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Following the Trail

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Secretive and shy by nature, Jarmok grew a bit anxious as the Arch-Duke entered his apartment, but his stomach growled noisily almost immediately when the meats' odors assailed his nostrils. He closed the door silently and followed his host into the room.

The bronzewood medallion that Corwynn wore about his thick neck should have put Jarmok at ease, knowing as he did how such a treasure would be granted only to a select, honorable few. But the man could have inherited it, or he might have stolen it outright, for all Jarmok knew.

"Not much tell." Jarmok answered, shrugging. "Was hope to see Kossuth rise, but over mountain." He said, regretting his west-facing window and yearning for his usual morning routine of a pre-dawn trek across Threshold's little valley to his vantage point where he would daily watch the sky lighten over the eastwall. He decided to try to change the conversation.

"Is Sayer have what needed?" He asked. "Much trouble in Threshold, horse man traitor councilors." He supposed that the Arch-Duke must already know these things, but it was more comfortable conversation for Jarmok.

The duke tried as best he could to decipher Jarmok’s limited speech. Recognizing that Jarmok was clearly not of any race he knew of he was curious as to what his native tongue sounded like. What he did know for certain, based on Sayers proclaimed "discrepancy" and Jarmoks immediate mention of it now, was that there was a breach in security that had been established between Kurr and Threshold.

Corwynn took a hunk of meat from the platter along with some cheese and set it on his plate. His mouth began to water as the steam from the meat curled up into his face. Unable to resist the temptation, and seeing no reason to, he carved an oversized piece and quickly shoved it into his mouth. He chased it down with a sip of truffle coffee that he had on the platter with the breakfast.

“Oh…that tastes delicious!” Corwynn exclaimed as looked at Jarmok. “Be sure to get your fill, you’ll be glad you did. There’s also a cup of truffle coffee here for you if you like.”

He considered Jarmok’s unease with speaking of his past and decided that perhaps in his own good time that Jarmok would speak more plainly. The least he could do was respect the cat-mans wishes and not press the point. There were other ways to learn of his race.

“There is still time to see Kossuth waken this morning. His birth isn’t due for…hrm…at least another hand by my reckoning. I’d be happy to take you to the keeps tallest tower so that you can see it.” Corwynn considered another possibility. “Although, if you prefer, we could go beyond the walls of Kurr and watch it without the city below us. We could go after breakfast!” He smiled at this thought because it would surly bother some of the court administrators that he left without a royal escort.

Jarmok's mouth watered all the more when the Arch-Duke took the large cover off of the food, and his stomach growled noisily. He somewhat timidly took up the plate offered and helped himself to perhaps too much of the meat and cheese - his over-active apatite was larger than usual this morning. It was as good on his tongue as it had been in his nose.

"Is out place good near to see?" He asked. "Tower maybe tomorrow?" He really wanted to be back in the trees just now; the city felt too much like a cage to Jarmok.

He tore at the meat with his teeth and chewed the too-large piece that came off of the larger slab. As he chewed he stuck his nose in the cup that Corwynn indicated; it did indeed smell good, but Jarmok made it a rule to not drink of what the Mahiya did not provide directly. He searched for a pitcher of water.

Corwynn chewed greedily on his plate of food as he listened to Jarmoks question. He could hear in his mild voice and see the discomfort in his eyes about being in the city. He thought of it as keeping a horse in a stable for too long. He also wondered if jarmok had encountered something volatile in his past that made him wary of a city. Corwynn certainly found Jarmok intriguing. How life was full of surprises!

Seeing that Jarmok was looking for an alternative to the truffle coffee he decided to help the fellow out. “Oh….wait…allow me.” The duke stated. His mouth was half filled with meat muffling his words. He hoped Jarmok would understand his words and intention. As he stood up from his chair he took a last big swallow clearing his mouth of food and proceeded to walk over to the side table next to Jarmoks bed to get the pitcher and mug.

“I believe it is a view that you will like. It’s out of the city, in amongst the trees, and away from the noise.” He said as he brought the pitcher of water over to Jarmok and sat back down. “It’s on the water too. Do you know how to ride a horse? We can pack up the food and take it with us” he offered eagerly.

(Wildfire’s Note: Kurr is a city on Vallensun Lake in The Forest [embarrassingly enough I have no name for this forest. Suffice it to say it’s the biggest forest on my maps]. There is a clear perimeter from the city walls for about a half mile out to the forest itself that is used for farmland. This clearing was created for city construction but also for defensive reasons.)

Jarmok watched as the huge man divined the object of Jarmok's desire and accepted the ewer gratefully. "Ung...thank." he said clumsily, as he poured water into the mug. It wasn't good water; it was tepid, having sat out in the room all night (perhaps longer), and it had lost any flavor of the river that it must once have held. In fact, Jarmok realized, it tasted a bit like the city itself.

Normally Jarmok reached for water to wash his mouth after eating; here, it seemed he would have to eat something to wash his mouth after drinking the water. His first thought was that a fruit would likely have the moisture that he'd need for that pallet cleanse, but he realized immediately that the fruit would likely taste like the water, having been raised upon it.

The city was no place for a child of the forest; of this he was more certain than ever. Perhaps there'd be cleaner water at this place where Corwynn proposed to meet Kossuth. With luck, this location would be up stream and not down.

"We go, half hand less?" Jarmok suggested as he took up cheese, half dreading the flavor of it. He was pleasantly surprised by the cheese, however; perhaps, he thought, it was not made inside the city. Perhaps too, the fruit had been grown up stream. "Need dress." He said simply, indicating his travelling gear that lay in a heap on the floor next to his bedroll, where he had obviously slept.


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