Geralt and Eskel stared at the pathway up the mountain with a sinking sensation in their stomachs before they turned to look at each other, and then Roach and Scorpion. The noise that Roach let out made it quite clear that she was speaking on behalf of the two of them, and they would not be moving to even attempt the way up the pass. At least not if the Witchers were attached to their fingers.
"Well...fuck," Geralt sighed.
"Eloquent as ever," Eskel snorted.
"Fuck off," Geralt grunted.
"Well, what are we going to do?" Eskel sighed looking back to the pass.
"Even we're not going to be able to camp out in this," Geralt looked up at the sky, heavy and thick with snow clouds.
"It's going to be a bad winter, especially if the pass is already sealed off," Eskel nodded looking up the mountain that held Kaer Morhen at the top and was definitely sealed off from them this winter. "Where are we going to be able to stay over a whole winter though, not to mention being able to afford somewhere to stay,"
Geralt frowned to himself before he turned and started leading Roach away. "Come on, let's go find him," He said to the horse.
"Who are you going to find?" Eskel asked confused, following after his brother for a lack of anything else to do, watching the normally cantankerous horse perk her ears up and trot along happily.
"We," Geralt grunted. "You can't wander around by yourself,"
Eskel smiled at his protective older brother, speeding up a little to catch up with him. "So where are we going?"
"Oxenfurt," Geralt huffed.
"Yes, Jaskier will be there for the winter," Geralt muttered, and Eskel tried not to perk up next to him so much, sometimes it was like poking a bear talking to Geralt. They had, of course, all heard about Geralt's Bard, how could they not when Toss A Coin erupted over the continent in the matter of a year.
All of them had, of course, noticed, especially when people softened towards them, actually paying them properly and not treating them like they were trekking plague through villages with them. The lyrics had made it more than clear who it was that the song was about, and Eskel, Lambert, Coen and Vesemir had pounced on Geralt that first winter demanding answers.
Over the last ten years, they had heard about the Bard from Geralt over the Winter, their white-haired brother muttering about him enough for them to paint a good picture of the man by now, a little more added each winter to the picture of the Bard. Now it appeared that he would get to finally meet the man.
"Are you sure he will be ok with me just showing up as well?" He had to ask as he and Geralt trudged through the snow together.
"He will probably wet himself in excitement," Geralt huffed amused.
They shared a confused look with each other as they walked through the campus at Oxenfurt and were greeted by wide eyes, smiles, nods or excited whispering, not the mutters, glowers, hissed words and stench of fear that they were used to.
They had been wandering around for a little while trying to find the right place, and as well as getting annoyed with being lost, they were both more than a little baffled about the reaction that they were receiving from people.
"Excuse me? Are you looking for Professor Pankratz? You are Geralt of Rivia right? Are you looking for him? You are looking for him right?" A young boy verbally spewed over them.
"Yes," Geralt grunted hoping that covered all the questions.
"Oh, I will take you to him if you want?"
"Yes," Geralt nodded again.
"Thank you," Eskel added with a roll of his eyes. The boy just laughed and turned, leading them through the college campus, rambling away about Toss A Coin and the makeup of the song, the beat and the rhythm and why it was so popular and why Professor Pankratz was such a good Bard and writer.
By the time that they stopped in front of a door and the kid was knocking on it the two Witchers following him was just blinking at him.
"Professor Pankratz, you have some visitors!" The kid chirped.
"Visitors? Really?" Jaskier's voice came from within the room.
"Yes sir, it's Geralt of Rivia, and...another Witcher, I am really sorry sir I didn't get your name!" The kid flushed turning around and grimacing apologetically at Eskel.
"Geralt?!" Before Eskel could answer or reassure the kid there was the sound of fumbling and running feet from within the room. "He should be...have you hurt yourself Geralt? Are you ok? What happened?!" Jaskier burst out the room looking frantic but skidded to a halt when he saw Geralt seemed as though he was quite fine, though a little baffled.
"I'm fine," Geralt grunted.
"Why are you here you should be...elsewhere for the winter," Jaskier fussed over him, patting him down to make sure that he was not injured and hiding it, as he had done many times before.
"I'm fine!" Geralt grunted.
"Then why are you here? Something happened, have you been stabbed again?!" Jaskier squinted before diving for Geralt's armour and with clear skill and practise stared undoing it to check under it.
"I have not been stabbed, stop!" Geralt grumbled batting gently at the Bard's hands, who dodged the swats with what was also clear practice. "I haven't been stabbed,"
"That is not the first time that I have heard that before!" Jaskier paused long enough to scowl before going back into battle with Geralt to get his armour off.
"Erm...people are watching," Eskel coughed, motioning to the curious crowd that had gathered around them, watching everything intently.
"Right, into the classroom, you to Eskel," Jaskier started herding them into the room.
"How did you…"
"Geralt has described all of you, of course I recognise you," Jaskier started fussing over Geralt again as soon as the door was closed, and missed Eskel reaching up to brush more of his hair over his face to cover his scars. "He said that you were the tallest of you guys, and he was the second tallest, he's quite annoyed about the fact you managed to grow bigger than him," Jaskier carried on as he got into a tug of war with Geralt over getting his cloak off.
"Don't tell him that! And I am fine Jaskier!" Geralt growled furiously at the Bard, and Eskel was baffled when the man didn't even flinch, just huffed at him and placed his hands on his hips, clearly annoyed.
"Swear on Roach!" He demanded.
"I swear on Roach!" Geralt snarled.
"Fine, why are you here, you were heading to Kaer Morhen as normal, is everything ok?" Jaskier asked concerned touching Geralt's arm gently. Eskel found himself blinking for at least the 1000th time at the fact Geralt didn't throw the hand off, the concern in the human's voice, and the fact that Geralt had told him about Kaer Morhen, that he had trusted him with it.
"The pass sealed off faster this year, by the time we arrived it was too dangerous to try and climb it without having to leave the horses. We weren't sure where else to go for the Winter," Geralt explained.
"Oh right ok, well I have a spare room that Eskel can claim for the winter and we can share, my rooms are here within the campus but I have a class to start up in a few minutes, so do you want to go grab some more food and once you have done that I should be done and can take you there, we can have a nice meal tonight, this will be so much fun!" Jaskier chirped excitedly, seemingly thrilled to be housing two Witchers for the winter.
"Ok," Geralt grunted and reached into Jaskier's pocket seemingly automatically and came out with a coin purse.
"Meet me back here!" Jaskier shouted as Geralt turned to tow Eskel away.
"Oh, Geralt grab.."
"Yes, I will,"
"Oh and don't forget…"
"Did you stock up on anything Jaskier!" Geralt snapped.
"I have been busy!"
"How do you not starve during the winter?!" Geralt snarled. "How you show up with more winter pudge I don't know!"
"I do not have winter pudge!" Jaskier squawked.
"You definitely do, why do you think we walk so far in the spring for the first few weeks?" Geralt smirked over his shoulder.
"You had better be kidding Geralt! Gerlt! Geralt!" Jaskier's shrieks followed them out the door.
"Thank you! It's nice meeting you," Eskel poked his head back into the room realising that he hadn't said anything.
"Oh no problem, it is nice finally getting to meet you!" Jaskier beamed, the annoyance that had been on his face melting away and was replaced with a wide friendly smile.
"I appreciate it," Eskel smiled before grunting as Geralt grabbed him and tugged him away.
Once again they were faced with wide eyes and smiles, awed looks as they walked through the campus, and then the market as soon as people saw their eyes, once again no sign of the normal fear and horror that came with seeing their eyes.
"What?" Eskel asked curiously catching up with his brother at a bakery.
""Better get him some cinnamon, and honey buns," Geralt grunted, fishing out coin from his own purse. "They're his favourites,"
Eskel stared at him a little stunned, and still reeling from everything that he had seen from today. It felt like the time that he had taken some bad herbs and had a bad trip.
"Shut up!" Geralt growled seeing the look on his face.