Friends or Lovers? Part 6
The companions travelled for two days before they reached the coast and being on the move again lightened their spirits a little. Viconia seemed happier being outside under the open sky and was much less irritable than usual. Edwin also felt better than he had for days. His thoughts still troubled him frequently, especially at night when he struggled to sleep, and he couldn’t deny that his feelings hadn’t disappeared like he wanted them too, but whenever he felt his mind wandering, he focused his energy on thinking about other things. Thay, his teacher and his parents, the spells he had to memorise, the tasks the following day might bring. During the day he tried to keep a distance between himself and his companions, both physically and emotionally, talking to them only when one of them addressed him first, keeping his head in his spell book whenever they stopped to rest. Anything to avoid allowing his thoughts to dwell on his companions, particularly one of them…
On their third day of travelling, the small adventuring party met a young and attractive human female, standing alone on one of the cliff tops overlooking the sea. As they approached, she heard them coming, turned and smiled, her eyes lingering on Kane for just a second too long. When they questioned her, she answered them willingly and openly. Her name was Safana, she told them, and she had travelled to the area to look for some hidden treasure, supposedly located in a cave somewhere along the coast.
“We be looking for treasure too!” Kagain told her, before Kane could speak. “Maybe ye should join with us and we be finding it together, eh?”
“I would like that,” Safana smiled at Kane, barely even acknowledging the presence of the others. “Though I would not wish to impose on your group. But these parts are so dangerous for a woman on her own and you look to be a…” she paused and licked her lips. “A very strong warrior.”
“We are a very capable group,” The warrior smiled at her and Viconia muttered something rude in drow under her breath. “You are more than welcome to join us if you desire. I can assure you that you will not be imposing.”
“I be willing to bet that she desires more than that.” Kagain said under his breath and chuckled. Edwin scowled, though he was careful not to let anyone see, and Viconia’s glare darkened even more.
Edwin could see that Viconia really wasn’t happy with this new arrangement, it was obvious both from the way she was glaring at Safana and the protective hand she placed on Kane’s arm, a warning to the younger woman to back off, and although he cared nothing for the drow, he could understand why.
It was clear from the start that Safana had taken an instant liking to Kane and she proceeded to flirt with him constantly from then on, taking little or no notice of the other party members. And from the way Kane was encouraging her, Edwin knew that his leader planned to take her to his bed at least once. Apart from her initial protesting, Viconia stayed silent, shooting the newcomer fierce glares every so often. And Edwin glared at her too, although not when anyone was looking. The stupid female deserved it, intruding in their group just because she had taken a liking to their leader. Did she have no shame?
It only bothers you because it is him she is interested in though. It wouldn’t bother you if she wanted to bed Kagain.
The wizard gritted his teeth and turned his eyes away from them all. I don’t like the woman, he admitted to himself. But it isn’t anything personal. I just don’t like her, her attitude and the way she behaves…
That night, when Kagain and Viconia were sleeping deeply and Edwin was just starting to drift off, he heard Safana giggling quietly, as she and Kane rose from their beds and slipped off into the darkness. Edwin knew exactly what they were going to do and his hatred of the young woman only grew stronger. But he rolled over and attempted to push all thoughts of them away, determined to keep the promise he had made to himself not to dwell too much on his thoughts. In any case, he knew that Viconia had a strong jealous streak and would make sure that Safana didn’t stay around for long.
The following morning, the party began the search for the treasure cave and ended up running into a large band of ogres, half-ogres and ogrillons. Before they could get organised, Edwin managed to hit them with a fireball spell, Kagain joined in by throwing a fire potion, which exploded around the monsters and Safana and Kane got in a few good hits with their deadly arrows. Some had already fallen and the rest were left burnt and wounded by the time Kane, Kagain and Viconia went in with their swords, axes and maces. Knowing that he had an ice wand in his robes, which would slow the monsters down considerably, Edwin reached in to find it and gave a faint cry as something sharp scratched the palm of his hand.
Pulling his hand back, he discovered that that there was a rather long and very sharp piece of glass, obviously left over from the potion bottle that had broken in his pocket a few days before, stuck in it. Wincing slightly with pain, he managed to pull it out and saw that it had left a fairly deep cut right across his hand. It was bleeding a bit and it hurt a little, but in some ways the pain felt strangely comforting. Remembering suddenly that his companions were still busy fighting the monsters, Edwin bit back the pain and began casting magic missiles. It didn’t take much longer for the beasts to fall, leaving the adventurers with nothing more serious than a few scratches and bruises.
“That wasn’t a bad battle.” Kane slipped his swords back into their scabbards and rubbed his shoulder. He had been hit there by a rather large club, hard enough to leave it feeling rather sore. “A bit of a challenge maybe, but we all need a challenge now and again.”
“Aye lad.” Kagain grinned, a bloodthirsty glint in his eyes. “A good battle is just what one needs to be startin’ the day.”
“The way you handled that was very impressive,” Safana purred, placing her hand on Kane’s arm. “You certainly do have many talents.”
“No one asked you!” Viconia scowled at her and the young woman pretended not to notice. “Are we going to continue the search for this treasure while it is still light?” she snapped at their leader. “Or are we just going to stand around here all day?”
“We’re going.” Kane calmly replied, taking no notice of her outburst. “Come on, all of you.” As the party began to walk down the cliff, he glanced over at Edwin and noticed that the wizard’s hand was covered in blood.
“Edwin…” he stopped and the wizard did the same. “Your hand…it’s bleeding.”
“It’s…” Edwin glanced down at his hand, almost surprised to see that it was still bleeding. “It is barely more than a scratch.”
“Are you sure?” A note of concern crept into Kane’s voice and he reached for his companion’s hand. “It looks pretty nasty to me. Let me take a look.”
“No!” Edwin said loudly and sharply, stepping back out of his leader’s reach. I can’t have him touching me, not right now, not when I feel like this. “No,” he repeated, a little quieter. “It looks far worse than it actually is.”
“Fine.” Kane backed away, rather confused but unwilling to push the issue any further, at least not just then. “If you say so. Just keep an eye on it and make sure you keep it clean. You don’t want it to get infected or anything.”
Without another word, he turned away and hurried down to where the others had been watching the exchange. Viconia was still scowling, Kagain seemed faintly puzzled and Safana just appeared interested in watching Kane. Edwin hesitated briefly, and then followed him. His companions did not speak to him when he caught up with them and he wondered if he had upset Kane. It had not been his intention, but he had been frightened of what his reaction might have been to his leader’s touch. He wished that he hadn’t been so harsh, but he also knew that he had to do whatever it took to stop anyone else from realising his true feelings.
After an hour or so of wandering up and down the shore, fighting hobgoblins and carrion crawlers and another lone ogre, the adventurers finally found the cave that Safana had spoken of. Getting to it proved to be a bit awkward as it was guarded by three sirens, women of the sea who had the power to charm almost any man. Kagain was the unlucky one and immediately turned on his companions, until Kane hit him hard around the head and sent him crumpling to the ground in a daze, allowing Viconia a chance to dispel the charm.
“Sorry Kagain,” he muttered, stepping over the body. “But it had to be done.”
It was Edwin’s fireball spell that ultimately proved to be the siren’s undoing and with a few arrows, the creatures were killed before they could do too much damage.
Two flesh golems awaited them in the cave, strong creatures that could give a powerful blow and could only be hit by enchanted weapons. Kane’s long swords were more than powerful enough; Kagain was the proud owner of an enchanted axe and Viconia an enchanted mace. Safana had no weapon powerful enough to use, so Kane ordered her to stay back with Edwin. The wizard ran through the spells he had left, just in case one was needed, but instead he found himself watching the battle, or more specifically, watching his leader fight.
The human Bhaalspawn had taken one of the golems for his own and was darting in and out of the shadows, one of his swords coming up to block, the other moving in to jab at the hard flesh. He was amazingly light, moving quickly and barely giving the monster a chance to strike at him. His attacks were fast and powerful and yet surprisingly graceful at the same time. His dark eyes never left those of his enemy; he took no notice of anything else around him. It was as though the two of them were locked in a dance, a dance to the death, and although Edwin knew that he should not be watching, he could not tear his eyes away.
The spell was only broken when the golem grunted and fell, its blood spreading in a steady pool across the sandy floor. Kane ran his hand through his hair, which was damp with sweat and stuck to his head and smirked at his companions. Edwin turned away and pretended to develop a sudden interest in the rocky cave wall.
The treasure, which consisted mostly of gems, necklaces and gold but also included a magical text and a wand was shared out as fairly as possible and the companions finally left the dark, damp cave. Edwin was the last to leave and as he passed through the entrance into the warm sunlight, he felt someone staring at him. When he looked round, he was surprised and worried to see that it was Viconia glaring at him. She had an almost thoughtful expression on her face, as if trying to work something out, but her eyes were cold and angry. Edwin shivered a little as he realised that she was giving him a similar glare to the ones she frequently gave Safana and any other woman who got too close to Kane for her liking.
It was almost as though she suspected something…
Friends or Lovers? Part 6
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