FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 3 Part 2c

FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 3 Part 2c

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Once they had been settled into their rooms Mokha and Sefla found a quiet spot somewhere to continue their lessons. Adwin and Calathy went to the main room and joined the company people in their celebration. Tipper felt moody and was not interested in socializing or being in the station. She slipped out the back and went for a walk in the pouring rain.

She followed the brook away from the town, the water was high along the banks. She found an exposed section of rock and sat down above the running water. After a long while she was still feeling grumpy and on edge. Despite the relative twilight of the stormy day the afternoon had yet to pass. She did some stretches and exercised for a while. The exertion helped calm her, she would be happy when they were no longer travelling on the coach and had left Roburns Trading Company behind.

The downpour ebbed towards a drizzle and the temperature began to drop. As darkness started to settle she sang the setting of the sun. Feeling somewhat better she cautiously returned to the town. It had become very dark, she had to be careful of her footing. Eventually she made it to the station, it sounded like folks had settled a bit, she went in, dripping water and sat near the stove.

Adwin, Calathy and Whyse were at one end of the table talking. Hidge and one of the station crew were handling the after meal cleanup, a couple of the other crew were playing cards. Tipper ate as the heat from the stove dried her clothing. Whyse excused herself, saying she was leaving for Sharlok’s Keep at dawn. Adwin and Calathy moved to sit with her.

Adwin suggested, “We should get those packages ready. Sharlok has most of the local couriers and coaches employed in support roles for his little war. Whyse might be the only courier available for a number of days.”

Tipper gave an affirmative grunt and followed them upstairs. She wrote her note to Andisal and hid it in the sleeve of Del’s new robe. Adwin also wrote a note informing Del they would be along shortly and had a crate from the GreensBridge temple for her. Then they put together a package for Dresmend, including a handful of silver weight and let him know that they would be seeing him soon. Adwin took the packages downstairs to make sure they went out with Whyse in the morning.

Calathy said, “Seems like we won’t be heading out until after noon tomorrow, what with the rain and the roads. Pridden also wants to be sure the horses are well rested.”

Tipper rolled out her shoulders and said, “Well, I guess that’s to be expected. I take it there’s not enough horses at the station to replace the entire team?”

“It’s like Adwin said, a lot of the company’s resources are being used to help with Sharlok’s efforts east of here.” She gave Tipper a concerned look, “Are you alright?”

“I think so.”

Calathy moved to sit next to her on the bed, “You don’t seem alright. You’re tense.”

“Maybe a little.”

“Here, I can help.” She reached for Tipper’s tunic and started to pull it up.

Tipper stopped her, “What are you doing?”

Calathy smiled and blushed, “I was going to rub your shoulders, your back too if you want.”

“Alright, go ahead.”

“Gods Tipper. Your shoulders are like stone.”

“You can do that harder if you want.”

She laughed, “It’s like kneading bread.”

Tipper let her work at her shoulders and then laid down, Calathy then massaged her back for a long while, Tipper started to relax then fell asleep.

Rain pattering against the window woke her. The small window had been left slightly open, cool air wafted in, it was still dark outside. Tipper was bit surprised to find a naked Calathy cuddled up to her, snoring quietly. She took her pants off and dropped them to the floor then shifted a bit until Calathy’s head rested on her shoulder. She stroked the woman’s hair for a while, gave her a gentle kiss on the lips and soon fell back asleep.

It was well after sunrise before they awoke. Tipper felt better than she had over the past few days, her shoulders were no longer tense. She smiled at Calathy when the woman opened her eyes. Calathy seemed a little surprised, “Sorry Tipper. You fell asleep.”

“That’s alright. Best sleep I’ve had in a while.”

“That’s good. We slept a long time.”

Tipper still had an arm around her, “Yeah, that’s alright.”

They stayed cuddled together on the narrow bed, Calathy lazily traced the muscles along Tipper’s belly with a finger. They were on the verge of dozing off again when Adwin gave a quick knock on the door and walked in, “Have you seen, oh… Hi Tipper.”

“How’s the day?”

“Um, it stopped raining, looks like the clouds are lifting. Messages went out with Whyse this morning. Pridden says we’ll be leaving after lunch and should still make it to Sharlok’s Keep well before the end of the day. Mokha and Sefla are doing ruddah things. I…” He had run out of things to say, he realized he was staring at them then blushed.

“How was Whyse?” Calathy asked.

“Ah, alright I think. She looked fine when she rode out.”


“Oh, what?”

“Oh, nothing.”

“Alright, I’m going now. Lunch will be served soon.” He retreated through the door, closing it as he left.

Tipper and Calathy laughed a bit then sat up together. Calathy pushed her hair back and Tipper was struck by how beautiful she was, “I’m glad you came with us, willow.”

Calathy scrunched up her face, “Don’t call me that.”

“It kind of suits you.”

“Meh, kiss me.”

Tipper did so. Calathy sighed then pushed her away, “I’m glad you’re happy I came. For a long time I thought you didn’t like me.”

“We should get dressed and go get some food.”

“Alright, can I ride with you on the back of the coach today?”

“Sure, if you want to.”

By the time they had gone downstairs, Mokha and Sefla had also shown up for lunch. Adwin was sitting with Hidge, a couple of the other employees sat at the other end of the table, already eating.

“How much did those packages cost?” Tipper asked Adwin.

“Don’t worry about it.”


Hidge spoke up, “I was wondering, what do you lot intend to do once we reach Wikkersak? It’s the end of the line…”

The group of them fell silent, Adwin shrugged, then said, “Well, we’re still trying to figure that out. I imagine we’ll buy a wagon and some horses, otherwise some pack animals.”

“You might be hard pressed on account of Sharlok’s military operations.”

“We’ll see what we find when we reach the keep.”

“Alright, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.” She stood and rapped the table top with the knuckles of one hand, “I’m going to help Pridden with the team.”

They fell silent after she had left, finished their meal then saw to packing up their stuff. A while later they were back on the road. Calathy had brought a blanket to pad the bench and sat next to Tipper. The area between Calameer and Sharlok’s Keep had hamlets and homesteads throughout, large orchards and fields of crops dominated the countryside. The road had a fair amount of traffic, everything was still wet and smelled fresh. The coach rolled along at a leisurely pace.

For much of the trip they sat in companionable silence, until Calathy asked, “Could you train me how to fight?”

Tipper was pleased with the question, “I’m sure I can show you the basics, enough to defend yourself should the need arise. Though honestly, it there’s any serious fighting you should hang back.”

“Don’t you think there’s going to be trouble the further east we go?”

“I do.”

“Well, I want to be able to help.”

“I can understand that. There’s not many days before we might be dealing with any number of dangerous situations. We can get you started, but you’ll not have the skill to do much more than defend yourself. If you’re in the thick of a serious battle you could just as easily get yourself killed as be useful.”

“Well then, I guess I should start training with you and Adwin this afternoon.”

“Sure, but you have to promise me not to fight unless you are forced to. If we train all summer, then you might be able to hold your own. No heroics.”

“Alright.” She said with an enthusiastic smile.

“Give me your word.”

“I do. I promise not to go looking for a fight.”

Tipper gave a nod. It was likely a really good idea if they all did some training. She was sure Mokha could handle himself when the need arose but she had no clue if Sefla could. Calathy and Sefla might make good sparing partners. She also needed to have a better understanding how much magic Mokha could actually bring to a fight. He could shoot a fan of fire from his hand, but it seemed to tire him quickly.

Calathy pointed towards the sky, “Is that an eagle?”

Tipper looked for a bird, then saw what Calathy had spotted, “Pseudo-vulture.”

“A dragon?”

“Yes, a kind of dragon.”

“Is it dangerous?”

“Not usually, just don’t try to get between it and what it wants to eat. They are usually scavengers though.”

“It’s beautiful”

Tipper looked up at it again, then back to Calathy, “You’re right. It is.”

A while later they rolled into the small town near Sharlok’s Keep, the Roburns station was on the eastern side of town. When they passed the farrier, Tipper noted the presence of one of her uncles coaches waiting alongside, three people milled around near the coach though she did not see who the teamster was.

Calathy commented, “What a pretty little place.”


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