Frost Bitten - Chapter 1, Frostbreath

"God this ale is so fucken’ good."

"Innit, Jack? I told ye."

"Who wants to sing a song?"

"I don’t like singing…"

"Al, can you pass me some soup?"

"Aye aye Gill."

"Hey Anders! How’s it going with uh… y’know, Gilmour?

"That’s none of your business."

The fire camp was filled of bottles of ale, some full, some empty, some shattered on the ground. The weapons and gear were all piled up in the middle of the camp, as the men positioned their sleeping bags around it.

"You’re already sleeping Fox?"

He opened an eye: "Nah, just… trying to regain some energy."

Simmons stormed in: "He don’t need no rest, Pearce, he just drank too much ale!"

They laughed, as Gilmour, Lance, Jim and Charlie‘s unintelligible singing echoed through the valley.

Fox put his hood up, and closed his eye again, slowly drifting into sleep.

He woke up under the blazing sun, with a cold and gentle breeze blowing over him. He stood up, and saw all the others sleeping. He took his sword and Lance’s, and started bashing them together: "Wake the fuck up ladies!"

"God… what the fuck man?"

"C’mon Charlie, y’know I always wanted to do it, you should have expected it!"

"What, Charlie? don’t like being woken up by the sweet sound of bashing swords?"

"Fuck you Al…"

Fox packed his gear, and stood in the middle of the fire camp: "This is supposedly the last stop, we’re gonna make a run for the village on the maps… assuming it exists. Weather should keep up for the rest of the day."

And thus began the rise on the Frostbreath mountains. The snow slowly started piling in, the boots sank inside it, and the wind started blowing ever since strong.

"Hey Fox! You said the weather would hold up, aye?"

"Shut up Pearce! Everyone, move your asses!"

Gilmour started catching for his breath, and stuttering: "It… It ain’t easy to… go up a mountain when you’re carrying all this… f-fucken shit."

Simmons tended his hand to Gilmour: "Give me some of your stuff!"

The wind started picking up. The snow was rising from the ground, starting to cover the view like a great wall of fog.

"Fox!"

He turned around in the blink of an eye, as he saw the group all around Jim, who was on the ground.

"What the fuck is going on?"

"I don’t know man! he just fainted!"

"Did he get any sleep last night?"

"As far as I can recall, he got himself drunk as fuck and started doing weird shit in the night, then he went to sleep."

"Okay… Pearce, can you carry him?"

He nods, as he takes the man on his back and Al handles his package, so to not have him bear too much weight.

"We’re not gonna write about the ale in the report, are we?"

"Shut up Lance! Just move!"

"Where in good god’s fucking name are we?" Pearce was struggling to move through the snowstorm in his heavy winter gear, his greatsword on his back, the hood on his head, and Jim on his shoulders.

"I don’t fucking know! Gilmour! Can you check the map?"

"W-Wait a minute Lance, it’s hard to see anything in here!"

Fox was looking by the cliff, with the wind blowing away his cape and his hairs.

"We found it!"

Anders sprinted to the edge of the cliff: "Say what now?"

Lance gave a sigh of relief, while Gilmour fell on his knees, out of exhaustion, and the rest of the group came together to celebrate their survival.

The village looked rather small to the group. One of the villagers, wearing some sort of coat armour and cape, walked to the five men.

"Who are ye? What are ye doing ‘ere?"

Pearce stepped forward, giving a pat on the back to Fox, who was about to answer the man: "‘Ello mate. We’re just a bunch o’ poor lads who got caught up in this bloody storm. We just want four walls and a rooftop. Maybe you can help us, aye?"

"What are yer names? Reckon the chief might want to know ‘em."

"Oh… I-I am… Pearcestain, and uh… these other mates ‘ere are Lance… Lancelot, An… Andersia, Gilmourious and… Foxius, then we have… Sir Simmonious, Almar… Charlios, Jackyon and the man on me shoulders is Jimmon."

The man chuckled: "Ye ain’t from ‘round these parts, ain’t ya? C’mon, I’ll bring ye to the chief: he’ll know what to do with ye. There’s a tavern over there, with a bed for the poor lad Jimmon."

"I’ll take care of that, Fox…I mean, Sir Foxius of Philadelphorium…" Stated Simmons, with a veiled sense of irony.

Pearce carefully let Jim down his shoulders and gave him to his teammates.

"Andersia? What kind of name is that?"

"It suits you: sounds like the name of an angel."

She blushed at Gilmour’s comment, and kept walking over to the town.

The road was covered in snow, so much so that some were tripping and some doors were even blocked.

The village guard opened the gate to the chief’s hall: "Get in, quickly, and don’t let the snow get inside."

The chief stood up from his throne at the sight of these five hooded men.

"Randall, who are these lads you brought ‘ere?"

"Travellers, milord. They seek repair from the snowstorm. ‘Nother five of ‘em are in the tavern: one of ‘em ain’t too well."

"Mhm… strip them of their weapons."

Fox stepped forward: "Sir- I mean, Milord, I’m afraid that’s not going to happen."

"So you come to me village, with weapons on yer back, looking for refuge? Shan’t I believe ye are just Mountain Raiders, pulling a trick on me?!" The guards in the hall raised their swords and lances, aiming for the five’s throats. The torches lighting the room flickered. The people feasting at the tables watched in confusion and the chief sat back on his throne.

"Alright… Milord, we will give away our weapons, but I demand to keep our personal objects. I apologise for this misunderstanding."

"Randall, what’s this lad’s name?"

"Foxius, I was told."

"So, Foxius… ye’re this party’s chief, aye? Rule of thumb: choose yer words wisely. I’m going to let this one slip, ‘cause ye don’t look to be from ‘round ‘ere, but defy me another time and we’re done. Aye?"

Fox moved his head up, to the chief’s eyes: "Yes, milord. I swear to be loyal and honest to you and your people and not cause trouble during our stay."

"Good. Randall, guide ‘em to the Tavern, n’ give ‘em refreshments."

The team came out of the hall, now back in the snowstorm, with their minds fixed on a sweet cup of ale.

tagnone

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