Episode 30: Familiar Landscapes
The barrens weren’t so barren these days.
With all the fighting between the Alliance and the Horde, the constant flow of soldiers coming and going made for a busy trade route. Amidone and I ended up setting up our came in Fort Triumph, and sooner than later we were the local defense leaders among the civilians that made their way to this new outpost.
That’s right. Civilians.
As if anyone in their right mind would want to come out here.
Yet they did still come. Sometimes lone adventurers looking to make money, other times entire families hoping to find a place where they could finally settle down and start a farm of their own. It was lunacy.
I took over the duties of caring for the Inn after the job became available. It was nice. I got to stand back and listen to stories from travelers, hear the latest reports from the military, and I had all the free drinks and cheese I could ever ask for.
Amidone busied herself with medical duties, converting part of the inn into a field hospital to check up on the military personnel and anyone else that might want to stop in for a visit.
Then, on one fateful day, she showed up.
She was brought in on a gurney by one of the field medics. She’d taken a deep cut across her abdomen and Amidone was the priest charged with her care. I did a lot to help bring her back to health, but I did it all from the shadows.
Amidone pushed me to simply introduce myself, but I couldn’t bare to risk a bad meeting, so I kept to myself while making sure that supplies and medicine were set aside for her.
It went on like that for weeks.
Then, one day, I was caught off guard. I was busy tending to the bar when I heard her voice from the other side of the tavern.
“Sionis?” she asked.
I stopped short. I felt a cold sweat coming over me and I seriously contemplated jumping for the nearest window. Thankfully, Amidone was the one to step in on my behalf.
“His name is Salonis,” the priest said. “He’s a friend of mine.”
“I know that face,” Keaira said, stepping closer to me. “Sionis, is that you?”
I sighed. “Yes, I was once Sionis Sepher.”
My memories of our past were blurry at best. I knew of a deep desire to be a part of Keaira’s life, but I also knew that it had not worked out for us. I didn’t know what to expect, maybe cruel words? Had I been a terrible person in the past?
I waited there, half expecting a slap on the face.
Instead, she stepped forward and wrapped me tightly in her arms.
It felt like I was where I was supposed to be.
“I’m so sorry,” she said as she started to cry. “I felt like we were becoming such different people. I didn’t know what to do and by the time I realized how I felt it was too late.”
“It’s okay,” I replied, not sure what else I could say. “I’m sorry too.”
The days following our first meeting were spent with smaller visits as she was guided through the tavern by Amidone. Our conversations were simple, like two old friends that were cautious to see how much their lives had changed over the years.
The more I spoke with her, the deeper our connection became. We only briefly spoke of our pasts, mostly because I don’t think either of us really wanted to spend any time on the lost years behind us. Instead, we spoke of our ambitions, of the ways we could help save the world.
Slowly, Keaira’s wounds healed and my heart grew fond of her company. When the day came for Amidone to release her from care, I worried she would mount up and be on her way.
Instead, when I went to work at the bar that evening I found her sitting at one of the tables, waiting for my arrival.
“I’ve got a job offer,” she started when I got to my usual place behind the counter. “Dwarves have unearthed something and they want help with their archeology project.”
“Is it far from here?” I asked, my heart beating faster, worried that the time had come.
“Not far,” she said. “Still in the Barrens actually.”
“That’s good,” I replied.
“They could use a few strong hands. A warrior like yourself would be well suited for the adventure.”
“Me?” I asked.
“It’ll be easy work for the most part,” she added. “I would enjoy the company.”
What was I to say? I had so little memory of who I once was, but Keaira had remained with me, reminded me of who I was. If she left my life now, I would be devastated. Of course I would go with her. I would follow her to the ends of the world.
“When can we leave?” I finally asked.
She grinned. I grinned.
No matter what life had been, I had a new chance; a fresh start. Life was calling my name and I was taking the ticket.