\ Haven:Mist and Shadow HigherPower/Ero


Vol IV

Skye the Bard

Stories of Ero

The soldier sat down on a broken siege weapon, mailed hand lifting to brush his thumb over his burning eye, clearing it of the blood that obscured his vision. Imperials and rebels alike lay broken and bloody on the battlefield, and the soldier wasn't sure if he was the last one left, but he heard nothing at the moment, and so he rested.

Blood spilled from his lips and he spat it out to the side -- he felt no pain anymore, which he knew was a bad sign. The rebel officer had managed to catch him under one of his suit's plates and unless a healer was nearby, he'd be done for. In these last moments he thought of his men. At the end day he didn't fight for the Emperor, for his cowardly family that wouldn't rise up to protect the villages on the border. He fought for his brothers-in-arms, his cohorts, and they were all dead.

"Friend, it isn't worth it, trying to stay awake. I don't mean to hurry you -- take your time," Ero told the soldier. He had been sitting there the whole time, but Gods had the power to go unnoticed among most mortals -- a power that served the King of Gold well when he searched for treasure. Today he was looking for treasure that was very rare indeed, for an admittedly practiced occultist like Ero: a Sword of Valor, created when the last man standing in a battlefield dies. "I just mean your mind will go to dark places."

Of all the men who fought and died on this battlefield, the soldier alone knew who Ero was -- if this somehow attributed to his victory, I am unsure, but one cannot be blamed for thinking so. He told Ero so: "I know who you are."

Unbeknownst to the soldier, this would brighten Ero's mood for the next decade or so. "You know me?"

"You are Ero, the Thief." Ero couldn't be happier -- the title was spoken with insult intended, but Ero knew most of the richest men were thieves, and he was happy to be associated with the profession. It can only mean Ero will get wealthier, and that was Ero's goal for now.

"Say, friend... would you like a drink?" A cask of some fine wine and horns were strapped to Ero's hip, and the brute sat beside the soldier and poured him one.

The soldier couldn't deny that a drink sounded like a good way to lubricate his journey to the other side. "Alright, Ero," he told the King of Gold. "I will drink with you, if you do one thing for me."

"Only if I get your sword when you die." Ero wasn't going to allow himself to be cheated, not even by a dying man.

The soldier laughed. Ero didn't, but he didn't mind the soldier laughing. When the soldier leaned on him to prevent himself from falling, Ero steadied him back up. "Deal. Drink to my men, Ero. Drink to Wellik, Eidren and Shord." He gave a few more names, and to his credit the King of Gold remembered them all.

"You don't have much time there, friend," Ero spoke then to the soldier. "I can't say all those names. You'll die first. So we'll drink to all the men who died today. Aye?"

The soldier laughed. "You're a rascal," he called Ero. Ero didn't know what a rascal was, so he just nodded politely. "Aye. To all the men who died today." The soldier's horn and Ero's met companionably, and the two drained their cups dry.

They spoke of many things, of women they've loved, of fortunes they've made, of friends they have lost. Both had fallen asleep, but when Ero woke the soldier was dead. His sword was in its scabbard, laid across Ero's lap. To this day, it remains the King of Gold's weapon of choice.

Your Own Stories of Ero

"Is it strange to admire a god? Because I do. I owe you for that night of pain you saved me from."
- Keysen

"I love you. From the very first. I don't know why, but it doesn't matter. You've been there when I needed you, even if it wasn't important. And the wedding. You made that even more special. I miss you. And I haven't forgotten my promise. I WILL find you that artist, so your memories of her are never lost."
- Gizelle

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- Author

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