That morning a rider arrived at Emmeline’s home from Uzec. He was very tired, took some water and said to Rivanon and Emmeline as he took a knee, “M’ladies.” Looking to Emmeline he said, “with m’lady’s compliments,” pointed outside where two riding horses awaited. “I sent him last night,” Rivanon said. Looking to the rider with a look of appreciation she said, “good sir, you have served me with excellence and fair action. Take a rest here and gather your strength. Sleep, and then this kind family, with m’lady’s permission of course,” looking to Emmeline, “will make you a great meal later this evening.” She place a hand on his shoulder rise and get some rest.
Emmeline smiled and nodded. “Thank you for your efforts. Of course you are welcome.”
“Magus Elemix, M’lady de Cerisey take these horse with my father’s compliments. They are a small thing compared to the steeds the Castilian granted you, but they will do,” said Rivanon.
Emmeline inclined her head gratefully. “Thank you, Lady Rivannon! It’s very much appreciated.”
As they rode into the morning, Emmeline seemed content. The loss of contact with Mara was numbing, but that had passed. Sevé was quite confused, but soon was her playful self. Elemix found the new horse decent enough. Funny though, he felt that maybe he wasn’t such a bad rider after all. He felt confident in the saddle, if a novice. Sister Typhon and Sister Jocelyn rode side-by-side quietly but with knowing smiles and a look of contentment. Rivanon, riding near Emmeline and Elemix asked, “We should consider taking a ship again, after Portreaux that is. Could save us time.”
“I think it could. Elemix, will our budget cover that?” Emmeline asked.
Elemix replied first to Rivannon and then to Emmiline. “And let me also express my thanks for this new horse.” Turning to Emmiline then he continued. “Yes I am sure the budget would cover travel by ship. Of course we should en-devour to travel as economically as possible to conserve funds but we did budget for travel expenses.”
“With winter coming soon, a coastal voyage may be advantageous,” replied Rivanon. “From Adera we would still have many an opportunity to practice our trade as a wandering minstrel group. Though the longer journey may give us more information as we draw closer to our goal. What do you all think?”
“I think I like the idea of going by ship from Portreaux to Adera because there will be less opportunity for the cult of Tyaa to interfere,” Emmeline said. “We can take the long way home if we want.”
“Agreed,” replied Elemix simply. “I for one do not want to linger in Portreaux or Adera beyond what is necessary. The journey to and beyond the Hitari gates will take long enough I should think and we certainly don’t want to draw any attention to where we are going or why if we can help it.
Remember as well that we must hire some skilled guards in Adera before heading out of the civilized world.”
“Oh I don’t know, El. Maybe we won’t even need the guards,” Emmeline teased. “You have three strong, incredibly intelligent, and very capable women to make sure your hide doesn’t get overly punctured.”
Elemix smirked and glanced at them all. “I never said I was complaining. Still, I would hate for anyone’s good looks, including my own, btw to be scarred from lack of preparedness. Arith knows, I have had more close calls I think than most.”
Emmeline grew a little more serious. “Yes, that’s true. Honestly, though, you do have a great deal of magical power, dress always as a wizard, and thereby get lots of attention from enemies very quickly. Not that I’m suggesting you should change, just that it’s a fact. I tend to present myself in whatever way best matches my role, be it witch, gentry, mistress, vagabond or entertainer but that’s they way I’ve always been taught to be my entire life — a skill I think the baron hopes I might be able to show Lady Rivanon to some extent. Anyway, I think that might make me typically a little less of a target. So we want a bodyguard for you. Does anyone else feel they need one?”.
Rivanon smiled, “Magus, Sister, Lady, for myself traveling incognito as a young bard on the road, I cannot think of a way to weave a bodyguard convincingly into my storyline. As Lady d’Uzec Baronet and Heir to the Calder March, I couldn’t think of a way not to have one. It is the story that defines us, and I must play the part I must. No guard for I thank you.”