Chapter 1

Caution: This Fantasy Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Drunk/Drugged, Heterosexual, Fiction, High Fantasy, Cheating, Oral Sex, Cream Pie, .

Desc: Fantasy Sex Story: Chapter 1 - This is a fantasy tale about a heartbroken man who must learn to love again despite being pulled into a magical world and being the central figure in a titanic struggle between freedom and tyranny.

Twenty minutes ago, Jack Forester had been the happiest man in the world. To most people twenty minutes is the time until some event or thing. It would be twenty minutes until their favorite TV show aired, or twenty minutes until dinner was ready. For children, it was usually twenty minutes until bedtime, or twenty minutes until it was time to leave for school. For Jack Forester, twenty minutes was all that was needed to reduce his entire life to ashes.

He staggered mindlessly through the streets of Boston, heedless of direction or destination. The pain inside him was so palpable that it took every last bit of his strength of will to contain it, leaving little room for trivial thoughts like where he was going.

Despite his determined effort, the agony would occasionally burst free and a groan of anguish would escape him before he would somehow manage to quell the outburst and fight off the urge to collapse in a sobbing heap.

Passersby looked at him with concern, but he shambled on, oblivious to their stares. At any other time, he would have been mortified to be showing this kind of emotion in front of strangers, but in this moment of misery, he was beyond caring.

Occasionally coherent thoughts would surface in his mind. Why? What did I do wrong? How could she do this? The answers were elusive, and his mind replayed the events of his life in the years since he met his wife, desperately seeking an explanation.

By the time Jack was a junior in high school, he stood just under six feet tall, and was of medium build. He wasn't a pretty boy, but wasn't ugly either. His hair and eyes were brown, and he had the muscles of youth, but not the kind of muscles that girls went crazy over.

In fact, Jack was an average teenager in almost all respects save one. He never quit. He played all the sports his school offered and wasn't exceptionally talented at any of them, but what he lacked in talent he made up for in determination. He never gave up, he worked hard, and he earned his place on the athletic teams through force of will.

His mom called him stubborn, but would laugh and say he was just like his dad. Jack always felt proud when she said that. His father had worked as a bricklayer his whole life to support them, and had passed that work ethic on to his son.

Jack knew he was nothing special and was astonished when Barbara Edwards, a cheerleader and one of the most beautiful girls in school, let it be known that she wanted to date him. She didn't tell him outright, but instead told her friends, who told his friends, who told him.

Fearing that it might be a joke, but praying that it was true, he gathered his courage and asked her out on a date. For the rest of high school they were inseparable. He was smitten by her from the start, and it wasn't long before he was hopelessly in love with his blonde haired cheerleader.

As seniors, shortly after she turned eighteen (he had turned eighteen the month before) they took each other's virginity. Afterward, she whispered that she loved him and his heart soared. He couldn't believe that this wonderful, beautiful girl was his and his alone. He loved Barbara with the same tenacity that had earned him the nickname Iron Head on his football team, and they began planning a life together.

His grades were good enough for college but his parents didn't have the money, so he and Barbara came up with a different plan. They got married right after high school and Jack went to work building industrial equipment while Barbara went to college. It was hard to make ends meet and Jack even had to work a second job a few times when things got especially hard.

They lived in a one bedroom apartment while Jack worked to put Barbara, first through college, and then through law school. After Barbara passed the bar and got a job at a good law firm, she wanted Jack to quit his job and relax, but Jack wouldn't hear of it. What kind of a man didn't work?

At his job, Jack earned the same reputation he had in high school. He never missed work, and he could be counted on no matter what. He was promoted and became a supervisor. Unwilling to let others do all the work he labored right along side his men, earning their respect.

By the time Jack was thirty-six his knees were wearing out. All the heavy lifting and kneeling on the concrete floor of the shop where the industrial equipment was built had damaged the cartilage. His company, rewarding him for years of excellence, transitioned him into an office where he oversaw shipping and receiving, and would be able to work without further damaging his knees.

Not being able to work as hard as he used to, combined with sitting in front of a computer all day, caused Jack to put on a few extra pounds. He wasn't fat, but was about twenty pounds overweight as he approached his forties.

Through all of this, his love for Barbara never wavered, and he thought she felt the same way. They had seemed to grow even closer after they found out that Barbara was unable to have children.

Barbara had focused on her career and became a successful corporate lawyer. With Barbara's salary, they led a very comfortable life. While a successful woman would threaten many men, Jack felt nothing but pride for his beautiful wife's achievements. He had never loved or been with any woman but her and would have been happy to continue that way for the rest of his life.

Today was Barbara's thirty-ninth birthday, and Jack decided he would take a rare day off work. He'd kissed Barbara goodbye that morning as usual and left as though he were going to work, but had gone birthday shopping for her instead. He bought her some diamond earrings that she had seen in a catalogue and said were pretty. He picked up the birthday cake he had ordered for her, and bought some balloons and streamers. Lastly, he went by the grocery store and picked up a few items. He wanted to have dinner ready for her when she got home.

It was a little after noon when he unlocked their front door and slipped into the house. He headed for the kitchen with the groceries and then ran back out to his pickup truck for the cake. After putting the groceries away, he headed upstairs, earrings in hand, to look for some wrapping paper. He was sure Barbara had some in their bedroom closet. His knees protested as he climbed the stairs and he stopped to let them recover once he reached the top.

His head snapped in the direction of their bedroom when he heard Barbara giggle. What was she doing home? His first thought was she was going to ruin his surprise. He turned to head back down the stairs to hide the cake, but froze when he heard her giggle turn into a moan.

His brain tried to process what he'd just heard. Did she moan because she hurt herself? Was she masturbating? He slipped the earrings into his pocket and walked down the hallway toward their bedroom door. He told his legs to walk quickly but they refused to obey him. Instead, they moved reluctantly as if they had knowledge that he lacked and wanted to delay his acquisition of that knowledge as long as possible.

His open bedroom door loomed before him. The room slowly came into view as he moved in front of the door. For Jack, the entire universe came to a stop when his eyes lit upon his and Barbara's bed.

Barbara was on the bed and she wasn't alone. Jack, like all men, had wondered what his reaction would be if he ever caught his wife in bed with another man. And, like most men, he had told himself that he would kick the shit out of the bastard. Now faced with the reality, he could do nothing.

He couldn't breathe, he couldn't think; all he could do was stare in horror. He wanted to curl up in the fetal position and cry, but like a person who can't help but look at a gruesome car accident, he couldn't tear his eyes away from the scene before him.

Barbara was straddling the man with her back to Jack. Her long blonde hair hung down her back and swung from side to side as she rotated her hips, grinding her pussy on the man's cock.

Jack could clearly see the lips of her pussy grasping at the man's shaft as she swirled her hips. The man's hands grasped her waist and his toes clinched and released as she worked him. They both made little grunts of pleasure as she fucked him on her and Jack's bed.

A wave of dizziness and nausea threatened to overwhelm him and Jack had to put his hand on the doorframe to keep from falling. He almost fell back out of the doorway when Barbara suddenly swung around to face away from her lover, and used her hand to stuff her lover's cock back inside her.

She put her hands on the man's knees and rode him hard. Jack could see her face now, and his pain intensified at her expression. Her eyes were squeezed shut and her mouth was half-open in a silent moan. She was crinkling her nose the same way she had a thousand times before when he had made love to her.

Barbara would only have to open her eyes to see Jack standing there, but she was oblivious to his presence.

"Oh yeah, baby," the man moaned, and began thrusting his hips up to meet her. "Fuck yeah, I'm gonna come!"

Jack's horror reached new heights when Barbara pulled off her lover's cock and slid back up his body until she positioned her pussy over his face. She grabbed his cock in one hand and pumped it quickly while stroking his balls with her finely manicured red fingernails. She licked and sucked on the enflamed purple head of the man's cock.

Her lover bellowed as he came. Barbara continued to suck and lick as his jets of cum splashed off her lips and tongue. In the throes of his orgasm, the man thrust upward pushing Barbara's head up. Her eyes locked with Jack's.

Her expression changed from one of passion to shock and fear. Her eyes remained glued to Jack as the last of her unknowing lover's cum pulsed out of his cock and onto her hand, which still grasped his shaft.

"Happy birthday, baby," the man said relaxing after his orgasm.

"Oh god, Jack," Barbara said.

"Hey! Quit accidentally calling me Jack," the man said with a laugh.

Barbara scrambled off the bed, and the man sat up with a surprised look on his face.

"What's wrong ba..." he trailed off seeing Jack in the doorway.

Jack knew the man. He was Roger Chapman, a junior partner at the law firm where Barbara worked. Jack had met Roger many times at Barbara's company functions, and had thought he was a nice guy. He was tall and seemed to have a way with women, but Jack had trusted Barbara completely. He felt like a fool.

Finally, Jack's mind seemed to wake up and the only thing he could think of was getting out of there. He needed to escape the horror and the pain that threatened to destroy his sanity. He turned and hobbled toward the stairs as fast as he could. He almost fell on his way down and had to grab the banister to keep his balance. He grunted as pain shot through his tortured knees.

Barbara caught up with him as he reached the front door.

"Jack, wait," she begged and grabbed him by the shoulder. She pulled him around to face her.

She had managed to slip on the green and gold silk robe that he had bought her last Christmas, Jack noticed. It hung open slightly in the front, revealing the inner slopes of her breasts. The sight of her soft flesh would have normally thrilled his senses, but now seemed lewd and repulsive.

"Let me go," he said. He meant it to sound angry, but even to his own ears he sounded like what he was, heartbroken.

"Jack, listen," she begged. "It was just a fling. It didn't mean anything to me. Please Jack." Her eyes were brimming with tears.

Seeing her tears tore at him, and for a moment he felt an urge to forgive her, to find a way to work things out. He was about to breakdown and take her into his arms when he noticed something next to her mouth. There was still a drop of Roger's cum on her face.

Anger surged in him for the first time. How many times had he kissed those lips that were now decorated with another man's cum? How many times had he caressed and lovingly worshipped her pussy with his mouth? The same pussy that had been filled by another man's dick just a few minutes ago.

"It was just a fling? It meant nothing to you? You betrayed me for something that meant nothing to you?" He hurled the questions at her.

"I," she paused as though grasping for words.

"Fuck you," he yelled. She had never heard him yell like that and flinched back releasing his arm.

He spun, flung open the door, and hurried outside. His anger lasted until he got to his truck. He had left the keys inside the house, and there was no way he was going back in there. He needed to get away before she changed in to more suitable clothes and came after him, so he started walking down the street on foot.

That was twenty minutes ago; the Twenty minutes that had forever changed everything for Jack Forester.

After he had been wandering around in a daze for a while, Jack's knees began to ache in earnest. He found a bus stop bench and sat down to rest. He didn't even notice the city transit bus pull up.

The driver opened the door and called to him, but Jack only stared ahead unseeing. The bus driver shook his head. 'Another fucking crazy person, ' he thought as he closed the door and pulled back into traffic.

Jack sat there until the pain in his knees subsided a little, then rose slowly and limped down the street. He lost track of how long he wandered, and how many times he had to find a place to rest.

As evening set in and the sky began to darken in a tapestry of oranges and purples, Jack shambled past a liquor store. Though he wasn't a drinking man, drowning his pain in a sea of liquor sounded like a damn good idea. He hobbled back and entered the store.

Jack emerged a few minutes later with a bottle of vodka concealed in a paper bag. He waited until he got around the corner before opening the bottle and taking a long pull. He coughed as the fiery liquid burned its way down his throat.

He took another drink, and then glanced around. He saw an entrance to the commuter train that serviced Boston. Riding around the city instead of walking seemed like a good idea so he paid the fare and boarded the train.

He took a seat and stared blindly as the train pulled away from the platform. He took a drink of the vodka then noticed an elderly woman looking at him disapprovingly. Jack ignored her but decided to wait until he got off the train to drink the rest. He wasn't sure if alcohol was allowed on the train, and didn't want to be kicked off.

Jack rode the train until night had fallen completely, and finally disembarked when the train made one of its scheduled stops. The smell of the sea was strong in the air as he emerged onto the street. He looked around and realized he was near the harbor.

He began to drink in earnest as he made his way in front of the brightly-lit hotels that lined the street adjacent to the harbor. Jack drank the vodka with the same determination that he approached most things, and it wasn't long before he was drunk.

He watched the people emerge from the fancy restaurants and hotels as he staggered drunkenly down the street. He thought it morosely funny that they all smiled and laughed while dressed in their fine clothes, and seemed to ignore the stench of salt, dead fish, and wet garbage that permeated the harbor air.

Suddenly he hated them. How dare they go about their perfect lives when his very reason for existing had been taken from him? He had to get away from their sickening, smiling faces. He turned abruptly and headed down a side street.

The side street led him behind the glamorous street side fa├žade of the hotels and restaurants. It took him to the alleyways where the hotel garbage and the uneaten food from the restaurants were piled in dumpsters and smaller tin trashcans. 'Yes, this is where I belong, ' he thought.

Suddenly, a life without Barbara flashed in front of him. What would he do? His whole world and identity revolved around being with her. He realized that the alcohol wasn't deadening his pain; instead, it was eroding his will. His last barrier against the hurt crumbled.

Finally unable to stem the tide of anguish, he sat down against a brick wall that hid the alley from the eyes of the patrons who visited the hotels. Even drunk he still had the presence of mind to hastily glance around the dark alley before he completely lost it. He was thankful no one was around as he broke down, buried his face in his hands, and wept. He didn't know how long he sat there. Time didn't seem to exist in his new reality.

"Hey buddy, you alright?" some one slurred at him drunkenly.

Jack glanced up and saw a homeless man with a scraggly grey beard and a baseball hat that said I heart boobies on it. "I'm fine," he said. "Please, just leave me alone."

The man didn't take the hint and put a hand on Jack's shoulder. "You need any help?" he asked.

Jack set what was left of the bottle of vodka on the ground. "I said I'm fine," he replied and tried to get up. His right knee buckled as he surged to his feet.

The homeless man quickly jumped back as Jack staggered into some tin trashcans and crashed back to the ground, the cans spilling their contents all over him. He lay there in the garbage and didn't even try to get up.

"Yeah, you look fine, buddy," the homeless man said as he picked up Jack's vodka bottle and hurried away down the alley.

Jack lay there in the refuse and stared up at the night sky. He had loved Barbara so deeply and completely that her betrayal had wounded him in the very fabric of his soul. The wound changed him and something deep in his soul died.

His pain evaporated, leaving emptiness behind. He felt dead, or at least as dead as you can be while your heart still habitually beat and your lungs still mechanically inhaled and exhaled.

He climbed to his feet and looked around. He noticed a door in the brick wall that he hadn't seen before. It was made of wooden planks like the door to some ancient torture chamber. He could have sworn that the door wasn't there a second ago. He noted dispassionately that he was drunk and probably just hadn't noticed it.

He was about to turn away when he caught the faint sound of strange music coming from the door. He listened but it was gone. He stared at the door. The music was different from what you normally hear these days. It sounded simple and melodic, like something played in a movie set in a time long past.

How could music be coming from a wooden door in a one-foot thick brick wall? He felt an urge to open it. The door was calling to him on some primal level that he didn't understand. He didn't really care one way or the other. Going through the door was as good an option as any. He shrugged, grabbed the handle, and turned it to open the door.

He expected to step through the wall and into the parking lot of the hotel; instead he squinted as unexpected light assaulted his eyes. The light wasn't bright but having come from the darkness of the alley his eyes needed a second to adjust to the flickering dim light.

He was in a room of some kind and the music that he had thought he heard filled the air with its unfamiliar chords. He blinked his eyes in astonishment and looked around. The room was lit by several lanterns mounted in sconces on the wooden walls. There were old, stained, wooden tables spread around the floor. A young woman dressed in a gray, low cut wool dress moved briskly among the seated patrons bearing a tray and distributing drinks in what appeared to be clay cups.

He gaped in confusion as he stared around the room. It seemed to be a tavern but it was unlike any tavern he had ever seen. The wood-planked floor was covered in straw, and a haze of smoke hung in the air from the fire that burned in a rock fireplace halfway down the wall to Jack's left. There was a dais in the back of the room and two men stood on it playing the music that filled the air using instruments Jack had never seen before.

One of the musicians played something similar to a guitar except it only had three strings and the back was rounded like a gourd. Another played a horn like instrument but it split in the middle and had two flared mouths instead of one, and it had holes along the top that the musician covered with his fingers as he played.

The patrons themselves were a rustic looking bunch, wearing rough-looking clothes of wool in hues of browns, grays, and greens. Many of them smoked a variety of pipes as they went about their eating and drinking, adding to the smoky haze that drifted above their heads.

The man playing the guitar-like instrument saw Jack standing there and stopped playing. His partner on the horn trailed off as well, looked at his companion, and then followed his line of sight to Jack. The other patrons looked up from their food and drink and stared curiously at the musicians.

Jack jerked, startled, when the door behind him swung shut with a loud thud. Every eye in the room turned to him. Silence filled the air as they stared at Jack and he stared back. 'What the fuck, ' he thought as several of the men's hands darted to the hilts of the swords that hung at their sides. Until then, Jack had failed to notice the assortment of knives and swords that the patrons wore at their hips.

'What the hell is going on here, ' he thought. He realized that some of the strange tavern patrons were staring at him with looks of fear on their faces while others looked almost joyous. The unnatural silence seemed to stretch on until, finally a man stood, his chair screeching loudly in the silence as he pushed it back from the table where he sat.

Jack studied the man as he approached. He appeared to be in his late forties or maybe early fifties with long black hair streaked with gray. He wore a smile, but it looked out of place on his weathered face. He was a few inches taller than Jack and wore a tunic of brown wool laced in the front half way down his chest with leather thongs. He was thin but had an air of strength about him. He held his hands in front of him soothingly as though approaching a skittish animal, keeping them well away from the sword that hung at his side.

"Forgive us," he said. "It has been a long time since an outlander has come through that door." His voice had an accent that Jack didn't recognize. It had a lilting almost lyrical sound to it as though the man were singing the words rather than speaking them.

"What is going on here?" Jack asked. He felt a hell of a lot more sober than he had a few minutes ago. "Who are you?"

"I am sorry," the man said, "I am being rude. My name is Garek. Will you please join me at my table for a drink?" Garek gestured back at the table he had just come from.

"I don't think that's a good idea," Jack said glancing around nervously.

"You are among friends here, outlander," Garek said reassuringly. "I promise no harm will befall you."

"I can't stay," Jack said, "I have to get home to my..." Jack trailed off. What did he have to get home to? A cheating wife? A house full of lies and deception? A life of pain?

Garek looked at him with concern. "Outlander, you look like a man that could use a drink," he said.

"Jack; My name is Jack Forester," Jack said woodenly.

"Very well, Jack Forester. I would be honored if you would join me."

'Fuck it, ' Jack thought. 'I have nowhere else to be.' He nodded his head and walked to Garek's table. He didn't see Garek nod at the two men standing near the fireplace, didn't notice the men silently move to block the door through which Jack had come.

As if released from a spell, the other patrons of the tavern returned to their drinking when Jack sat at Garek's table. The musicians began playing again and except for an occasional glance Jack's way the tavern's patrons seemed to return to normal. If there was a feeling of nervousness around the room, the alcohol in Jack's blood stream kept him from noticing it.

As Jack sat down he saw another man sitting at the table. He was of an age with Garek, but where Garek's hair was dark his was fair, and he had a scar that ran from his forehead under a black eye patch and down his cheek. The scar pulled up the corner of his mouth in a rictus of a half smile. His piercing blue eyes regarded Jack coldly. 'This is a dangerous man, ' Jack thought.

Garek sat in the chair across from Jack, next to the dangerous-looking man. "Jack, this is Ithos. Ithos is my first mate," he said.

Ithos nodded to Jack. "Outlander," he said in a gruff, raspy voice.

"You will find that Ithos is a man of few words, but there is no one better to have at your back in a fight," Garek said, casting a fond look at his grizzled companion.

Ithos harrumphed. "Twenty years ago, maybe," he said casting a baleful look at Garek.

Garek broke into a hearty laugh, and Ithos turned to his drink looking affronted.

Jack was seriously beginning to doubt his sanity and wondered if he hadn't hit his head when he fell in the alley. The thought occurred to him that maybe he was still laying in the garbage unconscious, and was having a vivid dream. He dismissed the thought almost immediately, this felt entirely too real to be a dream. It was surreal, but definitely real. Still, he needed answers. "Garek," he began and then stopped, alarmed, when Ithos head snapped up.

"That's Captain Liaman to you," he barked.

Garek laid a hand on Ithos's arm. "Easy, old friend," he said. "He doesn't know."

"I meant no offence," Jack said casting a wary glance at Ithos. "I was just wondering, what is this place and who are you people? Is this some kind of historical group? I mean, the swords, the clothes, what are you people doing here?"

Garek leaned back and steepled his hands in front of him. He studied Jack as he formulated his response. The outlander seemed to be a man deeply troubled. Something in his eyes spoke of pain and loss. He looked soft and chubby to Garek, weak. Would this man have the strength to face what lay ahead? Could this man really be the one to stop the Karokai from enslaving them all?

'What do I say to him?' he thought. 'I can't tell him the truth, not yet.'

Jack felt the urge to fidget as he waited for Garek to speak. He felt like he was being weighed and measured under Garek's intense gaze. He was grateful when the young serving woman arrived at their table with a drink for him. Her hands were shaking as she sat the clay cup full of dark amber liquid in front of him. He glanced up at her and she squeaked fearfully and scampered back toward the bar.

"What do you have to go back to?" Garek asked, drawing Jack's attention away from the strange behavior of the serving girl.

"What?" Jack asked, surprised at the question.

"You said you needed to get back to something," he said, "What is it?"

It seemed like such a simple question, but the answer was anything but. He took a drink from the cup the serving girl had placed in front of him to give himself a moment to think. The amber liquid warmed him as it made its way to his stomach. It was some kind of beer that he had never tasted before but the flavor was complex and rich. 'Probably an import, ' he thought. The infusion of fresh alcohol seemed to remind his brain that he was drunk, and a wave of dizziness hit him, causing the room to slowly spin. He struggled to come up with an answer to Garek's question.

Suddenly an image of Barbara sucking the cum from Roger's spewing cock flashed in Jack's mind, and the pain of her betrayal slammed into him. His face momentarily twisted in agony before he mastered himself, but Garek saw his brief loss of control.

"Nothing," Jack croaked, cleared his throat, and then said more clearly, "I have nothing to go back to." He raised the cup to his lips again and drank deeply.

This was the moment, and Garek knew that what he said next and the outlander's response would determine whether Jack Forester came with him willingly or unwillingly, but one way or the other there would be no going back for the outlander. All their hopes hinged upon him and when Garek and his crew sailed away the outlander would be on board. Too much was at stake to entertain any other possibility.

"It sounds to me that you are a man in need of a new beginning. How would you like to join my crew?" he asked casually, as though it didn't matter to him one way or the other.

"Your crew?" Jack asked, surprised. "Your friend said you were a captain. Do you have a boat?"

"I am the captain of the merchant vessel Arabella. She's a modest ship but sails as true as any ship on the seas," Garek said, and even through his drunken haze, Jack could see the pride Garek had in his ship.

The offer stunned Jack. Could he accept? He imagined having to explain to his friends and coworkers why he would be getting a divorce. He imagined the humiliation he would have to endure, the whispers behind his back and the looks of pity he would receive. Anything would be better than that. "Are you serious?" he asked.

"Of course," Garek replied.

"What would I do? I have no experience working on boats, though I have worked shipping and receiving. I'm good with inventory."

"That's perfect," Garek said, "I have need of a cargo officer. We are a merchant vessel after all."

Jack was tempted to accept. He may not have consciously realized that he had been searching for an escape from the hopelessness that had engulfed his life, but that was exactly what Garek was offering him. His offer was an escape from the platitudes his friends would offer, an escape from the divorce attorneys, an escape from having to face Barbara again, but most of all it was an escape from who he had been, a dupe, a laughingstock, a fool.

"I accept," Jack said and relief washed over him. Barbara could have it all. None of their possessions meant anything to him anymore.

A broad smile split Garek's face. "Splendid," he said and shook Jack's hand. "Barmaid, more drinks!"

They drank deep into the night, and Jack lost himself in the celebratory mood that the tavern seemed to take on as the evening progressed. Tables were cleared and men and women took to the floor, dancing and spinning as the musicians played one lively tune after another. Jack even had a dance with the barmaid who had earlier seemed afraid of him.

The revelry continued, and at one point Jack found himself standing on the dais with Ithos singing a duet, though they seemed to be singing two completely different songs at the same time, neither of which had anything to do with the music that was being played. Jack was giving his best rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd's famous ballad "Free Bird" and Ithos was singing something about a goodwife that was caught stealing a pig. Garek got so confused trying to keep time to the song that he lost his balance and fell to the straw covered floor, laughing the whole way down.

Eventually the musicians grew weary and stopped playing for the night. The tavern's customers staggered home one by one, leaving Jack, Garek, Ithos, and a few others nursing their drinks as they sat quietly before the fire that burned weakly in the fireplace. Jack's head slowly lowered until his forehead rested on the table. A moment later, he began to snore.

Garek and Ithos instantly dropped their drunken demeanor and exchanged relieved looks. "Damn, I thought he was never going to pass out. Kairn give us a hand," Garek said to one of the men that he had earlier sent to guard the door through which Jack had come. "Grelik, you get back to the Arabella and tell the crew we are coming, and trouble might be coming with us." The men, Kairn and Grelik, had stayed near the door all night in case the outlander tried to leave.

"Aye Captain," Grelik said before slipping out of the tavern's main door on the opposite end of the room from where Jack had entered. Kairn and Ithos hoisted the unconscious Jack between them while Garek moved to the tavern door.

"Listen up," he said to Ithos and Kairn, "Word of the outlander has probably spread like wildfire through the village by now. Stay sharp and if anyone approaches drop the outlander and draw your swords. Defend him at all costs. Understood?"

He waited until they nodded before turning to the barkeep. "Master Ulfes, please send a bird to the king, tell him that the seer's vision has been realized. Tell him an outlander has come through the portal, and I am bringing him as fast as I can."

He turned back to Ithos and Kairn. "Now, let's get to the ship," he said before he opened the door. With his hand on his sword hilt, he led the way as they plunged into the night.

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