Chapter Three  -|| Curious Listener
                      Silent Infinity

Katrin had been traveling all night and on the slowly brightening horizon the silhouette of a town was growing bigger. She had left the forest a little less then an hour ago, plodding out onto a well traveled dirt road. The land was pretty barren, a savanna like terrain to either side of her.

She had seen very little of Witty in the past several hours and assumed he was already at the city. With his shadow walking trick he could get to places a lot quicker then she could. This was one of many reasons she didn't get along well with him.

There was the slightest breeze brushing through the grass, but nothing that would help when the heat got unbearable at midday. Many of the small animals that ventured out in the evening to find food or what have you where finding their way back to burrows and the forest to avoid the days heat. Eager to get to civilization before the sun was high enough to cook her, Katrin picked up her pace.

Katrin's assumption of Witty was correct. The Illusionist was already in the town, had paid for a room at the local inn, and currently paced the streets while he looked through the market place. He had money now and was intent on spending some before he retreated indoors to avoid the wretchedly bright sun.

The town was a typical one on the main road. It hadn't grown to big, but wasn't tragically small either. The market place spanned a few blocks with people selling everything from food to potion supplies. It was big enough to have an inn and three taverns, a couple of public stables, and a blacksmith. At least, those are the places Witty noticed, not that he really looked all that hard. The only things he was really interested in were the taverns and the market place.

"That comes to fifty, sir." A young women said after tallying up all the items Witty had decided upon.

Witty sat the copper colored coins on the table and put his purchases in a large bag. Nodding his head to the woman with a handsome smile, one very few saw and which Katrin dreaded, and offered to buy her a drink later that evening. Blushingly the woman turned him down, and Witty just smiled and went on his way. He hadn't really wanted to take the girl out. In fact, had she agreed she would have probably had the worst evening of her life.

"Katrin!" Witty hollered down the street as he slung the bag over his shoulder and saw the tattered, worn out looking Half-Elf entering the city. "Pleasant journey?"

Katrin mumbled something under her breath, walking cautiously down the street with her staff leading her way. "Did you get a room?" Was her reply. "And tell please tell me there's a tavern somewhere around."

"No fear M'lady." He walked up to her still wearing his to friendly grin, placed his free arm around her shoulders, turned her around and began to walk her in the direction of the inn. "We are staying at the Barren Tavern and Inn. I have heard many good things about the service since I came into town."

"What are you so cheerful about?" Katrin asked having been around him long enough to know the difference between him being in a good mood to be annoying and when he was in one genuinely.

"Oh, nothing." He replied shaking his head and squeezing her shoulders with his arm in a friendly manner. "I think it's going to be a good day, 'tiz all."

"Right." She didn't really care anyway, as long as he left her out of it.

"Watch the door." Witty said suddenly releasing his hold on her and springing a few steps forward to open the tavern/inn door for her. "M'lady first."

Katrin thwapped him on the shin with her staff as she walked past, something that Witty had come to expect.


Ryo Davotai was a rock of a man. One of those guys who could intimidate a modern day body builder with the smallest glance. It wasn't that he was extremely muscular, or, if he was it was hidden well by his clothing. It was the look in his eyes that told a man that he'd done a lot of things, seen a hundred more, and would like to forget most of them.

He was clothed in Eastern style clothing and it was obvious he wasn't from around there. Most of the people in the tavern wouldn't recognize his clothing, being unfamiliar with the Eastern Kingdom. To those who had traveled there they easily recognized the samurai style clothing. He was a warrior of great esteem and reputation, though in the small tavern out in the middle of nowhere, no one knew or cared.

Looking to be only around 23 or so, his hair was black and his skin was a natural tan. His eyes were a rich brown color and slanted slightly. His face had scars here and there but they didn't detract from his moderately handsome face. Though, he would have probably looked a lot more appealing if he had smiled instead of scowled into his drink.

On his back was strapped a sword that only added to the intimidation factor, and down on the floor under the table where he sat lay a large black wolf. The wolf was currently napping, glad to be off its feet.

"Wouldn't a thank you be simpler?" He heard as a couple of people walked passed his table.

"Probably, but less satisfying."

Witty was making a show of limping to the table where Katrin had chosen to sit, and Katrin was leaning her staff against the wall. The samurai watched them with a sort of bored curiosity, not really all that interested in either but having nothing else to do.

"Molten Lava." Katrin ordered as the serving wench came to the table. Witty shook his head when the woman turned to him. "And anything you have that's edible."

"Nothing for me, I prefer not to drink." He still had that grin on.

"What did you buy?"

"Supplies. Rope, maps, a compass, and the normal stuff." Witty rummaged through the bag and pulled out an old beat up wooden box about the size of a shoe box. "Oh, and this." His grin seemed to grow wider and he slid the box across the table to Katrin.

Katrin ran her fingers over it and frowned. "I suppose something is going to spring out at me when I open it."

"No, no, no." Witty shook his head. "Go on, just open it. No tricks from me today."

Davotai had by now realized that the Half-Elf was blind to some degree and this did manage to interest him. You didn't see to many Elves, or indeed Half-Elves, who were blind.

Katrin cautiously opened the box, having had very bad experiences when it came to gifts from Witty, and, since nothing popped out, slid her hand over the contents of the box. "You tricky bastard.." She said and failed to hide her delight. "Where did you get these and how much did they cost?"

"At the market place, and I got the for ten teres." His grin was now impossibly big and he was obviously very satisfied with himself.

She picked up one of the items and turned it over in her hands carefully. In the box was a set of 13 throwing daggers.

"There are actually two different sets. There are six with a dragon carved as the hilt, like the one you're holding. The other seven are regular wood hilts."

The first six did, indeed, have a piece of wood carved into a simple dragon. Three were painted blue and three were painted black. Very pleasing to the eye and probably more meant for show then actual use.

"I thought you could use a few new ones considering you've lost all the others. Traveling is a dangerous business after all."

The two talked about the daggers while Davotai listened. A sort of puzzled look had come across his face. A blind women with throwing daggers? Ludicrous. She probably couldn't hit a target if it were two feet in front of her. Definitely strange in his opinion and he shook his head in wonder as he began to listen to the other twos conversation.

"That is not all." Witty said scooting his chair closer to Katrin and lowering his voice. "I managed to find something that I think will convince you that my talk of Crystal Haven is not just rumor."

Katrin nodded, her curiosity sparking, but left it at that and moved on with the conversation. "So where is this person that is supposedly going to lead us to our destination?"

"They currently dwell in Nova." Witty replied as the wench returned and served Katrin her food and drink.

Davotai's attention was suddenly a lot more focused on the two's conversation.

"Nova? Never heard of it."

"'Tiz a very small village that does not see to many travelers. 'Tiz still a very long ways away. We will have to travel by ship to get there quicker. If we go on foot the entire way it will take us months."

"Is it a friendly place?" Katrin asked after taking a long drink from her mug, the syrupy red liquid inside making her cough a little. "I don't want to get stuck with a bunch of savages."

"'Tiz a perfectly safe place. 'Tiz mainly Humans but a few Elven families do live there too. Probably not more then two hundred people altogether. Very peaceful." Witty said and turned his head suddenly to face Davotai. "Ever been there, M'lord?"

Davotai was startled by the sudden attention. He had been trying to be discreet about listening to the two. However, Witty had noticed him listening the moment they sat down. "Erm.. Yes actually. Been there several times."

"And it its a friendly place?"

"Definitely, no place friendlier."

"There you have it Katrin." Witty said with a smile and waved his hand, moving Katrin's glass a few inches from where she had sat it down, just to annoy her.

Once again the two went back to conversing, and Davotai sat there thinking. He had a friend in Nova that he had been worrying about for several months, but hadn't been able to visit because of his job. Maybe it was time to head that way again.

"Come on Shadow, time to move along." Davotai said to the beast under the table as he climbed to his feet. The animal crawled out from underneath the table and stretched lazily. Laying a few coins on the table, the samurai headed for the door and left.

Witty watched him as he walked out, and his green eyes seemed to flash. "You shall have to get the blades of those daggers sharpened and find some new clothes before we leave tomorrow evening." He said turning back to Katrin and reaching into his jacket.

"After I get some sleep, I'll go and look for some things." Katrin replied with a mouth full of chicken as Witty dropped a small pouch of coins on the table for her.

"Alright, I shall go attend to some other matters." He said and stood up. "See you tonight, M'lady." With a bow he stepped into a shadowed corner and disappeared, much to the surprise of the serving wench.

"Yeah, he does that a lot." Katrin smiled a little to the woman and took the pouch of coins, placing them in her pocket, and then going back to her meal in silence.