ago:


âYou're too tense! Relax, kid!â Welkin said sternly.


Roelon was seated, cross-legged in the pitch black room. He tightened shut his eyes, taking in a deep breath. He grumbled slightly. In the few weeks he'd been living with the old man, Roelon had become accustomed to his character and temperament, but having seen nearly 25 winters, he grimaced at the term, âkid.â


A warm calm settled around Roelon as he centered himself, relaxed in his position. A brief moment of clarity surrounded him. Roelon opened his eyes and leaned forward. Roelon spoke with a certain calm in his voice. His tone was soft, deep, but deliberate, âFour... Four stones.â


Welkin stood and twisted a knob on a lantern, softly illuminating the small familiar room with wood-paneled walls. He held his fist out in front of him, and slowly opened it to reveal four small stones in his palm.


âGood!â He exclaimed with a moderate tone of excitement in his voice. â... you're well on your way.â

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Present Day:


Roelon stood for a moment, blade in hand, towering over the now-trembling man. The man attempted to rise to his feet, but found himself unable. His elaborate robes had become entangled in the seams of the splintered, wooden bench on which he was sitting. Without hesitation, Roelon used his dagger to cut the flamboyant robes from the pompous man. He then grabbed his arm, and threw the man with enough force as to send him rolling across the cathedral floor. Roelon then lept toward him.


Not a moment later, one of the large brass lamps that was suspended from above crashed down on the very spot where the man had just been sitting. The oil from the lamp spilled out all directions, and was immediately set afire by the lamp's smoldering wick. The expensive robes now lay in the very center of the blaze, the material caught fire with ease.


The man lay face down on the floor, thrown to safety by the stranger that now stood before him. The man lumbered onto his side, sat up, and spoke.


âI thought you meant to kill me!â He said as wiped a bead of sweat from his brow.


Roelon simply shook his head. He turned to see the pile of robes, now melted from the fire. Frenzied onlookers stood by in awe as the flames slowly dissipated. Having heard the clamor, Temple Guards had rushed in.


They surveyed the area, trying to make sense of what happened. One immediately recognized the would-be priest as the well sought-after thief from the various posters scattered around town. He pointed a finger in Roelon's direction, the guards charged forward.


The man gasped. He raised his hand and pointed to where he was just sitting.


âThe fire...? My robes...? How could...you...!?â He continued, stammering to find the words, âHow could you -possibly- have known?â


Staring into the fire, Roelon then spoke in his usual deep, deliberate calm, âYou now owe a life debt...â He turned his gaze back to the fat man who was still sitting on the hardwood floor. â...when you are called upon, you will answer.â


âYou're a good man, stranger.â said the man.


âThen you truly don't know me...â Roelon quickly replied.


Roelon nodded slightly, then calmly stepped over the man. The guards were still closing in, still some distance away. As Roelon turned to walk away, he pulled a small object from beneath his robes, flipping it into the air over his shoulder.


The object landed square in the man's lap. He palmed it and held it to eye level. As he opened his fist, he observed that the object was an unremarkable copper ring. The man then turned his gaze toward Roelon, only to find his priest's robes lying in a pile on the floor a few feet away. His savior, no longer in sight.

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Chapter 5 âOthers"


Present Day


Moisture was heavy in the air; the skies, greyed by the cover of low-hanging clouds. A light drizzle fell upon Roelon's face. Fitting, for this area was not one of leisure. Smells of sea water, rotting wood, and the local fisherman's daily catch were amplified by the heat pouring in from the nearby barren lands.


Roelon stood upon a short wooden pier, he leaned upon a railing, calmly peering into the waters that were stirred by brief gusts of wind. Encompassing the pier, wooden buildings were built into the recesses of the stone walls. All around him, as if the rain had no effect, people bustled about their business. Fishermen dangled lines in the sea, porters carried wooden crates to and fro, and a group of travelers conversed nearby.


Roelon awaited the ferry. Adorned in simple commoner's clothing, he stood idly by as the town carried on around him.


A slender figure made his way toward him. Though his back was turned, he felt her as she moved toward him. A simple figure flashed in his mind as she forcefully brushed by him, not even bothering to excuse herself.


...A symbol ââ one that was not yet familiar to him.


...A flag - an ornate symbol of an kinship


The woman was only visible as a silhouette as she calmly walked toward the end of the ferry's pier. Roelon leveled a stare that went unnoticed by the other. He examined her as she waited. Her strawberry-blonde hair was neatly managed, and tied into a bun. Markings adorned all exposed areas of her flesh.


Slowly, the ferry docked. His mind drifting, Roelon thought for a long moment as to the time it would have taken to make such a vessel. Made entirely of wood, it towered over him as it docked, casting a shadow on him in the already-dim evening. The swollen wood creaked as it neared the narrow pier. A woman, obviously an employee, who was standing at the end of the pier, called for everyone to board.


Roelon made his way to the end of the pier toward the ferry when he was met by the onslaught of the disembarking passengers. Finding himself in a wall of people, he slowly made his way down the pier. He was overcome by what he saw. So many bodies rushed past him... so many memories filled his mind - ... so many images flashed in his head.


A young boy passed by, an image of wooden horse filled Roelon's mind. A fat woman... an image of a stone-laden forge. So overwhelmed was he, that he lost sight of the slender figure that had preceded him onto the ferry. As the pier emptied, composing himself, Roelon again advanced toward the ferry. One last passenger approached him. He was the slimy sort; carried about him the air of self-importance. As he left the ramp from the ferry, Roelon scowled at the image in his mind.


...a woman. Screaming.


...âNo!! ...please stop!â


Roelon stopped in his tracks. Without a word, he gave way to the man on the narrow pier. Just as the man passed by him, Roelon turned toward the stranger. The stranger's back was to Roelon. He quickly grabbed the stranger by the back of his shirt. With the man's collar in his hand, Roelon pulled forcefully toward the ground, causing the man to fall, slamming him to the ground with such a force as to shake the floating pier.


Flat on his back, quite dazed, the stranger looked to Roelon with a puzzled look on his face. A swift kick to his ribs sent the stranger rolling off of the pier into the sea.


Roelon took a long moment and paused to look upward toward the dismal rain, calming himself. His glance turned toward the employee. She was frozen, unsure of how to react to what she had just seen.


In a calm tone, low and coarse, Roelon spoke only one word.




She remained frozen as Roelon calmly passed by her, climbing the ramp to the ferry.


Silently, Roelon proceeded into the hold of the ferry.


The room was large. Wooden crates sporadically lined the hull of the vessel, secured by heavy netting. Sturdy pillars stood erect from top to bottom through the middle of the room. The wooden ship seemed to have been swollen from the heavy air, for with every step taken, a loud creek would follow. Oil lanterns suspended from iron facets adorned each stud.


Once inside, he again saw the group of travelers. Some carried on with idle chatter, others boasted their grand tales. One in particular boasted his grand size, and the fact that he was positively a large fellow, though he stood only one meter tall.


No sight of the tattooed figure. The ship was now under way. As the doors to the hold latched shut, the doors to the observation deck opened. Everyone poured out of the hold and made their way up the stairs.


As Roelon climbed the stairs from the hold, he noticed a familiar face. A ferry worker stood proudly behind a wooden countertop and smiled slightly. She then placed both palms on the counter at which she stood. She tapped her fingers, on one of which, adorned an unremarkable copper ring. Smiling, Roelon silently nodded as he carried on.


Roelon was the last to make it up to the observation deck, or so he thought. From behind, a tap on the shoulder caused him to turn on his heel. Surprised, his eyes met those of the mysterious figure he'd encountered on the pier.


She asked his name, not offering hers.


Roelon replied, âI go by Roelon.â as he nodded.


Her response took him aback, âYou go by 'thief.'â


Roelon raised a brow. He stammered for a reply. âI'm... not more than a commoner."


She leaned in to whisper. In a barely audible tone, she said, âWell, I only have use for a thief.


Suggestively grabbing her by the elbow, he spoke with no loss of calm, tilting his head, âMaybe you'd like to go below deck for a drink?â


She nodded, not breaking the stare she had on him.

They proceeded below deck, passing by the furtive glances coming from the group of nearby travelers.


Below deck, Roelon again passed by the wooden counter. The same worker approached, and without a word, started tapping her fingers on the counter.


Roelon motioned to the worker, holding up two fingers.


Nodding, the worker poured a brown liquor into two small pewter cups.


Throwing a few copper onto the countertop, Roelon grabbed the goblets, one in each hand. Passing one to the slender stranger, he raised the other to his lips. The woman took the drink in both hands and raised it to her mouth, but never broke her stare.


Roelon finally spoke. In a slight whisper, he said, âWe are in the company of friends here, but there are prying ears nearby. Make quick with your proposal.â


The woman paused for a moment. She calmly set the drink down on the nearby countertop. She placed her hands on Roelon's shoulders, then followed his arms down, resting her grasp on his hands. Leaning in, standing on her toes, she planted a kiss on Roelon's lips.


Roelon was quick to step away, but found himself in her grip. She pulled him in and whispered, âCargo room. Third crate on the left.â


Stunned, Roelon froze as the mysterious figure slowly walked away.


Roelon looked around the room, trying to make sense of it all, when his eyes met those of the worker behind the bar. The worker chuckled a bit as she drank from the very glass that the mysterious woman had abandoned.


Pouring the strong drink down his gullet, Roelon slammed the cup onto the countertop, furrowing a brow at the worker.


He made his way into the cargo hold of the ferry...

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Chapter 6

Present Day


Night had fallen. A cool gust of air seemed to rise up from below him. Roelon stood motionless upon a grassy hilltop, his loose clothing flapping playfully with the breeze as he looked up into the sky. Some distance away, through a small thicket of trees, a faint glow from a small settlement could be seen in a valley beneath him. It was a clear evening, but the dull yellow light from the town below had turned his attention from the stars above. The days had grown longer, and the tall grass at his feet swayed as the winds changed. At that moment, Roelon knew summer was approaching.


Atop the foothill, Roelon dropped to a knee. A certain sense of familiarity came over him as he peered down to the village at its base. He was certain he'd never been here before, but knew it to be another step towards his destination.


Still down on his knee, he held out an item in his hand. This token, he had come to both love and hate. From the day he discovered it in the hold of a ferry a few months prior, to this very moment, he hadn't been able to discern it's meaning, only that his purpose was to find it. As Roelon was completely unaware of the significance; this item, simple and otherwise unremarkable, posed more questions than it did answers. Stowing it, he carried on.


Roelon trotted down the side of the hill, following a narrow trail. A short distance later, the trial opened wider to a gravel pathway. The pathway wound it's way through a vast cemetery. The volume of headstones that lined the fields told Roelon that the town had been around for a while. Composing his thoughts, he continued on, venturing through the graveyard.


A single bell tolled in the distance. Eleven... Twelve times.


...It took Roelon longer than he had hoped to reach the town. By the time he made it, the yellow glow that he'd seen from atop the hill was reduced to that of only one building. - The tavern.


Upon entering the establishment, he was met promptly by the aroma of spilt spirits, and the laughter of its inebriated consumers.


Roelon was among his element. In such a setting, he could blend into the darkness of a corner, and disappear. A slight smile crept upon his face.


...It was immediately turned back to a frown, for he knew that from where he took his pleasures, also drew his bane. Such was evident the moment he made eye contact with the patrons. The seedy sort. Dirty, failed souls.


Roelon thought for a moment as to how he could find peace in a place that attracts so much pain. Quite simply put... He knew bad people were in his presence. Roelon ordered his drink, and took his seat.


He leveled a cold stare at one whom the other patrons called, âDansieg.â He was a tall, loud, shady sort. Dirty, uncalled-for words spilled from his mouth. Amongst his rude gestures, and foul-mouthed profanities, he bellowed to the barkeep, demanding another drink.


Closing his eyes tightly, a familiar haze fell upon Roelon's mind. A wide grin crept upon Roelon's face as he stood. He made his way over to the bar and positioned himself directly behind the boisterous patron. Roelon took one final drink from the pewter mug of ale. He glanced for a moment over his shoulder at the shrewd man. Another patron was courting a woman in conversation when he was rudely interrupted by Dansieg's barbaric gestures. Roelon set the mug in a precise position upon the edge of the countertop, to Dansieg's back.


Roelon snickered to himself as he backed away and retreated to his seat, ready to watch the events unfold.


Dansieg continued to ridicule others as he ambled about. As a barmaid brought his drink out to him, he eyed her up and down. She cordially dropped off his drink, and with remarkable restraint, avoided his scornful, tasteless comments and advances. She cleared a nearby table of it's empty mugs, and made her way toward the back of the bar. The barmaid's attention then turned to the half-full mug that Roelon had abandoned on the countertop. As she reached for the mug, Dansieg promptly smacked her on the backside. The resulting jolt caused the barmaid to fumble with the mug that she was reaching for, spilling the remainder of its contents on the floor. Dansieg, still swaying, took a step forward and slipped on slick floor, causing him to fall backward, hitting his head on the very table of the couple he'd harassed a moment before.


Abrupt laughter filled the room. The bewildered man regained his consciousness, then his footing and stumbled out of the building.


The barkeep then stood upon the countertop. He was short of stature, fat, and had a long brown beard that would âpuffâ as he spoke. In a well-rehearsed form, the Barkeep spoke in an attempt to direct his patron's attention away from the obnoxious man.


âWelcome to me Tavern! I be Snively Snakebait and I run this 'ere establishment. Like most o' the taverns 'round these parts, I serves up grub and grog to weary travelers. Now I ain't braggin', but this here's one o' the best - for beyond the smokey haze and the smell of spilt spirits, there's plenty of laughter and good conversation to be had. Tired and thirsty from their day's adventures, all types of travellers come to me te' wash away the taste o' battles won and lost. I've seen 'em all in here and I be knowin' most of 'em by name. They gather 'round these old, worn, wooden tables to share a drink and tell a tale. Sometimes they tell o' wonderous victories and some are tales o' woe. I listens to their stories and I remembers them all. Welcome friends! Have a seat and I'll bring ye a bottle of me finest, then bend an ear, whilst I tell ye of a legend of these lands."


A fresh mug of ale at his lips, Roelon paused for a moment. A chill was sent down his spine as his eyes flickered to the an item the barman now proudly displayed as he told his tale. Sound seemed to fade as he fixated on the token; the tale went unheard by Roelon.


Clenching his jaw, Roelon shook away his revery to focus on the moment. He reached down into a small leather satchel on his hip. He produced his token, held it up to his eye level for close examination. He was elated for he knew he had drawn closer to understanding its meaning.


Two silver arrowheads. Identical to those the barkeep now boasted about...


//note: "Dansieg" is the name of an RP griefer in FFXI. F- you, Dansieg.

//edit - ((Snively Snakebait and his paragraph is not my own writing. Credit is due to the original author, though I don't remember his name. It was from a previous RP guild.))

//edit2 - ((Rewrote ending to coincide with an application to the "Midnight Covenant" LS on Besaid server.

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