Chapter 3.5 – Break Time

The boat is swaying easy as the group journeys to their destination. Davian, Catherine, Khaadgrim, Barzik and Robin are all sitting around the table in the middle of the cabin while Airolem knits behind Davian on the crane machine. Davian addresses Khaadgrim first and begins the conversation.

Davian: So how did someone like you get involved with the FCU?

Barzik lets out a chuckle.

Barzik: Careful there lad, yer talkin’ to a 6 foot orc decked out in heavy plate armor.

Davian’s face blankets with worry. Khaadgrim grins, snickering and waving Barzik off.

Khaadgrim: Don’t mind him, I’ve gotten that question a lot. I suppose unofficially I’ve been involved for three or four years now. I don’t really pay much attention because I’d rather not count how much I’ve endured with Cham.

Everyone except Airolem and Davian laugh. Davian quirks a brow.

Khaadgrim: Ah, anyways, it started with Berlshenk acquainting me with him. Two years ago we had the task of dealing with a group called the Vorisswa

Barzik: Worst buncha bastards we ever had ta directly deal with too!

Khaadgrim nods.

Khaadgrim: And we knew gathering more support would help with the situation so the three of us decided to have a meeting to see what we could do. The FCU was climbing in reputation at the time and worked as a courier business, but after a year its directive changed and leaned toward shipping, handling and charity. Even so we still do mail service; both tend to mesh in between another.

Davian: Was the FCU always like that? I mean, hiring anyone who believed in its cause?

Khaadgrim: Despite Cham’s attitude there is much more to him than believed. He intentionally planned to have the FCU become this way but at first he was stonewalled by officials and Alliance patriots. Were it not for the events in Outland he wouldn’t have managed to get this far.

Davian: So he got lucky?

Khaadgrim nods.

Catherine: I wouldn’t say it was all by luck. Cham is quite optimistic in his endeavors.

Khaadgrim: Hope doesn’t get work done, however. Then again, Cham doesn’t run on hope and peace like most idiots do.

Catherine: Funny you would be the one to say that.

Catherine and Robin giggle.

Davian: You really talk down to him. Aren’t you supposed to respect him?

Everyone except Airolem and Davian let out a laugh or a snicker.

Robin: He doesn’t really mind, honestly. In fact he’d like you to treat him as a close friend than a superior. He thinks being a leader forces everyone to have to like him and he doesn’t like that.

Khaadgrim: That’s not the case even if it was. There are even several people who outright dislike him and wouldn’t respect him even if he wanted to be thought of as a superior.

Catherine: Definitely. Right, Khaadgrim?

Again, everyone but Airolem and Davian laugh or snicker.

Davian: But isn’t that a bad thing?

Robin: He already has you fooled.

Davian furrows his brows at Robin.

Davian: Come again?

Barzik: Ya ever think when a guy smiles at ya even though ya just insulted him right in his face he’s alright with that?

Davian blinks.

Davian: N-no….

Robin smiles wickedly.

Robin: Exactly! You just don’t know what he’s up to. He’s like an enigma!

Robin wiggles her fingers at Davian.

Robin: Ooooooo!~

Airolem perks up at Robin’s ghostly moaning.

Airolem: O-oh….

Robin giggles.

Robin: I’m sorry Airolem! I didn’t mean to startle you.

Davian: Uh, I guess I’ll stop asking about him. What about you all?

Davian looks over everyone else. Robin speaks up first.

Robin: I worked with Cham since the rougher days. It’s kinda nostalgic to remember. It went from dog chasing to worgens.

Robin giggles, leaning onto the table with a hand supporting her head.

Robin: Now that I think about it Cham’s almost been like a father to me. Even though I wasn’t the required age to start working he was always there to help guide me through the ins and outs.

Davian: How old were you when you started working with him?

Robin ponders for a moment.

Robin: … maybe fifteen? Gosh, it’s really been four years? I never noticed!

Khaadgrim: See?

Robin giggles.

Robin: He was cute back then, when he was alive. Maybe it was his personality or his looks, I don’t know. Though no matter what he’s always had the right words to say when I was going through the tough times in my life.

Davian tries to say something stammers.

Davian: W-well, um… w-what, uh….

Robin looks to Davian and smiles, snickering.

Robin: Hehe! What, what’s wrong?

Davian scratches his head, trying to figure out how to word his question.

Davian: Um, it might sound too personal but, what’d you have to go through?

Robin lets out a sigh, glancing to the top of the cabin. Her playful smile fades away as she delves into thought.

Robin: My father was an abusive nobleman. My mother was the one who worked for me and my brother so we could have a better future. My father couldn’t have cared less for us and didn’t support my mother at all and kept all the gold to himself. When he died he left all his belongings and money to some other woman we never heard of.

Davian frowns deeply. The whole cabin goes silent except for the sound of the sea and Airolem’s knitting equipment. The little Forsaken has managed to knit a thick coat and is already working on another one.

Davian: I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked.

Robin perks up, managing a little smile.

Robin: It’s alright, it really is. It makes me think more of how Cham helped us.

Davian: Oh?

Robin: If it wasn’t for him my mother wouldn’t have gotten out of that hellhole. She was barely making it as a barmaid. Cham hired her as an accountant and now she does number-crunching back at HQ.

Robin nibbles on her lower lip. A smile slowly forms as she thinks a bit more.

Robin: Funny thing is after a few months everything my father gave to that woman was given back to us. She ended up trying to swindle the wrong person and got shanked.

Barzik: Bastards got what was comin’ to’em.

Khaadgrim: Quite.

Catherine: Light bless.

Robin: Yup! Mother only took the gold and gave all the furniture to Cham. Witzer managed to liquidate everything and send the profits into the union bank. Mother sold father’s estate and now we live right by the Cathedral District and have a happy ending.

Davian: At least everything turned out alright.

Robin: Yeah, but if it wasn’t for Cham we wouldn’t have made it. Mother was taking out small pouches of gold from father’s bank deposit box when he wasn’t looking. Without that we would’ve crumbled fast, though that’s all in the past! I’m just glad we were able to make it through.

Robin’s smile brightens.

Davian: I can’t really say there’s anything special about me to tell. My father’s a blacksmith and my mother’s a caretaker at the orphanage. Aside from all the bitter quarrels they get into with die-hard patriots there isn’t much to tell.

Khaadgrim: Better living in dullness than interesting times.

Davian: What makes you say that?

Khaadgrim: It wouldn’t be up to you what sort of excitement you’re thrown into, plus the fact that you’ve just listened to Robin and how much she’s endured.

Davian: … that’s a good point.

Barzik: Hell with that! Be glad ya don’t live as long as we dwarves do ‘n hafta endure crap like that! Y’should be glad about that instead!

Davian: Now I’m glad about both things!

Catherine: We’re resilient for a reason, perhaps.

Barzik: Tell that ta Topper!

Davian: What about you then, Barzik?

Barzik: Bah, there’s not much I’d care ta share. Been in the military since I joined it, fought in the First, Second ‘n Third wars; quit a year ago ta follow ma brother inta the FCU. End story!

Barzik gulps down his drink and lets a sigh out afterwards.

Davian: What happened to your brother’s side? It looks like he just got injured.

Khaadgrim: Vorisswa. Better for him to tell you personally than us. That is, if he’s willing to divulge anything in the first place.

Barzik: Damn straight. Only a handful’a us know what happened ‘n hell if we tell you!

Barzik lets out a laugh. Davian bites his lip.

Davian: O-Ok.

Catherine: It’s a long story, don’t fret too much.

Davian nods.

Davian: You’re related to Rhemis, right? That person with the eye patch?

Catherine: And the seemingly permanent scowl on his face?

Catherine giggles a bit and nods.

Catherine: He doesn’t mean ill, he simply doesn’t talk much. Just try not to engage in conversation with him after Vystrum or Cham’s talked with him.

Davian: Why? What happens then?

Catherine: He’ll growl and throw you a meaner look.

Catherine giggles louder. Davian smirks.

Davian: A-alright, I’ll keep that in mind.

Catherine: I didn’t start working here until a year ago. I was being trained as a paladin so I couldn’t really do anything else. After I was done I joined alongside my father and we’ve been here since.

Davian: What do you and your father do in the scheme of things?

Catherine: Right now I’m being trained as an officer. Khaadgrim’s been assigned to look over my shoulder to ensure everything’s fine.

Catherine looks to Khaadgrim and smiles. Khaadgrim looks back and shakes his head, albeit in good taste and humor.

Catherine: As for my father, he works as a caravan captain and makes sure all shipments reach their intended destinations. He’s the only one who only works as a caravan captain, unlike Khaadgrim or Barzik, who you might see behind a desk or doing lighter work.

Barzik: Only because Berl keeps stuffing me behind a desk!

Khaadgrim: Which is because you have a short temper and like to run into battle head-first.

Barzik grumbles and crosses his arms, scowling.

Davian: What about you, Khaadgrim?

Khaadgrim: Like I said, it is easy to stir chaos and cause devastation than it is to build peace and thrive in harmony.

Robin: Well spoken as always!

Davian gives Khaadgrim a surprised look.

Davian: I’ll be honest, I never expected something like that to come from you.

Khaadgrim: I get that a lot.

Barzik: You get a lotta things! Yer like that weird orc in the corner in’a room full’a orcs that aren’t weird!

Catherine, Davian and Robin begin to snort and giggle. Khaadgrim gives Barzik a look of confusion.

Barzik: … WHAT!?

Robin: I-it’s nothing, it’s nothing!

The three now try to stifle their laughter, managing to do so after a minute or two. Barzik crosses his arms again and grumbles to himself.

Davian: I’m sorry if I’m talking too much. I guess I’m still kind of nervous about heading to Northrend all of a sudden.

Khaadgrim: There’s not a soul in the world who wouldn’t be. As long as you follow our instructions there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

Davian: Shouldn’t be?

Davian begins to worry again. He swallows hard, thinking of the worst that could happen. Before anyone can respond the ship shakes violently and then quickly goes still. Davian lets out a cry of surprise.

Davian: Gah! W-what was that!?

Airolem curls up beside the crane machine, huddling her knitted coats together.

Airolem: M-maybe they’re o-o-out there already….

Airolem lets out a whimper. Khaadgrim glances out of the cabin and catches sight of the sun slowly setting.

Khaadgrim: We’re around the halfway point. At this speed we should arrive at our destination by the afternoon.

Robin: I wonder if Korsaw hit another reef cow.

Catherine: That would be funny if we were at Northrend.

The sailors outside are shouting orders at each other. Korsaw enters the cabin and looks at everyone.

Korsaw: You folks alright?

Khaadgrim: Yes, what happened?

Korsaw: Seems like we hit somethin’ glidin’ under the water, dunno what it was but it learned its lesson.

Robin: Sure it wasn’t a reef cow or something?

Korsaw: Very funny, ya little runt!

Robin and Catherine laugh. Davian isn’t so assured and wipes his forehead while no one’s looking.

Khaadgrim: Rather odd to hit something in the middle of the ocean, wouldn’t you say, Elijah?

Korsaw nods.

Korsaw: Hell, it’s gone now though. If it ends up bringin’ friends we’ll just punch’em in the face!

Barzik: Damn right, skippy!

Barzik downs another drink and sighs cheerfully.

Davian: Heh heh.

Khaadgrim: Quite. How long until our destination?

Korsaw: Probably when the sun comes up, maybe a bit later than that. Ain’t no use waitin’ for it though so y’all might as well get some shuteye.

Davian: Aww, I had more questions, too.

Khaadgrim: If we told you everything about us then you might drop below the danger bar for boredom.

Davian: What’s below that?

Robin: Cham insanity.

Davian’s eyes widen with surprise. A little smirk crawls over his lips.

Davian: Uh, good night, then!

Robin and Catherine giggle as Davian removes some of his armor and hops into a hammock.

Korsaw: Plenty of hammocks, folks. Hope ya don’t get sea sleep sickness, Davian!

Davian: Huh?

Korsaw: Sea sleep sickness! When ya sleep ya get sick!

Davian: Wouldn’t it be sleeping sea sickness instead?

Korsaw: Don’t you get all smug on me, boy!

Catherine and Robin giggle again. Khaadgrim smirks, and Airolem sets her knitting equipment away and moves to the hammock beside Davian.

Korsaw: If there’s any trouble you know where I am. Watch out fer the roaches.

Robin: Yuck!

Khaadgrim: It wouldn’t be a ship without some pests on board, eh?

Korsaw nods with a chuckle and heads to his quarters. Robin flings herself onto the hammock above Davian’s with a giggle, slightly surprising him. Catherine removes some of her armor and rests it beside her hammock. Khaadgrim takes a few blankets and distributes them among the carrier members. While he does so Barzik snags his own blanket and takes a hammock opposite the other members. Once he finishes unbuckling his armor he flops into the hammock and falls straight asleep, snoring loudly.

Davian: Aren’t you going to sleep, Khaadgrim?

Khaadgrim: That would require me taking my armor off.

Davian frowns.

Khaadgrim: Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.

The last goodbyes are exchanged before the orc snuffs the candles and heads out of the cabin, closing the door behind him. The sound of the sea can be heard, gently moving to and fro under the ship. The creaking is now more audible but loud enough to disturb the members’ slumbering.

Davian gently pokes Robin’s side and whispers to her.

Davian: Robin?

Robin rolls and glances down to Davian.

Robin: What?

Davian: Do you really trust Khaadgrim?

Robin nod matter-of-factly.

Robin: Why?

Davian: I mean, it’s not that it’s because he’s an orc….

Davian trails off, trying to think of his words. Robin pokes Davian out of his reverie and gives him a reassuring smile.

Robin: Trust me, he’s a tower; if there’s anyone who could stave off an army of vrykul it’s him and that fancy armor of his. Don’t worry so much, Davian, we’ll get your running legs in no time.

Robin rolls around again and goes back to sleep. Davian rolls to his side and wraps the blanket over himself, letting out a quiet sigh. As the ship sails the sounds of the sea and the gentle creaking reach into Davian’s mind. His eyelids quickly become heavier and close, casting him into the dreaming world.

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About Grim Meteor

Hello. I write, stream, read, dream, and uh, do other stuff. Thanks for stopping by.
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One Response to Chapter 3.5 – Break Time

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