Part 63: Muffins

52 days remaining

Oh, no. Oh no…

I shouldn’t have tried that in here.

Day of Verdant, Inalis, 51 days remaining

All clear! I figured some stuff out! So, I’ve been reading through the scriptures at night just after sundown. There are passages in here about summoning celestial spirits to aid you. I’ve been trying to practice the spell, and I didn’t think I was going to be successful yet. But then, boom! It happened! But not quite as I expected.

The spirit I summoned was formless and nameless, and a little irate at that. Like I said, I wasn’t sure I could even do it. It coalesced into a shape I was familiar with – a riding lizard like I saw back at the Great Games in Ellandyr. The form seemed to please it – him – and he and I had a long conversation. It’s still strange hearing another’s thoughts in my own head. He speaks draconic like me, but doesn’t really speak so much as he communicates in my head like Clio. Clio does that pretty often to help us all communicate, but it is still surprising when it happens. My mind tends to race anyways. Like just last night, I had an old elvish song stuck in my head. If Clio had been reading my mind at the time, she’d be wondering why I’m singing about drinking. If she speaks Elvish. Does she speak Elvish?

Is it weird that most of the Elvish songs I know are drinking songs? The deaconess in Ylisse was drinking all the time. It’s a wonder I know any non-drinking songs in Elvish.

Anyway, I had to run out to breakfast real quick and begged my new friend to stay quiet. At the table, Briar had made a huge breakfast and a ridiculously large bowl of muffins for us all. While we ate, she began telling us about her pride as a centaur and how it often came across as arrogant. In truth, I see it. When we first met Briar (and Clio, to be honest), we mortals all got a sense that they looked down upon us. We’ve since gone beyond that. Briar admitted she sees us more a family and her new tribe than the Foxtails ever were. And Clio has since accepted that not all mortals are awful people, and we’re all very close to her now.

So as we ate and chatted, Shadow gave me the steam wand I was wanting from the World Turtle. I was so excited that I accidentally let slip about my new friend in med bay. Shadow and the others discovered my summon, and they scolded me for summoning him in such a small space. I expected that but, truth be told, it rather hurt coming from my summon himself. “Call on One again, child, but not in such a cramped space. One needs room to move and breath!” he grumbled in my mind.

After that little incident, breakfast was finished up. But when Briar wasn’t looking, we all stole as many muffins as we could. They’re really good! She was going to just save them for tomorrow, but we kind of figured if we steal them now, she’ll think we ate them all and will make us a fresh batch in the morning.

We all gathered in the training room for some exercise. Torag, concerned about Briar’s health since her untimely death on Fire Island, insisted that she train with him. She seemed intimidated by this, so the rest of us offered to help her. We worked on stances and balance mostly, before Torag wanted to practice sparring. Again, Briar was a little intimidated. I offered to spar with Torag first, while Rendu sparred with Briar. Briar managed a good strike on Rendu. Very impressive!

I punched Torag. Oh gods, I punched him so hard. I felt immediately awful thrilled. Somehow, my magic got mixed into the strike, and it kind of exploded. I didn’t mean for that to happen! Torag got burned pretty bad and I think he just kind of got mad at me. I shielded myself from his attacks for a while. Briar, super happy with her success against Rendu, decided to spar with Torag now. Except he was kind of busy with me, and he didn’t see her coming. She bopped him pretty hard on the head. So Torag did a weird sweeping foot thing and put me down on the ground, and then did a jump kick and knocked Briar down, too.

We’re a little dizzy, so we figured that was enough training for the day. Apart from wounding my pride by dropping me squarely on my butt, my hard landing squished my muffins. For some foolish reason, I put them in my back pocket and totally forgot to take them out before training. Clio and Shadow – eating muffins – were watching the whole thing and just giggling at us. Ah, wounded pride all around. I don’t like embarrassing myself in front of Father, let alone Clio.

I heard Rendu playing music on the top deck of the ship – likely casting his spell and giving us a tailwind – while I was cleaning myself up. A few tidying spells and my clothes are clean again. While I was changing, I noticed a bruise was already forming on my backside. That Torag! Sweeping my legs like that! I’m going to get him for this.

When I went topside, I saw Rendu and the others speaking with Kyma. Kyma, the genasi girl from the Shallow Sea, had caught up to us and had decided to tag along for our adventures. We quickly gathered from her phrasing that she was here not with approval from Yfalos, though I tried to help her. I figured she could come with us to the Mithral Forge and meet Azorius, and then we’d send her home. Father saw me send a fake message psell to Yfalos, though, and convinced me that was probably not a good idea. Who knows what kind of danger she could get herself into? We sent her back to the Shallow Sea, and I’m afraid she was really quite sad to leave. It would have been fun to have her with us, but Father’s right. What if we got attacked by sharks? Or what if the Mithral Forge is overrun with Troglodytes again? Oh goodness, imagine the smell

The rest of the day was fine, with good weather provided by Rendu. Father and I went fishing off the back of the Gjallarhorn. We talked about magic and family. When we get River and Rare back, I’m going to try to teach Rare some magic. She’s only four years old, but that’s when I first started casting! Granted, I burned up Mother’s favorite robes, but still! I wonder how all this will go with his family. What if Rare doesn’t like me? What if I’m not a cool enough older sibling? Or what if River thinks I’m a bad influence and forbids Rare from hanging out with me?

Shadow asked about me and Clio. I got flustered and just told him that I’d like to ask Clio out on a date again, but only after we’re done being in perpetual danger. I mean, the truth is I want to take her out somewhere nice literally at any moment, but yeah. I can’t think of a good date location while on a ship in the Cerulean Sea anyway. Ha! Where would we even go? To the crow’s nest? Or the front of the ship? Not very romantic, what with Sel-Makor just kind of growling all day.

Thinking about that got me thinking about how life will be if we survive the war. I’ll be honest, Heath. I intend to survive, and I’ll fight as hard as I can, but I’m uncertain what fate has in store for me. If I live through it, I want to live with Briar and Clio, wherever they end up. But I’d also like to be able to regularly visit Shadow and his family, so I need to convince Briar and Clio to not go too far from them. Maybe we could also regularly visit Actaeon and Versi, and Rendu, and Torag, too.

Hmmm… too much thinking about the far future. I need to think in the present. And presently, my butt still hurts from sparring with Torag. Oooh, I’m going to get him for that.

14 to Wakening Sun, Inalis, 49 days remaining

I forgot to write yesterday. I guess nothing much really happened. I summoned my spirit friend again. Father named him Leo. Leo understands the draconic tongue only, so I had been speaking to him for most of the day. Rendu came along and started, too. I’m still teaching him draconic and he was using Leo as someone to test his language skills. Leo kept telling me, “One has trouble understand his meaning. Why does he keep speaking of his favorite color? One does not care about that sort of thing.” I could only laugh and translate back to Rendu, though I softened up Leo’s words a little bit. Rendu is still learning, and Leo doesn’t have very good manners.

Today, we arrived at the Mithral Forge in the early hours. None of us got a lot of sleep, but it was enough to pilot the Gjallarhorn into the bay and the Forge’s docks. Keledone met us and led us into the forge room. Azorius was surprised and happy to see us, but was exceptionally surprised to see Steros with us. Steros, bless him, was trying to act cool around Azorius. Grandpa Azorius gave him a test to see how well he could work. We needed the Antikytheria repaired so we can access the Forgotten Sea and reach Talys, so Steros is going to fix it. If that goes well, Steros will become a part of the staff here at the Forge.

Our good friend Kano met us at the Forge after a bit. He seems in very good spirits, and was quite thrilled to be here in the Mithral Forge. We might offer him some sort of magic armament before we go. Our group traded information with him on the location of the Sun’s Avatar. We know that Gishath resides on the Golden Heart, a collection of small islands in the Cerulean Sea. From what Sel-Makor told us about his past lives, the Sun’s Avatar surrounds themselves with other avatars. Going against them will require a mighty force. A good strategy for now would be to infiltrate the Golden Heart and do some reconnaissance there. Where is Gishath? How many friends do they have? Kano was elected to go there and scout the place out while we took care of our work on Talys and the Isle of the Fates first.

During our talks, Kano mentioned that he got into a scuffle out in the wilds just outside the Mithral Forge. A cult seemed to be growing, made up of Altean soldiers, League of Storms soldiers, and some minotaurs – all following a beautiful oread girl with a fancy lyre. This peaked Rendu’s interest immediately: an oread was a part of the Four Winds, and this lyre was probably Palladia’s.

It’s only a half day trip to where the Oread and her cult are gathered. We are heading there now to investigate.

14 to Wakening Sun, Inalis, 49 days remaining

Writing fast. We found the cult. It’s a group of well-armed and very charmed people, all listening to an oread girl. Clio and Briar disappeared somewhere. I think they’re invisible now. Shadow and Kano climbed up a cliff to get a better shot. I don’t know where Torag ended up. And Actaeon? Wait a second, I’ll come back to that.

I’m sitting here, watching the scene from Leo’s back. I found some spare muffins and am just eating them now. I think they’re Torag’s. He’ll be mad I ate his muffins, but dammit it’s his fault I squished mine a few days ago!

Rendu has gone up to the oread. They exchanged pleasantries. I’ll have to get the details later. It’s hard to hear everything from this far away.

I wonder if I can convince Briar to make more muffins tonight. Maybe-

Oh, look. Shadow just shot the oread.