Khyrmin shook her head, “No.”
Well, that was a straightforward and short answer. I had just asked if she knew any high level druids who might be able to help Kasner. “Oh. Do you know anyone who could guide us in Fepresil? We don’t speak elven and-”
“No.” Khyrmin looked off into the distance, “I don’t know anyone in Fepresil anymore.” The way she said that made me certain that she also wasn’t interested in going back. I couldn’t really ask her for her help with that since she didn’t owe me anything. In fact, I was the one who owed her.
“Before we go… is there anything I can do to help around here? I know we didn’t really discuss payment or anything, but I’d like to do something.”
Khyrmin frowned and closed her eyes in thought. “You could… cut down a tree for me.” Seeming to assume my agreement, she stopped by one of the weapon racks near the top floors and pulled off an axe. It was actually one designed for chopping wood… if with a somewhat larger head than one might expect. Unlike ones for battle, the head was a bit less rounded. It wasn’t like the tree was suddenly going to move and misalign the blade after all. She handed it to me. I figured it was about twenty pounds… though with the size I would have pegged it at about ten. However, once I saw it outside I realized why. It wasn’t an iron or steel axehead as I had assumed. It was adamantine, which had a sort of darker sheen to it. It seemed like overkill to use adamantine for a woodcutting axe… until I remembered what sort of tree I would be cutting down. “That one.” Khyrmin pointed. “Can’t see the dungeon.”
I didn’t think there was any reason in particular she would need to see the dungeon, but I was willing to help. I just wondered how much I had inadvertently signed up for. Then a question hit my mind. “… How did you construct your cabin?” I knew she didn’t have enough Strength to even roll the logs around. They had to weigh like… a million pounds. I wasn’t actually sure how much, but it wouldn’t be small. Maybe a million was too much, but there was no way it was less than a hundred thousand. The tree was nearly ten feet in diameter and at least a hundred or a hundred and fifty feet tall.
“Magic… and pulleys.”
I wasn’t sure how true her response was… but it actually sounded somewhat joking, which was a surprise coming from her. Soon enough I was left with the task of chopping down the tree. All I really had to do was get it thin enough to start going… but I wasn’t exactly a professional logger. All I knew for sure was they sort of chopped angles out of the wood and tried very hard not to stand where the tree was going to fall. “Umm… I might need some instructions.”
“Hmm. And a ladder…” Kantrilla mentioned.
At some points, I might have taken that as an insult to my height… but in face of the giant sequoia, everyone was equally short. My five feet and Kantrilla’s six feet of height meant nothing to it.
The first thing I learned was that chopping down a tree as wide as your reach from the center was entirely different from chopping one a foot or two wide at most. First of all, it required going entirely on one of the sides where it was going to fall, at least for part of it. I was pretty sure people usually used alternate means to take down trees of that size… or just didn’t do it at all.
Fortunately, Khyrmin had some advice… and the axe helped. The axe chopped through the wood like butter. It was sharp as hell and had serious momentum behind it… which meant I sort of got it stuck a few times. Fortunately its handle was strong enough to go with it, and all it took was a good sharp yank and over 800 Strength to do it.
Soon enough I was hacking out huge hunks of wood with my process monitored by Khyrmin and Kantrilla. It was actually a pretty nice Strength workout… especially since I didn’t normally find anything that let me swing full Strength without snapping it in half. If it had been brought up earlier, I could have started on this a while back and really gotten some good training in that way…
The axe was heavy enough to exhaust me pretty quickly swinging at full Strength, but frequent breaks and some magic from Kantrilla helped. The muscular fatigue also went away quickly- impossibly quickly, but that was sort of normal for me. I spent about half my time swinging away and the other half resting and eating but by the end of a very long day, I had chopped a huge swath of wood out of the tree… and it started falling.
I was already prepared for that, as Khyrmin had warned it was going to happen at any time. I scuttled away… but I didn’t really need to hurry that much. It wasn’t going to fall in my direction because of Khyrmin’s directions… and it took almost three seconds for it to fall once it really started going, which took another few seconds of snapping and bending sounds before that.
The tree hit the ground with a huge thud that almost knocked me off my feet, and blew leaves and dirt everywhere. I climbed up the stump and chopped through the last bits of wood holding it onto the stump. Out of curiosity, I tried to roll the log. Using all of my Strength, I thought I managed to get it to move slightly… but that might have just been my imagination. “Umm… that’s it, I guess?”
Khyrmin nodded. “Thank you.”
We stayed one more night before setting out in the morning. Strapped onto my back were all of the weapons I came with, plus the rapier Khyrmin had given me and a couple other weapons I had found in the dungeon that were worth keeping. We said our goodbyes, and walked off toward the border town, Sradena, that was relatively nearby.
“I guess we go back to Ekralas?” I asked Kantrilla. “We could stop by the guild here to see if any messages have come… but there didn’t seem to be much in the way of elves there last time.”
Kantrilla nodded, “We might get Lucky and find someone who speaks elvish in Sradena? If not, Ekralas is our best bet for that. We can request someone from the main guild… thought it might be too expensive. We’ll have to see.”
I nodded. We couldn’t just go into Fepresil on our own. Besides not knowing the way, not speaking the language was a problem. Sure, some of them would speak Othyan, but not enough to really get what we needed. I was also pretty sure I only got one language given to me when coming to this world. At least, that was what the sign had said. I wondered who had written it and managed to place it in that space before I really fully arrived here… that wasn’t something that a normal person could do, for sure… but perhaps their 100 extra attribute points helped them out with that.