I look around my new sitting room and still cannot believe my good fortune.
Make no mistake – by all standards of my homeland, this would be considered a farm cottage even by rural Tabrek measure. But it is private and keeps out the heat and it is all mine, so I hesitate to complain too much.
Left to our own exploration, we took our keys and each found our apartment door and cautiously ventured inside. Here, I found much better accommodation than we had at the Guild hall, though somewhat less than my dormitory back at the Academy. The front door opens to a sitting room, modest and for now unfurnished. The floor is clean and wooden, and the walls are freshly painted and there is a vague but delightful smell of citrus fruit. Blinds are closed on the front window to block out the afternoon heat.
Opposite the front window and door as one comes in, are a door and a short hallway. The door leads into a small bedroom, with a clean and straw-free bed and a sturdy, empty dresser and wardrobe. The short hallway is a short storage closet, at the back of which is a locking door. This particular door, as I found out and found that my associates were also discovering at that moment, joins my unit to a long, straight common hallway connecting to other apartments in the same fashion. In this hallway are doors leading both outside at the ends of the hall, and into other rooms at the back of the building; kitchen, dining room, privies, servant quarters.
I had nothing to move in or set down anywhere, so I was free to wander down the hallway and look in on my fellows. They, like me, were bewildered at their good fortune. As basic as these rooms are, they would certainly cost a few gold per night were this a common-house on the main roads. I don’t know if the houses were allotted according to a system, or not. From what I could tell in the excitement and melee of conversation, the neighbour to my immediate left is BOB and to my right is Lunk who, obviously, is not at home tonight. Gord is obviously a Guild operative of some rank, as we have become. He was assigned a house at the end of our row.
Gavin stayed around long enough to receive almost unwanted thanks for his generosity (or so it seemed – Gavin does not seem the sort in need of praise), and ensure we were settling in without complaint. He stated that we would have assistance in the morning regarding furnishing, and said we would have some time to enjoy our accommodations.
I had my evening planned out, and fortunately the others did not thwart my plans. Pulp and BOB declared their intent to make good use of the Guild-friendly tavern across the square, and disappeared. Gord had business elsewhere, as did Xel’Xaran. Reece went off to explore the neighbourhood, and Spiritz didn’t know what he wanted to do first.
Thankfully none of my fellows have any keen sense of hygiene. Having spotted a large bath in one of the privy rooms, I commissioned a servant to fill it with cool water and collect for me whatever Callia considered to be a soaping agent. She was prompt and within half an hour I was soaking and scrubbing off a rank shell of grime and sweat, alone with my thoughts and able to relax in a measure of comfort. Better still; when I returned to my apartment clad in a robe generously provided, I found that my clothes had been soaked and scrubbed and hung up to dry.
The apartment is not cool but the warmth is entirely tolerable. As I write the roll of events from today, I see that my clothing has dried nicely, and notice too that while I was bathing, I have been provided with clean sheets. I will need to procure some furniture tomorrow; I am writing all of this on the upend of a small crate by lamplight, and really could use a desk.
A last note – Alex and his raven occupy a unit a few doors down from mine, the last house on the left. Outside Alex’s door, waiting when we arrived, sat a curious-looking dog. I think I have seen it before, from time to time, when Alex is around. Though I have assumed it a stray, it is remarkably well-heeled and keeps itself in show-worthy condition. Alex tossed the dog something before he went inside, and the dog snapped it out of the air and consumed it. His raven made a most un-raven-like sound at the dog, almost in deference. The sound might be a language of a sort; a guttural scraping, like two flat and heavy rocks grinding at each other.
Alex is a strange fellow. Either I want to know more about him, or I want to avoid him at all costs. Hard to tell.
Journal of Dr. Marcus Grant
Healing Cleric of Pelor, Order of St-Jude Academy (Silabrek)
20th Day, town of Callia, territory of Ælim.