For some reason the last time I tried to post a comic it didn’t work right. I had to go back in and screw with the publishing date until it finally decided to show up, and even then some people had to clear their caches before they could see it. Which caused a bunch of cluttering tweets. As far as I can tell I have the time and date set properly, but I thought I did last time too, so I guess we’ll see. If it happens again maybe I’ll talk to the tech person at Hiveworks and see it he knows what’s up… Or she, they have a unisex name like mine.
She rose and offered a hand. Julius did likewise, but found himself looking up at her which, at a tad over six feet himself, was atypical when greeting a woman. Up close she was more majestic than he was emotionally prepared for. He instantly felt shabby and the sensory perfection that was touching her hand didn’t help this feeling at all.
“Julius Drywood.” was all he managed to sputter out.
“Niona Black.” She smiled down at him.
“Black?” He said, desperately trying to gather composure. “So you’re not an Elf?”
“No, my grandfather was, but I’m too far removed for them to claim me.” She rolled her eyes. “You know how some families are. Granddad was the black sheep.”
He did know know how they were. At least, he knew how the portion she was talking about was. Particularly old, well off, Elven families were wildly racist. Judging by the resplendence of her armor, which was likely enchanted to adapt to suit whoever put it on, Niona’s relations were probably extremely rich and extremely horrible. It must have been quite a scandal when he married her grandmother. Up this close Julius could do nothing but empathize with him. If her grandmother was a quarter as enchanting as Niona she probably had him spellbound as soon as she said hello too.
Suddenly Julius realized he’d been shaking her had longer, and more vigorously, than he had intended, and jerked it away awkwardly. She hadn’t noticed apparently.
“When grandpa left all he had was this armor.” Niona continued as she returned to her seat. “He made his entire fortune on his own. Well… not on his own exactly, I guess. Grandma helped.” She pointed at her spearhead. “She was quite the weapon smith in her day.”
A thought arced across his mind as he gawked at the blade.
“You’re grandmother is Gretchen Black!?” He exclaimed, looking from her weapon back to her a few times before becoming self aware again. Niona nodded and grinned.
“That spear… It must be priceless!” She nodded again. There was a long silence while his consciousness was overwhelmed these revelations and his reactions to them. Eventually one question managed to work its way out of his face.
“Why in the world would the granddaughter of Gretchen Black be scavenging with the likes of me?” He blurted out.
“Intellectual curiosity” she laughed. “I want to know why the last group didn’t come back.”
“Didn’t come back…” Said Julius, turning towards the stone archway a few meters away. “Nobody told me anything about a prior expedition…”
“Why did you take the job then?” She asked cocking her head to the side.
“The guildmaster told me it was just some basic trap spotting and…” He hesitated. “Some reverse lock smithing…”
“Uh huh…” She said. “Either he thinks very highly of you, or is trying to get you killed.” Julius considered this for a moment.
“Could go either way really…” He smiled. She giggled.