Part 38: Respite

10 to Burning Sun, Inalis

Good morning, Heath! What a lovely day to start our week of respite!

After spending the night at the shrine of Helios, our group had to make its way back to Ellandyr. Briar had summoned a familiar spirit in the form of an adorable snake with wings. It coiled around Clio’s arm and kept doing that pbpbpbpbpb thing with its tongue. Oh, how I love snakes! They’re awfully cute! We walked back lazily in the morning light while I sang another elven song.

Orthannen im vi ol
Coll e du
Or hiriath naur
Na rovail mae sui ‘waew
Man prestant i ardhon?
Cerithar aen iliad dim uthenin?

In A Dream I Was Lifted Up1

Back in the city, Briar had to run to the markets to purchase some things. I had asked her if she’d be willing to make a picnic for me and Clio tonight since our lunch date yesterday was ruined by my incessant laughter. While at the markets with her, I found a cloth vendor and and idea came to me: I shall make us all Aminatou-themed uniforms for the Great Games! What a way to showcase the god on our side, and our teamwork together as the Heroes of Prophecy!

I guess I should write about the picnic. Clio and I went out to the vineyards away from town and found a nice, shady place to sit and eat. Briar made ups mushroom and cheese sandwiches and some pastry pockets. It was delicious and we were laughing and talking happily. The mood shifted when Clio asked me, concerned, if we were on a date right now. A wash of panic hit me before I decided to just be honest. I admitted that I like her and that I wanted to get to know her better and be closer to her. But I also admitted that I didn’t want to call this a date if that would make her uncomfortable.

This had apparently been troubling Clio. She was worried that her natural nymphish nature was magically charming me into liking her. It’s a good thing I’m wearing these cloths, I told her! I’m nearly immune to magical charms, so I’m charmed by her and not some spell. Pleased to hear that, Clio warned me that people who get close to her end up being used by the Lady of Dreams to torment her, and for that she was nervous to be anything more than friends.

She looked very bothered and sad to have said that. Maybe because she wanted to get close to someone like myself, or because she had become so used to closing herself off that she really believed she could never find happiness again. It hurt my soul to see her like this. Since I’m bad at courting (her words, not mine!), I thought the best thing would be to simply make her another flower. This time I nearly exploded my flower staff and made the biggest sunflower I could. Giving it to her, I told her, truthfully and sincerely, that I am not afraid of Khar’shan, or Amalj’aa, or anyone, and I’m especially not afraid to grow closer to her. I’m not afraid anymore. At first, I was very worried that I had made things awkward by my confession, and Clio surprised me by snuggling closer to me and saying she wished she had my faith and hope. No problem, Clio! I’ve enough hope to get us through anything. I promise I’m not afraid!

After giggling about Rendu’s awkwardness yesterday, I invited her to get tea sometime after the Great Games, then surrounded us by what I learned were Clio’s favorite flowers: pink plumerias! The sun was setting, so we returned to Shadow’s House. What a lovely evening! I wonder if it was a date. I want to think so. Would she call it a date? We never settled on a label for it. I don’t know.

Oh, Heath, it was wonderful. She’s so great and cool! I’m still amazed that she wanted to spend time with me. If you had known her, you would have lov liked her, too!

9 to Burning Sun, Inalis

The strangest thing happened this morning, darling! I woke up to a weird fox-squirrel thing sitting on my chest, chittering excitedly as I woke up. I was a little confused when it followed me out to the courtyard to do my morning prayers, though it was strangely reverent during the ritual. Briar later told me it was one of her familiars (it’s name is Jinx). What a delight, though I have to say it was a little distracting. It kept playing with me while I was trying to do my chores, and Shadow ended up doing the sweeping when I lost track of time.

Briar announced that she and Clio wanted to go out into the wilds to find some potion ingredients since they had just run out. Shadow and I went with them. Shadow is good at tracking and finding things, and I wanted to see if I could find materials to make magical essences. Our adventure in the wilds was successful, but Clio had to step in and save me from a beehive I found.

We returned to Ellandyr and Shadow went off to do some stuff, so the girls and I went off to the Academy Arcanum for studying. I didn’t find much, actually. Mostly I was finding and fetching books for them, or helping them jot down important notes. At one point, I went off to the chamberpot and got totally lost on the way back. There’s a novel section! There are so many books here, and I’d love to just spend a day getting lost here. Briar eventually got worried about me and came to find me. I had been gone an hour.

That night, we gathered together for some dinner. Torag and I had been doing some training and planning for the Great Games when Briar and Shadow announced that dinner was served. They had worked on a meal together consisting of two types of cooked fish and a spread of breads, cheeses, and vegetables. I ended up eating some fish when Clio pushed me to do so. She figured out that I’ve been trying to give up fish to try and impress her. Turns out that wasn’t working at all! Haha! The fish was great, but I can’t bear to tell Shadow that his recipe is just too spicy for me.

After dinner, I pulled Shadow aside and asked him for a quick dancing lesson. I mean, you know I know how to dance. You and I used to dance all the time, but this is different. I’ve never been the one to lead a dance before, so Shadow showed me how to do it. While dancing, Shadow asked me frankly about me and Clio, and I answered honestly. I’m attracted to her. I told him everything about our dates, about how I think I fell for her after we made our oath of friendship, about how I watch her when she is practicing sylvan with me, and… It was a lot. I guess Shadow picked up on all of this a while ago. Shadow says I brighten up when Clio comes into the room, and I get fidgety when she’s close to me. He’s not wrong, obviously. Shadow suggested that the best way for us to get closer is to find ways to make good memories. Despite the hardships we’re going to continue to face, holding onto the good memories will get her and I through all of it.

You aren’t jealous, are you? I hope not. Don’t be. I’ll always love you. You’re forever in my heart. It’s just that my heart has more room. Does that make sense?

8 to Burning Sun, Inalis

I almost overslept today! Thankfully Briar has been summoning familiar spirits all week and the cheerful noise they make when playing woke me up in time for morning prayers. I ended up finishing the uniforms today and found myself with some free time. I went off to the Black Market to find the elvish woman who had some magic items for sale. I stopped to talk to the poisoner, Gallia, but she was kind of manic this morning. I guess someone had bought one of her wares and it wasn’t as effective as she promised, and it put her off. I wanted to say hello, but I think it would be wise to catch her on a better day.

Torag and I spent the better part of the day doing prep work for the Great Games. I brought out my scriptures and read through some of the spells. He had a flyer that listed the different events and spectacles, and I think we have a solid plan. Wouldn’t it be neat if one of the Heroes of Prophecy won the Great Games? Further, wouldn’t it be beat if a minotaur was the champion?

While he and I were talking, I overheard Briar and Clio in the next room. They’ve been making potions all day. When Torag and I finished, I went in to visit with them and see if they wanted some help. When I got close, they stopped talking immediately and shooed me away.

Oh, no! Did I do something wrong? Oh, Heath, maybe our picnic date went terrible? Maybe now that she’s had time to think on it, maybe Clio doesn’t want anything to do with me! What a fool I am! Sunflowers? What was I thinking? Why didn’t I make just a really big pink daisy? I might have just as well made weeds! Or maybe since I haven’t brought up the date in a few days, maybe she thinks I’m being weird about it? You know, because I haven’t-

Never mind. Clio actually just talked to me while I was writing this. It’s a fey secret recipe for their potions. We’re fine! Whew! I thought something else was going on.

7 to Burning Sun, Inalis

Today’s the day that the Great Games begin. Well, sort of. The opening ceremonies are tonight, and we all plan on attending. There are some other events going on outside of town, too, that we’re going to see.

Until then, I got a little bored. I’ve finished the uniforms and everyone looks fantastic in them. There really isn’t much to do while we wait for the dinosaur races to start. The city is abuzz and has become a bit crowded. I think that makes Clio and Briar nervous. Shadow, too, perhaps. As long as I’ve known him, he has never really liked the city.

Briar went off to the market and came back with a sheep. She’s going to sacrifice it on the Day of Burning Sun. I spent some time with her while she was caring for it. Sacrifices to Mother Eos have to be done in happiness and joy, both for the sacrifice and the sacrificer. There must be a bond between the two. Briar explained it to me, but then she had to leave again.

What to do while we wait for the races to start? Clio and I walked over to the markets and bought some snacks. I wanted to get some souvenirs but I should probably save up my money. Shadow wanted to go fishing with me, but Torag ended up distracting us. He was unsure about some of the plans we had made. Actaeon was sharpening and shining his weapons. I tried to help but he kept redoing everything I had done so I think I just got in the way. Rendu was playing some music in the courtyard with Pholon, and I sang with them. It was mostly halfling folk songs this time about things like food, farming, and drinking.

Okay, we’re off to the dinosaur races! I guess Briar won’t be joining us this time. Clio mentioned she might not like the idea of racing animals. Plus, she was doing something with the sheep earlier, so maybe she’s busy.

Wish us luck at the races, Heath! If I can’t ride a dinosaur, I’m going to bet on one. What fun this will be!

1 Elvish: “In a dream I was lifted up / Born from the darkness / Above the rivers of fire / On wings soft as the wind / What happens to the world? / Will sadness become untrue?”