Lyssa opened the door at the second knock. Xavier smiled tightly as he stepped through the threshold. He wore a navy blue suit with a white button down shirt underneath and a silver silk tie. His muddy brown hair was slicked back and his eyes held a look of boredom.
“’lo, Mister Wallock,” Lyssa said. In her hand she held a glass of whiskey; her hair was pulled back into a short ponytail. A pair of sweats and an oversize t-shirt gave her an overly comfortable look. None of this mattered to her. She didn’t need to dress up for Xavier.
“Good Evening, Miss Stormwater,” he said quietly. “I trust you are well”
“Well enough,” she replied. “You don’t look overly excited to be here.”
“Long day at the office,” Xavier stated. Lyssa just nodded and lead him into the sitting room. “Is Miss Alow going to be joining us tonight?”
“No,” Lyssa replied as she curled up in her chair. “Pania is working right now.”
Xavier pulled out a small recorder and set it on the table. “If you don’t mind,” he began. “I would like to record this information rather than type it.”
“Fine by me,” Lyssa said, taking a sip from her glass.
It took ten days traveling by foot for us to reach Tel’thurian. By the time we got there, my legs were stiff and sore. There were two times on the road that Toeryn carried me and the two packs. He was well trained in what to do outdoors. What surprised me the most was that he knew how to hunt; we had rabbit or some sort of small game almost every night.
One of the times I was carried, was when approached the main gates. Not have much to do with people other than those in the house, the guards made me curious. Their clothing was like nothing I ever seen before. The simple leather chest piece dotted with bits of metal, a helm that was made of stiff leather. To keep from giggling at their strange appearance, I hid my face in Toeryn’s neck.
“’scuse me mate,” Toeryn said in an accent that wasn’t his. “Could ye direct me an’ me sisser ‘ere to the nearest inn? She got sick on the way ‘ere an’ need a bit o’ rest.”
I look up for a moment, and the guard seemed to believe my appearance as a sign of sickness. I was still fairly dirt, a rainfall had washed most of the dirt off, but not all. “You follow the main road to the central market place, then you go left, follow that about two side streets and you’ll come across a comfortable inn and tavern. It’s called the Empty Barrel, painted sign of a spilled barrel.”
Toeryn nodded his thanks and offered the man a silver coin. It was rare that I seen money and I was curious about it. It reminded me of a bit of metal that dotted the man’s uniform. Thought questions filled my mind, I stayed quiet until we passed the main gate. My eyes looked everywhere. White stucco that had seen one too many rain storms covered the walls. Large windows showed off shop wares and the small brown ones, I could only assume were houses.
Townspeople milled around us, most of them not paying any attention to Toeryn and me. As we passed a bakery, the smell of hot bread wafted under my nose. I felt homesick, those in the kitchens back in Meadow Brook, were my family. Nursed me when I was ill, held me when I was scared and protected me from the mistress. My growling stomach pulled me from my day dreams as we began to pass more shops, and stalls. Then it hit me.
“What if we run into my father?” I asked with a slight panic to my voice.
“It’s unlikely that he even knows you exist, Lyssa,” he told me. “And even if he did, what makes you think that he would want an orphan like you? You don’t have any proof that you’re his daughter.”
“Oh.” I said sadly.
I still continued to look around, thinking and hoping that just maybe my father was here, and would know me instantly. Even if he wasn’t there today, maybe he would be there sometime while Toeryn and I stayed here. I would look for him on my own.
Toeryn hoisted me further up his back as we moved down the street further. In the center of the main square was a large three tiered stone fountain. Merchant stands and stall lined most open spaces, what was left were narrow foot paths. Toeryn and I stared in amazement; everything was brightly colored and noisy. I had never seen a more spectacular sight.
“Fresh fish!” One of the merchants called out every few moments. I wrinkled my nose at the sight of headless fishes and cringed as a man behind the caller loped off another fish head. My stomach churned a little, so I turned my head and looked at the other stalls to my left. Bottles, candles, jewels of all sorts lined the stalls.
“Oi, lad, bring the little miss over here,” Another merchant called to my brother. “Let her have a gander at all the exotic goodies from near and far!”
“No, thanks,” Toeryn said over the crowd. My eyes looked at the man, had locked into place with his. At first he did a double take and then stared after my brother and me. I stared back too, more out a curiosity than rudeness. When the merchant realized he was still staring, he went back to calling people over to his stall. Snow had begun to fall again as we moved our way to the west side of the town.
“We’re almost there, Lyssa,” Toeryn told me. I said very little during our trip, and started to look forward to a warm, soft bed.
“Can I have a fairy cake?” I asked softly.
“If they have them, otherwise you will have to wait until tomorrow,” Toeryn replied with a smile.
Houses lined the side street, laundry hung from lines strung across the streets. Children in the streets moved out of our way, but stared at us curiously. Woman chattered idly as they wash clothing, in a large wooden tub. The street was made of thick gray cobbles that put together tightly and were quite clean. Despite the look of the buildings, most of them seem rather sturdy looking. It wasn’t the slums by any means, but it was high class society either. It looked plain, and wonderful.
We passed the second street. I was able to see the sign for the Empty Barrel, I couldn’t read the words on the sign, but the picture of a tipped over barrel and ale pouring from it was enough to tell.
“Toeryn?” A male voice called out. Toeryn looked behind us when he heard his name. “Is that really you?”
“Aye?” Toeryn replied suspiciously. “Who wants to know?”
A lanky man came over to us. His hair was black and looked in need of a good wash. His skin was pale with a blue tint that seemed to stand out more with the sickliness of his appearance. He had a long pointed nose that had probably been broken more than once. The stranger was dressed in fine clothing, long black hose, an embroidered black tunic with a crisp white undershirt, soft black boots that warmed his feet and a floppy hat that had a feather in it.