Bjorin and I arrived at Cerra’s shores after two weeks of travelling. It took us more time to get there since the ship was packed with merchants of every trade, turning our vessel into a miniature market.
The city itself is not too complex and having a week before the festivities start, it didn’t take me long to get my bearings. Passing by a mansion, I overheard a conversation about nobles coming for the gathering. It seemed that most of the ships’ arrival was delayed because of a storm and they would instead arrive three days later than expected. The appointed guide that was supposed to show these nobles around the city had fallen ill and since the entire population is busy preparing for the festivities, they were having quite a bit of trouble finding a replacement.
I politely interrupted the two men as they were loading some fireworks into a cart and introduced myself. I had asked if they knew of any work that needed assistance with around town since I had a lot of time on my hands and a wish to enlarge my pockets. One of the two introduced himself as Robert and explained that he was the owner of a fine establishment located just down the street. Thrilled by my inquiry, he had asked if I was willing to be a replacement for his sick friend, offering me lodging and food as well as a payment of three gold pieces per day until the end of festivities. I was stunned by his generous offer and asked if it was wise to pay so much just for a few days of work. He smiled at my modesty, saying that it can be a “bit” tiresome to cope with nobles and all their requests; it wouldn’t come as a surprise if I came and asked for a raise after a day or two of watching over them. I thanked him for the opportunity and asked if there were any requirements for the job. “A ton of patience and never-ending courtesy. Aside from that, there is not a strictly planned tour, just to show them around town and watch over them during their stay.” .
Apologizing for interrupting their work and thanking the man once again, I left to meet up with Bjorin. The dwarf was just as surprised as I was, praising my resourcefulness and quick thinking.
“Not a bad way to earn yourself some coin lass, but do remember that we are not here for the sights and shopping” .
The constant reminder. “Ah, yes, the important task of hunting wild geese. What was it this time? Darkspawn, dragons or an entirely different farce?” .
His expression darkened. “Lose the attitude, girl, this is a serious matter.” .
“Yes, it is serious enough to send a fledgeling along with a foreign master to the middle of nowhere. I do not mean to offend you, Bjorin, I’m just having difficulty believing in the legitimacy of this mission. Why are we here anyways?”
He let out a sigh. “Have you ever heard of the Auriel?”
“The name does sound familiar, though I cannot place it.”
“Not surprising; it’s an ancient story, and many believe it to be a fable of old, nothing but a tale to narrate to children before bed. It is said that there once existed a powerful order of mages, capable of changing the very fabric of the world they lived in, just as people today are able to do so in the fade. With their great wisdom and power, they set out into the world to teach and guide its inhabitants. They built great cities of knowledge, turned vast deserts into lush forests, raised mountains, split seas. And then one day the simple disappeared… Some speculate that they were rewarded by the Maker and joined him in the Golden City, while others say that they were banished for their tampering with the mortal plane. Some even say that they have became the very essence of creation that resides in the Fade.”
“What does that story have to do with us being here? “
“Everything, he smiled. “Thanks to your Keeper’s willingness to share her knowledge about the matter, I was able to find the last residing place of the order, which is the island we’re standing on. They built many places of great power, but the only one that still seems to exist is right here. The local’s legends of their city’s builders corroborate my theory as well.”
“Lisanna! Miss Lisanna!” someone shouted in the distance.
I turned to see where the voice was coming from but saw no one calling out my name. “You still haven’t answered my question.”
“The reason we’re here is an Auriel – a relic that is supposed to store great knowledge and power. There were several of them in the world, but just as most of your elven mirrors were destroyed or corrupted, so too have been the Auriels. I have great reason to believe that an intact one still resides here.”
“So, basically, we’re hunting for relics.”
“More or less. We still have to find out where exactly the ruins are and your new employment gives you the perfect chance to snoop around for a bit.”
“Miss Lisanna! Miss Lisanna,” I saw a young boy running towards me with a smile. He stopped a few feet away from me, trying to catch his breath. “I’ve been searching all over for you, miss! Sir Robert has a message for you!”
He took in a few deep breaths before continuing. “He said that you are to meet him at the docks. One of the noble ships got out before the storm had started and is arriving to the port as we speak!”
I turned towards the dwarf. “Duty calls.”
“Come and find me at the Three Swords Inn once you’re done for the day. Don’t forget that— “
“I won’t, I won’t.,” I threw back a smile at him and followed the boy back to the docks. “Few days of watching over some noblemen, how hard could it be?”