[14 more days until change! woo hoo! Happy Friday all!]
Elenosa had a charming smile that sat in an otherwise unremarkable face. She brought me a plate of cheese and bread and apologized for the plainness of the meal.
“The Captain says you are a hospitlar?”
She asked, seating herself across the table from me. I almost said, “I was,” but I decided to nod instead.
“Do you bake too?”
I nodded again, unsure where she wanted this conversation to go.
“Oh, my mother used to be the most wonderful baker.” Her smile dimmed a little and she added, “I do miss her so.”
“I am sorry for your loss,” I said automatically.
“Oh, you are kind. The Captain said you were in the mine during the accident?”
Ah, the soft approach. I sipped my water.
“I was there right before.”
“That explains the PPE we found in your saddle bags.”
I recalled that my satchel – with the coveted shards of vase, mysterious map, and letter to my mother – was also in my saddle bags.
“Do you have my satchel?”
She blinked. “What satchel?”
“It was in my saddle bags.”
She shrugged. “I’m sure it still is. Do you need it?”
“Yes,” I said with some heat, and then added “Please.”
She got up and went out, and I ate another piece of cheese. She returned carrying my saddle bags and the yellow vest, silver helmet, and goggle masque. She lay them on the table in front of me.
“These were the only items in your bags.”
I searched the saddle bags just to be sure. I cursed.
“What are you missing?”
Nothing of your concern, woman. “Just some personal items. The satchel was there when I left the mine.”
She nodded. “Why were you in the mine?”
“To find my horse. I’d become separated from it.”
“And you thought the mine would be somewhere you’d find a horse?”
“Well, no, but I saw a man with a horse in that area – and it turned out it was my horse. So I went after it, in the mine.”
She compressed her lips. “And you just happened to have PPE?”
“Safety first,” I said, trying to joke. She gave a brief smile.
“And you saw what in the mine?”
Marvels beyond belief and a building where they torture animals. Dvergr.
I shrugged, “Normal mine activities, I guess. I wasn’t there very long. I found my horse and left.”
“And the mine exploded?”
“Yes. Very scary. Do you know what caused it?”
She sighed and shook her head. “No, the Captain hasn’t reported back.” She gave me a stern look, “We will find out though.”
I nodded, “I hope so.”
I finished the cheese and bread and waited for the next volley of questions.
“Would you like to rest some where while we wait? You look tired.” She wrinkled her nose, “And perhaps you would like to clean up?”
The word ‘rest’ made me yawn. I covered my mouth and apologized and followed her out of the room.
“You can clean up in there – the warm water flows from the left tap. I’ll find you something different to wear.”
I thanked her and she left me to deal with the wonders of the bathing chamber. It turned out to be easier than I thought. Warm water did indeed flow out of the left spigot when the valve was turned. I wondered how it had been heated, how it got up into the pipes, and if this was mechanical magic or something else. My elemental friend didn’t want to play in the water, so it floated over to the lamp and made itself comfortable. I found soap and bathed, finding a towel to dry off with, and then a mirror.
I had hair and looked like my normal self, except.. I wiped the steam from the mirror and looked a little more closely at my reflection. My brown hair had a blue tinge to it – like a bluebird’s feather – and my skin, clean of the soot from the mine, seemed paler than before. My eyes remained gray and shown my worry back at me. While the immediate warm water made bathing pleasant, I’m not sure I trusted the inventions in this city.
Elenosa had left me a set of orange and black stripped coveralls, which I put on. I left the bathing chamber, my fire elemental friend tucked invisible and tucked under my ear again, and found her waiting in the hall.
“I’m sorry we don’t have a proper bed chamber. All we have is a cot in the holding cell. It’s quite comfortable though. I’ve slept there myself.” She lead me further into the building, through a thick set door, to a cell with rock walls halfway to my chest and iron bars going to the ceiling.
She gestured for me to go in.
“I’ll just prop the door open, shall I?”
I thanked her and sat on the cot.
“I’ll come wake you when the Captain returns. Sleep well.” She left.
In jail again.
My fire elemental friend found the lamp she had left, and amused itself by making it burn in various colors. I sat and considered. Who had taken my satchel and why? The map had weird markings, true, but so what? The letter could only be read under the light of the fire elemental, and the vase had broken. And my gold. That had been missing as well, but I suspected Bartol might have helped himself to it.
I felt heavy and my head swam. The cheese? Had there been something in the cheese? I slumped over.