Shadow of Hope 50

Talon took Rôhn’s offering of tobacco. Absentmindedly wrapping his smoke, Talon watched Zulian stalk away before turning back to Rôhn to say quietly, but loudly enough for anyone save those at the far edge of the clearing to hear, “The two women in my life saved it.”

He put the new cigar in his mouth and seemed content just to mouth it for the time being.

“When I came to, Zulian had found me and tended my wounds. She was already making for the coast, with me in a makeshift litter in tow.”

“And Eena is still with me. Her spirit, I mean. I can feel it…feel her in me. And what’s more, I seem to have… new abilities. Some of her powers, perhaps.”

“Zulian said she did not understand how I survived. I would certainly have died, had they not both helped me.”

Deliberately before Rôhn could comment, Talon raised his voice and looked around at the assembly. “SO, WHAT EVIL ARE WE HERE TO DEFEAT TODAY?! ARE WE HERE TO KILL, CAPTURE OR RESCUE?”

Cheskith couldn’t help but start slightly at the unexpected bellow; it wasn’t as though anyone had been having trouble hearing the human up until now.

He glanced questioningly at Rôhn; the dwarf’s reaction to the rather unexpected behavior might be a better cue as to how to react to it than anything he might arrive at on his own.

Rôhn smirked and took a draw on his pipe, seemingly unfazed by Talon’s volume. His eyes shifted surreptitiously to Erellia, as if bemusedly awaiting her response to — or evasion of — the question, yet expecting no informative answer.

As the halfling reminisced about his Aunt’s ham, a slight smile curled the barbarian’s lip and a twinkle of amusement appeared in his eyes. “Perhaps, you and I shall share a pipe of my blend one day.”

He gave a slight nod to the halfling and finished by saying, “It is a blend of the sacred herbs of my people.”

“Indeed, Borlak, we will. And mayhap we’ll also share tales of our peoples, eh?”

Having said his piece, Borlak walked with his mount to a place slightly removed. It would appear that he has set himself as watch while they party made its niceties.

He stood facing the direction in which they had been heading and softly stroking his mount’s head and talking to him in a quiet voice.

Finn watched the barbarian return to his place and made a note to sit near him out when they arrived at the inn.

Kurn wondered what manner of patrons such an inn situated in secret lands on secret routes expected to regularly cater to. Too much time spent in campaigns with unknowns kept him from voicing his musing; when there was something he needed others to consider or speak to, he’d succinctly step in and state so.

Kurn pulled his waterskin from his mount, opened it, and took a healthy draught before recapping it and securing it again. The woods ahead promised sturdier footing than the narrow passage they’d just emerged from; heeding Erellia’s warning Kurn pulled his shield to arm, then took the reins of his horse back to hand and fell back into line. That Rôhn, Erellia, and Zulian, grudgingly, were willing to accept the company of the halfling and the aspiring man with the rapier on his hip was good enough for Kurn for now.

“This road twists,” he observed, deadpan and loud enough to be heard by those near him without especially trying to make himself so.


Shadow of Hope 51

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