(OOC: Written in collaboration.)
It was late in the afternoon by the time Eucarion finished patching up one of the temple walls. A novice had put an elbow through a thin bit of it, or so Mato had explained. In a matter of a week, Eucarion's temple life had fallen into a comfortable routine, there constantly being work in need of completion. Curiously, he thought as returned to his modest quarters, he had hardly encountered Oranssi since he arrived. Turning a corridor, Eucarion found he was greeted with… armor? A shrine? A shrine in a way, but built out of personal items. Chainmail hung up with an accruement of weapons staggering down the armor, with a torn and tattered banner of the Goblin Queen presented over the weapons.
Eucarion recognized the heraldry, and the sight of it with the amalgamation of weaponry left a hollow feeling in his gut. He'd rather not see that banner at all, but seeing it so thoroughly trashed did bring him a degree of satisfaction. This had to be Oranssi's, buy why would he construct a shrine for the unburied dead? It certainly must have been one, based on everything he could discern from its construction. Everyone had their demons, Eucarion supposed…
Just then, the ring of a prayer bell from the shrine in the main hall. Oranssi, having returned from a journey, enters the hall, kneeling down and praying. He is dressed in his elven soldier's uniform.
Eucarion notices his entry through the viewlines between the columns. He approaches quietly, but stops at a respectful distance, not wanting to disturb Oranssi's prayers.
Oranssi finishes, opens his eyes half way, and speaks, not moving any other part of his body. "Eucarion, you are very much a being of rumor. I was informed you had left Shore Blossom."
The suddenness of Oranssi's voice startles Eucarion a bit, but he makes no show of it. "I've always been the subject of rumor, Oranssi." He approaches, standing just within the other elf's periphery. "Whoever told you was certainly mistaken. I have taken up residency here. Many welcomes on your return from beyond the Wall. I suppose this is why I have not seen you around the temple?
Oranssi rises and faces Eucarion. "Ah, you must be in the south wing. And yes, we have just returned. Sadly, while our party grows, it has become more divided than ever. I do not see us winning this war."
Eucarion crosses his arms high on his chest. "Hm. So there have been some developments to the situation?"
"Some, but, I must say, I am hungry. Meals have been less then welcoming." As Oranssi leads Eucarion to the kitchen hall, he adds, "I must ask, does your attraction to Odiri have anything to do with her plucking finger?"
"A meal does sound good right about now." Eucarion nods and follows after Oranssi, walking beside him. He is palpably uncomfortable at the subject of Odiri. "Why? Has she been particularly… out of line? I know she has been denying your healing, which I have told her is entirety foolish.""
"Just her projections, and the timing of her outbursts." As they enter the kitchen Oranssi grabs a pan off a wall hook. "What would you like?"
Eucarion gives a vague motion of his hand. "I'm not picky. Honestly, everything I've eaten in this town, your expertise included, has been a welcome change from whatever mess I was cooking myself in the woods." He finds a nice spot to lean on and observe, cracking his back as he settles in. "As for Odiri, I'm sure you can understand where her anger may be your doing and not necessarily mine."
Oranssi cracks a smile. "Not everything is about you." He conjures up an assortment of ingredients and begins his preparation. " I knew my actions would have consequences. I just wish that the others were not so blind to both the tyranny and creature comforts that Shore Blossom has presented." Oranssi places a plate of grilled mixed greens with a nut paste gyro in front of Eucarion. "Oh how I wish I had this spell ages ago. Sadly, it leaves me weaker of hunger then I was before."
Eucarion gives a little snort of amusement, but he brushes the comment off as Oranssi hands him the food. "Oranssi, thank you, but please, eat first. I have been here all day while you've been off doing god knows what." He pushes the plate back in Oranssi's direction. Taking a more serious tone, he adds, "Part of the reason Im here at all is to step away from all this madness that our company has gotten caught up in. Your actions might have been rash, but I'm glad that you at least see that something must be done here in the name of self-preservation."
"And Kodu would agree with you on that."
"Ha. At least we would agree on something at all."
Oranssi takes the plate, pausing a moment. "Eucarion, do you feel the guards would survive in their present state?"
Eucarion props his head up on his arm, elbow on the counter. "I doubt any of the guards here have ever seen real combat. If there is to be an invasion or even an attack of any serious magnitude, they'd be of little help."
"My thoughts exactly. And honestly, if we were not in proximity of that dragon, I fear the Wall may have chosen them." He brings over a glass of grape wine to Eucarion. "I hope I have your support, but I have begun a training regimen with the guards. They may have not seen battle, but at least they can be prepared for it."
"I am trying to lay off the drink, but I suppose wine doesn't count. Thank you." Eucarion takes the glass. "You absolutely have my support, and I'm perfectly willing to instruct them." He laughs bitterly, swirling the wine around. "I was a high commander once, you know."
"Exactly why I ask. On my examination of the this city, and with Naligor's input, we," Oranssi gestures with his finger back and forth between the two of then, "are the only factions of military here. There is the council, but they are figure heads." Sipping his own cup of blessed wine, he adds, "They can be more dangerous than we could ever be…"
"This council hides much. Unsurprising. It's just what governments do." He pauses a touch too long with the memory of disquieting thought, but he shakes his head and continues. "Frankly, Mato is the only one I trust among them. At least he is willing to part with any sort of information. But still. The lack of a standing army is a concerning indicator of how things run around here. No military means very few in the city have any kind of martial skill. The guards hardly count. Makes a population easy to control, no?" A thought strikes him rather suddenly. "Huh. Perhaps it is exactly because we can fight that the Wall chose us to champion it. Same with the last group."
"And that is why I blessed the table. In some form or another, we adventurers left a mark on that table. Have you noticed that none of the townsfolk sit there? Just us. It's a contract that we unwittingly signed." Oranssi takes a deep, steadying breath, his anger rising quickly as the memories of betrayal came flooding in.
Eucarion reached out, placing a hand on Oranssi's shoulder to ground him. "It just as easily could have been our first going beyond the Wall as it could have been that table. In any case, I do not think there is anything to be done for it now. Madam Saru lied, whatever her reasons for it, but now we must find how to live with this curse."
Oranssi sighs. "Is it just our fate then, to be toys of war?"
"My god, what a way to say it." Eucarion quickly downs the rest of his wine. "Yes, Oranssi. I've concluded it's fucking inescapable."
A somber silence overtakes the kitchen as they both consider this. A sobering notion that no amount of wine, blessed or otherwise, can clear from the mind. Eucarion sighs deeply, drawing his gaze away from Oranssi. A glimmer catches the corner of his eye. Oh? A set of beautiful silver daggers strapped to Oranssi's belt. How hadn't he noticed those before? An idea strikes him.
He motions with his head towards the daggers. "Are those dragon bone?" Oranssi nods. Eucarion smirks, eyes bright with an uncharacteristic glee. "Wanna spar?"