First things first; Mira needed coin. Or at the very least some valuable goods they could barter along their journey. Since Sparhawk would be taking care of transportation and Sorren the supplies, Mira figured her contribution would be more useful later on in the long run once their inventory ran low and their horses (she shuddered at the thought) grew weary. Mira might be able to steal some stuff they'd be needing during the adventure but things like a place to stay or a bathhouse to get cleaned up at required actual payment. With Ludwig cozily draped across her neck, Mira strolled towards the marketplace in confidence. Some of the town's locals gave her funny looks -was it the weasel or her newfound fame from today's chase?- but she paid them no mind. She snatched an apple and began perusing from a distance.
----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Hours later, Mira had managed to red-paperclip her way up until she found herself in the possession of a pair of gold bangles. It wasn't easy but completely worthwhile. However, saying she had accomplished such a feat through pure skill and persistence alone would be a lie for the pirate woman had tipped the scales in her favor by 'borrowing' some items along the way. A silk scarf here, an earring there... Thank the gods at least some
wealthier-than-average folks lived in this town or Mira would have never been able to get this far. If this had been Lorebeaux, that last port she and her crew visited, at best she'd have ended up with a fancy cow. The sky was getting dark by the time Mira was done, and Ludwig had gone to sleep in one of her pockets. Hoping Sparhawk and Sorren hadn't left (in her defense, Sparhawk said that they would be leaving 'tonight' but he had not gotten anymore specific than that), she headed for the rendezvous point where the trio was supposed to be meeting up. The Grand Vale tavern stood unassuming in the distance and Mira quietly entered it. Mira spared a perfunctory glance around and took a seat.
Shortly after, Sparhawk appeared and, approaching Mira's table, one could see that he was holding the hand of a little girl.
"So we're just waiting on the elf, then," he commented, taking a seat. The little girl climbed up into his lap and unabashedly stared at Mira with a stern expression.
Mira couldn't consider herself the type of person who was great with kids, nor did she actually have an interest in them. Except... this was Sparhawk's kid. Or was it? But more importantly, she wanted to know why he'd brought the little girl here and why did this kid look so damn displeased with her? Mira waved awkwardly at the child and reached into her pocket to wake her furry translator. "Are you being serious right now, Sparky?"
"Well, we are
waiting on the elf, aren't we?""No, I meant the kid. What did you tell her? She looks mad at me."
"Who, Vella? Oh, she's probably just looking into your soul. It's her new favorite pastime."
Mira blinked at that and turned her attention to Vella. Magic was uncommon yet not unheard of; although she wasn't sure if Sparhawk was joking or not. "See anything interesting?"
Vella tilted her head. "They're going to make you ride the horse," she replied decidedly.
Mira had to laugh there. An odd, breathy, wheezing noise escaping her tongue-less mouth but a laugh nonetheless. "No."
Mira didn't even need to sign that response out, just vigorously shake her head as she attempted to compose herself. She would walk or sail all the way if that's what it took to get to the bloody dragon but she would rather stab herself in the leg than go horseback.
Vella shrugged. "It's what the image shows." She looked up at her father.
"You were friends when you were my age?"
"Something like that."
"You braided her hair like you braid mine."
"I suppose I did."
"So you had lots of practice. You must make the best braids," she decided.
Years after Sparhawk had left, when Mira reached the conclusion that he was never coming back, she had let go of those memories in order to be free to move on. She'd still missed her friend, yes, but she didn't think back much on it. Vella was bringing many of those fond memories back and the mute pirate couldn't help but smile warmly. Sparhawk being a noble knight was going to make him a royal pain in the butt of course but now she was realizing that she was looking forward to catching up with him. Speaking of which, that brought Mira back to the matter at hand. "As cute as your daughter is, why did you bring her?"
Annoyed with having been rudely awakened for this conversation, Ludwig freed himself from Mira and sat atop the table to groom himself.
"You can see for yourself, she's got this uncanny knack for reading people. The chapterhouse where I trained for knighthood is on the way, so we'll be dropping her off to get evaluated by my mentor in the arcane arts," Sparhawk explained.
"Can I learn magic too, father?"
"I wouldn't mind, but your mother wouldn't have it."
A small sigh. "I should like to learn magic. Then I could go with you!"
"You're far too young to be going on adventures, little lady."
"I think I could be useful. I'm already seeing so much! I'd more than make up for your eyes, father. Can't I go?"
"Not this time, Vella."
She wore a slight pout."Don't be such a spoilsport, Sparky. You and I were younger than her when were were off doing our own crazy things. She can tag with us for a little ways, can't she?"
"A little ways
, Mira? And drop her off where, in some town with no means for her to get back home? Absolutely not. At least she's safe at the chapterhouse and one of the knights can take her back."
It had started as a joke but now she was going to finish this. "Then you can bring her back while Sorren and I collect our bounty."
Mira grinned like she'd just told the greatest joke. But really though, what was wrong with Vella coming? If it was the dragon part then the solution was simple -leave her somewhere safe until they can get the damn crown. Then everybody can go home all happily ever after. How long was that supposed to take? Assuming there was
even a dragon. Probably dead by now. Or maybe just some scary legend people passed around to make things more interesting. She wouldn't be surprised if that was the case.
Sparhawk either didn't hear her, or was purposefully ignoring Mira as his attention veered back to Vella, who was climbing down from his lap.
"Where are you going?"
Without waiting for a reply, the little girl ran up to the tavernmaster to acquire some food.