Breakfast and Departure
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Sammel stretched slowly and silently, shaking the last of his sleepiness from his mind and body. He looked over to the other bed and saw that Chaer was still asleep, as were the three guardsmen on the floor. He quietly dressed in the clothing he'd laid out last night, then picked his way across to the door and went downstairs to the Inn's common room.
As he took a seat in the nearly empty room, he ordered a mug of tea from Sera. Once it came, he leaned back and sipped it, mulling over the events of last night. Though he definitely wished it were under better circumstances, he was excited at the thought of seeing Chaer's community and people, and couldn't entirely hide that. The prospect of seeing some action had its appeal for him too--the seas around Tyndar had been downright dull lately. 'I just hope he'll understand,' he thought.
It wasn't long before Chaer came downstairs, wearing his usual traveling outfit of loose breeches and a sleeveless jerkin. He looked at Sammel with just a hint of annoyance. "You not wake me," he said.
"I didn't want to disturb your sleep," Sammel replied. "Are the others up?"
"Yes," Chaer said with a glint of amusement now replacing the annoyance. "They scramble, dress, pack, get much in way of others."
Sammel chuckled, glad to see that Chaer's sense of humor was still intact. He shoved over a mug of tea for him, and asked Sera to have more ready when the others started trickling down.
Twenty minutes later, as most of the guardsmen and retainers joined Sammel and Chaer, they saw Melyda, Sarra, and Channi enter the Inn, accompanied by Ari, Melyda's large wolfhound, and Khale, her tortoise-shell cat. Sammel waved them over, smiling. "Did you sleep well?" he asked them all.
Channi nodded shyly. "Quite well, thanks," Melyda said as she stowed her saddle under her seat and Ari and Khale under the table.
"Have some bread and tea while we wait for the others," Sammel said. "Once they're here, we can have a proper breakfast."
This morning, Wren's entrance into the inn wasn't quite so clumsy as last night. His hair had definitely settled down and now he looked like just another patron of the inn. It took him a little while to find the table that Sammel and others were sitting at. The only addition to Wren's appearance was a sack tied together and slung over his shoulder. It apparently carried his things for the road.
"Lovely to find all of you well and enjoying breakfast!" Wren said as a way of greeting. He was definitely in a much lighter mood this morning. It must be the morning-after effect of a spell gone wrong. Without asking, he went ahead and grabbed some bread and began to chew on it.
"Um, are we waiting for anything? I'm more than ready to leave." A hint of anxiety entered Wren's voice, but he quickly stuffed it with more bread.
"We're just waiting for the others to get here," he replied, catching the hint of urgency in Wren's voice. He leaned over toward Wren and continued softly, "If you're in any sort of trouble, don't worry. I'll make sure you're safe." He gave Wren a charming smile and returned to his small plate of bread.
"...And may you give me the strength and energy to get through for the day. I will serve you well Raiden, the powerful God of Lightning," the mysterious half-elf finished his prayer to Raiden.
"Now which rings will I wear today," the mage-priest thought to himself as he looked at four ordinary rings lying on the bed, "...A-ha, I'll take this one and this one."
The mage-priest took the two the rings and put one on each hand, and finished putting on his adamantite elven chain armor and his weapons.
"Last and very far from the least, my holy symbol," the half-elf thought as he put around his neck and next to the magical amulet of the undead, his silvery blue lightning bolt.
"I should be ready, got my magical ingredients, my weapons, my wand of lightning, my scrolls, my holy symbol, my other clothes..." he stopped to look around the room, and upon seeing nothing, "I guess that's it, now to get some grub."
On that note the half-elf got up and headed out the door.
[At the Inn]
The door to the inn opened to a rolling fog and a slight breeze as the half-elf walked in.
"I smell some grub and there it is," he thought to himself as he found his new companions munching on some breakfast.
The mage-priest just walked up to Sammel and unexpectedly said, "My, my is there room for one more mouth."
Sammel was taking a sip from his mug as he saw the silent half-elf approach. The sound of a voice issuing from him *almost* made Sammel do a spit-take. He glared at Melyda, who was giggling, and looked up. "H-h-hello," he sputtered, trying to clear the last of the tea from his mouth.
With a big smile on his face the warrior-mage, politely introduced himself with a bow.
"Sorry, if I startled you. Furthermore, I am sorry that I didn't have a chance to introduce myself to you last night. You see my name is Raidenaru Blitzkiri, I am a priest of the god of lightning, Raiden. Furthermore, I am handy with weapons, and I know my share of magic," he said, as he brought a clenched fist up and instantly the same warm wispy flame from the night before enveloped his hand. Then it disappeared.
"I love to use the basic cantrip spell as a mental exercise," Raidenaru noted, "but my ring of cantrips makes me able to cast them quite easily." Holds up his left hand and an ordinary ring can be seen, and he continues, "Of course, I am capable of much more than just cantrips, but I try not to brag. Anyway, back to my original question, is it all right if I eat here with you guys, I can pay my own meal if you don't mind?"
"Don't worry about that; it's already paid for," Sammel said, gesturing at Sera. When she came over, he said politely, "Please bring out our breakfast now." She nodded and made her way to the kitchen.
"I don't know how long it'll take Fontaine to get here," Sammel continued. "So we might as well start now." He looked around and saw that the rest of his men were eating as well. He nodded to himself approvingly, and smiled as the first of the plates were delivered to their table.
Wren's ears perked up when he heard the elf talk of magic. He furrowed his eyebrows as he thought about the possibilities of this quest. He would definitely try hard to avoid any magical mishaps.
"Could I ask one question?" Wren didn't wait for an answer. "I just realized that I don't even know where we're going and what we're going to do." It wasn't a question but more of a statement. He looked at Sammel, holding a biscuit halfway between the plate and his mouth.
"Well, right now, we're going to eat," Sammel replied with a smile. "And once Fontaine gets here and has her breakfast, we'll begin our journey to Tyndar. Once we're there, and I have a better idea of our resources, we can make our plans."
As he ate, he kept shooting glances over at Raidenaru. To have that silent member of their group suddenly speak up had given him a distinct shock. He was also now quite consumed with curiosity, wondering about this man's background and customs. He was more than a little tempted to start breaching some manners and press for answers, though he tried to keep himself busy with breakfast.
After Fontaine had thanked Master Paevel's foreman for giving her a lift into town she slung her two bags over her shoulder, and headed for the Dragon's Inn. The Seula Muintirr healers - Fallian, Soiller, and Tadpaidh - had been concerned about her volunteering for this adventure; they had spent the last month trying to teach her of their magic and of survival beneath waves, but as of yet she only had a pup's knowledge of what it meant to be a selkie. However, they knew she had given her word and had provided her with what advice they could.
She maneuvered carefully between the tables of the Inn and made her way to Sammel's table. "Good Morning," she said, setting her bags down at her feet and pushing her glasses up on her nose.
"Good morning." Melyda smiled at Fontaine and gestured to a seat next to her. "You'd better grab some breakfast before everyone eats it out from under you." The girl reminded her of herself in many ways--the shyness, the obvious studiousness--and she wanted to put Fontaine at ease in these new circumstances.
She looked around at the group as they ate. Not exactly a bunch that would strike terror into the hearts of enemies, she thought with a wry grin. But they seemed to have a disparate collection of skills that might compliment each other and, eventually, fuse them into a good working group. 'Still, it's a pity Takayoshi and Breannyn aren't here--they'd probably have liked to come with us,' she thought. But she knew they'd gone off in search of unicorns--something about helping someone with a curse. 'We ought to have some fine stories to exchange when we meet again.'
"Good Morning to you to Dear Melyda," the mage-priest joyfully replied, "and how did you all sleep last night?"
"By the way this food is terrific, give my compliments to the chef, will ya," he commented in between bites, "So how long is it from here to our destination?"
"Eight or nine days," Sammel replied. As they ate their way through the generous breakfast, he detailed their route--the towns they'd pass through, the major landmarks along the way. Just as he reached Tyndar in his recitation, he saw that everyone had finished their breakfasts.
"Well, then," he concluded. "The route to Tyndar shouldn't give us any trouble. And the sooner we get going, the sooner you'll see it." He stood up and beckoned to his retainers, giving them last-minute instructions for the transport and protection of the goods he'd bought during the Festival. Then he turned to Hugh. "My thanks for a wonderful meal, and all your help while we were here," he said.
"It was my pleasure," replied Hugh. "I hope I'll see you here again soon."
"As do I," Sammel said with a grin. "It's about time Tyndar started forging closer relations with inland cities."
He gathered the group with a glance, and they exited the Inn, heading for the horses that stableboys and retainers were holding in preparation for their departure.
Melyda looked over the horse Sammel's men had bought for her. It was a gray mare, large but gentle-looking. She walked slowly up to it, talking softly, and held out a handful of sugar, which the mare lapped up with a pleased air. 'Always a good idea to get on their good side right away,' Melyda thought with a grin. She then called Ari and Khale over, making sure the mare wouldn't spook at them. Once the animals had made each other's acquaintance, she saddled the mare. Everyone could now see that her saddle was different than most--it had a semi-rigid, leather platform in front. Its function was soon solved, as Khale leapt up onto it and settled down, claws carefully gripping the leather.
Channi, from her perch on the horse Sarra had provided for their long ride here, looked down at Ari. "Ari will keep up?" she asked Melyda with a concerned look.
Melyda nodded as she checked the saddlebag behind her. "She's a special dog--part of a breed that was magicked and bred for speed and endurance. She'll be fine." She looked around at the rest of the milling group. "Ready when you are," she commented with a grin.
Sarra adjusted herself in the saddle, hiding a slight grimace. "If only my father could see me now, still sore from the journey here," she thought. Lord's daughters are not supposed to ride for days in such a manner. "Still," she thought with a slight chuckle, "'tis the fastest way, and we need all the speed we can get...not to mention I might actually have enjoyed a lot more, under different circumstances."
Sarra gently nudged her horse closer to the rest of the group. She turned towards Sammel and said, "The journey back should be fairly easy. We were not slowed by anything on our way here."
The armored half-elf got on his horse with relative ease, and snuggled in its saddle.
"This ought to be a smooth ride," he joyfully commented as he awaited for the upcoming signal to "head out."
With a nervous look on his face, Wren came closer to Raidenaru on his horse.
"Hello there! I'd like to take up last night's offer for a ride? Wish I knew how, but I just can't ride horses," said Wren.
It had only been by the Bards' patient teaching that Fontaine had any knowledge of riding - though she had been able to practice a little at the Paevel Ranch, and so, once she had eased up on the horse's back she sat stiffly. She licked her lips in nervousness, pushed her glasses back up her nose, and tried to remember the proper way to hold the reins.
Fortunately, the little grey horse she had been given was of a docile, sturdy stock and stood placidly.
Sammel mounted his horse, a light-boned, chestnut gelding that he always used for such travels. He looked back at the others, making sure they were all ready. "Let's get going," he said. "Let's not make those pirates wait too long for their come-uppance." He grinned and urged his horse out of the courtyard of the Dragon Inn, and the others quickly followed.
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