Echoes of Invasion: There’ll Be Heledd to Pay | Scene 2

Following his set, Tric enjoys some house specials and congratulatory pats, but he does not engage further with his audience. It is already quite late, and he has no particular agenda here. What he does have is a new half-sister still lingering in this establishment. Terwaen wades her way through the crowd of well-wishers to his side. Maybe his mother Mhaev would have groused about the ridiculousness of the tale, but Terwaen congratulates him. “That was a most interesting story, Tric!” He tells her he has been working on it for a bit but admits that it needs some tweaking. Still, he appreciates that the crowd is willing to hear him out.

“Gloam is a very intelligent steed,” she tells him, referring to her destrier, “but I do not think any of the horses that I know would be able to accomplish quite so much as your Master Eddy.”

“Or perhaps they are so competent that you do not even know,” he counters. “A horse that could do magic would attract far too much attention.” They return to their pre-dinner topic of what one can and cannot do on horseback, which included spellcasting. Now they ruminate on whether horse mages would be able to cast with riders on their backs. Hepalonia misses out on this playful conversation and the chance to try casting while carrying someone piggy-back because she is still washing up. 

Eventually, it is late enough that Alric makes the announcement that it is time for everyone’s parting glass. Customers drift out, except for those lodging there for the night. Alric and Yggy begin manhandling tables over to the side of the room to make space for the common room lodgers to lay out their bedrolls.

Terwaen bids Tric goodnight and tells him she would be honored if he would wear her favor during the grand melee tomorrow. Unsure of how much more time she will have available to spend with him, she also extends an open invitation for him to visit her in the Horse Plains. She gives him a description of where Dolydd is located, the village that is the main base for her clan. She includes some landmarks and mentions in passing that they had to drain the plains of the marshlands that Mal-Ravanal left behind. Dolydd is on the far northeastern edge of where that swamp was, southwest of where the River Weldyn flows into the Great River.

That detail catches Tric’s interest. It seems crazy to him that people can just drain a swamp. The battlefields in that location could be useful to check out for Uncle Thran, and maybe that trip would be drier than the visit to the Foul Fen. When Terwaen suggests he stop in Soradoc along the way to get a guide, he gives a knowing acknowledgement as if this were not a completely unheard of location to him. Even if people there are not familiar with the village name Dolydd or with the house of Regina and Rugg, they will be able to point the way to Sir Owaec’s village. It becomes clear to Tric for the first time that Terwaen’s father, Sir Rugg, is still in active service under Sir Owaec. He did not miss the festival because he is retired, but rather because he is working. Tric does not quite yet have a handle on human age and how active they remain later in life.

Tric reciprocates, inviting Terwaen to visit him in Estbryn Forest. He advises her to be careful approaching the border, though. She inquires about a formal parley for entering the elvish lands. Tric remembers the trouble they had over Glammur, but there is no particular passphrase he can think of. Then inspiration strikes, and he pulls out one of his blue and gold ribbons to give her. “This marks you as an elf-friend,” he tells her. Showing this to whoever she encounters and asking for Tric, Nasir, or Hepalonia should suffice. While he told Connie and Marvin that Thrandolil would be a good name to drop, that was for trade arrangements. For a personal visitor, it seems better to keep things less formal.

Tric reiterates that she needs to be cautious on her approach, as some of the scouts and border patrols are over-ambitious. Terwaen has no fear of them and confidently assures him that she will try not to hurt them too much. Wanting to avoid any incidents, Tric tells her jovially, “As much as part of me would love to see that, the problem is I wouldn’t get to see it. I would only get to hear about it later.” He also points out that elvish steeds are small ponies capable of very easily navigating the thick woods. Terwaen takes this under advisement, well aware of the dangers of riding her large warhorse through forest. She is not sure when she will be able to take him up on his offer, but she looks forward to meeting more of her extended family in the future.

As Terwaen departs, Tric looks about the room for his cousin. Alric and Yggy are just finishing up clearing the floor for the overnight customers. Tric notices the trapper Yrogin among those bedding down for the night, which is not particularly surprising given that he had mentioned drinking mountain tea here. Yggy heads through the curtains behind the bar, and Tric hears an affronted shout. “Ah, Heppa’s at work,” Tric mutters with a smile. He remains at the corner of the bar, sipping the last of his house specials as Alric wipes down the counter around him. The barkeep tells Tric he will settle up with him in the morning. “Don’t worry about it,” Tric replies. “I don’t do this for the money.”

“Good to know,” Alric says, and Tric is pleased to see a smile cross the weary man’s face.

Mate flies down from the rafters, calling stupid, stupid in response to Tric’s business acumen. Tric huffs about him not getting any more snacks, but judging by the magpie’s greasy beak, he has already eaten enough for one night.