Chapter 10Where a Journey Starts

While I walked over to him, I realized it had been a stupid thought. First of all, the Innkeeper was a friend of the Master of Light. Secondly, he wouldn't have put a note under our door with such a strange marking. The writing was quite elaborate as well, slightly smudged though it was. I pushed the thoughts and wanderings from my mind to focus on the moment. There was a small package on the bar in front of the man, wrapped in oilcloth, probably filled with some basic food for today. I assumed he knew that I wouldn't be travelling more than a day.

"Good morning." His voice was kind. "Sleep well?"

I nodded. "Very well, did you prepare some provisions?"

He motioned to the package on the bar, as expected. "This should be enough, it's no more than a days travel to the nearest towns or cities. Just some simple bread and cider."

I picked up the package. "Thank you, it will make the journey more pleasant." I bowed a little to show my gratitude, feeling it was proper.

The Innkeeper smiled and nodded in acknowledgement. "Glad to see that some still know when to be polite." He winked, knowing that I wasn't that old. "The Master should be up at this hour."

"Thank you."

At the same time, Deirdre came downstairs. She'd adjusted her clothing a little more to fit even better and braided her hair for comfort. It was, well I wouldn't go as far as breathtaking, but she was definitely looking good in those humble yet elegant clothes. I hoped that I wouldn't say something stupid like earlier. I attempted fiercely not to stare and felt completely at a loss on what to say or what to do. Fortunately it was the Innkeeper saying something that got me out of this without having to say a word.

"Good morning, milady."

She curtsied a little, holding the dress lightly between her fingertips. "Good morning." She spoke with a smile.

I mentally forced myself to focus on the job at hand. "Ready to go back to the House?"

She nodded, obviously amused. "Yes, all ready."

The Innkeeper kept wisely (and surprisingly) silent and just smiled as we headed out. We crossed the early and nearly empty market and headed to the house. The horse was where I left it yesterday, brushed, fed and looking ready for another day of travel. I just hoped he wouldn't mind the extra passenger. That was something I hadn't thought too much about yet... When I got back to Dawnbridge, it wouldn't be as easy to walk around with Deirdre without her getting noticed. But I suppose that was a path to walk later. Deirdre stayed with the horse while I went into the building. Knowing it better, I used the outer stairs of Light to show some respect and, to be honest, avoid the breakfast being set up. There wasn't anyone in the first floor corridor, though I could hear some noise in the other rooms, even if I couldn't quite make out what they were. At last I reached the Master's room and knocked on the door.

"Enter."

I entered politely and sat down as the master motioned towards the chair with his hand. "Good morning, Master."

He nodded. "Good morning, Taran was it?" He remembered my name! "Please take these two letters back to Dawnbridge."

He handed me the two letters, one of which was sealed with wax. I, of course, put them neatly in my bag without looking further at them, it wasn't for me to question him. Openly at least.

"Is that all, sir?"

He smiled and nodded. "Yes, you probably found your horse already so I will not keep you."

I bowed and exited quietly. Leaving through the corridor and exiting into the courtyard. Deirdre had unfastened and saddled the horse neatly, standing there feeding it some food from her hands. It was responding very friendly to her, which got me thinking a little about if she was naturally good with animals, did that mean... It was a thought for later as well. It was more important now to keep my mind in one place.

"He likes you." I smiled at her.

She smiled back. "It's been a while since I had the chance to feed one. And I saddled him up for you."

I nodded. "I can see that, well done. Let's get going."

In my head I was already planning the way back. We could probably use the same path I used yesterday and, if things hadn't changed, travel quite uneventful back to Dawnbridge. I got up on the horse and helped Deirdre sit behind me, it was nice feeling her holding me again. I guided the horse out of the town in an easy trot and smiled at the guard in the tower. When we were out of the town walls, I set the horse to a canter that it should be able to keep up for at least two hours.

Deirdre spoke to me as soon as the town was out of view. "So, what are you going to do?"

I replied without looking around. "I don't know yet, I've got plenty of time to think on it."

A small moment before her next words. "Do you think it's a trap?"

"No, I don't think so. The note appeared to have been delivered in difficult circumstances, at least. That, and your story got me thinking as well. Maybe the Masters of Light and Dark aren't ready to lay down their weapons just yet. Of course I'm very curious to know who the note is from. But one thing about it struck me as vitally important."

"Like how it didn't ask to deliver the note anywhere, but just to read it?"

I smiled, she was clever.

"Yes, that's exactly it."