Thread Contributor: KillerPikeBrethren Beginnings
#1
The sharp smell of the drink as he bottled it from the barrel delighted him, this was the life he’d chosen, and it payed off every time he exercised his hard-gained mastery

But recently, the events of his life overshadowed his skill. The death of the Impulsreich chancellor had left the nation in a constant state of decay, and one by one it’s members drifted away, to start new lives in a different place, but he hadn’t. No, he had stayed behind, the cold walls of Pikestag fortress protecting only him, and his works.

He could feel himself growing frail, and he knew he needed a change, or soon his days would be numbered. He walked past the grave of the chancellor, remembering the good old days. The days when they would talk about the future, teach the new recruits, or just sit around and chat. But those days were gone, and so was the chancellor.

He laid his head down upon the pillow, pulling the blanket tight.

“Tomorrow,” He said, “I start anew.”

With this promise to himself, he laid down and slept.

Even before the sun cast out the last remnants of the night darkness, he was at work, gathering his belongings, preparing for his journey.

He found his hand struggling to grasp the pen, his hands calloused from years of work, and he also found nearly as much of a struggle choosing the right words, how could he convince him? With difficulty, he pulled the string tight, making sure it would stay on during the flight. When he was content with it, he released the bird from the window, and within seconds it was out of sight, flying in the direction of Winterheim.

All he could do was hope, and make sure he withheld his end of the bargain.

————————————————————————————————————

Another day, another lesson, did it ever end? It never seemed to.

Today’s lesson had been yet another on fermenting, and Ale knew it already. He seemed to know everything, at least about alcohol, and although he worked a full time job at the tavern, he still had to take these classes in his off time.

It seemed a waste of time to him, he was making more drinks than two men at the tavern, and some people asked only for his drinks because they were such a good quality.

It wasn’t that he was opposed to learning new things, and any new thing he learned he immediately remembered, but to learn new things he would have to leave Winterheim, and he didn’t want to.

In fact, the only place he could thing of to really learn new things was Impulsreich to the south, but Impulsreich had fell apart years ago, and as far as anyone knew everyone had died or left.

He felt a certain pain when he thought about this, Impulsreich was where he had come from, and where Pike, one of, if not the, greatest brewers around had been his first mentor.

But that was in the past, he lived a different life now, and between work, school, and talking to Dark, he never seemed to have much time.

He was waiting for Dark now, she was late, but since her mother had passed away, her time had been much less. Ale understood this, and he knew she was taking care of her father, who had gone nearly insane after the death of his wife. Finally, she arrived.

“How are you?” She asked politely

“As well as ever,” Ale replied, “How’s your father?”

Dark looked down, and for a minute Ale was afraid he shouldn’t have asked, but before he could say anything else she answered.

“Not well,” she said softly

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Ale said, somewhat embarrassed

They spoke for a couple more minutes, then one of the boys from Ale’s school housing ran up.

“There’s a letter for you,” He said, “Back at the house.”

Could you really call it a house? It was a bunch of bunk beds in a gutted old shack. It was cozy, but it was small.

Ale started toward the house, and Dark followed.

When he arrived, he found the bird on his bed, asleep and cooing softly. He untied the letter from it’s leg and check who it was from. He could feel his heart stop for a second, it was from Pike, the old Impulsreich brewer.

He quickly read the letter, it said to come to ‘the lake’, where Pike invited Ale to come and build a ‘new place, where we can brew in peace’.

Dark was staring at him in confusion over his excitement, so he showed her the letter and explained it to her.

“Pike? You mean the man who rescued you?” Dark asked

“Yes, that’s the one,” Ale answered excitedly, “One of the best brewers in Atlas.”

Then, realization struck, to do this, he had to leave Winterheim, and Dark. He looked at her, and he knew she knew it too. She smiled at him, and nodded, silently agreeing with him, he had to go.

He decided to leave the next day, as he had to get there before the winter came, which was only about two weeks away.

As he stood there, his belongings on his back, his way set, he noticed Dark hadn’t come to see him off, and he felt a twinge of guilt in his heart.

He had gotten about half a mile down the trail when someone came running after him. He tried to make out who it was, and when he realized it, he stopped walking. It was Dark.

“What are you doing here?” He asked when she got close enough

“Ale,” She said, and he knew it was serious, “My uncle passed away this morning, and I have no place to go.”

Ale was about to say how sorry he was for her, but she didn’t seem that bothered, and he knew she’d just shrug him off, saying it was fine.

Without another word, the two silently started the trip, an agreement seemingly in place.

They traveled for days, across the icy forest, across the mountains, and through Odera forest, until they finally reached the Iron Foothills.

They were about to sit down and rest when Ale saw smoke in the distance, and the shimmer of water through the trees.

He ran as fast as he could, and when he got to the lake, he saw an old man, seated on a rock with a fishing rod across his lap.

The man looked at him and grinned. Ale knew at that second, he’d made the right choice.
I’ve made more alcohol on a video game than some breweries. Yes, I am happy with my choices. 
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