Rush Of Blood To The Head, part 6.12.
It is a beautiful and sunny morning of late Amnish summer, but Nalia arrives in the main hall of the inn thinking rather dark and gloomy thoughts. Prospects of facing a very dangerous vampire and her numerous lackeys are not entirely attractive to her… She does not feel fear as such, rather than a slight unease and uncertainty of whether she is up to the task. True, she has been preparing very carefully, following the advice of Imoen and that rude Red Wizard… still, she has not seen serious action for a while, since her last trip with Theo to Imnesvale, and that is what makes her worried.
She is relieved to see that Keldorn is the only one of the party members, currently having his breakfast, but she is slightly surprised about the absence of the others. She does not wonder about that for too long, instead she quickly hurries over to greet Keldorn with a warm smile and after a brief exchange of pleasantries, she is waiting for the serving wench to arrive. Watching Keldorn struggle with his oatmeal, Nalia concludes that this must be one of the toughest fights one has to face in this life.
“Keldorn, what was all that shouting about?” Nalia interrupts the paladin from eating, “I was still half-asleep, but I thought I heard Jaheira yelling at someone.”
“It is not in our rights to intrude in privacy of others, but sometimes the privacy of others can intrude in our lives, without us wanting it…” Keldorn muses, “I believe lady Jaheira and Theodur have come to a disagreement, which comes to an unpleasant surprise to me.”
“Really? Oh, dear… poor Theo, being on the receiving end of that,” Nalia shudders, “I wonder too… they seem to be such a harmonious couple. This is actually quite a surprise, considering… I mean…”
“Whatever do you mean by that, young Nalia?” Keldorn puts his fork aside and looks at her inquiringly, “Why does it come as a surprise to you?”
“Well… I suppose you didn’t know… Jaheira lost her husband quite recently… I mean… they sure got together rather quickly. It’s not my right to pass a judgment or condemn them for it… but I always had the feeling that they were… you know… in love, long before that happened.”
“That is… more than I wanted to know, young miss,” Keldorn looks at her sternly, “none of us could nor should claim the moral highground to judge the actions of others when it comes to such delicate and private matters. Torm knows, I have been less than a perfect husband, myself, placing my duty to the church over my marriage.”
“I… I am sorry, Keldorn… I meant no offense,” Nalia stammers.
“I know you did not and there was none taken,” Keldorn smiles, “A feeling like love cannot be immoral in itself, always remember that, Nalia.”
“Thank you, Keldorn,” Nalia smiles back, relieved, “how… how do you feel amongst Theodur’s friends… if I may ask? It is not the same as…”
“As it was before? I spent roughly a day with Theodur’s group and did not get to know them better, but I certainly feel that the lad himself has changed… a lot,” Keldorn grows pensive for a moment, before continuing calmly, “he looks at everyone who greets him with such suspicion, but I suppose I can understand him. And Lady Jaheira… it is obvious that she has been through hell, since our last meeting.”
“I just don’t feel as welcomed in this group as I felt when we traveled together before Isaea kidnapped me… Theo and Jaheira unsuccessfully trying to keep their relationship a secret, Yoshi being such a great comfort after father’s death and Jan with his funny stories… we were a friendly group, indeed,” Nalia smiles bitterly at her memories, “now… I don’t know…”
“Jaheira and Theo… they have both changed, I feel that… and this drow - she is very unfriendly to me. I think that Theo’s sister is a nice girl, but she doesn’t leave the side of that drow for a moment and I just can’t get to talk with her,” Keldorn’s blushing escapes Nalia’s notice as she continues her ramblings, “she’s really weird, though… and that wizard is outright rude and nasty, I swear he enjoys insulting us!”
“Yes, young Edwin has quite appalling lack of manners, I must admit,” Keldorn replies, “it is best to ignore him and not to take his words too close to the heart. Still, I wonder why Theodur keeps him in his company now that we have two skillful mages amongst our ranks. I shall speak to him on this matter… but I will leave you to enjoy your breakfast. I must get ready, it takes a long time for this old man to don that full plate…”
Nalia laughs quietly as Keldorn leaves the table, the talk easing her spirit just a little… and then it is dampened again as she looks to the plate that the serving wench has put on the table.
A bowl of… oatmeal.
Edwin’s room is a rather small one and the windows are facing the inner yard – something that our aesthetic wizard complained about loudly. That doesn’t bother me much at this particular moment as I sit on Edwin’s bed and slowly massage my hurt shin, a rather large bruise forming on the skin.
“So… let me know if I understand correctly – you go to the graveyard, kill all the vampires, retrieve the soul of that annoying sister of yours, come back only to get yelled at and beaten up?” Edwin looks at me with incomprehension, “is that woman of yours stupid?”
“Well… you have an amazing knack to interpret it rather differently, Edwin,” I smirk, “you are not concerned about me giving into the Bhaal taint or risking my life in such a dangerous mission, but Jaheira is… she is only afraid to lose me and I understand that. She is my lover, you are not…”
“Thankfully,” Edwin adds, “still, you will not hear any complains from this Red Wizard about his simian lackeys doing the dirty job for him (as it should have been, of course).”
“The question is what we are going to do about this,” I sigh, “I think that Jaheira will need some time to calm down… unless we think of something clever and quickly, you will have a roomie for the night and I don’t think you would want that.”
“As it happens, the astonishing intellect of Edwin Odesseiron has come through once again by figuring out a simple, yet devious way in which to solve our problems. This way I will not have to endure your humiliating company,” Edwin proudly puffs out his chest.
“Forget it, Edwin. You are NOT going to share a room with Jaheira for the night. Only in your dreams… no, actually I forbid you to even dream about that!” I laugh, seeing his peevish expression.
“Only an uncouth barbarian could simplify my refined and far-reaching plans to such banalities,” Edwin quickly recovers and puts on his mask of disdain, “I… err… meant something totally different, yes… what I meant is that we simply have to find a way to calm down that loudmouth wench of yours.”
“I don’t think that is possible right now, Eddie – that might be just as dangerous as touching a beehive,” I sigh, “unless you have a real plan, now that just might help…”
“Err… I am working on that,” Edwin replies sheepishly, but somehow that doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in me. Gods, I must be really desperate if I am asking Edwin an advice regarding my love life…
The morning is already quite late, but the curtains still cover the windows of Imoen and Viconia’s room… and there is a very good reason for that, as both occupants of this room find themselves in the bed, wearing very little if anything at all… They both lay on their backs, Imoen’s head resting on Viconia’s shoulder as they both look drowsy and very content.
“So… that’s how it is…” Imoen chuckles, “you knew that I’ve never done it before, didn’t you Vic?”
“Of course, silly one. But you have the best teacher, do you not?” Viconia bends down to gently kiss the back of Imoen’s head.
“The beshtest…” Imoen yawns, but then continues in an amused tone, “Vic, I hope that we were quiet enough… I wouldn’t want Keldorn to hear us and he’s in the room next to ours. Y’know, being a paladin and stuff, he could figure out that he should smite us for being such… err… well, I doubt he would approve, anyways…”
“We don’t need his approval for anything, Immy,” Viconia snarls, “if the fool of a jaluk says a word to you, just tell me. I will make sure he doesn’t bother you… we could just tell Theo to send him away, it’s not like the old fool’s presence is necessary to the group.”
“Aww, I’m sure everyone will understand…” Imoen smiles, “say… I think I forgot something under those blankets… think I’m gonna try to find it…”
With that she ducks her head below the blankets and soon enough Viconia gasps in pleasure, before sneaking under the blankets herself to join her new lover.
Jaheira is lying in the bed with her head buried in the pillow, deep in thought and also slightly exhausted from the wrecking of furniture and tray of dishes – a half-successful attempt to vent her anger. Slowly, she rises from the pillow and brushes back the long, unbraided hair that is falling in her face, as she surveys the scene of carnage… A whole set of dishes tossed against the wall and completely ruined… a chair smashed against the large mirror at the wall, ruining both objects…
She does feel a bit silly for acting so unreasonably, but in her heart she knows that it has helped… she does not feel as angry as just an hour ago, now there are mostly feelings of sadness and sorrow in her heart.
“He took Dermin’s knife for me… was ready to die instead of me,” angrily, she brushes away the few tears escaping her eyes, “how can I stay mad at him… I just… cannot…” She quickly jumps out of the bed, wipes her eyes clean and heads out of the room full of determination.
Rush Of Blood To The Head, part 6.12.
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