Assuming that he was always being watched, the sorcerer explored the suite. He found, first, a bath suitable for four, in black veined white marble. White gold fixtures completed the look around the vanity and tub. Still, when he turned one experimentally, steaming water poured into the basin.
Moments later, Alaric’s travel worn clothes were in a pile on the floor and he sank into the near scalding water. A brief exploration found all the necessary toiletries, or things he hoped would serve. The necessities dealt with, Alaric allowed the steam and warmth to loosen knotted, tense muscles and slough away the day’s dirt.
Some time later, lulled into drowsiness, he rose and drained the tub. Lacking obvious towels, Alaric risked a minor cantrip to dry off. Another little spell caused his dirty clothes to float behind him as he padded barefoot and naked across the sitting room to the bedroom.
There, he had eyes only for the magnificent king size bed outfitted with pale blue bedclothes.
Seconds later, his piled clothing forgotten on the floor, Alaric collapsed, passed out, on a plush, down filled comforter, unaware of the world.
When he woke, it was to find himself beneath heavy covers.
As the initial disorientation faded, Alaric assumed he must have gotten himself under them during the night. That wasn’t entirely unusual. He rolled out of the overly large bed and walked toward the room’s door, careful to keep his feet on the carpets that matched the shade of the sheets.
During that short trip, he spotted his clothes. They had been cleaned and neatly folded on a chair near the door. The delicate, alabaster piece of furniture looked out of place as a resting place for worn jeans, t-shirt, and boots that had seen better days.
The sorcerer dressed in silence, studiously avoiding thoughts about how the clothes had been moved. The important thing was that they were ready for wear. He preferred to face whatever was coming in the familiar, comfortable attire rather than whatever the room’s ornate wardrobes held.
Back in his own clothes, Alaric decided he was ready to face the prospect of breakfast, even one composed of the half-forgotten oddities of the previous day.
The bedroom door swung open at a light touch, revealing the sitting room beyond.
And Jdal sitting in a chair facing his room.
The priest’s expression fit what Alaric thought of as “The Mom Look”—the face all moms made when they caught you misbehaving.
Alaric tried to stay impassive, even as he felt everything beginning to crumble.
Without preamble, the priest simply said, “We sent a junior priest out during the night. To look around the area. She was attacked by several . . . creatures. She described them as humanoid, tall, and green-gold in her mage-light. Explain.”
“Ah. That would not be entirely, ah, unexpected,” Alaric said, stalling to let his pre-caffeine morning brain catch up.
“You know these creatures?”
“I’m familiar with the species, a little. Not sure if they’re creatures or people. But, they did seem to think the stone circle was cursed. Probably stories from the War,” he paused for breath. “I hope your colleague is alright?”
“She will recover. This . . . species is new to us. You knew they were nearby?”
Alaric nodded, “I saw some a few days before I found you. Didn’t know they were still around.”
Jdal closed his eyes for a few moments, lost in thought.
“You say you thought they moved. You knew of them but said nothing to us. What are they called, what do you know of them? Do they oppose, or threaten, the Great Ones?”
“We call them eldren,” Alaric shrugged. “No one really knows much of anything about them or what they can do. Given that they consider the site above to be cursed, I would assume they don’t care much for dragons.”
“I see. Is there anything else you have not told us?”
Alaric forced a laugh, “A lot. Six thousand years’ worth of things.”
The priest did not seem amused.
“Remain here, please, Al. I will see that food and other necessities are sent to you. My . . . colleagues are upset by current events. They do not wish to trust you. I have told them we must be patient, for now.”
He rose in one fluid motion and glided out the door.