"A Lesson at the Docks"

Nighttime was never a good time to enter a port or leave a boat. Many things could not be seen. Lorin left his cabin and head to the deck. Many thought raced through his mind, "Whom am I supposed to meet? Will they know me, what is it Lord Dragon has planned for me? What is the purpose of these seeds I carry?" Reaching the top deck, Lorin peers through the darkness. The boat has been secured and the other passengers have begun to debark. Stepping up to the down ramp, Aizfar's words fill Lorin's mind. "Know your surroundings, be wary of the unexpected." Lorin stops and looks around, many places are well lit but still there are places a person could hide and not be seen. Caution wining over, Lorin sets his packs on the ground and pulls his sword from them. Strapping on the belt and scabbard, Lorin pulls the blade free and looks at it. This Fine crafted Steel sword was given to him the night before he left Azifar.

Lorin's mind races back to that night, "You have done well Lorin, though I had hoped for more time with you, you will do well on your own. You have the knowledge to stay alive, remember what was taught to you and you will live," Azifar had said. Azifar leaned down and pull a sword from his pack. "Take this in place of that old rusty weapon you use. I cannot have one of the Syndicate roaming around with the likes of that old weapon. You have the skills now to have a better weapon. You must practice with this one to that it will become a part of you."

Lorin looked at his new weapon, well balanced and easily fitting to his hand. Sliding the sword back into it scabbard, he picked up his packs and started down the ramp.

The Dock officer met him at the bottom, his hand open and said, "One gold port fee," Lorin reached into his pouch and placed a gold piece into the Officers hand. The officer stepped aside and Lorin moved pass him. As Lorin passed he couldn't resist the urge to look back. The dock Officer was still watched him as he moved away. Something was pulling at the back of Lorin's mind, something didn't feel right. Reaching the end of the dock, Lorin turned towards the archway. The two guards that were there moments ago, were no gone. Changing his direction, Lorin walked towards a small alley. Lorin remembered the way he had left this city months ago. Perhaps the trouble was not over and still some sought his life. Putting on his backpack and loosening his sword, Lorin made ready for possible trouble. Scanning the area in front of the alley, Lorin waited. Again the feeling of wrongness filled his mind. He couldn't place his finger on it but there was something missing.

"At least ye be cautious," a voice said behind him. His sword left its sheath and he spun around, before him stood a Dwarf, a large shiny axe in his hand. Lorin looked at the Dwarf intently, taking a fighting stance. "Ye wish to test my metal lad?" the Dwarf laughed. "If I had chosen to ye would be dead before you knew I was here. I am not your enemy but here to help you." The Dwarf reached into his jerkin and pulled on a chain, attached to the chain was a small amulet, a circle with a hand that glowed in its middle. Lorin relaxed his grip on his sword; lowering the blade he eased his stance. "Smart move there lad, I see there is some sense in ye head. I was sent to meet ya at Lord Dragons request. What be your name lad," the Dwarf said.

"I am Lorin good sir," Lorin said.

"Then ye may be the one I am to meet, have ye any proof of who ye are?" the Dwarf Said.

Lorin reached into his jerkin and pulled out the amulet given to him by Dragon, holding it up to the Dwarf.

"I guess you be him I came for then. Seems I am not the only one that would like to meet with you this night," the Dwarf said pointing into the street.

Lorin looked to the street, there were six guards walking towards the alley they stood in. Weapons drawn and eager for a fight.

"Well me boy, it would seem we will see how you fare in a real fight. Stay at my side and let us work together in this," the Dwarf said.

Lorin stood beside the Dwarf, weapon drawn. The Dwarf watched as the group of guards approached. Without a word the guards ran towards the two.

Lorin parried the sword aimed at his head, returning with a mid section thrust. The feel of his sword entering flesh rewarded him. The Anger began to rise; the lust to kill these that would impede his path grew. Countering another blow, Lorin swung again for the guards mid section. The guard stepped back, avoiding the blow. Lorin pressed his attack. Again the guard parried his blow, leaving an opening to Lorin's right side. To late to cover the opening, Lorin tried to dodge the blow that would hit him. The ringing of metal on metal sounded out as the guards sword met with an axe head. "I thought you better then this boy, use your head instead of you butt," the Dwarf said as he forced the guard back. Lorin looked at the Dwarf, not only had he saved Lorin's hide, he was pushing back 3 of the remaining five guards. To the Dwarf's left were two guards on the ground motionless. Lorin stared in wonderment as the Dwarf ducked under the overhead swing and swung his axe at the guard's stomach. The axe passed though the guards med section like a hot knife through butter. The guard stared as his innards spilled on to the ground. Without a thought, the Dwarf faced another guard and in short time he was laying on the ground, minus a head. The remaining two guards stepped back. The Dwarf held a fighting stance; ready for what ever they planned.

"Surely ye not be afraid of one Dwarf and a young boy," the Dwarf said to the guards.

Shaking his head, Lorin stepped up next to the Dwarf, weapon at the ready. "It would seem they fear thee Dwarf, perhaps they fear me also. I had thought that the guards of this city feared no one, lest ways a Young boy?" Lorin said.

The Guards charged at Lorin, weapons swinging. Keeping his mind about him, Lorin parried and blocked the incoming swings. Feeling the movements come to him he let go of his thoughts and concentrated on the sword. His movement's becoming smooth and fluid. With three easy strikes, the first guard lay on the ground, a large wound across his throat. The remaining guard staggered back, looking around he realized he was the only one left of the six. He turned to run but the Dwarf had come up from behind him and with one swing of his axe he split the guards head in two.

"Let us be away from here boy, else we have more company then we can handle," the Dwarf said.

The Dwarf wipe his axe on the guard at his feet and put it in the holster on his back. Lorin watched with interest. One could tell this Dwarf had been in many battles. His skills in a fight were very impressive. His confidence was evident also. As the Dwarf looted through the bodies, Lorin noticed the blood on his arm. Approaching the Dwarf, Lorin made a magical jester and touched the wound on the Dwarf's arm. The wound closed and a small pink scar could be seen.

"Thank ye for that boy. It was a small thing but I cant be leaving me blood all over for all to see, or follow," the Dwarf laughed.

"I thank thee kind sir for thy aid in this, you skill is most impressive. I am in your debt." Lorin said has he knelt to the Dwarf.

"BAH." The Dwarf said. "Stand up boy, I am not one to be bowed too, and don't be calling me sir either. The name is Xard, and like thee I am a member of the Syndicate. We help our own whenever we can. Lord Dragon has sent me to find you and help you to the Forest. I arrive a little bit ago and I heard word that Lucan and Jentry wish to see you, well they are not people to be having a conversation with. So I thought I would see what they had planned. I followed this group of guards and here I am."

Lorin rose to his feet, "Still I am in your debt Xard, and will not forget this."

"Well let us be getting back to the room I have, I would like to finish my bath and a few other things I left unattended when you showed up," Xard said. With little effort, Xard picked up one guard and threw him into the alley. Lorin grabbed another guard's feet and drug him into the alley, placing a few trash cans and boxes to hid them from view. In a few short minutes the guards had been all moved into hiding and Xard motioned Lorin to follow him. They walk through the alleys and cut across streets. After maybe ten minutes of moving and changing directions, Xard pointed to the large sign of a Dragon holding a mug of ale. Entering the Inn, Xard made for the stairs. The inn seemed crowded and no one noticed them as they made their way upstairs. Taking out his key, Xard opened the door and Lorin followed him in.

"There be a bathroom in there and I do suggest you use it, I'm headed to the other one over here. Get yourself cleaned up and we will talk after.

"That be you my little Dwarf?" came a female voice from the bathroom Xard was headed too.

"Aye it is me lass, I will be there in a minute. Um…. Lorin lets make that in a little bit of time. I have a lot of scrubbing to do and it may take me a little bit," Xard said as he walked towards the bathroom. As Xard turned to close the door, Lorin couldn't help but think he saw the Dwarf's face had some red on it. Lorin turned and headed to his bathroom. A hot bath sounded like the right medicine for this night.

Two hours later, Lorin and Xard sit at table across from each other. Lorin tells him the story of how he met Dragon. How he had come to be in Befallen and where he just came from. They talk into the night, many times the barmaid returns to fill their mugs.

"That is pretty much it. Now I am on my way to the Forest to do something with these seeds. I know not what but I am sure the gods will help me." Lorin said.

"You be sounding like a good lad. I am glad to accompany ya on this adventure. But now lets get some shuteye. It has been a busy night and we be needing rest," Xard said.

As both men got to their feet and head to their beds, each had the same thought, "This one I do like."
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