Authors: Mercedes Lackey
Tags: #Fantasy, #General, #Fiction, #Fantasy - General, #American Science Fiction And Fantasy, #Action & Adventure, #Spanish: Adult Fiction
“There’s an inn just a half hour down the road from here,” he told them, stammering a trifle. “They’re expecting you. I thought you’d probably rather sleep soft tonight, so when Farist caught the edges of Rolan’s sending, I rode down there and warned them.”
“Right, and thanks!” Kris answered for both of them, touched by the unexpected courtesy. “Seems like it’s been forever since we had real beds.”
“Not true,” Talia interrupted him. “We had a real bed just a bit over four months ago, with Tedric.”
“So we did, but it still seems like forever. That reminds me though; my first bit of advice to you is to always plan to stop at the northernmost Resupply Station; it’s right near Berrybay. Tedric is a good host, loves having company, and his cooking—!” Kris rolled his eyes heavenward in mock ecstacy.
“And my first bit of advice is to watch out for the other northernmost surprise—” Briefly Talia outlined the plague’s symptoms and described how it had decimated Waymeet.
They took turns detailing some of the hazards and pitfalls of this circuit, then turned their chirras and their remaining supplies over to him. Griffon helped them load their own gear on his mules, and by the time it was dusk, he was well settled into the Station and they were ready to be on their way.
As the lights of the inn shone through the darkness ahead of them, Kris sensed Talia’s involuntary shiver.
“I know,” he told her softly. “Now it’s over—and now is when it really starts to get hard. But you’re ready. Trust me, little bird, you are ready.”
“You’re sure?” she replied in a small, doubtful voice.
“As sure as I’ve ever been of anything in my life. You’ve been ready since Westmark. If you can handle that, you can handle anything; touchy nobles, Heirs with adolescent traumas, heart-wounded Heralds—”
“Mooncalf Heralds with lifebonds?” she asked with a tinge of sarcasm.
“Even that. Especially that. You haven’t let it get in the way of anything yet, and you won’t now. You’re ready, dearheart. And if you dare make a liar out of me—”
“I’ll—I’ll commission a Bard to write you into something scathing.”
“Great Goddess!” she reeled in the saddle, clutching her heart as if stabbed, her high spirits restored. “A death worse than Fate!”
“See that you behave yourself then,” he grinned. “Now come on—there’s dinner waiting, and soft feather beds; and after that—”
“Yes,” she sighed, staring down the road to the south. “Home. At last.”