Balancing the Scales: The Sage Hero's Story
Later in the day, the four of them headed up to the council area, which is actually just a massive mound of obsidian in a cave much to Kaz's surprise. Saphana halts the three of them before they go in, "Roarke, you keep quiet. Act with the utmost politeness, use your best manners, Especially you Tasi!" Saphana demands. They all head inside and sit at the foot of the mound and before long a giant red drake lands in front of them. Kaz was shocked at the size of him, he bowed his head immediately. The drake lowered his head as he took his seat atop the mass of rock in front of them, "I am Salamat. Now raise your head boy, I wish to speak with you." His voice boomed throughout the cave.
Kaz raises his head to face the drake, "Yes sir, my name is Kaz. I am a sage class adventurer, and this is Tasi and Roarke." He introduces his group. The drake laughs "No need to be so formal Sir Kaz. I thank you and Tasi for saving my grandson Zen the other night. I wish to reward you, that is my reason for calling you here today." As he explains, Zen walks in from behind them and bows to Kaz. "I offer my gratitude for saving me Kaz. If you hadn't come along, I'd surely have been dragged away to who knows where by the humans." He says graciously. Salamat comes down off his rock and sets himself in front of Kaz, "What would you wish of me Kaz? If it's within my power I shall grant it." He asks with a curious grin on his face.
Kaz stood in thought for a few moments before he spoke up, "By any chance, would you object to letting me own land here in Rath? The inn is nice, but I would appreciate something of my own." Kaz asked Salamat. The drake looks confused for a moment, before bursting into laughter. "Is that all?" Salamat cries between chuckles. "Zen, show them that plot of land by the pond. The one by the bookstore." He instructs Zen. Zen bows to Salamat, "That's not really a fair deal, Kaz. I'll arrange to have some nice gifts delivered to your new plot. I'm anxious to see what you do with it." Kaz bows once again, "Thank you Salamat." Kaz says on one knee. "Don't worry about it Kaz, enough formalities. As far as I'm concerned, you're my son now. Call me Father." Salamat laughs and takes off through a hole in the roof of the cave.
Kaz spots something shining in Roarke's hands, Kaz asks him about it before they follow Zen to the land Salamat was giving them. Roarke shows Kaz a small glass ball, he explains that it is a kind of communication orb that lets people talk to one another. He was to update Commander Hargeon if anything important were to happen. Kaz frowns, "They really don't trust me do they?" Kaz asks in a depressed voice. Roarke shakes his head, "Hopefully we can convince the Commander you're not a bad person. Besides, I would think if you were actually evil, you would've been roasted by any of these dragons here long before now." Roarke laughs as he puts the orb back safely in his satchel.
"Frankly, I find this all very interesting. No ordinary guy like myself would have the chance to walk into Rath and get to see all this, unless they're in chains. You still have to tell me what all the big red one said to you. Because unlike you, I haven't a clue what he was saying." Roarke tells Kaz with a smile. They continue following behind Zen for another few minutes before they come up on a field overgrown with weeds, a dilapidated shed right next to a pond, all conveniently located not far behind the bookstore where Ishvara worked.
Zen turns around and spreads his wings, "This is it Kaz, do as you see fit. Just try not to cause a ruckus for Miss Ishvara while you build. Also, we'll be keeping an eye on the other human. Lastly, Lord Salamat's gifts should arrive here tomorrow." Zen bows his head to the four of them, and bids them goodbye. Kaz heads to the run down shed and goes inside. He returns to the others and tosses a rusty sickle to Tasi and a rake to Roarke, Kaz takes his breastplate and shirt off and grabs his sword, "Well, let's get to it you two." Kaz instructs them. They all end up cutting and hacking down the overgrown grass and weeds late into the day while Saphana watches.
Dirty and sweaty, Kaz, Roarke, and Tasi shed their clothes and hop into the pond. Roarke stares at Tasi for a few moments, Tasi sees this and wraps herself in a towel Saphana went and borrowed from the Inn. "Sorry boy, I'm taken already." She hisses playfully as she wraps her tail around Kaz' waist and drags him over into her clutches, Kaz was used to it at this point and just lets it happen. Then the four of them erected a makeshift tent next to the shed and decided to call it a day. Kaz took his armor off and hung it in the shed, then he crawled into his usual spot in Tasi's coils. He wraps his arms around her this time, Tasi coos in excitement before she also wraps him in a hug as well. Roarke unfolds the wool blanket he'd been issued as a squire to keep himself warm during long guard shirts and hangs what armor he had in the shed along with Kaz's. Saphana lies between Kaz and Roarke, and they all drift off to sleep within half an hour.
The following morning Kaz is woken by the ground shaking underneath him. He reluctantly opens his eyes to see Zen standing above him once again. Kaz crawls onto his feet and greets Zen, "Oh, good morning Zen." He yawns. "Good morning Mister Kaz, I've brought the gifts from Lord Salamat. They are over there in the carriage." He points to a small wooden cart containing several brown sacks. Someone else walks up to Kaz from behind Zen, Kaz turns his gaze and sees feet covered in chestnut brown fur with short black claws. His eyes follow the feet up and see a fit, well toned stomach also clad in a rich brown coat. Next he sees a mid-sized chest , covered only by a ragged scrap of cloth wrapped around like a tube top, with a generous amount of fluffy brown fur above it. Two sturdy arms with rather large hands, and lastly Kaz looks up to see two deep brown eyes, a short canine snout with a cute black button nose and two large ears on top of flowing dark brown hair that went down to her shoulders.
"Zen, who is that? Is she a kobold?" Kaz asks. Zen shakes his head, "She is yours now. She's been trained as a steward, seeing as how you'll have a home soon, consider her to be a gift from me." He explains. Kaz leaps up and wraps himself around Zen's foreleg. "Thank you Zen, thank you!" Kaz shouts, waking up the others. "What's her name? Can she understand me?" He questions Zen impatiently. Zen doesn't know how to appropriately respond to a human hugging his leg, he pries him off and takes Kaz aside, leaving the girl alone for a moment to explain, "She has no name that I am aware of. I found her in a village that had been razed and burned to the ground when she was just a child. She rarely talks, but even then, the elders can't understand her." Zen explains in a somber tone. Kaz looks a bit sad, then smiles as he turns around and walls up to the kobold. He takes her rather large hands into his and looks into her brown eyes as he leans forward. Kaz plants a quick kiss on her lips and pulls her into a soft hug. He whispers to her, "I'm Kaz, it's a pleasure to meet you."
The kobold reluctantly pulls away and slaps Kaz across the face. At this point, Tasi, Saphana, and Roarke are all watching him in anticipation. Kaz apologizes and explains his "Dragon's Tongue" skill to her, and that was why he kissed her. The kobold blushes, Kaz hears a soft voice reply "I-I understand, and I apologize for striking you. I am called Lucia, it's a pleasure to meet you Master Kaz." She pauses, "To be honest, the kiss… I didn't dislike it. It just caught me off guard. The kobold said shyly. Kaz stands once again and hugs Lucia, "Just Kaz is fine, it's nice to meet you Lucia." He tells her with a warm smile.
Kaz introduces Lucia to the rest of them, he then explains to Lucia that he plans to build a big house here, and she was to steward it for him. Kaz gives everyone a job to do around the plot of land to prepare for construction, and he takes Lucia to the general store in Rath. The two are greeted by a tall, skinny golem at the front counter. They pass aisles containing everything imaginable, but they head to the corner of the store with fabric and clothes, Kaz tells Lucia to pick something out to try on, "Let's get you something nicer than that ragged thing you have on." He tells her. Lucia nods and picks out a simple white gown, Kaz says to try it on. So she takes off her clothing, Kaz wasn't expecting her to change right there. "No! Not here!" Kaz shouts as he rushes over to cover her, but he trips and knocks her to the floor with him.
When Kaz comes to all he can feel is soft fur in his face. He crawls to his knees and sees Lucia on the ground beneath him. He pats her soft coat a few times and pulls his hands away and struggles to his feet and bows his head, repeating an apology over and over. Lucia gets up as well, and starts laughing. She pulls his face to her chest in embarrassment, Lucia is silent for a few seconds before she releases Kaz and quickly covers herself with her hands. Kaz's face turns beet red, he darts to the counter and slaps a few gold coins on it and carries Lucia out of the store along with the gown.