They rode through the city at a trot, Jakun bouncing in front of Amnor Sen. Zephyr held them both with little trouble, the horse even helping the amurrun sit on his back. Amnor Sen felt something had happened to the horse. He seemed sharper, more intelligent. Moving through the city, it was almost like Zephyr was guiding the group safely around any who meant them harm.
He gently stroked his horse's neck, a smile lining his face. How Zephyr had learned to do that was beyond him, an amazing trick he could only assume was a blessing from Shelyn. The paladin was just grateful not to be fighting anyone again.
"Weren't we supposed to get some food?" Jeremy asked.
"With what money?"
"Well, you have that statuette of Nalia in your bag-"
"Where it is staying because there is no way I am selling her," Amnor Sen denied.
There was a quiet rustle, Jakun working a scroll case out of Amnor Sen's bag.
"Wha… where did that come from?" the elf demanded.
"Sidira Onyx. The elf from last night. She paid me with them," the cat said quietly. "Maybe we can sell a scroll? Master… Loran… used to make me copy scrolls for him to sell in the market, once I learned to write my spells down."
"That's… not a bad idea," Jeremy said.
"No, but you need to leave the city first," Amnor Sen added.
He frowned, pulling Zephyr to the side of the road. Dismounting, the elf lifted Jakun off the horse. He pulled out a length of rope, tying it around the amurrun's neck, before handing him the scroll case.
"I hate to do this, but it's safest for all involved. You are my slave for the next four days," the paladin said. "Most casters can mark things, correct?"
Jakun nodded, his ears folding.
"Good. You will mark your collar with the symbol of a songbird, and it will be my mark, to tell people you belong to me. Jeremy and I are leaving the city, and you will remain behind. We will follow the road north to the Axan Wood. You will use that case to purchase the following items. A backpack, two weeks' worth of trail rations, a waterskin, and a cloak. Then you will join us on the outskirts of the woods in no more than four days' time. That will give you plenty of time to reach us with the supplies. You will arrive with no more than twelve days' rations, understood?"
The cat nodded, frowning at his feet.
"Good. Get moving."
"But sir… my book. I need it for my mount," Jakun said quietly.
"You have your bow and nothing else. Reaching the forest on foot will take no more than two days, with no need for a spell. If you want your book back, you will do as you are told," Amnor Sen said.
Jakun looked like he was going to argue. Suddenly, his face shifted, and he nodded, placing a hand on his collar. A quiet word was spoken, and a songbird appeared, marking him as a slave once more.
"Good boy. Run along now," Amnor Sen said, mounting Zephyr once more.
"You're just going to leave him here, in a city of undead?" Jeremy asked as they rode away.
"Yeah. One of three things will happen. Either he will die, and no longer be our problem, cut his collar, and no longer be our problem, or return, and be a free cat on the road to redemption. It is not an easy road to walk, nor should it be," Amnor Sen said.
"For the record, I do not agree to this. you don't know what I saw last night," Jeremy frowned, looking over his shoulder.
The cat was sitting against a wall, his werewolf beside him as he searched through the case. He looked up, giving Jeremy a tiny wave of farewell. One which was returned with a heavy sigh.
"Other than a dragon killing people? Besides, this will give us time to go through his book, and make sure it won't corrupt him anymore," Amnor Sen continued.
Jeremy turned his attention back to the paladin.
"Hey, you know how I have to pray for Cayden's power every day? I'm pretty sure you just trapped Jakun in a city of undead, without the benefit of magic."
Amnor Sen shrugged.
"I don't have magic either. He has a weapon. And he's intelligent. He can find a way out, I know it."
The elf looked over at his partner as they passed a large, ebon pyramid.
"I am not putting him through anything I wouldn't put myself," he said quietly.
"Then why don't you stay with him?" Jeremy snapped. "You are a paladin, devoted to protecting the weak. And that cat is nothing if not weak."
"Because I am concerned for you. If Jakun died, it would be painful, sure. But if you died and I wasn't there to prevent it… that would be the end of me," Amnor Sen said. "I am trying to do what I feel is right. The food and the bag, they are more for Jakun than for us. I am giving him the means to free himself. If he decides to run, then so be it. The collar is easily discarded. But should he follow through and return to us, he will do so a free cat, and my heart will be secure, knowing that he is ready to make an effort at putting his evil spells and past behind him."
Jeremy stared at the paladin as they rode. He shook his head roughly.
"Fuck you, and your pretty words. Why do you have to make sense?"
The cleric grunted, kicking his mount into a light trot. Pulling ahead as the city gates came into view, the man called back, "I still don't agree!"
Amnor Sen sighed, nudging Zephyr after his beloved. He hadn't expected Jeremy to agree. But he had done what he needed to. And the cleric would just have to live with it, just like Amnor Sen did.