Untitled (6.5) (2016)


(Spring Forest)

Shannon and Alyce nodded, the former absently, though neither made a move to leave. Oifa just muttered something about “planes, not time” that he couldn’t fully make out. Truthfully, he didn’t feel like leaving either. The site had a sort of hypnotic appeal, a draw that he couldn’t define.

At a loss, Tobias looked as closely as he could for symbols or the glint of light on a stone. Remaining conscious of the dividing line took some work, it was easy to get focused on searching and forget.

Nothing stood out to him, nothing obvious in his line of sight anyway. There could be something in the center, but going in before they knew what it was would not be a good plan. He’d spent enough time at the Tower to know better than to mess with strange, possibly rogue, magic. Master Thomlin was still in recovery, a month after his incident.

With a sharp, dog-like, shake of his head, Tobias broke the proverbial spell to see the falling angle of the sun’s light.

He shook Oifa and Shannon by the shoulder. As Oifa collected Alyce, he said, “Let’s go eat, or Gavin’s likely to come after us swords first.”

Alyce flashed her first smile, “He’d have to outrun Cierra, and even a wolf with a burning tail couldn’t beat her.”

They were halfway back when they all caught the scent of frying onions and an undercurrent of cooking meat. The combination drove out all concerns about the anomaly and quickened their pace.

Alyce led Tobias by a few paces. He found the fire built up to a modest level in one part of the pit. The other contained glowing coals and a couple black frying pans. Cierra was turning a haunch of something masked by the onion drifting on the breeze. Gavin seemed to be manning the skillets and a couple coffee pots. When he spotted the team, he waved.

“”Fried potatoes, pork, and mixed greens,” Marker said, “And boiled coffee, hot water for anything else.”

Tobias looked askance at both.

Gavin shrugged, “We got to talking while you were busy. She convinced me to cook out here tonight.”

Tobias’s stomach growl was echoed by Oifa’s and Shannon’s. All three fell onto log seats by the fire, their eyes locked on the meal-to-be.

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