Nothing," Grall said, his thoughts lingered on his conversation with Wreag, "how's Adrian?"
"Don't know." Tyril said as he turned his attention to the half-charred log where several orcs huddled around a bundle.
Grall rushed over to the log, shoving the orc warriors out of his way, and came to a stop in front of a badly burnt Adrian, who held a single blue egg. Grall bit back a curse as he realized what had happened, Adrian had stolen the dragon's egg and that's why she attacked. Regardless of what happened, even if Grall had known the reason for the dragon's actions, he still would've saved Adrian, he was their human representative on the counsel after all.
"Get him to a healer, immediately." Grall commanded the orcs to which none acknowledged. Grall grabbed a nearby orc soldier and lifted him into the sky with a single hand. "What," he shouted in anger, "you think that just because I'm not Grodak you don't have to listen to me?" Grall then threw the orc into the rest in disgust. "Fine." Grall said eyeing every one of them. "I'll do it myself and when I next see you, you better have changed your tone, or you might end up like that dragon."
Grall carefully picked Adrian up from the ground and carried him back to Whitewater, Tyril in tow. "Why did you treat your men like that, Grall?" Tyril asked as they got out of ear shot of the orcs.
"They won't listen if I keep being nice," Grall said with a sigh, "they would just walk all over me, so I had to show them that I am to be respected."
"There's a difference between respect and fear, Grall." Tyril said watching Gralls movement for any sign of anger.
"I know," Grall said with a calm voice, "but if I had acted nice to them after we killed that dragon, they would see it to take advantage. Right now, they are probably singing our praises and talking about the battle. They will fear me for a while, but they will also respect me, even long after the fear goes away."
Tyril nodded his head in understanding, he could already hear the orcs shouting Gralls praise as they walked off.
Two days later, Grall was inspecting the newest wall that was built when Adrian, who had recovered fully, came up to him with whistling a strange tune, his now white hair and red eyes glistened in the sun light. Gralls thoughts went back to two days prior when he had rushed Adrian into a healer, the elven woman, who had just recently moved into town. After she had worked her magic and healed Adrian Tyril had asked him if he would like to become a wraith, to which Adrian had agreed.
"Adrian," Grall said, greeting him in a brotherly manner, "how are you, my friend."
"Hey, bro." Adrian said in his usual, charming manner. "Thanks to king bro, I'm better than ever."
Grall chuckled, Adrian's nickname for Tyril had elicit such reactions out of Grall since the first time he heard it. "That's good," Grall said as he continued his inspection of the wall, "I'm almost done…"
Gralls words trailed off as a lone rider approached the wall wearing full armor. Grall walked out to greet the rider, Adrian in tow.
"Are you the leader of this filthy kingdom?" The rider asked, his voice was gruff, and he came unarmed.
A messenger, Grall realized. "I am," Grall replied, "and who might you be?"
The messenger wordlessly handed Grall a piece of parchment. 'We ask that your filthy orcs leave the kingdom of Whitewater so that the true owners of the land may take control over it. Failure to comply will mean your destruction.'
Grall looked up at the rider who was riding away and made a small signal for three of his spies to follow. "Looks like we are about to go to war." Grall said to Adrian as he handed the parchment to him. "The question is with whom?"
Grodak found himself standing in fog, just in front of the archway. Grall looked down at the orb he held. A horn, Grodak thought, of all things. I could have turned this into many things, and he wants me to turn this into a horn, Grodak grunted.
A soft voice came out of the fog. "Who goes there?" It said, the sweet voice causing Grodak to start. Grodak turned his head to find the source of the voice. "Don't move or I'll shoot."
"I mean you no harm," Grodak said lifting his hands up to show that he was unarmed, "my name is Grodak and-"
"Grodak?" The soft voice interrupted. "Prove it. Turn around."
Grodak did as she said, the first thing about her that caught his eyes was her fiery red hair, her fair skin, and pointy ears. Grodak was so stunned to see her, he forgot himself. "Xierma." He cried out in joy.
Xierma lowered her bow as she recognized Grodak. "Grodak." She exclaimed in excitement as she threw herself into his arms.
"I don't understand." Grodak said as he caught her.
"What is there to understand, silly?" Xierma said as she hugged Grodak tightly. "I grew up, just as all children must."
"No," Grodak said as he pushed her away, "unless I'm not back in my time, you should be dead."
"What are you talking about?" Xierma asked in confusion.
"The first time I met you, you were nothing but a ghost that lingered in the ruins of the elven kingdom." Grodak explained, he racked his brain to try and figure out the reason for this sudden change in events but could not come to one.
"No," Xierma said, furrowing her brow, "the first time we met I was just a little girl, and my mother is the one that is trapped in our old kingdom." She turned her head to avert her gaze, she didn't want Grodak to see the tears in her eyes.
Grodak, realizing that the timeline had somehow been changed, fumbled in his pocket for the stone Imp gave him. He successfully pulled the stone from his pocket and shouted, "Imp." Into it.
A few moments go by without answer, then Grodak heard Imps voice. "What is it?"
"I need your help," Grodak proclaimed, "I think I altered the timeline."
A moment went by in silence then with a heavy sigh Imp replied. "It's possible you did," he explained, "I found a stone archway in my tower and upon further study I found that it connected this time with another. If you found one and went through, then it could have dramatic effect on this time."
"What kind of effects?" Grodak asked worried.
"World ending kind." Imp continued to explain, his voice weak. "One misstep and you might cost the life of someone important to the timeline, or cause someone to not be born."
Grodaks eyes widened in worry as his thoughts went to his tribe. "Imp send me Whitewater, now."
Xierma, who had watched in silence, now protested Grodak leaving. "Why are you leaving?" She asked, clenching onto Grodaks armor. "This is the first I got to see you in the past twelve hundred years and your leaving just like that?"
"I have to make sure my people are safe, Xierma." Grodak explained, his mind torn between staying with Xierma or leaving. "You must understand, they placed their trust in me and if any of them are killed…." Grodak looked down, ashamed of himself for not being able to choose between the woman he loved and his people.
"Just go." Xierma said, pulling away from Grodak and walking away. Grodak watched her leave and felt a pang of guilt.
"The teleportation is ready, Grodak." Imp said in an embarrassed tone, letting Grodak know that he heard everything.
"Do it." Grodak said, his voice almost as small as he felt. "Send me to Whitewater."
Grall slammed the door behind him on frustration. Grall had just spent the past three hours arguing with the council about needing to prepare the army, but the cowards would rather give up and surrender before the battle even began.
Grall leaned up against the wall next to the door as Adrian came out cussing the rest of the council out. "You fucking cowards," he shouted into the room, Adrian had been the only council member that took Gralls side, "if you want to run and hide then do so but do not think that I won't hunt you down." Adrian slammed the door, still cussing profusely.
"Adrian," Grall said, his soft and soothing, "there is nothing more the two of us can do. They see you as an outsider and me as an embarrassment. The only one who can change their minds is Grodak."
"Change who's mind?"
Grall turned around to find Grodak standing behind him. "The council." Grall said, he then briefly explained their situation as Grodak stood there listening.
"That explained the looks on our people's faces." Grodak said as he stared out an open window. "So," Grodak continued, confirming the details, "we receive a declaration of war, from whom, we don't know, and the council doesn't want to ready the troops and instead they are insisting we flew."
"Pretty much, orc bro." Adrian said, he seemed calmer now compared to earlier but Grall could see the wheels in his head turning, and knew Adrian was planning to do something to piss off the council.
Grodak smiled a cheerful smile, a wickedly cheerful smile. "Let me talk have a word with them in private," Grodak popped his neck as he spoke, "I need to blow off some steam after the day I've had."
Grall and Adrian looked at each other then backed away from the door. Grodak opened the door to the council room and found them arguing over where they should hide. "Hello boys," Grodak said as he shut the door, "what are you hiding from."
Adrian looked to Grall, worry in his eye. "Should we help?"
Grall turned towards Adrian and shook his head. "Nah," Grall said, understanding where Adrian was coming from, twenty orcs verses one is something they should normally worry about, "Grodak can handle himself."
"I didn't mean him." Adrian said, as a resounding crash could be heard from the other side of the door. "Shouldn't we help the council? I hate them as much as you, but I don't think even they deserve to deal with an angry Grodak."
Grall pondered the thought of helping them and how they would owe him big time but quickly brushed the thought away. "Would you rather face an angry Grodak?" Grall asked and to his amusement Adrian shivered at the thought. "That's what I thought," Grall said with a chuckle, "now come on, I could use some help sorting the reports."
Grodak entered Gralls spy tower, only to find it devoid of all furnishing. "What happened here?" Grodak asked, Grall turned from the open window still reading the report he had received and holding a black orb. "Were you robbed while I was away?"
"No," Grall said as he placed the orb and parchment down on the windowsill, "you just have a history of destroying my furnishing every time you visit me, and after a while it begins to get expensive."
Grodak lifted an eyebrow at Grall then shook his head. "I managed to…" Grodak paused for a moment, looking for the right word, "persuade the council to see things clearly."
"So," Grall said taking in a deep breath, "you beat them until they agreed to do what you wanted."
"Isn't that what I just said?" Grodak chuckled as he thoughts of the council cowering in front of him, begging him not to hurt them anymore.
"We found out where the threat of war came from." Grall said as he handed Grodak the parchment. "They came from the neighboring kingdom, Ronstadt."
Grodak peered at the parchment for a bit. "How many do you think it'll take to bring the kingdom down?"
"Depends on how we attack." Grall spoke in hushed tones. "If we catch them by surprise then maybe half of our army would be enough."
Grodak nodded his head, but he knew Grall wasn't telling him everything. "And?"
"If we don't catch them by surprise then it would take out entire army, just to put a dent in their forces."
"So, we catch them by surprise, we move our troops out tomorrow and hit them hard." Grodak tossed the parchment onto the floor as he spoke.
"There lays the problem, brother." Grodak rubbed his temples in annoyance. "They are allied with a kingdom that's on the way. They would see us coming before we even got halfway there."
Grodaks expression turned from joyous to serious. "Is there any way around that?"
"Only one, but…" Grall paused, then sighed. "It's through the Willow woods. The woods we travelled through to get Talengars God orb, which, I'll remind you, has no more magic, and without it we can't get through, not to mention bringing an army with us."
"What if I told you," Grodak said as he watched Grall pace, "I have retrieved Talengars God orb, before it was used."
"I would ask how," Grall said rubbing his temple again, "but it would be useless to ask." Grall placed his hands on the windowsill and stared out into the landscape. "I'm guessing you got his blessing." Grodak nodded his head. "Good." Grall said turning from the window and heading for the door. "We are going to need all the help we can get."
Grodak watched as Grall lift, then turned back to the windowsill. The dark orb Grall had placed there was now gone and Grodak couldn't help but wonder what it was.