The day's ride to Mechitar was exhausting. Amnor Sen had Jakun ride on Zephyr, not trusting the cat to summon his own horse. Or perhaps he didn't think Jakun could summon a horse after the previous day.
He had to be held up as they walked through the city walls, the last group to do so that day. The gates closed behind them as Jeremy led the way past a group of humans. Living humans, almost a rarity in these lands.
Jakun peered through the dark, his eyes nearly dazzled by the torches held or strewn through the city. All he could see were pyramids, small pyramids, giant pyramids… and one in the center of the city, absolutely colossal in magnitude.
"Is that where the ghost king sits?" Jeremy frowned. "Such a waste of resources…"
Jakun didn't think that was true. Still, it wasn't his place to speak out.
They moved through the city, approaching a tavern filled with subdued noise. Setting Jakun on the ground, Amnor Sen handed a gnome stableboy a silver coin to tend to the horses. He and Jeremy escorted Jakun inside, Jeremy relaxing visibly as the fumes of alcohol filled the air.
"You enjoy your drink. I'm going to get a suite," Amnor Sen said, patting the human on the back.
"Well Jakun, I promised you a drink. You still up for it?" Jeremy beamed, nearly dragging the cat to a table.
All Jakun could do was nod as he fell into a seat. A young woman approached, the smell of magic strong on her. He skin was a smooth bronze, her eyes a deep knowing green. Jakun felt slightly unsettled looking into them.
"What can I get for you two?" the woman sniffed, almost as though she was trying to inhale their scent.
A lecture sprang into the amurrun's mind, one.of Loran's nearly rambling discussions with himself, speaking of undead who relied on blood, pretty faces hiding their desires until they had you in their trap.
The vampire scowled at the cat, nodding.
"And? What of it? I haven't broken the Dead Laws by serving drinks."
Jeremy's face tightened into a smile, his hand grasping Jakun's arm.
"Be nice or you won't get your milk," he said quietly.
The cat nodded, his eyes closing. He hadn't meant to offend the vampire. He just wanted to make sure he had recognized the undead correctly.
The cat's throat snagged on the second word. He coughed violently, trying to recover.
"Can we have a skin of kumis and a bottle of Alkenstar iced?" Jeremy asked over the coughing.
The vampire nodded curtly, before whirling away. Jeremy smacked Jakun's back a few times until the coughing stopped, sighing loudly.
"I can't wait to get out of this country," he muttered.
Jakun had no response to that. As the vampire returned with a bottle of wine and a wine skin, the cat pushed away from the table slightly. The moroi scoffed, setting the plate down.
Jeremy's jaw dropped. Sure, Alkenstar was a ways distant, but their wine shouldn't be eleven gold, and there was no way the kumis was to blame for the price.
"Amnor Sen is going to kill me…" the cleric concluded, paying the gold.
Jakun frowned at the statement. The elf wouldn't actually kill the cleric, he knew. Still, to hear Jeremy say that worried him. He had seen Amnor Sen angry, and it had been terrifying.
Jeremy picked up the skin, pouring it into a shallow wooden bowl. He slid the bowl to Jakun, the cat's nose wrinkling at the spoiled milk smell.
"Drink slowly. This cost a bit more than I expected," Jeremy smiled ruefully.
"How much more exactly?" Amnor Sen asked, sitting in a third seat.
"About five gold."
"Shelyn have mercy!" the elf hissed, drawing mixed glances from nearby tables.
For his part, Jakun lifted the bowl slowly, tilting it to let the milk run into his mouth. He gagged at the sour taste, gulping it down so he wouldn't have to drink more.
"So much for slow," Jeremy sighed, pouring the bottle of wine into a cup.
The man slid the drink to Amnor Sen before taking a quick swig from the bottle.
"Well, if you're finished, I suppose you should get settled in your room. Go ahead and put our things in the first room," Amnor Sen said to Jakun, sipping at his chilled wine.
The cat nodded, collecting Amnor Sen's surprisingly heavy bag. He could barely lift it, but Jakun wasn't about to disappoint the elf that had saved him.
Moving through the pyramid, the amurrun sighed as he found a room with an Osirian one on the door. He opened it slowly, before hefting the paladin's bag inside.
'Need help with that?'
He yelped, his head suddenly full of a presence…
'Come on, you act like I was dead. I am dead. It will take more than a ghast to end my existence completely,' the werewolf scoffed in his head. 'Now, about our book…'
'Amnor Sen says it's evil-'
'Of course it's evil. But it's powerful too. And since they're going to sell it tomorrow, tonight is our last chance at that ritual. We'll have to perform it tonight to reap the benefits.'
'But we don't know what it does!'
'Loran was going to use it. Paid nearly a five hundred gold for the original, right? Obviously it's powerful, and if we're ever going to kill him, we need that power.'
Jakun sighed quietly, but pulled his spellbook out of the bag. He hurried to the second room, hiding the book under the bed before hurrying back downstairs. The cat didn't know if he actually could use the ritual, or should. But Anya was right. He had to take this chance. After the paladin and the cleric were asleep.
Until then, he still needed to get Jeremy's bag and attend to his masters. Jakun didn't want to raise their suspicions after all.
Note to mention that the term for catfolks is amurrun, not amurran. In addition, Anya is a phantom, not a phantasm. I apologize for any disruption this may have caused in the reading of this story.