The escort – chapter 1/4

“Listen here” said the sheriff with a stern look, “you will be part of the group to escort a girl to a specified location, in order to pay your debt for saving your life. I don’t care what you do in the meantime; just make sure that the girl and the rest of the group get there safely. Don’t expect it to be easy.” Odorf was listening with eyes wide open and trying to let everything sink in. ‘Maybe for now I should just tag along, they did save my life.’ He knew that it would be bad to contradict or to say no to the sheriff; instead he thought it would be better to play along. ‘Who knows, maybe I will enjoy it.’ All the while the sheriff was explaining what the halfling should do, Odorf was nodding, but in reality he was trying to figure out the hidden motive that the sheriff was clearly withholding. “Oh and by the way, what is your name little one?” asked the sheriff almost forgetting. “My name is Odorf Tealeaf” said the little halfling proudly. “All you need to know about me is that I am the sheriff, for your own good.” said the sheriff in a deep threatening voice. No matter how hard Odorf tried, he could not sense the motive and what was the sheriff’s real intention, however, his gut was telling him that it is big and nasty. After telling Odorf where they will be heading and what could await the rag-tag group on the road, he took him back to the inn where everyone was.

Jacques was already tipsy after the fourth round of ale. ‘This isn’t my style; I can usually last until the tenth round. I must not lose.’ On the other hand, Dylan was still going steady. He knew he was going to outlast Jacques and it made him immensely happy, at least on the inside. “One more round of drinks.” said Dylan with a grin on his face, he was enjoying this too much. ‘Darn it! I am getting old.’ Jacques was thinking while looking at the bottom of another keg. The girls sat apart from the guys, discussing how they could make the journey in the least amount of time, also, Scarlett was trying to figure out how Ziel worked. She already noticed that Ziel had an unnatural connection with the natural flow of magic, ‘Maybe she is a caster as well, or maybe she is something far more powerful.’ Scarlett’s knowledge of arcane lore was not as useful as she hoped it would be for gaining insight what Ziel truly was. “Tell me Ziel, have you ever experienced anything unusual? Have you been able to use magic?” Ziel was stunned by that question. ‘How did she know? Is she after to get me? I must first find out what she knows. Stay calm, just stay… calm.’ Ziel was trying to calm herself before doing anything rash. “I…” she started to speak, but she was cut off by Scarlet: “Do not worry. You can trust me because I am also able to use magic. I know it must be scary if you just found out your powers.” Ziel was panicking on the inside and did not know how to react to that, she tried to be polite and just nodded. “It is quite alright, if you do not wish to speak about it, you will when you are ready. Until we escort you to your destination you can confide in me. It can be our little secret.” Scarlett said in a soothing and calming voice, with a sincere smile.

Jacques collapsed from all the drinks he had and Dylan was gloating with yet another round of drinks. But he soon followed Jacques’ example and collapsed on the table as well. At that moment the sheriff and the halfling arrived at the inn. Everyone in the inn raised their glasses and all of them yelled in one voice: “Long live the sheriff!” The sheriff greeted them with a raised hand and went to meet up with the others, Odorf just followed silently.

“What happened to these two? Did they get into trouble again? I swear I will…” thundered the sheriff getting red in the face. “No sir! No, they got into one of those friendly fights. They are a tad bit drunk, that is all.” explained Scarlett, neglecting to mention that Jacques was the first one to give in; she did not want any more tension from the sheriff. “Alright, keep an eye on them. In the meantime I’m going to introduce your newest member.” he pointed to the halfling “Odorf here will help you escort Ziel. Now, this is not up for debate. He… willingly agreed to help you guys out. For now treat him as an equal. Jacques knows all the details of your upcoming journey, if you need to know anything ask him. I believe no further questions are necessary regarding this matter?” The sheriff sternly looked at Scarlett and Ziel, and even though he felt anger from Scarlett’s eyes, he grinned. Both of the women shook their heads, signaling that this matter is closed. “Good.” said the sheriff while standing up and leaving the table. “Oh, one more thing, if Ziel does not make it to her destination alive, I’ll make sure personally that you guys meet the same fate.” With that the sheriff walked out of the inn leaving a strange sensation of gloom and discomfort lingering in the air.

“Odorf, was it? I am Scarlett, this is Ziel, the one over there is Dylan and the one snoring is Jacques. As you may have heard we will have to escort Ziel, to… well as soon as Jacques comes by, he will tell us all of it I am sure. Now, why do you think you are good for this group?” While Scarlett was explaining and pointing to the others, Odorf  made a hand gesture that he is ordering an ale, as soon as Scarlett finished talking the innkeeper arrived with Odorf’s ale. “Thank you kind sir.” said Odorf, with a big smile. “Oh, but I think there’s something in my mug, is… is that a spider?” The innkeeper’s face quickly turned to a horrific expression; he took the mug and examined it. “My bad,” said the halfling “it seems I just imagined it.” The innkeeper was visibly relieved, he excused himself and went about his business. “To answer your question, my dear,” he pulled out a small pouch of gold “I believe this is the innkeeper’s, is it not?” Scarlett was shocked and in awe, but she quickly regained her composure. ‘When did he do it? I did not see anything.’ Ziel was also in awe: “Do you also use magic Odorf?” the halfling started laughing like a mad man, then when he calmed down a bit answered: “No, no, no, I don’t use such simple”, “Choose your next words carefully.” Scarlett cut him off. “Such simple… ahem, I don’t use magic. It’s something I had to learn while fending for myself on the street.” He looked at Scarlett nervously, she nodded with a satisfied look on her face. “Poor man.” added Ziel.

“Good, now be so kind to give the money back to the innkeeper.” Scarlett said with a hint of anger in her voice. “I don’t…” Scarlett looked Odorf dead in the eye and said nothing. Odorf was good at reading what people think, but this was clear as day that she was not to be messed around with. “… want to keep him waiting.” said Odorf nervously while getting up from the table and heading towards the innkeeper. ‘I should keep an eye on her.’

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Deky

An English teacher with too much time and creativity on his hand. Help me help you open your imagination.

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