Dusk found Kestrel perched on a stump, balancing a bowl of stew replete with thick slices of her great-mother’s aromatic bread. Settled close enough to the fire to ward off the early Kalayeni chill, she concentrated on listening to the adult’s conversation while she ate.
Moira grinned at Marley as she handed him a flask Kestrel rarely saw. It was of a quality hide, to be sure, but what made it special, in her eyes, was the topper crafted of silver in the shape of a cluster of flowers. The bard’s face lit up at the sight of the flask, and she assumed that he also thought it special, if for a different reason.
“You kept that old thing?”
Merriment danced across his face and laughter sparkled in her mother’s voice as she answered him. “How could I not…show more content… She carefully handed the flask back to Jayf and after a moment pronounced, “It tastes like a hug.”
Jayf’s face split in a grin. His topknot bobbed up and down. “It does indeed, Mistress Thorn. It does indeed.” He passed the drink back to his friend.
Marley corked it after another quick swallow and handed it to Moria. “Well and well,” he said. “If she’s been in your considerable care for a double handful of cycles, she must’ve appeared on you wagon stoop soon after I departed.”
The memories of that time were sketchy at best for Kestrel. Small bits and pieces of sights and smells she never again saw or smelled. A small crystal flute and a scarf of gossamer lace tucked away in their wagon amongst her things. That was the sum of her past before the clans. She sighed to herself hoping their talk would turn to the magic and adventure she longed to hear about. Moira stirred the fire, putting on another small log. She poured more kala for their guests as she spoke. “A sorrowful wind blew out of the highlands of Rhoaddyn not a ten-day after you rode out into that wicked neberil