So anyways here's the story, we couldn't find the chapter for months on end finally finding it on my old computer in the dark ages before I got a laptop. Sorry for our stupidity! Lol. Anyways chapter fourteen is already written so there won't be a huge waiting time in between this one and the next, enjoy!
As the group of Ascalonians neared the boarder that separated their once beloved land and the cold bitter looming mountains, a chill swept among them.
"We have to cross the mountains to get to Kryta on the other side." Rurik addressed his subjects. He took one long last glance at the ruins of his home before shaking his head trying to shake the nostalgia that filled his mind.
Another huge gust swept, much more powerful than the last. Shivers shot through everyone, their clothing wasn't suited to this type of weather. The prince looked at them all, the majority of them rooted to the spot, too cold to move.
"Blaze, Carrie, Kaska, Seregei." He called over.
All four motioned over. "Yes my prince?" Seregei asked.
"There are a lot of us. I need to make sure no one gets left behind as we have a long treck." He turned to Carrie and Blaze. "I want you both to be positioned at the front of the group. See if you can find anyway to clear the snow off the path and perhaps to make it less bitter."
They nodded, proceeding to where Captain Calhaan was stood. Rurik spoke to the other two. "I want you both at the rear of the group. Make sure everyone keeps up and no one loses pace. Would it be possible to summon bone minions in this condition?" He asked.
Seregei went to answer but Kaska cut through. "If there are any corpses around then yes, it won't be a problem." He sighed at her silently before asking. "Why do you ask?"
"So you have reinforcements in case anything should try to tag along." Rurik justified.
"As you wish my Prince."
They parted company. As Rurik returned beside Calhaan, Carrie and Blaze were deep in discussion.
"... Clear the snow that way, then would it be possible for you to create an air barrier around the group?" Blaze asked.
"There is no guarantee that will keep them warm, the children won't last long, I can only suggest creating fire lit torches for everyone to hold, that might help." She replied.
"Then that's what we will do." Rurik cut in. "We will rest here for a while until we can find enough."
Blaze lit the final torch. Smiling at the young boy who was holding it. Returning to Carrie's side, they set off into the cold blizzard.
Throughout the start of the journey his eyes glowed red as he summoned fire balls from the already lit torches, throwing them into the snow making it transform into puddles of water. Every time wind was sent their way Carrie blocked it with a force of a gale and sent back at it. So far their methods were working.
Rurik and Calhaan were discussing where the group would rest. "Yaks bend is our next stop it shouldn't take as long to get there." Commented Calhaan.
"We should be there by nightfall. I'm just hoping the dwarves will be hospitable and allow us to stay." Rurik said expressing concern.
Kaska and Seregei were travelling with a few bone minions they had managed to salvage from slowly rotting corpses which had died from the sheer cold. One of the civilians watched in amusement as Kaska resurrected another.
"What are you looking at?" Kaska snapped, causing the young man to turn sharply the other way.
"I think he was looking at you." Seregei teased.
"Pah!" She retorted. "I'd sooner eat him!"
Seregei chuckled. He could tell Kaska was in a bad mood. But it didn't take much for her to turn sour. "What's wrong then grumpy guts?"
She snarled back at him. "Would you rather I eat you then!"
"Ok, ok, I'm just asking." He looked at her closely, noticing she was shivering. "I'll be back in a second." He explained, running to catch up with the group.
Catching up with Blaze, he asked. "Do you have anymore of those sticks you could light up; Kaska is feeling the cold a little bit."
"Sure." The Elementalist replied. Handing him two sticks for him to light on the way back.
"Thanks." He replied, just as he was about to head off. Carrie called his name.
Seregei spun round as Carrie passed him two flasks. "Here, its fresh water from the mountains, you may need it later."
He smiled at his friends, turning and walking against the direction of the group to join his fellow Necromancer.
"Where did you disappear off too?" She asked upon his return.
"Here this should keep you warm and hydrated; I dare say we will need these. Well I know I do, I feel like a frozen Popsicle!" He exclaimed. Handing her the torch and flask.
Kaska started to grin. "Thanks."
"Your welcome, does this mean you will revoke that threat you made about eating me earlier?" He said jokingly.
"Hmmm." She thought out loud. "Don't push your luck. You're not off the hook that easy."
He sighed deeply. Resigning himself to the fact that for the moment there was nothing else he could really do to please Kaska, so would let her calm down in her own time.
Carrie was abruptly stopped by Blaze; she turned to look at him puzzled. "What is it?" She asked him curiously.
Blaze didn't return her look, but moved his arm which pointed straight in front of them. She gasped.
A pack of wolves were standing in front of them snarling and growling. There must have been around twenty to thirty of them and they looked rather hungry. Blaze looked behind them, the others were only around the corner and the civilians would panic and run if they saw the grey beasts.
"I'll go stop them from getting any closer, you keep your eye on these wolves, signal if they make any sudden moves." Blaze instructed, and then hurried off back toward the rest of the caravan, which Prince Rurik was leading.
"What is it?" Rurik inquired as the elementalist approached him.
"Slight problem..." Blaze began, keeping his voice down so the nearby civilians did not hear him, "...wolf pack up ahead, couple of dozen of them. Need a few more people to take them down, make sure the caravan doesn't go any further."
Rurik nodded, not pressing the matter for any further detail. Blaze on the other hand was already making his way through the caravan to Eva, who was currently idle with her stalker at her side. He explained the situation, and then continued. By the time he reached Kaska and Seregei, there were around ten of them.
"Why doesn't Carrie just freeze them all?" Kaska asked in a very annoyed tone.
"Can't risk exhaustion, not in these conditions." Blaze answered as they approached Carrie, who had hardly moved the entire time.
Carrie gave them the slightest half glance as they approached, apparently she didn't dare to take her eyes off of the wolves for more than a split second. "If we take two each this should be quick and easy."
As expected, the fight was not much of a challenge with the amount of manpower they had behind them. It seemed that only a handful of the beasts reached the group for close combat, which was dealt with swiftly by a very formidable looking warrior.
"Next time Carrie..." Kaska began, animating two fiends at once from the nearest wolf corpse, "...only call if there is something dangerous won't you?"
At that precise moment, a wolf pounced on Kaska out of nowhere. It launched its teeth at her face, but she was too quick and threw her hands at its jaws, holding it back. "Do something! Do I look like I'm enjoying this!" Every word seemed to cost her a terrible effort.
An axe swung with such force at the wolf, it was thrown into a nearby rock. Kaska looked up and saw someone kneeling beside her. On closer inspection, she saw that the person was in fact not kneeling at all, they were merely extremely short.
"And that!" Began the dwarf, exclaiming loudly, "Was without ANY ale! I amaze me'self sometimes." He offered his hand to Kaska, which she refused, getting to her feet hurriedly.
"Great, saved by a dwarf..." She said, menace in her hushed voice, "...oh well, at least it's only a 'small' wound on my pride" Chuckling, she walked away, muttering to Seregei. "I can't stand dwarves!"
"Thanks wudda bin nice, but that'll do. Dorlik is the name, and this ere..." He gestured to another dwarf who had a short-bow slung over his shoulder, "...is me brother Argant. Spotted ye a while off, bin following ya for a while we ave, aven't we Arg!"
"Aye!" Argant replied, "Bin wonderin what the tall legs in the fancy ancy geddup were doin treddin through the shivers of this ere place, ya get me?"
"Not really..." Kaska replied, "...once more in English would be nice."
"What he meant was..." The dwarf Dorlik began, "...what are ya doin in the shiverpeaks? Shuddn't ya be back in that nice ol' city of yours?"
"I don't think that is any of your business dwarf!" Kaska spat at him.
"What's going on?" Prince Rurik had entered the scene. He looked around for a second, taking in the new faces that had appeared.
"Ya hey there!" Dorlik boomed, addressing the Prince, "Just askin' the little missus here a simple question, you must be Rurik of Ascalon!"
"How do you know..." The prince began, but Kaska cut in before he could finish.
"Who the hell are you calling little pal?" She started towards him, "That's like your beard calling your hair bushy!"
"Kaska!" The Prince warned, and she stopped her advance at once. "How you know me perhaps is not relevant," he continued, addressing the dwarf once more, "right now I must ask you, is there anywhere safe nearby where we can resupply and shelter for the night? The day has been long and strenuous."
"Where're ya headed?" Argant asked.
"To Kryta, we mean to head to Yaks Bend for the night, but I fear it is too far for our caravan to manage." Rurik looked solemn at the thought.
"Well if ya keep taking the route yer on now that would be true." Argant said with a slight grin creeping onto his face. "Come with me n' me brother ere, we will get ya there in no time, know these mountains like a flagon of ale don't we Dorl?"
"Aye! Gather yer caravan human prince, we'll see ya to Yaks Bend!" Rurik retreated back to where the rest of the civilians were, and a few minutes later returned, followed by the caravan.
Night was upon them as the group entered the quiet settlement that was Yak's Bend. Carrie and Blaze were amongst the first to enter. They looked around, taking everything in. They could have counted the number of houses they saw on their fingers alone, there were so few of them. Despite this low number of shelters however, the place seemed to be bustling with far more dwarves than the place could accommodate for. In the middle of the site, there was a campfire where half a dozen dwarves were seated on the cold floor, each with empty flagons surrounding them, and half full ones in their small pudgy hands.
The rest of the caravan had made it into the settlement. The wooden gates which they had entered through closed behind them. Two dwarves were stationed on small lookout posts either side of the gate, no doubt to spot any oncoming wolves or trolls which dwelled in the mountains.
"If it weren't so cold I would be sure that this was hell." Kaska stated, looking at all of the dwarves with a disgusted expression on her face. She did not however make any hostile advances, as she was clearly outnumbered.
"Would you lighten up a bit please?" Seregei interjected. "These people have just helped us, the least you could do is show them a little bit of gratitude."
Kaska snorted and walked away from him towards Carrie and Blaze. Seregei was left at the back of the large group. Prince Rurik was to be found walking towards the biggest of all the shelters that had been erected in the settlement, followed by Eva.
"You trust these dwarves sire?" Eva asked as they approached the building. They were following Dorlik.
"Long ago," The prince began, not looking at her, "there was an old alliance between humans and dwarves, this alliance was never broken, but the ties between us I fear have weakened. If we can strengthen those ties, I believe that our journey through the mountains will be much swifter."
"But do you trust them my lord?" Eva repeated, spotting that she had not got an answer.
"I trust all those who help us." They had reached the shelter.
Dorlik opened the door and went inside. Rurik and Eva had to bend a considerable amount in order to get inside. The room was brightly lit and had a very strong smell of alcohol which was enough to intoxicate anyone. Sitting behind a low table in the far end of the room, was undoubtedly the leader of the settlement. He was wearing the finest fur out of all of them, and looked the best kept appearance wise, or perhaps he was just more sober.
Rurik inclined his head slightly as a greeting, Eva followed suit. "Greetings, my name is Rurik of Ascalon. May I thank you for your hospitality."
"Hale human!" The dwarf replied, getting to his feet, which considering his height did not make much of a difference. He too inclined his head at the pair of them. "The names Jova, I'm in charge 'ere at Yaks, heard there was humans in the mountains I did. Good thing me boys here found ya aye?"
"Indeed, I fear we would not have survived the night." Rurik replied, Eva gave him an evil look.
"Exactly, not relevant now though aye? Yer here, that's what matters. Now lemme ask you human, what brings you to the shiverpeaks?" Rurik noticed that Jova spoke with a lot more clarity than the other dwarves.
"There has been a Charr invasion on Ascalon." He began, "The numbers are too great, my caravan and I are those who believe that seeking a new life in Kryta is the only way forward now."
"A wise move human prince." Jova agreed.
The door to the shelter opened, and Carrie entered the room. Rurik looked over at her, but did not stop his conversation with Jova.
"We need to resupply, there is much distance left between us and the gates of Kryta. Do you have anything you can spare for us?"
Carrie had reached Eva and the prince now. She seemed to be taking in the appearance of the building. Remaining silent, she looked over at Jova, who seemed to be eyeing her with curiosity.
"I can spare a few men to see ya through the mountains safely. We know this place better than most, and if ya ran into the stone summit..." Jova suddenly sounded very weary, "...well, let's just hope that don't happen aye? Don't bare thinkin' about it."
"Do you have any clothing you can spare to keep us warm? We are not used to the harsh conditions of the mountains." Eva asked. Even in the shelter she still looked frozen to the bone.
"We have many furs left over, ye can have them." Jova replied simply, he then turned to Carrie. "It seems that you lass, don't need such things." He looked very puzzled, "how can ye walk around in such garments and still be alive?"
Carrie's assortment of armour was very thin, not something which would keep the average human being warm. "I have studied water elements more closely than I have others, my body has compensated for the cold respectively. However, in the opposite condition, heat, I doubt my body would cope so well, hence the thin clothing."
"Fascinating..." Jova replied, looking back at the prince. "...You do keep incredible company Rurik."
Many more bonfires had been lit around the campsite to make up for the amount of people now dwelling in Yaks Bend. Many of the civilians it seemed were trying to regain sleep round the warm flames, whereas those who were still too pumped full of adrenaline were drinking with and talking to the dwarves. Amongst those still awake were Carrie, Blaze and Seregei, who were situated round the largest campfire. Blaze it seemed was grateful for the large quantity of fire. Also in their company were Prince Rurik, Jova, and the two brothers Argant and Dorlik.
"If ye want to get to Kryta, the frost gate is yer best chance." Jova started, looking directly at the prince. "Not all yer men are like this ere lass," he gestured at Carrie, "any other route an ye would freeze to death in no time."
"Only problem is," Began Dorlik, "the stone summit are mostly in control of the frost gate. Gettin' past them won't be no easy task, you'd best be prepared."
"Tell us more about the stone summit..." Carrie implored.
"Ah!" Argant exclaimed, "If we were to do that lassy all of our here barrels of ale would be dry time we be gettin' to the end."
"Speakin' of which." Dorlik piped up, "how 'bout a drinkin' contest, see how good you humans are at holdin' yer liqueur!"
The entire party round the campfire laughed, and to the surprise of Carrie and Blaze, Seregei was next to say...
"Ok, I'm for it."
"Excellent!" Dorlik replied, producing from nowhere two full flagons of ale for himself and Seregei. "Last one standin' wins!"
The game went on for quite some time, during which Rurik continued to talk to Jova, pressing him for details on how best to outwit the stone summit once they reached the frost gate. The whole plan sounded simple, however he was sure that putting it into practice would be something else altogether.
"An' that's why my arm told me I was destined to be a god!" Dorlik said with glee, picking up another flagon of ale.
"How big is the stone summit force?" Carrie asked.
"No-one knows lass." Jova replied. "I doubt even their leader knows, they are everywhere them summit, too many to count."
"An' I told that deathly swarm to get out or be chucked out!" Seregei boomed, picking up another ale.
"How many have they had?" Blaze asked Argant, who seemed to be watching the game avidly.
"I lost count ten minutes ago me lad." He replied, not taking his eyes off the game.
"I'll tell you what we've had!" Seregei said so loudly that Kaska, who was sleeping nearby, woke up. "We have had...not enough!" His voice was extremely slurred.
"Someone gonna fill me in?" Kaska asked the group at large.
Seregei and Dorlik both downed another ale, and Dorlik spoke. "You sir, are most good at this game of drinking!" He sounded delighted.
"Oh gods..." Kaska muttered as they both downed yet another ale, "...don't tell me he..."
"Yes!" Seregei boomed at her, "...and may I say Kuska..."
"Kaska!" Seregei corrected himself. "That this ale tastes very very fine, and I won't have you judging me on such a fine thing in life, cause Kuska..."
"I think I loooo..." and with that, he passed out.
A/N- With our FF7 fic out the way we should be able to finish this one fairly quickly, so keep a weather eye out on the horizon people! Reviews appreciated as always, til next time!