Part 17: Friendship

15 to Wakening Sun, Voelis

Today was a long day of travel, but I think it went pretty well. There has been a lot of tension between members of our little group again. Although I’m happy to report, Heath, that I was not the cause of it this time! But writing that makes me feel kind of callous. I am glad I wasn’t making trouble in the group, but I am sorry to say that there has been trouble nonetheless.

Most of the day passed without incident. We talked amongst each other while we traveled and it was delightful to be with everyone like this. It has been a few days since our group did this. At first, I thought it would be weird to travel with Vaevictus in our group. For one, he wasn’t really considered part of our group, so to speak. Also, he’s a god and the king of Altea. But traveling with Vaevictus wasn’t all that strange in the end. He seemed extremely tired most of the time but he kept a smile on his face.

The group stopped for the night in a small cave near the end of the sierras that Briar and Shadow found for us. We had a small meal to close out the day and afterwards Shadow went out to set some traps for some meat. Actaeon took Triple out to scout around the area. I started writing this entry while we were settling down for the night when Shadow returned. He found and cooked some fox squirrels but also had with him a new creature I had never seen. He called it an Egg Snatcher, a kind of small, chicken-like dinosaur.

What came next was very fun but also horribly sad. Shadow cast a quick spell and was trying to communicate with the egg snatcher. He kept saying things like, “We’re friends now! I’m your friend!” It’s amusing to see this side of Shadow. But I don’t think the egg snatcher was having any of it. It kept screaming, or shrieking. Whatever the word is, I don’t know. In the small cave, it was awfully loud. And unbeknownst to us, it had attracted the attention of Triple.

Shadow said the most peculiar thing to the egg snatcher. He told it to race him to the other end of the cave! To no one’s surprise but perhaps Shadows, the egg snatcher immediately ran for the exit and almost immediately into Triple’s jaws. Actaeon should have been holding the allosaur back, but he must have found the situation amusing and told Triple he was a good boy. Shadow was furious and tried to tackle Actaeon, but the armored man just sidestepped the attack. Shadow stormed away from camp to find some other place to sleep for the night.

Actaeon shrugged it off and said he’d stay watch for the night. I don’t think Briar trusts Actaeon right now (and, to be quite frank, neither do I), so she decided to stay up with him and watch. Clio said she’d take the next watch. I’m so tired I don’t think I can keep my eyes open at this point. I hope Khar’shan doesn’t try to mess with us again tonight. I’m too tired for her.

15 to Wakening Sun, Voelis

Good morning, Heath! I’ve got a few moments to write before we head off again. So, some weirdness from last night. I couldn’t sleep. Apparently neither could Clio and Briar. As we were settling down to bed, we overheard the most uncomfortable conversation in the entire world. Vaevictus and Torag had been avoiding each other most of yesterday’s travel for, in my opinion, entirely understandable reasons. Vaevictus has never really been much of a father according to Torag. But Vaevictus gave up a portion of his divinity to revive Torag when he died. So… awkward.

Here’s my summary of what happened.

Vaevictus: “Hey, son, how are you feeling?
Torag: “Fine. I’m breathing again. So there’s that.”
Vaevictus: “Nice… uh… nice walk today.”
Torag: “Yeah. Nice walk. Got some… uh… exercise in.”
Vaevictus: “Yes! Exercise. Good… good stuff. You need that… er… daily… exercise.”
Torag makes a snorting sound here.
Vaevictus: “Soooooooo…… Just… uh… just checking in.”
Torag: “Uh-huh. How are you doing? After… you know… saving my life and all.”
Vaevictus: “Oh, yeah, you know. I’m good. I’m okay. Joints are stiff. Can’t complain too much.”
Torag: “That’s good. Good… yeah.”
Vaevictus: “Hey, I saw you fighting in the forge. With the… you know… the punches and kicks. When the lizard things attacked.”
Torag: “Oh yeah, right. Um… that’s… yeah… It’s pretty cool.”
Vaevictus: “Where’d you learn all that?”
Torag: “That’s… I learned it from the monks. After mom was taken and I was cursed. The monks taught me to fight like that.”
Vaevictus: “Cool. Cool to see. The way you move and… yeah. Anyway…”
Torag: “Yeah…”
Vaevictus: “Good talk, son.”

Wow, they are awkward around each other. Briar, Clio, and I exchanged looks while it was happening. I think we were trying to not laugh. Briar kept fidgeting. I thought it was from the shakes Khar’shan’s nasty dream gave her last night, but now I think she was snickering.

Oh, on that subject, Briar cast a spell on herself to fix the shakes. I offered to cast the same spell, but she refused me, insisting that I save my magical reserves in case something should come our way. Actaeon’s weirdness seemed gone today, too. We prepared to leave, but Shadow kept his distance. He told Clio that he wanted to walk alone today, but Clio said she would hang back close to him to communicate telepathically in case something were to happen to him or us.

And with that, we’re off! The god king said we will be in Altea by nightfall. I am looking forward to a drink with my friends and a comfortable bed!

14 to Wakening Sun, Voelis

Alright, Heath, don’t be mad. I’m only tipsy this time. I’m not drunk. I don’t do that anymore. Hah! Yes, I do, don’t I? But I’m not right now. I’ve enough of a level head to write up the rest of our day, then I’m off to sleep in this wonderfully inviting feather bed.

Briar and I struck up a conversation on the road and Clio and Torag joined us in it. We talked about the Oath of Friendship we had all taken back three weeks ago. So far, we’ve had three things happen in the last few days to strain our friendships. I was overly hasty trusting someone new. Actaeon drugged the party and Briar and I had to deal with it. And now Actaeon let Triple eat Shadow’s egg snatcher. If our team was to be a team, we needed to start taking this friendship stuff more seriously and stop acting so carelessly. Dia chimed in and suggested that our oath was meant to unite us together and we should be more careful with one another. Briar spoke harshly to Actaeon – telling him to not use her again – and we stopped the conversation.

In Altea, Vaevictus invited us all to the palace for the night. Shadow and I felt more comfortable in the Dragon’s Tooth Inn, and Clio and Briar preferred to sleep in the vineyard again. Torag and Actaeon, however, took up Vaevictus on the offer. But before then, we decided to go to the inn and get a drink together. Shadow said something severe to Actaeon, suggesting he get some rest at the palace. It was clearly an implication that Actaeon was not invited, but Actaeon didn’t seem to mind. He got Triple settled in the king’s stables and went in the palace.

The rest of us felt bad that Actaeon wasn’t with us. Shadow eventually relented and said Actaeon could join us. Briar bought a bottle of wine from the innkeeper and returned to the palace to find Actaeon. Meanwhile, the rest of us decided to play a game! Dia knew the best spirits and offered to be the judge of our drinking contest. Before we began, I asked Clio how serious she wanted this competition to be, all the while trying to distract her from me attaching some bear’s fur around her finger on a small length of leather. She was confused when I was doing this, so I told her it was going to help her in the game – and I promptly cast a spell on her and I to give us an edge in the game!

The first drink was Mountain’s Beauty, a cool and refreshing liquor. It made me feel cold immediately, a strange and alluring sensation. Torag and I found it very tasty, but it sent Clio and Shadow into a drunkenness almost immediately. Dia said that was part of its effects.

I learned something about my friends tonight. Torag is much more perceptive than I give him credit for. He noticed me casting a spell on me and Clio but had chosen to remain silent as he was curious how the spell worked. I confessed what I had done and admitted to cheating, giving him the gold I had wagered on the game. He pocketed the coins and just smiled, taking another drink. I learned that Shadow is a loud drunk. His volume increases exponentially the more he drinks. And I learned Clio gets very handsy when she’s been drinking. She clung onto Shadow like they were best friends, wrapping her arm around him. After she did it, she must have realized what she was doing and immediately distanced herself from him. Honestly, they’re both so cute when they’re drunk! We should do this more often.

The second drink was Fairy Fireball, my new all-time favorite liquid. It’s so spicy! Dia said it was made by a fey. Or made of fey. Or made… I don’t know. It smells like Clio, which is kind of neat. Before we could get into the third drink, Briar and Actaeon came in. It seems Briar drank the bottle of wine intended for Actaeon. In her drunkenness, she purchased an egg snatcher from a fortune teller outside and gave it to Shadow. Shadow and Actaeon made amends, too. Actaeon, knowing that Shadow did not have a bedroll after the events of the mithral forge, crafted him one out of the expensive sheets and cloths in Vaevictus’s palace. Briar was reeling from the wine and excused herself for the night, kissing me on the forehead and telling me I was like a sister to her. The warm fuzzy feeling I’ve been having isn’t just from alcohol tonight!

The third drink was True Dwarven Stout, a beer I think I’ll pass on next time. It’s served “on the rocks”, which is a fancy term for “with ice” back in Ylisse. Here it means literally served on some rocks. Clio got smacked in the lips when a rock hit her. Torag almost swallowed his. Shadow just kind of played with the rocks after spitting them out on the table. I thought I’d be done after that drink, but Clio said we should have more fun and keep drinking. So obviously I agreed!

The fourth drink was enough to end the game in my favor. Will-o-Whiskey is a strange drink that can cause illusory effects on the drinker. It made my head a little light, but it really messed with Clio, Torag, and Shadow. I misunderstood Clio when she looked at me and said, “Pretty!” I think I turned bright red, not knowing what she meant by that. But she started pawing at the air beside my head and Dia explained how the whiskey worked. How foolish, I thought she was talking about

Actaeon hadn’t been drinking at all tonight, so he helped me get everyone to sleep. We paid the bill for the night and he walked Torag back to the palace. I helped Clio outside. I meant to take her to the vineyard but I had never been there and she was too tipsy to tell me where it was. Fortunately, we found Briar asleep under some trees just outside the window of my room at the inn. I probably shouldn’t have left them there but I don’t think I could have made it to the vineyard. I think it’s… east of here? Doesn’t matter, I just checked out my window. Briar and Clio are sleeping soundly. Shadow wandered outside after the fourth drink and I’ve no idea where he went. I should look for him but I can barely keep my eyes open now.

I purchased one more Fairy Fireball from the barkeeper and went up to my room. As I’m finishing writing this letter, I took a drink. Now I keep hiccuping little wisps of color. I want to go show Clio and Briar, but I don’t think they’re going to wake up. I’ll have to get more of this stuff tomorrow.

13 to Wakening Sun, Voelis

My birthday is in two days! I’m excited, Heath! I don’t know how birthdays work in the Emerald Isles. I guess I don’t know how they work in Ylisse either. They never let us celebrate this sort of thing. But I have plans to make it a party this year. I’m off to the marketplace to buy my friends some fun gifts!

I found a vendor with all sorts of interesting trinkets and knick-knacks. He was trying to convince me that some of the things in his stand were magical but I don’t think he knew I could detect that sort of thing. I found some fun gifts for my friends. I also got something for Azorius and Cindra. They’re part of the team now, too. And supposedly, we’re going to find Actaeon’s squire sometime today. I don’t know who that is, but I figured he would like what I got him. I paid to have each of these things gift wrapped and set off to find my friends.

I found Actaeon after he had sold the behir parts I preserved for him. I’m not sure what he got for it, but he had an assortment of new gear. Together, we found Briar who was getting ready to do some shopping. She said Clio, Shadow, and Torag would be catching up soon.

I’m going to eat a snack while we wait.

13 to Wakening Sun, Voelis

Need to write fast. Crowd in the marketplace. Strange man. Ocasius. Soothsayer. Bothering people. Shadow and I are going to break it up and talk to him. Will write more later.