I’m not entirely sure how to start this letter. As I mentioned in my previous post, everything here is overwhelming.
We left the palace after getting a bit more information and decided to go to Shadow’s home. It makes the most sense to go there and I’m grateful he is allowing it. His unease about his maybe there, maybe not there home gives me unease but our other options are limited. A tavern with an inn might be possible but not the most safe or economic for the group and we have collectively decided not to split up for the time being. I’m glad because the idea of being away from any of them gives me the worst anxiety. For one, I don’t sleep in inns, nor does Clio although she would be more able to than me so I would be alone outside. And for another, what if someone decided to attack Torag and take him to sell? It’s just not the best place. So I’m grateful to Shadow.
This anxiety was magnified when we were part of an impromptu parade in the streets as people thanked us for our part in stopping the storm. I had a hard time looking at any of them. It’s so horrible to have so many eyes upon you. A centaur should hold their head up high but I just couldn’t. Actaeon was on edge but the others seemed to embrace the attention. Flee, of course, delighted people with her magic, Clio was beautiful and waved to everyone, Torag flexed, Rendu did that winking thing that gives the oddest effect. What kind of spell does he cast in which by closing one eye, those in an area of effect experience dry mouth and increased heart rate. It seems harmless enough but it’s disconcerting to say the least. Shadow led the way as he knew where we were going. His focus gave him an intense look that I’m sure the crowd loved as well. I made some flower petals flutter around like the wind carried them but I don’t think anyone knew it was me. I’m okay with that. Let them think it was Flee.
We walked by temples and a Siren house and several dangerous streets. It seemed to take forever but we finally arrived at Shadow’s home. But home might be a bit of an understatement. We made sure there was nothing untoward inside and then Flee went to work cleaning and mending. She’s really quite cute. We then had a meeting about our common and individual goals in this place. I mentioned a few ideas I had to increase the popularity of the five. Then we separated for the night.
I started to help clean and stumbled upon a broken piece of a mirror. I’ve never cared about my appearance. It’s not something that needed to be thought about when it was just us. Sure there were traveling merchants and such but generally you handled all interactions. It was always just easy to ignore. But upon seeing even a little bit of myself I must admit I felt… Terribly insecure. I am around all these polished individuals that people either gravitate towards or seem to respect on some level. I think Torag and I are the only exceptions. Although at least in appearance he is put together, the prejudice against minotaurs runs deep. Tomorrow we are going to the bathhouse and I’m excited. Maybe this will cure my hair and then I wont feel so out of place. Initially I stopped caring for my hair when Aglia died. She was the last person to properly brush my hair before Flee’s gift. I know my great-grandmother mostly did it out of a need for strict order and cleanliness when she was in charge of me for that week. She used to braid it to look like me Mum’s. But then the tattoo showed too much and that brought a lot of worse unwanted attention than just being a scruffy filly. So when her funeral rights were held was the last time my hair was braided and tame. At this point Clio might be right and the only way to cure it is to cut it all off. But then my tattoo would show too much and I just can’t.
I left shortly after the meeting and went to Shadow’s courtyard. I was hoping being around plants would calm me down and ground me a little. I started clearing away the more noxious weeds but I’m wondering if I should keep some seeds from those as well as flowers. Something to think about, cleaning this courtyard is a task that will take a while to do. But I have to admit the plants here just… I’m sure they were very nice and I might talk to them soon but… Clio said it best. The smell isn’t quite right. There isn’t enough dirt and leaf smell to counteract the cold stone and artificiality of this place. But I am grateful that there is a safe place near plants for the two of us to rest.
I don’t have a lot of time to write. There is a very large beast we are about to fight in an arena. And the day started off so well too. We are in a holding area waiting to be called in.
I took a proper bath. My hair is still a bramble bush. I also saw way more of my comrades than I ever needed to. Oh! I also think I’m cured of Rendu’s odd spell. He made himself look like Actaeon and honestly I was fine.
I bartered for the first time for selling and obtaining some supplies for the group. At first I was confident but then I saw the look on Leef’s face (oh yeah, Leef is Flee’s true form and she changed into him during the night and this will be how they look now… My brain hurts writing that. But I’m very happy for him. Both the appearance and the name suit him.) Anyway Leef looked worried and… pained? I may have bit off more than I could chew but I was feeling great after the bath. But somehow I managed to not screw it up too badly. From now on though I will just step aside and not do shopping for anyone.
I ordered a wonderful thing from a small mouse person. He makes snuggle beasts which are toys that help you heal when you rest. I asked if he could make me one that looked like an owl squirrel. I’m very excited for it. I know it will look nothing like the rag toy Mum made for me years ago but that doesn’t matter.
We thought we were going to qualifiers but ended up helping a person and now we are about to go in and fight. I hope I’m able to help everyone. I still don’t have a diamond, and most of the spells I focused on for today are not combat focused.
gaol agus gràdh,
Post Script: I have now attempted 3 jokes. None have worked.