Artificer ran a hand over his sweaty bald head. The heat within his little alley workshop had become near unbearable despite the cool night air outside. His home had no windows to vent the heat, so each summer night was one filled with the stink of sour sweat. Some beaded at his forehead, rolling down his leathery skin and dripping onto the pages spread out before him. Diagrams for several different kinds of invention were spread from end to end of the table on yellowed parchment, with even more pinned to the walls of this cramped workshop. He gave a drawn-out yawn.

He could feel the weight of the bags beneath his eyes, threatening to drag him down into an impromptu workshop slumber. The fear of what would come helped keep him conscious.

He could not, would not, allow himself even a moment of rest. For if he did so, he feared what awaited him in his restless dreams. More like nightmares. Images of feral creatures and men with the countenance of beasts flashed through his mind, causing him to wince. He knew the bell had something to do with his horrid nightly visions.

The ringing of the bell brought him insight and allowed him to perceive his surroundings differently. He saw things no one else seemed to notice; things that should have made them run in fear... yet they did not. The townsfolk would simply stride right by the horrors. They were blissfully ignorant of the monstrosities that gazed upon them with their many eyes and undulating flesh. It was because of the creatures he witnessed that he installed more locks on his door, fear driving him to action.

After he first viewed one of the unspeakable, It took Artificer some time before he worked up the courage to go outside once more for basic necessities. He'd take shady back streets in an attempt to avoid the warped fiends that gazed upon him. The demons seemed to follow him wherever he went, gnashing teeth and slime coated eyes glaring at him. They never attacked or drew too close, and Artificer was not about to go anywhere near them. It grew worse every time he acquired insight, with new twisted forms revealing themselves in all their horrid majesty.

He knew not how he kept acquiring insight, but the bell rang almost every day now. He felt his dreams may play a part in the constant ringing of the bell, though he knew not why. Somewhere in the cacophony of madness that was his nightmares he had heard the term 'insight' and had been using it in a sad attempt to rationalize his growing madness. The bell rang in his nightmares almost as frequently as it did when the scratching at his door came.

As soon as he thought of it, the scratching came. The noise made the wispy hairs on his neck stand straighter than the most disciplined of soldiers. It sounded of bone grinding on iron, and he could hear the padlocks shake from the creature's efforts. It constantly was seeking entrance to his sanctum of invention. Artificer had always been a paranoid man, even before this madness set in, and always locked every door within his home and reinforced the entry door with new locks he crafted every single day. When the bell rang first, he paid it little attention. No one else had reacted to the bell but him when first it occurred.

Artificer had been leaving the alleyway of his home that day, pushing his way past the vagrants and other undesirables that cluttered the alley during the early hours of the morning. They had learned well not to trifle with Artificer after he turned one man's head into solid metal. At least it had appeared that way to any onlookers. He had merely coated the thugs head with a thin sheet of metal with a wave of his hands. Artificer had made sure to leave a couple of holes for the thug's nostrils, he didn't want the young man to die after all.

The brute had wailed and cried to a satisfactory degree, running off while tearing at his face in horror. Artificer had been certain that he had shown the youngin that youth and big muscles didn't hold a candle to the magic of a grumpy old fart. After all, when you get old and decrepit, you lose your muscles. Magic was the gift that kept on giving, no matter how old one became. Hell, most of the time it got better with age. Kids these days should be picking up spellbooks, not clubs.

The alley had emptied out after that, but people still cluttered the narrow alley sometimes, usually those who did not know of that little incident. Artificer normally would look back on such a day as humorous... if not for what happened next.

There was one person who did not run that day.

A broad man of middling height had stood staring at him. Plate armor covered him from the neck down, but it was impossible to distinguish any kind of facial features, for a bright luminescent light seemed to emanate from the stranger's head. Artificer could not bring himself to tear his gaze from the armored man, despite his eye burning radiance. The light of the sun seemed dim in comparison to this strangers bright countenance. After a moment, Artificer finally brought himself to look away from what he presumed to be an adventurer. After the knight was out of sight, the bell rang in his head for the first time. Upon looking back, the adventurer was gone, likely having disappeared into the winding streets of the city.

That had been a month ago.

The ringing had begun with that man, Artificer was certain.

The scratching suddenly ceased at his door, and he breathed a sigh of relief.

The bell rang once more in his ear, the sound near deafening as Artificer attempted to close out the noise with his hands clasped firmly over his ears.

That was when the squealing began. It was like an entire pen of pigs that had their snouts split down the middle by a heated blade. A gurgling laugh accompanied the squealing, followed by a disgusting phlegm fueled cackle. The sound was so impossibly loud that his covered ears did seemingly nothing to dampen it. Artificer stood from his chair, knocking it to the floor with a wooden thud. The scratching renewed, this time accompanied by the meaty pounding of what sounded to be a massive fist. He opened the door of his sanctum a crack and peaked out at the main door. The chains and bolts held fast as the pounding struck harder and harder, all while that squeal threatened to finally push Artificers sanity to the brink. The bell rang again, harder than it had before; harder than it ever had.

Artificer crept back into his room quietly, and huddled beneath his desk, praying to the gods that thing didn't break through tonight. Hours passed before the pounding ceased, and Artificer wept silently. He slowly crept up to the door leading out into the hallway, opening it just enough to be able to see his metal front door.

The light of the sun was leaking through beneath his iron entry door, the locks and chains having survived the creature's assault. Artificer breathed a sigh of relief, happy to see that he had made it another night. He was not sure how much more of this madness he could withstand. The thick rope in his closet looked more and more appealing after each nightly assault. He could end the stress so easily... all he needed to do was tie the rope to the rafters, put a chair under him and-

Artificer quickly banished the thought. He was no coward, he'd not take his own life no matter what happened. It was not a Northman's way. He approached the door and placed an ear against it. A fruitless endeavor he knew, but he felt comforted by the silence of the cold metal. Perhaps he should go to one of the churches? He was not a religious man, he did not worship any god, but only a fool would deny the existence of such entities. Perhaps by praying a little bit, he could delay his madness? Artificer shook his head, he was much too tired for any coherent thought. He needed a dreamless sleep, and that could be provided for by an alchemist, not a priest.

A strong potion brewed to leave him comatose with no dreams for a day or two would be wonderful. He knew not if such a thing truly existed, but the only way to find out for sure would be to stop by an alchemist's shop. The days plan decided, he began to undo the dozens of locks and chains holding his door shut.

He opened his door to feel the sun upon his face, the visor would not suffice, he needed his whole being engulfed by the warm radiance of the sun. Artificer's eyes widened in horror upon seeing that the sky was still dark, the twin moons shining down upon a glowing armored figure standing right in front of him. The bell rang harder than ever before as Artificer met the man's glowing silver eyes.

...

...

...

Hunter stretched and let out a healthy yawn. The sun shone down brightly overhead, scorching the earth and causing his brow to sweat with the accompanying heat. A thin forest trail leading northwest away from town led them towards their goal. Two days had passed since his drunken binge, and he and Wizard had finally been able to set out on a new adventure. They hadn't taken any new quests for that while, instead opting to take some time off to relax. Hunter did appreciate the time to clear his head.

A clear head also led to new memories of his past. None of them seemed as important as the first few memories he retrieved, but each new memory re-lived was a victory. The fog was growing weaker and weaker with each and every day that passed it seemed. A welcome thought indeed. An unwelcome thought was Priestess's staff head, which still lay nestled in his bag.

He had not been able to return it as he intended to yesterday. It was some kind of compulsion that kept him away from the church, and Hunter knew that the fog was responsible. It wanted him to keep the staff head for some reason. Hunter did not like the thought of it. For what reason would the fog need for him to keep the staff head? He'd also tried leaving it in a safe box, but found that he could not bring himself to shut and lock it. Hunter was compelled to bring it with him, and that brought up another speculation.

Why was it that the fog only compelled him to hold onto this item? Why not compel him in his entirety to do its bidding? Perhaps it was not strong enough to overpower his will and control him completely, but it was strong enough to make him do this one thing. It could also be that the effort of suppressing Hunter's memory weakened it. That made little sense to Hunter, for if the fog was strong enough to simply control him, it would not need to suppress his memories. His thoughts turned back to Priestess's staff, and he grit his teeth the more he put his mind to its purpose.

It filled him with a sense of dread, for he did not know what function the staff head would accomplish for his enemy. After thinking on it a while, and coming up with nothing but speculation, Hunter's thoughts drifted back on the promotion he and Wizard had received.

They had been promoted to obsidian since the investigation of the flesh cave proved his claims to be true. The guild had sent men on horseback to find the cave based on Hunter's directions, and they had returned the day after. These men confirmed that there were massive structures of bone left amid the copious piles of ash in the cavern, including the skeleton of Morg. Hunter believed these bone structures helped hold up the flesh, though he did not know that for certain.

The guild was impressed that most of the party survived considering what they had to face off with. Apparently such a task would have been left to silver ranks if the guild had known what was really down there. The upgrade in status gifted both Wizard and Hunter with new tags that were nearly invisible against his black leather attire.

This in turn allowed them to take on more high ranking quests. They snatched up a job which required at least a few days of travel but promised a high reward. A somewhat large village was reporting on several disappearances over the course of a month. Hunter and Wizard were to investigate the source of why the people were vanishing and stop it if possible. He would have been more excited about his new adventure if they had more party members with them.

He and Wizard's attempts to find new party members had been fruitless. Not one person wanted to take this quest, either because Hunter was involved or because it sounded boring to the higher ranking adventurers.

Hunter knew why his colleagues didn't want to accompany him. His first impression and unfortunate luck seemed to have painted him in a negative light to the other adventurers. He did not resent them for this, but Hunter would be lying to himself if it didn't leave him utterly frustrated. Protecting Wizard was going to be all the harder if they got themselves ambushed. Unfortunately the guild did not make anyone join a party. It was purely an adventurer's choice on who they partied up with. Hunter was fairly sure that this job could be completed with just him and Wizard, but he would have felt more confident if he had at least two other people with them. Even though Hunter and Wizard had accepted the quest, he felt it was unnecessary that adventurers should be sent out for it. This job seemed more tailored for those who upheld law and order.

Hunter had been surprised that the guild would send adventurers to do a guardsman's job, but Guild Girl had told him that guardsmen were stretched thin and had their hands full dealing with the sudden rise of madmen across the nation.

Hunter had a feeling these madmen were linked to the fog in some way. If they were anything like the madmen he had fought before entering the flesh cave, then they most certainly were. That, and the fact that these lunatics would often be seen tearing out their own eyes or trying to claw odd glyphs into other people's flesh. Hunter had not had a chance to see these markings, for there were fewer madmen in what he now referred to as 'his town'.

He knew not why that was, allegedly they were more often seen in the more cramped cities. The one Hunter resided in was certainly somewhat cramped. Another bloody mystery to solve later. His journey bag jingled heavily with all of his unspent coins. He had decided to save up most of his earnings; having twenty gold left over from his and Wizard's shopping excursion. Perhaps one day he could spend his savings on a very expensive magical item? Perhaps he could spend some spare coin on Artificer's services, but Hunter hadn't been able to see him. The old man hadn't answered his door whenever Hunter had come to speak with him.

Hunter supposed that Artificer was a busy man. Wizard even said as much while blowing her coin on a helping of spoodles. Hunter didn't know what the odd pasta tasted like, but he didn't want to know. Pasta with purple sauce could not be trusted. Plus it was horribly expensive, costing five gold coins! Five gold had bought them both plenty of fine meals and trinkets the day before, so Hunter found the price outrageous. Wizard's eyes had shone with a hunger that he would have thought belonged to a hefty innkeeper, and she had spent the coin as easy as scratching her nose. Wizard had consumed the whole plate in less than five minutes.

Wizard was the complete opposite of Hunter when it came to finances. The girl had spent nearly every coin eating out and buying blank books. She claimed that the books would be useful for recording her notes. The blank pages left over could also be used later on for spell storage, assuming she could get the pages enchanted. Spellbooks all started as normal everyday books, but spells scrawled into them carried no meaning until the pages were infused with raw magical energy. It was an expensive process, and Wizard's spending habits ensured that no such service would be available for a while yet.

His thoughts turned back to Artificer, and Hunter frowned. Should he be worried about the old man?

"Artificer hasn't answered his door for me," Hunter told Wizard. "I've been to his workshop a few times the last couple of days, and he hasn't answered once. Should I be worried?"

She smirked.

"He's probably caught up in his work." She told him, a small skip noticeable in her step.

Hunter shrugged. He had been showing up in the morning and afternoon, but maybe that was when Artificer did most of his work. Hunter asked this of Wizard, and she confirmed this thought.

"Yeah, he hates what he calls 'walk-ins.'" She told him, quoting the air with her index and middle finger. "Usually you have to leave him a note. He has a safe box at the guild where he receives messages. You have to leave one there if you want to speak to the geezer anytime within this year. That's where I left that ioun stone, I want to make sure it has no flaws before I use it."

Hunter frowned, and Wizard rose a brow at his expression.

"Why use the guild? They aren't a mail delivery service." Hunter told her.

Wizard waved a hand and said "Who do you think approaches him for work the most? It's adventurers you lout." She said in a demeaning tone.

"You're a lout." Hunter deadpanned.

They then traded juvenile insults before moving back to casual conversation, with occasional good-natured ribbing here and there. Talking with Wizard was a good way to pass the time of the journey. Hunter found that she was a very interesting woman to speak with. Her theories on magic and its dozens of potential applications intrigued him to no end.

The two gradually began walking closer to one another as they conversed, practically shoulder to shoulder as they went along. Out of the corner of his eye, Hunter could see Wizard occasionally move a hand toward his arm. This always ended with her tensing up and dropping her hand back at her side. Truly she was persistent when it came to the chase, she simply had to overcome her nerves. Hunter likely wouldn't reciprocate. He needed to know who he was first before having any real interest in the chase. Of course, Wizard did not know of his dilemma, so she would continue her pursuit.

They trudged on like that for hours; the chatting helping to distract from the intense heat and length of the journey. As the sun was beginning to set beneath the horizon, Hunter noticed the shapes of two large men walking on the path ahead of them. Hunter could not distinguish any features on the pair, but they were walking with a slow easygoing gait. Wizard and Hunter would overtake them soon with their somewhat brisk pace.

Perhaps they could be amiable? Long journeys such as this were better with company. Hunter also didn't feel like they were linked in any way to the fog, not like the madmen who ambushed him before. However... They could still be a threat even if they weren't related to the fog in any way. Wizard eyed them suspiciously and Hunter and she fell silent. The two men did not look back. It wasn't long before Hunter and Wizard caught up with the two large men, trailing behind them silently.

Maybe calling them men wasn't quite appropriate.

A light green hue touched their mostly bare flesh, the only cloth covering them being fur loincloths and firm leather boots that reached up past their ankles and halfway up their calves. Not proper clothing for being out in public, but it must do wonders in this heat. Hunter almost drew his weapon, that green hue made him think of Morg back in those fleshy depths, but the two were still walking forward, and chatting quite loudly.

Hunter and Wizard were only about a hundred paces or so from the two loud figures.

"Legs!" Shouted one.

"Arms!" Shouted the other.

They both then laughed and began punching and kicking one another with considerable force. It was a sight to see, as neither of them ceased their pace as they delivered and received blows that would incapacitate the average man. Hunter could see that the one on the left carried a massive battle-axe in a free hand. The double-edged blade caught what little light remained and gleamed. It was given obvious care, though the axe had certainly seen its fair share of use. Small chips in the blade and the worn-out handle were clear indicators of this. The other man stood a few fingers taller than his companion but carried no weapon.

Wizard tugged on his sleeve, and Hunter slowed his pace to hear Wizards whisper.

"Orcs." She told him. "At least half-orcs to be certain, stay on guard. I'll get their attention, just be ready to fight if this turns sour."

Hunter furrowed his brow. An orc? He hadn't the faintest idea what an orc was, let alone a half-orc, but he would be on guard for now. Wizard was the expert here, considering she knew what an orc was. Wizard took a deep breath and shouted.

"Hold there!"

The two orcs stopped in their tracks, and they turned around. Hunter was close enough now that he could make out their features clearly. The slightly taller orc matched Hunters own height, but was nearly twice as wide, with large arms but even larger legs. Two small tusks jutted up from a slightly protruding jaw, coming just short of overtopping his upper lip. Bright yellow eyes narrowed at him beneath a low brow, and the orcs bald head shone with sweat.

The other orc stood slightly shorter but was just as wide, but with larger arms than legs. Besides the shaggy black hair falling down his back, the shorter orc looked a carbon copy of the taller one. Perhaps they had some blood relation? The two pairs of travelers stared at one another in uncomfortable silence. What should he say now? Hunter was surprised at his lack of words. How did one speak to an orc anyhow?

The shorter one grabbed the taller's slightly pointed ear and yanked it downward with a sharp tug. The taller gave a small shout of protest and broke eye contact with Hunter. The shorter whispered into the taller's ear but whatever they might have been planning was cut off when the two of them gave a yelp and began looking around themselves.

Hunter's eyes widened with surprise. He almost forgot about his 'first impressions'.

He had not regained any new memories this past week, but he began to notice that first time exposure to Hunter always rang that bell for others. Thankfully no one else had made the connection yet, but he had the sinking feeling that it was only a matter of time before he was found out. When it was discovered that he was the source of the bell, what then? Likely he'd be under scrutiny and experimented on by several magic users. If Wizard was any indication for a mage's thirst for knowledge, he'd never have privacy again. Hunter would become a victim of academia if he wasn't simply burnt at the stake. Hunter would not let that happen.

"Big bell!" The taller one shouted, swinging his fists at the air over his head.

The shorter one punched the taller in the gut, expelling the air from the bigger orcs lungs. However, instead of collapsing, the larger of the two gave a quick headbutt to the smaller's forehead, causing him to stumble. The two then engaged in a furious brawl of beating fists and crunching headbutts as the smaller orc cast his axe to the dirt.

So they didn't want to kill each other, but they certainly wanted to beat on each other. Wizard scoffed as the two green giants fell to the ground grappling.

"Savages the lot of them. All they know is violence. Let us leave these hogs to their little spout." Wizard huffed, walking forward.

It seemed as though Wizard had intended a wide berth from the rolling green fighters, but Hunter was standing still. She only walked a few paces ahead before she noticed his frozen frame. She walked back to him with a quirked brow. She could not see the mad grin playing beneath his upturned collar. That was a good thing.

The fight was entertaining to say the least, the two were neck and neck, flinging one another about like dolls. That, however, was not what made him fond of the two green men. The two were laughing with each other, lost in the fight, seemingly forgetting the two strangers who had called out to them. They surely felt the thrill as he did when it took him.

He almost had to stop himself from dogpiling into the fray and throwing a few of his own punches. Chudenite soldiers would often engage in such roughhousing on their days off.

Fuzz

Fuzz

Fuzz

Hunter smiled. The fog did seem to grow weaker with each new memory he regained after all. Hunter cleared his throat and simply walked straight towards the two grappling orcs. He removed his gloves with casual ease, stuffing them into his journey bag and handing it to Wizard without a word. The woman frowned at him, and Hunter then said the magic word.

"Please?"

This seemed to work, as she snatched the bag from his grasp with a small growl. Hunter took a deep breath as he strode mere feet from the billowing dust cloud that surrounded the two fighters.

"Excuse me, gentlemen?" Hunter asked.

His words were ignored and almost inaudible over the two rolling shouting green forms. Hunter almost chuckled at himself... he really called these orcs 'gentlemen'? Hunter repeated himself in a louder, angrier tone, without the 'gentlemen' of course. That got the two to cease rolling for a moment, and they looked up at Hunter with narrowed yellow eyes. The taller orc had the shorter by one of his jutting tusks, and the shorter was pinching the taller's nose with an iron grip. Both orcs were on their knees, a billowing dust cloud flowing up past them.

"How do you do?" Hunter asked them simply.

The two released one another and stood up from the dirt, brushing themselves off.

"What mean how to do?" Said the taller orc. "You just hit real hard, it ain't compofcated."

Hunter blinked, both at the misuse of the word and the orcs misunderstanding of what had been asked. The shorter orc then elbowed the taller and snickered.

"You stupidest stupid. He askin' us how we is not hows to foight."

Both of them spoke in a very similar rough tone and accent. Their voices seemed to indicate that they were intoxicated, but maybe orcs were just... not articulate. The taller orc then let out a long-lasting "Oh" and stuck his hand out to Hunter. Hunter gripped the orc's hand firmly, and the two shook. The orc had a powerful grip, that was a good sign.

"We is good. Had a good scrapping. I'm Berlo Leg-Huge!" The taller shouted. "And this git is my lil' bruva!"

"Brunko Arm-Big!" The shorter shouted.

Berlo broke off the shake with Hunter and the two orcs bellowed "Yeaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!" simultaneously before giving each other a truly impressive high five.

They both then looked to Hunter, their faces expectant as the orcs then turned their palms towards him, holding them up high. Hunter's two hands snapped up with realization, palms facing the two orcs.

"I am Hunter." He said simply.

The orcs grinned stupidly then repeated "Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!" The sound of their bellowing voices echoing throughout the forest before Berlo and Brunko gave a vicious slap to both of Hunter's ungloved hands. The stinging pain was immediate though not unbearable and Hunter gave a short chuckle. Why was Wizard made uneasy by these funny green doofs? Perhaps it had to do with their rough and tumble nature? Or maybe orcs had a bad reputation in general. He would need to prune her for answers later tonight.

The two orcs then fell quiet once more, staring at Hunter expectantly once more. Hunter put down his hands and asked the two why they had suddenly become silent. Berlo answered with a shrug, and Brunko responded with "I dunno."

Hunter almost let out a sigh of relief. For a moment there he thought they were going to share some maddening esoteric knowledge with him. As it turned out it was good old plain awkward silence. Hunter needed to remind himself that the world was bigger than him and his dilemma with the fog. Everything did not in fact revolve around him, and he'd have to deal with things that had nothing to do with the fog. This situation was one of them.

"So uh..." Berlo started. "Where ya goin'?"

Hunter waved Wizard forward, and she approached tentatively, taking up a position almost directly behind Hunter. She peaked out from behind his arm at the two orcs, her eyes still narrowed with suspicion. If the orcs took any offense to her behavior, they did not show it. Hunter didn't feel like the orcs were an immediate danger, and he doubted that they were plotting anything against him and Wizard.

"We're going to Groudrey." Hunter told them. "We're on a quest."

The two orcs then got wide-eyed, and looked at each other. They then huddled together, whispering loudly into one another's ears. If they expected not to be heard, then they were dead wrong. Their 'whispering' was more like quiet yelling.

"This could be our chancies!" Said Brunko, clearly excited.

"I knows, but ya gots to let me do da talkin'." Berlo responded. "You're real stupidly."

Hunter knew not what this 'chancies' could be, but he glanced at Wizard, who was furrowing her brow at the two hunched over orcs. She cupped a hand over her mouth and whispered silently up at him.

"I wasn't expecting this." She said, indicating toward the orcs with her eyes. "They're savage and incredibly foolish, but I was also led to believe that they were inherently violent creatures."

Hunter eyed the two orcs and whispered back "Led to believe that how exactly?"

Whatever Wizard was about to say was cut off when the two orcs gave another powerful drawn out 'Yeah' before high fiving each other. They then both looked to Hunter, eagerness and excitement playing across their rough features.

"Cans we come too!?" Brunko shouted. "We can smash up gits real good we promise!"

Berlo nodded enthusiastically.

"Ya, da venturin' build doesn't wanna enroll us cause they don't like green." Berlo said in a downtrodden yet still loud voice.

"Absolutely not!" Wizard shouted at them suddenly.

The orcs then seemed to take notice of Wizard for the first time, and they both frowned, their shoulders slumped.

"She's got the pointiest hat... dat means she's in charge." Berlo told Hunter, shaking his head as he began to turn away. "Da pointier the hat the smarterer they is."

Brunko kicked the dirt in frustration as he too began to turn away. Wizard breathed a sigh of relief as they took a few steps away from them. Hunter had only a moment to come to a decision. Wizard did seem distrustful of orcs, and clearly did not want to be in their company for any longer than was necessary... however, they were in need of party members; registered by the guild or not. Wizard even seemed surprised by the two orcs deciding not to attack them outright, so it was obvious that her opinion on the two could not be counted on. Hunter needed to rely on his own judgment of their character.

They seemed good-natured and friendly despite their admittedly threatening appearance. Could that be a clever ruse? Hunter dismissed that thought. The orcs did not seem to have the capacity for such trickery. Hunter believed that they were being genuine in their offer to join them on this adventure, and he would feel safer knowing that he had two strong physical fighters at his back. With their party made up of only two members, keeping Wizard safe would surely be difficult. If he and Wizard were to get ambushed again, Hunter wouldn't be able to rely on Fighter and Warrior to defend Wizard for him.

Hunter was fast, but he couldn't be everywhere at once. He needed someone to protect Wizard from any combatants targeting her. The thought of knowing that Wizard was safe in combat would allow him to fight more aggressively, which Hunter knew, was what he was best at.

Another thought occurred to him, if Wizard felt the way she did of orcs, what was to say that the village ahead wouldn't take up arms at the sight of the two jolly green goofs? That was something Hunter dreaded thinking about, for if he took the orcs into his party, his honor would compel him to defend the orcs if they were attacked. He did not want to fight scared people who only fought to defend their homes from what they perceived as savage beasts...

He pondered this for only another moment before making his decision.

...

...

...

Artificer knew now.

It was all so clear to him now that it had been explained.

He did not fear the nightmares any longer.

He loved and embraced them knowing the glorious truth of their origin.

Coming from a being so pure and perfect meant that they were holy visions.

His new god; for that was surely what his master was, demanded a task completed for him.

And Artificer...

Would build him his Doll.

Finally done with this chapter. It took me a while but here it is! I'll still be updating, just expect it to come a little slower than before. I finished this up after my child fell asleep. I'll be updating Hell Gate next and after that a little side project for Cataclysm Dark Days Ahead, then it'll be back to White flower and so on. It's nice to be back, hope you guys enjoyed the chapter, can't wait to see your predictions in the reviews.