13: Celebration and Secrets

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Blayre was not ready to leave the vibrant coast and head back toward the capital. The ominous knowledge of likely having to leave for Mountainvale again so soon after arrival hung over her like a stormcloud. She daydreamed as they rode out of the port city, of sailboats and delicious imported fruit drinks.

    The mood was like a blanket over all of them - especially Alessa, even though Lord Durrighan had joined them to return to the capital. The raven-haired woman had thrived in the misty ocean air, and Blayre realized belatedly that she had come to tolerate the Port Roubeles Alessa far more easily than travelling companion Alessa, who began to huff and complain about the mud and the rain that now pelted them from all sides once they had left the marine climate - their mood personified.

    "I miss the shops, and the music in the streets, already." Alessa sighed loudly. "I can tell you do too, you look - deflated." She said to Blayre, pulling at her own damp clothing. "Though I suppose I would be too, if I had to go from the capital to the mountains. At least their are people in the capital."

    "Seeker Blumore is from the mountains. That's where Blumore Estate is located." Put in Rorrick matter of factly.

    Obviously someone had not paid much attention to her geography lessons.

    "Not that I have much fondness for the place." Blayre said dryly, reaching down to pick a thorny twig out of Dove's charcoal mane. The birds chattered around them,chirps muffled by the rainfall, and their small shadows flitting around the travelers in the damp forest above.

    "No?"

    This was not something that she wanted to elaborate on with Alessa of all people.

    "No. My family can be - irritating." Blayre gritted out.

    "I see. Well, it sounds like you are at home in the Capital. I myself prefer the trade ports. Much more exciting if you ask me."

    "My dear, that's because you grew up more or less in a foreign country. Until you came of age to return to court." Lord Durrighan chimed in. "It is only natural that you have a taste for foreign flare."

    Blayre resisted the urge to roll her eyes.

    She wondered when the spring rain would give in to summer sun as they neared the capital and was relieved when they arrived to take up overnight residence at a small town inn.

    Upon entering the room that the three of them were to share, Ainslee moved at lightning speed to the fire waiting for them in the hearth, while Nuala's eyes crinkled in laughter. "I don't think I've ever been so cold." the redhead complained.

    Blayre laughed, informally claiming one of the three cots by tossing her satchel onto it. "I believe you said that when we traveled to Mountainvale, and that time last year when we had to go out right after mid-winter to that inspection in Riverside, and..."

    Something soggy and cold hit Blayre in the back of the head. "Hey!"

    "See, you don't like being cold and wet either." Ainslee stuck out her tongue.

    "I already was." Blayre groaned, tossing the garment back her friend's way. "Thank the Moon and Sun our satchels are waterproofed." She added, pulling out a dry tunic and leggings. She touched the simple mage-charm hanging from the satchel with reverence.

    "If only we were waterproof." Ainslee complained.

    Nuala snorted. "I don't think that would be very practical."

    A woman after my own heart. Blayre thought, shaking out her cloak.

    "We deserve a bit of a celebration after that leg of the journey." Rorrick said jovially once everyone had returned to the common room, considerably more dry than when they had initially arrived. "Whatever you folks want, I'm covering the tab tonight."

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