He led Telina to an old, run down inn. A few men in the corner were holding little flasks and speaking loudly to one another, and the last few embers of what must have been a roaring fire earlier glowed faintly. The inn smelled of alcohol and smoke, making Telina's lungs burn. The man led Telina up a set of narrow wooden stairs that creaked loudly when stepped upon.
Telina found herself in a small, cramped room. There was a mock form of a bed in one corner, and a dusty window. Telina doubted any light could get through the window even when the sun was out because it was so dirty.
"I suppose you must be hungry," the inn owner said. Telina nodded, and the innkeeper promptly left. Uncertainly, Telina sat on the makeshift bed, but she immediately leapt back up again. As soon as she had even touched the bed, what seemed like hundreds of flies and mites crawled out. Telina let out a little shriek and limped to the other corner of the room. Her gashes and wounds were still painfully new, and they bled sluggishly.
Telina hated bugs - insects, arachnids, you name them and she hated them. She shuddered just thinking about them crawling all over her and getting into her cuts. She'd get up the next morning with rashes and infections and….she didn't want to even think about it.
The innkeeper reappeared with a tray containing muddy water and over-baked bread. He handed the tray to her and gestured her to sit on the floor. Telina's heart was pounding in her chest - where had all those bugs gone? She sat anyway, but slowly; the gashes on her stomach from landing in the tree twinged painfully. By the time she got to a sitting position, she was breathing rapidly and blinking her eyes repeatedly to keep tears of pain from flowing. The innkeeper was watching her curiously as he sat down across from her, but Telina pretended nothing had happened and tore off part of the bread.
"Yes, yes, I'm fine." The bread was tasteless, but Telina ate it anyway. She knew that though it hurt to move her arms, this might be the only food she would get for awhile. However, she stayed away from the water.
"So…whereabouts are yuh from?"
"Um…" Telina pointed a random direction to him. "Up that way, just a bit." Her arm fell limply to the floor, and the innkeeper stared at it.
"Are yuh sure yer alrigh'?"
Telina wanted to tell him no, but she couldn't. Her body screamed in agony, and her hands were shaking tremendously. She was afraid to death of sleeping in that louse-infected sack of hay these people called a bed. Telina knew the lethargic bleeding of her wounds would soon begin to show through her clothing, and if she didn't get all the bark and pebbles out of her injuries soon, they would probably become infected.
She thought of little Delano up above her, and what he would think when he woke and found her gone. She thought of Apollo and Artemis, who would be disappointed that she had gone exploring and fallen through the room Artemis had forbidden her to go through.
"I'm fine," she replied, and bit another mouthful off her piece of bread.
Meanwhile, Delano was just getting out of bed in Apollo's spare bedroom. He found a change of clothing in a flaming red bureau and got dressed. His clothing this time consisted of a toga - at least, that's what he thought it was. It reminded him of a blanket that wrapped around his body and held itself up by a bit of cloth over his shoulder.
Delano wandered into the living room. "Telina?" he called out, but seeing no one, he went through the kitchen, but it was just as empty as the living room. Confused, he sat down on a stool. Why would Telina and Apollo leave him? Where were they?
"Apollo? Telina?" he shouted again hopelessly. For a few minutes he felt lonely and jealous. He knew his sister was probably off on some glorious adventure with the sun god. Why couldn't they have taken him, too? Why was he left here by himself?
Wait a minute - he was here by himself in a god's living quarters. He could have anything he wanted, and all he had to do was ask.
"Three-layer chocolate cake please," Delano said happily out loud. With a small pop a gigantic platter appeared on the table in front of him. Delano smiled and dug in.
"Don't you have work to do?" Telina asked. "Not that I want you to go away, but I'd imagine that being an innkeeper is a very hard job, and I don't want to keep you from your work." The truth was that Telina did want him to go away, badly. He'd been talking to her nonstop for at least half an hour. That wouldn't have been such a bad thing if her brain didn't reject all the words he said after going through her ears.
Her gashes were burning like fire. They were red and inflamed, and it felt like there were hundreds of knives being shoved through her body. It took all the energy she had left to keep from moaning.
"Yes, my job is very hard, but I have nothing to do right now." He looked at Telina's untouched dirt water. "Would you prefer wine?"
"I said, would you prefer wine?"
"No, I'm not thirsty." That was a lie as well; her throat was stinging from lack of hydration. She didn't dare try this water, though.
Just as she said that, her inflamed belly gave a particularly nasty throb. Telina's vision became grayer. "Did it just get darker in here?"
"No. I don't think so. Anyway…"
As the innkeeper kept talking, Telina began to sway. She remembered how earlier that day, Apollo had "received" a prayer. How long ago that seemed; not a few mere hours, but days, weeks, even months had seemed to go by. Telina began to pray. Great God and Goddess….
"So they kept on coming back, and I told them…"
Artemis and Apollo…
"…they really shouldn't be here…."
Please help me. Let this all be a dream.
"…and they kept arguing with me…"
Release me from this. Help me, come to me, do something to ease this pain.
"…but finally they left…."
Telina felt her world slipping, and her vision turned black.
Author's Note: I'm fairly happy with that chapter, I don't know about you guys. I'm going answer some reviews now:
Umino Ayame: As far as the first chapter goes, that was "me" but it's really not anymore. I'm not stupid enough to put that kind of pressure on myself now, lol. And yes, Delano was still lying like a bump on the log. No, you may not have Apollo's poetry book, because I haven't written it yet. Thank you for your suggestions for later chapters, by the way. I think I will use them, because I was planning on coming up with something like that anyway. But you did it for me, lol.
The Death Maiden of Rain: Thank you for pointing out the mistake to me. Hopefully I fixed it awhile back, but I'll go back and check. And yes, Delano was still asleep, lol. Ajax isn't a mistake. It's the name of a god, actually. As far as updating for the sake of my reviewers - you and Umino Ayame are practically my only reviewers! But I'll keep updating for you both. :D I'm sorry about the mistakes. I recognize all of them when I read back over my story, but I just type so quickly so I can update that I make tons of typos and mistakes.
Thank you to Umino Ayame and The Death Maiden of Rain for reviewing so consistently. Well, The Death Maiden of Rain is a little more consistent, but that's okay. Thanks to both of you, I really appreciate it. You're the only ones that really urge me to keep this story going.
Happy Birthday to The Death Maiden of Rain! (tomorrow)