Jayce glared at Hekla and Tomak as they entered the room. Taber laughed.
“The look on your face, human. You’re truly funny.”
“Hekla. I didn’t expect to see you so soon.”
“Well, these things happen.”
“What do you want?”
“I want to tell you a story.”
“No thanks. I think I’ll just leave.”
“No human, you won’t. Sit down. You’ve taken my gold.”
Jayce sat down and crossed his arms. “By God I may have to sit here, but I’ll be hanged if I must listen.”
Hekla and Tomak sat across from Taber, Jayce sat on a chair in the corner of the room.
“Tomak, Taber and I were at the Battle of Sentient. Lord Taber is our former field medic. Tomak was our scout. We saw the atrocities that were committed by both sides. At the end of the battle many of our friends were dead, and we knew that Rhianna’s Chalice would have new tears. The past few years have shown that we are nearing the cusp of it. Our world, your new timeline, is on the verge of annihilation. We decided to act.”
“So, you were not honest with me about it, because…”
“You’re a human. The entire species, as a whole, rushes to-and-fro caring only for themselves. We needed time to evaluate you.”
“Oh. So now, I am supposed to trust you. After a year you come forward with this. Yeah, I don’t think so.”
Taber clamped down on his pipe and struck a match. A tendril of smoke wafted toward the roof.
“I told you both he would not care about it.”
Hekla shook her head and walked over to where Jayce sat. “I don’t believe that. I know you Jayce. The world is going to end in a cataclysmic event that will ruin the lives of all people. Surely, you don’t want that on your hands as well.”
“I couldn’t care less. The world is always ending in one fashion or another. This is like my fifteenth ‘end of the world’ that I’ve survived. Life will find a way through it-it always has before.”
Tomak reached in his robe and pulled out a small container. He sighed.
“If you won’t believe us Jayce, perhaps, you will listen to someone else’s take. Someone who hasn’t betrayed your trust.” He twisted the cap off, and a small sneeze came from the container. In a flash of light, a pixie appeared.
“Excuse me,” she said as she yawned and stretched. She flittered over to where Jayce sat and peered into his eyes.
“You’re new. Who are you?”
Jayce rolled his eyes and said nothing. The pixie put her hands on her hips and waited.
“You’re a human, aren’t you? You can tell by the sullen expression on your face. Not to mention the irksome quality of arrogance that fills your being. I’m Sylvie.”
Hekla smirked and nodded at Sylvie. She motioned at Jayce with one chubby finger.
“He doesn’t trust us, Sylvie. Tell him of Rhianna’s Chalice and it’s status.”
“At current, Rhianna’s Chalice is on the verge of overflowing and destroying all life in the universe.”
“The destruction of all life should concern you, human. You’re one such life,” Sylvie said as she darted back and forth.
“Oh, I see. It’s self-preservation. I got it. Let me get my gear and we can head out.”
Sylvie put her hands up and gave a small smile at the trio of friends. She giggled.
“Easy-peasy,” she said. Jayce didn’t move. The trio of friends crossed their arms. Hekla gave Jayce a disappointed look. Sylvie turned and stared at Jayce.
“You really don’t care, do you?”
“Fire is going to consume people, human. Some won’t get out of the massive Dwarven underground cities. They’ll starve. Some will eat their kin. Surely, you don’t want that to happen.”
“Look around you, pixie. Humans are treated like cattle, sold like cattle. It’s not just humans that make up the Lower Species. We’re nothing to the other races. Why would I care if they’re violently removed from this life? If I die in the process, so be it.”
“That can all change, human.”
“Nothing ever changes, that’s the truth of the matter. Life happens in cycles, and no cycle can be broken.”
Two Elven guards came in the room carrying a chest. They laid it at Jayce’s feet. One guard stooped down and opened it. Gold coins and various gems filled the chest.
“You may not do it for us, monster hunter, but there’s no way you won’t do it for wealth. What say you?”
Taber waited for an answer. He already knew it, he just waited for Jayce to say it.
“Deal. We should get started.”