We learned many things in the land of the dwarves. The first of those lessons was the difference between dwarves and gnomes, and how upset the latter can be if you assume they are the former. And how hard it is to keep from laughing in the face of their adorable indignation.

The second lesson was much harsher. Snow is cold! One step outside the gates of the great city and we turned and went right back in. Fortunately, I had enough coin to purchase a coat and gloves. Otis didn’t seem to mind the weather one bit. The first thing he did after we went outside the second time was jump into a snowbank and roll around.

The northern monsters were different but the means of hunting them was the same. We went from Dun…Something to Dun Something Else to yet another Dun Something. I’m not certain what “Dun” means in Dwarvish (probably “Cold”) but it does seem to be their favorite word for naming places . It wasn’t until we descended the tunnel from the final Dun and entered the milder climate of the aptly named Wetlands that my life changed in two significant ways.

The first of these turned out to be easier than I expected – we got our first job hunting humans. Up to this point we had hunted many humanoid species – kobolds, troggs – but had not been tasked with killing what I considered to be actual people. I approached the area with some hesitant thought about perhaps talking to the bandits – surely they would see reason – but before I could get close enough, an arrow hit the turf near my feet, Otis sprang into action, and the battle was on. We had killed a half dozen people before I realized it, and once the task was complete I found that I felt not much different than if we had cleared a village of murlocs. I don’t know what that says about me as a person.

The second thing was…him. Trevor had – has – wild russet hair and eyes greener than Elwynn in the Spring and the first time he smiled at me, my heart began thumping. It has not yet stopped.

“Hey,” he said, all casual and confident and nonchalant as if he hadn’t just taken my breath away with a glance. “I heard they need some help at Thandol Span. I’m headed that way but I could use some help if you care to join me.”

I managed to mumble something, and that something must have sounded at least a little like assent because a moment later I was clinging to his waist as his horse galloped its way across the moors. Otis kept easy pace beside us, tongue lolling as if he hadn’t a care in the world.

Fighting with Trevor was a revelation in itself. He carried a sword and a shield and just stomped forward toward the target as soon as he saw it. The first time he did it I shouted at him to stop.

“We have to assess them first! Let’s climb that hill and get a…”

He just grinned, shoved on his helmet, and shook his head. “Nah. It’s faster this way.” Then he charged.

The heavy clang of a Dark Iron dwarf’s mace off of Trevor’s shield was all it took to shake me from my shock. I sent Otis to help, took a step to the side, and began firing. The beauty of this system, I soon discovered, was that Trevor somehow managed to keep all of the enemies’ attacks centered on himself. I no longer had to scamper out of range when one got past Otis’ flashing teeth. I could just sit back and pick off bad guys at my leisure. I was very concerned after the first time this happened, but when Trevor returned to my side his grin was as wide as ever and he had only a few dings in his armor to show for his work.

We made love for the first time under the stars that night. It was, quite possibly, the best day of my life.

Author Sunscryer
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