“So… do you ever wind down, or do you just work all the time?”
Serilda had been reading a book in the guild hall’s massive library when she heard the new voice address her. Blinking, she looked up and saw a rather large squirrel standing on the desk beside her. The woman had heard of Ratatoskr, and had seen him around the hall a couple times, but had never really been introduced to the strange creature. Despite his size, he held himself with an air of confidence.
“I’m sorry?” Serilda asked. She’d been pretty focused on the book when he addressed her, and his question had gone in one ear and out the other without actually sticking.
“Whenever I see you in the guild, you’re always by yourself or preparing for some kind of job. I’ve never really seen you actually hang out here with the rest of your guild mates. I’m just curious if you’re shy, or if you’re just one of those humans that works so much you don’t have time for friends.”
She frowned at him a little, though not necessarily with anger. The squirrel was a little cocky in his mannerisms -- which plenty of others had forewarned her about -- but she didn’t necessarily think he was trying to be rude. From what she understood, Yggdrassil was his home that he shared with Sabertooth. Even if he was being a little annoying that wouldn’t be any reason to be cross with him in his own home.
Fixing her blue eyes on him, she said, “I’m not shy, and I try to make time to hang out occasionally. But, I do like to work and keep myself busy. That’s why I joined Sabertooth: to do jobs and to grow as a wizard.”
Ratatoskr shook his head. “You and every other wizard here, lady. But you’re always so… straight faced. It’s like you’ve got a perpetual look of boredom on your face. Don’t think I’ve ever seen you smile.”
“I smile when it’s appropriate.”
“When it’s appropriate? Gods, this is worse than I thought…”
“What do you mean by that?”
He sighed. It was a long, dramatic sound. “It’s Serilda, right? I know you’re a noble and all, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cut loose from time to time. Have some fun!”
“I have fun. On my own time.” This was starting to get exasperating. All she wanted to do was continue her research and keep reading, but this squirrel was insisting on keeping her attention.
“I know! Let’s play a game.”
It was Serilda’s turn to sigh. “Perhaps another time, Ratatoskr.”
“It wasn’t a request.”
Before she could process what was happening, the squirrel had jumped down to the ground. Along the way he had somehow managed to pull her scimitar, Moonlight, from its scabbard on her hip. “Hey..!” she exclaimed, turning in her seat to try and catch him.
Unfortunately, he was quicker than she was. Ratatoskr leaped nimbly back from her hands and smirked at her playfully, resting the back of her blade over his shoulder. “I’ll tell you what--”
“Give that back--”
“--You’re what’s called a Voidwalker--”
“--That’s not a toy, you know--”
“--You have some ability to sense the physical world around you--”
“--Stop playing around with th-- ahh!”
Serilda yelped when the squirrel suddenly pointed the tip of her sword at her, brandishing it with a self-pleased grin. “You’re going to play a round of hide and seek with me. Find me, and you get your sword back. Until then, it’s mine. I’ll be somewhere in the hall.”
Before she even got a chance to tell him no and demand her sword back again, he was gone. Ratatoskr ran so fast out of the library that Serilda would still be staring at the spot he’d just been when she realized he was gone. Clenching a fist tightly, she growled in frustration. I’m going to make a stew out of that squirrel, she thought to herself.
But there was no helping it, now. She needed to get her weapon back. It had been a gift from Mythal, one that he had not acquired without bloodshed. The sword had been specially crafted just for her at his request, and it was an item she cherished. She did not wish to lose it. Closing the book, Serilda placed it back on the shelf where she’d gotten it from and then moved out of the library in the direction he’d headed.
Ratatoskr’s only clue to her was that he’d be somewhere within the guild hall, which really wasn’t much of a clue. Sabertooth’s primary hall was massive, with several floors and countless rooms. Even with her Void Sense, this search could take all day. She walked through every accessible room on the current floor before moving up to the next one.
For the first twenty minutes or so, Serilda was fuming silently to herself. Annoyance simmered in her chest, and the icy scowl on her face kept any potential conversations at bay when her guildmates passed her. However, once she’d taken a walk through the general floors and still hadn’t caught wind of him, her anger begrudgingly infused with curiosity.
Where the hell was this little guy hiding? She had been reaching out as far as her Void Sense would go this entire time, and she hadn’t felt his presence at all. Serilda stepped out into a hallway and stopped, scratching her head and looking around. Her eyes caught sight of the many branches of Yggdrassil, and she peered at them suspiciously. Would he consider the tree itself as the “guild hall”, she wondered? Serilda couldn’t think of a reason why he wouldn’t.
Tapping into the weightlessness of the Void, the wizard floated up into the boughs of Yggdrassil. It took longer than she cared to count for her to fly through the branches and leaves, methodically moving in patterns that ensured she wouldn’t miss any space with her senses. Serilda was starting to think she had been out of her mind to search up here and was preparing to head back toward the actually brick and mortar parts of the tree when she picked up the distinct shape of a large squirrel on a branch several feet above her. She could also sense her sword.
Suspicious that he’d just run and make her chase him if she confronted him in a straight forward fashion, Serilda switched to a more sly tactic. She floated away from him and down, acting like she hadn’t noticed him at all, and then passed her body into one of the thick offshoots of Yggdrassil’s trunk, the empty Void space in her body rearranging itself to pass through the tree without any resistance. Once she was out of sight, Serilda moved through the large branches until she was able to position herself just above Ratatoskr.
He was giggling to himself and looking over her scimitar with a keen eye. Despite the fact that it was more than twice his size, he held it with relative ease. “This is a real nice blade,” he murmured, giving it a test swing.
But then the sword started to float. “Whoa..!” he yelped, clutching it tightly as it lifted him up off the branch. He looked up and finally saw Serilda hovering there, her wrist flicking to beckon the weapon back to her until it hovered in front of her with Ratatoskr dangling from it.
“Yes, it is an excellent blade. It was also a gift, and I would appreciate it if you never tried to take it from me again.” Serilda tried to keep her stern look with the chastisement, but the humorous sight of him gripping onto the weapon to keep from falling did bring a slight smirk to her face.
Ultimately, he grinned too. “See? That wasn’t so bad now was it?”
Serilda held out her hand expectantly, refusing to answer the question. The scimitar finished floating to her grasp, and she picked up Ratatoskr as well so he wouldn’t drop. Setting him back on the branch, she sheathed the weapon and kept her hand on the hilt so he wouldn’t be tempted to try and take it again.
“Since you seemed to enjoy yourself, and you were such a good sport, I promise I won’t take the sword again.”
“I would appreciate that.”
“Next time I’ll just take something else instead.” He winked at her and took off again. Like before, he was gone before she really had a chance to process where he’d gone. With a sigh, Serilda made her way back down to the ground. This had eaten up a significant time of her day, and she was ready to leave.
But as she floated down, she couldn’t help but think a little about what he’d said to her earlier. She did work a lot. There was a reason for that. A lot of unpleasant memories came to mind when she didn’t have something to distract herself with, and the jobs she took on as a wizard helped keep her mind busy. Perhaps, however, she needn’t always preoccupy herself with work all the time. It wouldn’t kill her to try to make a couple real friends in the guild, or to maybe see if Mythal wanted to hang out for a bit in some capacity that wasn’t job related.
These thoughts lingering in her mind, Serilda headed back inside but she did not return to the library. Instead, she made her way to the mess hall to see who all might be relaxing there.