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Art 11-16-11

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Ibis’s Flight 3

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Though I walked ahead of Cefin and could not see him struggling, I heard increasing instances of dirt and gravel slipping under his feet. He needed to rest again, but would not admit it. He had walked for hours before coming to my home, and now I have made him walk several more.

“Let’s rest,” I said, and I heard him sit on the cave’s floor before I’d even turned around. When I did so, he looked tired, shaken, and cold.

I traded a packet of pumpkin seeds for a warm cauldron of stew. The seeds were an abundance afforded me by living near Dref Pumpen, the village Cefin presided over peaceably for a dozen years. The stew was a specialty made by a fire mage living in Tan from his abundance of rattlesnakes.

Years of knowing me and what I do apparently didn’t prepare Cefin for the sight of me removing a steaming black iron pot of food from a satchel that could easily hold no more than a couple books. I admired the look of shock on his face for a few brief seconds before I handed him a spoon and said, “Eat up. I didn’t get any bowls.” Thankfully he was hungry enough to not ask what the meat was.

I was not safe from the “Where’d you get it?” question that followed. I tried to dodge the query with a shrug and “magic.”

“Oh come off it,” Cefin replied. “You don’t have to tell me everything, can’t you just describe it a little?

“I suppose,” I replied, “That I could tell you about the craftsmanship of the box that contains the Meddyg magic without directly telling you what it is. But if I bore you to sleep I’m not waking you up.”

“I assure you that you’ll have every ounce of my remaining attention.”

“A couple thousand years ago, an Ofyddar, I won’t bore you with his full name, but we’ll call him Gallai, looked sideways at life and found an extra way to see things. He found that it allowed him to see other people looking at life sideways. They eventually worked together to hone their vision so that they could look and talk and trade sideways without doing it accidentally. Like now, I found someone who wants this empty cauldron, and she gave me some bedding.”

I didn’t hide the transfer from Cefin this time, but there wasn’t much to see. Where the cauldron once was, there were now two bed rolls. I continued, “Unlike a magician’s tricks, trading through the Leuni doesn’t need to be flashy. It just happens, everything is immediate. There’s no bang, there’s no light, there’s no smell of spent explosives.”

Cefin grabbed a bedroll. As he prepped it for sleep he said, “You could add some blast-caps to make it more exciting.”

“Some do,” I replied and prepped my bed. “The ones who want to locally swap entertainment for supplies. It’s a good thing if you’ve got nothing worth trading.”

“So this ‘loony’,” Cefin asked, “Can it handle some walls? We’re in a tunnel here and I feel exposed.”

“No, it probably can’t handle walls,” I answered, “But it can handle us. How do you feel about sleeping in a barn tonight?”