The first night back at the ‘Thrai’s always a fun one. Kal, the proprietor of the ‘Thrai, has to stop accepting customers, otherwise it would be impossible to move.
This evening, in complete contrast, is just the fifteen of us plus Majesty, for a nice civilised meal. We call it the Final Report, but it’s not really. I have to write that tomorrow, but I have to say, this document will make it a lot easier to write. It’s essentially just this in a much shorter form, and with more complicated terms and more accurate descriptions of injuries and locations.
Tonight is more like this document in spoken form and with Majesty interrupting all the time. It’s also when we get paid, which is lovely.
We start off on the balcony with drinks, just talking about how fantastic it is to finally be back and making as much fun of Emon as humanly possible. He’s fine now, not limping or anything, so it’s good to see that it was indeed just a sprain and not yet another break. If he had broken it, there’s no way I’d be including that in my injury report.
While we’re sitting there on the balcony with the sun setting behind us, injuries are inevitably what first comes up. This is what we’ve basically come up with, which I was noting down at the time:
Me: Broken left pinkie and ring fingers. Forget how I did that. Probably got rapped on the knuckles during battle at some point, that’s usually what happens.
Rumal: Broken left index finger, broken right big toe and a black eye. He forgets how he broke his finger, but his toe he did when he kicked a rock too hard because he was frustrated that the fire wouldn’t light. The black eye came from when we fought the black horse riders.
Emon: Broken left big toe and index fingers on both hands. All came from when we were fighting the black horse riders. And I am not putting in concussion and sprained ankle, because that’s just weak.
Melraan: Nothing. We all stared at him wide-eyed when he said that. He’s lying, obviously.
Kurae: Broken left pinkie, and obviously the broken collarbone on his right shoulder. Sustained when he was kicked by an outraged Charcoal, who was most displeased with the prospect of running for another day through mud and rain.
Ulkar: Broken left wrist, index and middle fingers. He was knocked from his horse when we were fighting the black horse riders, when Inel’s horse was shot and killed and collected him on the way down.
Haenel: Bite from a white-capped shingleback, broken left index and middle fingers and cracked rib. One finger came from the black horse riders, he forgets the other one, and the cracked rib was from trying to fight riders while we were unhorsed ourselves. He was kicked in the chest by one of the opposing horses.
Garuk: Broken right arm. He tripped over a rock after having fought the black horse riders, startled one of the now riderless horses, which then stood on his arm.
Prince Nolryn: Broken left pinkie and two smallest toes on his right foot. All from Mongrel throwing him off. Why do those three obsess with stallions?
Gylepi: Broken right thumb, but he forgets where from. He also insists on me mentioning his broken bow. That just happens through ordinary wear and tear though. It could have just as easily happened at the archery range in the palace.
Murali: Broken right pinkie, from fighting the black horse riders again.
Inel: Broken left leg, and lost his horse. He obviously bore the brunt of our attacks. I just hope he’s not going to make the broken leg a tradition. He’s done it twice now. This time, it was because one of the black horse riders shot his horse dead, and his leg was broken in the fall.
Anganur: Broken left thumb, he thinks from one of the larger bandit groups.
Kaen: Broken right arm, from when he got complacent with leading around a precocious stallion that wasn’t his own, and consequently got thrown off, three days before he got home. That’s blade archers for you.
Yoryl: Broken right big toe, and right pinkie. He fell out of a tree and did his finger, then proceeded to kick the tree and get his toe. Again, blade archers.
So as a collaborative total, that makes thirteen broken fingers, four toes, two thumbs, two arms, a wrist, a collarbone, a leg and one dead horse. Apart from the horse, that’s relatively average for a mission of that length.
After this wonderfully light introduction to the evening, we were escorted into the dining room (as opposed to the great hall. It would be ridiculous to use such a massive room for just sixteen people) for entrées. The whole meal is as Raykinian as the chefs can make it, since the last thing we want right now is “exotic” Kazinian food. As such, we had those absolute classics, nira satays with prickly pear sauce. Delicious. See, we like simple foods as much as anyone else. We don’t dine on mango and bananas every night.
We also discussed the loot we’ve picked up over the course of the mission, which is quite a handy sum. I can’t say how much because I haven’t counted. In any case, we’ve decided to spend it on where it originally came from, the merchants and traders. There’s enough coin there to spruce up the whole marketplace. New awnings, new paving to replace the tired and bumpy old cobbles, maybe even something for the docks, so expect that some time within the next few months, once the planning has all been done.
Mains was a good slab of river salmon with a nice spicy-sweet sauce, and would you believe, our choice beers from the ‘Thrai. So mostly Liquid Sunsets, but I’m more partial to a good glass of Venom. Liquid Sunset, despite what those guys say, still tastes to me like it’s there for the alcohol and nothing else. Not half as bad as your average Kazinian brew, but still too strong for my tastes.
This is when we got more serious, and moved onto the more tactical, army talk, of where they were primarily positioned, how likely the bandits were to return, and when the best time to start the next mission would be. We’ve roughly decided on a date somewhere around the end of Winter, so that gives the guys who broke more than just their digits just enough time to build their strength back up again. I’ve had shorter breaks between missions, but it’s still pretty close. We don’t want to give the bandits too much of a chance to get used to us not being there though, so we’ll be moving in First, Second and Third Company as soon as we can afford to, really.
Like I say, it’s not finalised yet, that’s just the bare bones of it. We’ll have to have a more serious meeting with the other respective Generals before either Majesty or First General Niloren formally announces it. I think it’s pretty much certain that we’re going up there again this year though. Oh joy.
Dessert finally trundled in, which was another classic: fruit salad, and with not a single piece of apple, mango or strawberry to be seen. Pure Raykinian: prickly pear, dates, dragon fruit, all those fantastic fruits grown in the fruit gardens of Ni-Yana.
We headed back out to the balcony for after dinner drinks and biscuits—Raykinian of course, none of this Llayan rubbish—and just sat staring at the stars for a while. Not talking about anything in particular, just relaxing before heading for bed when it got too cool outside.
So there you have it. Mission accomplished. And we get to do it all again in two or three months time, hurrah.