Nonsense, she thought as she sat in front of her own fire prodding at the coals with a stick. She hated the northern climate, so cold both night and day. Even wrapped in furs with a healthy fire crackling practically on top of her, she just couldn’t get warm.
No, “nonsense” wasn’t the right word. She was still struggling with the more advanced vocabulary of the northern version of the Common language. However, “nonsense” came close enough for a great many things. Yet there was another word that described her feelings about her presence in this bizarre and often disorderly group. Ah yes … there it was, slowly fading into her mind like a twinkling star at twilight.
Superfluous. Yes. THAT was the word. What in the Nine Hells was she doing here? That brush with death was just too close … way too close. Yet death was merely a part of the life she had chosen to live; she was not afraid to die. Her defeat had not made her hesitant, cowardly, or given her second thoughts about swinging a sword for a living.
What bothered her was how her defeat, her falling in the middle of the conflict changed nothing about the battle itself. No one tried to revive her, move her out of harms way, or use any sort of magic to get her back into the fight. Because she was essentially, well, superfluous.
It wasn’t because she was lacking in fighting expertise. She knew that. Her pride was not at all wounded by this revelation. But with wolves and bears growling and pouncing; with fireballs cooking off, owls flying around and magical flaming bolts hissing hither and yon, most everyone was already dead before she could get her swords out of their sheaths much less actually arrive where the enemies were standing. In addition, she realized, her presence in the midst of a crowd engaging in melee would only serve to prevent wizards and druids from throwing their mass effect spells.
Well … MAYBE it would prevent them. She wasn’t altogether so sure anymore. She could hardly call anyone a friend despite how long they’ve been traveling together and no one seemed all that concerned when she went down during the fight. Eh, Saffryn shrugged. She didn’t expect tears and flowers, but sheesh, no one even asked if she was okay. Definitely not friends, so who is to say whether they wouldn’t just go ahead and launch a fireball into a crowd of enemies where she was doing battle, hoping she would endure the blast?
After all, SOME folks in the group seem to have gotten rather careless about triggering traps in their haste to open boxes … and Saffryn was not overly fond of catching fire in her face thanks to a trap that most likely could have been disarmed with a little patience. She shook her head and sighed. She still could not answer why she was here.
Saffryn looked off into the night and gave serious thought of simply grabbing her bags, mounting, and galloping off into the murk, leaving everyone behind. What difference would it really make? She was … superfluous, after all. Her swords were needed less and less, less and less. Chances are, it will only get worse as time goes on and the casters obtain even more power.
She held no ill will toward them, of course, but she wanted to be where she was needed. Besides, she thought, giving the others a sidelong glance, the party was growing increasingly reckless and the chemistry was all wrong — at least for her. No sense of camaraderie. How long would it be before this entire endeavor implodes?
Should she stay another day? Week? Month? Saffryn angrily tossed more kindling into the fire and listened to it crackle for a moment. Truth was, she didn’t know, but the open road back to civilization was tempting — very, very tempting. She had enough gold now to live comfortably for quite some time. She stared at her horse and felt herself actually begin to rise from the ground, ready to make good on her musings. Gravity, however, must have been magically augmented for a moment for she ended up sitting back down. For what reason, she did not know.
It looked like she wasn’t leaving just yet. But she could feel her future slipping moment by moment between her fingers.