Previously: The Legend of Leonard Letterman, Pt 45
“It took longer than I expected getting back here, sorry about that. Everyone seems to be wanting a word.” A cloud briefly darkened Osric’s face, but it was soon replaced it with an apologetic smile as he peered into the chamber over Leonard’s shoulder.
“I thought you could probably use a freshening of refreshments,” he continued and raised the tray, the tea’s aroma wafting directly under Leonard’s nose; his mouth watered. “Mind if I come in?”
Leonard hesitated, surprised by the actual request. Aside from Coppa and the young woman who had stayed only long enough to leave her advice along with his meal, no one had asked if they could come in, they’d simply entered.
“Oh, sure, of course. Come on in,” Leonard said, summoning a welcoming smile as he stood aside and held the door open.
“Oh, um, please forgive the mess,” he added sheepishly after shutting the door and turning to face the room.
Osric stood at the foot of the bed, one of the few uncluttered spaces of floor in the room, ducking away from the wall-lamp. Leonard’s rucksack and its disgorged contents looked multiplied when littered with such abandon. The remnants of Leonard’s meal were scattered over the tray, which had been somehow pushed partially under the bed.
Leonard crouched and started gathering the items. For a moment his heart jumped at the thought of Jerra’s note, but he then remembered tucking it safely into his boot.
“It’s no problem at all but, is everything alright?” Osric inquired as he placed the tray in his hands on the bed then stooped to join Leonard in gathering the papers, clothes, and various adventuring debris.
“Yeah, I’m“- Leonard hesitated, his hand hovering over one of the maps as he actually considered his answer. “I actually don’t know, to tell you the truth.” His answer surprised himself; less so for the fact of it being true than sharing it aloud with someone else.
“I can only imagine there’s a lot to take in,” Osric conceded, reaching for the last loose page to add to his stack. “Anything I can help with?”
It wasn’t the question itself that made the hairs on the back of Leonard’s neck stand on end. It was that there was something more pointed about pitch or the tone in Osric’s voice as he’d asked, like someone trying to stealthily sheath a blade before sinking it into your side. Leonard shook this unbidden thought away, blaming it on the influx of information, his weariness, and the many warnings against someone he thought he could trust; it was certainly enough to warrant a touch of paranoia.
“It’s hard to say. I could use some more information, though. That meeting was a lot to take in,” Leonard eventually replied as he stacked the remainder of his littered items on top of the pile he’d created at the feet of his weapons in the far corner. He took the pile Osric handed him and added them as well, making a mental note to properly repack his bag the next free moment he had.
When he turned to stand he found Osric’s hand waiting to assist him. The taller man pulled Leonard to his feet with ease and gestured to the bed and waiting food and drink.
“I have some questions of my own so I believe a chat would do us good. How about we start over a snack? I haven’t eaten since morning patrol, which was before you and Mina came along.” Osric flashed another grin at Leonard.
Leonard nodded and took a seat at the head of the bed. Osric lifted the tray and then sat at the foot, replacing it in the space between them. On it there were two mugs, both steaming with tea; a compact teapot, presumably containing more; a plate with a few pieces of the same bread from earlier, making Leonard the more grateful to the waiting teapot; a bowl filled with pieces of a bright purple fruit soaking in a juice of the same color; and lastly, a plate packed mostly with hunks of what looked like white cheese and a few fragments of some sort of meat.
“The bread is good to dip in the tea as well as the gojai juice,” Osric said, pointing to the bowl of fruit. He then reached over a grabbed the top piece of bread, ripping a chunk off and dunking it in the closer of the mugs.
Leonard followed suit, taking a sip of the rich liquid before dunking his own broken off piece of bread into it. He eyed the plate of meat dubiously but hazarded a slice of the fruit. He waited until he’d finishing his bread before placing a purple piece of gojai in his mouth; at first it was so tart Leonard almost spit it out, but a moment longer on his tongue unlocked a collection of sweet flavor he had not thought possible in one fruit. He nodded appreciatively.
“So, Leonard,” Osric began, lifting the large cup to his lips and pausing, “How well would you say you know my sister?”
Click here for Part 47!