Lafitte merely nodded at the wizard’s insistence. Elites, he thought with all the feeling of disdain and acidity he could muster into the word. It was the same characteristic that had angered him with Jeneyeru’s brother. He didn’t treat Lafitte as an equal.
However in the end he sighed. He had granted the man command of the rescue effort. “I agree,” he said, “We’ve slain a dragon, but the wilderness presents its own variety of predators and dangers. When you think about it, at least the dragon was easy to keep track of.” He chuckled as he rolled a cigarette.
“We’ll take Ionas, Beau of course, and a couple of his crossbowmen from the Calinda, in addition to your own team,” Lafitte said as he blew out the pungent smoke. Shortly thereafter, a crewman was on hand with Lafitte’s gear, and he proceeded to equip himself for the coming expedition.
“Mr. Ogges, detail the team to meet me here. You’re in command. I want this ship repaired and airworthy upon my return. In the middle of the forest, I doubt you’ll have a lack of material,” Lafitte called out.
“Aye, Captain, she’ll be ready in no time!” the Dwarf replied.
Aboard the Calinda
“But, when will you return?“ Tayliana Winddancer Dahtaligaar said as Beau Bergeron was arming himself with daggers, a cutlass, and strapping a crossbow and quiver to his back. A lot of gear for a rescue operation. Piss and vinegar, that’s a lot for any sailor, she thought, not for the first time with regards to the strange Eorman.
Several of Beau’s top shots were arming themselves with heavier bows than their commander. “Dunno, chère. Provided he got out of the tree, there’s a good chance the Prince is on the move and he’s probably heading towards Mt. Isolla himself. Only real direction he can go, because that’s where the airship was headed,” the First Mate replied.
Mt. Isolla! Tayliana thought, and the instructions of the woman in the shop came back to her:
“I suggest you contact Archmagus Dev Geyev of the Lion’s Bane at the Guild at Mt. Isolla…”
“But, you’ll find him before he makes it to the Mountain, right?” she said, the hard, driving rain seeming to undercut the cold empty feeling in the pit of her stomach.
“No telling,” Beau replied, “there’s a lot of ground to cover, and we don’t know exactly what path he could’ve taken, only a guess at his direction.”
Tayliana weighed her options. She felt like it was unlikely for the Prince to truly finish his journey to the mountain before her compatriots found him in the woods and returned to the ship. But even so, there was a chance she might miss out on the only chance she had to make it to the Wizards Guild while serving aboard La Danse Calinda. That was a chance she couldn’t afford to take.
“Beau, I think I need to come with you. My expertise as the ship’s Wizard may help in the expedition,” she said.
Beau Bergeron raised an eyebrow at Tayliana’s insistence to join the expedition. He wasn’t sure exactly what the girl stood to gain by joining. He didn’t figure she had any love for the Prince at this point, so the only logical explanation had to be that she had ulterior business at Mt. Isolla.
“I don’t know, chère.” Beau said, hoping to get confirmation of this fact, “The Captain only detailed myself, Ionas, and my team here.”
“Please, I have to…” Tayliana replied, but he noted she stopped short of her reasoning, and Beau decided to press on, like a hunter smelling blood.
“Why do you have to go, ma fille? It’s not as if these woods hold anything of value to you,” Beau stated bluntly.
“It isn’t the woods, Beau. I have to make it to Mt. Isolla, please,” Tayliana replied, a look of sincere urgency in her eyes. Taking his hand in hers she pleaded, “Convince the Captain to bring me along as well, please, for me.”
“I’ll see what I can do, no promises though,” Beau replied as he kissed her hand and swung down the rope to the ground below, his men in tow.
He saw the Captain smoking a cigarette with the gay looking wizard (“daisical” in the local parlance, if he recalled correctly), and he prepared for yet another performance to convince the good Captain.
Lafitte was about to follow the wizard into the woods when he saw his First Mate and his team of crossbowmen bedecked in their red coats coming towards him. “Ah, Mr. Bergeron! Good, if you could station two men in the front and two in the back, and then catch up with the Lord Magus, he’ll need you to point him to the correct spot,” Lafitte called out.
But Beau just kept coming towards him, causing Lafitte to raise an eyebrow. “What is it Beau?” he said, putting out his cigarette beneath his boot.
“Your wizard,” Beau replied, and he made a subtle nod back towards the ship. “She wants to come along,” he continued.
Lafitte rubbed his beard as he responded. “Hmmm, but wouldn’t she be better off helping the crew?” Lafitte asked, more to himself than anyone else.
“Tayli thinks her talents might aid in the rescue of the Prince,” Beau said, but Lafitte noticed the inflection in the man’s voice.
“She put you up to this,” Lafitte said bluntly. Lafitte figured he knew what was going on here: the young wizard wanted the Prince, but his First Mate had intentions of his own, letting himself be used to gain her favour for a relationship with her of his own.
Lafitte chuckled. “Let her know she can come, but she has to keep up,” he said, and Beau nodded, turning to give a thumbs up back to the ship. Lafitte thought he could make out her smile as she slid down the ropes and came running towards them, her jacket flapping in the sleet and breeze.
“And Beau? Tell her next time she wants a tryst with the Prince all she has to do is ask.”