Helmdal and Kiko
It was finally quiet. Not long after the boat had arrived in Sandpoint, Helmdal was thrust into the center of attention again by the Swallowtail Festival. From one bad situation to another, he mused to himself as he sat in the bar of the Rusty Dragon in the early hours of the morning. He sat, nursing his wine in the middle of the room, his mind still pondering the events of the day before. “I guess I will have to become used to it, I’m a Pathfinder now.” He sighed regretfully. After he sat alone for a few more minutes he heard some one come down from the rooms and sit beside him. His new companion was quiet, but years on the streets of Absalom has sharpened Helmdal’s senses to an art. As a matter of politeness, Helmdal gave him a few moments before turning to address his new intruder into his solitude.
“Good day Kiko. We haven’t really had anytime alone yet, have we?” Helmdal said politely.
“A day it may be, but good we have yet to see. I need tea before the ‘day’ begins anyway,” Kiko says as he blinks through the bleariness in his face. He stood and rummaged behind the bar and discovered a small kettle and some tea. The hearth still had some coals from the evening earlier. He filled the kettle as Helmdal watched the quiet tirade his companion had while the morning began to progress. He placed the kettle in the fire as he returned to the table with a crucible of tea and set it on the table as he retook his seat.
“So what awakens you at this most unholy of hours?”
“Hardly unholy,” Helmdal said as he smiled at himself, “I find it to be the most productive part of the day most days. I could even go so far as to say that it is the best part of my day.”
“Most productive?” Kiko sips his tea. A small smile begins to spread across his face, “Productive… I can see that in your ability. A bit of a burglar you are then, yes? Don’t answer that; just making idle speculation. Some of my best epiphanies are had at this time of the morning some nights, though fewer are had lately.” He sips his tea again and then looks across at his companion. His smile quite gone from his face. “I expect that your own companions are off limits for your nightly escapades? As are my own skills.”
“Why antagonize those who are protecting me?” Helmdal smirked. “One has to know who his ‘friends’ are int his world, no one can thrive on their own. The trick is knowing who has their uses and who to avoid, like your Chelish paramour. You should know better than to associate yourself with their kind.”
“The sins of one do not transfer to the whole of a nation. She has shown no ill will toward any that we have come in contact with. And as for being my paramour…” he sips his tea again contemplating his misfortune here. “I would not mind being that close to her, but as it is, I just admire from afar. She is a striking lady, but as the world has seen fit, I am not in her stable.”
Kiko finishes his cup of tea and pours another offering some to Helmdal. He seems quiet for a moment, opens his mouth to say something then just sighs and sips his tea some more. The silence settles between the two of them for several minutes as each is lost in thought. Kiko turns to the elf and looks him sternly in the face, with a sparkle of wisdom not seen in one so young, “Remember, because one has sinned does not make them evil, nor does the actions of a nation make the person untrustworthy. I have my own issues with the Chelish, as a nation, but as a person, each must be evaluated on their own. A thought one such as yourself should have come across in your years. ‘Their kind’, indeed. We associate with a fallen dwarf, a priest, a bipedal cat, a fetchling, and we are ‘Pathfinders’, and you worry about ‘their kind’? Bigotry is never a good remedy to bitterness.”
White faced, Helmdal responded, “Bigotry? When everyone you know is slaughtered, your whole family, your friends, everyone you ever loved, gone in just a day, then you may speak of bigotry. You humans are such fickle creatures, able to change your minds so easily at the spur of the moment. You look to be young, I guess 25 or 30? I do not know, humans are hard to tell. I have spent 3 times your life watching them, learning what scraps I could off of the streets about them. I will have my revenge one day. It may not be today, It may not be in a decade, but I am an elf. We may forgive, but we never forget, and I have nothing but time.” Visibly shaken, Helmdal stood up from his chair and unsteadily made his way for the door. The fires of his village and the screams of his family haunting his memory, he fought the downward spiral of his mind, wanting so desperately to forget all of his pain but unable to stop its onslaught. He staggered into the wall outside of the inn and slid down to sit onto the ground, as he felt the wrath drain and the sorrow pour in as he stared into the distance seeing nothing.
Kiko sips his tea, refreshing the cup as Helmdal stumbles for the door. “For an elf, he is very jaded. I guess an elf’s mind doesn’t mature as swiftly as a humans; though, those who raised me were far in their years. Eh, the vagrancies of racial parentage.” He sips his tea, content to allow Helmdal some time to feel the bite of his own words. Kiko pulls his Zohar out and begins browsing it for a bit. He shakes his head; the distraction of the earlier conversation gnawing at his conscious mind.
“Mis n lqahba!” He closes the book and picks up Helmdal’s wine glass and the bottle. He stakes to the door admonishing himself for being the callus bastard he is. He steps out of the door quietly; glances over and sees the elf starting into oblivion. He holds the wine glass in front of Helmdal, sets the bottle down, and waits for the elf to acknowledge the glass and take it.
Helmdal, still lost in his memories of his village burning, didn’t even notice his comrade’s arrival. His mind was still fixated on the night his village burned, and watched his friends get cut down again. Aerith, who he always though as his rival, being cut down by brutish men while they coldly laughed as she picked up a fallen sword and tried to fight back. Itham, as they made their journey through Geb together in that hot cage, only to be lost at sea. Gaelin, crying next to the dead body of the dog he had taken in as the fires raged around him.
With the thought of Gaelin and his dog, Helmdal’s mind was pulled to a more recent village burning, and pulled through the fog of his mind long enough to look down the street to where another man had also been morning the loss of his pet. After looking for a few minutes, his gaze drifted back down until he notice a glass on the ground in front of him, full of wine. Confused, he looked around him and found Kiko sipping his tea sitting beside him. Helmdal solemnly picked up the glass and took a long drink. “I know you mean well, Kiko, but I will not give up my vendetta. One day, they will fall and I will walk among the ashes. The Chelish empire may not have attacked my home, but their incessant need for slaves is what drove those who did.” Helmdal smiled, his mind already wandering to new subjects, “Thank you for the wine, though, and I know you mean well. I haven’t been able to trust very many people in the last 70 years, but this group seem to be decent enough. Maybe one day. . .”