Rhiallis: Logistics

      Today’s snippet, titled “Logistics”, is a piece I wrote about my PC in Mark’s new (Good) Pathfinder Campaign.
      Be forewarned, there may be mature themes and naughty language below.
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      “Hot Pies! Get your hot pies here! Fresh, hot, and only two silver! Hot pies! Get your hot pies here!”
      Rhiallis snagged one from the vendor. She bore a tray marked with the Appletree Inn sigil and wore a colorful sprig of flowers behind her ear. “Thank you!”
      The envelope of pastry was crisp and flaky; the filling rich and buttery with chunks of beef and carrot and peas. Rhiallis detected a note of sweetness and wondered if some of the bits of potato were actually apple. That’s brilliant, she thought. Leave it to Mira to come up with something so tasty and such a good advertisement.
      The Valorous Order of the Golden Sword met, as usual, to discuss their next steps. So many things came up at once – the group that had gone out in search of Niro’s corpse had returned empty handed, the cleric was still missing, and there were reports of barbarians and a dragon disrupting all the trade routes to the southwest.
      “So, we’re in agreement then?” Celeste asked, wiping a bit of foam from her lips.
      “Aye,” Cole nodded.
      Mira and Sadie spoke in unison. “Yup.”
      Aimsley seemed less certain, but gave her assent as well.
      “It does seem prudent, following the more urgent matter first.” Rhiallis shifted in her seat. It was awkward, sitting here with her wings trailing onto the floorboards. On either side of her, Mira and Sadie were stroking the feathers they had “accidentally” plucked. She was certain one or both of them would be wearing their trophy in a hatband or braided into their hair soon enough.
      “We should teleport – if Aimsley is willing – right back to that cave, where we had to leave our mounts.”
      “I’m willing,” she shifted positions, her face a mask of calm but her disposition revealing her anxiety. “But we all remember what happened this morning. And the time before that. I’m feeling a lot more confident – I’ve been studying the incantation – but there is always a chance…”
      Aimsley trailed off and gave a small shrug.
      Celeste cleared her throat. “Well, we have every confidence in you, Aimsley. So – two trips, as before?”
      “I wanna go first!” Sadie volunteered, hastily swallowing a mouthful of food.
      “And me.”
      Rhiallis could not help but grin, seeing how close the two had become since being reunited.
      “I’ll take Sadie, Mira, and Korael the first time. Celeste, Rhiallis, and Cole – second. Is that a plan?”
      It was agreed.
      A few minutes later, the four them vanished in a haze of esoteric gestures and magic energies.
      Celeste busied herself honing Snowblood – unnecessary, for the weapon was always ready for battle – and Cole checked over his gear one last time. Rhiallis finished the pie and sighed happily. Though she no longer required food, sometimes, she just relished the flavors and scents and textures on her tongue. Mira’s Hot Pie night was one of those times. Much as you may want another, Rhiallis, she told herself, wiping her hands on a napkin, if you gain another ounce you’ll never get any lift with these new wings.
      The minutes dragged on. And on.
      Though no one spoke, they all began to suspect that something had gone awry. Again. Rhiallis wondered if they had stumbled into another dreary inn in Ustalav, directly in the shadow of the Gallowspire. Or perhaps Sadie was running in circles atop the Lake of Mists and Veils again, while Mira tred water and Korael sank. Iomedae forfend! What if it is something worse still? What if they’ve been sucked into some Abyssal rift?
      “You know-” she began.
      Before a third syllable crossed her lips the four of them appeared in a swirl of magic. Their faces spoke volumes; tears stained several cheeks, eyes were hollow, expressions were blank.
      “What- what happened?” Celeste came forward, her hand on Snowblood’s hilt. “Where did you end up?”
      “We found the cave.” Aimsley said.
      Rhiallis’ heart dropped. Her elven friend made eye contact, her brow furrowed. She shook her head ever so slightly.
      Of all her friends in the Valorous Order, Mira was the one she had known the longest. Mira was the one who knew how much she treasured Emerald, who had been a gift from her lover and had been with her for years.
      When Mira touched her elbow and led her away from the others, Rhiallis knew already the words that were about to spill from her mouth.
      “…there was nothing…” She was saying. “…collateral damage, really, when two forces met…”
      Only a few phrases registered.
      Emerald – along with all the other mounts – was dead. Slaughtered brutally by unknowable assailants who in all likelyhood, had been fighting each other and given not a single thought to the poor horses left alone in the Worldwound.
      “I’m sorry, Rhi,” Mira said softly, patting her arm. “Really sorry.”
      Warm, salty tears slipped down her cheeks. “Thanks, Mira. I- I need a minute.”
      Behind her, the Order began discussing logistics. They needed to set out again, as soon as possible, but first they had to locate new mounts. At least the saddles and bridles had been salvageable – so she overheard, as someone dumped them out of an enchanted sack.
      Her heart ached. One of the last tangible connections to Viggo was gone. She wiped her eyes and straightened her shoulders. Now was not the time to grieve – not even over a beast who had been friend and companion for years. There were plans to make and work to do.
      Viggo would have to forgive her for losing Emerald.
      He would have to forgive her for a lot of things.

– – – – – – – – – – –
Signed, Josie
Note: Image is “King Jagiello Statue Central” by (Mulligand) from SXC.hu; edited by me

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