She lay still on the bed, awake but with her eyes still closed,remembering her quiet evening in the yard. The moon had been such a great comfort to her. She hadn't thought she would sleep at all. Now she could feel Tizzy beginning to buzz around in her hair and then crawl out. The first few moments of the morning were the only in any given day that Tizzy was slow-moving and calm thinking.
"My Lady, has the morning come yet?" Tizzy looked at the open window and immediately went ballistic.
"My Lady! Morning is leaving without us! Others will be waiting for my Lady! Hurry! Hurry! You must dress and go to table!"
The Lady opened her eyes and looked calmly around the room and then sat up. She rose to her feet, her long silk nightgown floating to the floor and disappearing. She looked down at the ugly scar on her chest and sighed sadly. Perhaps one of the local healers at the Market could make it go away. Then she waved her hand over her own naked body and was instantly clad in her sapphire gown.
She then moved to the door and went down for breakfast. She saw the three males at the table already and saw as Seth wiped something from his mouth and laugh heartily. The sight and sound of laughter brought a smile to her sad expression. She sat at the end of the table and looked gently at the others. "Good Morrow, gentle men. How was your rest?"
With that, before anyone could respond in any way, Tizzy blasted out of her Lady's Living hair and this time she stopped well before she reached the ceiling. She looked angry.
"Mr. Seth! You are a very very naughty boy-Fye. Did not your Fye teach you manners? Fye teach good manners! Fye-boy Seth did not obey! Fye-boy should be stung! Stung very very very HARD. Rude rude Fye-boy watch Lady in private moment! All night sit and watch my Lady! Ooooooh Tizzy is angry! Tizzy wants to sting Seth Fye-boy!"
With that Tizzy more or less did a bomb dive straight for Seth but just before she made contact she veered off to the right and let out a very painful high pitched whining sound. Returning to Seth and fluttering angrily right in front of his face she began to scold him again.
"If my Lady didn't need Seth Fye-boy awake and thinking Tizzy would sting Fye-boy and make him sleep for WHOLE MONTH! My Lady must not be seen before Staff is passed or she cannot use it's Strong to lead people! Fye-boy has to 'pol'gize to good Lady! Tell if Seth saw anything he should never see! Seth naughty naughty, naughty,naughty!"
With that Tizzy reached out one tiny little hand and touched Seth's cheek with a single finger, giving him a small but unmistakable, harmless, yet none-the-less shock that did nothing more than give him a quickly passing pain in his brain and left no side affects whatsoever, save a hopefully well-learned lesson in etiquette. She then disappeared back into her Lady's hair and refused to come out until breakfast was served.
She turned her deep sapphire eyes in Seth's direction and looked at him for what seemed an eternity. There was no way of knowing what she was thinking or what she might do. After a time she simply turned her face from him and looked down at her well manicured nails. Her mind disappeared into thought.
She had been too lost in the dance the night before to even notice the presence of an unseen friend on the rooftop. The knowledge that she had been watched in what to her mind was her most private moment. She would forgive him, of course, because she knew he knew nothing of the intricacies of her world and now she was in his. For all she knew it was common place behavior. On her world her mother would have had him blinded for witnessing at the most private ritual to the heir to the Staff. Should the Child's Innocence be compromised in any way the Staff would see this and never work fully for the new Queen. To compromise the honour, Integrity or Innocence of the heir could easily be punishable by Death if her parents were angered enough by it.
She was certain that Seth had not intended to compromise or dishonour her in anyway; or even known what a serious thing it was that he had done. She was prepared to forgive. But until he had explained himself and asked forgiveness she could not look at him.
Sitting there laughing at his milk mustache, and his ever empty stomach growling at him , he turned to see the Lady walk down from her room. Standing, he started to say 'Good morning' when Tizzy flew out from The Lady's hair and started scolding him.
"Fye-boy Seth did not obey! Fye-boy should be stung! Stung very very very HARD. Rude rude Fye-boy watch Lady in private moment! All night sit and watch my Lady! Ooooooh Tizzy is angry! Tizzy wants to sting Seth Fye-boy!"
He started to ask why when Tizzy took off and headed right to him. Thinking he was going to be stung, he looked over at The Lady with a puzzled look then back at Tizzy. The little wind Sprite stopped and floated in front of his face. She said a few more things, something about a staff and if he saw anything that he shouldn't have. Before he was able to explain things, he felt her touch his cheek.
"OW!!! Hey that hurt! What did I do to deserve that? Is it because I did not use the room?". He looked around the table and noticed the looks he was getting. " Let me try and explain ."
Sitting back down he started rubbing his cheek. " Last night , as I said before I could not sleep. I am not used to sleeping in a bed. When I was growing up, I had the good earth to sleep on. I would sleep out under the moon and stars every night when the sky was clear." Taking a deep breath he went on.
"Last night I climbed out of my window and brought a blanket with me so I could sleep outside. There was a full moon, and the air was fresh and the sky was clear. I could not sleep, thinking about what everyone had said that night. I heard voices, and being a fye, curiosity got the best of me. I went and bent down and heard Tizzy talking to M`lady. Not wanting to eavesdrop, I stepped away, and went back to my blanket." Shaking his head he tried to remember what happened after that. The only thing he could remember was seeing The Lady and Tizzy down in the court yard.
" I know this might sound strange to some, but I have no idea what Tizzy was talking about when she said that I saw something. I did see M`lady in the court yard and I heard her say something but she was to far away for me to hear. After that, I am not sure what happen. I felt a feeling of peace envelope me. That is the only way I can explain it. I closed my eyes, and I remember humming a tune that I have not heard since I was a child . The fye that found me in the woods use to sing me to sleep with that tune."
Looking down at the table he said " When I opened my eyes, it was morning, and the Lady was gone. I went back into my room, and then took a hot bath, and came back to the table."
Looking over to the Lady he said " Please forgive me. I did not know that you would be out in Court Yard. I was not trying to eavesdrop on your conversation with Tizzy. Being a Fye, I was just curious. If there was going to be a problum with me up on the roof, Tizzy could have flew up and said something to me. I would have went back to the room, or took a walk. I do not see where I harmed anything or anyone. . He turned and said
" I am sorry Tizzy. I did not mean anything by being up on the roof but I take this oath . The oath of the Fye.I did not see anything after M'Lady spoke. I did not see this staff your talking about or anything else. All I saw was M`lady and you in the court yard. That is the truth. If I can not be trusted , then who can you trust?"
"Please... hear why Tizzy is so upset. Seth, it wasn't so much what you may have overheard as that Tizzy thinks that you watched me in the Dance. Dance is a holy moment for me. The Dance of the heir to the Staff of Sapphire is sacred and is not to be witnessed by any. Not until I have received the Staff. Then as part of the Ritual of Ascension I must Dance before my people.
To be seen before my Time is to be dishonoured. In my home my parents would have the right to take any disciplinary measures they felt necessary. That is partly why Craven died. He had dishonoured me when he watched me Dance in my meadow. He most likely would have been destroyed even if he hadn't tried to kill me. I refused him and my honour had to be restored by his appropriate punishment. If you truly did not watch my Dance then I am not dishonoured in any way and Tizzy will apologize for her temper as soon as she is calmed down enough to be a better representation of her kind. In the mean time, good Seth, I ask that you forgive my little Tizzy.
Part of her Calling is to watch out for me. She still feels incredibly guilty for not having been there in the meadow with me that awful day. I had let her go to visit her intended that day and I was alone. Had she been there he never would have been allowed to stay. She does not accept that it was not her fault so now she protects me even more. Please forgive her zealousness."
Smiling, Seth said " I understand why Tizzy would have been mad.There are some dances that even I was not asked to join by the Fye.They are most sacred to the Fye as they are to you. If I had noticed you when you started to dance I would have turned away." Looking around the table , Seth said " Now that we know why Tizzy was so upset, we will be sure and stay away from you in case you have to do this dance again."
Laughing, Seth rubbed his cheek and said "Lets order breakfast and see if Tizzy has calmed down enough to eat with us. Do you think we should wait until the Major and the Goddess gets here before ordering?" and his stomach growled once more. "I am not sure if I can wait that long." Calling Sera over he gave her the order.
" Sera, would you bring us something for breakfast. A little bit of everything . I am sure you can find something back there for all our tastes. Just make sure its hot and filling."
I might have just what you need." Walking back into the kitchen she came back with a plate, full of fresh fruit. Placing the tray on the table, she smiles and winks. Walking back, she brought another tray full of a variety of hot meats and eggs. Some of the eggs were over easy, some scrambled , while others were hard boiled. Fresh hot loaves of sweet bread, with golden butter, and honey.
She placed six hot plates with silverware on the table, and a smaller plate for Tizzy. Going to the bar, she brings back four glasses full of a dark red liquid and another glass of milk for Seth. Also she had in her hand, a small thimble glass for Tizzy full of elderberry wine.
" This should get you started. If you need anything else, just call me over."
Snapping her fingers she said " Wait!! I have something special for Tizzy." Running back, she brought out a small plate full of hot sweet rolls. A small jar laid in the middle of the rolls. The liquid looked to be honey, but it has a deeper colour. Sera smiled and looked over at The lady. " The rolls are from a very special friend. The jar is full of the Nectar of the Dra'kon flowers that grow high up in the mountains. They say that the gods would give there powers up, to be able to taste the nectar from those flowers. My friend has been bringing me a jar every time he drops in. I have more than I need, because the nectar is held in one of his Pixie jars.
They are special jars that will hold anything in them forever. They will never go empty, unless the lid is not replaced within a reasonable time." Smiling, Sera and looked at the rest of the group.
" I am sure if you ask , Tizzy would share", and she left laughing."Be sure to replace the lid to the jar when you done. There is enough for everyone."
Seth smiled and said "Thank you Sera. This will do for now." Sitting back down, Seth smiled looked around the table. " Well, it looks like the Major and the Goddess is going to miss out. Lets eat!!!"
As soon as Seth finished his sentence, the measured, solid paces of Major Cooper's knee high black leather boots could be heard.
Left hand resting lightly on the pommel of his blade, he opens the door to the Inn and looks at his companions with an odd curiosity.
"Good morning, all. Something of a late breakfast, don't you think?"
To most people, meaning everyone but the Major, it was anything but a late breakfast. But then...the Major was a bit different. Chipper and neat in his crisp uniform, he waits for the Lady's amused nod before sliding into a chair near the end of the table.
Ashbury's face twitched momentarily, then a smile spread across his face, much warmer then what a person would expect a smile from Cooper to look like, and produces an ornate pipe from his pocket. Holding it up to the Lady, he gives her an inquistive look.
"Madam, with your permission?"
She looked at the major and then at the pipe. She had never seen such a thing before and had no idea what her permission was needed for. She tipped her head slightly to the side, "What is it that you need my permission for, good Major?"
She waited for the major to explain the purpose of the pipe and then simply told him that she was not the only one affected by the thing and it would have to be alright with the others as well. If the smoke offended her she would simply keep it away from herself.
As the others left the table, Amarantha noticed that presence she felt from the delicate phial had somewhat increased. And it took very little probing on her behalf to uncover the cause of this. She couldn't blame the Lady for her innocence, but it seemed now she had little choice on where she could go, as until the talisman was Claimed by another, it could never go to far from the Lady.
Seething, she snatched up the bottle and went upstairs to her room, and angrily slammed the door behind her.
She looked around the room for a moment, and surveyed it. Very simple, nice she supposed as far as the mortal realm was concerned,but hardly the kind of apartment that she was accustomed to. It had a few bits of furniture. A table in the centre of the room, a double bed. A wardrobe. A rug on the floor. The window opened onto a balcony, which was closed, a curtain draped down.
She whipped her belt off, and tossed it carelessly to the side. Next she put the small table and chairs on the bed and pushed the bed in the corner, to create more floor space. Then she went to the centre of the room, and began to do limber up and do her warm up exercise.
She often practised her fighting skills as a way of cooling off when she was notably angry. The discipline that was required made her focus, and cleared her thoughts.She returned to where she tossed her belt, and slide the scimitar, the semi-sentient Starsword Krysanth from its scabbard. In her hands it sense her flaring temper, and began to glow in anticipation of the practice session. She returned to the centre of the room, and stood still for a moment, allowing the focusing energies of the blade to take effect, two deep breaths, then she moved. Fluid like liquid, quick like silver she went through her moves. Whirling around like a deadly yet haunting and hypnotic dance.
The now glowing blade, adding to the effect. In full battle, this would intensify, to near resemble a star that is its namesake.
She focused her attention on the harder moves, ensuring that the were done right. High kicks, with lower slashes. Front slashes,backward slashes, parries and other assorted techniques.
After a while, she began to tire. Sweat beaded off her, almost like the jewels that gleamed in her hair and neck. Deciding that it was time to turn in for the night anyway, she picked up her weapons, replaced the furniture, hid the talisman beneath the pillows on the bed, and vanished for the night.
With morning dawning, she sleepily arose and examined her wardrobe. She needed clothes suitable for travel. She paused briefly at an incredibly scanty outfit consisting of only a few well placed nondescript gold coins.
"I'll save that one for some classy Inn" she thought, grinning at the scandal that it would cause.
She picked out her ruby outfit. The one with halterneck with the plunging neckline, the cloak, fastened with a large ruby, and a pair of close fitting pants. The whole ensemble was designed to draw attention to and flaunted her décolletage. This she coupled with a belt that dripped with rubies and garnets, with matching scabbards.She moved her weapons to this. She pulled her hair back into a braid and secured a large ruby on a chain to her forehead. The diamond seal to her bottle, she hid as the centrepiece for her belt.
She added some make up. Heavy on the kohl, with deep red lipstick. She studied the overall effect in the mirror. Striking as opposed to the sweet angelic look she went for the day before. She snatched up her talisman and secured it to her belt, and went downstairs, still not in the best of humour from the night before. What added to her foul mood this morning was the fact that the group had started breakfast without her.........
[ The Major]
"Very well. Ladies and Gentlemen?" asks the Major, glancing at each of the assembled. While he waits for a reaction, the Major wrings his hands a bit around the Lady, appearing uncharacteristically nervous.
"I see no reason why you can not have a go with the pipe . It can not be any worse than this " and Seth points in the direction of the Fireplace. Leaning over he whispers to Beldon. "I think the Major has feelings for M'lady. I have never seen him this nervous around her before. Look at the way he is wringing his hands." Seth winks and then looks over at Amarantha . Whispering again he said " If I was to pick out anyone in this group to be with I would have to say it would have to be the Goddess. M'Lady is indeed beautiful but Amarantha is younger and just as beautiful. She is a wild thing though and the thought of taming her peeks my intrest."
Looking to see if Beldon showed in anger in that remark Seth leaned back up and reached for a piece of bread. Taking it and buttering the bread he starts to eat and waits for Beldons reply.
Beldon smiled at Seth's remark, and blushed slightly for no reason. He continued to look at both ladies in awe, as he had only known each of the magical mistresses less than a day.But he seemed more intent on his food than on catching either one's eye.With his mouth full, he nodded at the Major indicating his indifference to his smoking habits.
After chewing a bite of an omelet and swallowing, he smiled at the Lady and said: "Thank you very much for the lodging last night and the food! It was extremely nice of you."
She turned and looked at Beldon, giving him a soft smile. "It is a simple courtesy, Beldon. You are most kindly welcome."
Tizzy chose that moment to come out of her Lady's Living hair without any buzzing or grumbling. This was in part due to the fact that the hair had been smoothed the night before; mostly though it was because Tizzy was feeling unhappy with herself for stinging Seth. She fluttered down to him and landed on the table. She shuffled her feet a little and kicked at the air. Finally she looked up at Seth and an exceptionally large tear fell from her face and splashed onto her feet.
"Fye-boy... Tizzy is sorry. Please Fye-boy not hold angry for Tizzy. Tizzy not know Fye-boy in awake-sleep. Tizzy is sorry."
With that tizzy flew up to Seth and gave him a tiny little kiss on the place where she had stung him and then dove head first into the nectar that Sera had brought.
"Tizzy's favorite! So rare to find! Yumm!" She didn't bother with any of the other food available. This was the best nectar she had ever tasted and she wanted nothing else for her breakfast.
Seth was so busy eating that he didn't see Tizzy until she said something. Smiling, Seth listened to her apology and then shook his head.
"No need Tizzy. I understand why you were so angry. The Fye would have been just as mad if I walked up on one of their special dances.But they always told me that they were going out to dance. I had no warning from you or M`lady. Next time give me and the rest of us a little warning."
Seth started to move back when Tizzy jumped up, but he felt her kiss the same spot that she stun him on. It was a good feeling and he felt his skin start to warm up. Blushing, he went back to eating. He had to fight to get any nectar from the jar. Tizzy was head first in the jar and she made it hard to get his knife in and dip any out.
"Tizzy!! You're going to get yourself all sticky if you keep doing that." Reaching for the jar he poured a bit of the nectar on one of the rolls, and then poured some on Tizzy's plate. "Here, this might be easier for you. If you keep sticking your head in the jar you might end up on someone's toast." Laughing, Seth took the roll and bit into it. " Hey, these are not half bad. You all should try one. Their great!!"
After getting his fill and downing two more glasses of milk, Seth thought it would be a good time to take a walk. "If you all would excuse me," and he got up from the table. Brushing a few crumbs from his shirt and placing them on his plate he grabbed his glass, turned and walked over to the bar.
"Morning Hugh. Is it possible for you to help me?"
"Morning Seth. How can I help you." Hugh stopped wiping his glass and looked over at the group. "Are you all headed out?" It was a simple question and Seth took it as that.
"No Hugh, not at this time. A few might be going out to the market,but I am not sure. I am looking for a few good horses. I will need them broken and well trained. They must be fearless for the quest that we are about to for take. Is there some place that I might be able to find anything like that?"
Hugh thought for a moment, scratching his chin and then said: "Yes,there is a place that you might try. Down at the stables, on the far side of town you can find a man by the name of Drew. He might have some horses for you. He travels around and brings back some nice looking stallions and mares. He is a good man to deal with but a hard man to barter with.
If he sets a price you can bet he will go no lower. If it helps,you might tell him that I sent you. Then again it might hurt too." Hugh laughed and swatted a at fly that happened to land on the bar.
"Sorry. I need to be careful what I swat at. There are some creatures that drop in here that turn themselves into flies or bugs to listen in on some of the patrons." Taking the fly between two fingers he studies it and then throws it on the ground.
"As I was saying, you should be able to find everything you will need there. He also has a tack shop near the stables. There you should find the saddles and other tack for your trip. If you don't see what you want, just ask. I am sure that he can whip up something for you. Just take this street here and follow it to the end. There you will see the stable." Going back to wiping his glass Hugh looks up and asks: "Is there anything else?"
"No, that should help me. Thank you for your time, and for the milk." He places the glass back on the table along with a few coins. "This is to pay for the breakfast and thanks once again."
Hugh nodded and Seth walked back over at the table. "Well, the breakfast is paid for and I have been given some info on gathering up some horses. Would anyone care to join me in my little task?" Looking over first at Cali, then the Major, then Beldon and at last his eyes stopped at the ladies. Smiling he asks, "Ladies. Do any of you have a choice in the breed of horse that I will be purchasing? From what Hugh has told me, the owner has a number of fine steeds. I myself will be looking for a fine mare. I saw one once when I was younger. She was beautiful. Black with a white mane and tail. There was a spirit in that horse that no one could tame. I used to bring her apples, and she would eat them from my hand. I never tried to ride her but I bet you I could have if I wanted to."
Thinking about the horse brought back memories, and Seth took in a breath with a deep sigh. "Well if anyone wishes they can come along." Seth waited for a reply to his question. He hated to go alone. With his luck he would pick out a horse that was the wrong color or size for someone." I wonder what type of horse Amarantha would ride?" Seth blushed at the thought of having her riding behind him, and holding him close while the horse galloped into the sunset.
Up until now Cali did not have much of an input to the morning feast. As a gargoyle he did not need to eat, and since he did not enjoy 'regular' food, he did not feel the need to humor anyone.
"I will accompany you to the stables. I think my presence alone should be a good test of how easily the horses spook. It will probably be a good idea of we had horses that are well trained."
" That sounds great Cali. That is one test that will be put to great use." Looking around the table Seth asks " Anyone else wish to come along?"
Beldon's eyes perked up at the mention of going out. "I think I might tag along if you don't mind." And with that, he wiped his face with his napkin and stood up, grabbing his quarterstaff from under the table. "I believe I could use a little mid-morning excercise." He paused, waiting to see if anyone else wanted to come as well.
The Major, rustic smelling smoke swirling from the white pipe, shakes his head.
"I thank you for the invitation, but I am in the cavalry. I'm afraid I already have a horse."
She sat back and watched the Major's smoke curling up into the air around him. She was tired. She looked over at the the others and made her decision.
"I think that I will remain here for a time and reflect on how things have transpired. Please Seth, if you wouldn't mind, I'd appreciate if you would find a suitable mount for me. Perhaps after the horses have been attended to and you have had a chance to know your way around a little you would deign to escort me through the market place for the remainder of the morning. Those in need of lunch can meet here, all our expenses have already been paid."
She reached into her sleeve, came out with a handful of small sapphires and held them out to the others. "If any of you are short of monetary means you may have some of these. They appear to be suitable for trade here."
She looked expectantly at the others at the table offering them the sapphires and waiting for them to be accepted or rejected.
" That would be no trouble M`lady. I will find you a good strong mount, with spirit and grace to match your beauty." Taking one of the sapphires, Seth added, "I will use this to buy you a saddle and tack," and he smiled.
Beldon looked astonished at the jewels in the beautiful Lady's hand, and shook his head slightly before smiling brightly.
"Well, ma'am, I have just about everything I need in my pack. And I have money enough from the blacksmithing and fletching that I did in Collinton to buy a horse. Thank you for the offer, though."
He paused and then continued, "And if we need to shoe the horses I can easily do that this afternoon. If either of the ladies could enchant the metal before I work it, we might find that our journey would take less time."
He pondered for a moment. "It was a trick I once saw from a sorcerer at the oasis in Laren." Beldon looked at the others for confirmation or denial.
" That sounds good to me Beldon , if you have time for that. I will ask the blacksmith if you can 'borrow' his shop . Anything that will make our trip easier ," and Seth snaps his fingers. "I will need to up to my room , to get a few things." He was about to leave when he heard something outside. Turning he saw a strange sight. A horse with wings walking into the inn.
Amarantha was about to say something when she saw the strangest thing. Bursting through the door came a magnificent alicorn stallion. Gold,and glowing slightly, she recognized the beast immediately. But she couldn't help but wonder what he thought he was doing wandering the Mortal Realm.
A large animal (but don't let anyone call him that) with psychic abilities - that being telepathy and telekinesis. She used to love grooming his long mane and tail, he would always complain about this, stating how degrading he found it, then turn and admire his reflection in the nearby lake, posing and moving to bring it to its full effect. He's larger than most horses, and refuses to believe that he is any relative to these.
Then not far behind, a young dryad dressed in a dirtied costly green court gown came running in, hot in pursuit of the horse.
**Amarantha, how could you do this to me. Set that stupid cow of a dryad to watch over me. She's been yapping in my ear ever since she was made to watch on me. And she couldn't even do that, after all I did manage to get out** She heard the stallion's voice in her mind.
"Amarantha, I'm sorry, the stupid thing got out," the dryad said, out of breath from running after the animal.
** Stupid?!!? Talk about adding insult to injury!!**
She stares at the two for a moment, her eyes flicking from the great lummox, who was now peering around at everyone at the table, sniffing at Tizzy in curiosity. He seemed almost oblivious to the strange stares he got from the other patrons of the inn, including Hugh and Sera, who had both seen all manners of strange things within the inn. But a flying horse being chased by a dryad in ball gown?
Amarantha blinked for a moment, and felt particularly embarrassed by the sudden (albeit very timely) appearance of her two friends.
"Uh Seth? About that horse shopping offer. I think I kind of have one now already." She looked around at everyone and blushed. "I'm sorry about this folk, Elite is in the habit of thinking he is a person."
" So I see. Well then, the count is dropping as we speak. So I am counting four horses." Getting a strange look and seeing some counting on their fingers, he smiles and adds " One for me, the Lady, Beldon, and a pack horse for supplies. I was thinking of getting a mule, but we have enought stubbornness in the group." Laughing, and getting a dirty look from Amarantha , he smiles and winks. " I think I am in trouble now" Seth thought. "Ladies, if you would excuse me, I must go to my room and gather up a few things." With that said he turned and headed up the stairs. He could feel eyes boring in the back of his head. Laughing, he knew it was because of the stubborn remark.