Chapter XI Of My Current Campaign, Which Began A Year Ago, As Written/Retold By My Player Who Plays Vilven
The next morning Jaren came to consciousness, but in agony from his aching injuries, passed out again within minutes. Wiendle was very worried about him, but Vilven, silently, was relieved he was still even alive, as the cuts and bruises on his body looked dire. The Goblins seemed to have fanatically jabbed and slashed all over, with little finesse, but with efficiency nonetheless.
After their intimate talk the previous night, Grid revealing the tragic history of Beaumont by the Dragon Sabot and Vilven revealing her choice to make a Pact with Areiden, they took turns on watch. They were both a little jumpy at the prospect of more Goblins, or worse, coming into the camp. It was Grid who made the official decision that they needed to leave, as he determined the location was too dangerous to dwell in for another night. They all agreed, especially Wiendle, but that forced them to figure out what to do about the hurt guard that lay before them. After a quick conversation, they determined that the best thing to do was for Grid to carry Jaren over his shoulder, as Jaren was rather lean and wouldn’t be too difficult for a large Tigron to handle. However, this would leave Grid without the reach and the inability to use his bow, so he would not be able to protect any of them in the case of another attack. This left only Vilven to protect them all.
Vilven hesitantly agreed, knowing that there was no other way.
So they moved forward, Vilven leading the group, grasping her sickles like an anchor. Having only little experience with tracking, the forest, and where Warden was, Grid had to give her direction from the back. At first it was a bit awkward to understand what he wanted from her, but she quickly gained the skill of accurately responding to his guidance. Wiendle, her head low, was very silent and hardly moved without permission. Vilven knew the guilt of running off and putting the party in danger was still fresh in Wiendle’s mind, so she didn’t do much to try to change the princess’ mood. Some emotions only lessen with time, Vilven had come to understand.
They were able to make it through a full day, a little slower than they might have if all had been normal, but they thought it successful regardless. The preparations for camp were completed with relative ease, even Wiendle helped to set everything up.
When the princess did decided to retire, and go to her and Jaren’s tent, Grid glanced at Vilven with a pained look, and began to roll his large, lion shoulders.
“Are you alright?” Vilven asked, concerned, peering at him from across the fire.
“Muscles are a bit fatigued.” He said, sharing with her easily. He stretched his arms over his head, his bones seeming to elongate with the motion. Vilven stared, unable to stop herself from thinking how much the movement made him look like a satisfied cat.
“Can’t say I’ve ever carried another being such a long distance before” Grid continued. “Fortunately, I keep in pretty good shape.”
Vilven smiled with amusement tilting her head, then she stretched her legs out in return. “Not to compare, but I am quite sore myself. I just can’t seem to get used to walking this much. It’s just so entirely different than swimming.”
“That it is, My Lady, that it is” Grid said, commiserating.
Vilven sighed, then stood. “If it’s alright, I’ll take the second watch. Unless you want to rest first.”
“Sounds good to me.” Grid responded as he took out his pipe. “Rest well.”
Vilven waved to him, with a big yawn, and walked to her bedroll, falling asleep almost as soon as she laid down.
Vilven woke to the sound of Grid talking with someone.
“Nice night, friend.” An unfamiliar male voice spoke. “Care if me and my comrade share your camp, safety in numbers, after all.”
“Well, that all sounds grand, friend.” Grid’s voice responded. “Other than just one thing, we have absolutely no idea who either of you are.”
Vilven sat up hastily, looking toward where she had heard the stranger’s voice.
She saw Grid sitting, cleaning his pipe, glancing up at two men. One of the men, she assumed the one who had spoken, stood at the opposite end of the fire, facing Grid, his head tilted to one side and his arms lifted in a friendly, inquiring manner. The other stood a few feet behind the first, though his expression, unlike his companion, was not so calm. The second was quite obviously nervous about something, his eyes shifting in all different directions.
Vilven quickly noted that they wore similar clothes to Grid, inexpensive blousey shirts, soft armour, and durable, inelegant pants in different shades of brown, except for vibrant cloaks. The first man wore a deep, forest green and the second man, a bright red. The first had dark brown hair, adored with a surprisingly well groomed mustache and beard, while the second was a dirty blonde. They both were armed with long bows on their backs and swords at their sides.
Almost offended, Vilven shot up to her feet. She pulled out one of her sickles and clenched it tightly in her hand. She walked dominantly next to Grid, and narrowed her eyes at the two strangers who had entered their camp.
“What’s going on here?” Vilven asked Grid, but did not stop looking at the men.
“Nothing to fear,” Grid began, his tone slightly sarcastic. “Just a couple of friendly Rangers passing through.”
Vilven looked at them dubiously, her eyes squinting even more than before. She saw the faint twitch of impatience in the eyes of the brunette man, failing to maintain his friendly demeanor, while the blonde continued his nervous glances.
She shook her head, and took a fighting stance. “They are not to be trusted.”
“My lady, by the Gods, I swear we mean you no harm.” The brunette started as he took a few steps around the fire, toward her.
“Liar.” Vilven spoke harshly, instinctively lifted her hand in front of her, shielding herself from the man that approached. Before she knew what was happening she felt the magic spring from her, and a watery, blue orb blasted from her palm striking the man in his chest, knocking him to the ground. She gasped and her eyes widened in surprise.
The blonde man looked completely stunned as well, his eyes stared with shock at his prone companion, as he fumbled to unsheathe his sword. When he was finally able to wield the weapon correctly, Grid was already upon him. Grid leaped over the fire, with cat-like agility, and tackled him, pinning him to the ground.
The brunette man, however, jumped to his feet quickly. And with a sneer toward Vilven, he grabbed his sword and pointed it in her direction. “You’re mine.” He spat angrily.
But before he was able to make a move toward her, a frying pan smacked him squarely over the head. He stood there for a moment, but then his eyes rolled back and he fell unconscious to the floor.
Behind him stood the princess, her cheeks pink and her chest heaving quickly with adrenaline and fear, holding the pan over her head with both hands.
Vilven chuckled slightly, warmly looking at the princess. “Thank you, Wiendle.”
Then she turned toward Grid who was still on top of the blonde man.
“Let’s tie them up?” She suggested.
About ten minutes later, Vilven and Grid had taken all their weapons, their bows, swords, and daggers, and had them piled on the opposite side of the camp. The blonde man responded to their requests while the brunette was still passed out, so they just maneuvered and dragged him around. Vilven and Grid had the two men sitting on the ground. Grid, kneeling next to them, was tying them back to back. The rope was taunt, but not overly tight. And just as Grid finished tying the last knot, the brunette man came to consciousness.
“Ow.” He said with a whine, responding to his aching head.
“Quit your moaning, you’re lucky to be alive.” Grid asserted as he rose to his feet.
While her Tigron friend was finishing with them, Vilven was on the other side of the camp, crouched near the weapons they had taken, inspecting them. “Do you think we can sell these?” She called out to Grid.
“In a heartbeat.” Grid responded.
“You’re gonna leave us in the middle of the forest without weapons?” The brunette said, exacerbated.
Vilven looked at the brunette man, then thought back to the terrible encounter they had with the Goblins. She looked thoughtfully down at the daggers they had taken. She picked them up and walked toward the tied rangers, dropping the blades about ten feet away from them.
“These should suffice.” Vilven said to them, sincerely.
“I’ve tied the ropes loose enough, you’ll be out in about an hour.” Grid told them. “Next time you enter our camp, we won’t be so nice.”
“This is all your fault, Beaden” The blonde man said to his companion.
“You gave them my name, you idiot” Beaden responded back.
“Please excuse Beaden. I’m Cho. Thank you for not killing us.” Cho said to them, with a friendly smile. Vilven smiled flirtatiously in return, noting how handsome this Cho was for the first time.
Just then, Grid’s eyes glanced sharply down at the two men, now revealed to be Beaden and Cho, noting small pouches at their sides.
“Well, well, what do we have here” Grid said, crouching down, cutting the bags loose with his knife, then tossing them to Vilven.
Vilven successfully caught them, then smiled mischievously.
“No, not the gold!” Beaden cried out at them. “I didn’t take you for common thieves.”
“Beaden, will you please stop insulting our captures.” Cho pleaded with him.
Vilven managed to open one of the pouches, it was, indeed, filled with beautiful, immaculate gold. It nearly overflowed with it. Vilven’s eye’s shined with excitement.
“This is a lot of money.” Vilven said dreamily, almost to herself.
“Vilven! Grid! Look!” They all turned to Wiendle as she emerged from the tent, with Jaren leaning on her. All of them stared silently at the young man. He was holding his side, but the slight smile on his lips showed how far he had come from his near death.
Vilven winked, then flicked a gold to him. “About time you showed up. you’re missing all the fun.” She told him with affection.
She sighed and smiled satisfied at Grid, “Tonight has been good.”
“Yeah, it’s been great.” Beaden said dryly.