As you can see, this is a little story snippet from my Untitled Fantasy Project. I’m still exploring the world and discovering the mythos on the spot. It will be an interesting world to explore either in writing or if I ever run an RPG campaign in it.
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Lao crawled out of the weather-beaten tent slowly on his hands and knees, he had never mastered the low crouch that was a slightly more dignified way to exit. The sunlight hit his eyes like the savage thing that it was and he cringed and blinked and covered his eyes for a moment. The moment stretched on until he heard Allendra clearing her throat and he drew his hands away from his face slowly. There she was, sitting by the fire and giving him that same disapproving look she gave him every morning. Thankfully she was still blurry so it had less impact which was always nice.
“I told you not to stay awake so long reading.” She said as she thrust a bowl of something tan and sludge-like into his hands.
He grunted and nodded and mumbled something about being sorry before starting to eat. Everything started to come into focus as he got some warmth and food into his belly. The first thing he noticed was Allendra’s golden hair blowing in the breeze and the second thing he noticed was that she had already put her armor on. He knew that somewhere behind her back, her sword floated invisible and ready for action.
They were in the hills of northwest Altiria not far from Glassare Lake. He could barely see the starting point of their journey, the Grand Spire of Cammarata, far in the distance. The Lake of the Ancient Frost was definitely another marker. In the lore, they said that the lake was left over from a massive magical ice storm a long time ago. It was still a point of pilgrimage for people who took the spirit of ice into their souls. If they were going to find a clue there, they would picking over ground covered by thousands of young people from year to year.
“It’s about time you got up. Where are we going? Which way is the map telling you?” Allendra asked impatiently. She would not sit down but Lao had rarely seen her rest so he was not surprised.
“It’s not that simple. The map is written in three languages and one of them is almost dead. The map referes to markers we’ve seen along the way. You know, like the mark of the Fallen Soldier.” Lao explained. He could tell by Allendra’s frown that it was not satisfactory.
“Yeah. I remember all of the symbols. I am not just here to swing a sword.”
“And my sisters are Swords of the Throne and they taught me everything they know.” Lao said with a smirk, shovelling more of the gruel into his mouth.
“I never say that. Who have you been talking to.” She was giving him a vaguely threatening but curious look. It was important to be careful here.
He took the last bite of the gruel and started to scrape the bowl out as he chewed. This was definitely not a stalling tactic. Stalling could be dangerous against a woman like Allendra. Sure she was charged by the crown with protectcing him but it was always better to err on the side of caution. So this was definitely not a stalling tactic. This was a moment to diffuse the tension and besides he belly was still grumbling.
“I studied up on you. That’s what I do. I study. Information on you is freely available especially in a place like Cammarata where rumors are more abundant than water.” He answered, depositing the mostly clean bowl and spoon into her pack. She insisted on carrying the heavier pack which was just fine by him. He was a city boy used to his lonely little library study and all of this walking was hard enough on him.
“Well, I guess that makes sense. Zoe and Mabella are really famous and people are bound to run their mouths. You’re not one of those people, right Lao?” She gave him another pointed look and he could see the rising sun glint off of her armor. Lao had been swallowing down half a jug of water and it was hard not to choke on it when she looked at him like that.
“Of course not. I just make it my job to learn everything I can. How else am I going to quantify our strengths and weaknesses out here?”
Allendra harrumphed. “You’re the weakness out here. The sun’s already up and you’re barely mobile.” She started to break down the tent as they talked.
“That’s only because I spent most of the night studying that map and the fourth and fifth symbols. What’s your hurry? I know I wish I was back in my comfortable bed but this is an epic quest, right? We may be the first people ever to walk this path.”
“So far it’s been pretty tame, Lao. So far it’s been a lot of walking. I have trained my soul to fight evil and injustice and so far we have just been walking here and there through the countryside.” She rolled up the tent and tied it to her pack.
“If this artifact is as important as I think it is, then other people might be coming after us. If they get the map, they could tip the balance of the peace.”
“All the better for us to get going then. If we’re going to save the world then we had better get there first. Right?” Allendra said as she shouldered her pack.
“You’re right. We’re heading to the Lake of the Ancient Frost. We’re going to find something that nobody has ever seen before.”
Allendra smiled and started walking toward the lake. “I like that confidence.”