Travels of the Caravan

Early the next morning, before the first morning bird sung its song, Ad'cero and Iniara mounted the caravan lead and headed on their way north of Litor. Iniara sat in a light blue and silver silk robe with her headdress places on her stoic head. She kept her dark eyes closed, as if in deep thought. Nervous, Ad'cero sat across from her in the cabin in the clothes she wore the previous day and her hands tightly folded in her lap.

Iniara lifted her head and spoke to Ad'cero, Didn't the housekeepers give you a decent pair of clothes to change into? Tsk tsk, how inappropriate to fashion dirty clothes on this mission.

Sighing slightly, Ad'cero mumbled, I don't see the need for appropriate dress for where we seek, this is plenty enough. You will sooner see your robe fastened against a tree branch than I.

A fist of rage slammed down on Iniara's seat from her grasp, Is that a threat, wench?!

Ad'cero jumped back and protected her face with her left arm, Miss, we are going into a forest, there will not be a red carpet for you to walk on in order to get to this Realm.

I have my own ways of getting through situations, Ad'cero.

That is fine, Iniara, but have you forgotten that it is I alone who knows the way to this Bishen Realm?

Iniara sat back in her seat and stared at Ad'cero. A knock rapped on the door of the carriage as Im'os held the door open. We are just south of Hearth, ladies. I hope everything is going fine so far?

Ad'cero leaped from the padded bench of the carriage and tumbled down the steps of the platform. Iniara replied emotionless, Of course, how could anyone not enjoy my company?

A small pub rested a few hundred feet away from where the caravan stopped. After escaping from the carriage, Ad'cero ran to the front doorway and pushed the heavy slab of wood. Once inside, a room dimly lit with nearly a dozen fat candles placed among old men huddled over their drinks. The old woman motioned towards the bar tender, What way is the quickest way out of here and towards Hearth? she asked in a whisper.

Eh? We just south o' Hearth. What'chu in a hurray? he spoke loudly into Ad'cero's face.

Hush... shhh! she motioned her hands downward to quiet the man, I just need a way out of here, this crazy woman has me trapped with her caravan.

A slim smirk formed on the man's face, And what does this woman want, maid?

She wove her fingers together tightly in her grasp and replied, She wants me to take her to the Bishen Realm.

Bishen Realm! he exclaimed, What in the name of Aille is that?

Leaning closer, she seriously stated, Dragons are born in clutches there and are given to worthy caretakers!

Unable to keep his laughter suppressed, the man shouted, DRAGONS?! In RHUL? Not fo' over a MILLION see-sons could I 'ave seen 'hat one com 'in! He points a finger at the old woman, You, m'lady, while very pretty, are CRAazzy. He toppled downward a little and continued to slur his words.

Ad'cero expressed disdain as the once seemingly sober man began to fall to pieces. What a disgrace sir, a business man, posh!

I wouldn't say he is the disgrace, Ad'cero. Iniara stood with Im'os and other guards at her side, rod pointed in hand at the old Hearthan at the pub's doorway. You must not underestimate my powers, at that she motioned slightly with her rod as the man at the counter buckled. What a disappointment, lead me to Hearth and threaten to abandon me here? A light, icy tint wrapped around the staff as she whipped it and a forceful burst of energy lifted a nearby chair and flung it towards Ad'cero. Unfortunately, the old woman could never have moved in time and one of the chair's legs smacked Ad'cero in the forehead and brought her to the ground.

Many of the men in the pub gaped at the sorceress and lifted themselves from their chairs. One man in particular shouted in Iniara's direction, Demon! It is a demon! and grabbed an object from his back pocket. A glint of light reflected off the metal of a silvery barrel of a gun as he held it up to eye range and began to shoot at Iniara. Immediately, all of the other drunken bastards emulated the first, each displaying a different designed armory.

Without a wince, Iniara brought her staff closer to her breast and an icy shield protected her and the ones behind her from stray bullets, reflecting the sharp metal objects back at their dispatchers. All the men were knocked out, or killed, soon after and bodies lie on chairs and tables, strewn on the floor. How awful, Iniara commented dryly.

Im'os pranced to Ad'cero's side, Now, now, Iniara I don't think you should have killed her!

That was her fault, not mine.

He bent down and felt for a pulse, Well, she is still alive. You know, you should try to be more polite, may-

Iniara snapped, There would be no need for this wasted time if she would just behave herself, like a slave she is! She sighed and briskly walked to Ad'cero, bent down and picked her up by the collar of her shirt. I have had just about enough of this, she'll wake up by the time we get to North Rhul and she'll be forced to lead us to the Bishen Realm.

Ad'cero remained unconscious for almost two nights and a day until she awoke one late afternoon while the caravan was parked near the most northern edge of Rhul; she remembered visiting this same beach when she was real young. It was a place very far from Hearth, and took almost a week to reach from her childhood home.

How did we make it here? What happened? She tried to lift her head but was greeted by a stroke of pain near her forehead.

I wouldn't try too much until tomorrow, Ad'cero, a chilled voice emitted from the shadow of the other side of the cabin. There, Iniara sat solemn with her hands in her lap and a silver box next to her on the seat.

Only now did she remember her frightening nightmare of a mission she was forced into. Oh why, why did I have to go searching for strubble-berries that morning? I would have never been caught and brought to Iniara... tsk tsk. Where are we, Iniara?

On the banks of North Rhul, waiting for your next instructions to the Bishen Realm, she answered shallow.

Ooh... Ad'cero dropped her head back down on the red velvety seat.

A rustle of Iniara's clothes made Ad'cero look up again and there the silver box sat in front of her face and a sympathetic look from Iniara accompanied the strange offering. Chocolate? Iniara suggested to Ad'cero. Ad'cero lifted the box from the mistress's hand and observed what lie inside. Three individual chocolate figures sat on a white cloth. To the left, a teddy bear decorated in a large bow sat staring up at her, to the right a star lit up her eyes, and in the middle a pillar constructed from the chocolate illustrated sharp edges and a tall steeple. She chose the middle figure and began to eat and handed the box back to Iniara with a slight smile.

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