"We need to go to the desert." Destran took the lead. "That's the next destination on our map." Destran waved the hole-y map in front of the Vaan. Valak peered at it and laughed out loud.
"This is your work isn't it!" He guffawed, slapping Jack on the back. Jack grinned and bragged about his marking the map permanently or something like that. I stopped paying attention. I was daydreaming: we were finally getting out of the marshes! I couldn't wait to see sky without trees around it, and see ground without puddles of rank smelling water, full of bugs and other stuff. I shivered a little just thinking about it.
We stopped in the market for supplies, Valak handled all the transactions because of the nature of the vendors. All Vaan, all bartering, tight-fisted, unpleasant hagglers. We had to trust Valak's skills to get us a good deal on everything.
Finally he lead us out of the settlement and into the marshes. I ran a hand through my hair, the humidity was really starting to get to it.
"General Valak?" I ventured a question. He grunted. I continued. "How long until we get out of here?"
"Soon." Was all he would say. I tried again a few hours later, but I got the same reply. And again a few hours later. Finally we made camp. Yara and Destran gathered firewood and Jack and Valak went to go catch some swamp monster to eat for dinner.
" ... as long as it isn't my beloved Loretta..."
I flopped down on the ground and started creating a fire pit, throwing the rocks down to make them stick in the soft earth. I was about two-thirds of the way around when I jumped to my feet.
"I'm so tired of these marshes!" I yelled to no one in particular. "I want to get out now!" Finished with that. I sat down on the ground again and completed the circle, setting out the tinder and my cooking utensils by the time every one came back.
Lyra came over to me, concerned.
"What's the matter Brena?" She asked. I shook my head. I just wanted out, there was no more to say. The marshes caused too much uncertainty and depression and I was sick and tired of it.
"We got MEAT!" Jack exploded into the clearing with a large furry creature over one shoulder and a bloody sword over the other.
"Go clean it over there, Loudmouth!" I pointed to the far side of the clearing, making a face at the gory sight.
Valak came after Jack, much more discreetly, but with another creature over his shoulders. I pointed towards Jack and the two of them could be heard conversing and laughing at something across the clearing.
I looked around, Destran was poring over the map again. Yara and Lyra were talking to each other, Zahkon was standing guard, as usual. I added some vegetables to the stewpot.
"Guys, I'm going to need some meat for the stew!" I called to the butchers across the clearing. Jack bounded over with a cloth sack.
"I have lots of meat for you!" He said, way too loudly. I took the sack from him and opened it. There were several choice cuts of meat, I dumped it all into the pot and thrust the sack into Jack's stomach.
"Thank you!" I said sharply, giving the stew a stir. Eventually it was done, I dished it out and left the clearing. I needed some peace and quiet.