“You’re very lucky, you know,” Serrintha said as she finished applying her Cure Light Wounds spell to Nawen’s arms. When transformed as a giant bird and colliding with the ship’s masts, Nawen had broken her wings – when in human form, these were her arms.
“Luck’s my middle name,” Tarrant said, as he finished tying the rope around Nawen’s unconscious body lying on the floor. He still couldn’t believe how lucky he’d actually been… Nawen had tried chasing him across the deck, but then she tripped over some rope and knocked herself out on the remains of a broken mast. Tarrant was almost ready to believe one of the Gods was looking out for him.
“Do you really have to use that much rope?” Serrintha asked.
“Well, those sailors aren’t using it any more,” Tarrant replied. “Less sails means less rope needed… Besides, she’s pretty damn strong, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.” He jumped back a foot when Nawen moved. “Whoah, she’s waking up!”
“Of course she is, she’s feeling much better now,” explained Serrintha. “Now that she’s healed she’s going to be just fine.”
“Wha– what happened?” Nawen muttered, and then, when she realised she couldn’t move, looked down at the ropes cocooning her body. She moved her head around, seeing Tarrant. “This is your work, isn’t it.”
“Of course,” Tarrant smiled. “I’m not stupid, you know, and it would obviously be very stupid of me to leave you in a state where you could try and kill me.”
“It’s going to happen eventually,” said Nawen. “You may as well accept it and we can get it over with.”
“Now, now,” Serrintha said, walking into Nawen’s field of view. “I’m sure there’s been a few misunderstandings that we should resolve. I agreed with Tarrant that tying you up was the best solution. You know how hotheaded and impulsive you can be,” she said with a smile.
“He needs to die,” Nawen said simply.
“Why?” Serrintha asked.
Nawen looked back at her, frowning. “He’s untrustworthy, a gnome, and… he annoys me. And everyone else.”
“Racist,” Tarrant muttered, but said nothing else when Serrintha looked at him sternly.
“There’s a lot of people who are annoying,” she said, returning her attention to Nawen. “You can’t go around killing everyone just because they annoy you.”
“I don’t want to kill everyone, just him,” Nawen replied.
Serrintha sighed. “I remember you saying a few times in the past that you considered yourself to have noble values… you even considered being a Paladin, if I remember correctly. Do you really think a Paladin would go around killing gnomes – or anyone – simply because they were annoying?”
“I guess not,” Nawen replied after a moment to think about it. “But I’m sure he’s broken the law, and betrayed us on at least one occasion.”
“You’ve got no proof tha—”
“Quiet Tarrant!” Serrintha glared at the gnome, who went quiet again. She looked back at Nawen. “As the gnome said, there’s been no proof. You can’t kill someone because you don’t like them, and you can’t kill them because you THINK they might have broken the law. There’s a justice system, remember? You can defend yourself when attacked, but you have to let the courts decide a person’s fate. If you think he – or anyone – has broken the law, you have to gather proof first.”
Nawen was quiet while she was digesting what Serrintha was saying.
“Do you still want to be a Paladin?” Serrintha asked.
“Yes,” Nawen replied.
“Well, I’d be happy to help you achieve that goal,” Serrintha said. “My order certainly has need of Paladins… if you pass the trials, that is.”
“Really?” Nawen’s face lit up with pleasure. “You’ll help me become a Paladin?”
“Of course. However, your success at becoming one will be up to you, not me.” She paused and then leant a bit closer to Nawen before continuing, speaking a little conspiratorially. “But there’s one trial you have to pass first…”
“What is it? I’ll pass it!”
Serrintha smiled. “It’s the Trial Of Loving Your Gnome.”
Tarrant laughed as Nawen ground her teeth in anguish…
To be continued….
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