The last two days of traversing the hostile territory of the Ivy Court had began to strain on Fritz’s senses. Between the keeping an eye on the group, the surroundings, and the restless nights of attempted murder by plants, Fritz was sure he hadn’t looked his bad in over fifty years. On top of all that, Fritz was still sore from the airship crash and then the changeling’s fixation on him.
Fritz sighed heavily as he finished another scan of the surrounding. He could find nothing, apart from the terrain actively trying to slow them. Still, something felt off, he couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched by unseen eyes. There have been no signs of Ivy scouts since day one. Since they hadn’t encountered another force, Fritz speculated that the scouts weren’t due back for a few days. The trek through Ivy Territory reminded Fritz of his scout training way back when in Koth. It wasn’t uncommon for instructors to lead recruits to the middle of the heartwood and bid them good luck and be back for inspection in a few days time.
Fritz shook the thoughts of Koth away as he caught up with Arhk, who was engaged in a tug-o-war match with a rather fierce tree root for his crutch. Stepping the root, Fritz kneed and jerked a piece of the root away from it’s parent tree. The rest of the roots seem to give up on fighting Arhk, allowing him to free his crude crutch and continue walking after giving the tree a stern look.
Fritz felt bad for everything Arhk had inherited from him his ill-fated mentor and everything the party had put him through. Deciding on taking his mind off the nagging feeling of being watched, Fritz caught up with Arhk again.
“How you holding up?” Fritz asked, not quite sure where to begin.
Arkh shot a stern glance at Fritz, then smiled a bit. “I just want to get this over with. My leg’s not going to set right, with all this traveling, and I won’t be able to take a proper look at in the middle of a forest.”
“Not exactly rainbows and sunshine in the martyr forsaken excuse for a forest,” Fritz joked before deciding into something he knew was on Arhk’s mind, “If it’s any consolation, you’re a doctor to me, not a criminal. Thanks for whatever you did to stop that changeling.”
“Don’t uh…” Arkh hesitated. “Don’t mention it.”
“I’m serious,” Fritz continued, “You being a blood mage is not that big of an issue, at least to me. You may have your ‘do no harm,’ but do you know how many thieves I’ve acquired things from?”
Arkh chuckled at that. “There are more than a few Cartographers that could learn a thing or two from you. Philosophy is not as exact as some scholars would have you believe.”
“If I were to believe what scholars preached to the uneducated masses, I’d be out of a job,” Fritz smiled, “I don’t want you to beat yourself up over this. We all have skeletons in our closets, some are just more illegal than others.”
After several seconds of silence from Arhk as they strolled for several more seconds before the feeling being watched took over Fritz’s senses. Fritz slowed down to a stop while he did another scan of the area. Just before finishing, Fritz caught the sight of something ducking behind a tree. Drawing his crossbow, Fritz carefully took a wide path to view behind the tree. Nothing was there.
Another figure caught his attention, Fritz turned and shot an arrow blindly then thinking he may have hit and the his target ran off. Fritz off in the direction of his shot for several minutes before he slowly came to the realization that his nerves had gotten the best of him. He turned back to where the group was headed only to see no one.
Martyrs Damn it.