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28 June 2008 @ 10:53 am
25 Flamerule 1372 (I think) **draft**  
I blinked groggily in the torchlight. It was quite dark, perhaps just past midnight? The driver confirmed that we had been on the road approximately twenty-four hours. We would probably arrive in Silverymoon at about this same time tomorrow night, maybe a little earlier. As we had discussed, we were traveling straight through to Silverymoon without stopping for the night. The carriage stopped roughly every eight hours, to rest the horses and give them some food and water, and to give us a chance to stretch our legs and relieve ourselves; we never stopped longer than an hour. Carriage travel has a posh reputation, but it's actually quite exhausting. One can't quite trance or sleep properly in the carriage, what with all the bouncing and jangling, but one can't quite stay awake, either, as the rocking motion of the carriage had something of a lulling effect. Seledra and I chatted quietly when we were both awake, about the wedding, and her family, and how we couldn't wait to get home. We stayed away from heavier subjects.

Having taken care of our more pressing needs, Seledra and I stood leaning against the side of the carriage and shared a little bread and cheese and a skin of wine (not elven, much to 'Ledra's disappointment) while we waited for the driver to give the signal to re-board.

"Hey," I said.

"Mmm?" Seledra looked at me sidelong.

"You said you and Thralia are old friends, right?"

"Yeah, from the Lady's College. Why?"

"Did you know Tordrin, too?'

She giggled. "Ah, that's what you're getting at! Looking for some inside info, huh? No, I don't think Thralia met him until after I left Silverymoon. If they did know each other when I knew her, I don't remember him. And I think I'd remember him."

I shrugged. "It was worth asking."

"Thralia told me a little about him. He's probably already told you about his work with the Eilistraeens." I nodded. "She says he kinda has a thing for drow, but he doesn't seem much like a fetishist."

"No, I've known men who were like that, and he's not it." A certain half-elf in Everlund comes to mind.

"He seems to just really respect the good-aligned drow, and what they have to go through. And he seems quite taken with you, I must say." She grinned at me.

"He just doesn't know me very well. I don't know what gives him the impression that I'm good."

"Maybe he sees something in you that you just can't see for yourself."

"Perhaps you've forgotten that I rob people for a living?"

"Perhaps you'll realize that there's a better use for your talents. Thralia was quite interested in you, too, after all."

"I didn't know Thralia swung both ways. Perhaps she'd be interested in joining me and Tordrin. No, she probably doesn't like to share. Do you think they'll fight over me?" I did my best to sound serious.

Seledra's shriek of laughter startled the coachman. "You know that's not what I mean! She wants to recruit you for the Harpers." She continued in a lower voice. She opened the carriage door and rooted around in one of her bags. "Here, she gave me this in Everlund, but I forgot about it until now. It's her contact information. Not that you won't be seeing her regularly, anyway." Seledra handed me a small calling card.

"You're kidding me."

"I would not kid about this. Thralia was impressed with you, and the Harpers can always use people who are good at sneaking."

"Huh."

"And you wouldn't have to rob people for a living anymore."

"But what if I like robbing people?"

"You don't mean that!"

"I don't? There is a certain thrill in it."

Seledra sighed.

"Besides, the Harpers won't let me keep my cover. Petty thievery has a lower profile, and local law enforcement doesn't tell me I'm lying when I give them a false name."

"Who said that to you?"

"Tordrin."

"Well, if you're going to be in a relationship with him, you'll have to tell him the truth eventually, anyway, won't you?" Seledra turned sharply to look at me fully. "That's why you're holding back, isn't it?"

"I haven't guarded my identity so carefully for, what, ten years? . . . for nothing. If no one knows my name, no one can tell someone else my name, and my father will assume that I just died somewhere. Maybe."

"Why did you tell me?"

"I . . . don't know." I really didn't. It just happened. "I guess I wasn't thinking. I felt safe."

Seledra's expression was inscrutable. "Well, I think it's a mistake to let that stop you with Tordrin. He's a Harper, and they deal in secrets; they know how to keep their mouths shut."

"I know, it's just . . ."

"And he really cares about you. And I think you care about him, too."

"I don't know how I feel. I mean, sometimes I think . . . but then . . ." I waved a hand in frustration.

"Have you never been in love?"

Have I? "No. Not really."

The driver signaled that he was ready to leave, and the coachman helped us back into the carriage.

"I think you have a chance for some real happiness, here," Seledra said as we set off. "I don't think you should pass it up."

I shrugged and gave her a half smile.

"Just think about it," she said.
 
 
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