Chapter 3 - Morning Sun
Leikin awakes to patchy sunlight as it falls through the canopy, where am I? Could this be Fern Grove? I don’t understand, it’s so bright here. He raises up only to be further blinded by the merciless sun and then falls back in agony. He blinks, his eyes watering as he starts to slowly remember pieces of the night before. I must have forgotten my Lilysilk on the trail somewhere. Leikin thinks to himself as he eyes the flask Jashi packed for him before they began their journey.
Where is Jashi… Leikin lowers the flask, expecting his question to be answered by some hangover memory, and when it's not he sighs and looks back at the flask. I hope whatever is in there is stout. He stares at it, takes a hopeful drink and is revolted.
He shakes his head. “Water Jashi? Nope. Try again.” He chuckles bitterly and he takes a hand through his hair trying to stay coolheaded. After a few long seconds he searches his satchel and pockets panickedly. I need my liquor, how am I supposed to do anything with this damned headache. I can't find Jashir like this, I couldn't find my way out of a tavern like this. Jashir can wait a little bit... Can't he? I mean it's not like he can't try to find me until then, he's not completely useless after all.
Leikin bites his lip in frustration, raises up wearily and begins to place the items he threw everywhere back into his satchel. “Find a tavern and find Jashir, find a tavern and you’ll find Jashi.”
“Sounds a bit far fetched to me mate.” A thin gruff nasal voice slices through the calm woodland air. “The way he packed you water instead of any form of ale tells me a different story.“
“Who are you, and what do you want?” Leikin looks around reproachfully. I thought I was alone ....
“Ah, tssk tssk, but you should have asked where I am. Because I much like the friend you’re seemingly abandoning, need to be found and I will not reveal myself so easily.” The voice patronizes as he surveys the forest, nothing in the trees or woodline. Where is it coming from?
“Why do you care so much about my friends, oh disembodied voice of the woodlands? If you start claiming to be my conscience-” He looks around once more already tired of this game. Leikin moves a few paces closer to where he hears the voice, but still can’t find any trace of where it is coming from.
“Oh, you’re wrong there, I’m no one's conscience. Don't mind the corrections but, I don’t care about your friends at all. I don’t care for friends in particular honestly.” The voice replies sardonically.
It sounds like it's standing right in front of me, I swear. He looks around again and yet again has no appeal. Leikin goes quiet for a moment and then replies, “Then why are you here?”
“Oh, that’s easy! You see I like business pretty well, and you sir look like some business to me. Look at you, honestly, I’ve never seen a hangover so terrible.” The voice gleefully pesters, “Have you ever been sober before? Haha, and those worn clothes, ew, ew, ew! You sir are a mess! And messes are grand for business.”
Leikin pauses trying to contemplate the angle of this stream of insults. “So what are you? A ghostly door to door salesmen?”
“Door to door! Door to door? Phaw. Doors close too frequently. I’m not one to get shut in a door, no sir. I-” The seemingly detached vocals continue confidently, “am a traveler to traveler salesmen. That’s some steady business, at least until they run off on their journey and get killed anyway - like your friend I suppose.”
Leikin frowns deeply, stamping his foot in protest. “Could you leave my friend out of this?”
“Oof! Could you stop moving so much? ”
“What? What do you mean? Why does it matter how much I move?” Leikin stares around in extreme puzzlement.
“Look down, oh sentinel of awareness.”
Leikin looks down and his eyes are met with a strange sight- for on his shoe rests a small figure, no bigger than his outstretched hand. The fellow is dressed in fine yet tattered leather- like a fancy outfit from a porcelain figure washed one too many times. His skin even fits the picture of one of those dolls with the fair yellowish pigmentation. Leikin never has cared for dolls, but what bothers Leikin the most is the brownies black little eyes. “Ahh!” Leikin kicks his foot out in an attempt to shake the little finely dressed beast.
“Oof.” The small man hits the ground with a light thud, he grimaces and stares up at Leikin. “Ow! Why would you do that? This is doing nothing for your prices sir! They are getting higher with every murder attempt you throw at me.” He glares at Leikin sternly.
Leikin steps back from the little panhandler. “And what could you possibly have to interest me pipsqueak?” Give me a good reason not to stomp you, little creep.
“Nothing if you refer to me like that. However if you were willing to properly address me I could, now I’m just begining so don’t mind it too much…” The brownie begins as if he's worried what Leikin will think about his offer. “Mend your outfits and shoes, and of course after being mended by a brownie such as myself they wouldn’t expire, which could give you some lifelong wares. That is - wares actually intended to last. Unless you cross me that is. There is also the fact that I may have had an eye for breweries a while back and decided to make one of my own… So I may just have some produce left over… to sell.” By the end of the performance the little fellow waves his hands dramatically as he speaks. Clearly a very confident creature- despite the fact he could use robins as an effective mode of transportation. He smiles clearly proud of his showmanship.
Leikin in turn pretends to think about the offer. “Hmm, well then, if I were going to voluntarily deal with a brownie… What would it cost me, despite face?” Those were decent reasons.
“Hmmm… honey perhaps? Do you have any? Or nectar?” The brownies' little coal black eyes dance about Leikin’s satchel hungrily. “If not then all the coin you have would suit my purposes dearly….”