The Tale of a Mage (part 20)

Nyx pulled herself to a standing position. It took her a moment to steady herself on shaky legs. She gingerly ran her fingers over her bottom. It was so bruised that rubbing with any significant degree of vigour hurt too much. Glaring at Livia she pulled one of the blankets from the bed and made her way to the far side of the room. Slowly lowering herself to lie on her stomach on the hard stone floor, Nyx pulled the blanket over herself.

“You know you could sleep on the bed?” Livia smirked.

“I’m fine right here.” Nyx snapped.

“Suit yourself” Livia shrugged climbing into bed. Soon Livia was asleep. Her snoring filled the room.

Nyx shifted positions trying to get comfortable. Every so often she glanced longingly at the bed. She wouldn’t give in though. There was no way she would be sharing a bed with that sociopath. She heard footsteps approaching the door then a light knock followed by the jiggle of the door knob. Livia didn’t stir. Nyx’s stomach grumbled. That was probably someone bringing the food King Horrik promised. However, getting up to open the door might wake Livia and she had no desire to experience her company right now. With a dejected sigh, Nyx remained in her position on the floor. Soon she heard the sound of footsteps retreating. The day had been exhausting and, in spite of her discomfort, it was not long before Nyx also drifted off to sleep.

When Nyx awoke, it was to the sound of someone hammering on the door. She rubbed her eyes and awkwardly pulled herself to a standing position doing her best to avoid contact between her bottom and the hard stone floor. Livia sat up and scowled at the door, clearly displeased to have her sleep disrupted so abruptly. Before either of them could make their way to the door it clicked open and Cassandra burst into the room.

“It’s time for breakfast!” She chirped.

“Wasn’t that door locked? How did you..” Nyx began.

“I opened the door with magic” Cassandra explained “but maybe don’t tell Izzy that because I’m technically still not supposed to use magic without supervision. This spell was safe though there isn’t really anything that could have gone badly wrong.” Livia chuckled, her displeasure melting from her face. Now it was Nyx’s turn to scowl.

“We’ll keep it our little secret then.” Livia stood and made her way to the door giving Cassandra a light pat on the shoulder as she passed her.

Breakfast was a cheerful event. The hall was warm and the food was tasty and plentiful. After spending so long sustaining themselves on nuts and berries the freshly baked bread, glazed fruits, and roasted meats on offer were heavenly, even if Nyx had to eat them while standing. After they had gorged themselves on as much food as they could handle Izzy pulled herself from her seat.

“We had best go seek out this pirate.” She stated, turning and making her way out of the hall.

“Never asks, only orders,” Livia growled as the rest of the group rose to follow her.

“Reminds you too much of yourself?” Nyx quipped “and here I was thinking you were quite fond of yourself. Although, having experienced your company I’m not entirely surprised that you don’t like you.” Livia fixed Nyx with a glare and opened her mouth to retort.

“We’re falling behind” Cassandra interrupted breaking into a jog to catch up with Izzy. Livia and Nyx huffed in unison and followed her lead.

They made their way back down the cobbled streets. The city was much more lively during the day. Citizens filled the streets going about their daily business. Children sat near store fronts playing games with sets of brightly coloured stones. Before long they reached the tavern. Izzy immediately began questioning bar staff while Livia sat down at a table and gestured to a barmaid to bring her a pitcher of mead. Nyx glanced in her direction with raised eyebrows as the young dwarf returned with the order.

“This table is the perfect location to keep an eye on everything happening in this bar Livia smirked, “I wouldn’t be doing my job very well if I allowed a threat to the princess to go undetected.”

“Of course,” Nyx shook her head derision dripping from her voice “You’re just very dedicated to your job.”

“Indeed” Livia pushed a cup in Nyx’s direction. Nyx scowled for a moment before snatching the cup. Drinking mead was a far better way to spend the day than searching for some pirate at Izzy’s orders. She had never agreed to be Izzy’s subject yet she seemed to feel she had the right to continually tell her what to do. Screw Izzy, she took a large gulp of the mead. She glanced back in Livia’s direction in time to see the colour drain from her face.

“What?” Nyx snapped, her eyes following Livia’s stare. In the doorway stood a human woman. She was clad in leather armour. The jewelled handles of two daggers protruded from her belt. On each wrist, she wore several gold bangles. Her black curls were tied back and gold hoop earrings hung from her ears. Her sparkling hazel eyes were fixed firmly on Livia as she began to cross the room. Livia jumped to her feet with haste and wrapped an arm around Nyx’s shoulders.

“What the f…” Nyx spat out a mouthful of mead

“Convince her you’re my girlfriend and I’ll forget about the gold you owe me.” Livia cut Nyx off with a frantic whisper.

“Fine…” Nyx forced herself to smile as the woman came closer.

“Livia it’s been ages.” The woman took Livia’s cup winking at her before bringing it to her lips, taking a large swig. “Ah, nobody makes mead quite like the dwarves.” She handed the cup back to a scowling Livia. “I’ve missed you Liv.” She ran her fingers down Livia’s arm.

“I’m sorry, who are you?” Livia pushed her hand away.

“I see your new girlfriend bears some resemblance to me. That’s certainly telling.” The woman remained unfazed by Livia’s hostility. “I’m Drucilla” She extended a hand to Nyx. Nyx took it, her smile genuine now. She liked Drucilla she decided. This did not pass Livia’s attention and a look of alarm appeared on her face.

“Izzy!” Livia shouted, “We’ve found your pirate!”

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