Chapter 6: I spy
Iris sat back down, and beckoned Dare to join her. With great reluctance, he plopped himself on the ground, shifting several times he tried to make himself comfortable, very aware that the Princess's shining emerald eyes were on him at that moment, setting an uneasy feeling in his stomach.
Dare's inner turmoil remained unbeknown to Iris. She cleared her throat and began talking to herself, now looking like she was miles away, staring at the sky. She tapped her mouth with her finger, something he noticed she did when concentrating, mocking him or not. "Let's see, let's see. Where shall I start?"
"How about at the beginning?" Dare interrupted in a confidant tone, now feeling more himself thanks to her tiny blunder.
She nodded absentmindedly. "Very well. From the beginning." She cleared her throat again. "I heard their voices… but they weren't outside my head." She looked pointedly down at her hands, which where placed on her lap.
Dare raised an eyebrow. Was she joking around? Trying to fool him? Somehow, he knew the answer was no. He could read the look on her face. She was frightened, possibly even embarrassed. Did hearing voices, or being frightened embarrass her? Whatever the case, it wasn't an expression that suited her. He licked his lips and tried his best attempt to mollify her worries. "Maybe you where just confused."
"No, Dare. I know where it came from." She looked up at him and gave him a faint smile, trying to make it seem like it wasn't that bad. But, was she trying to convince herself, or him? "I even saw a few flashes. I saw him… Giffer, being hit." She looked back down again, waiting for him to respond.
He tried to think of something- anything to say, but nothing came to mind. They were silent for a few minutes. The only thing he could hear was fire crackling in the night's darkness, muffling out the forest's cry of solitude. He finally spoke, slowly and hesitantly. "Why did you go to him? If you saw him, you would see he's just a peasant. I know… I know… well at least in the past, you never really seemed to care for such elves."
Her head snapped in his direction; eyes ice cold. "Do you think I'm some kind of monster?" Her voice soon matched the chill in her eyes. "I may be a little high strung," Dare coughed awkwardly. "But I'd NEVER allow and noble to abuse a peasant. NEVER!"
He held up his hands in a desperate sign to surrender. In all the time he'd been around her, even on the ship, she had never looked at him so cold. "Iris I-,"
"Princess Iris!" She corrected him furiously.
"Yes… ok… Princess look…" He fumbled for words, suppressing an exasperated sigh. "I never thought you would allow it… I just… I just…"
"I'm not some monster!" She shouted, now standing. As he looked up at her, he noticed her eyes weren't as cold- they were pleading.
He softened and gently replied, "I never said you were."
"I'm not!" She tried again, her anger evidently growing weaker with her shouts.
He was standing as well now. "I know you're not!" He shouted, infuriated. "I never thought you were!" Wouldn't she just listen to him?!
Her face was filled with stunned shock as he stood towering over her, blue eyes ablaze. It took her a moment to register her thoughts as he hovered over her. "Well, as long as we're clear," she mumbled and sat back down. Dare just stared at her for a moment, never expecting her to submit that quickly. He was still trying to argue here, damnit! Iris sensed him still standing and gaping, which wasn't right to her. He should be sitting with her. Quickly, she reached out her hand, clasped it to his wrist and tugged him down to the ground.
They were silent for several minutes. Iris stared at the fire, while Dare pulled grass out of the ground franticly. Finally, Dare spoke up. "Is that the only reason?" Iris looked back at him, raising her eyebrows in question. He decided to elaborate. "That you went to help him."
She gave him a weak smile. Smile? What was she doing smiling at him? She was supposed to be angry. He was still upset! How could she yell at him like that, and then just smile like she didn't do anything? That was not allowed! It made his anger raise a notch. But as she kept smiling, he felt it fade away. That wasn't supposed to happen either! What was wrong with him? What was wrong with her? She's supposed to be angry!
She finally spoke. "I had suspicions that he was a peasant even before I saw the flash- if you're wondering. As well as my morals, something told me I needed to save him, that he would be useful… needed. There is also the fact that he… he looks like someone I know."
"Who?" he asked, very curious now, most of his anger gone.
She smiled affectionately, obviously thinking of the elf at that moment. "My mentor. He has the same blue eyes, and red hair. They have the same similar build - although Giffer is a bit slimmer - and there faces are alike. When I saw the flash, I thought, possibly there was a chance he had escaped." She shook her head. "But I should have known better. Kirren would be able to handle a dozen of men on his own. I… I just… wonder where he is." She looked up at him, waiting for some kind of answer.
He cleared his throat, thinking of something to say. "I'm sure he's fine, Princes. If he can take on dozens, he should be alright."
She nodded slightly, then grinned. "He taught me how to fight, you know." There was pride in her voice.
"Really? So your mentor is the one who taught you to fight?" He half snorted, half laughed. "You must really love battle," he teased.
"I have never been in battle," Iris replied, rather amused.
He laughed. She must think he was stupid if he gave her the impression he thought she had been. "I know. Even if you were a guy, you wouldn't have of had a chance to battled for your kingdom. You're still quite young."
She frowned. "But because I am female, I will never be able to fight for my kingdom. My father forbids it."
He gave her a small grin. "I doubt he's do or say anything else in that matter. Females are expected to be delicate. To be incapable of fighting, or even defending themselves." He shook his head, grinning doubtlessly.
Iris found this quite interesting. "You think otherwise?"
"Females can be frightening when they want to be. Take you for instance. Your temper is one that would send a whole army running." He roared with laughter. She hit him on the shoulder jokingly.
"I'd watch what you say," she said seriously, yet was smiling. "Have you known females ever to be in battle?"
"There is one army that has, and still will except females. But they must show they are worthy of such an honor, just like any guy. Many think it's week to except females, yet the world fears the particular army that girls are in."
"Are you talking about…?" She trailed of, unable to complete her sentence. Fortunately, Dare answered right away.
"Yes, I am talking about them." He looked at her, very seriously. "Whether you like it or not, they are powerful."
"Yes, but still…" She faltered again.
"From what I've seen, you fight well. Better than most knights, in fact. If you ever wanted to join an army, to be in battle, your only chance will be with them."
"I never said a wanted to be in battle just for fighting if that's what you mean. I want to fight for my kingdom. There's a difference." He gave her the same mocking grin that he had done so many times before, only now, it wasn't nauseating.
"You're quite right, Princess," he teased. He paused for a moment. "But enough talk of them, please." He looked quite desperate not to speak more of the subject. "Why exactly is Giffer coming with us?" Now she knew he was desperate to change the subject. But why?
She sighed, bringing her knees into her chest and hugging her legs. "Some one told me. The same one that urged me to save him."
Dare looked at her disbelieving. "You… you didn't say… s- someone said it?" He blinked after finishing his little stammer.
"Oh I'm sorry," she replied sarcastically, and quite loud. "I guess it just slipped my mind." He jumped at her sudden outburst. She bit her lip, gaining her composure. She now spoke calm. "I don't know exactly what, or who it was." She paused. "It sounded female, I know that much."
"What did she sound like?" he asked curiously.
She shrugged in reply, trying to remember. "It was soft… and mystical?" She looked over at him questionably, like she was waiting for him to confirm her guess.
"Was it normal?" His brows knit with concern. "Do you think you might of… well I don't know," he fumbled for the right words. "Been possessed for a moment. Or that someone might have tried to possess you?"
"Have you known anyone ever to be possessed?" she asked a bit concerned, yet curious. "Do you have any experience with this sort of thing?" She shook her head. "I'm completely lost." She paused a moment, seeming to be thinking of something else to say. "The so called Master of the Kitlirs said he found this spell to possess my elves. Those nobles must have been the outcome of it, or one of them. Do you think… he could do it to me?" She looked very frightened now, and Dare couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for her. She was the Princess, after all. Who better to possess.
Fortunately, he could tell her something more comforting, and still truthful. "There is also a counter spell, Princess. But it takes someone very powerful with mind magic to do so."
"Could you do it?" she asked hopefully.
"I could try," her eyes brightened, before he finished his sentence. "But it might kill me in the process." She looked at the ground, now downcast, making him feel guilty.
"Don't worry about it," she assured him, or was it herself? Once again, he wasn't sure. "I know someone in Finitia who might be able to help."
"Who?" he asked, rather exited with the news.
"His name is Varel. He's one of the rare wood elves that have magic, and one of the most powerful in the world out of all kinds, in magic. Or so that is his reputation." She gave him a confidant smile.
"I've heard of him before. You know him?" He was quite surprised. But of course, she was the Princess, and sure enough, she would remind him of that again, sooner or later.
"I see him at least once a year. He comes to the castle on business. Nice magical elf. Although he is rather strange…"
Dare smirked. "I've heard that too."
"Yes, well, crazy or not, he is very powerful. Also wise at times." She grinned, thinking of all the advice the elf gave her in the past. She didn't realize it, but she when into her own little world for a few moments, although it was disrupted shortly.
Dare leaned over a bit and spoke quietly into her ear. "Princess?" Iris jumped, startled to find him so close. Dare realized that trying to avoid speaking loudly for Giffer's sleeping sate was a big mistake. Iris was gaping at him, her lush pink mouth open, sweet breath escaping her. He should move back, but he found his all attention glued to her exhales and inhales, those voices creaming in his head to turn away going unnoticed.
Iris was still in turmoil herself when she quietly breathed out, "Yes?"
One word. That one word snapped him out of his trance. Dare jerked back at her soft voice and tried to blink the insanity out of him. Now… what was he going to ask? "Um…" No, no. It wasn't that. "What… do… you think of the map?"
She responded casually as if nothing had just happened. For some reason it bothered Dare that she was completely unaffected. "I don't know. The Kitlirs are after it for some reason, but I have no idea why. Varel might know."
"I guess so." He shrugged. They were silent for a few moments Dare finding it incredibly awkward. "Is there anything else you'd like to tell me?"
She reeled it through her mind for a moment. Slowly shaking her head, she replied. "Nope. You should really go to sleep now. I'll take a little bit more time on my watch so it's even." She smiled friendly.
Dare raised his eyebrows in disbelief. Even? She wanted to make it even? He might have fretted on the word further if he wasn't so tried. Yeah, tired. That was it. Instead of contradiction that word as well, he mumbled his thanks, and bid her good nigh. He didn't sleep the moment his head hit the ground, as he had hoped. The silhouette of the girl by the fire somehow seemed more interesting than anything his subconscious could conjure.
Dare woke up the next morning by someone shoving an apple in his face. He looked up to find Giffer grinning excitedly, still holding the apple and waving it in front of him. He was obviously already wide-awake, having the last watch.
"Hi ye Dare! Rise and shine," Giffer grunted cheerfully.
Dare moaned as he sat up. He didn't realize until that moment, some time in the night he had rolled onto a rock large enough to now give him pain. He scanned to area then jumped up, anxiously. "Where's the Princess?" he demanded, scanning again. She was no where in his line of vision.
"She's just fine, she is. Just gone to clean, and freshen herself up, she said." He looked at Dare, amused. "Quite worried about that one, aren't we?" He eyed him suspiciously.
"It's my duty," Dare replied quickly.
He could tell Giffer didn't believe him by the smirk on his face. "Sure," he replied sarcastically.
"What?" he asked ask as innocently as he could.
"Nothin'." Giffer grinned slyly. He handed Dare the apple, and began to pack.
Dare, remembering his duty, put the apple down. "I should go find her. She shouldn't be alone in the forest. Which way did she go?" He looked at Giffer, whose eyes practically pop out of their sockets.
"Are ye mad?" he exclaimed breathlessly.
"Excuse me?" Dare asked, completely bewildered.
Giffer shook his head, muttering under his breath for a moment. "She went to clean and 'freshen up'." He used his fingers to emphasize the last two words. "Do you know what that means?" He looked at Dare like he was the dumbest thing in the world, which he really was at the moment.
Dare jumped at the realization. "Oh!" His face filled with horror at the though of the death Iris would bring to him, if Giffer hadn't stopped him at that moment.
Giffer snorted. "Ya, isn't worth your death, is it?"
Dare bit his tong, deciding not to say more.
He then picked up the apple, glaring at Giffer as he ate. What was the guy thinking? He must be mad, that's the only way to explain the elf. As he finished his apple, the Princess sundered up to the camp. She looked as refreshed as the day they began their mission. If possible, her hair was even shinier. She gave him a light- hearted smile as she came closer.
"There's a river a few minutes away," she informed him. "I woke up a bit early so I went searching for water, to drink and so on, and came across it. I thought it would be nice to freshen up."
He gave her a concerned look. "As innocent as your intentions were, you shouldn't be doing that."
"Why not?" she demanded.
"Well, for starters, you're away from the camp, so I wont be able to protect you if someone from the Kitlirs came. And even if it's just some guy walking by, what do you think he'd do?"
She replied offensively, puffing out her chest. "I think I can handle a wandering stranger, thank you."
"Yes, but still, the Kitlirs. We're going to be in the next town today, if all goes well. You could have cleaned there anyways. Just… don't do it again."
"Now wait a minute." She protested, now very upset. Even if he was concerned, he was not going to order her around. "I'll do as I like, when I like." She said in a huff.
"Look, I can't afford to let you out of sight that vulnerable." He began to tease her, just to see how much she would blow up. "So unless you want me to supervise-,"
"That is out of the question!" she roared.
He laughed. "I thought so."
"I hate to interrupted… whatever this is here," Giffer piped up, mouth full of apple, stepping between the two. "But shouldn't we really be going, ye know?"
Iris gave Giffer a slightly revolting look as he kept eating with his mouth wide open, but didn't do, or say anything otherwise. "We will pack up now then," Iris commanded. And of course, because it was her command, they began to pack up.
"Hurry up you bloody goons! I've already wasted enough time!" Hirriet marched down the main road, heading to a small bloody town they should have gone to in the first place. "I don't understand why he didn't just give me this little army right away," she complained to the Kitlir beside her, who was second in command.
The Kitlir half snorted, half laughed. "'Cause, lady, da Master don't like ye."
She sneered at him. "And what gave you such an idea?"
"Da Master himself. Why else would he wait a few days te give ya little army, then tell ye te check the town south, before east? He loves te torture elves, in any way, But since yer on our side," He shivered, "He just want te piss ye off as much as he could."
"Doesn't he think finding that little brat is important!?" she roared.
The Kitlir shrugged. "He thinks yer really just doing this as revenge and te try te gain what respect ye still have for ye self. There's nothin' the Princess can do-,"
"Nothing she can do? Nothing she can do!" She was pulling at her hair now. "There is that certain prophecy to consider, you know."
He snorted. "That a myth, a legend. Besides, there is nothing there, we checked. And even if there is, which there isn't, she 'as no way of gettin' past."
Lady Hirriet gave a screech before walking ahead. They were now at the town gate. What was the town called? Ah yes, Javia. The doors where closed, they must have known they would be coming. She expected this much, there had to be a few elves that escaped on the night of attack.
She turned to the dumb, bewildered Kitlirs standing behind her. "Well, what are you waiting for? They're not going to let us in if we knock."
They glared at her for a moment, then three came forward, ramming into the gate. They pounded on the gate several times until it opened. They marched into the town, elves already screaming of fright. As all the Kitlirs came in Hirriet began to get down to business.
"Lock and guard all doors now! I don't want anyone leaving." Of course, she wouldn't have to worry about the other side of town. She sent several Kitlirs there already, to guard any gates. It was a small town, so wouldn't be too hard to do. A dozen of the Kitlirs accompanied her to find this lord, wherever he could be. Since it was midmorning, he probably was working. She headed towards the hall. As they walked, the Kitlirs pushed any elves in the way flying to the ground. Frantic cries filled the streets, which she was very pleased with.
When she finally found the town hall, it was locked. Go figure! She gave one Kitlir a look, and he rammed into the door, knocking it over in an instant. She marched down the hall, where the guards foolishly tried to fight them. It was a pity they had to be killed, they were kind of handsome. They finally reached the door, where once again, they forced it open.
Hirriet looked around the room, but there was no one to be found. On the contrary, there was some one o be heard. It was a whimpering, coming from the desk. She smiled evilly as she went around the desk to find none other than the lord himself huddled in a ball. She growled, and pulled him out of the desk by his hair.
"Where is she?" she demanded.
The lord took a deep breath, and stopped whimpering. "Who?" he asked, quite calmly.
"The Princess! Tell me where she went! I know she was here!"
"The Princess?" He was ask innocently, bit it was too innocent for Hirriet. "Why I- I haven't seen her in a few years."
She growled, pulling out a dagger. "I don't have time for this, you piece of filth."
"I'm n- not telling y- you… anything." He was beginning to crack… she hoped.
She began to cut his shoulder, slowly to give him immense pain.
"No!' he shouted. It was not a cry. He wasn't going to tell her anytime soon. She had no time for this!
"Very well," she sighed. "I guess I'm going to have to do this the hard way." She put her hands on his head, and closed her eyes. He tried to fight her, but two Kitlirs held him down. She began searching. Deep inside his mind where she knew the certain secrets would be kept. Flashes of his past came before her mind. She stopped when she spotted a familiar face. The brat. But she was to young in this memory. She began going forward, trying to find it faster, harder, for she was beginning to weaken. As time was about to run out, she discovered some interesting news. She was now headed towards a town.
Hirriet quickly pulled out of the elf's mind as she discovered the brat was headed for Lopula today. She collapsed on the floor as her mind let go. Taking a few deep breaths to recover, she rose once more. The Lord was out cold on the floor. Weakling.
"Kill him," she ordered.
"I'm afraid not, Hirriet. The master has ordered not to destroy, but imprison any one of importance that we come across. He says he has a special plan for them." He smiled evilly, and Hirreit joined him.
"I do love his little plans. Very well. We'll send someone back with him." She stormed out of the town hall without another glance at the lord.
"Are we done here?" A Kitlir had addressed her as she came onto the street.
"Yes." She had the same evil smile on her face. "Burn the town, or whatever you like. All we need is the lord, by the orders of the Master."
He looked extremely pleased. "Very well."
"There is just one more thing for you to do before you get started." She said holding up a finger to look make it seem important.
"What is that?" he asked impatiently.
"I need to send a message to the station closest to Lopula. Tell them to destroy the town, and leave none one any mercy. But look out for a young girl with long, dark brown hair, and green eyes. If you find any girls that fit the description, lock them up, and guard them like hell. I shall kill her myself when I get there."
He grinned. "I have no problem with that order." The Kitlir whistled, and held out his arm. In half a second, a small, flying beast landed on his held out arm. It's face, and body were like a dragons, yet had the wings of an eagle. He wrote the message on a piece of parchment, tied it to the beast, whispered in its ear, and then sent it off.
He turned back to Hirriet. "You may get started now." She replied with a smile that could freeze ones soul. He nodded, than ran of. Within a few hours, the town was burning violently, and the ground was soaked with blood.
"I see somethin'… blue." Giffer proclaimed hesitantly to Dare. They where now on there way to Lopula, and Giffer was trying to pass the time with a little fun - or so he thought. Dare just found the little elf sitting behind him annoying in all his spying tactics. "Ya, something blue."
Dare sighed impatiently. "First of all, there is nothing blue around here. Secondly, I'm not playing a children's game."
"Well there was a blue flower a bit back there. I guess ye just to slow to see it." Giffer said, offended by Dare's last words.
Dare shook his head. "Whatever, I don't care."
Giffer accepted this, for he went on. "Ok, now I see something green. Guess what it is."
Dare was no longer paying attention to Giffer. As he looked to his right, he fond Iris ridding along, set in her own world. He wondered what she was thinking of. Could it be the kingdom? Was it the voices she heard before? He didn't know. But she looked beautiful thinking. They were riding in the forest, surrounded by trees. Yet light seemed to seep through in gentle rays, and made her face glow. She was pouting now, He'd never seen her pout before. He really wanted to know what she was thinking. Should he ask? She looked really set in her mind, and he didn't want to disturb her. But, they were on good terms now, and he was beginning to enjoy talking to her. They hadn't had an argument since they began riding. And this would be considered good as they had been riding for several hours, and had actually been talking to each other. When they didn't argue, he liked talking to her. Did she enjoy talking to him?
He was about to open his mouth and speak when someone began hitting him. "Giffer! What are you doing?" Dare demanded, irritated.
"I said, have ye guessed what it is yet?" The elf sighed. "It shouldn't take ye that long to think of somethin' green."
Dare took one last glance at Iris, deciding he should put his mind on something else. "Alright," he sighed. "Is it a tree?"
"Nope." He replied teasingly.
"The stem of a flower?"
"Hmm… than what could it be, Giffer?" He was trying to be as patient as possible.
Giffer laughed. "It should be an obvious thing to ye. That's the reason why I chose it. Ye really stink at the game so I thought I choose somethin' ye always seem to be lookin' at."
Dare looked puzzled, down at his rains. He shook his head, completely bewildered. "I don't understand you…"
Giffer spoke quieter, so only Dare could hear. "I spy, with YOUR little eye, something that is green."
Dare glanced at Iris, knowing exactly what he was talking about. Giffer laughed at him, although it was a friendly laugh. But Dare, a bit annoyed with all of Giffer's crazy ideas, elbowed the elf in the ribs. It was obvious Dare didn't want to hurt him, for Giffer laughed harder.
Iris glanced at them, now distracted. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing," Dare answered quickly.
"Nothing?" Her emerald eyes looked at him in suspicion, although there was a hint of smile playing on her lips. "Remind me to tell you 'nothing', the next time you want to know something."
"Ok." Dare grinned, and she smiled in return. But Dare, being too distracted with her smile, failed to notice what was in front of him. Devil stopped abruptly; sending Dare flying right over him, and into a large pool of mud. He landed with a splat; soaked in mud. He wiped his face to see. Giffer managed not to fly off, for he was still on Devil, and Iris obviously noticed in time to stop, for she was still on her own horse. Giffer was laughing openly, slapping his knee, while Iris was staring at him, stunned. He supposed it would be fairly amusing, if it happened to someone else.
"Oh Dare," Giffer said through his laugh. "Ye should have seen it. That was priceless it was!" He laughed harder.
"Shut up!" Dare yelled, now annoyed. It was all Giffer's fault anyways. He should be the one covered in mud. Dare then looked to Iris, who was now trying to stifle a laugh, but eventually let it out.
He shook his head. It was really, really embarrassing, but he could admit it was funny. He didn't laugh though, not at all. Yes, it would be funny if it happened to someone else, but it happened to him. He attempted to get back on Devil, but Giffer protested.
"I aint sharin' this horse with you," he said, pushing Dare away. "I'll get just as muddy."
"Well then you can get off." Dare replied annoyed. "This is my horse, you walk."
"Calm down Dare," Iris said, still giggling. "It's not too much further. We've been riding for several hours now. And you said yourself, not to long ago, 'it wont be long, now'."
"On horses it wont," Dare interjected.
"How long will it take us if you walk?" she asked curiously.
"Well… not too much longer than an hour, but it would be a lot less ridding."
"Do you want Devil to get dirty, Dare?" Iris asked.
"What?" He didn't like where this was going. He remembered doing this to her once in an argument before. He didn't like where this was going at all!
"If you don't want to spend your day cleaning your horse as well, then I suggest you walk. You wouldn't want Devil to be all muddy, would you?"
He sighed, turning to his horse. He didn't want to get Devil too dirty. He just cleaned him before the left Javia. "Fine, a little walk wont hurt."
"A little walk wouldn't hurt you, Dare." Iris repeated, teasingly.
"What's that supposed to mean?" he asked, a bit offended. What did she mean?
She smiled mischievously. "Nothing." She made a disgusted face. "Dare, you really need a bath."
"I've figured that much," Dare mumble, as they began to walk. Or rather, he began to walk, and they road. He didn't mind the walk, honestly. It was only the fact that someone else was riding Devil. He should be riding his horse. If Giffer didn't want to get dirty he should walk!
"No, I'm serious, you really smell." Iris insisted.
"Thanks," he replied sarcastically.
Giffer decided to change the subject, becoming Dare's hero, but only for a few seconds. "Ok, next one. I see something… brown."
"Is it the ground?" Iris asked, now joining the game.
Iris saw Giffer jerk his head at Dare. She grinned, getting very exited. "Hmm…" She tapped her finger on her mouth several times. "Is it… Dare?"
"Right ye are!" They both laughed, but Dare didn't join in this time. He felt neither amused nor offended by it. Well… he was a bit annoyed. Ok, he was very annoyed and a bit angry. But he just wanted to get to town so he could get this stuff off. Although Dare didn't join in, laughter still rang through the forest, as the travelers made their way to the gates of Lopula.
Author's Note: I would edit this story, if I planned to keep it. All of up to chapter 9 is written because I actually was writing this almost a year ago. However, I plan to completely rewrite the entire thing. Not edit – rewrite. I will post up to chapter nine unedited for those who are interested, but after that I'm going to start from scratch because I just think my writing and idea for stories has developed since I wrote this, and I think I can do better than what it is right now. The characters will pretty much be the same- Iris and Giffer, at least. Dare will change a little bit. I find that right now his personality isn't as distinct or developed as I could make it. But anyway, I hope you somewhat like this story, but it will be a lot better, and much different when I rewrite it.
The next chapter is my favorite. It's called, "Worst Time for BlackBoold." In it, Iris goes to a rough tavern with Giffer, and actually gets a little tipsy on ale by the time Dare comes into the scene. Hope you will enjoy it.