[Onyx Fire Dragon]
Flying through the crystal clear sky, an immense, black dragon lands on a lush spot of grass after a long and tiring journey.Famished and exhausted, the dragon lays on its back, exposing its metallic purple belly.
"What a voyage!" he exclaims, "I must find more information on this land.It's getting late and I must find shelter and a bit of food."
With muscles aching, he spreads his wings and flies off.After soaring through the air, for what seemed like a few seconds, Onyx Fire Dragon finds an inn.
"Oh, what a relief! It's no cave, but it will do just fine." He says. He comes to a landing, and prepares himself to enter the inn.
Upon opening the large, thick door, he notices many strangers sitting at a rather large table holding a conversation.
"Excuse me," he cautiously says, "I don't mean to interrupt your conversation, but do you mind if I sit here? I am rather tired, for I have had a long journey." With that, the newcomer nervously stands and looks at all the strangers, patiently waiting for an answer.
She turned her head gracefully towards the dragon, the movement made even more graceful by the gentle, incessant movement of her long white hair. She gazed at him steadily for a moment before speaking, reading his story in his eyes.
"Of course, good dragon, join us. I would enjoy the company of a dragon. I will purchase for you a meal and a mead. I assume that you count among the many dragons who find mead to be their favorite drink. Do correct me if I am wrong and forgive me my assumption of your character."
With that she turned her attention to the young elf who had just asked to join them. Her crystalline voice flowing softly from within her, almost caressing his very soul.
"Seth, I have known of your coming. I thought you would be longer.You have come to guide me in this strange world you call home."It was not a question but a statement of a fact she had been aware of without needing to be told.
She then turned her attention to the others sitting at her table, looking at each for a time before speaking their names.
"Amarantha." "Beldon." "Blaine" "Major Ashbury" "Seth." "Good Dragon." She paused."Before I begin, I will arrange for some food."
With that she turned her head slightly and spoke to some one who seemed to not be there.
"Tizzy! To me."
Her hair began to move more erratically in a small area, shifting and rustling as though something other than the wind lived there. Then to the amazement of the others a voice was heard from within it. It was a tiny, slightly high pitched, shimmery, childlike voice, and it sounded irritated. The Lady smiled with amusement as she listened to what the little voice said.
"Always, always stuck! Never unstuck! Stuck! Stuck! Stuck! Stuck! Confounded, infernal hair! Let me go! Give back Tizzy's wing! Now other wing! UUHH! By my Lady's moonbeam! LET ME GO!"
With that a tiny little winged creature fairly blasted herself out from the Lady's hair, zinging straight up to the ceiling at an amazing speed, screeching with glee all the way. She appeared to be somewhat out of control, stopping only just on time to avoid crashing into the ceiling above. She hovered there a brief moment, looking around at the interesting room with it's strange assortment of inhabitants.Then she turned and looked down at her Lady.
"Oh! There you went, My Lady! What would you have of me?"
With that Tizzy floated down to her, landed on the table and looked at her Lady expectantly. This temporary stillness gave the others a chanceto get a good look at her. The Lady introduced her little companion to the others at the table.
She was a wind sprite, a tiny little faery like creature who lives in the woman's hair, often getting tangled up in it due to the hair's constant movement. Her name is Tizzy. Standing only an inch tall, she has hair that is two inches long and the same color as her Lady's. She has a tiny, slightly high pitched, shimmery, childlike voice, tiny wings and is all white, to blend perfectly into her Lady's hair and be hidden. Tizzy is a hand maiden, of sorts, with a small amount of magic of her own. Her main duties to her Lady is to run small errands for her and to watch her back. She likes to grumble and complain a bit, mostly about getting tangled in her Lady's 'confounded hair'. A tendency which greatly amuses her Lady. When she is angry or threatened she can pack a nasty sting that tends to make even the largest creature scream with burning pain. It has something of a slow-working drugging effect as well. Her loyalty to her Lady is immeasurable and unwavering. As long as her Lady lives so will Tizzy as her Lady is Tizzy's life force.
The Lady then gave Tizzy an affectionate look, "Tizzy, please go to the one called Sara, she is over at the bar resting for a moment. Tell her your Lady asks if the gemstone given to the Innkeeper is sufficient to purchase a meal for my company."
With that the tiny little wind sprite zoomed off to perform her task, flitting off to one side or another to get a closer look at some of the patrons. Her Lady watched with a gentle smile of amusement on her lips.
Tizzy finally reached Sara and delivered the message. Sara looked at the table and smiled. The gemstone more than covered the cost. She moved to the table and took their orders; all the while Tizzy flitted about her head.
"Oooh! My Lady, your Sara has such pretty hair! So dark and still! Tizzy bets your Sara's wind sprite doesn't get stuck here! Where is Sara's wind sprite! Tizzy would like to meet a new friend wind sprite! Why does Sara's wind sprite not come out to say hello to Tizzy?"
Tizzy plucked lightly at Sara's hair, looking for a dark colored wind sprite that she thought should be there.
Her Lady smiled at her, "Tizzy be still. The human is not mine. She belongs to herself. And she does not have a wind sprite for you to play with. And please don't buzz around people's heads like that. Someone may think you are a bug and swat you!"
"Ooooh! No no no! Tizzy is no bug. Don't let big humans swat at Tizzy! Tizzy is going home!"
With that the little creature flew back into her Lady's hair and she could be heard saying that she was safe now and would only come out of 'confounded hair' when she had to.With that the Lady smiled at the others,
"Well now, I will tell you of my plight."
[ Meanwhile outside the Inn]
"Cali!", the voice was heard throughout the entire place. "Yes master," I already knew he was coming so I flew down to the spot where he was going to want me to be. "The Book of Satim is missing. When I gave you the task of watching over my library, I gave it to you because of your attention to detail."
His hollow voice echoed everywhere, even thought he was not shouting; he did things like that sometime. He was the lord of this entire realm for he was a god, and as such he could do anything that he pleased.
"I did not think it important enough to bring it to your attention, master. After all, Satim is only a child and his dreams right now are very childish."
"Everyone's dreams and stories are important to me. The Book of Satim is the most important thing right now!" The echo got much stronger even thought he never raised his voice. His pale white face never revealed the slightest hint of emotion, and that empty echoing voice of his never wavered a bit.
"You will have to go and retrieve it back for me."
"You will meet someone at the Dragon's Inn. Their adventure will lead you to the child. You will find the dreambook with him."
"In Montfort sir?"
"Yes." He was already turning, and as the last word left his lips he started to walk away down one of the endless rows of books.Then he disappeared as if in a dream...
In Montfort it was a beautiful moonlight night. The gentle breeze was running throughout the branches of the trees, and the leaves were casting dancing shadows on the ground. The shadows were definitely playing funny games tonight, as suddenly from the shadows of one of the trees there appeared a walking figure. But this was no shadow. There was definitely a man with something large on his back, walking directly away from the House Of Ki Annex. He looked as if he had been walking for a long time, and the appearance out of nowhere did not make him even loose his step. Cali set down the middle of the path, heading directly toward the Dragon's Inn. As he walked he pleasured in the moonlight washing over his large gargoyle body .....
He walked up to the noisy building and entered; nobody noticed the newcomer. The place has seen it's share of creatures from the largest dragons to the smallest fairies, so a gargoyle was nothing out of the ordinary. Sera, the ever busy barmaid, did notice his grotesquely large ears and nose, but politely turned away and giggled to herself a bit. Cali looked around the room first before walking up to the bar, and ordered a drink.
"Good evening, Cali;" Hugh answered in his calm voice, "A drink tonight?"
"Yes, most definitely."
"Something troubling you tonight?"
"One of The books has disappeared from the master's library, and he wants me to go fetch it."
Hugh sighed in response, and pushed the small glass filled with golden liquid towards Cali.
"I am supposed to come here to meet some companions. You wouldn't per chance know of anyone asking for a gargoyle tonight, would you?"
Hugh laughed a bit, "Did he give you a name, or at least a description?"
"No. Just that their adventure would lead me where I need to go."
"He is ambiguous like that. I have often thought that it would be much simpler for him to just leave notes or something, rather than messin'with people's heads while they sleep."
"Then he would probably have me deliver every single one of those notes each night."
"We wouldn't want that now, would we?" Hugh cracked a light hearted smile. "Well there is a group over there sitting with that white-haired lady, why don't you go ask them.Although you had better hurry up, they seem to be ready to go. And do try to be polite, the lady seems to be from a better class of people."
Cali took another sip of his drink, and headed over to the table .....
Seth watches as a Dragon walks up and asks to sit with the rest. "So, that is what a dragon looks like" he thought. " I have always thought that they would be taller."
Seth looked surprised when he heard that the lady knew he was coming,and knew that he was there to help her on her quest.
" How did she know that I was coming? I did not know I was coming here, until the old tree told me to come here, but it has been years, since I left home. Does she talk to the trees as well?" He thought.
Questions swam in his head, and he knew that he would have to ask her later. Taking a drink of his wine, he looked over at the Lady, and notices her talking to someone, or something. He heard a small voice,and his ears perked up. It sounded like a Fye, but he was not sure. He was about to say something when the sprite shot out of the lady's hair, and headed straight up. He looked away, expecting her to hit the ceiling but when he heard her speak, he knew that she was all right.
"That was close," Seth thought. He watched as Tizzy buzzed around the Inn, looking at everyone, and all the while babbling on. " Tizzy is very beautiful. She reminds me of the fye that has raised me as a child."
Seth heard Selina say " She is a wind sprite. A cousin of the wood Fye, that raised you. She is a little different than you are use to.The Wind Sprite's have a temper, unlike the Wood Fye. They are very child like in nature, but very smart , and very brave. Do not let her small size fool you. Also, they are very curious about all things. She has a bit of magic, but I could not tell you what type. All wind sprites carry there own special magic."
Seth smiled and said "Well, that is good to know. Perhaps later she can come out, and we can talk." Selina said " Yes, that would be nice."
Seth smiled and looked around the table. Taking a bit of his food, he waited to hear what the lady's quest might be." I wonder if it has anything to do with me being here , and the fact that I can talk to the trees and the animals?" Sipping his wine, and watching the lady, he waits for answers to his questions.
[ Major Ashbury ]
Major Ashbury remains motionless during the performance of Tizzy, allowing only a small hint of a smile to betray any emotion. Hands folded upon his saber's hilt, the Major was the perfect picture of an officer in the Queen's Army.
But...although he was young, he was already an old man in some ways.
His rugged, handsome face was lined and tanned, his eyes had lost the vibrant sparkle of youth. He had ridden too many miles, fought too many campaigns, killed too many men like himself, lost too many of his best friends. The men of his company, his dearest friends, were as bound to him as any who lived.
Sargeant O'Kelly, the scrawny, gray haired lion of a fighter. Lieutenant John LaFleur, the academically inclined man who spoke little and prayed often. Countless other faces flashed before him...they were his only family. He had no wife, no children. He had his duty to the Queen ...and for some time, that had been all he wanted.
But the men he had led, his family, were dying off. O'Kelly had died of an arrow to the chest at the Battle of Vitória Pass last month. The Major closed his eyes for a moment at the memory of O'Kelly's vacant eyes staring up at the sky, his head sunk back onto the dark, indifferent earth. Lieutenant LaFluer had fallen on a Westerner's blade one quiet morning, and died as quietly as he had lived, the Lord's name on his lips.
Not all of them were gone, of course, but...the family would never again be whole in this world. The radiant fellowship of Ashbury's company was slowly, and inevitably, being replaced by that of the younger generation. Perhaps it was time to sell his commission, to leave the black uniform and the universe of battle. The Major smiled again at that the thought, but not happily. That would indeed require some sort of miracle.
When the lady began to speak, however, the Major's attention snapped to her with an attentive edge that suggested a sharp mental presence. He spoke slowly, in response to her offer to tell of her plight.
"Do please continue, my lady, you have my attention." He said in his dignified, polite voice.
I am born of a tiny moon that circles an uninhabitable planet many stars from this planet. My mother, Asjiia, is Mother Queen of my world. I am First Born and heir to her Staff. I have one brother and one sister, both of good gifts.
In my world I am called a treasure of the rarest sight for I am the first in countless generations to be born under the Sapphire Sun. It is the cause of my coloring.I have inherited all the gifts of both my mother and my father ahd I have been given the depth of the Sapphire.
In a strange vision during my birth my mother saw a vision. A strange and rare creature told her that I must be forever shielded from Death. "How can this be? Even a god can die! A difficult thing to do but even them Death can take. How can my child be shielded?"
The creature answered, " She must not be named. Death can only find that which is given a name."
"But what should we call her? Hey you!? Or Child?"
"No, good Mother, you will refer to her by her Place of Title. You will say, 'My Daughter', her siblings will call her 'my Sister'. Those whom you lead and those who serve you will call her 'My Lady'. The vision ended and I was born. I was never given a name.
In my twentieth summer I sat in the Forest of Crystal, as was my habit, playing my instrument and singing my joy to the universe. I was aware of being watched but was too entranced in the song to listen to his presence or to note who he was.
When I returned home my mother told me I had a guest. She said he knew I had come of age and had asked her for my hand. He was a man of whom I knew well: Craven. A cruel and selfish man who had destroyed many for the sake of his own desires. I knew he did not love me but the Staff I would one day inherit.
I refused him.
His anger was great and he threatened my life if I did not accept him as my mate.My mother warned him to mind his words in her house. Again I refused him.
With no further warning he wielded his great gemsword and plunged it deep within my heart. My mother screamed and sent a blast of Lovefury against him; killing him instantly. I just stood there.
At first I couldn't understand why I didn't fall but then I heard a soft whispering in my mind, reminding me that I alone among my people could not die.I slowly pulled it out, feeling the cold gemsword leaving my body. I saw the blood on my gown and saw the wound close. It left a scar that cannot heal."
With that she placed the palm of her hand over her heart and slid it to the side. A fair part of her full, well-rounded bosom was revealed, exposing a blueish colored scar of about three inches in length.The scar seemed to continually open slightly and then begin to close yet it never fully closed.
She slid her hand back to the center of her heart and lifted it away,sealing her gown over it to hide the scar once more."Before we could fully recover from the painful fright one of his servants had stolen my sister, Aelora D'Annelle, from her bed and spirited her right off the moon.
We have no idea how he managed it for I am the only one in millennium to have the ability to leave our world. Thus it falls to me to find her and bring her home.
Aelora D'Annelle is a vital part of our moon's survival. Each century a child is born who is the life force of the moon. Her life is centered in the Heart of Moon where she lives as our most honored of people. If she is not in the Heart when the old one dies or if she should die without a new life force to replace her our planet will simply explode.
I don't have much time to find Aelora. She is reaching her time of change. It is of great import that I find her and return her before the change begins. If she is not guided through it properly Aelora would most assuredly bring about the total destruction of this planet and our moon.
I am not familiar with this world and would be grateful of any honest assistance I can find. Not for the sake of protection but rather for direction and companionship."
She looked directly at Amarantha, "Do not think me gullible or easily deceived. Just because I do not acknowledge one's lack of integrity of deceitful nature does not mean that I am not aware of it. i am often given to know things that I cannot know. It is a gift that I am given.
The Lady turned and looked at each person at her table before continuing.
"I have followed Aelora's moonbeam to this world but for some unknown reason her light is fading. I lost her just after arriving in this town. A kind stranger told me I might find help here at the dragon's Inn."
"Please, if any of you has heard news of a child like me would you share it with me. If not would any of yoou deign to join me in my quest to find her?"
[Onyx Fire Dragon]
After hearing the Lady, the dragon sits at the table amongst other strange creatures. Clearing his throat, Onyx turns to face the lady and says, "I thank thee, M`lady for the fine mead and food. 'Twas just what I needed, for my energy was failing me."
Upon finishing his dinner and drink, the dragon notices the little creature buzzing around the Lady. Once still, Onyx exclaims, "Cute little thing, isn't she?! Busy, as well, I might add." With that said, the Lady turns and faces the dragon with a disappointed look. "Oh, dear. I am so sorry. Please, continue," he says ever so cautiously.
The dragon makes himself comfortable in the chair,while listening to the Lady's plight. Once she was finished, he raised his hand as if a student.
"Yes, Good Dragon?" she says.
"Ummm ... yes... well," he says as he raises to his feet, " It hurts me to be interrupting the Lady once again, however, I do have something to say. I would want nothing more than to help you, but my journey still awaits. I have only stopped here for food and drink and a little company, and really had no intention to stay. I do apologize, I should've told you all earlier. I know how disappointed you all must be. I would really love to stay, but like I had stated earlier, there is still much traveling ahead of me. Once my travels subside, I will return to join you all. That is... if you do not mind having me. For now, I must bid thee 'Farewell,' and hope we all meet again. Please feel free to contact me, if you so wish. Once again, I thank you all for your generosity and warm welcome."
With that, the dragon, once again, waits patiently for an answer so that he may bid them a farewell.
"Of course, Good dragon. It has been good to be in your company even if only long enough for a meal and a tale. Should we meet again during our travels I would welcome your company again. I bid you Good Journey and Safe Passage on your travels. Pray that our paths should cross again."
" I am sorry if you have to leave our little group, but I for one understand. I wish you a safe Journey , Dragon. May the four winds carry you in peace." He watched as the Large Dragon got up to leave. "He will be missed."
[Onyx Fire Dragon]
"Someday soon I shall return. For now, I bid thee all a sorrowful farewell and wish you all the best on your future travels."With that, the dragon turns, walks a bit, stops once again to wave a final farewell, opens the large door, and is now gone.
"What a wonderful place this is," he says to himself while flapping his wings,"I shall return someday." Quietly, he takes off into the sunset.
Seth sat there, and thought for a moment. " If I would not be too bold, I believe I might have word on your Sister." He watched as every head turned towards him, and he took in a deep breath.
"While during my travels, I was upon what some of you would call a Ship. The Captain on this ship, had mentioned to me that he had a strange cargo aboard, before he came into the port . He told of a young child, with the looks of an angel about her. She was very beautiful, and the ones that took care of her called her a 'Child of the moon and stars'. They came aboard, and told the Captain that they would need to be left alone. No one was to come below, while they were there. The Captain protested , until they paid him with large amounts of gold and silver. They gave him a bag of these as well," and Seth pulled the bag out and pored the gems onto the table.
"The men that carried her aboard had placed this child into a large bell like cage, like one that holds birds, only larger . It was carried by two large men . Each of the men were holding the cage by two long poles. Both men were speechless. I was told that their tongues were cut out, so that they could not speak to the child. The cage was made up of some strange metal, that glowed a bright blue. The Captain said that it made a humming noise when he walked by it. It made the hair on his arms stand on end."
Seth looked around, and then he leaned into the table. With a soft voice he said " The Captain heard chanting all the time the strangers and the child was on board. He dropped them off at a port that he had never been to before. They had one man help steer the large ship. They tried to place a wandering spell in him and the crew before they left, but the Captain was a lot wiser , and had placed special wards on his boat , long before they came on." Reaching once again into his pack, he brought out a large, rolled up piece of paper, and unrolled it.
"He was able to make a map. He had placed a Star, to show where the port is. I was able to.... copy it. It is a long ride from here.By Caravan, we would be able to make it with in a month. If we were to walk it, it would take us a over a season.. I think the best way is by horse back. With a few good strong horses, and a bit of luck , we should be at the Port within two weeks." Looking over the table, he smiled and said "I hope this is the child that you are looking for M`lady. If not, then maybe they might know where to find her. It is worth a chance........"
Cali stood just at the edge of hearing, listening to the Elf , before he decided to interrupt. "I may know something about this Captain and your sister, My Lady. I think I might be of some assistance in your quest. Would anyone here mind if I joined?" A large, bronze gargoyle stood before them. The light from the fireplace flickered off of his naked body, and sticking out from the shadows behind him were two clawed peaks of his folded wings. It was almost difficult not to laugh at his large ears and grotesque nose; if the situation were different perhaps they would. He slowly sipped the golden liquid from the small glass, and just stood there awaiting their response.
This was indeed new to Major Ashbury. In his service to the Queen, Cooper would have thought he had fought every manner of creature imaginable, and their cousins. Gargoyles, however... that was a first.
Nothing in the Major's face betrayed this, however. Without thinking, the Major stood up, drawing himself up to his full 6'2, which probably didn't intimidate the gargoyle, but... well, it behooves one to present the best impression possible. And the Major certainly did that.
Resplendent in black uniform, hand resting lightly on slender saber, his dark eyes looking up into the Gargoyle's firmly... The Major had the air of a man confident in his ability to drop a foe. Without blinking or looking away from the gargoyle, he spoke to the Lady.
"Shall I allow his approach, ma'am?" There was no emotion in his voice... no fear of the gargoyle, no eagerness to fight either. The firelight caught the silver Maltese cross hanging around the neck of Major Ashbury, making the famed decoration gleam as he watched the gargoyle.
"He may. Thank you Major." She looked at the gargoyle with considerable interest. "I have never actually seen a gargoyle before. I have heard of the existence of such a marvelous creature but never thought to see one. I have known you would come. You may join us in your search for the "Book" you seek and I welcome any information, even rumors, about the whereabouts of my sister.
Beldon gazed at the gargoyle with wide eyes. *Dragons and gargoyles and pixies... This is BOUND to be interesting,* he thought to himself.
"Well, uh... sir, if you have any information about the girl, I am sure you would be most welcome." Beldon eyed the stony figure with apprehension at first, but as the gargoyle had come here on good faith and offering help, he decided that he would be friendly to him.
"As for myself, My Lady, I have little knowledge that would be of use to you except my skills. I am a good woodsman and tracker. I am familiar with several trades such as blacksmithing, fletching,farming, and construction. I must admit, I am a rather big klutz, but I usually end up getting the job done pretty well... It just usually takes me a little extra effort."
He looked at the swordsmen and the gargoyle and smirked. "I am horrible with a sword, but I get along well with my quarter staff. But it looks as though you'll have better people than me to protect you."
At that moment he knocked his ale over and it sailed off the table. Amazingly, the mug didn't break and it landed on the floor upright, spilling not a drop of ale. Beldon picked up the mug and smiled sheepishly. "Oh, and people say that I seem to have the most uncanny luck... It might help out in a bind at some point."
Amarantha smirked at the appearance of the tiny wind sprite. Her mother kept a diffrent species. When she was younger, she used to tease them. You know, things like turning solid into liquid when they tried to land, cause a strong updraft of wind pressure and disorient them - that sort of thing. She thought it was hilarious, the sprites on the other hand, would go ballistic.
As the Lady told her story, explaining why she hadn't told them her name, Amarantha began to worry.
She carried three items with her. One was a beautiful gold and ivory filigree perfume bottle - set with rubies, sapphires and diamonds, it was a magnificent piece of work. It smelled of jasmine, boronia and spices - her favorite scent. It was a gift from her mother, the Goddess of Magic, and was really her home and djinniyeh talisman -- not that it she wants anyone else knowing that little fact. The next gift was a fabled StarSword. A crystal scimitar given to her by her father, War. It took a bit of hard work, study, perseverance and practice to get it to eventually accept her. Only the finest of swordsmen (or in her case, swordswoman.) were even accepted by this rarest of rare weapon. It rested in a white sheath that practically dripped with tear shaped pearls and opals.
Resting in a matching sheath was a curved silver dagger. It was this weapons presence that troubled her the most this night. The dagger was simple enough in design save for the polished and rounded star ruby mounted into its pommel. It was a gift from her aunt and bore the True Name of Death upon its blade.
When the Lady finished, Amarantha put the bottle on the table and vanished into it. Not bothering to even think about how the others may react to this, or even the consequences of leaving the bottle on the table like that. The inside she had styled to resemble a sumptuous and grand palace. Waiting in the main sitting room was a woman with hair like spilt ink and fathomless eyes. She held a gleaming sickle and was dressed in the black velvet robes of death -- her Aunt.
Amarantha looked at her for a moment, distressed.
"Yes, I heard the story to." Death said.
"So what are you going to do?" Amarantha put up a casual front, grabbed a mandarin from a bowl, and dived into a pile of plush pillows. She began peeling the fruit, throwing the peel onto the floor, where the peel would immediately vanish.
"Nothing." Death shrugged, leaned her sickle against pillar and sat in a high backed chair, and began to attack a bowl of chocolates.
"Won't you get in trouble for that? "Amarantha asked, and shoved a segment into her mouth.
"Nah." Her aunt answered, pausing to swallow the chocolate that she had been chewing on. "Look, as far as I am concerned, the woman does not exist. And if she doesn't exist, how the heck am I supposed to take her soul?"
"Is that because she never had a name?" Amarantha asks, halfway now through munching on the mandarin.
"Something like that. Although, technically speaking, 'The Lady' is actually a name of sorts because that is what people call her. But a lot of people can be called 'The Lady', so it doesn't really count.
After all, I can't really go around, gathering any Soul whose Body has been called "My Lady" now can I? " Her aunt explains.
"Probably not." Amarantha replies.
"Now if you will excuse me, I have work to do." Death and the sickle vanish quicker than the time it took for her to blink.
Amarantha, a little more at ease now, finished the mandarin, then got ready to return to the Outside again.
*Geez, I hope they haven't all left without me or anything like that*
Returning to the table, she noticed a change in the number of people at the table. The dragon had left. The other newcomers were still there -- Seth Fye and that bow of his. Major Ashbury stood there stoically. Her dad's kind of man that one. (Her aunt always said that in most cases order tended to come out of chaos, but in Amarantha's case, chaos came out of order) But there was a new one at the table. A bronze gargoyle of all the crazy things, she raised her eyebrows at this.
"Well I know I can be a bit of a magnet for trouble, and can even cause trouble now and then, but I do have my good points. I am the child of Warfare and Magic, so I am strongly gifted in both. I am actually half high fay in heritage. (Mum was a powerful high fay prior to becoming a Goddess.) As you can see, I have a StarSword which lets me use it, which means I can fight better than most people.Krysanth is notoriously picky about who it chooses to let it be wielded in battle. I also bring with me the potential for divine intervention among other things. But all this looks like great fun, so if its all right with you, I wouldn't mind joining in"
She looked with interest at the beautiful bottleAmarantha had just disappeared into. Never in all her days had she seen or heard of anything like it. Although it was not in her nature to touch anything that did not belong to her, not without permission anyway, the Lady could not resist picking it up and looking at all the fine details of the respendant bottle. She even looked inside and saw two small people moving around and talking to each other.
"I shall have to ask Amarantha about this strange magic one day on our travels when there is naught to do but engage in idle chatter",she thought to herself.
She put the bottle down as gently as she could in exactly the same spot from where she had taken it and waited for the goddess to reappear.
Once Amarantha had returned the Lady address the whole group.
"Well then, the hour is late and there is much to be done in the morrow. I suggest we all find rooms here at the Inn for tonight. I will pay all your expenses during our stay here.I suggest that in the morning we purchase any supplies we need to begin our journey and we will set out the following day at morning's first light."
Every one nodded and murmured their agreement so the Lady sent Tizzy to go to Hugh and inquire as to whether he had rooms available for her party and is the gemstone still covered the cost or rooms and fare for the next two nights.
Tizzy untangled herself from her Lady's hair, "Confounded hair! Give back Tizzy's foot! Now Tizzy needs wing! Ouch! Do not catch Tizzy's hair! This is TIZZY'S HAIR! Letgoletgoletgoletgo! CONFOUNDED... INFERNAL... WRETCHED... WRETCHED HAIR! LET... TIZZY..GO... NOW!"
With that Tizzy blasted out of the hair again, stopped shy of the ceiling and turned to look at her Lady. She emitted a rather high pitched ringing sound, as though she growled, then she calmed herself.
"Tizzy will have to smooth my Lady's hair tonight so that it will behave again! Hmf!"
With that, Tizzy buzzed off to find Hugh, sidetracking once again to look at the interesting creatures in the establishment.
"Master Hugh, my Lady asks if Sir has rooms for her friends for the next two nights. My Lady also asks if the gemstone is enough to cover the cost of room and fare."
Hugh grinned at Tizzy, "Well if you aren't the cutest little bug I have ever seen!
Tizzy gave him an offended look, "Tizzy is no bug! Tizzy is wind sprite!"
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. But you are cute!"
Tizzy thanked him and repeated her request... word for word.Hugh grinned and told her had had rooms set aside for her party already and that her costs were indeed covered. With that, Tizzy took her round-about route back to the table and relayed the message. Sara went to the table shortly after and gave everyone their keys and directions to their rooms.
"You are too kind of heart, and perhaps too frivolous with your gold, My Lady. I will decline this kind offer though; a gargoyle has no need for nourishment or rest. I will join you all 'morrow when we depart for our quest." With that Cali finished his drink, put the glass down and walked out of the Inn.
"Thank you Sera. I think I can find my way." Looking over at the table, he noticed that Blaine had fallen to sleep. Motioning to the group to let him sleep, Seth smiled, and placed Blaine's key under his crossed arms. Taking his key, Seth excused himself from the table."Thank you M`Lady for the room, and for the meal. I will see you all in the morning."
Taking the gems and placing them back into his pack, he reached for the bow."Your forgot to thank Tizzy, Seth.She did help M`lady." Seth Smiled and turning back to the table.
"Thank you as well Tizzy. Sometime soon, we must talk."
Before turning to go, he said: "I overheard that there was going to be a market in the square. We might be able find our supplies there, and anything else we might need. That is if anyone is interested ... I know that I am going to need more clothes. If anyone would like, they can go with me tomorrow morning, after breakfast. I heard that there was going to be minstrels there as well. I have not heard a good song since I left home." Seth smiled,and then turned to go to his room.
Seth followed the stairs up, and found his room on the right.
"One with a Shield. This must be the place."
Looking at the key, he tried to figure out what to do with it.Turning he saw someone else leaving their room. He watched as the patron looked over at him, and then placing the key in a small hole in the door, he turned it, and Seth heard a click. The patron pulled the key back out, turned and walked the way Seth had come.
"Well, that looks easy." Taking the key, and finding the small hole,he tried to fit it upside down. "May be harder than I thought." Turning the key over, he found that it fit better, and he turned the key. He heard the 'click' and he turned the handle. The door did not open.
"Must be stuck." Placing his shoulder against the door, he started to push. "By the four winds, this door is strong". He felt the door start to bow, when he heard a voice. He turned to see Sera, standing behind him.
"Seth, what are you trying to do, tear the door off its hinges?"
Seth stepped back, and blushed."Nothing like that Sera. The door must be stuck. It will not open. I put the key in the little hole there and turned it. I heard the click, but it still will not open. Would you try to see if the door will open for you?"
Sera smiled and walked over to the door. Reaching up, she unlocked the door, and swung it open.
Trying to keep a straight face, she said: "The doors are never locked Seth. When you turned the key you locked the door, that's all."
Seth pulled on his hair, and looked down at his feet. "I didn't know.I never have been to an inn before. I have always slept outside,under the stars, or in a barn.Sorry."
Sera smiled and placed a hand on his shoulder. "It's all right Seth.Now get some rest. When you get up tomorrow, I will have a nice hot bath set up for you."
Seth smiled and taking a gem from his pack, he placed it in Sera's hand."For all your kindness, and your smile." He blushed, and walked into the room. Taking the bow and pack, he placed them by the bed, turned and closed the door behind him.
Sera knocked, and then opened the door. "You might want to carry this with you," and she handed him the key. "Remember to lock the door when you leave." Sara smiled once more, and she closed the door.
"She is a good person. Her heart is pure," Selina said.
"Yes, she is special," Seth said. Turning, he locked the door, and then jumped into bed.
Seth found the bed was too soft for him to sleep in. He tossed and turned until he could not stand it any more. Getting up, he walked over to the window, and pushed it open. The night air called him out. He could taste the freshness and saw that the moon was full. "Do you think M`lady would mind, if I would not use the room? The walls are too confining. I feel like I am being smothered."
Reaching through the window, he found that he could touch the roof. Taking a blanket off the bed, he climbed out, and up to the roof. *Now this is more like it,* he thought. Looking up at the stars, he noticed that they were different than the ones at home. "I must remember to tell the Old Tree about this", and placing the blanket on the roof he laid down.
The moon was so close he could almost reach out and touch it.
"Never have I seen such a sight as this. It is beautiful." The night air whispered in his ear, and before he knew it, he was sound asleep.