“I still don’t see why we had to leave Swift in the woods,” Whisper muttered as they drew closer to the city of Elceterre. William sighed.
“As I said before, because he draws too much attention,” he explained. For some reason he just couldn’t make her understand that simple point.
“So?” she replied. That very response infuriated him. He was almost certain that she did it just to irritate him. She said it so easily with that matter-of-fact tone. It made him want to grind his teeth in frustration.
“So, little simpleton, the people here like to tie magicians to wooden poles and set them on fire. I’m not sure about you but i would rather not participate in that.” Whisper stuck her tongue out at him, confirming his suspicions that she’d set up the entire conversation to annoy him. If that weren’t the case, she never would have left Swift in the woods.
The guards at the gate were edgy to say the least. For a moment William was afraid that they were going to be arrested simply for being there. Of course there was no way they could tell that Whisper was a magician by looking at her, especially after he’d pointedly asked her to comb her hair and then pilfered some normal clothes for her from the last village. After a few tense moments they were allowed to pass the gates.
William stopped when he realised whisper wasn’t following him anymore. He turned to see a look of wide eyed wonder written all over her face. She had suddenly lost track of everything the moment she left the gatehouse. He shrugged. The place was ornate and fairly bright but it was hardly majestic. There was much finer places in the Viimarch. He whistled at her and after a brief fluster she started following him again.
He laughed as he realised she was red faced with embarrassment, to which she responded by punching him in ribs. His mirth subsided and he asked a local man where the nearest inn or tavern could be found. He was directed several streets along to a serviceable place by the name of the King’s Sword Inn.
The building had little outstanding about it. It was built of the same granite blocks and mortar that every other building was made of. The tavern keep, a stout bearded man greeted them and waved them in. That place wasn’t too busy, with only a few patrons scattered around the tables drinking and gambling.
“innkeep,” William called “what’s on the fire?”
“Lamb and vegetable stew,” he smiled back at them. “Would you like a bowl for you and-“ he paused briefly, as if he had only just noticed how unkempt Whisper was. To his credit, that pause was his only reaction “the lady,” he finished.
“Yes please, friend,” William smiled back, leading Whisper to a table. The seats, he was glad to note, were well made if not comfortable. He remembered all too keenly an incident at the university where he had the misfortune of a seat giving way beneath him and gravity hauling him over backwards, and hauling his drink into his face.