He stalked, slowly, outside the extravagant tavern. At the moment, the hulking man was less bear, and more puma, his leather armor with the thick patches of well placed fur giving him an animalistic look. It was easy to recognize the boy that had left the northern Valleytown, but it was just as easy to recognize all that was different about the man. His eyes were harder, the same as his body, the long few years spent away from his home filled with strife and intrigue. Strife, the strong man knew well, though he’d never known it for such periods of time without laughter to beak it up. Intrigue, though… That was entirely foreign to him, and it’s learning had taken a toll on his heart and soul.
Take the last month or so for example. What northman could suffer such political and moral questions? To destroy the foundations of a popular religion, alone, was a terrible question, but to do so as an act of war? To weaken a populace? That was not the way he knew. Strength of arms, face to fave open confrontation, those were the ways of the north, and the learning of others did not go smoothly. But, that was the question he faced as his companions argued and the politicians schemed.
All he knew is that a politician should not be making the decision that came with that book. A schemer was the worst person to have such power, and though he knew deep down that the weight of something like that ancient tome and the knowledge that lay within could crush a mans soul, how could he strive for anything else? He would gladly trade himself to do the right thing. He only could hope that he was equal to the task. And so, he and his companions hit the road, the enormity of it all heavy on their minds. To his right was Ned, his best friend. He would die for that man in a heartbeat, and it pained him to see the man so conflicted… And it pained him more to feel the strain that had come to their relationship. Ned was honorable. He was the one born to make these decisions, but Robert was… Selfish? His homeland came first, while Ned’s allegiance was to all people, regardless of geography. To the left was Piper. She was yet an unknown. Robert couldn’t help but trust her, though. Her whirlwind nature, swinging from calm, flirtatious with an easy laugh, to deadly, cold, and.. If he wasnt wrong, terribly affected by a past that she could not yet put behind her. That nature drew him in, something he could very easily empathize with. She proved herself several times in combat thus far, allowing him to become more and more comfortable with the beauty, to the point of implicitly trusting her to hail arrows on enemies he was currently engaged in close quarters with.
Their travels did not go smoothly, especially for Piper. Robert and Ned were used to forced march speeds, the double time travel, and he suspected that the archer was not, judging by the wear she had experienced. They ran into highwaymen, hired by the men they pursued, but proved the better, and after only a short delay found themselves back on the road with a captive mercenary and an idea of where to expect the others.
And there they were. Inside the tavern, Piper worked her magic, while Robert, that agitated bear, stalked outside, wanting nothing more than a more physical enemy to grapple with than these wisps, these ideas, these intrigues that he was faced so often with..