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Gren Blockman
Mother Natures Son
Seasoned Adventurer
Seasoned Adventurer


Joined: 19 Jun 2008
Posts: 513

Location: The forest, the woods, the trees
36,404 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:30 am    Post subject: Tread Softly Reply with quote

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gren had debated for days about when he should go back to see Izira. He would have went back the next day, but duty called, and he was in a sharp fight with a goblin on the other end of the Great Forest. He spent most of Saturday sleeping off the pain and weariness of the previous two days. Finally on Sunday, he felt rested and presentable enough that he would go back and see if Izira was doing alright. He made sure to take a bath in a nearby lake, comb his hair and beard, and he even tried to give himself a trim. He had also considered whether he should wear something nice, like a suit, but he didn't want to go overboard. If he wore his Ranger cloak and a nice clean shirt and pants, he could say he was just in the neighborhood. Be casual. He gulped and felt incredibly nervous anyway. Standing in his treehouse, looking in his mirror, he felt he did everything he could possibly do. He hefted the golden staff onto his shoulder, just in case the portal might have closed, and started off on his journey to the Northwest Hills, where the portal to the Forgotten Layers Inn was.

After several hours, he found the portal, exactly the way he had left it. It appeared to be a glowing blue tear, hovering in mid-air. He frowned a bit, and wondered if he should tell Izira there was a permanent opening to her world now. Stepping through, he vanished from RhyDin and found himself at the rock with the blue fish and those familiar hedges. Before he stepped around them and onto the gravely path, he stopped, closed his eyes, and whispered whatever mantra that came to mind to boost his self-confidence. Then he marched up the path and made his way to the door. He swallowed, hesitated for a moment, then knocked, which came out as an awkward series of raps on the front door.

Within the inn two heads turned toward the knock on the door. Izira stood behind the bar, sorting through recently arrived inventory. The minotaur, human in form but for his bull's head and black hide, sat at a table with a cup of tea and an accounting book before him. The guest, wearing a nice suit expected of a traveling businessman, turned a disapproving eye on the woman behind the bar as an ear flicked. He quietly turned back to his tea and accounting. The cat, Silas, didn't turn his head from the spot of sun he took up by the window. Izira, somewhat boxed in by crates, lifted her voice to call to the door, "It's open!"

Smiling to himself, Gren pushed the door open, simultaneously pulling back his grey hood and stepping within the room. "Hello Uhhhhh . . . " He stopped in astonishment as he saw the Minotaur sitting there. In a suit. Drinking tea. Doing accounting. His jaw dropped and his eyes would have popped out of his skull if they could have. I thought she said "All paths were closed", he thought to himself. He gracelessly closed the door behind him, giving the Minotaur a nervous, sheepish smile, his eyes darted around the room, desperately looking for Izira. He found her standing behind the bar, and he silently began to move over to where she stood, giving the Minotaur a brief nod and smile. "How's it going? Heh." He then gulped.

The minotaur gave Gren a flat look of irritation, moving his chair and belongings to put that side of the room to his back. No greeting returned.
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Gren Blockman
Mother Natures Son
Seasoned Adventurer
Seasoned Adventurer


Joined: 19 Jun 2008
Posts: 513

Location: The forest, the woods, the trees
36,404 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Izira wore an off-white blouse with a soft gray pencil skirt and heels that matched the shirt. "It is going well, Gren." She smiled to Gren, in the process of moving a box full of straw packing and wine bottles. "Do you make a habit of knocking before entering Inns?" A kind jest and not one made at his expense. When Gren is close enough Izira lowered her voice to him, "Don't mind him." A nod toward the minotaur. "May I get you something to eat or drink?"

Gren gave Izira a long stare of panic at her two questions, after having a seat on one of the stools. Thankfully his faculties returned to him before he could let out another embarrassing "Uh". Eat or drink. Focus here. "I came here to eat. Something." Long pause. Then it registers in his mind that she is busy unpacking the boxes, and he thinks maybe he could help. "Do you need any help? You look busy."

Putting some boxes from the floor beside her on the bar so she could escape. "An extra pair of hands would be appreciated. I will trade you your help for a meal. Sound fair?" The minotaur snorted and Izira looked at his back before rolling her eyes at the pointlessness of even trying with that one. "I need to get..." looking over the boxes, "most of this stuff down to the wine cellar." A delicate hand rested on one of the nearby boxes as she thought. Gren could see her memory kick in, "But how's your hand?"

Gren was shifting his gaze in a sideways, rapid manner between Izira and the minotaur, then he stopped as she asked about his hand and looked pointedly at him. She remembered! Of course she would remember, but things like that were a big deal to Gren. Gren smiled a bit, some of the nervousness vanishing. "Fine! Uh, what I mean is, I got it looked at by our healer." He holds up his hand, which was freshly bandaged, the three fingers had been wrapped together to speed the healing process. "She cast some spells on it and it should be alright in a week or so. I can still help, as long as I am careful. Which I will be. Careful." He nodded and stood up from the barstool.

"Then we have a bargain." She pointed him down the bar to where he could come around to her side. Turning, she lifted the trapdoor that led down to the wine cellar, now that the boxes had been cleared off it. As Gren made his way around she took a few bottles and two boxes to set aside from the rest. "Those will stay up here." Letting Gren know her thoughts when he joined her. She picked up another box and handed it over to him before gathering one up for herself.

He made his way around the bar where she had pointed, and up to where she stood. He nodded at the bottles she had set aside, and took the box she offered in his hands, trying to keep most of the weight on his right arm, and just guide with the left. "Got it. No problem." He smiled and waited for her to lead the way down into the wine cellar.
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Gren Blockman
Mother Natures Son
Seasoned Adventurer
Seasoned Adventurer


Joined: 19 Jun 2008
Posts: 513

Location: The forest, the woods, the trees
36,404 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Watch your step." Smiling in thanks, she started the way down the stairs to the cellar below where row upon row ran out from a long central one. Izira walked along until they came to one row and turned to move down it. Closer to the end she set the box she carried on a shelf next to another similarly marked box. Turning to take the box Gren carried, she placed that one down a ways on the shelf across.

He gingerly made his way down the row, following Izira, just not wanting to drop the box or make another scene. He handed it off as she reached to him, took a quick look back at the stairs, before glancing back at her. "I . . . . uh . . . knocked because I thought you'd be alone. You told me 'all paths' had been 'closed' to your Inn."

Already turning to head back up, she stopped as Gren spoke, a genuine smile gracing her features. "Even if I was alone, it would not make this place any less of an inn." A hand on Gren's shoulder, she stepped around him. "And they were, then. The tear helped to encourage the other paths to open. All but one."

Her gentle touch on his shoulder should have caused his insecurities to skyrocket, but instead it somehow calmed him, made him feel at ease as though he was talking to an old friend. He smiled back in return, trailing behind her as she made her way back to the steps. "Well, I'm . . . glad something good came of it. Which one didn't open?"

Turning to make her way back up for the next box, she answered casually and without looking back. "The one to RhyDin."

Hmm. Now he was going to have to tell her. But he wondered, if she knew the others opened, why didn't she know about the tear he had entered through? He kept quiet for now, waiting until the would be alone in the cellar again before he said anything. At the top of the stairs, back in the bar area, he waited for her to hand over the next box, and thought about how he would explain the portal he had come through.

One more box handed over and another taken up, she headed back down to the cellar, moving to a row that was closer than the one before. This time their boxes matched and went into the same spot. Izira had to pull a strand of hair away from her face once her hands were free.

Gren dutifully took the box, once again being mindful of his delicate fingers. Once she had reclaimed the box, he began to speak, but he watched with a curious fascination as she pushed the hair from her face. It was hard to keep his concentration around her. "You said the tear from RhyDin didn't open. But the portal I had entered that was created by the staff was still there."


Last edited by Gren Blockman on Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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Gren Blockman
Mother Natures Son
Seasoned Adventurer
Seasoned Adventurer


Joined: 19 Jun 2008
Posts: 513

Location: The forest, the woods, the trees
36,404 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lashes fluttered a moment in confusion, then her eyes brightened when she understood. Gently she shook her head, "I said the path to RhyDin didn't open. The tear that staff made is still there... but it isn't..." Pausing to think how best to describe it, "A natural path."

Gren had been confused as well, but he finally understood when she said "a natural path". "His" path wasn't the usual path that led to RhyDin. His ignorance of her realm was to blame, and he grimaced slightly. "I should have known. It makes sense to me now. You were talking about your normal route to RhyDin."

A delicate nod, "Yes. It provided some, safeguards, as all the paths do. Someone who means harm would not be able to travel those paths." Thinking back to Gronnard with a light frown. "It is a way for the realm to protect those in it. It does not seem to find poor manners a threat." Smiling, her eyes pointing upstairs and toward the minotaur. She started the way back up for the next load.

He chuckled quietly as she made reference to the minotaur upstairs, and his embarrassment over the mix-up vanished. He moved behind her and up the ladder to start on the third load.

With the next load the row was even closer, showing that Izira had put thought into the order of the boxes they carried down. Three more trips and they would be finished. "Did you have something in mind for lunch?"

He hadn't really thought that far, actually. Think of something, think of something. "Uhhhhh . . . Well, do you have a special for the day? All these new supplies, I'd imagine you've got something planned."

"I had not actually had much time to think about it." A soft chuckle. "Mr. Miru was not exactly expected." Nor entirely wanted, but she didn't seem to hate him. Even for the jokes she made, Izira was even a level of kind to the man that seemed to lack several social graces. "I was just going to share a salad with Pascal."

Well, that didn't work out as planned, but it gave him some time to think. "I don't have a problem with salad, but I could go for something a little more . . . filling. Like maybe, I don't know, Ham? Steak? Do you have something like that?"

"I have both. Would you prefer one over the other? Or did you want both?" Asking as they started the next trip down.

"Well, I do have an appetite, but I don't think I can eat that much. How about a Steak? I haven't had one of those in a long time. Heck, last week, I was in the swamp for four days, and all I had to eat was a handful of corn meal and a marsh bird."
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Gren Blockman
Mother Natures Son
Seasoned Adventurer
Seasoned Adventurer


Joined: 19 Jun 2008
Posts: 513

Location: The forest, the woods, the trees
36,404 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I hope you cooked the bird before you ate it." A soft laugh, she nodded. "I will make you a nice steak in thanks for your help."

"Oh yeah, you have to cook it. Or it's too rubbery and greasy. I had to bring some dry wood with me to make a little fire. Then you just mix the corn meal with some water and a little salt. Make a little cake out of it. Nice little meal if you're stuck in a swamp." You're rambling again, he thought, then immediately looked mortified. "Uhhh . . . a steak sounds nice. Don't mind me."

"Why should I mind you?" Waves it off, not needing a response. "Does your work often require you to be in a swamp for extended periods?" Two more boxes put away and up to get the next pair.

And you said "little" four times in a row, he thinks, continuing to beat himself up. "If the job requires it. Not many people can survive out there for long periods of time, so they call in the Rangers if someone gets stuck out there, or a fugitive decides to hide from justice." He follows her up the ladder again, and glances curiously to the Minotaur to see if he is still there, or paying attention to what they're doing.

The minotaur is still there, making tallies in his book and not paying any attention to the pair.

In return, Izira paid little attention to the minotaur. "What was the case this time? Someone stuck or a fugitive?" The last two boxes gotten and on their way to their spot in one of the nearest rows.

The repetition of carrying the boxes was easing his mind, regardless of his supposed social missteps. "It was a fugitive. Guy's name was Wallace, I think. Thought he was a pretty tough fellow, ran into a bank in one of the local villages, beat up the guard, and left with thousands of silver nobles. He thought he'd be 'clever' and hide out in the Lone Pine Swamp. Unfortunately for him, he didn't think to bring fresh water, dry clothes, or anything to eat. Not to mention whatever creatures might be lurking about. Lizardmen, Gnolls, Wyverns, you know. I found him two days later, curled up in a ball, shivering like a beaten dog. He begged me to take him back. Easiest mission I've had in a while."

Gren's story is rewarded with another soft chuckle from Izira, "Poor fellow." The smile softens as she puts her own box away and turns to take the last one Gren holds, "You must be kept busy if RhyDin is anything as I remembered it, something was always happening."


Last edited by Gren Blockman on Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:22 am; edited 2 times in total
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Gren Blockman
Mother Natures Son
Seasoned Adventurer
Seasoned Adventurer


Joined: 19 Jun 2008
Posts: 513

Location: The forest, the woods, the trees
36,404 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obediently, he hands the box to her. 'Yeah, there's still plenty going on . . . " He stops and thinks for a moment, as she mentions RhyDin. "Do you miss RhyDin?" He remembers their previous conversation, wondering why she didn't show much emotion when he asked her about being alone all those years.

"Not the place, but a few of the people." A softer smile, "It has been five years, they might not even be around anymore." She's putting the other box away and not fully facing him. It is the first time a touch of sorrow graces her features before she smiles again, "But I have my memories and that is gift enough, even if I never see them again I cannot lose the time I had with them." Turning back to Gren with that smile.

He watches her closely, didn't entirely catch the look of sorrow, but the brief pause may have registered with him. "That's true", he said awkwardly. He can't help but be brightened by her when she smiles at him. "Maybe . . . one day we can go back. *You* can go back. I mean, you can go back with me, and maybe we can find your lost friends. If you want."

Trying to follow his words as they sort of blundered, she continued to smile. A pause taken before she told him honestly, "I am not confident about traveling through the tear." She started on the way back up to the area behind the bar.

Realizing the work was done, he moved back around to the customer side of the bar and resumed his seat, checking to make sure the golden staff was still there where he left it. "Why not? I've been through twice and nothing happened to me."

"This realm doesn't depend on your for its survival." An apologetic smile to Gren, "If you'll excuse me a moment? I should start your lunch."

"Yeah, alright" He returns her smile and shuts up. He wasn't aware how closely the realm was tied to Izira. He swallowed and stared at the bartop.
Izira slipped away into the kitchen, a look over at the minotaur before the door shut behind her.

He reflexively glanced at the minotaur when he caught Izira's turn of the head. Then he looked down at his left hand, and wiggled the three taped together fingers up and down out of habit.

After a few minutes the minotaur stood, taking his account book with him and leaving the cup of tea and payment behind. On the way out the man paused by the door and said something low in his own language. The cat flicked an ear and looked bored from its spot in the sun. The minotaur left.
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Gren Blockman
Mother Natures Son
Seasoned Adventurer
Seasoned Adventurer


Joined: 19 Jun 2008
Posts: 513

Location: The forest, the woods, the trees
36,404 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The words by the minotaur were either incomprehensible or too low, but it snapped Gren out of his reverie. He stood from the stool and wandered over to the sitting room, where Silas was. Absently he knelt down, trying not to block the sun filtering through the window, and petted the cat's head, like the last time he was there. "We meet again." A bit of humor in his voice, although it was more to fill the silence with some kind of sound, even for a brief moment.

The feline allowed itself to be petted, watching Gren with green eyes. His tail moved behind him, but not in annoyance. The feline almost appeared to be curious.

"It certainly is quiet here. Lots of sun, too. You must love it." He continued to pet the cat, looking out the window, wondering how exactly a realm like this can have a sun.

Another flick of the feline's tail. Izira looked out from the kitchen to where Gren had been and then had to take a moment to look further to find him, "Do you like mushrooms?" She called across the inn.

Gren's eyes go wide for a moment. He remembers "Sweet" Candy and "Andrew" Anderson and tries not to grimace. He turns his head towards Izira. "Yes, I do like mushrooms."

An dip of her head that she heard him and she vanishes behind the door again. Silas tilts his head.

Gren looks back at Silas. "Not *those* kind of mushrooms." Although Silas would have no idea what he meant. Plus, he was a cat. To Gren, anyway. He sat down, cross legged, next to the cat, he stared out at the gardens that stretched out to the forest, and the fountain in the front yard. He petted Silas' side and back as he waited for Izira to appear again.

A while longer left to the man and cat as Izira finished cooking. When she returned again, she came carrying a tray as she had done before. Crossing the room she set the tray down for Gren. An eight ounce filet sat, still hot, on a plate with a truffle glaze, sautéed mushrooms, and garlic butter mashed potatoes. A napkin and silverware included on the tray as there'd been room enough. "What would you like to drink? As you saw, I have a wide selection."

"I'll have a Bro . . . " was about to say Broot, but since she's been cut off from RhyDin for five years, she probably wouldn't know what he was talking about. "Root Beer. Please." He eyed the plate hungrily, found a chair to sit in, and unrolled the napkin, placing it in his lap, and cutting into the steak, not waiting for his drink first. The meat melted in his mouth, and he couldn't help but let out a pleased grunt, rolling his eyes upwards slightly. It had been a while since he had a steak that good.

A pause as Gren pauses but she nods to his request, moving back before he's cutting into the steak. She returns with a cold bottle of root beer and an frosted glass mug. Not interrupting his meal, she opened the drink and carefully poured the root bear in at a angle to keep the foam from becoming too much. "I hope you find the payment worth your effort with those crates."
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Gren Blockman
Mother Natures Son
Seasoned Adventurer
Seasoned Adventurer


Joined: 19 Jun 2008
Posts: 513

Location: The forest, the woods, the trees
36,404 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Oh yeah. In fact, if you ever need anything else done around here, just let me know. I haven't had a steak like this in years." He stabs a couple of the mushrooms to eat with the next piece of steak.

"I do not expect another delivery like that for a while." Smiling as she stood behind a chair at the table. "You will be forced to pay for it next time."

Gren tries not to talk with his mouth full, but he's enjoying himself too much. "Aw come on. How about chopping wood? Raking the lawn? I'm sure you have a jar of pickles that needs to be opened." He's smiling, to let her know he's joking. "Why don't you sit and keep me company?"

Amusement in her smile to his words. She inclined her head to his offer, "Let me clean up after Mr. Miru and fetch myself a drink." Turning to do just that, she cleaned up after the minotaur. His dishes placed in the sink and money in the till, she picked up a wine glass and poured a small portion of red wine into the glass. Returning to the table, she took a seat, crossing her legs delicately and taking a sip of her wine.

He watched her work, swallowing the potatoes, trying to save a little of the steak for last. He takes a long drink of the Root Beer from the frosty mug, it takes a few seconds for his innate nervousness to kick in, and he remembers to use his napkin to wipe away any trace of a Root Beer mustache. "So have you gotten any new customers lately, now that the tears have reopened? I mean, besides the cheery minotaur who just left."

"He is not a customer." Said with a warm smile. Her wine glass indicated the door and perhaps the minotaur somewhere beyond, wherever he went. "He is one of my suppliers." An explanation to the supplies. "To answer your question, no, I have not received any new customers."

"Well, it's been a while. Hopefully people will remember and come back." He feels a bit awkward having mentioned it, he was just hoping that maybe things would pick up for her again. He rolls another chunk of the steak around between his teeth, can't help the corners of his mouth raising in pleasure.

Lashes lowered in thought, knowing that the realm didn't often bring people to her in that way. Still, she nodded and smiled, "Maybe." Another sip of the wine. "I see you brought the staff with you."

He glances back at the bar where the golden staff leaned. "Yeah, I was afraid that the tear might have closed. I didn't know of any other way to get here." He pauses to eat another spoonful of potatoes. "My Headmaster left it in my care for now. I'll probably have to turn it over to our Mage so he can study it. Make sure it's safe, I guess."
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Gren Blockman
Mother Natures Son
Seasoned Adventurer
Seasoned Adventurer


Joined: 19 Jun 2008
Posts: 513

Location: The forest, the woods, the trees
36,404 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Izira quietly considers that. Her amber-brown eyes drift to where the tear is, "Would it be possible to close the tear with the staff?"

"I don't know." He hadn't thought of that, and a sudden fear grips him. If he seals it, how would he ever get back? But he realizes, maybe she doesn't feel safe with it open. He remembers her explanation that the other tears helped keep trouble out. He tried to control his face and not betray any sadness. "I could try to close it for you. I'm sure you'd feel safer that way."

"I would prefer no more Gronnards find their way to my home." Even with her own gifts to protect her, Izira knew she wasn't entirely invincible. Several days of thoughts on it had made her admit to that. "And it is possible, with the tear gone, the true path will be able to open again."

He nodded quietly. The meal was finished, he chewed thoughtfully on the final piece of steak. He knew it was wrong to impose himself on her, and possibly risk her safety. Maybe he should ask the staff what happened. "Why don't I ask the staff what it did. Maybe it can help to close it back."

"It is a rather... helpful magical item." Recalling the way it which it helped Gren carry Gronnard's body from the realm. She inclined her head to the idea. "I would appreciate the effort, Gren."

"Alright then." He stands and walks over to where the staff is leaning on the bar, then moves back over to Izira in the sitting room. He pictures in his mind the tear and the unanswered question he has. On cue, the blue gem sparkles to life, and the magical glyphs appear before Gren's eyes.

How may I serve you, Master? Ask any question and I will answer.

"The tear that was opened, when you gave Gronnard access to this realm. Is it possible to reseal it again?"

Yes, Master, a healthy dose of magical energy is needed to repair the damage, but it should hold. I would recommend no further attempts at opening it for several months, or it could become permanent.

"Well, we don't want it to be permanent. We will respect Miss Izira's wishes and close it permanently."

As you wish, Master. I will need to be in close proximity to the tear in order to properly seal it. I also recommend you be on the proper side when the attempt is made.

"Alright." Gren looks to Izira. "The staff says it can. But I have to be on the RhyDin side. I would imagine so I don't get trapped here with you, if . . . " he kind of trails off.
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Gren Blockman
Mother Natures Son
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Joined: 19 Jun 2008
Posts: 513

Location: The forest, the woods, the trees
36,404 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I understand." She took another sip of her wine and set the glass of what remained on the table. Standing up, "Will you give me a moment?"

"Yeah." He stands and waits, gripping the staff, staring at the empty plate, then Silas. This wasn't turning out as he expected.

Izira walked to the hallway that extended to the back of the inn under the stairs. Silas sat and waited in his spot in the sun. After a while, Izira returned carrying a scroll in her hand. The rolled piece of parchment handed over to Gren, "The natural path here is neither straight nor easy to find. Should the way become available again, this map will guide you back here."

Gren felt an overwhelming sense of warmth as he mutely reached forward and took the scroll from Izira's hand. His knees felt weak, and he could have thrown back his head and laughed in joy. Instead, he just stood there with a goofy grin on his face, his eyes betraying the thanks that he felt. "Thank you. Izira. I . . . " Normally he would tuck the map into his pocket, but he clutched it to his chest like it was a treasure. Jesus, Gren, get a hold of yourself, he thought.

"You are welcome, Gren." Letting go of the scroll as he took it and held it to his chest. She smiled at the appearance of his appreciation, though she didn't fully understand it. "If it the path does not open again... it...has been nice."

"It has been. I . . . " No, he's not going to do this. He's not going to think the worst. It will be fine. It will be *fine*. "I will come back. I will come back." He said it a second time, whether to be emphatic, or convince himself that it would indeed come true. "Thank you for the meal. Have a good night, and I will see you soon." Mustering all the confidence he had in him, he focused his ice blue eyes on her amber browns, as if he mentally had made her a promise.

"In that case, I will have a steak ready." Another genuine smile. Her hand reaching out to lightly touch his arm before he can fully turn to leave, "Gren." She paused, finding some strength in herself to hear the answer, be it good, bad, or continued ignorance of her friend. There were a few, but only one she felt the deep urge to ask after, "Do you know Eva? She is a doctor... was a doctor in RhyDin five years ago." An edge of hope in her voice.

He stared at her hand on his arm, then looked back at her. He wished he could answer yes, but he couldn't. "No, I'm sorry, I don't know her." He pauses. "But I can ask someone about her, if you'd like."

She takes her hand back, looking down with a nod. Another smile, thought tinted with a brush of sorrow. "Thank you."

"I'll see what I can find out. Goodbye." Then he turns to the door. His left hand still clutches the map, and he uses the staff to push the door open and walk out onto the porch.

"Safe travels, Gren."

Steadily he treaded his way through the gardens, down to the outer hedges, and made the left turn onto the uttermost path. "Rock. Blue fish." He finds the rock in question, and steps through the portal. The air around him shimmers blue, and he is in the forest in the Northwest Hills again.

He turns and looks at the glowing tear, and back down at the staff. I found her once, I can find her again. She touched my shoulder, my arm. She gave me a map. I will see her again. I will. The staff began to glow as he willed it to seal the tear, the glyphs dancing in mid-air. It gave him the instructions, and he touched the gem to the top of the tear. Slowly, almost like a doctor using a scalpel, he maneuvered the gem in a downward angle, and the magical energy began to pour into the gash, sealing it from any further use.

When he finished, and the staff ceased its shining, he glanced up at the sky. It was becoming mid-afternoon, and he needed to start now if he wanted to get home before night. He probably didn't know it, but the goofy grin had returned, and he moved through the forest still cradling the map.
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Gren Blockman
Mother Natures Son
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Joined: 19 Jun 2008
Posts: 513

Location: The forest, the woods, the trees
36,404 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Gren had debated in his mind all day on when to go back and see Izira again. He really wanted to talk to Rena and see if she knew anything about Eva, but she hadn't been in the Outback that evening. It would have warmed his heart to give Izira some news of her long lost friend. But Gren knew he had a bigger problem. What if the original path to RhyDin had not opened? He may never see Izira again. He unfurled the map early Tuesday morning and stared at it, trying to memorize every detail in case it got lost. I should at least see if the doorway is open, he thought. He gathered up the map and made for the door. He saw the golden staff sitting in his kitchen, and thought about bringing it, but he didn't want to use it as a crutch. Plus Izira seemed a bit nervous at its presence. This will work. He marched out his front door and began his trek towards the area of forest that the map pointed towards. The journey seemed longer to this portal than the tear the staff had made in the Northwest Hills. He passed by a series of lakes, until he found a forest path that lead him through a cluster of evergreens. He rapidly looked between the map and the trees. This is it, he thought. He took a deep breath, and stepped forward, willing the door to be open. Gren saw the air around him shimmer and turn blue, and then he found himself on the main path to the Forgotten Layers Inn. He broke out in a broad smile that turned into a laugh of triumph. Hah! Knew it all along. Of course. No worries, he thought to himself. Whistling a little tune, he marched up the gravel path, tucking the map into his cloak. He marched up to the doors of the Inn and raised his hand to knock. Then he remembered the debacle from Sunday afternoon and gulped. Adjusting his cloak, he took a steadying breath to build his courage, grabbed the doorknob, and stepped through the door.

Izira looked up from her spot by one of the tables. A small vase with wild flowers recently placed at the table's center. Half of the tables in the main room included the new center piece, though a number remained bare. Small, empty, glass vases sat beside wild flowers waiting to be tidied together into proper center pieces. "Gren, a quick return. I had reason enough to expect that the path had opened, but had not taken the time to try it for myself." Looking down at the flowers, "It has been a while." Again she looked up to him, wanting to ask him if he had any news of Eva, but she tempered herself to behave in a manner fitting her station. "Are you thirsty from the walk?"

"I am", he tried not to wear the goofy grin that he had when she gave him the map, but a more reserved smile to try to seem casual. His heart was racing though. "I thought . . . maybe I could get some of those scrambled eggs, and we could talk about it."

She looked toward a curious looking time piece that sat on a shelf lining the upper wall of the main room. "It has become that time again. Anything else with the eggs? And what would you like to drink?" Moving back to the bar, she slipped behind it and washed her hands.

"Just the eggs will be fine. I'm not that hungry this morning. And I'd like some coffee, if you have it. With cream and sugar." He followed her over to the bar, and found a stool to sit on. He glanced briefly at the timepiece she had stared at.

"Coffee with cream and sugar." Steps taking her to the coffee pot, she selected a good roast and started that. A kettle of water for tea started at the same time. She picked up a glass and filled it with water, ice cubes forming in the glass as the water is added. The glass of water is set before Gren, "Something to drink while you wait." A smile and she stepped back into the kitchen.

"Thank you." A glass of ice water would be nice after his long hike. He swallowed more than half the glass before he realized it. He must have been more thirsty than he originally thought. He took a deep breath so he could smell the scent of the Inn, the food cooking and the flowers laid out on the tables. Smiling absently, he peered over at the sitting room to see if Silas was there, sunning himself at the window.


Last edited by Gren Blockman on Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Gren Blockman
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Silas hopped onto a stool right next to Gren, sitting and looking at the man with those green eyes.

"Well, Silas the cat. It's good to see you again." He gave the cat a good-natured pet on the head. "I trust you've been taking good care of Izira."

A short rumble of a purr.

He scratches Silas behind the ears and under the chin, as he finishes off his water. "You're gonna have to put in a good word for me with Izira. I bet she'd listen to you." He gives the cat a secret smile, once again with no idea he's not just a cat. Then he looks out one of the windows, wondering if Izira had started to receive customers yet.

The cat crouched down, seeming disinterested in the suggestion. It curled up and went to sleep.

Out she comes with a plate of scrambled eggs and a bit of toast and jam. She set the plate and roll of silverware down before turning to select a mug for coffee and a cup for tea. Cream and sugar placed on the bar within Gren's reach. She followed by pouring his coffee first before she grabbed her own cup to make her tea.

Gren stared greedily at the plate put before him. "Looks great." He unrolled the napkin and placed it in his lap, as usual, and started in on the scrambled eggs. He had worked up an appetite as well, it seemed. He put a healthy dose of cream in his coffee, then two big teaspoons of sugar, gave the brew a few twirls of the spoon, before taking a deep gulp. "Mmmm. Good coffee. I like the gourmet kind."

"I am glad you like it, Gren." Tea cup in hand, she settled onto a stool behind the bar, opposite Gren.

"Yeah, all our Quartermaster gives us is the cheap stuff. Too much Chicory. He keeps the gourmet blends for himself." He perks up at the jam, and spreads a large helping of it over a piece of toast. "The portal seems to be working fine! I'm glad I don't have to use the staff. I don't think I'll have it in my possession for much longer anyway. I hope that's good news for the Inn. The return of customers, I mean."

"If you would like, I can send some back with you. Ground or whole. It can be our secret." A secretive smile from behind her tea cup. Then she nodded to his other comment. "You are here. Now all paths are open."

"Ground sounds great." He returns her secretive smile. "I won't tell if you won't." He's finished off the first slice of toast, follows it with some more of the eggs, then washes it down with another gulp of the coffee. "Boy, I could get used to eating like this."

"I have heard the walk is good exercise." A sip of her tea, she set down the cup and stood. Stepping back from the bar she moved to pack a bag for the grounds.

"I . . . uh . . . I kind of had an idea about how to find Eva." He said between mouthfuls of eggs.

She paused in the task, taking in that Gren's words meant he hadn't found her or had news of Eva one way or another yet. Going back to scooping grounds, "What is your idea?"

"Well, do you remember Rena Cronin?"

Another pause, she blinked and looked back to Gren, "I do. She is still in Rhydin? How is she?"

"She's doing fine. I see her often in the dueling venues. You know, the Arena, Annex, Outback. I know she's been around for a while, and she knows pretty much everybody. I thought maybe I could ask her if she's seen Eva lately."

"She knew Eva. We had drinks together, the three of us." Coffee grounds bagged up, she sealed it and brought it back to the bar and set it by Gren.

"Thanks." Nodding at the grounds. "Well, the bad news is I went to the Outback last night, looking for her, but she wasn't around. Kind of odd for her, but I'll try again tonight or tomorrow. I'm sure she'll be there soon."

A soft nod, she took her seat again and sipped her drink quietly as she thought.

"What was her last name? You never told me." He finishes the last of the eggs, and munches on the final piece of toast.

"Luna."
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Gren Blockman
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He grimaces slightly. He had gotten so worked up over Izira giving him a map that he had forgotten to ask about that. Now he knew he definitely had never heard of her before. "You had drinks with her and Rena, huh? Why don't you tell me some more about her? Maybe it'll help me in the search."

"What is to tell?" She smiles softly to herself, "She is a doctor. She drinks the hard stuff. She is kind and strong." Looking around, "She came out here, to the inn, sometimes."

He follows her glance to the empty Inn, then he feels a bit bad, and looks back. "Have you gotten any customers since my last visit?"

"I have not." She sipped her tea before continuing, "It is not uncommon. This is not an easy place to find."

He is close to breaking into a chuckle, not a sarcastic one, more of a knowing one at the fact she's been alone for the last five years. But he contains himself, because he is still worried about her. He tries to find the right words to say in his mind so he doesn't upset her. He gulps slightly and decides to just go ahead and say what's on his mind. "Have you been doing alright? You seemed upset when you told me about Eva the other day."

"I miss my friend. That, too, is not uncommon." She set her tea down, "I loved Eva, dearly. I only hope that life has led her to good things."

"No, it's not uncommon. I just thought you might be . . . " He remembers she said she wasn't alone, she had her pets to keep her company. "I just thought you might want to talk about it. I'm sure it might be a bit of a shock to have the realm re-opened like this after five years."

A soft apologetic smile, "Perhaps I have grown a little jaded." Lifting her hand, she tuck a strand of hair behind an ear. "Though, stranger things have happened."

Gren watches her tuck her hair behind her ear in fascination, just like in the cellar. Those little things, the moments of humanity, bring out his sentimentality. "What kind of strange things?"

She is not entirely jaded for when Gren asked she looked a little surprised. She smiles following, seeing his sincere curiosity. Lips wetted before she spoke, "My mother shared the memories of her life with me on her death bed." Looking back to Gren with those amber-brown eyes, not sure if she should go further into detail or mention some other event.

He holds her gaze for a long moment. He places his chin in his hand, and leans his elbow on the countertop. "That doesn't seem so strange, that a mother would want to let her daughter know about the life she had lived, before she passed on. You can tell me about it, if you want." He keeps his gaze focused on her to let her know he wants her to tell him.

A soft smile, thinking Gren had misunderstood her. "When my mother died, I was the only one with her. I held her hand." Looking down at her own hands, "With her final breath... all her memories ran through my mind as though they were my own."

He had misunderstood. He thought Izira's mother had merely talked to Izira, sharing those memories. Gren watched her with a mixture of sympathy and fascination. "So your . . . elemental powers allowed you to absorb her memories? Or did your mother have powers too?"

"Perhaps my elemental gift. Far as I know my mother was human. Although I have only experienced that... twice in my life."

"Did your mother have good memories to share?"

"Some." Another apologetic smile.

He watches her, pausing. The apologetic smile leads him to believe maybe he's pushing for too much, too soon. "You said that only happened twice. When was the other time?"

A look of guilt crosses her features, she looks down. "A man I loved. He left and did not return for many seasons." A pause before she continued, "When he did return he found a woman different than the one he left. He had been in a long battle and lost his tongue. He shared his thoughts with me to explain his absence."

Gren's face slowly falls as she tells her story. He pulls his arm back from where he had rested it on the bar. "That's . . . terrible." He watches her with compassionate eyes. "I'm sorry to hear that." He felt awkward, like the words probably wouldn't help, but he felt compelled to say them anyway.

"At least we did not part in anger." A reach for brightness touches her smile, looking for the silver lining in even that which put a slight touch of moisture to her eyes. She blinks, finding her composure. Reaching for Gren's mug, "Would you like more coffee?"

His eyes dart across her face, he notes the moisture in her eyes, and feels slightly embarrassed at having steered her into a painful memory. But still, he felt hopeful in that she shared it with him. He is still watching her with his drawn face, when he too snaps out of it. "Yes! I'll take some more. It's good coffee."

"That is what I am told." A soft smile, she stood up and freshened up his mug, bringing it back to him, she set it down before him.

"Thank you." He placed his hand around the mug, feeling the warmth from the liquid inside. He places the same measure of cream and sugar in that he had done before. He takes a slow sip, feeling almost guilty. "You said he found you different than when he left. But you seem to be a warm, friendly person to me. Maybe . . . good things are still in your future." He tries to cover his insecurity with another drink of the coffee. He hopes she doesn't think he's being naive.

"Maybe." She took up her seat again and her tea. The liquid within still hot from her occasional attention. "I am a different woman now than I was then."

"Well, that's good to hear." He glanced at his cup again, then a sudden thought popped into his head, and he looked back at Izira sharply. " . . . I was wondering . . . The day I found the Inn and fought Gronnard. I passed out on the steps. How did you get me into the Inn? And how did you get Gronnard's body onto that sleigh?"

The cat perked up, perhaps hearing something outside. An ear flicked.
Izira looked down into her tea cup, thinking. "Magic." Came the answer and she looked up with a smile.

"Magic." He repeated. He remembered how she lit the fireplace, although she called them elemental powers. He didn't know enough about Magic to argue, so he just shrugged it off. "I guess I was lucky then. You seem to have many talents. Making fire, reading memories, lifting unconscious people. Anything else to add to your impressive set of skills?" He crooks the edge of his mouth up in a half smile.

"You forgot the cooking." Happy to turn the subject to lighter, teasing topics.

"Ah, the cooking. I was saving the best for last! I can honestly say that was the best pumpkin butter I ever had. Probably the only pumpkin butter I ever had, but still . . . ", he doesn't mind shifting the conversation as well.

"Does your quartermaster keep the pumpkin butter for himself as well?"

"Eh, all we get, if we're *lucky*, is some grape jam. The cheap stuff. Now I've been to some summer and fall festivals where they had some apple butter. But I don't think I even realized they make pumpkin butter."

"The worlds make many things and much of it ends up here."

"Yeah, I've noticed. So what was in all those boxes we hauled down to the cellar the other day? Just wine, or something else?"

"Wines, ales, meads." She nodded. "Do you have a favorite drink?"

He gets a semi-paranoid look on his face. "I mostly stick to Root Beer. I know I used to drink a tankard of ale when I came to the Great Helm, but . . . I was just trying to fit in. I used to get such a headache afterwards. But I . . . ah . . . I also didn't want you to think less of me."

A light touch of confusion creases her brow. "I just serve drinks, I do not judge you on them."

"I know. It was just my insecurities, I guess. Sometimes they get the best of me."

"What do you have to be insecure about?"

Everything, he jokingly thought to himself. He looked at his coffee, then glanced up at Izira. He was nervous about having this conversation, but she had shared with him, so she deserved to hear something in return. He takes a deep, cleansing breath. "I feel . . . inadequate, in certain situations. Like as if everything I say is wrong. Everything I do is wrong. Especially with . . . women." He gives Izira a nervous look. "It's just that . . . I feel it's expected of me to be perfect, or always know what to say, or . . . " He runs out of words, and starts fingering his mug worriedly.

Softly she chuckles, but not in cruelty or at him. "If anyone is truly expecting you or anyone else to be perfect, they are a fool." She presses her lips together and moves a bit forward on the stool. "Eva? She had a scar that graced the side of her face." Izira traced a finger down the side of her own. "She felt insecure about it. But it was beautiful, in its own way. It was a testament to her strength." A soft smile and she reached out to touch the back of his hand as he worried at his mug. "Accept yourself. Those that are worth your time will accept you as you are. The rest do not deserve the effort."

Quietly he watched her as she spoke to him. Whether it was the kind words she had, or just the way she looked that day. He tried to burn the image of her into his mind, her brunette hair, those amber brown eyes, the pretty dress she wore. And then she touched him again. His fingers immediately stopped their fidgeting. The corners of his eyes wavered. "I've been trying to accept myself for seven years." He returns her soft smile, not wanting to waste her kindness with defeatism. "But maybe . . . like I said before . . . good things are still in my future."

Letting go of his hand and leaning back, "Another steak lunch?" Smiling before taking a sip from her tea.

His face brightens, and he almost answers in the affirmative, but then he realizes he still hasn't done his patrols in his sector of the forest yet. "I . . . wish I could. But it's time I got to work. I'll have to take a rain check on that."

An inclination of her head. She set her tea aside and stood to collect the plate from his breakfast.

"How much do I owe you for the breakfast?"

"Consider it on the house, for helping with the tear and testing the path."

The corners of his mouth go up again. "Being your only customer, I feel kind of guilty taking all these free meals." Gren's mind is an odd mixture of bewilderment and infatuation. Her gentle words and openness have struck him in the heart, but he also doesn't quite know how to deal with the emotions that he is feeling, emotions he is used to running away from.

"Others will find their way here." Waving off his concerns, she set his plate in the sink. "Do not forget the coffee." Indicating the bag of grounds she packed for him. "Also, on the house." Before he asked.

He stood from the barstool, giving her a long look, then dumbly he glanced down at the bag of coffee, and much like the map from before, he cradles it in his left arm, close to his chest, rather than put it within his cloak. "Thank you for the talk, Izira. I need all the encouragement I can get."

"Return when you need a refill, Gren." Smiling, she picked up his coffee cup. "Safe travel to you."

"You take care as well. I'll be back soon." His smile is an unsteady one, not from insincerity, but more from his own emotional flux. He hurriedly turns and makes his way to the door, pulls his grey hood over his head, and exits the Inn. He stands outside on the porch for a few long moments, looking down at the coffee as if it somehow held an answer. It, of course, didn't.

Inside, Izira watched Gren go. A glance to Silas as he remained perched on his stool. Her soft smile remains as she starts to wash the dishes.

He slowly moved down the gravel path and back towards the tear that led to RhyDin. The familiar blue lights appeared around him as he felt himself transported back to the world he knew as home. I have to find Rena, he thought. I have to do something nice for Izira. The meals, the kind words. I have to do something. He tramped through the evergreens, back towards the cluster of lakes, on his way to the area that he was responsible for patrolling. Even if I have to go to the Isle. He remembered the touch of her hand on his, the moisture in her eyes, the secret smile she gave him when she offered the ground coffee. God, please don't let me screw this up.
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Gren Blockman
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Later that night . . . )

Gren had been sent on a mission to find a young child that had gone missing in the woods near the Northwest Hills. His Headmaster asked him to accompany Recon Team “A”, which was Rhett’s squad, in case they needed backup. Rhett protested, but Perrigan was insistent. They had searched the forest with what little light was left, but could find no trace of the child. They found a place to camp for the night, and built a fire to cook with. The Rangers were making a simple evening meal, consisting of deer meat, Journey Cakes and chicory. Journey Cakes were made with corn meal, boiling water, and a bit of sugar and salt. Chicory was a bitter root used as a cheap substitute for coffee. Gren sat on a large rock by the fire, watching the corn meal bubble in the pot. He still had the bag of coffee that Izira had given him gripped to his side. Across from him were Rhett and the other two Rangers on his team. The first was a large, hulking man named Haddon. He had a bald head and a raucous laugh that made Rhett’s insults seem that much more biting when he unleashed it on the poor victim. The second was a drow named Moriana. She had lost her way in the forest when she was a little girl, and was raised by the Rangers. She was tall and exotic, with dark skin and thick white hair, but never had many suitors, due to her constant scowling and refusal to speak. As far as Gren knew, only Perrigan and Rhett had ever heard her say anything. Gren usually tried to stay away from all three, due to their surly behavior. Tonight, he sat quietly, staring at the crackling flames with a vacant look on his face, thinking of Izira and their conversation over breakfast.

Rhett glared at Gren for a few minutes before speaking up. “What the hell is the matter with you, ‘Dreamboat’? You look more pathetic than usual.”
Gren blinked rapidly and shifted his gaze over to Rhett, as if seeing him for the first time.

“Helloooo? What happened, did you bang your head on a low hangin’ tree branch? Or maybe you fell in love, huh? What poor girl is going to have to listen to you stammer like an idiot *this* time? ‘Uhhh . . . duh-duh-duh-duh . . . ‘“

Haddon let loose a barking laugh. Gren just continued staring at Rhett as if he hadn’t heard a word.

Rhett rolled his eyes upwards, and then turned his anger to the drink in his mug. “Damn it. This chicory is nasty as hell. How much is it to ask to get a decent damn cup of coffee in this outfit? Phipps, that &@$!@#%, stiffin’ us on the supplies again. Somebody needs to put a foot up his @$$. “

Haddon agreed by grimacing at his mug as well. Moriana looked just as sour as ever.

Gren watched the trio for a long pause, before speaking up. “Uhh . . . I have some coffee.” He held up the bag Izira had given him slowly.
Haddon immediately brightened. “Oh yeah?” Moriana gave Gren a distrustful, sideways glare.

“Yeah. It’s . . . uhh . . . good. Real good.”

“Hell, as long as its coffee. Serve it up, let’s give it a try”, Haddon replied, rising from the log and making his way to the fire.

Rhett looked incredulously at Haddon. “What the hell? You’re not going to drink that, are you? Gren wouldn’t know coffee from a pile of rat $%!#.”

“I’ll try anything at this point”, Haddon rebutted, putting a fresh pot of water on the fire, then taking the bag from Gren. Rhett glared at Haddon and crossed his arms disapprovingly. Haddon waited until the water boiled, then added several spoonfuls of the grounds into the pot, placing it back on the fire to cook for another few minutes. Once it was finished, he removed it from the fire to let it cool for a little while. He added a couple more spoonfuls of cold water so the grounds would settle to the bottom. Then dipping his mug into the pot, and adding a little cream and sugar, he tasted the brew, smacking his lips.

“Damn, that’s some tasty coffee! What kind of blend do you call that?”

“It’s the . . . uh . . . “, Gren stalled, trying to think of something, then he perked up. “It’s the Forgotten Layers Inn Special House Blend.”

“Ah, the GOURMET stuff! Alright!” Haddon followed with his boisterous laugh. “Hey, Moriana, you gotta try this!”

Moriana was still glaring, but she rose from her seat on the log, her lithe body swaying as she quietly made her way to where Haddon stood. He took her mug and filled it, handing it back with a broad grin. Moriana’s scowl soon turned to a neutral look, lashes fluttering, as the taste of the coffee pleasantly surprised her.

“Hey! She likes it! That’s as good as a smile and a wink from Moriana. Heh heh heh.” Haddon sat his massive bulk down on the rock where Gren was, and clapped his meaty hand on Gren’s shoulder. “Thanks, buddy!” Moriana took up a seat on Gren’s other side, holding her mug in both hands and taking another sip.

Rhett looked at the scene with shock clearly registered on his face. “I don’t believe what I’m seeing. You two aren’t really cuddling up to him, are you?"

“Hey, what’s the matter, big guy? Are you jealous?” Haddon ripped off another brash series of laughs.

“Buncha damn traitors.” Rhett lifted his mug to take another drink of his chicory, then made a face. “Aw, hell.” He tossed the liquid from the mug onto the ground and stood angrily from the log. “I’m gonna take a leak. No good $@#! . . . “

“If you're gonna drop your pants, why don’t you remove that stick from your @$$ while you’re at it. Haw haw!” Haddon replied.

Rhett shot him a dirty look and stomped off into the trees.

“Don’t worry about him, buddy. Now why don’t you tell me where I can get some more of this coffee!” Haddon exclaimed cheerily, as the Rangers waited by the fire for their meal to finish cooking.
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Gren Blockman
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wednesday, October 2, 2013



Gren was still rubbing his temples after leaving the Stars End Bar. Christ, how did people put up with Tara and her shenanigans all the time? And the Town Watch is going to be after me now! What did I do to deserve this? Hopefully they'll know better and leave me alone. Wandering the streets of RhyDin, trying to make his way home, his mind focused on something to take away the embarrassment. He pictured Izira gently pushing the stray lock of hair behind her ear. He pictured the little secret smile she had when she gave him the coffee. He felt horribly alone. Gren knew it was late, but the Inn was supposed to be a Tavern also, wasn't it? Maybe Izira was still up. Maybe now was as good a time as any to give her the news about Eva. Or maybe he just needed to see a kind face and feel a warm hand on his shoulder. He kept the map to the Inn guarded in the pocket of his grey cloak. Taking a quick look, he tried to figure out how to get to the portal from the City. Then he made his way there, through the countryside and into the forest. This way didn't lead him past the cluster of lakes, but he found the stand of evergreens and walked into the shimmering blue air and found himself on the gravelly path to the Inn. He looked up and noticed it was dark, then glanced at the windows to see if the lights were on.

Light shines from the inside of the inn, lit by numerous candles. A fire burns in the large hearth and its glow too added to that of the candles inside. The hour has not chased the lady of the Inn away to slumber. She sits on the tender's stool behind the bar and works on the inn's accounts, something to help ease her on to sleep.

Gren smiled as he saw Izira there in the window. He felt more at ease now that he knew he wouldn't be interrupting her slumber. His steps were more determined as he made his way up the path and to the door. His hand gripped around the doorknob, and he lowered his head a moment to steady himself. Remember, she wants to hear from you, he thought. Then he turned the knob and made his way inside, pulling back his grey hood as he did so.

Hearing the door open, the lady looked up. A smile present to greet Gren. "It is a bit late for lunch." Izira marked her place and closed her account book with the loose leaf records tucked within. Standing up and smoothing her hands over her skirts, figuring she be moving soon to fetch one thing or another.

Silas sat. dozing, on the seat of an armchair by the fire.

Gren's ice blue eyes landed on her outfit, he always liked little flowers for some reason. "Yes . . . I was given a mission this morning that kept me occupied all day." He made his way over to the bar and had a seat on a stool. "You look . . . nice as always. How have you been?"

"I continue." Said with a smile as she's already filling up a glass with water for him until she knows what else he wants. Ice forms in the glass as the water is added, chilling it by the time she places it before Gren. "I considered going to Red Dragon for a drink today... but thought it better to wait a little longer, in case you had word?" Amber-brown eyes looking to Gren with a mixture of curiosity and hope.

He matches her gaze as he takes the glass of water. "Thank you." Since she asked, he figured he may as well go ahead and tell her. "Well, it's kind of . . . good news and bad news." He stares at the glass and takes a long drink, as the pause is helping him to collect his thoughts.

She waits, patiently for whatever news Gren is about to deliver. She steadies herself with two hands lightly resting on the edge of the bar.

"I found Rena on the Isle on Tuesday night. She remembered Eva. The bad news is she hasn't seen her for a while."

Silent but for a moment, Izira exhales gently. "It... is not uncommon..." Assuring herself that having not seen Eva did not translate to anything bad. For a moment Izira feels like a terrible friend, letting her anger at a break-up get the better of her so long ago. She wears her smile again, "Thank you for asking for me. How is Rena?"

"I was glad to help. Rena is part of the good news, though. She is doing well. She says hello, and that you are missed. Maybe when you go to the Red Dragon, you might see her. That's one friend that you'll be able to catch up with."

"That is." She agreed and smiled at that part of it. Looking forward to that possibility, despite having nothing much to share on her end of things. It would be good to catch up with Rena. "I hope you did not come all the way to tell me that. Not that I do not appreciate it, but it is out of your way. Are you hungry?"

"Well . . .” He lowers his head a bit sheepish, "No I didn't come here just for that. I am a bit hungry, but I'm not finished with the good news yet."

"Oh." An apologetic smile, she placed a hand over her mouth for cutting him off. "Please, share."

He smiles gently. "Well, it was two other things. First, Rena is going to leave a note for Eva, to get in touch with you when she can. Second, it seems Eva has gotten engaged to a gentleman named Mason."

Her smiles widens to know that Rena will leave a note to Eva for her, as that can only mean that Eva was well and whole or at least in a state capable of getting notes. As Gren speaks on Izira is first happy for her friend and then a bit sad. "Mason?" Her lashes flutter softly. "I never knew him." Once more the smile of assurance appears, "But if Eva has accepted his offer... I am happy for her. Them."

"Thought you might be. I'm sure she's probably just busy with her work. Being a doctor, you know. I'd never heard of Mason either. Rena didn't go into details, but that's alright. Now, I wouldn't mind something to eat. That is, if your establishment is still serving at this late hour." Gren gives her a little sideways grin.
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