~Adventures of a Cat and an Idiot Part 1: A Day of Relaxation~
Council Territory, Elaias’s Cave
March 14th, 782 (Holy Year 2)
“…And then what happened?” Elaias said to me, his words oddly comforting. I found myself laying on a bed of straw, staring up at the roof of the cave while Elaias scratched words in his notebook using charcoal. “Well, concerning you of course.”
“Samhain had ORCSLASHKILLPAIN in a stasis. I was rather amused by that, I’d say.” The memory of that guy frozen in one of his usual screams of rage was priceless. “But, problem was that he still had the Prismere Shard on him. So, in order to keep Samhain from knowing we had one, I took it right out of his pocket and tucked it in my jacket.”
“And from there you eventually coerced Samhain into opening a Faegate to the Council for you, correct?” Elaias said calmly. I simply nodded, and he continued to sketch out words in his native tongue in the notebook. “Well, I think I have a pretty good idea of what’s troubling you.”
“What?” I asked back.
“You’re under a ton of mental stress from this thing, Owain.” He said, closing his notebook and standing up. I followed suit. “You need to just take it easy, relax, and avoid any stressful encounters for a while.” He rubbed his chin with a hand, obviously thinking. “And I think I know just the place!”
“Where could that be? Nowhere on the Council, I presume.”
“Well, of course not, with Elder Cupboard in charge and all. Fortunately, I had asked some of the diplomatic teams to make one additional Cullis Gate than they needed; it goes to a town on an island near my home island. And what better place to relax than a tropical scene?”
“Uhh… I’m going to have to refuse, Elaias. I don’t think visiting your home island is going to do me any good. I mean, I’m still worried that they’ll try to hunt me down, or-“ Elaias cut me off by grabbing my wrist.
“General’s orders. You need to relax and get your head into a better state.” He simply stated. I groaned slightly, but still got up and followed him to the main council building. Along the way we passed many of our new allies, and other Crusader team members (Note to self: make sure to catch up to the guy from the GG team. A promise is a promise). However, one particular person crossed our path. A young (for her kind) elf girl named Celeste, to be precise.
“Hey, Owain!” She called out, jogging over to the two of us. “Hello, General.” She greeted Elaias, with a small curtsey. “Where are you guys headed?”
“Eastern Isles, specifically, my home island.” The General responded. He jerked his head towards me. “This guy’s not going to be of much use in his current mental state. He’s more messed up than a Wayward who’s had too much coffee.” The reference went over my head, as I had no idea what a Wayward was. By the look on Celeste’s face, neither did she. She simply shook her head and asked another question.
“Mind if I come with? I just got done with my mission, so I could use some relaxation as well.”
Before I could talk, Elaias answered. “Sure. More the merrier!” We passed by Doc on the way to the Cullis Gates. “Hey, Doc!” our general called out.
“What?” She replied, obviously annoyed by something. Her venom at someone was almost tangible.
“Want to come to the Eastern Isles? Relax a little?”
“No.” She said, and simply walked away. The commander of our little band of misfits scared me at times, but right now I was curious as to who had irked her. I could think of a few people who could, off the top of my head. Maybe she ran into ORCSLASHKILLPAIN or Ollie. I definitely would have been moody if I ran into anyone from the Legionnaires again. Nonetheless, our merry group of three reached the small, fenced-in portion of the Council Territory that housed the Cullis Gate to various parts of the world.
“State your identification and reason for entering the gate.” A Holy Triumvirate guard stopped us.
“Elaias, General of Crusader A Team. I simply wish to access the gate that leads to my home island.” He waited a few seconds, with silence. “You’re not telling me I need an official reason to visit my home, do you?”
“I am ordered to not let anyone through unless they be on official business of the Holy-“ Celeste and I went slack-jawed as Elaias sucker-punched the guard, followed by knocking his fist into the side of his helmet, knocking the poor sod out.
“What in the name of the Light Spirit was that?” I almost shouted, as Elaias set the limp guard into a sitting position.
“Not letting me see my own damn home? That’s fucking racist, anyone else in the Crusaders gets to visit their families whenever, but the cat? Fuck no, we can’t let that happen…” he continued to talk to himself as he started walking to the gates. Celeste and I followed, after giving each other an uneasy glance. The General turned to us when we reached one near the back. “Sorry about that, I get really frustrated sometimes.”
“It’s no big deal.” I said, at the same time as Celeste. We stepped through the gate quickly enough, emerging onto a sandy beach. A town was nearby, but Elaias was more interested in a small rowboat on the water. We piled into the wooden vessel, careful not to rock it too much, and started rowing.
It took us an hour to row to the island Elaias pointed out, and then another ten minutes to hike to the beach he had promised us. And what a beach it was – pearly white sand, clear waters, not a cloud in the sky… I guess I could give this relaxing thing a shot. That is, until Celeste screamed.
“ELAIAS!” She shouted. “WHY ARE YOU NAKED?” I turned to see our General as bare as the day he was born, and I suddenly followed Celeste’s actions and covered my eyes.
“Guys.” He said. “I’m covered with fur. You can’t see anything.” I peeked a glance, and found him to be right. “Honestly, the Felis don’t need to wear clothing, our fur does a pretty good job of covering us up. We only do so because the other races freak out if we don’t.” He casually strode to the sands, spread out his cloak, and laid on it, proceeding to relax. I turned once more to find Celeste in a (rather form-fitting) purple bikini.
“You expected me to go to a beach and not bring something to wear?” She said as she passed me by. She laid out a towel and pulled a book out of her bag, and began reading.
“…You didn’t have any time to pack… we just picked you up…” I shook my head, and figured if you can’t beat them, join them. I soon found myself laying on the sands in my undergarments, relaxing as best I could next to Elaias. It seemed like forever I was just laying there, in my thoughts. “You know, Elaias,” I started up, “you were right. I needed something like this.”
“Yeah, it’s just so peaceful here, you know?” He responded. “I just like looking up at the clouds sometimes – ignoring the Breach, of course. What do you suppose that one looks like?”
“Melons.” I replied, not looking at the sky at all.
“Really? I thought it looked more like Tulyar’s famous rock soup… without a bowl.” I then heard a shuffle of fabric, then felt a slap on my arm. “And you were looking at those kinds of melons, weren’t you?” My attention shifted to his arm, which was pointing towards my original focus. Celeste.
“Uhh… well, you see…”
“I get it. You have a thing for her. Can’t blame you, she’s not too bad to look at. Just not my type.” Elaias continued. “I’d prefer to keep it within the same species, with only one exception…”
“Oh? And who would that be? Some secret crush our General has on one of our own?”
“Well, yeah…” I could see the intensity of his blush grow, even through his dark fur. “I was alone here, you know? Nobody to help me, or even be a companion after dad died. Then, when I joined you guys, well… in our first battle together, I fell to my knees, bloodied and battered. I thought I was going to die, but then… she came and saved me.”
“Well, that’s what we do, man.” I said, sitting up. We faced each other, and gave him a reassuring smile. “We look after each other. We’re the Crusader A Team, but we’re more than that. We’re a family.”
“I get that, and now it’s not that special for a little battlefield healing, but she… that first time she healed me, it told me that I wasn’t alone anymore. You have to remember Owain, I’m not as old as half the Crusaders. Being ‘of age’ for my kind is fourteen years; I’m only three above that come tomorrow. Stuff like that is important to me.”
I placed a hand on my shoulder. “It’s fine, man. You’re a great guy. You’re smart, caring, and understanding of others. Smarter than me, at least. You’ll make a great general, and when the time comes and Doc resigns, you’ll be a Commander I’d gladly follow into battle.” I smiled, and that lifted his spirits up. “But now, spill the beans, my friend! Who are you crushing over?”
“Well, I can’t just tell you, it wouldn’t-“ He was cut off by a loud explosion. A tree behind us fell in a fire, and the shock of it hitting the ground knocked us on our backs. Instantly, I grabbed my shield and my treasured sword, as Elaias brandished his spear and Celeste knocked an arrow on her bow.
“The hell was that?” She called out, standing next to us.
Elaias responded, “I had the feeling one would come, but I hadn’t expected him to show up here!” A loud roar entered our ears, as a beast jumped from the woods. It had six legs, each thick with muscle and each with a tentacle growing out of its knee. Its entire body was armored, and covered in eyes that stared without blinking. Its maw was huge, and full of razor-sharp teeth, and above all else, it was very angry.
“Okay, that’s a face not even a mother cold love.” I said. “What do we do, General?”
“That’s an Endbringer, Owain. We should try to run, there’s no way we can take this thing on our own.” Unfortunately for us, it charged, roaring loudly. I ducked to the side, swinging out with my blade and neatly severing one of the tentacles on its legs.
“Sweet!” I called out. The monster looked towards me, and swung its left leg-arm-thing at me. It caught my shield, ripping the protective item from my grasp. The beast, I also noticed, had also regrown its tentacle. “Well, that’s just not fair!” It was struck by an arrow, and I mentally thanked Celeste for that one.
“Get back, both of you!” Elaias called as a command. He proceeded to reach towards his cloak on the ground and pull out a small, black book. “There’s only one way to defeat this guy reliably with just the three of us! Behold, the black spell Infernal!” Fire swirled around his body, but then, something went wrong. I had heard about this spell he could do, but instead of the fiery explosion I had expected, the fire turned to pure energy, and Elaias screamed out in pain. Rushing over to him, Celeste held off the Endbringer with her arrows as I grabbed the General. A large gash was present on his chest, but not leaking blood. It seemed to be filled with divine energy, the same kind of tear as the rift.
“General! Are you alright?” I shook him, but he was out cold. It looked bad. Only two people against an Endbringer? “Well, we’re fucked.” I said.
“We have reacquired the target. Resuming operation.” A familiar voice called out. A construct barreled its way out of the forest, followed by a team of Moon Elves, Felis, Lupis, and even a Wayward. They converged on the beast, each one taking shots or swings at it. The Construct, whom I identified as Lia (the ambassador), shot bolts out of a crossbow mounted on its arm. The Endbringer roared, and as if it was bored, left through what resembled a Faegate.
“Thank you so much,” I said. “We’d be dead if it weren’t for you guys.”
A Lupis spoke up. “It’s nothing. We of the First Federal Endbringer Response Unit do this to help everyone in danger of our foes.” And with that, they left.
“Well, that was convenient.” Celeste said. I nodded in agreement, and we just… went back to what we were doing. Elaias woke up an hour later, and I filled him in on what happened. He responded that he could feel the rift through his wound, and even harnessed its power for a few seconds. Well, I guess that’s what you can say a good vacation is for; relaxing, discovering more about yourself, and fighting off what is basically a god in your swimming trunks.
I should take a vacation more often.
~End of part 1~
Elaias changed class to Rift Mage!
Owain gained knowledge of Endbringers.
Celeste gained knowledge of Endbringers and Elaias’s Black Spells.