It had been something over a week since Jandar had arrived in Terreille, and though he’d been accompanying a dozen traders in the beginning, he’d separated from the rest in the first few days, and was now travelling by himself. Only Teo, his dapple gray, still accompanied him. It was now perhaps the third day riding on the road since the last village he’d been at, and he was eager to reach the next one. He was caught in the middle of a storm, one that was swiftly growing to a rarely-seen magnitude, with its razor-sharp winds howling at him, buffeting them and draining Teo’s stamina, the rumbling of thunder a constant. Mother night, it would be just my luck for us to get caught in the downpour! Jandar knew they should proceed swiftly if he didn’t want to get drenched or worse – which he patently did not.
So, he urged Teo into a gallop with a sharp “Hiyah!”, leaning down right next to the horse’s neck to lessen the effect of wind resistance. It seemed like hours before the Dhemlan male made it to the next village, though it could have easily been no more than half an hour; the journey was grueling in any case. Teo slowed down to a more appropriate walk as they joined the group of pedestrians frantic to either get inside or leave, and Jandar dismounted, leading his steed to the nearby stable, his pale golden eyes flicking from building to building. He took in the inn, the pens alongside the stables was taking Teo to, the service buildings, and…Jandar had to fight against the instinctual scowling growl that was trying to burst out furiously out of his chest into a proper scream at the sight of that four-story building and its decoration. He barely kept his face blank enough to pass as neutral at the travesty the literal fields of Witchblood represented.
He turned away from the proof of Terreille’s corruption, the crimes that must have happened here. Jandar was of a mind to call it evil, no matter his dislike for absolutes, because the atrocities, oh, the atrocities that must have led to Witchblood flourishing so! Hell’s fire! And may anyone responsible become a mere Whisper and be erased from history! He clutched at the Blood Opal he kept tucked under his shirt and secured to a leather necklace alongside some wolf teeth and a couple of broken-off parts of deer antlers he’d also attached to the jewelry – meaningless trophies, but they fit with the guise of him supposedly making his living as a hunter. His Red jewel was hidden in his personal pocket-dimension where he’d vanished it using his Craft, so his psychic scent would reveal him to others as a Blood Opal Warlord at most. Even with this precaution, Jandar had already noticed a few of the Terreille natives eyeing him with greed, a fact that deeply discomfited him. However, there was nothing to it aside from remaining cautious and observant.
With a roll of his shoulders Jandar entered the stable, and led Teo into one of the empty stalls, swung his backpack across a shoulder, and removed Teo’s saddle and reins which he hung on a nearby hook. “Kick anyone who tries to steal you or our belongings, won’t you, boy?” he murmured to Teo, who nickered in response, then proceeded to water and feed himself from the troughs attached to the stall. As Teo did so, Jandar brushed his coat of the accumulated grime and dust. “I’ll bring you a treat later,” Jandar promised as he patted the steed on the snout, leaving it to its well-deserved rest.
The dark-haired golden-eyed male then ventured back outside, where the storm was still raging. Most of the people had already taken cover, but there was still a line of departing folk at the landing webs next to the inn. The winds were becoming ever more violent, the thunder crying its outrage, an echo of Jandar’s own emotions; his deep sorrow at the memory of the Witchblood still seared into his mind. He avoided looking at the actual flowers, yet the memory was almost worse, sneaking upon him when he least expected it – he was certain the Witchblood would become a prominent part of the occasional nightmare, perhaps there to haunt him the following night already. To distract himself, Jandar focused on the wind mussing his hair, tugging at his clothes, and almost making him sway a little with how forceful it was now, but disregarded the inconvenience, closed his eyes, and simply listened. He heard quiet mutters from those attempting to depart via the Winds, but unless anything peculiar caught his interest, he would focus his Craft to listen to the storm itself. It was a turbulent one, and the first strikes of lightning and rain were starting up. Could it be a sign? If he was not mistaken, the storm was blowing from the Askavi mountains. Is that where he should head? Was it a mere coincidence? Or was it the hint of something much more ominous? Regardless of what he heard, he had to take cover, and the inn would be convenient enough.
Teo stabled and as comfortable as he would be, Jandar payed for his own accommodations as well; a small room, but despite the meagre and rickety wooden furniture within, it also had a window which Jandar could use to observe the village’s main street from. A casual glance outside revealed several stragglers still cluttered at the landing webs, obviously impatient to travel elsewhere, but perhaps unable to do so on their own power. Jandar shook his head in exasperation at Terreille in general, a feeling all the more acute since he’d took it on himself to travel the lightest Realm. With a near-silent sigh, the Kaeleer native set to washing himself and the sweaty clothing, then put the latter out to dry as he dressed into another set of second-handed apparel – none of the clothing he’d taken with him was what one of the Aristo would usually wear, but then, that was the point. Here, he was a trader, hunter, traveler. Nothing but an unknown Warlord, though the Terreille inhabitants might consider the Blood Opal they'd sense on him to be a sign of great power. That, however, was not something the Dhemlan intended to concern himself with for the moment.
Jandar set his bow, quiver, and sheathed sabre aside next to the small dresser, but kept the hunter knife on his person as he left the privacy of his rented room (locking the door behind him) to join the hubbub of the inn’s main room. He sat himself at the bar, ordered a simple meal and ale, set an elbow to the counter and propped his chin and jaw on the palm of his hand. He forced his gaze to set on the nearest patron in an apparently lazy manner, nodded curtly at them, and muttered a gruff comment. “Terrible weather,” he noted, affecting a rougher, slightly deeper tone than his usual smooth cadence. “Bad for business,” he continued, as if all he wanted was a simple, casual chat while he waited for his meal to be done. He huffed, adding a correction to his generalization. “Well, s’not awful for places like this, ‘course,” he did not grin, but rather conveyed amusement with his voice and a twitch of his lip corners alone. “Wonder if it’ll last long,” he stated, then dug into the plain gruel set before him, washing it down liberally with the slightly better-tasting ale.