Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 85: New Beginnings

Seth ’s jaw fell open and he didn´t know what to say.

”My father sent me a letter. He says it´s important that I return as soon as possible and I- I… ”

She had dropped her cute act. She tried to hold back, but big tears welled up in her dark eyes. She bit down on her trembling lips.

”Hey… ”, he lifted his hand to …yeah what? Stroke her? As he stood cluelessly she rushed into his chest and firmly grabbed onto his shirt. She started sobbing with big tears and snot running down her face, promptly soaking his clothes.

”Fiwn doews wnot wawnt to weawwe! Fiwn wawntws to stayy with Seth! ”

”Wha? ” He cupped his hands so the little fairy could sit on his palm, her tiny fist still firmly lodged onto his shirt. Seth felt a tinge of sadness at the thought that he would leave his side. Seth had tasted loneliness. Maybe not as much as others… but enough to fear it.

Fin had helped him more than she might have known. After his parents died Seth had isolated himself, he avoided people. He cut ties. He had not realized it until all the things that kept him occupied were gone. He remembered back in Deltan. There were moments when he sat alone in the dark, staring into the forge and asking himself why he was even trying so hard. Grinding had been another way to distract himself, but it was not a cure.

Traveling with Fin, having a friend. Simply her being there had helped him a lot to cope with…everything. He hugged her back tightly.

”Hey, Fin. This is not a goodbye. It´s a see you later! Get it? ”, he said in a steady voice.

”When your business at home is done you can come back here. And if you don´t come back then I will come over there. I will travel to the fairy world. ”

”Eh? ”, she looked up at Seth´s serious face.

”And no matter how long I have to look, I will find you. This is a promise. ” he made it sound a lot more like a threat than a genuine promise, but a big smile appeared on Fin´s face. She had been worried that she would be bogged down in duties again once she returned. She couldn´t help but laugh. Thinking of him being thrown to some random place in the fairy world and rushing around like a headless chicken trying to find her. It had helped to lift her mood.

”You better not come looking for Fin. We both know what would happen. You are right. It´s a see you later! Don´t think you can get rid Fin this easily! Fin will hunt you down! You will never escape! ”

”Oh really? Not if I find you first. I will be stuck to you like a leech! ”

”No! Fin will be the leech! Fin will be like the thought in the back of your mind. Always there! ”

They kept bickering back and forth about hunting each other down and that there was no escape. In the end, they could not come up with any more dumb phrases and calmed down. The employee had watched the whole drama in awkward silence. The matter was really important and the fair folk paid for an express portal.

”Fin has to leave now. ”, she gave Seth a last hug, ”Goodbye. ”

Seth held her back. ”It´s a see you later. Don´t forget it. ”

She smiled and left with the employee, leaving Seth behind. As he looked at the first friend, he had made in a long time leave a warm caring feeling rose up in him.

~It´s ok. I´m still here. ~

It was his connection with his pet, the tiny Ivicer, that a grown a lot stronger during their journey. It shared a lot of his feeling and understood his current mood. So, it reassured him, that he was not alone. Yes, he still had a friend with him. And had made several others on his journey, even if they were not here now.

”Thanks ”, he said to no one in particular and left the church.

Back on the busy streets of Ora Seth felt lost. He wandered the streets; just looking around. It was the storefront of a grimy little pub that caught his attention. The withered sign in the shape of a beer mug hung crookedly above the sturdy door; only held by one rusted chain. Warm light fell through the bull-glass onto the muddy street. He had entered the slums before he knew it and even around here it didn´t seem like a very reputable establishment. It was perfect to get fucked up.

The floors were caked in mud and dirt, but the pub was filled to the brink. All kinds of rough-looking guys and miners filled tables and spaces in between. The air smelled of sweat and cheap beer. Half a pig was roasting over a big fireplace in the corner beside the bar counter. Thick grease was glistening on the meat and dropping into the fire below adding another savory note to the mix of odors in the room.

The place was dirty, smelly, and filled with hairy grimy guys. It was revolting. It was the place Seth felt he had to be. He squeezed into the mass of bodies and made his way towards the bar. The barkeeper was not someone you wanted to buy food from. His skin was rough and tanned and his sharp blue eyes did not ask him what he wanted. He threatened Seth not to disturb him by ordering something. Those eyes were directed into the room, while his hand absentmindedly cleaned a mug with a dirty rag.

”Give me something mean. Not your looks. Something to drink. ”

The man stared daggers at the chick that dared to disrupt him. Still, he pulled out an unlabeled clear bottle filled with a clear fluid. A small glass was smashed onto the counter before Seth and left a dent in the aged wood. Or maybe just in the layer of dirt that covered it. The clear liquid filling the small glass had a tint of green and a tiny black maggot was floating in it.

The keeper still kept mum, but he smiled disdainfully at the pup that challenged him.

Seth empties the glass in one shot. The drink felt like acid shooting down his throat. He chewed the maggot with his mouth open and swallowed it in spite.

”Another. ”, he said and knocked with the glass on the counter. The keep´s smile was gone and he refilled the glass. Again, Seth emptied it in one shot. He could feel his health deteriorating, but his HP-regeneration covered it thanks to his endurance and the

”Another. ”

The barkeeper lifted one of his brows and looked at him askant before filling the glass again. This was not a booze anybody took a second shot of. He had seen people going (temporarily) blind after the second glass. What was wrong with this guy?

”Another. ”

It was the only word the blacksmith kept repeating in the lively atmosphere of the pub. The barkeeper would refill his glass and Seth would empty it again. The cycle kept going until the first bottle was empty. The keeper grunted and left unwillingly to get another bottle.

”That stuff must taste quite good if you keep drinking it like that. Mind if I join you? ”, a merry voice sounded beside him. Seth looked to the right and his eyes fell onto a small figure. A short beard, a simple slide cap, a worn shirt, and pants with suspender; everything covered in a dark layer of stone and coal dust. A dwarf? A miner just like the other workers in the pub.

”Do what you like. ”

The dwarf sat down beside him and also ordered a glass of whatever this terrible booze was. The barkeeper scowled at but put another glass on the counter before filling both glasses. Seth downed the drink in one go.

”Uwag! ”, the dwarf beside his started spitting it all over the place as his body revolt in a jolt of self-preservation. ”What the hell?! How can you drink this shit with a straight face! ”

”Another. ”, he said and smirked at the dwarf. The barkeeper had actually stopped caring about the crazy person some time ago and refilled his glass. The dwarf got a different drink but did not leave.

On the 5th shot, Seth was already quite drunk when a notification rang in his mind.

Seth sighed; the booze had lost its bite. He was already wasted, so he didn´t really care that much and took it as a hint to stop there. He knocked on the counter to signal that he wanted to pay.

”7 Silver. ”, the grumpy barkeeper said in a hoars voice. They were the first and only words he spoke to Seth. He looked questioning at Seth the other put 10 silver on the counter. He gestured at the dwarf that had fallen on the counter beside Seth to show that it was to pay his bill, too. He had not asked or looked for company tonight, but he still appreciated it. He patted the dwarf´s shoulder and left the pub to look for an inn for the rest of the night.

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