“You have been here for three months,” Gregoff mentions one morning. Why did that matter, Valeo never kept track of these things.
“I probably should go,” Valeo replied.
“No, no that isn’t at all what I was going to say,” Gregoff tells him, “Octavius thrown out his back again and need someone to help him in his brewery.”
“Like a Crone brewery?” Valeo ask him curiously.
“No, like a tavern,” Gregoff scrunches up his face.
“You want me to help him then?” Valeo ask.
“I figured it is about time to introduce you to the town, everyone is getting use to your logs, despite not knowing how to use an axe,” he was going to bring that up again?
“Now I do,” Valeo tells him, “And I was going to know whether you had to teach me or not. So I knew. In a technical sense.”
Gregoff raises his brow. Yet playfully passes off his response. Gregoff hands him a bowl of spiced porridge.
“You up for the task?” Gregoff ask.
“I guess,” Valeo replies.
“That’s not exactly confidence your building me here,” Gregoff replied.
“What is more fun than giving drunk people a smelly drink that taste neither good nor smells good, I guess is I will help, I won’t enjoy any moment of it,” Valeo replies.
Gregoff just laughs. He sees him as a cute boy that came out of his shell. He wished Gregoff was scared off by him more. Instead he treated him like he were a small child. That anything and mostly everything he said was folly. He disliked that about Gregoff. The longer he stayed here the more he got annoyed with his habits. He was certain someone else was supposed to find them endearing and that’s what created bonds. It frustrated Valeo to no end and made him want to beat his head against a wall. They ate and said nothing for a little while. They washed up and Gregoff smiled at him.
“You know it has been good having you here Valeo,” Gregoff says, Valeo notices he is being genuine. Does he view himself, as? Oh gods. Please no. He doesn’t want him to get attached. How the heck is he going to leave this place if he gets attached? Like he’s some stray cat he’s let in.
“I like being here,” playing the part, it’s working too well now.
“Good, I am glad, I don’t want you to ever feel like you are not wanted,” Gregoff tells him. Now it’s just the generic crap. The only reason he’s been hidden in Gregoff’s cottage is because he knew everybody would have mixed reactions. Than there is this Order of Purity people he hasn’t met yet, but judging on Gregoff’s outlook on them they aren’t so keen on half deamons either. Do not give him that load of garbage, when he knows he has been, hunted, chased out, stared out, and most people have been scared of him because of the way he looks.
God he hates that sentimental nothing people spew. Walking out of the door, Valeo did not feel a sense of nervousness walking the path towards the town. He was use to stares, questions, the way people’s eyes dilated when they looked at him. The different way people showed fear then they gazed upon his physical being. That stuff did not really bother him. He looked funny compared to them, man reacted that way to anything that didn’t agree with their sensibility of normal. Why should that bother him? It was their flaw. Not his.
Passing the threshold of wall to town, Redfort city was a mixture of a town that hadn’t expected to survive the daunting trials of the forest. Some of the older buildings were made of a mixture of clay, thachtc roofing, and wood. While the newer buildings of the expanded city were made of stone and had roofs built at levels for irrigation when it rained. The town center had been moved from a small place, now used as a training area for squires, and half a pig pen, to a newer looking one with a water fountain and a woman with six wings, pouring water from her hands. She was beautiful, in an ethereal, and celestial way. Her water was sparkling, clear, glittering. So clear and glittering he assumed the water was not coming from a well.
Men in glittering silver armor patrolled the streets. And in the center of the town for all to see was a cathedral. With stained glass windows, that depicted six winged individuals performing miracles. Healing the sick. Aiding the injured. Helping guide the dead through death. There is collective gasp looking at him though Gregoff holds on tight to his shoulder. People were staring at him, whispering. Uttering phrases. He was guided to a tavern, in the back was a small brewery, and in the front was the area for entertaining guest.
An elven woman played the lute, as few of the town watched her, drinking their morning beer, and eating their morning breakfast before tending the fields. The elven woman in terms of everyone else around here, is very pretty, long woody brown hair, with strands of blond, tan skin, though lighter than the Moss Woods. She must have been a Deep Forest Elf. The voice of a celestial, said the flier. She apparently is to be in town for a week.
Maid girls watched her with a mix of envy and awe. Some too ugly to admire her music, were whispering things to put down her appearance. Gregoff guided him into the back. There a small kitchen prepared food with a single chef, and a couple of woman rolling out bread, cutting up vegetables. They must be preparing for tonight’s meal. In a smaller doorway the scent of yeast fermenting is pungent, strong, there are a few mini sylos. Bags of barley. Barrels where the ale sat till the fermentation process is complete.
A man with large glasses, large that they didn’t fit his pensive, bony face, with wispy brown or was it blonde hair, with slight hints of gray, sat in the corner writing something down on it seemed a log. Man was thinner than a twig, with a bony, pointy nose. His glasses seemed to manage to slip off from time to time, which he would just push back up.
“Octavius,” Gregoff calls out.
Octavius startles and drops his quill.
“You have to announce yourself Gregoff,” Octavius tells him.
“I just did,” Gregoff tells him picking up the quill. Their exchanged seemed friendly. They must be really good friends. The way they exchanged smiles towards each other, Gregoff practically laughing at Octavius. Gregoff guides Valeo in front of Octavius.
“Ah so this is him then,” Octavius says inspecting him, his glasses slowly sliding off as he did so, “You know anything about fermentation?”
“I use to brew potions with a Crone,” Valeo replies.
Octavius looks at him, well more like raises his head up to look down his glasses that have slid down to the tip of his hooked nose.
“Interesting,” Octavius whispers, he stands up and grabs a walking cane, “very interesting. Come walk with me.”
Gregoff smiles, “I will come get you when the sun turns to early evening. Do not go out in the city alone.”
Valeo stares at Octavius. This man has either lost his marbles a long time ago, or he is just this annoying. The man limped through the small room.
“Making beer is not all that different from, what did you say, ah yes potions,” Octavius said, “They are the same principle. You have your barley, and the fermentation blends all the flavors together. The boiling process cleans out any of the impurities. Surely you understand.”
“Yes, except one affects people negatively and another affects people in more various ways the user intended,” Valeo replies.
Octavius begins to laugh loudly.
“You are a funny one I can see why Gregoff likes you,” Octavius tells him.
“You are the second person not put off by me,” Valeo remarks.
“Am I? You mean Gregoff,” Octavius looks reminiscent, “Ah, I suppose. Before we got old we were quite adventurous.” Octavius smiles.
“What do I need to do to help?” Valeo asked.
“Well originally I was going to have you help me brew,” Octavius told him, “I can get one of the other lads to do that. You said you worked with a Crone. I have a plan to make the town a new ale. I’d go out, but can’t use much of a sword due to my injury. So, I’d like you to come back with ingredients you think would go good in ale.”
“I never had ale before, how am I supposed to know that,” Valeo replies.
“Right you are,” Octavius tells him. He uses his hands to usher Valeo to follow him. He does so. Can he leave now? Maybe he can use this opportunity to leave. Octavius grabs a spoon and continues to have him follow him without a word. They walk back into the tavern. A tall man, with graying hair, a bit of a belly, is behind the bar counter, filling the tap. As he is doing so, Octavius runs a spoon under the tap. The man glares at Octavius, who gives the man a toothy grin, “Open and taste.”
Ew. Valeo does so. There is several looks from the servers and even the man behind the counter. It taste like nothing, but fizzy, water. It is so bland and yeasty.
“It is for experiment reasons,” Octavius tells the people watching, giving them a dismissive wave.
“It is gross,” Valeo coughs.
“Right you are,” Octavius tells him, “So. Figure out, how to make it taste better.”
“You are not seriously putting him on a mission, that he will certainly fail,” the bartender says.
“Dear brother, he brewed potions, that must account for something,” Octavius replies, “Besides I need someone to fix your ale recipe.”
The man grumbles and looks at him, “Desmond. You?”
“Valeo,” he replies.Little while later;
Well that was easy enough. Octavius is under the impression he went out looking for ingredients to try. All he needed to do was grab Muris and call Magnar, to leave. That should be easy enough. Gregoff would be working the lumber mill and while he may not be shocked by his appearance, he isn’t as observant as he likes to think he is. Walking towards the threshold between the dirt path and Gregoff’s cottage, Valeo notices something. That dark brown leather armor, almost like the fur of a dark mare, standing at the lumber mill talking to Gregoff with a piece of paper. Bernard. Shit he stayed too long.
He needed to leave now. Hiding behind a tree he watched the exchange. Gregoff shook his head. He needed to get closer without alerting either of them. So he took a path behind trees to hide behind Gregoff’s cottage. There isn’t much cover from here to the river’s edge. He hid behind a log pile.
“No sorry,” Gregoff replies.
“And you are certain?” Bernard ask.
“Certain as I’d ever be Deamon Hunter,” Gregoff replies.
Valeo looks at the cottage window, he has enough cover from the logs. He slightly opens the window and slips into the cottage. Muris is sleeping under the bed. Gregoff still hasn’t figured out where the snoring is coming from. Valeo grabs him by his handle, Muris startles awake.
“Just me,” Valeo tells Muris, “We have to go.”
As much as Gregoff is nice, nice doesn’t mean much. It was time for him to find somewhere else. With the Order of Purity in town and Bernard searching town, obviously someone would rat him out. Grabbing some bread he points it to Muris.
“If I feed you, will you not eat my food for the road?” Valeo ask Muris.
Muris merely licks the top of it’s teeth. He’s going to guess that’s a yes and he hands Muris some bread. Okay. What to take. An axe that will be helpful. What else? The door to the cottage opens and Valeo slips under the bed where he had stored Muris. Gregoff walks in, heavy boots. He forgot to close the window, such a rookie mistake. Gregoff walks towards the window and looks out of it. Trying to cover the mouth of a mimic bag is a lot harder than you think when there is a lot of surface area.
Gregoff looks around. Leave. Leave. Leave. Gregoff walks off. He waits for a few minutes. Then slips out from the bed. Have to be quicker. The door opens again and Gregoff is staring at him. Shit sauce.
“Have to admit you are extremely cunning,” Gregoff tells him, smiling.
“Thank you for not telling Bernard where I am,” Valeo replies, “While I honor that, I have no commitments to you.”
“I already assumed that,” Gregoff tells him, “But what is your plan, to continue running.”
Valeo shrugs. It is most of his life.
“I want a full explanation Valeo, you’re not a bad kid nor an evil one, else the town and I would have been slaughtered long ago,” Gregoff tells him, “I want the truth.”
Valeo sighs. He guesses he owes Gregoff the truth after sticking up for him and letting him stay here.
“Fine,” Valeo says.
So he does. Explaining every event up to this point. About his life. Who he really is. What has experienced in life. Gregoff just watches him and says nothing the entire time. He listens with consideration. He’s never seen someone with that much genuineness in their expression.
“You could have told me all of this from the start,” Gregoff tells him brushing his hand across his arm. Whenever Gregoff does so it makes Valeo uncomfortable. He does not like when he touches him in that manner. Valeo pulls his arm away, Gregoff doesn’t look disappointed.
“I do not think everyone has the patience you have,” Valeo tells him, “So I didn’t say.”
“Well that is true,” Gregoff laughs, “But trust me. All you’re going to do is continue running your whole life if you do not find a support system that will protect you. Stay Valeo.”
Valeo stares at Gregoff.
“Truthfully and honestly, I do not think this town can protect me,” Valeo tells him.
“It has for the last three months, trust me,” Gregoff tells him.
“And to be honest I don’t trust you,” Valeo continues.
“That hurts,” Gregoff frowns, “Look I didn’t give you out. We don’t like the Deamon Hunters any more than you do.”
What should he do? It is obvious Gregoff wants him to stay due to some emotional bond. He didn’t have that bond with Gregoff. His pleading was merely annoyance. Grabbing Muris, he walked past Gregoff to leave this town. He rather run than stay in one place. As he walked out of the cottage, the wind began to pick up furiously. Valeo continued walking towards the forest, till another scrap of paper flew into his face. It was torn. Barely legible, it read; Best Ale in Town.
Valeo stares at the paper and looks around the trees.
“Really!” Valeo shouts at the trees, “How do you know, whoever you are that this is the best course of action!”
The wind picks up once again. Valeo grumbles.
“Why should I stay? I owe these people nothing!” for a long time there is no response, as he continues to walk towards the forest. The wind picks up furiously again. Valeo ignores it. As he walks into the bush, city behind, the corridor of the forest must have changed as he walks into a cemertery. Valeo frustratingly screams.
“Okay I get it,” Valeo shouts at no one. Walking out of the bush and storming back to Gregoff’s cottage. Who is just sitting, looking defeated. Valeo hands him the scrap of paper, “I guess I am helping your friend.”