○ Common ○ Rakahi ○ Pailtic ○ Hussian ○
58th Trial of Zi'da, Arc 716
A season's time wasn't too long to be away from home, but Freya felt it within her bones the moment she crossed the stone gates. The walls were rebuilt and new, built thicker and higher than before. Even the gate was reinforced with metal that appeared foreign and ethereal. Even the buildings seemed new and polished, clean and crisp with new slated roofs, bricking, and iron.
Freya knew why everything looked so new. She would never forget the terror she witnessed that fateful night her and Valkan ran through the streets, fighting creatures. Creatures that were spawned from impossibility, yet they had ruined the city.
Every now and then, when they'd turn down a rugged street, small piles of rubble would be see next to collapsed buildings not yet cared for in the aftermath. It made her heart sink, something that could been seen in the way she carried herself during the entire week after their arrival. Ne'haer was her home as much as the sea was, and to think she'd run so easily from it in the face of danger...
Wendell had asked about it lightly, then attempted to cheer her up the best he could. Freya appreciated the gestures, but every now and again, her sadness would shift into anger and she'd leave his presence in a much darker mood than she'd arrived. That was the way it seemed between them, such fire and passion they both wielded, but never too little to mesh together and though Freya was undeniably attracted to him, she couldn't help but wonder if it was more so because she was lonely and in need of a warm figure to curl around at night.
It didn't take much time for her to go to him in the middle of the night and seek out his comfort as she had wanted to from the moment he'd allowed himself to converse with her. Freya entered, pressing lips to his own and fingers to collar, only to peel it away from him. But in a moments hesitation, she stopped, and though he was more than ready, she couldn't allow herself to claim such pleasure. Depression bit into her as she'd gone to leave, but his strong grasp prevented her exit and instead, saw that she slept in his presence for at least that night.
Time was of the essence and while they remained in Ne'haer, their contact for the last part of the Witch Doctor's shipment still hadn't shown to give them the product. Apparently the cold weather of Zi'da prevented the lad's ship from sailing out of Port on time and would take additional weeks to reach the city. During this time, Freya introduced Wendell to many parts of Ne'haer and even took the time to show him the snow covered gardens, decorated with red flowers that only bloomed during Zi'da. The tension between them was climbing to a crescendo, though Freya would never allow it to fall with satisfaction. Something kept her back...
Nevertheless, that didn't stop her from going out with him when he wasn't off on his own adventures within the city. She didn't care to know where he went either, but knew he was taken care of.
And so they found themselves within the Crest Break Tavern, a place Freya use to serve at before she left for a much more shady, risky career. The tavern had to be rebuilt after the invasion, but none who didn't live there would know. Freya and Wendell settled themselves against a table in the back and enjoyed food casually while discussing travel plans once the contact showed in the city.
“It shouldn't be too much longer,”
Freya answered while taking a sip of ale, “From what I gather, the ship will be here within the week. Once it docks, we can transfer the last shipment onto the caravan and exit through the western gates around nightfall. The guards change shifts during that time and they don't seem to care too much about code or checking wagons very thoroughly.”
Wendell only nodded and continued with his meal. However, Freya felt inclined to speak her mind, as she always did with him, whether he believed her or not.
She said quietly, grabbing his attention. “Once we're back in Rharne, once we have the payout, if you wish to leave, you're more than welcomed to. It was never my intention to have you aboard, or to steal you away from your home... I can't ever make things right, but.. I hope you understand how truly sorry I am for the misfortune that's befallen you because of my crew members. I will try my best to make it up to you in any way I know how...”
Freya wanted to reach for his hand but kept her own glue to the table. She didn't expect a response, she never did. But Wendell always had a way of surprising Freya and she knew he probably would this time.