[Story] Treasure Hunting

The trip hadn’t gone exactly as Berwick had hoped. Yes, they’d found a few small things of value, but nothing really great, nothing that would provide that push they needed to get back onto their feet. And the rain hadn’t helped, either. Besides being cold and uncomfortable, it made the ground muddy and soggy and harder to see anything hidden there. Most of the ruins here had been well picked over, at least the ones closer to outposts. Berwick was convinced there still had to be some left in the more remote places, tangled by the dense forest. According to maps he’d seen, there had once been expansive cities here, with structures hidden under ground. If they could find one of those, they could surely find something hidden away. To complicate things, there were ogres, too. They were dangerous, but not very smart. Berwick didn’t think it would be difficult at all to slip past them with some kind of distraction. And they may have discouraged other explorers, too.

He’d saved up a little, but it wasn’t enough. He wanted to get a house somewhere, their own house that didn’t really belong to someone else. For now it would just be a home base, a place to organize, clean, and store things until they were able to be sold. That would be the first step to rebuilding what had been lost, and Berwick was certain he’d feel more normal if he had that. He and Xyliah had talked about where they wanted to live, but as before she hadn’t been very specific. She just said it didn’t matter, which he knew wasn’t really true. Then she admitted that she wanted to be close to her family, which meant close to Silvermoon. He understood, but that didn’t make it any easier. He hadn’t returned there for decades, and there was good reason. He didn’t want to see the sneers on the rich peoples’ faces when they saw him, hear the names they’d call him. Xyliah didn’t understand, thankfully, what it was like. He was glad of that, but he felt guilty keeping her from them. Maybe somewhere in the Ghostlands, near Hethurin’s school. It seemed silly to return since they’d already left, but it did make sense. Property was cheap there, and there were a lot of people they knew. If they wanted to set up a museum, it was only a short flight away from the city. Anyone willing to travel out to the Ghostlands to see a museum hopefully wouldn’t care that its co-owner was a former rat from the Row. Maybe they could even provide a dragonhawk service. They’d need to build a large enough stable to house them. Berwick was sure Xyliah wouldn’t allow Thalien and Carras to fly strangers, so they’d need a couple more. That would cost money too.

He knew it wouldn’t be easy, but he also thought he’d be further ahead by now. How many years had it been? His body had recovered from the ordeal, but he wasn’t sure about the rest of him. Some nights he still awoke thinking he was back in the dark cell, that their rescue and everything since had just been the dream, that he would die there forgotten. He had to be patient, he reminded himself. It had taken years to build what he had before, and it would take years to replace it. And this time he had Xyliah to help him.

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