After three grueling days of travel, Callindra was finally able to slow down. The hordes of Taken that had responded to their brief and explosive battle had been whittled down to a manageable number and finally been wiped out. She had seen the last of them fall under Shadowsliver and they had backtracked for three hours to make sure there weren’t any stragglers on their trail.
“I’ll take the first watch.” She said, in a voice that brooked no argument. “Holt you have second watch. Vilhylm can take third and Reed the fourth since you’re always up early.”
Connor gave her a questioning look and cleared his throat awkwardly. At her nod he made a small bow that she was now used to as his sign of deference. “I have been working on something that might assist us in our rest. Now that we have the time to try it without interruption I thought perhaps I would attempt it. By your leave.”
Callindra was wary of this; Connor’s experiments did not have the best track record. He noticed her hesitance and laughed, “No, this won’t be like the last time, I put more effort into this one and I found the bones of it in an actual book of magic. I had to fill in some of the blanks of course since the book was damaged by fire but I am quite sure this one will work.”
“You can try it by yourself. Away from camp.” She said, still remembering how narrowly they’d escaped his attempt to create a meal out of thin air two days ago.
“No everyone needs to be close or they won’t be able to get inside.” He insisted, “I’ve tried it already once on a small scale. I’m confident it will work when done bigger. It will give us a save place to rest. We can all rest.”
Although she was sure she would regret it, Callindra called everyone in. “Connor has a spell to keep us safe for the night, but it’s a new spell so I can’t make any guarantees. If it works we all get to sleep without posting a guard.”
“If it doesn’t work we’ll all sleep forever.” Reed grumbled. “Surely you don’t want to risk another mishap.”
“I’m too tired Reed.” She said gently, “We’re all too tired. If we try to post watches and fall asleep instead of being vigilant it won’t be much better.”
“Wait you fool!” Reed squeaked, and they all realized that Connor had begun his spell already.
The strange little man took a small crudely made wooden house from his pocket, set it on the ground and grabbed the corners of the roof as he finished his spell. With a grand flourish, he finished the spell and straightened, flinging his arms up and out. The shelter responded to his gesture, growing nearly to the size of an inn, complete with swept courtyard, windows and smoke coming from the chimney.
Connor laughed and gave them all a crazed grin. “It worked! IT WORKED!” He was all but jumping up and down.
“What good is a wooden house?” Reed objected, “They’ll tear it apart.”
“He has a point Connor.” Vilhylm said, staring at the structure with a dubious expression on his face.
“Hold my hand and back up.” Connor said, still smiling a madcap smile.
Vilhylm frowned but did as requested and gasped in astonishment when his feet passed the clean area of the courtyard. He was shaking his head as he came back within the circle. “I couldn’t see it. My arm vanished into nothing.”
Connor laughed again and danced a little step in place. “Come inside. It’ll only last for about six hours, but we will be totally invisible from anything outside. Keep in mind if you actually leave you won’t be able to get back in. The magic makes things avoid it.”
“This is incredible.” Callindra said, “Amazing. I can’t believe it.”
“That’s not even the best part!” He said opening the door. A table was spread with food and there were neat bedrolls along one wall and by all the gods and demons there was a big copper tub in front of the fire.
The food didn’t quite taste right, but the fresh fruits and vegetables that the unmistakable feel of fresh fruits and vegetables even if they were unfamiliar flavors. The bread was almost sweet and the meat seemed like venison but it was prepared in strange spices but none of these things kept everyone from eating their fill and more.
Callindra had passed by the food other than to grab something that looked like an apple with golden skin in favor of immediately stripping and bathing. The strange fruit tasted sweeter than anything she had ever eaten and shocked her by being slightly intoxicating.
After everyone had eaten, they all retired to the clean bedrolls. Despite his misgivings, Reed was the first to drop off into sleep. Alanna stayed awake, staring at the door with wide eyes until Callindra told her to get some rest. It took her longer than she hoped but not as long as she feared to sleep.