There was rain in the trees. The soft downpour pittered down on the leaves, dabbing tears on the forest canopy. Beasts and birds flew away. They tried to find shelter and warmth from the weeping sky.

One shelter moved slowly onwards. A carriage, with just over a half-dozen passengers, rolled over the dirt paths. The wheels churned through mud that was well on its way to becoming more water than earth.

The carriage rolled to a stop, and refused to go any further.

Goldmight poked his head out of the carriage, and looked at the driver. “Hello? We stopped?”

“Stopped for the night,” The driver replied. He reached into his bag, and drew out a box. He started to pull out additions to the carriage that seemingly had no business being kept in such a small container, including a room.

“It’s the middle of the day!”

“Not for me.” The man stepped into the new room that was now next to the carriage. “When we can’t go any further, we stop.”

“It’s just a little rain.”

“Then you go on.” The driver closed the door behind him.

“But…shelter!” Ruby Lawks shouted. “We’re just in a little wagon, and it’s raining! Can’t you at least share?”

If the driver heard her, he ignored her.

Goldmight fumed, and slammed his hand against the door. “Paid good money to him, and this is how he treats us. I’m going to complain to the union, see if he ever gets work after ignoring someone from the Circle.”

“That’s what you get, working with humans.” Kleb muttered. The troll burrowed further into his coat, and tried to find some more warmth. “What do we do now?”

Pidelle and Pidella looked through their tomes. “We could try constructing some hardlight dwellings. But in this cloud cover, it will be a bit more difficult.” Pidelle said.

“Maybe if we look at Haricross’ tome on dwellings?”

“That could take too long, and Haricross only wanted permanent dwellings. Maybe Bumdeedee…”

Nutrose looked outside. “Maybe we could just enjoy Bin’s fire while you girls just get us a tent put together.”

Bin looked up at the sound of his name. He was working on adding another log to the fire, a short way from the wagon, drying it with his own magic before setting it ablaze.

Goldmight laughed, and took a long gaze over the fire. “It seems someone was a lot more proactive than we thought.”

Bin smiled. “I’m used to wet nights. It’s one of the reasons I learned fire so quickly.”

Pidella adjusted her ponytail, and examined closely. “There’s no weaving of runes, no latent spoken essence, and certainly not a tome to be seen. How did you do it?”

Bin grimaced, and waved his hand. His fingers were engulfed in flame.

“So you are a mere practitioner, with no higher study of the intricacies of conflagration?”

“Pidella, do be quiet!” Ruby scolded. She jumped out of the carriage and all but ran to the fire. “The boy has fire, and if you’d look behind him, you’d see he has roots and berries.”

The Hoppi gathered up her skirts and settled down next to Bin. “Now, you can run a seminar on fire magic in the carriage where it is cold and wet, or you can say thank you.”

Pidella blinked. “I didn’t?”

“Still haven’t.”

The gnome bowed her head. “I’m sorry, Bin. I don’t speak well.”

“None of us do,” Goldmight said. “We’re the Leaves.”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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