"Until then," Sparhawk nodded by way of reply. After whistling at his brute of a horse, the two of them departed, and he rode his way back to his lord's manor.
"You know, Faran, I think this is probably the most insane idea I've ever had."
"Okay, so maybe it was his idea, but I still decided to act on it."
The manor was a fairly modest size - Sparhawk couldn't attest to its appearance; he was knighted sometime after he lost his sight, but it took him a good few years to memorize all of its rooms. He didn't live in the manor itself, his lord allowed him a small property to call his own, at which his wife and young daughter lived. What were the odds of meeting Mira again after all this time? They'd hardly been adults when they parted ways. But even more curiously was how she managed to lose her voice. He'd heard of pirates having a habit of cutting out tongues for various reasons - maybe they did it for all the talking she did. He smirked. She always did talk too much, but that weasel was going to grate on his nerves even more.
He shook his head.
"Sir?" He heard a voice to his left and down.
"Your horse, sir?"
"What about him?"
"Did you want me to stable him, sir?"
Sparhawk had barely noticed that Faran had stopped moving.
"Right. He's all yours then - Faran, don't do something I'll regret later," he warned his animal as he dismounted.
He made his way indoors, leaving the poor stablehand to deal with his horse. He found his lord in his study.
"Come in, Sparhawk. So, you're taking me up on my suggestion, then?"
"Yes, my Lord."
"Excellent. I think it will do you some good!"
"Assuming I don't get killed in the process, my Lord," Sparhawk pointed out.
"Nonesense! Even as a blind man, you're still the best swordsman in the country!"
"I wouldn't know, my Lord, but I would ask a favor, if I may."
"Anything, my good man."
"I should like to borrow two extra horses."
"By all means, have your pick! The stablehands know I keep too many of them, anyway. Oh, and you shall have a pack horse, and supplies to boot. I'll see that you have everything you need to begin your journey. I'm not going to send my best man out with nothing!"
"You are generous, my Lord."
"I am, rather, aren't I? But, how does your family feel about this?"
"They are a little less than pleased, my Lord."
"A shame. But not to worry, Sparhawk, I'll make sure they are looked after."
"Thank you, my Lord."
"Are you off to see them now?"
"Yes, my Lord."
"Very good then, off you go!"
Sparhawk bowed. "My Lord."
He turned on his heel and left the manor. He'd always suspected perhaps that his lord had an unhealthy fancy for his wife - but he was proud to say that his wife was nearly as deadly with a frying pan as he himself was with a blade... and even if she angered him and he turned them out, she could easily take care of herself and their little girl.
Though, he had to admit, he was as loathe to leave them behind as they were for him to leave.
The moment he entered the little cottage, he was attacked with hugs from both sides.
"Father!" Came the excited voice of a child.
The taller woman said nothing, but he knew what she was thinking.
"Hello, little one."
When his wife released him, he bent down to pick up the little girl.
"How's my Vella?"
"Good. Are you really going away?"
He could hear the pout in her voice.
"Yes, little one."
"Can't I come?"
"Oh but I wish you could. I'll miss you terribly."
"I'll miss you too, father... I -" She trailed off, as if losing her thought.
He heard his wife's voice from beside him.
"How come you're letting another little girl go with you, but not me?"
"What do you mean?"
"I saw a girl! She's going to try to steal something from you."
Sparhawk frowned, addressing his wife.
"How long has she been doing this?"
"Since a few weeks ago, but, it's been getting more frequent. She gets... distracted when she looks at certain people, and she keeps telling me things that she thinks they're going to do."
"Vella, what do you see?"
"Oh simply lots of things, father. Mmmm, some people are boring to look at, they don't have any images. But some people have a whole cloud of images floating around them like a great big aura. You've got lots of images, father!"
His wife's voice sounded nervous.
"At first I thought she was making up a game, but she keeps insisting that whatever it is she's seeing is real."
"I don't think you should be worried about this, Elena."
"What are you talking about?"
"Well, I didn't study the subject myself, but this sounds to me like she may be a Seer."
"A Seer? Gods, Sparhawk, I realize you studied a little bit of magic years ago, but how likely is that, really?"
"Not likely, I know, but she definitely believes in what she sees."
"Is there any way to find out?"
"Sure. I'd imagine you can just wait to see if anything she says actually happens."
"I could take her to the chapterhouse. My old mentor could evaluate her. It wouldn't be any trouble, it's on the road I'll be taking. They can send her back with another of the knights."
There was a pause, then a shaky breath. "All right."
Sparhawk set Vella down.
"Let's pack your things."
There was a delighted squeak.
Several hours later found Sparhawk walking into the Grand Vale, with his little girl in tow, who was currently looking around with curious eyes.
Vella, to anyone with eyes to see, was a healthy little girl with round, rosy cheeks, wide, violet eyes, and black hair that bounced every time she moved her head. "Who are we looking for, father?"
"We're looking for a one-armed elf and a mute woman with a talking weasel."
"Mmm..." Vella looked around the tavern. After a moment, she tugged on her father's hand and led him towards a table near the back. "Well, I see a woman with a weasel, but I don't see a one-armed elf."
"Mhm. Father, how did you know she has dark hair?"
"We're old... acquaintances."