Monday, June 6

A Light Supper

Apparently, the Halfling concept of a “light supper” lasts two hours and is five courses. I like it here! Best of all, Dad didn't say one word about me watching what I eat! I tried to be polite, of course, but the dinner table was a battlefield. This is definitely the kind of cultural expirience I can enjoy. Momma is always yelling at me to eat more like a lady, which I think to her mind means not at all. I've always been able to eat a lot without gaining weight, but she constantly chides me. I'm really full.
Anyway, we brought the cart into the stable, and Dad was really, really careful with our stuff, like he didn't trust the stable hand at all. After that, we went in, through the human-sized door, and found Mr. Boflin behind the counter. After a brief reunion, Mr. Boflin called for a pair of porters to take our bags, and he took us up to our rooms. The Mountain Ash is the only human sized building, well multi-sized building in the town. It actually survived whatever disaster happened here a century ago, but nobody is alive who witnessed it. The King at that time had bigger problems. The first signs of the upcoming war were upon him, and it was draining his coffers to fight those battles. So he just had a team of priests bless the ruins, declared it a war grave, and let the Halflings take care of the mess. This building was rebuilt rather than torn down. And it is pretty amazing. I feel kind of odd when I'm in here. There are some spells built into the walls. I think that is how it managed to stay intact. It was a luxury in in the old city. There are even magic wells in the kitchen and baths for running water. Mr. Boflin said that the place was haunted, that there were strange lights and ghosts who walk the halls. He's considered having the clerics on top of the hill do an exorcism, but for the most part they are benign, and he says it “adds charm” to have a ghost at an inn like this.
The average-sized section of the inn was really quiet. He said that there was only one other guest, a merchant from Managan Town who delivered the fireworks for tomorrow's celebration. When I asked about it, he just laughed and said that I would see soon. Dad was watching the porters carefully. I don't think he was really listening. Since the human section was so empty, we were able to get really good rooms. Dad is next door, and the Merchant, Mr. Cobble, is on the far side of him. Down the hall is the toilet and next to me is the bath. Mr. Boflin left us to get settled and said that supper would be served soon. He said we should join him with the family in the kitchen, and Dad immediately accented. After Mr. Boflin left, I took a quick bath to get the road dust off of me. The bath is segregated into men's and women's sectcions, and is small, but really nice. The water comes from hot and cold fountains, and there is a big mercury mirror on one wall. I think it must be a lot of trouble for only three guests. After that, I got changed, and then wrote my last note. Gloria came and got me for dinner. She is the Bolfins' daughter. She's a few years older than me, but I guess because Halflings live longer, and age slower, she's about the same as me mentally. She watched me shut and lock the journal with a weird look on her face. On the way down to supper she asked me if the book was magic.
“It is, but it's just a simple spell, I think. Not like the ones in the bath. I can lock it so no one else can see what I write. My grandmother gave it too me. She said my grandfather bought it when I was born, and she'd been waiting to give it too me.” I said. We headed through the central lobby and into the restaurant.
“Is your grandmother well?” She asked as she passed through the middle door. She looked so tiny passing through the swinging door, which had no handle, that it was hard to think of her as Twenty.
I told her that she was, but the restaurant was filled with guests, either enjoying the last of their meals, or getting started on the first round of drinks for the evening. I don't know if she heard me over the din. I followed her through the crowd, feeling akwardly gigantic; something I've never felt before. At four and a half feet, I'm more than on the short side. Things were quieter in the kitchen, but not by much. The one team of cooks was finishing up with deserts and such, and the others were starting on a massive pile of dishes. There was a massive, low table at one side of the room. It was surrounded by Halflng-sized chairs. At one end, The other Boflins were in deep conversation with my father, and Tarry, Gloria's younger brother, was starring at covered dishes in anticipation. At the other end, employees that weren't busy were engaged in their own dinner conversations. Gloria took a seat next to her brother, chiding him to be on his manners, and I sat cross legged on a cushon net to my father, since the table was far to low for me to sit at a chair. The arrangement worked better than I had expected, and soon dinner was well underway.
We were almost finished when I suddenly realized something. I asked Gloria how she could tell that my journal was a magic item, and I got a big surprise.
“I studied a bit under Nanna when she was still with us, so I can cast a few simple spells like that.” She said simply. Dad and Mr. Boflin turned back to us.
“Gloria's being modest. She'll be starting at apprentice level when the two of you get to Carabos.” I felt a surge of excitement. I was worried I would be feeling homesick and alone, in a far away city. I'm glad I won't be doing this on my own. Gloria said she would look out for me at school, but she could already tell that I had lots of potential. I felt a little panic at that, but I can't say why. It was just a bad feeling. Does she know that I've done magic without any control?

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