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Chapter 04 - Food and Lodging

Wherein a small feast is had and the women find lodging for the night. 

Brine Street 495b turned out to be the address of a little café and bean roastery called Paragon's Cup. They'd newly opened and put aside some budget for ads and free drinks. 

Bosra gladly took advantage of that by drinking three cups of offered black brew, without the sugar and cream. Rose found she preferred it milked down and spiced up with cinnamon. She only took one cup, and picked a place for them to sit in the narrow room up front. It opened up a little in the back, where two men were busy hanging drapes in front of a stone wall to reduce the echoing noises of everything. 

As Bosra paid for patisserie - two hunking pieces of apple pie and a juicy looking cinnamon roll - Rose picked up a well-read periodical from an untidy pile. 

"Mind if I take this?" she asked the barista. 

"That's what it's there for," was the answer she got. 

Rose took the floppy booklet to their table and started leafing through it whilst munching on the apple pie and sipping her whitened brew. She pointed out interesting tidbits to Bosra, who was scarfing down both remaining scrumptious delicacies in quick order. 

"Nothing 'bout work in there?" the tall, broad woman asked between bites. 

"Not really, it seems to be more about fashion than anything else." Rose couldn't help feeling demotivated. Fashion wasn't her thing. A pretty dress was a pretty dress, and it either looked good on you, or it didn't. 

"We'll ask around."

Rose forced a smile. "We'll need a place to sleep."

"Can sleep anywhere. Dry, preferably. A bed would be nice."

Rose had already learned from stories that the woman had told during their traveling that Bosra could literally sleep anywhere. She had also learned that Bosra liked her amenities. 

"At least these people don't seem averse to answering questions..." Rose was gathering courage to ask the barista a few. 

"Ask for a map.” Bosra sounded annoyed, or maybe she was still hungry. Hungry people became grumpy people, at least around the homestead.

"Should I get you some more pastries?" Rose asked her burly friend. "I think they have some savory pies too."

At a table next to them a blond young lady, probably not much older than Rose but impeccably dressed, turned around with a smile on her perfectly lovely face as Rose returned with two small, if insanely high priced, spiced chicken pies. "I'm sorry to be so forward, but are you looking for someone to show you around the city?"

Rose appraised this young lady who seemed oddly out of place among the rustic decor of this little café. 

Bosra: "You offering?"

"I am," the lady smiled kindly. 

"How much are you asking?" Bosra again, asking for a price tag. 

Rose didn't fully trust this. It felt too easy. Her father had warned her to be cautious of all kinds of scams when in Splendor. Not everyone earned their keep with fair work. "Why?" she couldn't help piping up. 

The lady's smile got a little terse. "I..." She breathes in, bolstering her courage. "I am looking for employment, yet have been turned down at every job I applied for." 

Rose could understand why. The lady looked far too ladylike. "Why do you need a job?"

The lady looked down at her hands, folded primly in her lap. "I am in love."

A little bodyshake of Rose’s telegraphed to Bosra that Rose didn't understand that line of reasoning. 

"Give you a Crown if you lead us to lodging for the night. Only a sester if you lead us to somewhere annoying." Bosra wasn't scared to be robbed. She did however have no patience for scams. 

"You can keep your money, I don't need that."

Now Rose was truly confused. "Eh..."

"It is complicated, you see... I am in love with my father's steward's son. He..." The lady ducked her head and blushed deeply, wondering why in Nightsoul's name she would divulge this information upon total strangers. There was nothing for it now but finishing her confession. "He thinks I live in a fantasy world, with no concept of what it is real people do."

They found lodging in an establishment for small people; dwarves, gnomes, and the like. At least for the night. Bosra's glowering looks had convinced the desk clerk to let them stay until they found something better. She'd stared down the poor unbearded dwarf behind the counter from the ceiling, as her head and shoulders barely fit inside the cramped foyer. 

It cost them an arm and a leg, but Bosra paid without blinking and accepted two keys. 

Needless to say... The rooms were small. Not too tiny, provided you were at most five foot tall. There was a large bed, a table and two stools, a wash stand and a locked armoire (rentable by the week).

Rose gave her room a thorough once over, proceeding to set her duffel by the table. "I mean... It's dry. And there's a bed." Bosra grunted affirmation and continued to her own room, on the far end of the hallway. 

Trying the window for fresh air Rose found it rusted shut. She'd have to get Bosra for that. But first... she was going to sit down and tune her violin. The traveling had been hard on the instrument, as changes in humidity and temperature often were. She was in the process of playing a few tentative notes, when the pounding on the door announced Bosra's return. 

"It's open."

"Should keep it locked." Bosra shouldered her way in.

"Thank you for the warning, I will." Rose kept playing. Stringing out a simple melody that seemed to float in the air like a palpable thing, each note articulated individually.

"Hot in here." Bosra ploinked down on the bed, relaxing her shoulders finally. 

"The window is stuck." Rose kept playing. 

The hulking woman got up and strong-armed the window into acquiescence with little finesse. The latch probably wouldn't close properly anymore, but it could be pulled back into 'stuck' position and be safe enough. A real handy thief would probably come through the door anyway. Plenty of opportunity for that while the occupant was away.

"Thank you." Rose played a few more notes, tweaked the tension a little and played again. Eventually tuning turned to playing. Bosra relaxed against the pillows and swung her foot in time with the music. Rose's worn smile became a little brighter. Everything was going to be just fine. 


Three of Cups series cover
Food and Lodging episode cover
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Three of Cups

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Seashell Bear
What if life was an adventure? Rose has always wanted to be a bard. A musician who inspires emotions by infusing her song with just a thread of magic. The course seems clear. Attend Bardic College in Splendor, the biggest city in the Realm, and graduate their four-year course. It seems easy enough. Along the way to Splendor, Rose meets Bosra, a grey-skinned giant-kin woman who is leaving her adventuring days behind her. Most adventurers don't retire. They either die as heroes or become villains. She intends to enjoy the fortune she's made in the most luxurious place she knows, the city of Splendor. Valentina, princess, contemplates whether there is more to life than what she is accustomed to, when Bosra and Rose find respite to the coffee shop she spends her free afternoons at. One conversation leads to another, and before she knows it, she's encouraged to step out of her gilded cage. Until those who built the cage come to drag her back. A cozy fantasy story.
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