I think it’s been about a week since we first entered this place. Until we woke this…. I assume morning we’d been drinking and just generally having a good time. All that time wandering across the desert had worn us out physically and spiritually, though Gnoman had endured it all better than Shojin and I. I think it was his meditation dancing kata or whatever they are. At any rate I woke up with a killer headache that day and minimal memories from the night before. I vaguely remember some deep uh… throat singing I think Shojin called it. Not sure what he was singing about but it was deep and dark and sad.
Gnoman was just sitting there smiling at some far away thought as I came to and saw that Shojin was still sleeping. Gnoman and I went to obtain some food while he slept in. Upon our return he was sitting mostly upright with his hand on his head. Maybe my recollections of the last evening were accurate.
Today was a day that required more focus. We need to find this Vendor, who a week later we still hadn’t gotten the name of, I don’t think. Once he was finally upright and more or less mobile, we got some food into Shojin and when there was no worry he wouldn’t be able to keep it down, I once more got directions to the merchant and off we went.
Jerry never explained that to get there would require some level of athleticism to navigate from one, which was just the thing to help one finish sobering up. Why would anyone ever choose to live in this place. It was madness. We’d never have made it where we needed to get it Jerry hadn’t given us very explicit directions. At every stop on our trip, I keep a count in my head. The count mattered because you had limited time to get from where you were once you made it onto the rock you were now on and when you needed to be ready for the next one. Everything was done in a “Counts of Minn’s Teeth” fashion that I hadn’t done since I was a little girl playing hide and seek.
Shojin nearly missed the third jump and it delayed us ever so slightly and I lost count. I knew the next jump was either fourteen or forty Minn’s Teeth. So we made it where we needed to be, but were forced to wait because we had just missed the first option. Which was okay, but making the jump at forty would mean having another jump added in to get us back more or less on track.
Thankfully throughout all of this the merchants shop remained in sight and every stop ever closer. Maybe we didn’t need to race, but I’d only bothered to find the fastest route. So townspeople were just kind of staring. And it was then that it clicked. I had not seen a child since we entered this place. I wondered at the significance of that, but didn’t want to lose count again.
And three jumps later and we were standing breathless in front of merchants. The large sign with glowing letters said simply Keirnan’s. And as we stood there catching our breath a gnome with the reddest, wildest hair came opened the door and just stood there staring at us.
“And you three are on a mission to save something?”
I was confused.
He turned around and walked back inside.
“Payday bring your friends inside.”
How in the hells did this many know me?
And as we climbed the stairs into Kiernan’s like a flash, I remembered everything. I also decided at that moment that I was done drinking. It only seemed to cause trouble and make life more difficult for my friends. I could be clear headed and still set things on fire.