As the imp vanished from sight leaving behind a threatening message to the Winter Guard, Garrick relaxed his muscles and stepped out of his battle stance. Aecris was in his hand, dirty with the blood of demons and the other filth that occupied this unholy temple… “I don’t even remember drawing you from your sheath”, Garrick thought to himself.
As things calmed, as calm as things can be in a temple dedicated to a demon lord, Garrick moved to the back of the room and slumped against the wall. He reached into his pack and pulled out a honing stone and some rags. Garrick began the process of cleaning off Aecris. His eyes looked up from time to time, looking around, accounting for his friends… making sure they were all ok. They were busy… with their equipment, their clothes… lost in their own thoughts Garrick supposed. Odus looked amused and was smiling to himself… probably composing an epic song, Garrick chuckled. Isak looked… impatient, his fingers dancing on the hilt of his blade, anxious to cleave into more foul demons… soon my friend. Kane still looked somewhat uncomfortable. Since their encounter in the demonic blood pools, Kane seemed uneasy… this place was having a very negative impact on him, we need to get him out of here… fast!
With that, Garrick’s thoughts drifted to Elian and Delphina. “Have I doomed them?”, he thought saddened.
I made the decision for us to rest knowing that time is limited. Perhaps Kane and Odus were right. Perhaps we should have continued to ensure the lives of those we swore to protect and return safely to Winterhaven. He once again eyed his companions, they were all worse for wear. Odus was battered, more so than Garrick had remembered ever seeing him. Kane, despite his bravado, wasn’t fairing much better. Isak was probably in the best shape, a testament to his military training. No… Garrick scolded himself, I made the right decision. We would not have survived another grand battle, let alone multiple encounters… who knows what lies ahead. If we die because we are not prepared then the lives of those we seek to save are also forfeit. However, they could be in the next room, just beyond this next challenge… if they are sacrificed, if they die as a result of this delay… it’s my fault. More blood on my hands. Doubt filled Garrick’s mind.
Garrick whispered a prayer to Bahamut, “Lord, please grant Eilian and Delphina your protection. Keep them alive until we can get to them. Do not let me fail them. Please, Holy Bahamut, hear my prayers”.
Am I truly fit to be the one who leads them… to be the one to make these decisions? Surely the others are more fit. Odus already speaks for us, his skills at diplomacy and with people far exceed my own. Isak’s military and tactical training surely make him a better choice. They are both more confident than I am. Kane may be a bit too emotional, but even he… Garricks thought trailed off… am I truly worthy?
Garrick stared at his reflection in the now polished, gleaming blade of Aecris. His eyes were drawn to the hilt of the sword, formed into the head of a noble platinum dragon… Bahamut. As he stared into the eyes of the dragon… Garrick felt a comforting presence wash over him. A voice began… emanating from within the blade, echoing into Garrick’s very being…
Your heart is pure…
YOU were chosen!
You ARE worthy!
Garrick was startled by a hand shaking his shoulder. He shook his head and looked up at Odus, smiling down at him. ” You ok Garrick? You’ve been staring at your blade for hours… yes, it’s spectacularly clean and will cut just fine” Odus joked. Odus offered his hand to Garrick and pulled him to his feet with a friendly smile… just like he did when they played as children.
“Sorry, yes… I’m good. Just lost in thought and worried about Eilian and Delphina” Garrick answered.
“We all are” Odus assured him, “and now we’re well-rested and prepared to take this fight to their captors!”
Garrick sheathed his blade and grabbed his pack. “Are we all ready?” Garrick asked. He looked from Odus, to Isak, to Kane… they all nodded with a sense of purpose. Garrick smiled.
“Then let’s end this!” Garrick stated with renewed confidence.