As Griff dashed on horseback through the rocky and muddy roads... he realized he never felt as free as he did right now. All alone in the middle of the road... travelling. He raised his arms high and shouted in relief. He felt alive...
He was close now to the village that had posted the request for an adventurer to either drive off or get rid of the harassing wolf pack. He grinned as he got close to the village. It wasn't anything special. It was a small village near the mountains, most probably where the pack was staying.
Two young men clad in leather armor were standing in the front of the village which had a makeshift wooden wall with spikes and pitfall traps around it. As they saw the carefree Griff galloping towards them, one of them in panic raised his spear and stood between Griff and the gate of the village. There was a small sign next to the village gate with the words "Heignham" written.
'What a weird name for a village...'
"Hey! Hey you! Where do you think you're going! Slow down!"
The young man was shouting frantically as he was pointing his spear, hoping to look menacing.
The man next to him laughed and walked next to him, slapping him lightly on the back.
"Hello there traveller! Sorry about my brother's manners. He is very hot blooded and wants to defend his hometown."
Griff disembarked his horse as he laughed.
"Well that's obvious. I like honest people like you."
"Oi oi! Not a step closer! You might be a bandit or... even worse! A tax collector!"
The older brother who was leaning on his spear suddenly started laughing out loudly.
"And there you go showing how much you love money in mere seconds Galvain!"
The young man was slowly getting pissed but he didn't lose his ground.
Griff thought that this was a waste of time, but a funny one.
'Damn he's funny. Guess I'll play along for some fun.'
"Okay okay you got me. I was here for the tax."
Griff raised his hands like he was surrendering as he laughed.
The young man, now named Galvain, suddenly had an "aha" face as he started poking Griff with his spear.
"AHA! You vile tax collectors have nothing on my village! As the guardian I will drive off any oppressor! You guys collected taxes just last month! Shoo shoo!"
Griff couldn't take it anymore as he watched Galvain look utterly serious over a tax collector being more dangerous than bandits and such. He entered a laughing fit as he held his stomach with one hand and his horse with the other.
"Man... you got... one funny brother."
The older brother scratched his cheek sheepishly.
"Please ignore him, he can be eccentric at times..."
He then coughed lightly into his hand and spoke up again.
"I take it you're the adventurer the guild informed us about?"
Griff was petting his horse, trying to calm it down as Galvain's spear had scared him.
"Yeah, you can call me Griff."
The older brother smiled as he extended his arm for a handshake.
"The name's Danyell. This is my bratty little brother Galvain. Nice to have you here."
Griff grinned and shook Danyell's hand. Galvain was trying to protest that he wasn't bratty, but a look from Danyell shut him up.
"Galvain, you handle our guests horse. The elders wanted to meet with the adventurer sent here, so I'll take Griff to them."
"Pssh. Stop bossing me around."
Danyell lifted one finger up to Griff to signal he needed a minute, and turned to Galvain, smiling. However, even Griff could feel the anger behind that smile even if he didn't have any proper instincts.
Galvain dropped his spear under his brothers gaze.
"Je-jeeez. Fine, I'll do it."
The aura around Danyell instantaneously disappeared. Griff was surprised at how there was someone who gave off such power and had not left this village to pursue glory.
'I mean... that's why adventurers exist in the first place right? Country bumpkins like me can join the military as Master Alatar said too for the thrill... what's someone who gives off so much power compared to a commoner doing here?'
"Great! Come on Griff, the elders have some information on the wolves for you."
Griff put his thoughts to the side as he realized he had work to do.
"Alright, lead the way."
As they walked, Griff saw what it was like to live on the outskirts.
Children were running across the small, muddy roads of the village playing ball, all of them dressed in rag tag clothes, but happy.
There seemed to be only one pub which was also filled to the brim. The duo kept on walking towards a big, wooden log house in the middle of the village square. The village square was filled with young villagers using sticks and swords on straw training dummies.
"This seems like you're preparing for war..."
"In a way we are Griff. The life of a mountain villager is tough, all sorts of beasts can pop their heads up. We mostly get by here by farming herbs or collecting the rarer ones from the mountain and selling them, so it's to be expected we run into some beasts, and occasionally demonic creatures..."
"I guess this is why you sent a request to the guild? A demonic creature, because it seems to me that you all have the capabilities to handle normal beasts."
"You're certainly not wrong on that point. Come, the elder will explain to you in more detail on what's going on."
The duo walked past the villagers practicing in the straw men.
As Griff walked up the wooden stairs, he came face to face with a large wooden gate. He gently pushed it, and walked inside the dimly lit room.
"I'll be waiting outside."
And with that... Danyell was gone, the door shut tight...
Griff had only one thought.