Lillian Evergreen pulled Riffen Selorn out into the streets of Xylon, practically dragging him across the stonework of The Ironfang Forge.
“What are you doing here?” She asked. “How did you find me?”
Riffen stood up against the side of the building while Lillian stood a little out into the street. Her arms were folded and she had an angry expression across her face. Riffen was having flashbacks to when he was a child and got scolded for staying up all night reading by candlelight or for running away from Thrix and hiding so nobody could find him.
“I…I…” Riffen stumbled over his words.
“You what, Riffen?”
“I came to bring you back home,” Riffen said.
“You….you…what!?” Lillian yelled.
People walking in the street were giving them both sideways glances, but everyone kept on walking, not wanting to get involved.
“Uh…Lillian, can we talk someplace else?” Riffen asked noticing the glances.
Lillian looked around.
“Fine. We can head towards White Hat Inn,” Lillian said.
“Actually…we can’t. I might have told them you were a war criminal,” Riffen said.
“You what?” Lillian’s anger flared up again.
“The guy was hiding information from me so I told him I was a diplomat from Soulon sent to take you in because you’re a war criminal,” Riffen explained.
“Diplomats don’t… how can you… what war?” Lillian put her face in her hands. “I paid that man good money to keep his mouth shut. And you ruined that. I still have stuff in that room, Riffen. How am I going to get my stuff back? Where am I going to stay?”
“I have a room at The Pilgrim’s Rest,” Riffen suggested. “You can stay with me or I can buy you a room there and then we can head back to Frost Haven tomorrow.”
Lillian’s body relaxed as she sharply exhaled.
“Riffen. We need to talk. Come on,” Lillian said stepping back into The Ironfang Forge.
Lillian talked to the Blacksmith and he allowed the two of them to talk in a private room off of the Forge.
“Riffen. You are a major idiot,” Lillian said as she leaned up against a wall covered in tools.
“Lillian. I came to get you and bring you home. I thought you would be happy to see me,” Riffen said.
“Normally I would, but you shouldn’t be here. You should be in Frost Haven,” Lillian said. “You and that Princess. You are supposed to get married. Does your father know you are here?”
“No. I left in the middle of the night. But The Princess actually helped me find you. She used magic to find that you were in Bishop. Then I found out you were heading towards Xylon so I followed,” Riffen said.
“You made it here all by yourself?”
“No, I have a group I traveled with. There’s Juniper the Ranger. Then there’s Grace. She’s really cool. Tak. He’s this large giant of a man who wields a large hammer. And finally Sigthyme. He’s a short fellow that plays music and sings.”
“The last two sound familiar. I believe I met them in Bishop,” Lillian said.
“I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or bad thing,” Riffen said.
Lillian just shook her head.
“You need to return home, Riffen,” Lillian said. “Your father is probably tearing apart the kingdom to find you. You missing could cause a war. Plus what if people found out who you really were. Bandits. Thieves. Slavers. Every bad person in this city would be after you.”
“I can’t return without you,” Riffen said.
“Yes, you can.”
“Well I won’t. I don’t even know why you left.”
“We were in the library trying to find some kind of loophole in your marriage contract and you confessed to me that you love me.”
“I’m…I’m sorry about that, but you didn’t have to leave. We could have talked about it.”
“There’s nothing to talk about. You are the Prince of Soulon. Destined to marry the Princess of Ohn’Serine. I am just a civilian loyal to the King,” Lillian said.
“Not just… you are my friend. My protector,” Riffen said. “I need you in Frost Haven.”
“And what happens after the wedding? What happens after you become King? Am I just going to stand around and protect you forever? Just standing there watching you be married to someone else?”
Tears began to well up in the corners of Lillian’s eyes.
“I can’t do that, Riffen. That’s why I left,” Lillian said.
Riffen grew quiet.
“I’m…sorry. I’m really sorry,” Riffen said.
Lillian wiped away the tears.
“That’s why I’m here. And that’s why I must stay here while you go back to Frost Haven,” Lillian said.
“What are you going to do?” Riffen asked.
“I have skills and experience. I plan on becoming a mercenary or joining one of the adventuring guild’s in the city. They are always looking for protection or monster hunters. That’s why I’m here getting my shield fixed.”
“What happened to it?”
“I roughed some bandits on the streets, but they put some dents in my stuff.”
“But you’re alright?”
“Yes, Riffen. I’m fine,” Lillian said as a small grin appeared on her face.
“I can maybe talk to my father. Find you something in Frost Haven for you to do. He really likes you, you know?”
“I appreciate it, but I cannot return. The situation would be far too strange.”
“Will you at least come hang out with me this evening before I leave for Frost Haven tomorrow?” Riffen asked.
“I can’t, Riffen. I just can’t. I need to find a way to get my stuff back from my room and then find out where I’m going to stay,” Lillian said.
“I can get your stuff,” Riffen said.
“I can go in there and get your stuff. Tell him that you’ve been captured and I’m just there to retrieve your things,” Riffen explained.
Lillian hung her head.
“I can’t believe you told him I was a war criminal. That doesn’t even make any sense,” Lillian said.
“It wasn’t a smart plan, I admit, but he seemed to believe me,” Riffen said.
“All that money I spent on the room and secrecy is just gone.”
“Well I can give you some, if you need it.”
“I’m fine,” Lillian said. “But thanks anyway.”
“Let me go get your stuff and your horse,” Riffen said.
“Meet me back here in a little bit,” Lillian said.
Riffen made his way to White Hat Inn and talked to the bartender. He explained that the war criminal had been caught and he was here to collect the stuff. He also told the Bartender to keep everything secret so people wouldn’t worry. The bartender seemed to agree to keep everything hush-hush. He collected all of Lillian’s belongings as well as her horse from the stables.
He met up with Lillian outside of The Ironfang Forge. Her armor and shield were fixed. She packed up all her things on the back of the horse.
“Well I guess this is goodbye,” Lillian said.
“For now,” Riffen said.
“If you think I’m never going to see you again, you’re insane. After I return to Frost Haven, and sort out that mess, I will be seeking you out. I will continue to insist you come home, even if you think it would be impossible. You are way too important to me to just let you go without a fight.”
“Well I appreciate your passion, but I still do not see any way I would return to Frost Haven,” Lillian replied.
“Give it some time, okay? Can you honestly say that you won’t return in a year? 10 years? 50 years?”
“No I guess I can’t.”
“And until you return, I will miss you everyday. And I will worry about you everyday,” Riffen said.
“I will miss you and worry as well,” Lillian said.
She gave Riffen a kiss on the cheek.
“Be safe,” She said. “I’m not there to protect you.”
“I will,” Riffen said. “Be safe. Stay alive.”
Lillian grabbed the reigns of the horse and lead it through the streets towards the Eastern part of the city.
Riffen watched her leave before making his way back across the city. His head hung low as he wandered through the city, no longer taking in the wanders of Xylon or its people. He slowly made his way back towards The Pilgrim’s Rest as the sun was beginning to set.
Header Photo Credit to Ciara Gatti