Previously: The Legend of Leonard Letterman, Pt 18
Leonard had trouble finding sleep again. His mind had been burning with questions and possibilities since the moment he’d seen the letter with his name on it, which seemed a lifetime ago as he lay here, in a foreign world on the verge of adventuring into another. But now, after such an abrupt awakening adding even more intrigue to the ever blossoming mystery, his mind had wings, soaring through possibilities, taking him further away from the land of dreams.
He tossed and turned in the plush bed, rearranging his pillows and pulling the blankets up to his face, curling his body around the excess material as he waited for sleep to come over him. One of Leonard’s last thoughts before slipping back into the arms of sleep was the sensation of being a child again, waiting for Christmas morning.
However, it wasn’t the painful anticipation of present opening that wakened Leonard when morning arrived, but the whispering of his name and a gentle shake of his shoulder. He awoke with a jolt, blinking furiously at the unexpected light that met his sleepy eyes as he turned towards the yelp of his waker.
A red-nosed, red-eyed Masha stood frozen at Leonard’s bedside, a weak and sheepish smile on her face. “Breakfast is ready, Mr. Letterman. Miss is downstairs waiting for you,” she said hoarsely before giving a brief nod and disappearing from the room.
Leonard shook his head and blinked a few times to shake off the last vestiges of sleep. He looked around the unfamiliar room as he rose from the bed, reaching for and pulling on his shirt and boots. The hallway door was now unlocked and ajar, marking Masha’s entrance and exit.
Hesitantly, Leonard leaned out into the hallway, looking up and down each way before turning to the left and heading in the direction, he believed, of the kitchen. He was as anxious about finding the kitchen in a timely fashion as he was uncertain how he would feel once he arrived. Wilhelmina had made clear her desire to leave as soon as possible in the morning, but now that the time was here, Leonard had to admit he was more than a little apprehensive about what they might find in Krosis.
His footsteps echoed off the stone when he left the carpeted hall as Leonard tried to swallow the lump in his throat that throbbed like his heart. Things felt even more surreal as he imagined having to use some of the defensive moves Wilhelmina had taught him the previous evening. Only his sore body confirmed that it had not been a dream. Finding himself at the top of the staircase from the day before, Leonard slowed his pace.
He was half-way down the stairs when a figure appeared in the corner of his eye, at the mouth of the hallway towards the kitchen. Wilhelmina was wearing clothing very similar to what Leonard had on, black pants meant for traveling, a light gray shirt, and tall black boots; he thought she looked far more comfortable in her attire, standing with her hands on her hips as she waited for him to finish descending the staircase.
Her long, dark hair was braided, wrapped, and pinned to the back of her head, leaving only a few inches of the braided tip to dangle near her collar bone. Leonard couldn’t help thinking she looked quite fetching as she stood there, bright eyes denying their interrupted slumber.
As Leonard reached the bottom step, Wilhelmina turned without a word and disappeared down the hall and into the kitchen. He followed her, equally silent, down the hall and into the homey room filled with the smell of fresh baked bread.
“Let me know if there is anything else Masha, or I, can get for you,” Wilhelmina said as Leonard approached the table where she sat. An empty plate was waiting for him in the seat across from her, the middle of the table laden with plates of eggs, bacon, toast, and sausage; a steaming mug next to his plate smelled spectacularly of coffee.
“This looks just fine, thank you,” Leonard replied as he took his seat, trying to push away the feeling that this was some sort of last meal. He spooned a little of everything onto his plate, munching a piece of toast first as he eyed the map Wilhelmina had spread in front of her on the table. They had looked over it the night before.
“Unless you have any other ideas, once we’ve finished eating, I say we check our packs and head out. No use wasting any daylight in Krosis, it’s weak enough light, we don’t want to try finding our way around in deep dark,” Wilhelmina reasoned.
Leonard tried not to choke on his toast at the thought of leaving so soon. He took a sip of his coffee, the refreshment surging through him, warming his insides.
“What do you think we will run into when we get there?” Leonard asked as Masha appeared at his elbow and refilled his mug, eyes darting to Wilhelmina and back again to the task at hand before darting off again.
“It’s hard to say. Not knowing all of the facts about the current situation, it’s as likely we will find an ambush as allies,” Wilhelmina answered simply, seemingly indifferent. “We go prepared for either,” she affirmed.
Breakfast didn’t last long. The inhabitants of the table were in no state for large meals, their hearts and minds too full of thought. Leonard only managed to pick at his plate and drain another cup of warming coffee before Wilhelmina finally stood, indicating it was time to go.
“Are you ready?” Wilhelmina asked, turning to look at Leonard as he got to his feet. Her eyes reminded him of the lights he saw glimmering in the pond before finding himself in Palloria.
“As I’ll ever be.”
Click here for Part 20!