Chapter Two -|| Partners In Crime
It had been a full day since Witty had created the scene in the middle of Isis. Katrin had been walking the entire night and well into the day after spotting Rein in the crowd. She had missed the antics of the illusionist teasing and tormenting the slave trader, but she had heard about it plenty as she traveled out of the city. The thought was almost amusing, but not quite enough to provoke a smile from her as she trudged along.
"Another day and I could have had twice this." She murmured and sat down heavily upon the ground. The Half-Elf leaned back against the trunk of a tree, laying her staff on the ground beside her. She untied the bag of coins from her belt and pulled several out. She counted them one by one as she fingered them. She had stopped to rest for the remainder of the afternoon at the edge of a forest that marked the end of what was known as the Blacklands.
"Another day and you would have been in the stockade." Came a musical voice from the limbs above her.
"Where have you been?" Katrin inquired with only a slight hint of interest and continued counting coins. "I expected you last night, not this afternoon."
"Did you happen to miss me?"
"Hardly." She scoffed. "The only thing that has been missed is your side of our profits."
"As usual, Katrin, you succeed marvelously in making me feel loved." Witty faded into existence in the shadow of the tree, sitting cross-legged, with his usual grin, only a few feet from her. "I believe I turned more of a profit then you. Over two hundred coins from three shows."
"If you were to place a bet on that, you'd lose. I've made fifty more then that." She smiled seemingly very satisfied that she had beaten him out. "A blind half breed can make more in a day pick pocketing then you can putting on a show."
"I must be loosing my touch." Witty replied in a tone that showed he hardly believed his own words.
"No, I don't think that's it," Katrin continued. "After all, you lost your touch years ago and you've done fine until this year."
Witty and Katrin seemed like an odd pair to those who didn't know them. Witty was an entertainer, a seemingly honest, honorable man who wished to work for his money. Katrin was a blind, Half-Elf beggar, who stole, lied, cheated, and did any number of things to get what she wanted. But, really, they were the perfect partners in crime. Witty covered Katrin with his shows, distracting unsuspecting patrons as she went from person to person and cleaned out their pockets. Katrin, even when someone suspected her of stealing, was hardly ever accused because of her blindness.
The two had worked together on and off for many years, Katrin having once worked in Witty's act along with many other performers. However, once times became tough the larger group had spilt up and only rarely contacted each other.
Another thing that made them seem like a far-fetched duo was the fact they didn't seem to get along to well. Or, rather, Witty seemed to annoy Katrin to no end after an extended period of time together. Witty, on the other hand, loved to spend a lot of time with Katrin just for the very purpose of seeing how annoyed she could become.
"So we have four-hundred and fifty." Witty ignored her last comment and added up figures in his head. "Not bad at all. Added to the rest we have enough to get supplies and pay for boarding when we head North."
"You do realize I am going to freeze to death on this venture, right?" Katrin commented and tossed her sack of coins to him.
"Of course. And, I must say, it should be an interesting thing to watch." He replied catching the bag easily, and sliding it inside his jacket. It seemed to disappear into the shadow underneath the cloth without a trace.
"Ha. Ha." The Half-Elf would have rolled her eyes if she had been able to. "You have to be the most morbid person in creation..."
"Perhaps." Witty grinned and lay back on the grass. He gazed up at the sunset colored clouds that were passing through the sky above.
The two remained silent for an hour or so taking their time to relax while they could. A warm breeze rustled through the trees as the evening grew closer, giving some relief to the hot day. The land was pretty much flat, even in the small forest area where the two rested the ground was free of hills.
It was hard to believe it was fast approaching winter here. The trees were lush and green, as was the grass. The days were all long and hot, often leading to drought in the area. Though, only a week or so's walk for the area was the more humid climate of the Zhara Jungles. The Southern Kingdom was to hot for most, but Katrin and Witty seemed not to be bothered by it.
"If we walk all that way for nothing you will regret it." Katrin finally broke the silence. "This Crystal Haven is just a rumor that has been passed around."
"'Tiz not just a rumor M'lady." Witty said, still relaxing on the cool grass. "I know it to be true-"
"-Because you know one of the descendants of the place." Katrin finished impatiently. "You have said that a hundred times over. But, you've also told me that this girl doesn't even know about the place. So how do you know that she is?"
Witty sat up again, looking toward the west. Isis could be seen in the distance glowing a vibrant red orange as night set in. "It is a pity you can not see the wonderful view of the city, Katrin."
Katrin too turned her head to look in the city's direction, seeing a faint dull glow, but nothing more. "A city built of dull stone surrounded by a barren waste land of black earth with lava rivers flowing here and there. A view of desolation is definitely not my idea of wonderful." She turned a way and resumed staring off into the darkness that was her vision. "Avoid my questions all you like, but if you are wrong you are definitely not going to like what happens to you."
"Desolation is, in itself, beautiful." Witty replied, his eyes still scanning the land. "And, you may not think so, but many others find the lava a spectacular site."
"Naive Northerners no doubt." She picked up her staff and ran her fingers over it idly, and the two lapsed into silence again.
Katrin soon dozed off, falling into a light sleep, as things grew darker. She estimated three hours had passed by the time she woke back up. With Witty no where in site, she climbed back to her feet, dusted herself off, and took her staff in hand. Slowly she began traveling again, her staff her only means of finding her way through the darkness.
It was slow going, but she didn't mind. The quiet sounds of the forest where music to her ears, and the cooler air of the evening was very relaxing. Not to far ahead she could hear the sound of running water, and frogs croaking loudly in many different tones. She seemed to travel without too much error, except for tripping over an unnoticed stone once and nearly falling over. Witty's disappearance didn't seem to bother her. He came and went as he pleased, and she never complained about his absences. She welcomed the time to herself in fact.
Her mind wandered to the destination that Witty had decided. It was located in the far north, deep within the Mystic Mountains. According to rumors and legends, it was the place that kept the world in balance. The people their were, in a sense, the peace keepers of the world. They fought to keep chaos and darkness from descending upon the land. This, in itself, made Katrin skeptic about the place, as life currently was pretty dark. The only thing that made her wish to go was the fact that these people were said to be healers of amazing talent. She hoped they could in fact heal her blindness.
Why Witty wanted to go was something she wasn't quite sure about. She assumed he was planning on making a hefty profit by finding the place and then selling the location of it to some greedy noble whom wanted power. Then again, Witty usually bet on sure things, and this place seemed very far-fetched in her opinion.
Witty watched Katrin from his new spot in a tree. He had decided to give her a little bit of space, considering he was more then likely going to drive her insane over the next few weeks. Besides, the stars were out and he liked looking at them in peace sometimes.
His black jacket, deep blue undershirt, and black pants made him hard to spot in the shadows, and also made a person wonder how he could stand to wear such warm clothes in such hot weather. Another thing that drew attention to him, and another thing only a few understood.
To Crystal Haven they were headed. To a world that few of the outside world had ever seen. To a place that only a handful believed existed. He was one of these few. He knew because of the past, the present, and the soon to be future. This was another thing he doubted anyone would understand. But, that was all right, he was the only one who needed to understand any of it.
He looked at the constellations in the sky as the clouds drifted passed. In his head he ran through the name of each of the groups of stars.
'Such a wonderful thing, the night sky.' He thought silently to himself. 'We are insignificant in comparison to it, yet we have more effect on our lives and the lives of others then it ever will.'
With a thoughtful sigh, he glanced down where he had last seen Katrin. Slightly startled by the fact he had drifted off into his own little world for so long, he vanished into the darkness and began searching for his Half- Elf companion. He wasn't to worried about her, as Katrin had proved many times in the passed she was perfectly capable of fending for herself, but she wasn't to good with direction the forest after dark. So to keep her going the right direction he made sure to keep her in site and 'help' her out in one way or another if she strayed in the wrong direction. It didn't take long for him to find her.
The Half-Elf had stopped beside a stream to fill a flask with water. Her clothes didn't look as shabby in the moonlight, and she looked more Elven then Human in the forest. Witty's mind soon became bored of watching her and he thought of their destination again. So went the rest of the evening, Witty followed Katrin as she traveled and they both kept silent in their own little worlds of thought.