The four travellers made their merry way to their next destination of Hawbiska, the second stronghold of the enemy.
They stopped to have lunch, and Hoshiro drew them bbq ribs for lunch. They ate with happy faces, still the elation of the bath house followed them. They were over all in a very jolly mood.
Even Lance, who was usually quiet, spoke more.
“Back home, I was the first knight to be approved to protect the country and offer my life for Londawn.” Proclaimed Lance. “It is to this ideal, I hold.”
“You are doing a great job at it too!” Remarked Merillion.
Lance pumped his chest with his fist.
“Aye! For Londawn!”
Hoshiro, at the right time came behind Lance’s horse and kicked its behind, which sent Lance running off into the distance.
“Wow, wow, wow!” Cried Lance, as he struggled to balance himself.
“Ha! That’s payback from before. Hehehe.” Grinned Hoshiro.
“Hahahahaha.” Laughted Larael and Merillion.
Their journey lead them through the forest of Naksha. It was a very ancient forest, full of untold stories. It was the home of the dark elves. Before they ventured further, the party was warned by Larael.
“We might run into the dark elves in Naksha, but don’t fight back. I think I can try to convince them to lend us their help.” Said Larael.
The party made note of the advice and nodded. They led their horses int the forest and hoped for the best.
“The dark elves separated from us millenniums ago. They were more into dark magic like curses and also divination magic. Beware, they might already know we are coming right now.” Said Larael.
“Is that so?” Said Lance. “I have only heard of them in legends. They were the stuff of childhood stories.”
“The dark elves had not had dealing with the outside world for many ages. They keep to themselves, but if we can recruit one of their own, we would greatly increase our damage output. They make for the best assassins in the whole of Sorhalon.” Said Larael.
“We are indeed the best assassins.” Said a dark elf appearing out of nowhere, with her metal katar aimed at the throat of Larael.
Several other katars appeared, all aimed at the throats of the company passing through.
“Wow, wow, wow. We do not mean trouble!” Said Hoshiro quickly.
“We know you and your party would pass us by. It was foreseen by our diviners. Come, we need to assess your competency at our capital.” Said the leader dark elf.
The company and the small band of dark elves travelled into the heart of the forest of Naksha.
The company was also made to wear a blindfold and their hands cuffed. This extra measure for security was taken, just in case they reveal the capital to others.
After a short while, they walked into the canopies of the tress of Naksha.
“Welcome, foreigners to Yahartha, our capital. I am Yavona, the queen of Yahartha. We have long predicted your coming. It is for us to see your hero and look into his future.” Said a very elegantly dressed dark lady elf.
“I am Hoshiro of Kanegawa. We are most honoured to be here. If you know of our coming, then you must also know our intent.” Said Hoshiro.
“Yes, we are aware that you have the courage to challenge the Demon King.” Said Yavona.
“Courage?” Said Meillion.
“It is unclear if you can really pacify the Demon Lord. It is impossible to tell from all our divination tools. However, we do see that your courage, although foolish, could succeed in its endeavour.” Said Yavona.
“We are determined to take him down.” Said Larael. “And we are looking for companions on this quest. We would like to recruit the help of the dark elves. Please lend us your strength.”
“First, we must determine if it will be worth our efforts to pledge into your quest. We must examine the hero.” Replied Yavona.
“Very well. Let your diviners read into my future.” Said Hoshiro stepping forward.
The master diviner was called. He looked wise and with many years of experience lining his face. He was still fair, though he had a long beard and long hair, which he undoubtedly accumulated over the years.
“Come here, Hoshiro of Kanegawa.” Said the diviner.
“I come.” Said Hoshiro.
The diviner then placed his hand on Hoshiro’s forehead.
Immediately, Hoshiro was in a trance like state. He could see pictures in his mind of the image of him on the throne. But it was not what he had thought.
He looked ruthless, merciless. Looking at the land, it seemed like this king Hoshiro ruled with an iron fist. A tyrant to his people.
Hoshiro then saw that king Hoshiro led a bloody war against the other nations.
He saw slaughter, cruelty, suffering all around the kingdom.
Hoshiro was terrified.
“Alas! You have also seen your future!” Said the diviner, pulling his hand away from Hoshiro, leaving him trembling.
The diviner transferred what he saw magically to Yavona.
“Begone from this land. We have seen what we must and I cast you out of our realm!”
Said the queen of Naksha.
With that, the travellers were blindfolded again.
As it was promised, they were casted out of the forest to where they had first tried to enter.
Hoshiro was dark and in depression. Was that his fate? A Tyrant, who much like the Demon Lord, wages war?
Without telling his company, they could guess what the diviner and Hoshiro saw.
“So, I’m guessing you had a bad reading then?” Asked Merillion.
“Yea, they saw me as a tyrant and a bloody tyrant at that….” Said Hoshiro hesitantly.
“Not all prophecies are true.” Said Larael.
“Perhaps.” Continued Hoshiro. “Perhaps that is true.”
With faces saddened, they now had to travel around for miles and miles to avoid the forest of Naksha, to go to their destiny at Hawbiska.