Well folks, this is it, I believe. This is where I wrap up the story and tell you all that I killed everyone and took over Louie's place, going on to greater fame and larger riches than you can shake a dragon's tooth at. Ok, so maybe I didn't kill Louie and Co. off (except for Conrad, he's an idiot anyways) but this is where I finish what I started.
Disclaimer: I Did It, I Confess! I'm the Rabbit! Just don't sue me for writing trash like this! I Was Drunk I Tell Ya!
G.B.: Don't know what I'll try my hand at next. I'll find something that tickles my fancy, or maybe even a suggestion from those who know. Seems a lot of you liked my fighting scenes...
"I wish you would have been here and seen it, Louie." Ila continued as she walked along next to her best friend. "She was something I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes." Continuing to drag Louie on as he held her recent rare items from the market, she towed him by one arm as she led the way back to the guild.
He didn't have to see it to believe it. He had heard all about it, even all the way to the border town where he had been when the word came. The Massacre of Ohfun as it was being called by the bards. There were just as colorful names besides that, but everyone had agreed, the army never stood a chance against the lone swordswoman.
"High mage Carwess needed as many hands as possible to defend the walls from the invaders with the large spell, but it went unused." Ila thought to herself as she walked, her eyes looking skyward as she walked forward. "I wonder how long that barrier spell would have lasted anyways?"
"Probably long enough for the last of the army to ride up from behind them after word had made it that the city was under siege." Louie commented softly, not really there. Course, he had not really been anywhere since returning to the city. He stayed locked away in his room and refused to see anyone. Ila had managed to grab hold of him before he escaped back into his room.
"Louie, is there something you want to talk about?" Ila glanced at him from the corner of her eyes. She had noticed Louie's lack of resolve involving anything since coming back. She had managed to track down and say hi to Genie and Merrill, but as of yet had not managed to track down Melissa.
Louie looked up at her with the briefest of surprise before ducking his chin back down into his chest and continuing onward behind her. "There's nothing much to talk about, Ila." He responded with a less than heartfelt voice.
She didn't believe him in the least. Making a sound in her throat as if contemplating something, she turned away and continued to walk ahead of them, making for the peace and quiet of her room.
At the doorway into the school, he handed her stuff to her and said that he would see her in classes later on. She didn't try to mention to him that she was nearly graduated whereas he was failing nearly everything for lack of being there. There was almost no hope of him graduating if he knew nothing of his art.
Little did Ila know that all Louie had done since coming back from his last journey was to lock himself away in his room and study his books. Homun's lessons had hit home when Melissa… No, he wouldn't think about it again. He had resorted back to using his fists only after she had been attacked as badly as she had been when they had confronted him.
Making sure to lock his door behind himself, Louie proceeded to his desk and opened the book in from of him. A higher range of spell craft book than what he was necessarily studying, but he had already gone beyond those beginner text books. Homun's colors had been true to him and he practiced like a man possessed.
He would be prepared next time. He wouldn't let Melissa's… He shook his head as if trying to abandon the dark thoughts, banishing them with so simple a move. He wouldn't let it ever happen again, Genie and Merrill needed to be protected…
Merrill pocketed her payment slower than she normally would have. Money was the end all, begin all of her world.
Or it had once been.
She had worked hard to pay for herbs, salves, and poultices while in that back wood hick town of a village. Rydon's magicks had done all they could do, and yet…
She shook her head at the uselessness of trying to spin back the hands of time with her regrets. Patting her pocket to make sure that the money she had acquired wouldn't be filched from her too easily, she headed off for her home.
Not like it was much of a home to begin with.
She thought briefly if she should move out of the dirt mound of a house and find something that actually had wood floors to it. It would cost her pockets something fierce if she did, and was usually something she normally wouldn't even consider. Upgrading in such a way made her a mark instead of the thief looking to steal from others.
It's not that she needed it, but she needed a change. Genie had done everything she had could in that fight with … whatever that thing was. She was, of course, the powerhouse of the party if Louie didn't try to fight bare handed, like he had done once again.
Still, Louie had become like a man possessed when they had come back. Saying that he was forsaking adventuring until he graduated, he had returned back to the guild and had not been seen outside of it since.
She would know, she'd staked the place out herself.
Louie had never been a normal person, at least, not in her eyes. A mage who battles with his fists is a joke, and he definitely wasn't the smartest man she had ever met. In fact, he acted more like a teenager with raging hormones and delusions of grandeur than anything else. Now, he was making an active try at becoming a mage in truth instead of boast.
The pickings had been slim for Merrill and Genie, unable to hunt treasure with just the two of them, they had been forced to do every conceivable odd job there had been. There were even less jobs for the heavily muscled red head, which didn't do much for her mood, but her friend up at the castle had managed to get her at least a bounty hunting permit.
Money was a bit better there, but still, they never roamed far from Ohfun, only as far as the outlying areas of town and in the town itself. They had an unspoken agreement that they wouldn't leave Louie by himself in town. Yes, he was a big boy, but for them, he was becoming something more.
Merrill took a moment and watched a couple walking by and the cute scene that oozed sugar and sparkles and happy floaty flowers all around them in their own little world. She wondered if Louie would ever treat her like that…
Shaking her head at that thought, she grunted in discontent as she headed for Genie's place outside of town. She would have to pass her thought on with her comrade. Maybe they'd get a house with three bedrooms for all of them.
Genie walked out of the bar with her man in hand, shaking him once to see if he had wanted to press her fist into any more service. Whimpering at the jostle, the man kept his head ducked and his hands bound behind him.
Getting these guys was almost too easy. It wasn't so easy tracking them down every so often and even with Merrill's information, she still had to come in with a cheap disguise on to keep her features hidden from sight. They had heard of her by now, this one had seen her walking in the door and had tried to get into the back rooms and out probably a back door.
Putting a boot to his backside, she helped him remember how to walk and herded him forward into the crowd. Not the kind of work she was willing to do, it was still work and put food on the table.
The trip back from that town way out on the edges of Ohfun's lands had taken them longer than necessary. They didn't have to rush home, but they didn't want to wait in town anymore for something else to appear and screw with them. Their moods had been sour, to say the least.
Merrill had threatened a man at knife point that if he ever touched her in that way again, she'd do something to change his 'religion'. She apologized grudgingly afterwards once she had been calmed down. The man didn't really mean to brush against her money purse like that anyways.
As humorous as it should have been, the comment about religion had hit a little too close for all of them. Louie still throwing himself into his books and Merrill doing all the odd jobs she possibly could, it had been up to her to find something to keep her mind off of that screw up of a mission.
King Rijarl had thanked them for a job well done and had offered them their reward, neither of them had accepted. Louie said he didn't want to see the monarch and that had been the last they had seen of him. He was taking it far harder than Merrill or even she was. Still, he at least better be keeping up with his sword skills, she wasn't going to lose him to his books if she didn't have to.
The thought of losing him sent a shiver down her back and a grimace to her face. The man at that point in time had looked over his shoulder at Genie's face had seen the set glare into the back of his head almost wet himself in fear before turning his head forward and trying to walk faster. The lead tied to his wrists went taut as Genie didn't allow him too much distance.
She had lost a good man a long time ago, being the delaying line of their mercenary troupe. She had wanted to go back for him but had been restrained by the rest, even going so far as to be knocked out and carried back with them. The thought of losing Louie, who she had grown to not only trust, but care for, was not something she wanted to consider. Not after…
She shook her head and those dark thoughts. The past was the past and the future was the future. Coming up to one of the stations for the city guard, she decided she needed a drink. One to forget the past, the other to the future.
He looked down on Ohfun, the city he had come to looking for Dardanel. The woman beside him also looked down at the city, off in her own world of thought. For him, this was as close to the beginning of this odd journey as he decided where to go next. Strange, that he would come back here of all places before moving on again.
"Have you considered your next step?" the woman next to him spoke, her blonde hair stirring in the breeze as she continued to stare at the city below.
"I'll gather some information before leaving, might stay for a day or two." He spoke gruffly and to the point, his cloak dancing in the very same breeze that had the woman's hair moving.
"It's going to be a hard job finding her." The woman spoke lightly, turning her head to look at him.
"I'll find her." The man spoke with certainty. "I have all the time in the world to look." He adjusted the greaves on his arms, still getting used to the new straps he had placed on them.
"You don't have to do it alone." She offered to him, even though she knew what his answer would be.
"It's better that way if I do it alone." His voice was cold, though not as harsh as it had once been. He people were making him soft. He wondered if that was a good thing or not. "You can't go any farther with me, anyways."
She looked over her shoulder to the woods behind her, the very same woods that would lead a person to the Tartious Forest and to the village of the elves. "I suppose not. I'm just a bit tired, but I'm not as heartless as some people are."
He chuckled at that. "I suppose not." He muttered as he looked at the city below him once again, a rueful smile on his face. "I probably shouldn't go down there after all."
She looked at him in confusion before he continued.
"She wouldn't have stayed around in Ohfun, not after killing all those people." He nodded slowly, knowing what the populace would have done to her if she had made any motion for the city. "I'll start with the farmers along the roads and see if I can find out anything about a woman who had been headed away from the city on that day and go from there."
She turned herself to him, presenting the man with her front and offering him her hand. "I'm sorry to see you go, then."
"No, you're not." He smiled once again, this time openly and brightly. "You have someone else you want to see."
The blush that spread across her cheeks couldn't be hidden even if her hair was blowing up over her shoulders and slightly obscuring her face. She sighed greatly, her shoulders sagging. "You're just as bad as he is, you know that?"
"So you told me, many times." He released her hand and stepped back from her. "It's all you ever talk about."
Mollified, she turned from him with a sniff and a raised nose. "That will be quite enough out of you." She held it a bit longer when he chuckled at her antics before dropping the pretense of being upset at him. "I hope you find her, someday."
"It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when." He nodded to her with assurance. "I'll find her. And then I'll tell her what I've needed to say to her for as long as I can remember."
"Love will do that to a person." She knew it did the same thing to her, but she needed to find him first. He had wanted to stay behind and wait for her until she had recovered, but the kingdom needed him worse if Conrad didn't make it.
"Love?" He said as he turned around and started to walk away as he talked. "I'm going to tell her she needs to lift her shoulder a half inch. It leaves her chest way too exposed to a counter attack."
The face plant was by far the best ever in the history of Ohfun.
As she straightened herself from the ground and dusted her clothing off, he called to her. "You never did say why you love him so much?"
She didn't even hesitate when she responded. "Because he's my champion." The smile she gave was one she felt from the heart.
Waving his hand back over his shoulder as he turned and continued on his way, he didn't look back at her as he disappeared into history, to never be seen again in Ohfun and points between. Rumor would say that he simply ceased to exist, but whispers would be had of a man who no man could kill hunting down a woman that no man had ever seen.
Most stories would be dismissed, but this one was continued long after other had been forgotten, sightings only by wandering people out on the long road mentioning a man wearing leather armor and a cloak as dark as a sky at night, carrying weapons on his person as to make any normal man fall over from the weight of them all.
No one who fought him lived to tell the tale, but rumor had it that he would help people lost on the road as long as they would try to help him in return. He traveled many leagues, and no one ever knew if he found who he was looking for, but that is a story for another time.
And that's it all you crazy readers, the ending to another 100,000+ story. I just don't know how to write a small story a guess. I'll never be a good novelist that way. Who writes huge stories into one book and doesn't make anything off sequels that could be written but aren't cause the first books are so huge! (i.e. Gone with the Wind)
My thanks go to my reviewers who I name here.
Dragonwiles (my hero), jagaer, Ransumi, Snipersnake111, Metacarius, Duke of no Money (I like his idea the best), Avis de Rapina, and to those who did not review but put me in there alerts, Tsunade93Haku, kimpo, and triods.
Thank you for reading this humble story, my poor attempt at fiction. My heart and my hope is that you who read this to the end have enjoyed this as much as I did writing it.