The following morning Miira was up before the others. She left camp shortly to gather some necessary herbs and prepared the seasoning for the meat. She hoped Primus Bayn would wake up before the others, but Torruhk was the first to join her. He sliced some steaks and seasoned them well.
Miira always admired Torruhk’s cooking skills. She knew how to prepare food well enough to survive, but most members of her warband would rather eat something else . Torruhk was making sure the fire had the right temperature before roasting the steaks. She just stared at him while he worked his magic.
“Tor, for the next mission, our last one before we’re a real warband, can I ask you something?” she spoke softly so as to not wake the others.
“Sure, what’s up?” He looked at her for a second before focusing on the fire again.
“I don’t have a good feeling about this. Bayn is hiding something. I saw it in his eyes. This mission is going to be more dangerous than he’s said and I want you to be ready.” Miira said.
“Mi, I’m always ready. But I’ll sharpen my sword before the battle, just to be sure.” Torruhk replied with a grin.
Miira’s eyes pierced Torruhk’s as she said, “that’s not what I’m talking about. I want you to listen to my orders. I want you to stay with me instead of jumping in head first. I need you to back off when I tell you to and run when we need to.”
That look was all Torruhk needed to understand what she meant. Their lives meant more than this mission. Even if they failed to complete the objective, only Primus Bayn would be punished. All they needed to do was enough to prove themselves worthy for the naming ceremony.
Miira was the strategist of the group. She was well known for her insight in battles and patterns. Ignoring a call from her often meant defeat as had become obvious during earlier missions and training. Malkov was a good scout. He often climbed into trees or on top of buildings to gain a better view of the situation. His information ensured that Miira could create suitable strategies and adapt to the situation . Korina, despite fearing death, always knew which fighting style was most effective for the enemies they were fighting. Torruhk and Sennen usually formed the front line together with Miira. Sennen would work his fire magic on the terrain to block off paths or ‘herd’ foes while giving Miira and Torruhk extra elemental damage.
They were a good team. They had proven so before whenever they’d followed Miira’s plans. Improvisation was highly discouraged, especially from Torruhk and Sennen. Any call they made only resulted in more trouble.
Torruhk knew he was often too reckless and nodded. The look in her eyes frightened him slightly. It didn’t show her usual confidence. It wasn’t like her. This thing with Bayn was bothering her more than she’d let on. He felt a strong urge to give her a hug, just for comfort, but it didn’t seem right. Although they were close, a hug seemed too intimate. He expected a rejection if he initiated one, because he knew he liked her more than she liked him.
Miira was relieved that Torruhk had understood the need for caution. Now she needed to figure out how she could talk to Primus Bayn without having any of the others around. Korina woke up next and went about to do her duties. Malkov immediately started packing up camp after he woke up, all while Miira and Torruhk prepared breakfast. Sennen woke up last. He didn’t have any morning duties. They stopped assigning him any after he’d torched their entire camp. It had taken them more than a month to earn enough silver to replace their equipment.
After breakfast they waited for Primus Bayn to lead them to their new camp. Miira hadn’t been to Agnos Gorge yet, but she’d heard about it. Earth elementals haunted the place and one of the last big crystal remnants of the Searing was there.
Primus Bayn had led them to the Spirit Hunter camp. “This will be our base camp for the next week. We’ll help the Bane warband with their duties. They just relocated to this place. Of course, you will be responsible for most of the cooking and cleaning for as long as we’re here. Torruhk, we’re counting on you for some delicious boar meat.”
“Boars? Awesome! They’re fast, so it will be challenge to catch them, but you can count on me.” Torruhk’s eyes lit up. He grabbed his sword and ran to the edge of camp.
“Not so fast, cub. We’ve got a camp to set up first.” Primus Bayn threw a rolled up tent towards Torruhk. Malkov snickered behind his paw. Primus Bayn threw him the other tent, wiping the smile from his face.
The members of the Bane Warband looked on from a distance as the cubs set up their own tents. Varian Ironbane was impressed with their swiftness as the cubs set up their tents. “They’re going to need this skill if they’re staying here. Should we tell them?” he whispered to Maris Spiritbane. Varian shivered at the thought of the ghostly visitors.
“Nah, they’ll find out soon enough. And then we’ll have a laugh.” Maris replied with a wink. “It’s bad enough we have to stay here. These cubs will lighten up the mood while they’re here.”
“As long as they’re not giant pussies like Varian, they’ll be fine.” Loculus laughed. Varian glared at him and let out a low growl.
“Save your growling for someone who is actually impressed by it.” Loculus retorted smugly as he leaned against the rock wall.
Torruhk had somehow found the biggest boar in the entire forest and presented it well-seasoned to his warband and their hosts. Loculus started telling a tale of old Ascalon, teaching the cubs a little about the history of the place.
“Have you seen any Ascalonian ghosts yet?” Loculus asked the cubs. Korina and Malkov shook their head. “You’ll see them soon enough. But you needn’t be frightened. You can kill them. If you’re brave enough. ” He paused and then started laughing. “Unless you’re like Varian, haha. You’ll find out why this place is called the Spirit Hunter camp.”
Varian winced. He had expected a comment sooner or later. He disliked Loculus’ teasing. His comments were sharp like daggers, but he did help out whenever the ghosts outnumbered Varian.
The young charrs were huddled up together talking about ghosts when the fifth member of the Bane Warband returned. Latres Bladebane had been to the Black Citadel to stock up on merchandise. She sold weapons to anyone who passed through Spirit Hunter camp. It was vital to keep a large supply because ghosts sometimes stole the weapons if they got the chance. “Heya, I’m Latres Bladebane, the first member of the Bane warband. I hope my friends treated you well. I know they like to tease, but they’re good guys, really. They’re just not very used to other charr. Their manners aren’t very inviting.” She winked.
Maybe you’ve already heard about it. ArenaNet hosted a contest for new community apps using its Guild Wars 2 API. GW2efficiency is such a creation by David Reeß (queicherius.2563).
It’s possible to share a list of all your characters, their builds and inventory with your friends. Check out my awesome heroes of Tyria. You’ll see that my characters’ inventories are a mess. I’m not good at organizing things, especially when I get a lot of loot that this character can’t use, but another can. I’m lazy with sorting items out. This will make it easier for me to clean up my whole account.
Read on for more about GW2efficiency and a small update on my to-do list
“Torruhk, wait for me. You shouldn’t do that.” The white cub chased her red-furred friend. He was using his sword and axe on an unsuspecting drake.
“Pah, he’s no match for me. I’ve killed a dozen before. Their meat is delicious if prepared well.” He said without stopping his attack.
Miira joined him and used her staff to make sure the drake would be dead before it could hurt her friend. The drake was already lashing out at Torruhk with its tail and tried to spray her with acid.
She noticed scratches on her friend’s side. She focused her energy into healing him and stopping the bleeding.
“Thanks, but I didn’t really need it.” Torruhk said.
“Idiot, you don’t even see what’s going on around you. That’s why our missions fail. You don’t listen and strategy isn’t even in your vocabulary.”Miira said as she punched his shoulder.
“That’s why I have you,” he stepped back from the drake and winked at her. “He jumped on the drake and stabbed his sword through its head.” Tonight we’re having drake barbeque. Let’s get this meat to the camp.”
“You should take care of your weapons. The blade of your sword isn’t sharp anymore. You could’ve killed it faster.” Miira said as she picked up the drake’s tail.
Torruhk picked up its head and threw it over his back so that he carried most of the body on his back and the front legs hung down over his shoulder. He would’ve started running back to camp if it hadn’t been for Miira tugging his tail to slow down. It’s something they had agreed on years ago. Torruhk was always in front of Miira. If she wanted something she would tug his tail, gently. He now knew what Miira wanted most of the time when she tugged. They were almost in sync.
Even within their warband, they were closer together than the others. Miira always felt it necessary to help out when someone was in trouble. Torruhk was said to have a gift for finding trouble. The other three minded their own business. They took care of themselves first, before looking at others. Miira didn’t think they were bad charr because of that. It was part of their culture to be able to save yourself first. Charr were eager, but should know their limits. Pride and arrogance can cost more than one life in war.
That’s what Miira told Torruhk daily, but he didn’t listen. One day he said, ‘If you’re so afraid of me dying, then you stop that threat.’ Miira did her best not to lose sight of him when they were outside of town. She often failed, but then the sounds of screaming, often of an enemy, would guide her to her friend.
They arrived at camp with the drake corpse. The others cheered at the sight, ready to prepare a feast.
“Torruhk, you’re the best!” said Malkov. “Other fahrars are jealous of our dinners. I know, I saw them looking.” His dark brown fur with ginger spots gave him enough camouflage as a ranger to successfully snipe enemies, but he never volunteered to kill an animal for dinner. The young charr took out his dagger to start skinning the drake. He saved some of the drake scales for decorating his armor later.
Sennen worked his expertise at the fire to roast the drake meat. “Sennen, stop it. You’re going to burn the whole camp down!” screamed Korina. She immediately started throwing sand towards the fire that was trying to expand to their tents.
Sennen looked up and shrugged. “What? I can’t help it fire likes me. When I call her, she grows to the size of her love for me. And don’t you love me more than the world?” he said casually.
“Freak.” Whispered Korina. “So stop calling her. And fire isn’t your lady, so stop treating it like your mate. You’re going to make the Searing look like something minor when you set all of Ascalon on fire.”
She was fed up with him. During their training, he’d set the training dummies ablaze and a few hours later, he’d sent up fireballs into the air. Korina wasn’t afraid of the fire itself, but of what it could do. Even as a necromancer, she didn’t like death. The permanence was terrifying. That’s why she wanted to mend whatever death could do. Animating the dead and restoring life made her fear death less. This mastery also gave her the opportunity to make death come quicker to the ones that deserved it.
“Primus Bayn!” Torruhk greeted their educator with a grin.
“Torruhk, I see you outdid yourself again. I must say, in all my years of training cubs, I’ve never eaten as well as when I started to train you cubs. I’m proud of you.” Bayn Razorclaw sat down next to the fire and started roasting a piece of drake leg.
Dinner passed without anything or anyone set on fire. There was still enough of the drake left for a good breakfast. Korina volunteered to look for moa eggs to go with drake bacon and Miira would gather herbs for seasoning. The others would pack up camp so they would be ready to leave. The primus would take them further into Ascalon for more challenging enemies.
“I think you’re almost ready for the final mission. The one that will earn the warband its name. I can’t tell you anything about the mission itself yet, but it’s going to be an exciting one. It’s the best one I’ve planned in years. But first I want to give you all some time to prepare. That’s why we’re heading to Agnos Gorge. You might even see your first ascalonian ghost.” Bayn grinned with excitement.
He had high hopes for these cubs. They were the best group he had seen in years. They displayed impeccable teamwork and strong individual skills. The only downside was their personalities. All five of them had strong personalities that often clashed. If they didn’t overcome that problem, their pride, they would fail the mission. Another year as an unnamed warband would be just as bad as being gladium.
They could earn their name and the honour of best warband of their year. This mission could make or break them. He needed them to finish this. To show everyone he wasn’t too old. As long as he could be a primus, he wouldn’t be a scrapper. He’d received a warning to control these cubs before they hurt someone. They thought he was inadequate, too old. His last group didn’t do well. They said it was his last chance. If these kids succeeded, he might still be given the honour to die in battle.
Bayn did his best to hide his insecurities, but Miira picked up on them. She saw concern in his eyes, but didn’t know why. Miira didn’t ask about it. It wouldn’t be wise with everyone around. She would ask him when they were alone. One mistake in the final mission could mean the end of her warband and she wanted to protect all of them. She had to know what was on Bayn’s mind.
Miira walked through the asura gate into the Black Citadel. She’d been visiting more frequently lately and the gate operator nodded to her in recognition. Most people had heard of her vanquishing Zhaitan and of her friendship with Destiny’s Edge. The charr in the Black Citadel needed hope in order to face new and unfamiliar threats. She felt that she had to live up to her name, Lightbringer. Most charr were happy to see her walking about in the city. It meant things weren’t as dire now.
Throughout her adventures she’d made new friends and she visited most of them when she was in town. But she always went to Torruhk first. She was excited to see him today. Things were still dire and they didn’t have a plan yet to fight Scarlet’s army, but today felt like a good day. She was only a day away from the battlefield and she was confident that the lines would hold out until she’d get back. Later that afternoon she’d have people to see and errands to run, but breakfast came first. She’d left Lion’s Arch early because she craved blueberry pancakes. In the field they’d usually eat whatever they could catch. To eat something sweet was a luxury.
The white furred charr entered the inn. The usual patrons waved, shouted and even whistled. Torruhk turned around behind the bar and grinned.
“Well, Ma’am. What can I do for you?” He said as she sat down.
“Blueberry pancakes. And a hot cocoa. I need something sweet.” She said.
“Gotcha.” He walked into the pantry to get all the ingredients and started cooking. His limp looked worse today.
Miira made some small talk and shared the latest news from Lion’s Arch with the patrons. These charr hadn’t left the capital for ages, but were curious about the modern world. When Scarlet first started causing trouble, they’d ask Miira to tell stories of her battles.
“Breakfast is served.” Torruhk shouted. The patrons took that as their cue to leave Miira and Torruhk alone.
“So, how’ve you been?” he asked. He leaned on the counter so that he’d be on eye level with her.
“Oh, you know…” she sighed and looked down at the pancakes, slicing off a bite.
“No, I don’t. I have no idea who or what you’re facing. I worry about you. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. Can’t help it.” The look in his eyes pierced through her skull. She could feel his agitation. He was right. Scarlet’s attacks were some of the worst she’d seen. She’d lost many of her friends, because of the Molten Alliance. The fire legion had worked together with the dredge and created something horrible. They’d even come close to the Black Citadel and it had been up to Miira and her friends to stop the threat. That had been when stories had started to spread and Torruhk started to worry.
“I’m sorry. You know how the battlefield can be. I don’t like saying it, and maybe it isn’t entirely true, but it does feel like war. The Toxic Alliance, the aether pirates. Scarlet’s army is united, we’re not. Rox is here as well. We’re talking with the higher-ups later.” Miira explained.
“That I’m unscathed is mostly due to the warband working together. Of course only Rox and I see it as a warband, but we all know we share a bond.” She felt a moment of pride talking about her friends. Torruhk looked confused.
“I’ll never feel that strong a bond with humans. Nor the asura, pesky little ones. I still value what we had, our group, before it fell apart.” Torruhk said with a pang of nostalgia in his voice.
“Tor, what we had, nothing beats that. But these people are my friends and I know that they have my back. I know they would do anything for me and I for them. I can trust them. That’s what a warband is. A family away from home.” Miira’s voice softened as she spoke. She took a sip of the hot cocoa and felt the warmth spread through her body. A smile appeared on her face.
Torruhk looked at her while she enjoyed his cooking. The frown disappeared from his face. “I can’t help but soften up when you smile like that. I’m glad that smile hasn’t disappeared.” He said with a grin.
“I know you’re worried and I’d give anything to have you on the battlefield with me. But it’s not a good idea. Your training was years ago and your injury makes you a liability. I don’t want to risk it. Especially because it’s you.” Miira explained.
“I could defend.”
“No, you couldn’t. You want to be at the front line, preferably in enemy camp. If I take you, even as a defender, you’ll be out there. That’s just who you are.”
“I hate it that you know me so well, Mi. I also feel flattered. You’re the most confusing woman I’ve met. Besides my mom. ”
“You’ve seen her lately?”
“Nah, she used to come for pancakes once a month. But she turned in a bitter old cat. Says I’m not worthy, that my father would be ashamed to find out that I was a cook instead of having died in battle.”
Miira shook her head. “That’s sad. Please don’t let her get you down. You’re the best damn cook there is in all of Ascalon and beyond. She should be proud.”
“I have to go. They’re expecting me.” She said while she got up. She didn’t want to go. Leaving Torruhk became harder every time. But it was her duty. She couldn’t abandon Tyria. This meeting was vital for uniting the powers of the charr with the others.
“Take care, Lightbringer. I hope to see you again soon.” Torruhk’s eyes betrayed his sadness. He gave her a bag with lunch. He always made sure she had enough. That was his way of taking care of her. There was nothing more he could do.
Miira paid and left the inn. She knew Torruhk didn’t want her money, but she insisted. She had earned it and it was no good to keep all the money for herself. Especially in times like these, money needed to change hands. That’s the only way other people could make a profit.
She headed to the crafting area to find the master blacksmith. Her enemies were getting stronger and she needed better armor to defend herself with. The master blacksmith would help her out. She didn’t know which materials to use, although she had plenty of everything.
When she reached the blacksmith, she asked for the recipes and handed over the gold. It was expensive though. But it was worth it. It wasn’t perfect. Attacks could still injure her, but it would be more difficult to land a lethal blow.
A few hours later Miira finished her armor and walked over to the vault to stash her old armor. She might need it in the future. She found a bench close to the vault to eat her lunch. She opened the bag and the smell of raspberry cookies found its way to her nose. Beneath the cookies were a few cinnamon buns and wraps made with grilled moa. Her new armor would soon be too small if she ate it all. She saved the cookies for the journey back to camp. Maybe she’d share them with her friends.
Miira finished her lunch and headed for the gladium quarter. The armies needed more power on the battlefront. Maybe some of the gladium could be persuaded to fight with them and regain some of their honor. Anyone was welcome to join, as long as they weren’t a liability. Even when they couldn’t fight, they could help out strengthening the fortifications or sorting out the facilities and logistics. Charr engineering and knowledge was needed. She hoped that some of them were willing to work together with asuran scientists to fuse their technologies. That might be their only hope against their new enemies.
Scarlet’s armies had spread throughout Tyria and they needed legions in the more remote locations. Their troops couldn’t react fast enough to reach new places under threat whenever Scarlet changed strategies. Miira did see a pattern. All recent attacks were getting closer to the cities, including Lion’s Arch. She feared the worst would come sooner than they could prepare for. At least she had her new armor to back her up.
A long afternoon passed. Miira had recruited a few more soldiers and proposed that they would form a warband. Afterwards she returned to Lion’s Arch for another meeting. On her way to the lionguard headquarters, she opened her backpack and took one of the cookies. Just as she bit down on it, she felt the earth tremble…
Savyrius sat down close to the fire. While the weather in Divinity’s Reach never reached the freezing point, the day was cold. The wind came from the east and carried the cold from the Shiverpeaks into Kryta. Savyrius knew it would take another few days before the cold wind would leave Kryta.
Another gust of cold wind entered the bar as someone opened the door. Savyrius heard heavy boots walking towards the bar. The new patron was wearing a full armor set and took off the helmet. Savyrius glanced sideways and saw long dark hair falling down.
“A glass of your finest wine, please.” She said to the bartender. She put down the helmet on the bar stool next to her and did up her hair.
“One of your favorites. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen you here, Tenise. I’m glad to see you’re still in one piece and that your face is unscathed. Wouldn’t want that pretty face mutilated.” The bartender said with a laugh.
“Always the charmer, Byron. That’s why I always wear my helmet, you know that. Just to please you.” She winked and took a sip of her wine.
“How are things at home?”
“Ah, ever busy with the three little ones at home. Amanda is always asking when you’re coming back. She misses playing with you. I tell her she should find more friends her age. And boys will be boys. They’re troublemakers, but Suzanna keeps them in check. One of them still has an imprint of her hand on his bottom, haha.” The bartender’s laugh overtook the entire bar and people turned around to see what was going on.
“Sir, could I have another beer?” asked Savyrius. The bartender turned to him and said “Sure thing”. Savyrius followed the actions of the man as he poured the beer. He caught the woman looking in his direction. She raised her glass and smiled at him. Savyrius received his pint and raised it to her.
She went back to her conversation with the bartender and he stared at his beer like it was the most interesting thing in the world. He had noticed the unusual colour of her eyes. That combined with her dark hair and tanned skin, he guessed she was also from Elonian descent. He knew his ancestor was the hero of Elona. Savyrius had inherited her affinity with magic and her name Savyr Belain. She’d moved to Lion’s Arch after her adventures. The family had settled there and only moved just before the initial attack on Lion’s Arch a few decades ago.
He looked at her again. She was charismatic and showed poise even while wearing heavy armor. He realised she needed more in her life than socialising and backroom politics.
He focused on his pint again, afraid that he’d come off as a creep staring at a pretty woman.
Dinner time was approaching and a group of men left to have some family time. The bartender moved to clean up their table.
“I don’t see a lot of people from Elonian descent here.” The woman started talking to Savyrius.
“How do you know?” He looked up, surprised that she knew who he was.
“I try to stay informed even when I’m gone.” She said and winked at him.
Savyrius’ mouth fell open and he gaped at her for several seconds. The woman took another sip of her drink.
“I go where the wind takes me, but Divinity’s Reach will always be home.” He said, eventually looking at his pint again.
“I hope you don’t go where this wind is coming from. You’ll freeze to death,” she joked.
“No, it was actually the wind that brought me here, where it’s warm.” Savyrius smiled.
“I’m kidding though. I don’t know much, but I do know about you. My grandmother told me about other Elonian families that settled here. She told me there was one family that had a close connection with nature and the elements. They have more Krytan blood mixed with theirs than my family and maybe even Canthan blood. I became curious and I wanted to see who they were. I saw you when you were a kid, trying out a basic spell. I never thought I’d see you again. We meet again.” The woman turned towards him and held out her hand. “I’m Tenise Williams. I serve the people of Kryta and will do anything to protect Divinity’s Reach.”
Savyrius shook her hand and said, “My name is Savryius Belain, but you probably already knew that.” He smiled at her and saw her smile in return. He noticed how soft her hands were as she let go.
“Your hands are soft, As if you’ve never used a weapon before.” He realised he’d said something stupid and he turned away from her. “I’m sorry, it’s none of my business.” To his surprise she started laughing.
“You’re right. I keep my hands soft, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never wielded a weapon before. I don’t engage in close combat often and prefer the staff and sceptre. As a guardian I have my own set of magic spells to heal injuries. But I also know how to keep beauty around. I’m probably much older than you think I am.”
“Well, I’m twenty-six. If you saw me as a boy, and you were older, I’d say you’re in your late thirties?” he asked with caution. Asking about a woman’s age is always risky. His grandmother and mother punished him often enough to stop mentioning age around them. He bet on the safe side. Younger than he actually thought.
Tenise bursted out in laughter. “Byron, did you hear what he said? He actually thinks I’m in my late thirties. It’s a nice compliment though.” The bartender was washing glasses and turned around when he heard his name.
“Kid, she could’ve been your mother. She used to babysit me when I was a toddler.” Byron’s smile revealed a few black holes where teeth used to be. “Her healing powers affect her aging. How she does it, no one knows. It might be one of the best kept secrets in all of Kryta. I heard Queen Jennah requested regular anti-aging sessions, but Tenise said she couldn’t do it. She would’ve been even richer than she is now.”
“Hey, you don’t have to give away all of my secrets. A woman needs some air of mystery around her, otherwise she loses her power and charisma.” Tenise snapped at the bartender, but he just waved away, laughing. He turned back to the dishes and whispered something about asking for it.
Savyrius looked at her with surprise. He never expected his guess to be off by so much. Her hair was a shiny dark brown and didn’t show any sign of white or gray hairs. Her skin was wrinkle free and probably as smooth as a baby’s bottom. If she’d said she was his age, he would’ve believed her without a doubt.
“Oh please, close your mouth. It’s rude to stare at a person like that.” Tenise waved her hand at him. She asked Byron for another glass of the same wine and a light snack. She picked up one of the egg rolls from the platter Byron put on the bar and bit off the end.
Savyrius finished his glass, left coin on the bar and wanted to walk away, but Tenise ordered him to stay a little longer. He didn’t know what she wanted of him, but he also didn’t dare to go against her wishes. He felt slightly intimidated by her, even when he had no reason to feel threatened. Maybe it was the air of authority with which she talked to him. He waited on his stool until she finished her egg rolls.
Tenise took her time to finish her light dinner. She didn’t look at him at all. Byron leaned forward to Savyrius and explained that Tenise doesn’t like to be disturbed while she’s eating. It was best to wait and then ask why he had to stay.
The woman paid, grabbed her helmet to put on and gestured Savyrius to follow her. “You better work some of that fire magic of yours before you freeze to death.” she said. The moment the two walked out of the tavern an icy wind greeted them. Savyrius lit his inner flame to keep him warm. His robe wasn’t going to be enough with a Shiverpeaks wind blowing through the city.
He followed her, but she wouldn’t say where they were going. “Somewhere warm”, that’s all she said. They walked through Divinity’s Reach until they reached the Elonian quarter. That wasn’t the official name, but most of the inhabitants of this district had an Elonian ancestor. They’d grouped together when Divinity’s Reach was first built, all sharing a common ancestry.
They walked along a walled garden that had a mansion hiding behind it. Tenise stopped in front of the ironwrought fence. It was obviously made by charr hands, but with grace and elegance. The fence was decorated with flowers and small animals not found in Kryta. He guessed they were from Elona.
“We’re here.” Tenise said as she took off her helmet and opened the door. “Welcome to my house.”
They passed through the hall and turned right. There they were met by an icy glare.
“This is Keeva. He helps me out when I’m not here. He knows everything about this library. You’re welcome to come here any time and Keeva will let you in and help you, should you need his help.” Tenise said introducing a tall, dark-skinned man with a sour look on his face. Savyrius noticed that the man didn’t have any facial hair. Not even eyebrows or eyelashes. It made him look even scarier. Tenise guided Savyrius into the library and whispered “Don’t mind his looks. He looks scary when he doesn’t smile, but he’s the sweetest man in the world.”
“Are you.. Is he..?” Savyrius stammered.
“What? My lover? My husband? Haha, none of that. We have a history together, but nothing intimately. I’ll let you figure it out yourself. If you read enough of these books, you’ll know.” She winked at the young man.
Savyrius looked at the shelves they passed: all of them held thick tomes, from the floor all the way to the six foot high ceiling. He knew the Durmand Priory had a grand library, the vault of all their knowledge and research, but this had to be the biggest private library in Kryta. “Why have I never heard of this library before?” he asked his host.
“I only show this to people who I trust and who will appreciate its contents. This is the life’s work of my family and many others. I’m sure we have some contributions from your family as well. I’ll have Keeva look it up, if you’re interested.”
They reached a wooden reading table covered in notes, pens, ink bottles and books. Tenise walked around the table and picked up a book. She handed it to Savyrius. “Check page 84.”
He turned to page 84 and saw his family tree. His own name was listed at the bottom.
Last weekend was the second beta weekend for Heart of Thorns. We were able to test the specializations for more classes. They announced the thief specialization, daredevil, last week and it got me excited. A melee staff already sounded nice (I like it on revenant as well), but the skills are great. I created a second beta character, a thief, to try it out. It’s as awesome as I expect it to be. I don’t usually like melee, because in group events it’s easier to play ranged. The daredevil has an extra endurance bar so you’ll be able to dodge more often and you definitely need it. I think it’ll get easier with the right built and equipment. That requires some tinkering and I suspect that they’ll still balance some things. Definitely one to try out in PvP.
This beta event revealed a new part of Verdant Brink. It’s the first map you’ll encounter in the heart of the Maguuma. During the first beta weekend, we only had access to the middle biome, while this weekend, we got to see the canopies as well. I finally got to try out some gliding and dropping down from the highest trees.
I played some Stronghold PvP matches. It’s the new PvP mode where you have to summon mercenaries with supplies to break through the enemy’s gate and kill their lord. It’s more strategic, which I like, but playing with people who don’t know the mode can be a pain in the butt. I don’t play PvP to win though, I always play for fun. So losing is a bummer, but not the end of the world for me. I know leagues are coming, but I won’t bother to rank. I know I’m not a good player so my rank won’t be very high anyways.
“Hey Miira, wait up!” Miira turned around and saw Torruhk running towards her. Miira noticed his injury was still as bad as before.
“It’s been a while since you came by and people told me you had left already,” he said, still catching his breath.
“Yeah, I left and now I’m back. Although not for long, Crusader Towerbreaker was looking for me. You know you shouldn’t be running,” Miira said and wanted to walk away again, shaking her head.
Torruhk grabbed her paw and looked her in the eye. “Please come by later. Let me cook for you and you can tell me what happened since I last saw you, for old time’s sake? I know our last meeting didn’t end well, but let’s forget that for now and meet as friends. Don’t make me run after you again.” Torruhk pleaded.
Miira thought back to this last meeting, before she left for Lion’s Arch. Torruhk had asked the impossible of her. How could she stay while Tyria needed her? She wasn’t even sure of her feelings for him. She’d always thought of him as a brother in her warband. Now he wasn’t even in her legion or warband. It would’ve ended badly. The look in his eyes betrayed his feelings. He still loved her. His loyalty was one of the things she liked about him.
“Fine, I’ll come by later, but I really have to go back to Lion’s Arch. And if what I fear is true, I’ll be even further from home by next week. I could do with a friendly evening.” She sighed and gave Torruhk a faint smile.
“I’ll make your favorite dinner. And know that you’ll always have a home to return to. I’ll be waiting.” A grin appeared on Torruhk’s face and he winked. He made a small leap of joy when he ran back to the inn’s kitchen.
Miira smiled and shook her head. He was still easily pleased, his words still lingered in her head.
“… You’ll always have a home to return to. I’ll be waiting…” This gave her a warm feeling in her gut. She was grateful. After everything that happened, home was an abstract thing. She didn’t know what it was. Torruhk reminded her that the Black Citadel was her home, the place where people knew her and some even loved her. After everything was over, she would return here.
“Miira, you’re finally here. I almost thought you left without saying goodbye.” Torruhk waved at her and urged her to sit at the bar. He grabbed a bowl and filled it with fried moa steak. “Nowhere crunchier, not even in Lion’s Arch.” He winked at her as he sat the bowl down in front of her and turned to pass her a glass of ale. “And the finest ale in all of Ascalon.”
“You’re the best, Torruhk. I really missed your cooking.” Miira grabbed the moa bone and ate the juicy meat from the bone. “No one can fry these as good as you, thanks.”
“You’re very welcome. I’m guessing it was a tough meeting with Towerbreaker? Since you only just got here.” Torruhk sat down at the other side of the bar, opposite of Miira, waving to a few patrons leaving.
“Rytlock was there too, but I’m not supposed to talk about it.” Miira’s voice lost its volume.
“Destiny’s Edge is involved? Then I can guess.” Torruhk frowned.
”I don’t have a good feeling about this mission, but I have no choice. If I don’t go, who will? I don’t know anyone who I would entrust with this mission.” Miira looked down at her ale.
“Ouch, that hurt.” Torruhk cringed, but he knew she didn’t mean it like that. Her eyes showed concern. She was always the one who looked at things rationally. If she said the mission was a dangerous one, it was. He felt regret that he couldn’t be with her during the mission.
“Nothing personal, but you’ve been away from the battlefield too long. Your injury won’t help you either. And you always made the wrong decisions when we were talking strategies.” Miira was surprised by his response. She didn’t mean to hurt her friend. When she looked up and saw a smile appearing on his face, she knew he was just messing around with her.
“Strategies, pah! I’d rather just bash someone’s skull in. Too bad you can’t do that with the ghosts around here.”
“Don’t tell me that’s the reason you became a cook.”
“Of course. Now I can chop all kinds of things, without getting weird looks. Plus I always get the flavour just right. The flavouring is my talent, the chopping bit is extra.” He grinned, revealing his sharp fangs.
“Why not go to Lion’s Arch? You’ll make more money there.”
“What’s this? Are you asking me to come with you? Haha, I couldn’t. The best moa meat is homegrown and I doubt those pesky humans can appreciate my dishes. They are made for charr tongues. If they want to try my food, they come here. What’s the use of the damn asura gate if you don’t use it?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.” Miira looked down at her ale.
“Come on, Mi. No sad faces, not tonight. You know my place is here. This is my home and I really hope my cubs will call this their home too.” He put his paw on hers. “I hope you will call this home again someday.”
Miira looked up. “Thanks. I… I probably will.”
They stayed like that for a few moments without saying anything.
“I should probably go. They’re expecting me back.”Miira said, barely audibly.
“You know you don’t have to go, right? Even if your bed isn’t in the Black Citadel anymore that doesn’t mean there is no bed at all.”
“What are you suggesting? I thought it was a friendly dinner.” Miira pulled her paw back and narrowed her eyes.
“No, wait. What I meant was that you could use one of the rooms upstairs. I always try to keep one free, just in case. No one wants to rent it anyways because it’s quite expensive. But you can stay there for free. I know what you did for all of us and it feels wrong to charge a hero.” He put a key on the bar and took away the empty bowl and glass. He turned around to wash them when Miira picked up the key and looked at it.
“Will you make me breakfast tomorrow?”
“Of course, Mi. Who else makes the most delicious pancakes in all of Tyria?” he said.
“I’ll see you tomorrow then. Goodnight.”
“Rest well, Miira Lightbringer. Bring the light back to these dark parts. If you hear anything, I’m never far away.” Torruhk kept his back to her, to conceal the tears in his eyes. He loved her and he knew he would have to let her go again. For him it was already a small victory that she stayed another night.
After a short night, Miira walked down to the dining area. Torruhk was already preparing breakfast. She walked over to the bar and sat down on the same stool as the evening before. “Good morning” she said.
He turned around with a smile and a frying pan filled with scrambled eggs. “Hi. Did you sleep well? The other tenants weren’t too noisy? As promised. Your breakfast, miss.”
“You promised me pancakes. Now I’m having eggs? Not that I’m complaining, becauseeverything you make is delicious.” Miira looked up from her plate to her friend.
“Who says I’m done?” He grinned and stepped aside. Behind him on the prep table were pancakes, cookies and sandwiches.
“I may be charr, but I can’t eat that much.”
“That’s also your lunch. I know you have things to do, people to see. It’ll save you some time if you don’t have to stop for lunch. Eat all you want and I’ll wrap up the rest.”
“Thanks.” She said and finished the eggs and the pancakes.
Torruhk told stories of their old friends, the cubs playing pranks on him and the tavern brawls over women. He always had a knack for telling stories, using his whole body to illustrate what happened.
“Thanks for everything, Tor. I’ll be back soon for some more pancakes.” She got up and turned around to go to her room and pack her stuff.
“You’d better. And bring me some war stories. Things get a little dull around here. And remember, there’s always a bed for you here.” Torruhk said while Miira walked away. She put up a paw to show she heard him, just as she used to do when they were kids and he shouted things at her.
When she came back downstairs, her lunch was packed and the dishes were clean. Torruhk looked at her, slightly troubled. “Can you do something for me, Mi? If you find ghost peppers, bring me back some. Varian is trying to rip me off, by creating scarcity. I know it has nothing to do with scarcity, but with a lack of balls.”
“Sure. I’ll keep my eye out.” She knew ghost peppers only grew in dangerous places. She’d seen them in Orr once. She was on her way there anyway, so bringing back some ghost peppers was the least she could do.
“You’re the best, Mi.” Torruhk winked at her.
“I’ll be off then. See you soon, Tor.” Miira picked up her lunch and her bags.
Torruhk nodded to her, but didn’t say anything. He knew she would be back soon. She had too. When ghost peppers are harvested, they have to be processed soon. If he was lucky, he’d see her again within a fortnight. Miira walked towards the door and turned around one last time. He saw her smile, the one he fell in love with years ago, just before she disappeared from view.