39. Dreshire

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The small group traveled through lush green lands and crop filled farms just waiting to be collected. It didn't take long for them to pass through the land and reach Dreshire. The quaint village that survived on the crops grown around it and with the animals they reared, seemed to be bustling with activity although dusk had begun to settle on the world. Ryder decided to lead them all into the village while Beluar began to spin spells to hide his elvish features. Athena and Michael watched closely in silence, as they were filled with both wonder and aversion; the latter from seeing the tiny details in his features, such as his slanted eyes that became straight, the color of his eyes turning brown and his ears shortening, to resemble that of a human.

Looking at the rest of the group, he demanded that he be allowed to change the color of their eyes as otherwise, they would bring too much attention to themselves. Athena and Michael readily agreed while Ryder acquiesced, muttering under his breath for a long while even after the deed was done. Beluar took one long look at everyone and decided that they resembled a group of weary human travelers, their weapons hidden from idle eyes.

The villagers barely spared a glance at the small bunch as they went about their work, moving from stall to stall, house to house, decorating every building they could with flowers and little ornaments made out of glass and tiny, beautifully shaped metals.

"What is going on here?" Michael asked Beluar in hushed tones.

"I am just as clueless as you." he replied as he observed his surroundings. "Hey," He called out to a villager passing by. "Is there a place where we could stay for the night?" The villager pointed to a building nearby and rushed off to do his work.

They got off their horses and led them to the building that the villager had pointed at. After handing the reins to the stable boy, they filed into the warm and comfortable little common room of the inn while they waited for the innkeeper to appear.

The room was filled with a decent amount of people, mostly children, all huddled near the roaring fire unaware of the activities outside, as a storyteller painted pictures of vast beautiful lands and legends of old on the canvas that was their mind.

"...deep within the mountains in the south, therein lies the jeweled city of Gor Mudir. Dwarves go into the mountains to mine out their gold and jewels, and create the most beautiful things that we could only dream of making. It is said that they keep all the jewels of the land close to them and that only a dwarf can enter the caves that house them because it is protected with spells." The storyteller's voice wafted through the room, catching Athena's and Michael's attention while Beluar and Ryder just rolled their eyes and waited impatiently for the innkeeper to arrive.

"Is that true?" Athena asked Ryder.

"A part of it," Ryder said, his eyes conveying annoyance at the presence of the storyteller. Athena was about to ask more but Michael deftly pulled her away to sit with him while the Beluar and Ryder stood gawking.

A mirth filled laughter filled the air from behind the two. "I see you have met our storyteller," a pair of dark brown eyes scrutinized them as they continued, "He has that effect on most children, I am not surprised he has enthralled them. Now what I do for you fine gentlemen?" The innkeeper, a lady of not more than thirty summers, stood waiting for their reply, her hands on her hips and the hint of the laugh still playing about her lips.

"We are taking the children up to the town of Rivennia to celebrate the annual water festival that will be held during the next full moon." The lie rolled out. "Their mother and her sister, his wife," Beluar continued, pointing at Ryder, who kept glancing at Athena and Michael and then at the expectant innkeeper. ", went ahead of us with another group of merchants and so we offered to bring them along with us."

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