Hope's Child.

Chapter Nine: Morning at the Inn.

By Rose Williams.

Author's Notes: There is more of this universe, as well as infrequent progress updates at my livejournal OrderofWisards.

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The common room was quiet. The people who did not have to be anywhere by first light had not got there yet. Master Niman was behind the bar polishing glasses and keeping an eye on his servers as they cleaned.

He beamed when Majethrim appeared down stairs and bustled to set him a table, asking after his night and the baths. Majethrim insisted on sitting by an outside window and Master Niman happily set the table for him.

"Your companion?"

"She will down soon," Majethrim assured him, "Can you serve two breakfasts please?"

"Sure, sure, my pleasure, sir," the innkeeper said, bustling off to the kitchen.

He came back with a large pot of sweet tea and put it in front of Majethrim before hurrying off again. He brought one bowl of muesli and a jug of yoghurt when he came back. It took him three more trips to bring the second bowl of muesli, two plates of fruit and cups for the tea. Majethrim watched the sun light the vines and the growers walk up and back checking them. He smiled briefly whenever Master Niman came back with some more of the food, and thought that the bustling man was lucky Kelana still had not come down.

Master Niman set the cups down with a rattle and wishes for an enjoyable breakfast. Majethrim waved him away as Kelana came down the stairs. She still looked a bit cross. Majethrim stood up as she got to the table and bowed. Kelana sighed heavily but smiled slightly, too, as she shook her head.

"You look awful, Jeth," she said.

"I am an old man, Rami," he reminded her.

Kelana was jolted by the name.

"Are you okay?" Majethrim asked, seeing her shock.

Kelana blinked a couple of times but waved his concern away. She poured yoghurt over her muesli, took a spoonful of her meal and looked at it darkly. She decided there was nothing to do but eat it. It was okay, just not what she liked for her first meal.

Majethrim was still watching her carefully. He didn't look as old as he had, although he still looked a lot older than his twenty seven years. But he maintained the illusion by behaving as if he were old. His left hand was still, and folded roughly beside his bowl. He held his spoon gently. The skin on his hands and face was worn from years outdoors and travelling hard. His expression was slightly vague. But his eyes were focused sharply on her face.

"I have not heard that name in a long time," she said. "I'm not very good in the mornings," she added with a slight laugh. "It was the only name I could think of yesterday."

"Does it belong to someone?"

Kelana took another spoonful of muesli and yoghurt before she nodded. Majethrim piled fruit on his muesli before covering the whole lot in yoghurt and stirring it together. He let the issue rest, but remembered how sad Kelana had sounded.

Kelana ate her first meal methodically. She felt better as the food revived her. Majethrim seemed to shrink, buried under his own memories.

Majethrim finished and Kelana stood up. Majethrim followed as she lead the way to the door with a brief nod to the innkeeper. Majethrim bowed her through the door stiffly.

"You look very nice, my lady," he said.

Kelana smiled graciously and nodded her thanks. She was very pleased. She had been unsure of the blue dress when she had packed it. It was an odd design. The dress fitted at the shoulders but was relatively shapeless to a drawstring at the waist. The overall effect emphasised Kelana's waist and long legs but was simple enough for her supposed position.

She was alert enough, now, to remember everything she had to and waved Jeth to lead her down the hall to the library. She kept her stride short and her expression patient as if she were forced to walk slowly for her assistant. Only Kelana's careful pace kept Majethrim from getting to the library as quickly as possible.