It did not take long for Balen to notice that during the short time he had sat motionless and observant, everything had almost went to complete shit. More ‘allies’ of Sibassius had appeared, in some of the worst ways possible – Oblivion, in truth, after witnessing the way the Khajiit had strutted in despite the animal-like Bosmer, he had expected the next man to come after to enter the fray on a meteorite. Observing the Wood Elf closely (had she not been such an uncivilized specimen, Balen would likely have chided himself for focusing on desires of the flesh again – big mistake), he quickly came to see that his assumptions weren’t incorrect, and that she had almost let go of the bowstring.
Mindfulness was a curse of its own.
Balen felt a tinge of comfort when Erissil stood closer to her rather than the rest of the party, not unlike what a regular person would feel when a cat would not be intimidated by his or her presence, and would instead even stay close in an apparent show of companionship. While Balen was not a very animal-loving person, he still found comfort in their presence, and the Wood Elf’s presence felt exactly like that. Had he not been a cautious and logical person, he likely would’ve let some protective urges take root. Balen could differentiate his emotions and focus on them separately, however, so he disregarded the protective urge and focused simply on the small comfort given by the feeling of acting like an intermediary, a person defusing the tension, at least until Erissil spoke.
Her mispronunciation of Hector’s surname formed a very dry and faint smile on Balen’s lips, although even more bemusing than that was the Imperial’s attempt to look amicable in the eyes of the tribeswoman. There was something childishly funny in it – the stern commander, bumbling, trying his best to give the impression of an understanding and friendly person, as if he were speaking to a child – then again, the Bosmer did act somewhat like a primal child.
As Hector introduced everyone to Erissil (and, by extension, Balen), another man popped up out of the blue, wearing a coat with fur shoulders, likely trying to tempt the Earth Bones to give him a heat stroke. They truly were a motley bunch – Balen was reminded somewhat of when he had first met Hector – everyone had kept popping up similarly, and as uncomfortable as it felt to say it, the expedition had not gone all that well (one could argue disastrous, even). At least he and Hector had survived.
The ‘troop’, as he had just nicknamed the young man called Roland, greeted the newcomer with caution, and likely because he felt that the group had not exactly bonded, took out a flagon of wine from his backpack and offered it to the ‘fellowship’. Lecturing the others about how shared habits had helped his men back during the war and how it would help them to ‘triumph’ now, he offered the wine. Balen immediately found the man supremely boring.
‘’Thank you, but I don’t drink,’’ Balen said passively, although he intoned it as to not give out a feeling of alienation and condescension by poking holes into the troop's claim, but rather a polite refusal.