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VYSES SMILED AND stepped toward the man, gesturing back toward Ravenna and Lyth. "It's nice to meet you, Gaius. My family and I were told that this is the best inn in town. Do you have any rooms available?"

"You're in luck," Gaius said. He smiled warmly and picked up a quill. Dipping it in ink, he scribbled something down on an unrolled scroll. "We have several available at the moment. We also have some of the best views in Elery, if you prefer."

"We need the cheapest room available," Ravenna interjected, before Gaius could start his sales pitch. "Preferably with two beds."

Gaius nodded. "That's understandable. These are tough times. I have just the room in mind then. It'll cost fifty coins a night. Do you know how long you plan on staying?"

"Haven't decided yet," Vyses answered. "A few days in the least. We wanted to explore around Elery for a bit. Do you have any recommendations for fun, safe things to do or places to visit?"

As Gaius and Vyses continued to chat, Ravenna wandered toward the one of the windows in the lobby. The glass was smudged with age and dirt, making it harder to see through. The marketplace, from what she could see, had resumed its usual pace. Both the guards and the injured man had vanished.

"I wouldn't dwell on the guards," Lyth's voice made her jump. "Like the innkeeper said, they enjoy picking fights. I doubt that will be the last attack that we'll see while we are here."

She glanced down at him, shocked. It was the first time that he'd spoken to her unprovoked. Usually, any comments made by him were in response to Vyses or directed toward his master. Never her.

"I just wanted to see if that man was alright," she told him. "The guards seemed to be pretty brutal toward him."

"When aren't they?"

That made Ravenna frown. The statement was true -even before Ravenna met Caelan, she had to deal with handsy guards. One had even tried to rape her. The guards were just vulgar brutes addicted to swinging their swords.

"Are you ready?" Vyses asked as he approached. A small iron key dangled from his index finger. "Our room is upstairs and supposedly has a good view."

"Of what?" Ravenna snorted. "The back of another building?"

Vyses sent her a disapproving look and gestured for her to follow him. She shot one last look out the window, at the bustling marketplace beyond it. Then she followed him toward the staircase, Lyth trailing behind.

Once they reached the top of the stairs, their room wasn't hard to find. Each door was labeled by a small metal plaque that depicted a number. That number supposedly corresponded with the key that unlocked the door. Their room number was twelve and it's matching door could be found at the very end of the hall. Vyses jammed the key into the doorknob and unlocked it. The door swung open to reveal a fairly small bedroom, complete with two straw mattresses and a small dresser. A window stretched across the wall opposite from the door.

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