Originally published on Guild Wars Vault on 2007-11-29
No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.
- Hunter S. Thompson
“Belzan, I just bought several stacks of fur squares from the Deldrimor Dwarves that arrived in town.” Bodrus spoke one cold morning.
“See if they need any iron or steel. There is talk of an uprising in the Dwarvan community, so they could use it to create arms. Barring that, the Ascalons could always use it in their Guild Wars.”
“Will do, Bel.”
“I will be going with them. I’ve delayed my trip to Nolani too long, and they’re more than capable of getting me through the Shiverpeaks safely.”
Bodrus sighed. “Well, I can’t say I’m happy to see you go, but who am I to stop you? It has been nearly a year since you showed up. It is amazing how quickly the time has passed.”
“It is. However, each day that passes pulls at me. I have a nagging question that needs to be answered, and it cannot be answered here.”
Belzan handed Bodrus a slip of paper that contained the names of several contacts. “Here, this should see you through the winter. It is a list of contacts that I have made, what they deal in and how often they buy and sell.”
“Thank you my friend. I will have a package for you by the evening. It should get you through your trip to Nolani.” Belzan smiled and nodded in response.
That evening, Belzan met with the Dwarves. He carried with him the haversack that Bodrus prepared for him. Bodrus had thought of everything. The haversack contained dried foodstuffs, fire starting materials, a heavy winter coat, sturdy boots, and other useful items. In addition, there was a small-carved wooden doll with a note.
My daughter carved this herself. She asked that I give it to you. She said it would keep you safe. You know I cannot tell her no. Good luck to you my friend. Return to us safely when you can. – Bodrus
Belzan smiled as he read the note and tucked the doll into the front pocket of his coat. The trip ahead would be long and the weather would be unforgiving. With the last dolyak packed, he began his trek alongside a dozen Deldrimor Dwarves.
Northern Shiverpeaks: The Road East
(picture courtesy of Guildwiki)
Despite the rough weather; the group arrived in Yak’s Bend after three weeks with little trouble. Belzan helped the Dwarves quickly sell their materials and politely parted company with them. The hike to Nolani seemed like a breeze in comparison to the trek that had just ended. Belzan purchased a map and set out for the Academy of the Arcane Arts in Nolani.
The foothills of Ascalon were a beautiful sight compared to the winter wasteland of the Shiverpeaks. Belzan followed the road leading southward toward Nolani. He camped off from the road the first night and saw little more than a bear or two. The second day was a bit more active. The scenery rapidly changed from serene to scorched. A war waged here, and it was unclear which side was responsible for the charred land.
He quickly found out.
An arrow came from the brush and struck Belzan in the leg, crippling him. In seconds, they were upon him. They were larger than humans were and covered in hair. They wore weathered armor and wielded swords and axes stained with blood. They were clearly capable of dismembering him in seconds, and their intent appeared to coincide with this ability. Belzan was helpless before them.
The earth around the two creatures charging toward him suddenly became muddy. They began to slip, and as they did, the ground iced over, stopping them in their tracks. A volley of arrows rained down on the trapped beasts, bringing them to their knees. Belzan hobbled away to the safety of the brush to attend to his wound. He carefully removed the arrow from his leg, wincing in pain as he did, and cast an orison to heal himself.
“You there, come quickly, there will be more soon!” A man dressed in white robes called to Belzan. Belzan quickly joined the group, which consisted of two spell casters, three archers and a young girl with fiery red hair.
“I see I’m not the only one roaming about.”Belzan said to the man who called his name. He pointed to the small girl. “What’s her story?”
The man smiled as they joined the group. “She’s the one who did all the work. Her name is Charmaine. She is an apprentice here at the Academy, though she really is the head of the class.”
“Never judge a book by the cover, eh?” Belzan replied.
They arrived at the Academy shortly thereafter. Belzan approached the young girl and spoke. “I’d like to thank you for your help back there. You’re quite talented.” Charmaine smiled and walked away without saying a word. Belzan felt put off.
“She doesn’t speak. Never has. Come; let us get inside the perimeter. The obelisks will take care of any stragglers that may have followed us. Welcome to Nolani.”
“Thank you.” Belzan replied to the man in the robes. “I’ve come a long way for some answers. There is a power inside me that I don’t quite understand.”
“I’m sure you’ll find the answers you seek here.”
Belzan looked around at the great edifice and knew at once that he was where he needed to be.