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Daughter of the Light

She had only just sat down when the stooped boy came running and asked what she would have.
She ordered mashed potatoes with vegetables, bread, and a mug of beer. The boy vanished again
without a word. Was he afraid? He had to be used to it since even on this evening there were eight
others in here. Maybe it was only she who frightened him?
She was not quite like them after all. Not real neither one way nor the other. Was that more
frightening? Not quite human, not quite ainatunari. She shot stolen glances towards the eight
ainatunari. The four by the counter and the two by the door talked as happily and freely as the
humans around them. The two she had sat nearby were more subdued. They were leaning over the
table from each their side in deep conversation.
The sound of Talviri was as music compared to the language of the humans. Even the sight of
ainatunari was as music compared to the sight of humans. They looked like humans and then again.
They lit up like torches in the room.
She watched them discretely while she waited for the boy to return with her food and beer. Were
they looking at her too? She looked away every time one of them turned their head. She was afraid
that they would see her watching them.
Would they wonder what she was doing here alone? They were on journey themselves. Their
clothes bore the stamp of it as did probably her own. They would not be able to see that it was old
wear that had done it. Wear from Elior and hers adventures.
The boy came back and quickly placed plate, cutlery and mug in front of her, then he was gone
again. She eyed the food suspiciously for a moment, but found it to be all right. There was no meat
of any kind. The inn was used to serving ainatunari. They knew how it should be.
She sipped her beer and then began eating. In the time it took to eat, she could keep the thoughts
at bay, but when the plate was empty and the mug likewise, they returned. The entire practical was
done now. What were left were sleep and then the further journey.
Where to? Barovia? Livyliar? Tanyvilas? Ivetarlis? There were four options, and then a million
more. Would they gather in one of The Four Forests? Or would that be too obvious? The Border
would protect them there. It would keep all others out, but would the Dark not be able to see them
there in anyway? Would it not sense their gathering?
It would not be able to send its soldiers against them in one of The Four Forests. That provided a
certain security. Nevertheless, it was a long way to just one of The Four Forests. And which one
would Elior choose? For that was what was most important. Not to find the gathering point, but to
find Elior. If she had only known whether he knew the exact place.
The boy came stumbling by with a pitcher of beer and poured into her empty mug without even
asking if she wanted more. She mumbled thanks but he was already gone again. She stared blankly
at the thick foam from the beer that sent a stripe down the marred side of the mug and formed a
small spot on the dark wood of the table.
Her ears were filled with noise, only interrupted by the singing sound of Talviri from the two men
at the table next to her. The thoughts tumbled about just below the surface. The emotions were right
underneath. Everything she did not want to feel right now.
She had made a decision. She had left. That was all she could do. The rest was thoughts. Thoughts
that only made bad worse. Clouds before the sun. Unnecessary and hurtful. She did what she could
do. She rode to find Elior.
- … Calras.
The name reached her ears through the noise in the inn room, and she sat up suddenly and stared
at the two men at the table next to her. Was it them who had said “Calras”? She looked away
immediately again and tried to catch their conversations through the noise. It was not hard to catch
on to the Talviri- language. It was so different.