I’m not sure when I drifted off or how long I was out. I woke up to the sound of footsteps. My head was still in Callie’s lap.
“Pardon me for intruding.” It was Callie’s grandfather. He wasn’t bothering to try and disguise his approach.
“You woke her up,” Callie muttered. She sounded a little annoyed.
“It’s fine,” I said. “I didn’t even mean to fall asleep.”
“Which indicates that you needed to,” she protested.
“Perhaps,” Hetan stated. “But I think you’ll find this news well worth awaking for.”
He said it in the fashion of a politician who was about to unveil news that they new would get them the favour of their constituents. Still, I did want to know. “So, what is it?” I asked.
“The war with the trolls seems to have ended,” Hetan announced, a smile creeping over his face. “Apparently, the new troll king spoke with your brother personally.”
“That is very good news,” I agreed.
“Well, if you two would like some personal time at Callie’s mansion, I can tell your companions and see them off,” Hetan offered.
So, that was his game. He was telling us so we would take some personal time and enhance our bond. He really intended for us to undergo Hera’s ceremony. As much as I had fallen for Callie, I wasn’t ready to take that step yet.
“We’ll talk to them ourselves,” I stated. “Then we’ll figure out where we all want to go from here.”
We excused ourselves and Callie led the way back towards the Cleric tent. I’d gotten turned around a bit during my nap and couldn’t recall exactly where it was.
“Afraid to be alone with me?” she teased. I could tell she was just being playful, but I decided to answer her seriously any way.
“I know you won’t do anything to make me uncomfortable,” I stated “But I also don’t know about just taking an extended amount of time with just the two of us. I may need more time before that becomes a real option.”
She moved back beside me and whispered in my ear. “I understand, but I do still remember your promise at the Inn.” She whispered it directly in my ear.
I remembered it too. I’d promised to be as carnal with her as she wanted. “That’s fine,” I said. “Once we’re in a private place I’ll keep that promise.”
Callie laughed. “You really don’t have to,” she said. “I know you were just trying to motivate me so I’d be careful.”
I stopped and moved over to her. Then I kissed her. “I did not just say that to motivate you,” I said. “The truth is… I want to…. with you.”
I couldn’t bring myself to say the actual words, but Callie’s expression very clearly indicated that she understood.
“Then, we’ll go somewhere private after we talk with the others,” she said. “Just speak up at any point if you’re starting to feel uncomfortable.”
“All right,” I agreed.
We reached the cleric’s tent once again and explained the whole thing to Michael, Tynan & Gabriel.
“Since the war is over, you two are released from our service,” Callie stated, looking at Tynan.
“Guess we’ll have to find another job,” Tynan said. He glanced at Gabriel. “Or, perhaps, a vacation might not be so bad.”
Gabriel smiled at him.
“What about you?” I asked Michael that question. He looked thoughtful for a moment.
“I have heard a rumour that there is a draconian in Orontios,” he said, his voice completely neutral. “I will journey there and check their veracity. Since the war is concluded, you are welcome to join me if you wish.”
His invitation was surprising. The rumours were even more-so.
“Where did you hear that?” Callie asked.
Gabriel answered for him. “It was the old vampire,” he said. “He came down here and mentioned it.”
“Grandpa did?” Callie asked. She looked at me.
That made me even more curious. The old man didn’t seem the type to spread unfounded rumours. Maybe there was another draconian out there somewhere…
I looked at Callie. She gave a wry smile and turned to Michael. “We’ll go,” she said. “But don’t put your tent too close to ours.”
“Then we’ll come as well,” Tynan said. Gabriel shot him a distressed look. “We aren’t going for trouble,” he said. “But Orontios is a nice place and it might be amusing.”
“Fine,” Gabriel agreed. “But we aren’t fighting in the arena.”
Tynan nodded. “That’s fair. But I would like to take in a match while we’re there.”
“At least you’ll be taking me somewhere,” Gabriel muttered.