Tonight We Dine...

The Userpedians prepare to leave.

It was the evening of the day they had arrived at the underground cities in the Omake Mountains. A group of users, along with Guy, Ruby and Valentin, as well as some Defenders, helped carry their equipment downstairs, to the supply dock. From there, the snow dweller humans would load it into the carts that would meet them at the other side.

“If this works it could revolutionize transportation,” said Ruby to Guy as they carried some of the tent equipment down. The Userpedia Chest, already fitted in the second cart which was attached to the first, was partially covered in tent cloth, so as to mask it from anyone who might have had ill intentions. Ruby and Guy set down their equipment on the stone beside the two carts.

“Yeah, but we're essentially trusting these people whom we don't know, with all our stuff,” Guy retorted. A nearby snow dweller grunted. “If this doesn't work or we can't reach the other end, Userpedia is essentially done for.”

Ruby glanced over at him, critically. “You don't trust people outside our lot, do you?”

Guy shook his head, and pulled back the sleeve of his right arm, revealing its mechanical nature. “How do you think I got this?”

“Oh...” Ruby sighed as his friend pulled his sleeve back over his arm. “Fair enough, I suppose. “Do you trust /me/ on this?”

“Well... I do...” Guy looked a bit uncomfortable. “It mightn't feel right to me, but I trust that you can do this.”

Ruby smiled. “Thanks. Let's go finish getting the stuff, yeah?”

Nin Ji, former swordsman of the Royal Scribbalonian Army. Oh, how those words sounded hollow to him now.

He remembered his excitement when he was ready to succeed his father in the king's personal army. He remembered making sure his armor and his cape were just right for the enemies he would slaughter.

He remembered the look of glee sliding off his face when he realised that the king would not be sending him into battle.

And that there wouldn't be a battle at all.

In a way, he was glad for the hellfire that signalled the destruction of his lands and his king; he was bored to death of politics. He wanted action! He wanted to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies before he impaled them on his sword!

Then he remembered his childhood friend. That one who he'd heard was leading a thing called Userpedia, whatever it was. He and his friends would surely have trouble amongst all the fire, and whatever could be out there...

Ji's thoughts snapped back to the present as somebody entered the blacksmith, as he sharpened his sword. Somebody in a black robe came in, noticed the whetstone, said “Excellent..” in a quiet voice, and walked over to the stone, beginning to carve a... piece of ice, focused. Nin Ji raised an eyebrow, but otherwise kept to himself. In his head though, he thought, just great. We certainly need a generic black-hooded dude around here. *sigh*

Aurenn, not for the first time, considered life over death. On one hand, he granted, the humans were more forgiving than his own kind. On the other, though, he felt he had disgraced the tribe beyond the point of retribution. But, he wondered if, now that his tribe had abandoned him, he didn't need to worry about them.

But he wasn't too worried about that because the humans had decided to cuff his paws behind his back and use him as some kind of guide...animal. Oh, the humiliation, he thought. He both hated and respected the leader of these humans, and he thought he understood why he was taking these measures. It didn't make it any less humiliating though, to feel subject to the whim of these humans.

As it was though, he padded around his cell, cuffed. He noticed he was really hungry, hadn't eaten much in days. He tapped on the metal of the cell, his claws 'clink'ing against the bars. Someone came around.

Aurenn sighed to himself, realising he was giving in somewhat. “I'm hungry,” he said. “Really hungry. Would you send something here for me?”

The guard smirked. “So you've finally broken. Sure, I'll get something.” He walked off as the creature scowled at the back of his head. He was just too hungry to make him pay for that line.

He prayed to himself that the humans were merciful.

Thal Rosaro, leader of the snow dweller humans, stood before the Userpedians as he made his speech in the ampitheatre. Ruby stood to his left. Uric to his right.

“The first steps of your epic journey has begun!” He cried out to the crowd. “The actions you take in these days must be taken with care, for the legacy of Userpedia must be preserved! But I must also leave with you a difficult task... to preserve yourselves, the last known living humans of the Scribbalonian lands.” He let that sink in.

“There are no doubt many obstacles you will face on your travels. But have faith in yourselves! It is through your noble cause and your tools that you will prevail!” There was a small cheer from the crowd.

Thal continued. “I fully believe that you have the will to bend your enemies to your cause, and to end those that dare oppose you!”

There was a considerable bit less cheer. Most of the Userpedians just looked around, confused. Probably thinking, we wouldn’t do that... would we?

Ruby nodded at Thal, who stepped back. It was their leader’s turn to speak now. “My friends, we came here on our journey to restore our community’s name and to keep it alive. We have also come here as we have fled from our burning land. We will be fully rested, fully fed, and prepared for the journey ahead thanks to Thal and the rest of the snow dwellers here.”

He turned to Thal and Uric, and bowed graciously. “Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for assisting us in our time of need. May your people live long and prosper.”

Cheering from the Userpedian crowd and from the natives were loud as Ruby shook hands with both Thal and Uric, with a wide smile on his face. He turned back to the crowd. “Userpedia shall survive, with all of us here to guide it!”

His crowd cheered onwards, as Ruby stepped down. He was totally set to begin the trek. He believed in his people, and his friends, and he believed that they would all make it to settle in the new land, wherever it was.

It was night, or so the light from outside showed, when Ruby finally went to retire in the hostel given to the Heroes and Defenders. He walked up to the door and moved to open it, when somebody spoke to him, in a voice he had never heard before.

“Quite a speech you gave out there.”

Ruby whirled around.

It was a man in black robes. His skin seemed to be blue from the cold. And in his hands he carried a scythe, with a pole carved out of the rocks and a blade carved of ice. There seemed to be an aura around the ice blade, and Ruby wondered if it would ever melt.

Ruby tried to resist the urge to draw out the air staff that was tucked around his belt. “...Thank you. I really don’t know why you’re insisting on talking to me alone at night, though. And you should probably stick to warmer climates. You look like a corpse.”

“Heh. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?” He tapped the butt of his scythe against the hard ground. “On a mission such as yours, you’ll want every fighter you can get your hands on.”

“So you’re looking to join us, looking like Death in a freezer?” Ruby said, a bit too soon. “Wait, I mean, er... sorry.”

“Don’t be. It is the look I go for, heh.” The figure seemed to smirk, but Ruby couldn’t tell. “But no, I do not wish to join... yet. I have things to settle, and I must observe if you are worthy of my assistance.”

Oh, great, a nutjob. “Worthy? Okay...” Ruby shifted his stance. “Well, we’ll be leaving at dawn. If you absolutely insist on stalking us, that is.” He opened the door. “Now I must retire to bed. It is a long day ahead.”

“Of course.” The figure watched him leave, then turned and walked down to the bar.

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