It had been decided that the group was going to head out, just the five of them, and travel up to Frost Haven so Riffen could be brought back to the royal palace. Sightyme, Tak, Juniper, and Grace would be Riffen’s only protection, but they had convinced Pria that this was the best course of action. The regiment of the Soulon Army that Captain Springbloom controlled had fled, so a small group of adventurers was the next best thing. Plus they had made the journey south and survived to tell the tale, so why couldn’t they do it going north.
Now they had the rest of the day to get prepared for their journey back to Frost Haven. Juniper and Grace had split off from the group to go to The Wicked Scepter while Sigthyme and Tak went off together to check on their horse and wagon which they had stored. When they first got to the city compared to now it felt like it was almost a lifetime ago.
“What are the chances our horse and wagon are even there?” Sigthyme asked. “I don’t think we even gave that guy that much money.”
“Bad chance,” Tak said. “Horse gone.”
“That is definitely a possibility,” Sigthyme said. “I don’t think we ever gave our horse a name. But then there was also Riffen’s horse. Maybe it’s there as well. Honestly, who knew two horses would be hard to keep track of?”
“You count horses. I smash bad guys,” Tak said.
“I’ll do the counting but I’m sure the horses like you Tak. You can be a gentle giant when you need to be,” Sigtyme.
“Tak, no giant! No gentle! Smash! Warrior!” Tak yelled as he raised his hammer.
The few people on the street looked over in their directions which included three members of the city guard.
“It’s alright everyone! He means no harm! He can just get excited sometimes. It’s all theatrics,” Sigthyme said with a sly smile.
The people on the street turned away, but hastily made their exit from this part of town. The guards did not approach but kept their eyes on Sigthyme and Tak.
“It’s ok, big guy. That was a joke. I know you are a strong warrior,” Sigthyme said.
Tak grumbled but seemed to settle down.
“Speaking of that. Are we going to talk about that little thing that happened at the Titan’s league?”
“Darkness,” Tak said. “On back.”
“Yeah, your leviathan tattoo…uh… marking. It kind of exploded with magic. Did you know it could do that?”
Tak shook his head no.
“Bad omen. Brings death. Tribe kick me out.”
“Right. Right. Now that you say that, I do remember you saying something about your tribe thinking it was the sign of something super evil and kicked you out of the tribe. Did you get kicked out after something like that happened?”
“Don’t remember. Fuzzy thoughts.”
“That’s ok. That’s ok,” Sigthyme said. “We just need to understand how it happens. Then we can control it.”
“Bad omen. Can’t control,” Tak said.
“We’ll do our best,” Sigthyme said. “I promise to only talk to people we can trust about stuff.”
“Trust Siggy,” Tak said.
“I trust you too, big guy. Our whole group seems to have a lot of secrets. But eventually we’ll trust each other to share.”
“Siggy secret?” Tak asked.
“Yeah, I have secrets too,” Sigthyme said.
Sigthyme looked up at Tak who looked down with a deadly serious face.
“Ok. Yeah. Sure,” Sigthyme said as he wiped his hands on his pants. “Well before I met you I lived in this tower. There I was taught magic and music. However the man who was training me knew bad stuff was happening and he snuck me out of the tower. He ended up dying, but I got away.”
There was a brief moment of silence and then Sigthyme looked up at Tak again.
“Magic tower. Music. Teacher. Dead,” Tak repeated. “Secret safe.”
“Thanks big guy,” Sigthyme said. “That actually felt pretty good to get off my chest. So I appreciate your friendship.”
“Happy friends,” Tak said with a toothy smile.
The two of them made their way past the burned remnants of The Pilgrim’s Rest. A few guards stood by. Sigthyme assumed that they were there to keep nosy people and possible scavengers away from the wreckage. But this part of town was pretty empty other than the nearby guards at the front gate and on patrol.
They could see the stables a few places down which is where they stored their horses and wagon. However before they could reach there, they heard a new voice calling out for them.
“Big guy! Big guy! Look over here!”
Turning around, Sightyme and Tak saw a young woman wearing a colorful dress running toward them, waving her arms.
“Uh, do we know this person?” Sigthyme asked.
“Colorful girl. Very pretty,” Tak said.
“That does seem to bring back some memories,” Sigthyme said.
The young, human woman ran up to both of them and flashed a great big smile.
“I thought it was you two,” She said. “I could spot the big guy from anywhere. Especially since this whole town is made for Dwarves.”
“Sorry, but who are you again?” Sightyme asked.
“Don’t you remember me? I’m Mara. I helped save this big guy from that Assassin lady. Man, she was really scary, wasn’t she? Well I guess not anymore since you all took care of them down in the catacombs or whatever, but still. Oh right, Mara. Mara’s my name. Mara Dawnpelt.”
“Well nice to formally meet you,” Sigthyme said. “You have quite an energy about you, don’t you?”
“Oh thank you. People tell me that all the time. I like to think it is contagious,” Mara said, a smile never leaving her face.
“Nice lady! Lots colors!” Tak said.
“Well thank you, big guy,” Mara did a little courtesy, showing off her colorful dress.
“I’m Sigthyme by the way and this is Tak,” Sigthyme said. “Is there a particular reason why you waved us down?”
“Oh. No, not really,” Mara said. “I just saw the big guy and wanted to say hey. Plus I’ve got the rest of the afternoon off. They have really been working us Robinhearts to death these past few days. But I managed to get a little time off. Thought about swinging by here and grabbing a treat. Oh, there’s this great candy shop right around the corner that you got to try. They have this peppermint candy. It is so good. I was going there to grab some for my brother and me. Want to come?”
“Uh, Mara. That’s very nice, but we actually have to get some stuff together for…”
“Oh come on. We’ll be real quick. Come on. Please,” Mara said.
“Yeah sure if we’re quick about it,” Sigthyme said with a sigh.
“Great! You’ll both love it so much,” Mara said. “This will be great!”
Quickly Mara skipped along about a block, around the corner of where The Pilgrim’s Rest once stood. There, there was a small cottage looking storefront with a large glass window at the front. There was a small wooden sign above the door that said Silverbow Sweets.
“Charming,” Sightyme said with a slight smile.
“Come on. You haven’t even seen all the sweets,” Mara said as she opened the front door to the shop.
“Sweet!’ Tak said.
The three of them entered the shop and the bell at the top of the door dinged. Inside it was a cozy place with shelves of candy and sweets on display.
A Dwarvish woman appeared from the back and smiled when she saw Mara.
“Mara, dearie! So happy to see you,” She said.
“Mrs. Silverbow! Happy to see that you are feeling better,” Mara said. “I would have checked on you but work is keeping me so busy.”
“Oh no need to fuss over me. You’re busy being a hero out there. And who are these gentlemen?”
“Nice to meet you Ma’am,” Sigthyme gave a small bow. “My name is Sigthyme and the big guy here is Tak. We’re adventurers.”
“They were walking by and I told them they had to stop in and get some sweets,” Mara said. “I told them all about your peppermint candy and how good it is. Best thing to eat in the entire city. Maybe the entire continent.”
“You are too sweet Mara,” Mrs. Silverbow said with a laugh. “Welcome to you both. Mara is right that we are known for my peppermint. It’s a family recipe that has been passed down for generations.”
“That sounds delicious,” Sigthyme said. “We’ll go with the recommendation.”
“Well most people who are just passing through get a box of two dozen. They last a while so they are good for travel,” Mrs. Silverbow said.
“Perfect. We’ll get two dozen,” Sigthyme said.
“Make that four dozen. Two for them and two for me,” Mara said. “And you better charge me full price. No discounts.”
“You know you are my favorite customer,” Mrs. Silverbow. “Half of my business is because you tell people to come here.”
“Well the people have to know where to get the best peppermint I’ve ever had,” Mara said.
“Four dozen candies will run you a silver piece,” Mrs. Silverbow.
“I think you mean two silver pieces. Remember, no discounts,” Mara said.
“Fine, fine. Two silver pieces,” Mrs. SIlverbow said with a laugh.
Mara reached into her bag and put down two silver coins on the counter.
“We could have paid for our own sweets,” Sigthyme said.
“Nonsense. Extra work means extra pay. Plus these peppermints are worth every copper. I’d pay a gold piece for the candy,” Mara said.
“Too kind,” Mrs. Silverbow shook her head and boxed up the candy. “Here you go, Mara. Now make sure you take care of yourself and your brother.”
“Oh I will,” Mara said. “I’m actually bringing him this candy to share.”
“You are such a sweet girl. When is one of these knights going to marry you?”
“One of these days I’m sure,” Mara said with a wink as she grabbed the boxes of candy. “Enjoy your evening, Mrs. Silverbow.”
“You too, sweetie,’ Mrs. Silverbow said with a small wave and the group left the candy shop.
“Well she’s really nice,” Sigthyme said. “And she really seems to like you.”
“Yeah I spend a ton of my time there,” Mara said. “Like I said, the best peppermint on the whole continent.”
“Sweet!” Tak said as he grabbed a candy and popped it into his mouth.
“Well thank you for showing us that place. I’m sure everyone will be very happy with this gift,” Sigthyme said.
“It’s not a problem. I love showing people the cool things in the city. Oftentimes people are so busy running around and being busy, they don’t take time to really soak in the city. This place can be pretty amazing,” Mara said. “SIlverbow Sweets is one of those amazing spots.”
“That’s… a good way to think about things,” Sigthyme said. “I was actually looking forward to leaving the city and heading north, but now I feel like I’m going to miss this place.”
“Don’t worry! You can always come back. See me. Get some sweets. You can enjoy hanging out here when you get back. You are coming back, right?”
“I’m not really sure what the plan is. Right now we are just focused on going north to Frost Haven.”
“With the Prince right?” Mara asked.
Sigthyme stopped and looked over at Tak.
“Relax. You can trust me. Who am I going to tell anyway? It makes sense you’d go with your friend back to his home or whatever. I think it’s super nice of you,” Mara said.
“Well uh… thanks. Now if you don’t mind, we have to go get some horses and make it back to meet up for dinner,” Sigthyme said.
“Of course. Of course. Well good luck on your travels and hopefully I’ll see you both again. Maybe me and my brother will just have to make our way up to Frost Haven as well,” Mara gave a wink and then waved as she skipped away.
“That girl is a literal ray of sunshine. I just hope I didn’t say too much there,” Sigthyme said.
“New friend. Share secret,” Tak said.
“Yeah I’m sure it’s fine. Now let’s go and get our horses,” Sigthyme said.
Tak popped another piece of peppermint into his mouth as they walked down to the stables where their horse and wagon were being kept.
Header Photo Credit to Daleicious on DeviantArt