Just wanted to put that up. Any comments welcome.
Laiva gently slipped out of sleep and into to the wake world. She didn’t open her eyes yet, trying to snatch just a couple more minutes from reality’s cold claws, but to no avail. Determined to at least get a few more moments of cosy warmth, if nothing else, she huddled closer to Mynor and tried to remember what she had been dreaming.
There had been fire, plenty of fire and her mummy had been there. She had been a bit afraid at first, but then her mummy had taken her hand and the fear had peeled off like old paint. They had both been standing in a sea of fire, but everything was all right – that dream made even less sense than the ones she usually had.
Laiva opened her eyes and sat up. A few cautious rays of early morning light filtered through the foliage and gave the forest an unreal look; almost like those dreamy pictures you knew came from the painter’s imagination rather than the real world.
Then again nothing seemed real. Had she really just spent the second night in the forest? Fought a pack of werewolves and lived? And then Mynor: Who had ever heard of a wolf behaving like that? There were stories about children raised by wolves, of course, but you couldn’t believe everything your heard. And even if those stories were true, she was no toddler and Mynor as unlikely to nurse her as a billy to give milk.
She pressed the side of her face into Mynor’s side, the soft fur caressing her cheek. No, he was very very real. And so was the rumbling in her tummy. Time for breakfast.
‘Time for breakfast’ nicely summed up Isrin’s thoughts. His body was quite clear on the matter, and he would happily have complied if it weren’t for the fact that the city insisted on knowing better. Yes, that were cities in a nutshell: Completely inadequate schedules and the arrogance to insists that their way was only proper one.
Isrin shook his head. You’d think that the couple of years he had been living here when he was young would have counted for something, made him arrange himself with its rhythm, if not get comfortable with it, but you’d think wrong. Isrin had always been one to rise with the sun and go home when it set while people around here would stay up till late in the night and not rise until the day was well under way. Mornings in the city had always made him feel like a trespasser, and, to be honest, still did.
He’d only have to look out of the window. In the last half hour a mere six people had passed, half of them looking as if they were on their feet rather still than already and the others had been hurrying along, as if they feared to get caught for being about at that hour. The man a minute ago, for example, who had been darting to the inn’s entrance below as if it was a matter of life or death. People lost perspective in the city, they forgot what mattered, It was as if the walls around them spawned offspring in their minds.
An almost apologetic knock interrupted Isrin in his reflections. Odd, the boys usually didn’t show that much restraint. They’d rather break the door than risk not to be heard – at the off chance they remembered to knock at all.
‘Master Yovik?’ a voice asked feebly. If he wasn’t mistaken, it was one of the inn keeper’s lads. That explained that.
‘Come on in.’
The door slowly opened and a young man clutching an envelope pushed himself forward. He was obviously uncomfortable calling upon him at what he regarded to be that early an hour.
‘I’m up for hours, lad.’ he said in a pleasant tone, the youth relaxing visibly.
‘So, what is it? Anything amiss with my boys?’
Unlikely, but the only thing that readily sprung into mind.
‘No, Master Yovik. A messenger just called. He said it’s urgent. They have been trying to find you since yesterday, Master Yovik.’
He handed over the envelope and stood at attention while Isrin deciphered the sender’s name noted on it; it was from Jesij. He loved his wife, he really did, but sometimes he wished she didn’t have such a loose grasp of the word urgent; probably one of the children in the village had a cold.
Isrin pulled out two iron coins and pushed them into the lad’s hand.
‘One for the messenger and one for you. Off you go.’
The lad bowed slightly and left the room. Isrin sighed. Another thing he never managed to get used to was people constantly expecting payment, no matter how small the deed. Not that he couldn’t effort it, but an two iron were two iron, and that was only one eighths of a copper; things added up.
He returned his attention to the envelope and opened it, removing a small sliver of paper from inside. Jesij had no idea what a commotion she had caused with her ‘urgent’ message. They had probably been combing half the city for him. She would go all red when he told her; despite her age she still blushed like a little girl. A smile stole its way onto his face as he pictured that. Well, time to see what was so important.
A few seconds later his smile was gone and his jaw almost dropped. That foolish girl. What had she been thinking? He shook his head. He would do what he had been asked to, if only to do anything at all. There was little hope Laiva was still alive, no matter what Jenn and Aleana wanted to believe.
Meanwhile a very alive Laiva was heading north, pondering her options. Not that she had that many to begin with; either she could stick to the road, or she could head straight for the city, or, unless she wanted to swim over the river, bridge. Yesterday the choice would have been easy enough – the road meant safety – but for whatever reason Mynor had led her around the inn last night, she was certain it was something bad. The inns were not safe.
And if she couldn’t trust the inns to be safe, neither could she trust the roads. She was probably better off in the shadow of the trees. She rested her hand on Mynor’s head and scratched him behind the ears. Especially with such a bold protector at her side.
Actually, it was still an easy choice to make. She would have to do with the little water she had left until the river, though – and, after finishing off the last of her provisions for breakfast, without food until the city.
There was a rustle in the undergrowth and a rabbit darted away from them. The next moment Mynor was after it, almost knocking Laiva over with his jump start. She smiled and set off after them; there would be food after all.