"Are.. are you sure we should be here?" the Librarian had to resist the urge to cling to the back of the orc's shirt as they made their way through the darkened city streets, despite the fact that his body was telling him it should be broad daylight out right now. His internal clock was hardly ever wrong, it came from the strict routines his life had followed as a young adept in the Library. So why was it so dark, and why were there so many scary looking folk about? He quickened his stride to keep pace with Sir Gronk, wishing for once that the rest of the goblins were with them, surrounding him, screening him from the eyes which did not seem to glow in the darkness, but were literally glowing. He gulped. Red eyes and golden eyes seemed to be the most common, but he felt like he had seen a whole spectrum of colors out there.
As always, the Librarian had no idea what had brought them to this latest stop in their journey. He had heard stories of the city of Kuraya, written down in novels, speaking of a land ruled by vampires and worse. He had read books about all kinds of places, which upon seeing firsthand, had obviously been embellished. He had a sinking feeling that there were no exaggerations where this place was concerned, however. Which meant that he was prey. A delicious meal. Something to be feasted upon, if the opportunity arose. He gulped, and reached out to tug on the sleeve of the orc's shirt. "M-maybe we should head b-back. To the port. To the ship. Go home, maybe?"
Where was home, though? For the Librarian, it was nowhere. He was not to call the Library home again until he received word that his pilgrimage was done, that his contributions were sufficient. Until then, he was a drifter, alone save for the company of what to him seemed like the largest orc in the world, and a group of goblins he could not quite keep track of. Knob, the leader, spoke the common tongue well enough, the rest did not talk to the Librarian at all. In the presence of Gronk they were all silent, reverent, even. There was a story there, but not one the orc or the goblin were sharing with him. It was frustrating, and for a short while it took his mind off his current location. A location which he could easily see being the home of the orc. A place like this, forever in darkness, populated by the most dangerous creatures in the world? Yes, this could be home to the orc, and the goblins.
Speaking of the goblins, they had slipped away into the shadows as they had disembarked from the ship, without a word. Knob had muttered something to Sir Gronk, and then led the cart and horse away into the dim light. He had gotten up the courage to ask the orc one day who the goblins were, and why they followed him, and the response was short, as all conversations with the orc were. "Ard Boyz." Upon asking for clarification whether this was "Hard boys", the orc's accent was really very thick, and everything came out as a deep rumble which only resembled speech, the orc had just shaken his head and repeated, "Ard Boyz". That was the end of that conversation, and the Librarian had been left with no more information than he had started with.
Back to the present, they were in a city that housed nightmares, and nightmares were set in, and the Librarian had no idea why. Like all questions and conversations with the orc, he struggled to get anywhere. He wondered what his life might have been like right now, if he had just hired someone else back in Adeluna. But, had he had a choice in the matter? Events had taken on a turn, back then, and well. It was history now, and he just had to hope he did not become history himself in the near future. He thought his question had been ignored, and he was about to ask about going back to the ship again when the orc finally said, "No." and that was the end of that.
They continued on through the city until they came to a small building which had the immediate look of a tavern about it. He was getting good at recognizing taverns, the orc always seemed to find one when they went to a new city, and from there they wound up in all kinds of situations. As the chronicler, a term he had been surprised to hear come out of the mouth of the orc once, and once only, to the orcish knight, it was his duty to go with him where he went and record his deeds. At the same time, as the Librarian's sword protector, it was the orc's job to follow the Librarian wherever he went and help him on his journey. Somehow, they only ever seemed to go where the orc wanted, though. Today, that was into a dark tavern, in a dark city, full of people who would probably feel right at home chasing him through a moonlit forest.
The tavern itself looked ordinary on the inside, a bar, a fire, tables and patrons scattered about the place. There was a wide variety, and some of them looked just as wary of the situation they found themselves in as the Librarian did. The orc pointed to an empty table, obviously expecting the Librarian to sit, while he strode up to the bar and ordered them whatever it was going to be today. He just hoped it was going to be something which was safe to drink for a human. He took the time to search the room, to see if he could het a feel for the room, the way the orc always seemed to do so naturally. He tried listening, to see if he would pick up on anything, but all the customers seemed to be guarded, unwilling to talk above the barest whisper. Odd, that.
Before the eeriness of a quiet tavern could unsettle him any further, the orc was back, holding a massive tankard in one hand and a small steaming cup in another. He put the smaller cup down in front of the Librarian, who eyed it suspiciously. The orc paid him no attention as he sniffed at it and took his first cautious sip. It was an interesting flavor, and with the first sip was enough to spread warmth slowly throughout his body. There were heavy spices in it, but a sweet aftertaste which was nice. With a smile, he looked up at the orc, who was staring at a figure who the Librarian was sure had not been standing at the end of the bar furthest from the bar just a second before. The orc stood and walked over to the cloaked figure, the deep hood obscuring any details of a face beneath it. He had no interest in approaching shadowy figures, in shadowy taverns, in shadowy cities, on shadowy islands. He sat there with his drink, and he waited.
It did not take long, and there was something comforting in the fact that nobody seemed to be able to get a decent conversation out of the orc. Not even someone as scary as he was. Yes, scary was the right word here, he was sure of it. "Forest." The orc said, and the Librarian's heart sank. As many stories as he had heard about the city of Kuraya, he had heard even more about the forest on the island which was said to be haunted. He did not have a good feeling about the forest, whatever it was they were going there for.