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“Are you better? Your screaming was disturbing everyone else.” I see Jondahar’s face, his brows pulled up and the ends of his mouth pulled down. Ah ha, I think he is worried about me! I am grateful for this level of concern. It’s probably the most concern I have gotten yet.
“I’m sorry I had to slap you, but it seems to have worked.”
Wait, he slapped me? What about my gratitude?
“It’s fine. I’m okay. I just had a nightmare. With my eyes open. If a slap is it all it takes to make that go away, it’s fine.” I feel the ache now.
This elicits a hearty chuckle from Jondahar. Actually, it is more like a low-pitched giggle. That laugh is not what I expected from a guy who has more in common with a castle than me when it comes to size.
“Well, you’ve woken up now, so come eat some breakfast. Most everyone else has eaten already, but my wife was worried you wouldn’t eat, and I decided to wait for you as well. A meal is better when eaten with others, after all.”
Is it? I did not know that.
The giant bug guy, Tyu, wants to eat with us as well. I figured he would drink fluids like a mosquito for some reason, but he’s actually a fairly normal and fastidious eater. He even has a white linen napkin tucked into a collarbone-like armor plate.
Your color is poor. You should start with a glass of water to improve your circulation and jump start digestive processes.
Well, there’s that weird bug brain voice again, hi there Mister Chitin-pants, I hope you enjoy your stay in my brain. You’re certainly less scary than the giant things I just saw.
Your mind is different. It is like it was hacked apart and then put back together. For that reason, speaking with you is interesting.
Well, that is delightful, and I have drunk this water so I shall get on with eating now, shall I?
You might want to address your sleeping habits to prevent more nightmares. Waking nightmares are especially bad.
Well, I am not sure I have the leisure to address my sleep schedule at the moment, but I shall keep that advice until such a time as I can apply it.
Moments go by without Tyu droning at me, so I can assume his focus has moved on. Hopefully my mental tone was not too sarcastic?
The breakfast was a large pan of scrambled eggs. I am worried about how much we’re eating given how many of us there are, although other grannies were more enterprising than the one with chicken bones; they brought hens. I didn’t see the hens, so I am not sure how they were brought, but these folks can also use some magic, so no big deal, right? I should probably work with the guys today to make some sort of vessel for the river. I can make something large enough to carry everybody, and I can likely make that fly.
“If you are not touching the river, we will not be able to successfully escape. The river is connected to a mighty magic that will aid in our escape.”
I press Jondahar to explain the magic, but all he can tell me is that if we fly away, we will not wind up in the same place as traversing the river.
I idly curse that god as a railroading jerk, and mess around with the vessel design in my head. I can still do a wide skiff like I wanted before, and just have something extend down to touch the water. If a pole is long enough, I can still hide most of the skiff by making the bottom glow blue to blend into the sky. Then it should just look like a pole unnaturally standing straight up and going upriver. If the pole gets attacked, we will just drop it, ascend a few hundred feet, wait for the people to get sick of looking for us, and then replace the pole. If we had tons and tons of rope, I would just try it with rope, but there isn’t much rope nor is there time to make more. Pine saplings are plentiful, though, and we can just lash a few together with vines or something to make a stockpile of spares.
I explain to Jondahar my idea, and he begins directing the men to gather materials. This isn’t going to make an especially sturdy vessel, but it should be fine if it doesn’t take actual attacks. Soon, there is an enormous pile of felled trees with leaves, bark and vines all stripped. Some of the people can use magic spells that make whirring blades of wind or water, and we use those to buzz the logs into an enormous pile of planks, while chipping the roots and branches. Using those chips and the dust, I begin making molded pieces for the base and the rails. Most of the deck is made from the planks, and I throw on a large open gazebo for people to be able to sit in the shade. I think I’m getting better at manipulating a zillion cantrips per second. Yup, still getting skill-ups.
Now it is about noon, and we’re enjoying some lunch in the gazebo area before we take off. A bear with crystal claws wandered close to us, or was attracted by the noise, or something. It is now a hearty chili with rice. As we finish eating, I tell everybody to take a seat and brace themselves, and our skiff goes up into the sky.