After the disruption that had riled the crowd had ended. Grimlock had recollected the attention back to him.
"This is not easy for all of us and as disrespectful some of you may have found that; please know that it was not his intention. Grief affects us all.... differently. and in this time we need more than ever to accept our differences and come together as one. And one other thing a word of advice and warning. For those seeking retribution let it be known more misery can only breed more spite, and revenge. That being said something will be done about Nightwing but I will not tolerate more blood spilled. Not if it can be helped. Otherwise there will be nothing left of either of us."
With short pause he returned to list of names of our fallen friends and family. I pushed back all the tears that were welling up. I kept a straight face I steadied my hands but still as the list continued it grew harder. I imagined that this wasn't any easier for Grimlock. For someone who seemed so reluctant to take charge and lead. He was doing it well. If only he would put aside his own doubts and fully wear the mantle. The ceremony eventually ended with great thanks to those who had sacrificed themselves and some acknowledgments of the heroics displayed by surviving members. Still many left still feeling hollow and shocked some even more than before. But perhaps this was the first step of the healing process.
I stood planted where I had been standing when we were gathered here. Staring off into the flames of the bonfire; I had lost myself in thought. Grimlock didn't have time to go over the shackle after Artonus, and I had met. So he put us off, and it was all I had on Nightwing currently. Where were those bastards, and why had they done this? and how could I not seek retribution on them. It's like they had attacked for no reason, and killed for no reason. A mark of evil in my books. The next time I fought a Nightwing in battle I would certainly show them no mercy.
"You alright there, Lancer?" A familiar voice said from behind me.
"Been better, but I can't really complain." I said somewhat groggily removing my gaze from the fire to meet Carrissa's.
"You're not the type to stay sitting for long. You're always moving forwards somehow. What are you doing staring at that fire? There is nothing there for you."
I cracked a bit of a smile , " No there isn't, but there is something comforting about it. It's good to see you made it out alright." The comment made her shutter a little bit as she looked down at her feet.
"I did but it doesn't mean much when the people you really care about are missing." She said quietly.
There still had been no news on Caleb. His name wasn't mentioned earlier though. I shuttered to think that he was labeled MIA but was really buried under some debris or something horrible.
"I'm sorry." I said stepping a little closer, " We'll find him, and Lara, and bring them back here safely. Even if I have to do it without my magic."
"Without your magic?" She said confused.
"Yeah I got hit with a pretty harsh curse." I said a little awkwardly as I thought up an easy enough lie," It's only a minor setback Grimlock told me I just had to wait a few weeks."
She wasn't quite buying it but didn't probe further, " Well if you say so. If you find anything about them or Nightwing; will you come to me?"
"Certainly. We are a team aren't we? and that being said I have a lead of sorts but I need to investigate it further before I can say it means anything."
"Well if you need help or when you do. Find me." She said turning away.
"For sure. Take care Carrissa, and thanks."
"For reminding me that I need to move forwards." I smiled.
I turned to head to the tent where we had gathered all of books, and computers we could recover. I had to learn as much as I could about that shackle if I were to hold true to my promise. It was across the way from Grimlocks tent which lately had a great many people coming in and out and standing by. But currently it was looking rather empty. Maybe I should drop in and see if he had some time to talk about the shackle. Then again I still was steamed he had known something about my brother and held that from me.
"It's stupid." I said out loud. I had to know what he knew and couldn't afford to be petty. I shook my head changing direction only to be stopped by Ceres at the entrance.
"Hey." I said nervously, looking at my feet then her green eyes summoning up the courage to say something. We hadn't seen each other since the last time I talked to Grimlock.
"Need to talk." She finished the sentence I nodded.
"Yeah! But we don't have to right now if you're busy. I wanted to talk to Grimlock about the shackle."
"He's busy. The Guild council seems to be very persistent to stick there nose in everything and investigate the guild; so he is trying to smoothen that out right now."
" Smoothen out? We were attacked by an unofficial dark guild. Why are we getting investigated?"
" I don't know exactly why. But he seems very worried about it. Look I have to go. Dad's got me working with some of the younger members and I'm a already a little late. But if you want to talk we can meet up around dinner." She pushed past me," and of actually if you go to the blacksmith My dad has something for you."
"Oh alright. At dinner then. Wait where is the blacksmith?!" I yelled as she ran up to where the main bon fire was.
She hadn't answered and was no longer in sight. Crap now I needed to find the blacksmith. What the hell would Grimlock have there for me anyways? Within a few minutes I managed to find the smith. Who was running several people and things at once while we tried yelling at each other over the noise of the machines and blast furnace. Not entirely sure what was going on but in the end I was holding two light, beautifully steel crafted swords in my hands. One a little shorter than the other; perfect for dual wielding.
I don't think I deserved these. Then again perhaps Grimlock had them made for me because I couldn't cast. I smiled, perhaps an hour of training would lift my spirits up. make it easier to look into the shackle. I justified to myself. making my way down to an open area with some hay bales and wooden fencing with a few mechanical dummies. I gave myself a good warm up getting used to the weight and balance of the blades. There were well forged and in someways somehow perfect for me.
"That's enough of that. I can't watch it anymore. Stop, I think you will find that sparring against me will better way to hone your skills with those." Artonus goaded from behind me.
"Ya; old man? Are you sure you know what your getting into. Grimlock himself trained me in the art of sword fighting."
"And who do you think trained and trained with him?" Artonus retorted, " If he taught you perhaps you will be of some challenge to me."
"You're on then. But don't think for a second I will go easy on you." I turned readying myself.
"No magic." I agreed," Are you ready?"
He held his ground his swords at the ready. Waiting for me to make the first move. His mistake. I charged forwards preparing to swing my swords across his torso but at the last minuted dashed to his slicing upwards with my left blade and ready to parry with the right. But neither connected with anything. He was to my right now and I was wide open. I rolled away narrowly missing one blade and blocking the other. But he hit with such force I slid away from him. He was good; actually far better than I had thought. I got up to my feet and looked him over. He held himself differently than most sword fighters but it was no weakness he could block, attack and evade quickly. and since he hadn't charged me I guess he one didn't think me much of a challenge. Or was he waiting for me to make another opening for him? I smiled readying my swords again.
" I haven't felt this way about a simple sparring match in a while."
I charged again this time watching him. I'll be the reactionary I won't swing first. I brought up my guard he shifted to his right I followed keeping my distance. We stopped in front of each other. Waiting for the other to throw a swing.
"what are you waiting for?" He asked.
"I could ask you the same." I said. Halfheartedly slashing with my left. He easily deflected and countered again with such force I found myself reeling. With my right I tried to meet him with the same ferocity only to blocked and slashed along my forearm lightly.
"No half measures. Fight me like you would fight an opponent on the field. Otherwise you won't leave a mark on me."
A tad annoyed I came at him this time aiming to hit. He parried and went for the attack this time I sidestepped and used my left blade to hold his right outwards Using my right to slash at his right forearm he had left open to keep his balance from the first impact. He stepped back and I had missed. Only narrowly scraping away at the fabric of his sleeve.
"Not bad, but you going to have to get better if you want to leave a scratch on me."