With lightning speed, he instantly blinded my view of the goblin in front of me and with a thundering crack broke the goblin shield in half. Leaping just in time, I avoided being swiped over by his great white tail. I knew him well enough to know he had tried to trip me on purpose and he knew me well enough to know I wouldn't lose my balance that easily.
"Careful there Gurok; your tail is going to be the end of me." I growled as I pushed on him in protest without actually moving him an inch springing myself back instead.
"I'm pretty sure it's the end of me and if you prefer I could let them keep stabbing at you until you black out." He grumbled but defiantly not under his breath.
"I had it under control. I wanted the hate." I assured him. "I'm trying to improve my dodging skills."
At this he roared with laughter, pinning the gasping goblin under his foot while he doubled over to make all the more show of his amusement. I scowled. "You're dodgy enough already my dear." he said with a mischievous grin.
It had become a game or maybe a dance between us of playful fighting with a mockingly serious face. For months we had traveled like nomads together. I had become reclusive and he had become my great looming shadow. He would leave on occasion for the usual obligations of our modern day heroes during this time of unrest, but I didn't vanish from him as often as I did with some of the other people I loved lately. I'd wait patiently pretending not to wait at all, but be busy with my leather crafting hobby, or fishing or meditating or whatever struck my fancy that day.
I guess it was only a natural evolution of a rogue thief to keep to the shadows, watching the world around her, and waiting for her opportunities or desires to drive her out like a mouse to cheese ever cautious of the inevitable trap.
I smiled as I watched Gurok hang the goblin up in a tree by his belt. When he woke he would be in for a nasty surprise. I did pick this fight when I stole his coin purse, so this encounter wouldn't be fatal for him. I just wanted to hone my skills and keep my daggers lightning fast. I had become a little more sensitive about delving out death and Gurok indulged me quietly. It was an uncharacteristic move on his part that I took for affection and I wasnt about to ruin it by asking him about it.
"Enough exercise, time for lunch." Gurok chuckled as he started walking towards the lake. He was always in a good mood after battling any enemy he could find though he very much preferred the larger prey that could be made into lunch after.
I watched him walk away without following him. He was tall as any galka I had ever seen and that was saying something. His skin and hair matched in snow white softness and his head was covered in a thick soft mane that framed his huge wide thin lipped mouth. His eyes where blue and bright when he smiled and icy dark when his ungalka-like natural tendency to rage caught him. He was built like a wall, square shouldered and thick with muscle like all of his kind were. They moved slower but they never went unnoticed.
He didn't turn around to see if I would follow. I don't even know if he wanted me to but he knew I would. He drew me like a moth to a flame. I didn't know why, but maybe it was the way his huge frame could physically block out the world that made my spirit feel comfortable and safe. As powerful as I knew he could be, I never feared harm even when I knew I had excited his temper. Other things might be broken because of me, but he was my paladin and protector and would always keep me safe.
I don't know how I earned his loyalty, but in this time when a storm raged deep within me like a hurricane tearing and breaking my very soul I was grateful for a shelter.
He was laying down on the sandy shore of the large lake with his hands behind his head when I caught up. I sat down next to him under the tree and searched my bag for what I had packed this morning. "It's about time." he complained. "I'm starving."
I set out a few fruits and a crisp crusted half loaf of a dark bread. He looked over at me and raised an eyebrow. "That's not food, that's what food eats." he said with a grin as if that were the first time he had said that to me. I reached in and pulled out a huge piece of cured meat that had weighted me down all morning. "Carrying this thing made for good strength training. I guess I can let you eat it." I chuckled.
We ate in silence, and I watched him in my usual creepy manor that didn't seem to bother him as I thought. I couldn't figure out why he followed me. I felt consumed in pain but I couldn't bare to let it out so I tried to hide it inside though I know it showed in my eyes at the least. I felt like an ogre was constantly standing on my chest, crushing my heart and forcing the pain to ooze out of every pore... not to be too over dramatic about it but it was what it was.
I tried to talk some sense into myself but I couldn't seem to shake it. My dreams woke me in cold sweats at the image of death and screaming. Images of past and feared futures haunted me in the day and night. I was losing my mind and I couldn't bare for those who I respected so much to see me like this so I hid.
Kjarbo was the one I felt the worst about avoiding. His heart was so kind and generous it pained him to see me hurt so badly that it just added to my pain to hurt him so I started slipping away from him more and more often until it had been over a month since I had come out of hiding to let him know I was ok. It was a cruel attempt at mercy that ended up just being selfishness. Still, though I told myself to stop and just calm down and let myself heal, somehow I couldn't. I was broken.
In Gurok though somehow I felt peace. He didn't try to fix me. He didn't want to talk it out, he was just here eating lunch with me and keeping me company while I obsessively practiced my skills and trained my body. It was peaceful.