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    Yeoldebard
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

The Elf's Hunt - 11. A Simple Spell

He awoke to the sound of a sword being pulled from its scabbard. Flinching, Hope realised he had been resting his head on Elluin’s lap. When the fuck had that happened? And why did the elf allow it? He thought Elluin hated him.

And why was the elf staring at the sword hanging over the tiefling’s head?

“Good morning,” Elluin said, his eyes travelling along the blade.

“Is it? Because it looks like you want to kill me,” Hope replied, sliding off the elf.

“No. I’m studying.”

“Ah, mighty wizard things. Well, carry on. I’m going to hunt down some breakfast.”

The tiefling dropped from the wagon, hearing a quiet rustling from Elluin. Something hit him in the back of the head, and Hope turned, finding a cloth wrap on the edge of the wagon.

“Eat,” Elluin said, staring at his blade again.

Unwrapping the package, Hope stared at the bit of bread and pieces of venison jerky, his stomach roaring. This had to be the best he had eaten in years.

“Are you sure?” he asked. “I mean, don’t you want this?”

Elluin waved his hand dismissively. Good enough for Hope. He tore into the bread, devouring it in seconds. The tiefling slowed down on the meat. Who knew how long he needed to make this last?

Folding the meat back into its package, Hope set it aside, watching Elluin. The elf seemed to be tracing over his blade obsessively, always the same spot, the same motion, whispering under his breath. It was as though he had fallen into a trance of some sort. Was he… worshipping his sword?

“Fuck, he’s weirder than I am,” Hope muttered.

Still, he was guarding the wagon. And Hope wanted to find more food before they left Garysel. He had the money for it now.

Picking up the bowl he had used last night, the tiefling carried it into the tavern, setting it on the empty counter.

“Here kitty kitty…”

Hope’s head swivelled, spying a drunk woman stumbling toward him.

“Come on, I wanna touch your ears…” the woman slurred.

“Keep your hands to yourself, please,” Hope said firmly.

“Aw, is the little pussy cat afraid? I have another pussy you can see.”

“Yeah, I don’t ever want to see it.”

He began walking around the tavern, keeping the woman in sight as he weaved through empty tables and chairs.

“Hey, you leave him alone,” Elluin’s voice said sharply, startling them both.

The woman froze at the sight of the elf, his sword held loose in his hand.

“My...my apologies…” she said. “I didn’t know he had a boyfriend.”

Hope bit his lip to keep from laughing out loud. Elluin didn’t even hesitate.

“He is not my boyfriend. But you were told to leave him alone. I suggest you listen.”

The woman nodded, stumbling away, and Hope turned to Elluin.

“I did not expect you to defend me,” the tiefling said.

“The last thing the world needs is for you to have a child,” Elluin said, stalking out of the tavern.

“Well, that stung…”

 

Elluin sheathed his blade as he reached the wagon again. Another morning of botched study, thanks to the tiefling. Maybe Hope wasn’t a bad person, but he was certainly making Elluin’s life difficult. Why had he tracked him down again?

The trader walked out to the wagon. What was his name again? Horton? Something like that… Elluin didn’t really care. He was in a foul mood after the confrontation with the drunk.

“We’re staying here for the day. Tomorrow morning we’ll be on our way to Kalen.”

Elluin nodded thoughtfully, an idea starting to form. Hope was a novice spellcaster, a dangerous thing in any race. It was increasingly obvious that Elluin wasn’t going to kill him; he couldn’t, for whatever reason. Despite their differences, the tiefling actually seemed like a somewhat decent guy.

With that in mind, Elluin took a moment to grab twenty gold from their chest, glancing around to make sure Hope didn’t see him. The gold was technically his, but he wanted this to be a surprise for the tiefling. Not that it really mattered.

He stopped Hope as the tiefling approached the wagon.

“You’re on guard.”

Elluin could feel Hope’s eyes on him as he walked away, the abruptness startling. He ignored the feeling, walking briskly toward the marketplace, where stores were beginning to open.

“Excuse me sir, are you searching for adventuring supplies?” a man asked eagerly as he passed. “My shop has everything the discerning adventurer needs, from bags to chests for all the gold you will find!”

“Do you have books?”

The man’s smile faltered.

“Books? What sort of books?”

“I’m looking for a simple travel-sized journal. I would also like some ink and a pen, if you have them,” Elluin said.

He doubted this man’s shop would have such mundane supplies, and just as he thought, the shop owner began backing away, shaking his head.

“You might want to try Madame Gerry’s shop,” he said, pointing to another store where an old woman was opening the door.

Nodding in thanks, Elluin crossed the street, a wagon passing behind him. Entering the store, he found a small interior filled with vials of ink and stacks of paper. A sprig of lavender sat on a counter, subtle hints of the plant in the air.

“Good morning sir. Can I help you with something?” the old woman asked.

“I am looking for a journal.”

“Well, I have plenty of those. Is there a particular kind of journal you are looking for?”

“Something sturdy, with plenty of pages within, that is good for travelling.”

“Ah, an elf on a grand adventure?” the woman smiled, reaching for a book behind her.

“Returning from an adventure, actually,” Elluin shrugged.

“Would you mind telling me about it? I always wanted to go on an adventure, but I’m not brave enough to leave Garysel.”

“If you wish. I came out here on the hunt for a fiend who cast a spell on me. There was a mimic just out of Cadara, and I slew it. That’s pretty much all there is to tell.”

“Your story could certainly use some embellishing,” the woman laughed quietly, setting three books in front of Elluin.

The elf looked over the books, one a leather-bound tome with a small crystal orb pressed into the centre, one a book bound by a green wood, and the third a book of an unfamiliar material, an intricately carved cat’s head in the cover.

“Take your pick. Any tale placed within these books is a tale worthy of the gods themselves,” the woman said.

“And their prices?”

“Ten gold for each. I would suggest the seeing eye if you are looking for clarity of memory. Or the greenwood if the memories you intend to write are of a tender nature.”

“What is this cat book? I have never seen material like it before.”

“Ivory. It is said to grant good health to the one who bears it. The cat is the great saber-tooth goddess of the Ajiran jungle.”

“Is the ivory from there too?” Elluin asked, recalling a few of the animals he had hunted while living in the jungle.

“I believe it was originally, but the journal came to me through an adventurer who raided a dragon’s hoard a month ago.”

The elf looked between the books, a decision not coming readily.

“I suppose I’ll go with this one,” he said finally, taking the leather book. Can I get a pen and a vial of ink please?”

“Of course,” the woman smiled, setting a vial of ink and an intricate-looking inkpen beside the book. “That is nineteen gold in total.”

Elluin set his gold on the counter, keeping one coin back. He took his supplies and left the shop, satisfied. Now he had some work to do.

 

Hope’s new arrows clattered in their quiver as he walked back to the wagon, parked in the marketplace. He really shouldn’t have spent the gold to buy them, but the amount of gold they were carrying, one gold wasn’t going to make much of a difference.

Elluin was seated beside the wagon, staring at his sword again. But this time he had a book open, writing Rellanic words in it. It seemed a complicated procedure, and the tiefling was more than happy to leave the elf to it. For his part, he spun a new dagger in his hand, idly watching the marketplace.

People came up to the wagon often, the trader eagerly selling his wares. Hope noticed that he often sold for more than the goods were worth, but the tiefling just shrugged. It wasn’t his problem if people were too dumb to haggle properly.

“Yeah, yeah, you should care and all that rubbish. I have enough on my plate. You deal with it if you have a problem,” he muttered, looking up at the sky.

There was a time he had expected his god to smite him with lightning for his disrespect. But as his life continued in this world where the homeless starved and the rich grew richer, Hope found he didn’t care. It was his way of striking back at the one who made the world, who just let things happen as she wished, to fulfill some sort of story. He thought it was bullshit. No one should have to suffer for a book.

Whether she knew that he knew she existed was beyond the point. Hope was just tired of people not caring. That was why he had gone after the crown. He wanted something that would draw attention to his plight.

“Oh, it certainly called attention to me,” the tiefling scoffed, looking at Elluin. “I could have been followed by an uglier person, I guess.”

Had he actually charmed the man? It certainly seemed that way. Why else would he follow Hope all the way to Four Pines? Not that the tiefling wasn’t grateful. If it wasn’t for the elf, he’d be dead.

A heavy book fell into his lap, Hope startling as Elluin stood over him.

“You are a mage with no training in the ways of magic. If you remain that way, you will die. There’s a spell in this book. Learn it, practice it, master it,” the elf said gruffly.

Hope lifted the book, his dagger forgotten for the moment. It was a masterfully crafted book, heavy for its size, yet compact enough that he would have no problem carrying it on the go.

“Does this mean you don’t hate me anymore?” the tiefling asked.

Elluin grunted and walked away.

“I’ll take that as a maybe…”

Opening the spellbook, Hope squinted at the Rellanic words, words he knew dimly. They seemed different from the ones he knew. A code of some sort? The writing took up a whole page, small notations written on the side, also in Rellanic.

Energy flowed through his body suddenly, ending in the tielfing’s eyes. Blinking in alarm, Hope found the page taking on a much more readable appearance, words forming in the coded mess Elluin had left him.

“Uh, I think I just found another spell I can do?” he said uncertainly.

When Elluin didn’t respond, the tiefling shrugged and began reading.

 

He learned fast. Elluin didn’t know how the tiefling did it, but he was already making small coins appear and disappear in his hands, a trick that had taken Elluin a week to even read let alone perform. There was something about Hope that disturbed the elf. Some sort of outside force that seemed to aid him. The amount of energy he had at such an early level of learning astounded Elluin. Three castings of prestidigitation should have exhausted him, but he pushed on like he had been casting spells all his life.

Elluin was more than a little jealous of his endurance.

And then the tiefling made his first mistake.

Turning his spell on his clothes, the tiefling took on a look of concentration. Elluin could guess what he was about to do, but he just watched. The spell was harmless; no one would be in any real danger.

With a small puff, the breast of Hope’s shirt caught on fire, a tiny flame eating away at the fabric. With a loud curse, the tiefling dropped to the ground, rolling until the flame was out. His shirt was left smoking with a hole in it, through which one of the tiefling’s grey stripes could be seen.

“Son of an elf’s tit!”

Elluin chuckled quietly. So the tiefling was prone to making beginner mistakes. That soothed his wounded pride a bit. Hope was downright adorable in his efforts.

Fuck, there it was again. Adorable. Why did he think of the tiefling as adorable? What was wrong with him? If this really wasn’t a charm cast on him, and at this point, he doubted Hope had the ability to cast a permanent charm spell, then had he followed a fiend across the land for lust?

Because he was finally willing to admit there was lust involved. He wanted to do things to Hope. Dirty things. Was it Hope’s fault? Or were they both victims of nature here?

Copyright © 2020 Yeoldebard; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Great chapter. So Eluin has bought a notebook so he can write spells for the trifling to learn, who seems to be able to learn quite quickly.

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Interesting give and take between Hope and Elluin, but they both seem to be understanding each other a little better.  Have to question the merchant they are with, is there more to him?

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