Rakhanar looked at the globe and chewed his lip, wondering where he could spend the night. He was craving the peace of Faydwer and was wondering if it would be safe yet to go back to Kelethin. The nagging red in his vision was coming back. If he went anywhere else he didn’t know what kind of creature he would run into but the chances were they wouldn’t have a calming influence on him. Going out into the unknown in his state of mind was asking for trouble.
Perhaps the fae guards would not expect him to come back to Kelethin so soon? It would be like doubling back to a place they had already looked for him, wouldn’t it?
He looked down at himself and wished he had some different clothes, perhaps a hooded robe so he could keep his face hidden. A robe would have been nice for New Halas, also.
Just as he was thinking this, Carroway shimmered into view in front of the big double doors, still in his dress blues and jaunty matching hat.
Rakhanar turned and the catman, who was heading toward the crafting hall, noticed him.
“Well! Hello there! What do you think of the hall, young lord?”
Rakhanar smiled in spite of himself. Carroway was hard not to like. He was a bit of a puzzle for Rakh because he was so disarmingly friendly and yet he was a big male and obviously equipped to fight. The type that usually got Rakh’s ire up.
Although Rakh was tired and on edge, he knew he needed help. He took a deep breath before answering. Not wanting to give away his complete ignorance, he struggled for a description.
“It’s … big.” He left his tone ambiguous.
Carroway grinned his fanged grin. “Aye, it is that. There’s bigger, of course, but we’ve got room to grow and we’re always building on.”
Rakhanar nodded and looked down at his worn leathers, designed for Faydwer’s gentle climate. “You happen to know where I can get some warmer clothes? I might want to go back to New Halas…”
Carroway lifted a brow, which was strange on his white furred face where his brows were whiskerlike. “Ah! I just happen to be a tailor, by trade. When I’m not cooking. I’m sure I’ve got something around here somewhere in your size.” He looked Rakh up and down, appraising.
Beckoning, he headed back into the crafting hall. Rakhanar followed, gritting his teeth as he realized he was going to have to look Reade in the eye again and not start a fight with him.
Sure enough, Carroway headed right up to the banker and asked for access to his own storage box. Rakhanar followed slowly and stopped a good bit behind, crossing his arms over his chest and looking anywhere but at the banker.
Carroway wasn’t long with his business. Reade delivered the robe quickly and Carroway, in turn, handed it to Rakhanar with his friendly fangs gleaming.
“Here you go, lad! That’ll keep ye much warmer than those leathers.”
Rakhanar thanked him and looked around, still anxious.
“Feeling like a drink before heading out? Might take the edge off,” Carroway said, nodding toward the lounge.
Glancing toward the lounge, Rakhanar bit his lip. He needed to get moving, but he found that he really didn’t want to be alone, after all.
At that moment, the light-haired elven woman strolled into the crafting hall, nodding to Carroway and giving Rakhanar the barest of glances as she headed into the lounge. His gaze was drawn after her, caught by the sway of her stride, dangerously accentuated by those purple-glowing blades. Perhaps he could also find out what it was about him that made the elven female dislike him so much on first sight.
“Maybe…” he answered, doubtfully.
Carroway grinned and headed toward the lounge. “Ah, c’mon…” he urged, with one last wink over his shoulder.
Shrugging, Rakhanar followed him in and couldn’t help but smile. That tail…! He took a seat on one of the benches by the table closest to the bar, laying the robe beside him, and immediately found himself fidgeting, rubbing his arms, thrumming his boot heel against the floor. Anything to burn off the energy that was starting to build up inside him.
The blond elf female had taken a seat at the bar and helped herself to a tall glass of wine, which she was sipping calmly, delicately.
Carroway headed back behind the bar and set to checking the stock, pulling up one bottle after another, checking its level, settling it back again.
“What’ll ye have? Something a little stronger this time?”
Rakhanar frowned slightly, now unsure how the alcohol would affect his control.
“On second thought, I… I’m not sure that’s good idea.” He looked down at his feet, still aware of the warning pulse of red creeping into the corners of his eyes. Taking a deep breath, he looked back up at the catman.
Carroway narrowed his eyes and tilted his head at him. “Ye got something going on with ye, laddie?”
Rakhanar released his breath slowly and nodded. If not now, when? He had to learn to control his destructive power in new places and circumstances, perhaps direct the energy in a better way. If he couldn’t do it here, then he needed to know now. He glanced over at the silently brooding female, then back at Carroway.
“Aye. I have a problem, uh… controlling myself… I have these… rages…” he admitted, finally. “It might be better if I don’t drink at the moment.”
Carroway put the bottle he was holding down thoughtfully, then nodded. “If you say so, lad. How long have you been having this problem?”
Rakhanar plunged on, needing to talk to someone. “All my life. That’s why I was sent to be fostered with the fae. This fae priestess came to visit my family in Qeynos when I was five and she was the only one I could control myself around.” He paused and looked at his feet again, remembering. “She looked so … delicate… I knew I had to.”
At this he couldn’t help but let his glance stray for a microsecond to the elven female at the bar, who was pointedly ignoring him. It was Siffy he was thinking of in that instant, though. He bit his lip and looked away.
The catman nodded. “Ah. You might find these ‘rages’ of yours to be a benefit. Sounds like you have some control. If you can direct them at, say, a few orcs or other nasties…”
Rakhanar looked up at him hopefully. “You think so?”
Carroway grinned and nodded again. “You just talk to Lady Lhasa about your rages. She’ll set you straight. You might find your weakness among the fae to be your greatest strength, here.” He turned back to the bar and grabbed a towel to wipe down the counter. “In the meantime, how do you feel about cooking? Want to give me a hand around here?” Carroway’s smile was dubiously hopeful as he glanced over his shoulder.
Rakhanar made a moue. “I hate to disappoint you but I haven’t a clue about cooking. I’d love to help, but… I think I need to throw myself into something a little more… strenuous. Exhausting, even.”
Carroway nodded back towards the crafting hall. “Sounds like the forge would be the place for you, then. Might be you could try your hand as a weaponsmith. Or an armorer.”
He tilted his head, running fingers through his rough cut black hair. “That might just do the trick.” Rakhanar thought about it for a moment, then nodded and grinned more broadly. “I think I’ll give that a shot.”
He snatched up his new robe and sprang to his feet, eager to throw himself into anything that would drain off the anxiety that was threatening to break loose. Heading toward the crafting hall again, he paused to turn back to the catman.
“Thanks, Carroway. You’re a champ.”
* * *
Wizard of Wildfire & Shadow Walker Wordsmith ((a/k/a The Real Me ))