Curiously enough, the chaos and rustic feeling with shady characters and boisterous noise he had experienced as he had walked into the tavern and his senses had been bombarded with noise, smell and visuals, actually made him feel at home. There was a slightly different atmosphere though, there was laughter and comradery rather than suppression and a need for release as it had on the drunken nights the young soldiers of the rebel rag tag group he had been a part of in his old world. Here it seemed there was a celebration of life while the gatherings after a hard fight were more of remembering those had had been lost. The realization brought a sadness that washed over his body making him shiver slightly. He had fought battles for a cause he did not fully believe in for people who used him as expendable. Now, here he was again in a war not his own.
He heard the greeting of the person he assumed they were here to see and made his way towards the table. The young Shield Hero made a mental search and the name Marcino came up. As he made his way to the table and his eyes fell on Marcino, Cole and Auriel, there was a sense of purpose to him fighting this war. He thought that at first it was his need to get back to his sister but his mind quickly rebutted that this excuse was not the only reason. These people, Cole at the very least, had also been placed in this situation and had willingly continued out of their own accord and not due to some forced pressure. He had passed many people on the way here, some human and some not, but all were unknowing dependent on the actions and victory of those assembled around the rough wooden table. He wondered as he quickly looked around to the bustle of people in the tavern, if they knew that near them, plans were made that would very much impact their survival. He turned to his companions and again his gaze rested on their winged companion.
Fer had notice something slightly off when Auriel had addressed him as he had come into the tavern. His mood was quickly altered as his mind put together the scenery, the mug in Auriel’s hand and the flush of her cheeks. A slow smile spread through his face as he walked forward and instinctively positioned his hands close to Auriel’s back as she seemed shaky on her legs. He placed a hand on her upper back as she took a swig with two hands causing her head backwards and her body followed.
Fer smiled as he helped her to her seat to prevent her from being embarrassed in case her legs betrayed her. He reached for his own mug and nodding a greeting or respect and acknowledgement he raised it in a toast to their health. He was not about to let Auriel drink alone. There seemed to be an unspoken rule in regards to drinking with comrades that sealed their relationship and he was dammed if he would not show his party members that he valued them as such. The beer that touched his lips was surprisingly good. It was true that maybe it was the company but he took a good gulp and let the liquid run down his throat. The taste left a sort of earthy after taste in his mouth perhaps from the cask that had housed the beer.
His tone was warm as he spoke to Auriel low enough to not disturb the other two. “You might want to slow down on those sips. The beer does taste good but if you keep on drinking it that fast the beer will come right back up and believe me it does not taste as good as it did on the way down.” He flashed her a playful smile not sure if the poor warrior would even remember their interchange or care about it in the morning with a splitting headache that was fated for her come morning. He settled himself in his chair and turned his attention to Marcino and Cole. He extended a hand towards the sniper.
“I apologize for not introducing myself before. I am Fernando Gutierrez but you can call me Fer. I look forward to your training and hope to live up to your teachings.”
Of course if I don’t do well in training I wont live to get chewed out the young Shield Hero thought but the only thing that betrayed that line of thinking was a slight pull of his right cheek as he suppressed a smile. He sat back down and eagerly awaited their conversation turning ever now and then towards Auriel and taking a mental note of how much she had drunk. It would not do to have one of their party deceased due to alcohol poisoning. He made a note to secretly pour from her mug into his if she left hers unattended to more directly reduce her intake without embarrassing her by directly telling her to stop drinking.
Marcino however, seemed to have no qualm about speaking his mind concerning Auriel’s state of drunkenness. He felt a protective feeling rise in his stomach and would have retorted to the man but logic suppressed that feeling. The holy warrior was more than capable in fending for herself. His “recue” could be construed as a lack of trust in this capability and he knew the older man was speaking more out of observance than actual mean to disrespect. So instead, he settled to listed to Marcino’s almost cliché speech that all hardened and experienced soldiers seem to develop. Fer had heard it many times from veterans teaching the young rebels trying to enhance their chances of survival. Death, the young hero knew, was a likely event in battle and was glad that the older man did not try to hide that fact. He instinctively touched his shield as the old adventurer mentioned his limitations. As much as the comment stung, there was no fault in it. Fer had harbored the same doubts regarding his usefulness in this fight. While he was handy with a hunting knife at close quarters, even if he had been allowed a weapon, he would not know how to wield a sword or spear effectively. His experience was limited to rifles and small arms.
He heard Marcino’s blunt words and was not surprised when Cole stood and valiantly expressed his commitment to the mission and his fervor in being the hero these people needed. Fer smiled understanding, from what he knew of the young man, he could guess that Cole had some inner moral code which caused him to act. The smile faded when remembered the saying one of his sergeants had always used to say
“the best laid plans and beliefs often do not survive once the battle starts”.
Still he felt he must back up his companion, not as defense but as an assurance to all about his commitment to the cause. When Cole sat back down, Fer leaned forward in his seat and placed his mug on the table looking at the older man.
“I agree with you both. Cole is correct in that we are here for some reason chosen from amongst many.” He continued quickly and firmly as he noticed a retort formulating behind the eyes of the ex-adventurer. “However, even if that is not the case, our chances of survival will be increased by following your teachings. You are right to assume I don’t know anything of this world. I also share your observation of how much this….” And he raised his hand to reveal the shield “…will be useful in battle when I can’t be an offensive fighter. But I must remind you that these weapons have been used in the past, and used effectively. You are correct that despite them being Legendary it we….” And he swept his hand to include his companions “…who must increase our skills in their use. I thank you for sharing your knowledge and I welcome any challenge you may have. If I fail, then you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you were right. If I don’t fail, then this world will have a chance of surviving these waves. “
He leaned back giving Cole a knowing nod indicating that he was ready to take any action that the sword had in mind. While he was not giving full control of their adventures to the other young hero, Fer felt that Cole had the right mindset and temperance to be the spokesperson for the team. He knew that Auriel would defer as much as she could to the Hero’s and Fer felt, perhaps selfishly, that Cole was perhaps the best suited for that responsibility. He took his mug in his hand again and took a swig showing solidarity with Auriel. Curiously enough, despite already having finished three mugs, Fer was not feeling buzzed at all. He stared down the empty bottom of the mug as if he would find the culprit. Not finding one there, he poured himself another one and settled to drink waiting what the group was going to do. He felt it would be best to sleep the night and set out in the morning to hunt these balloons Marcino spoke of.