Chapter 7: Gilan's Request
“I think I’m quite ready for another adventure.” -Bilbo Baggins
Almost a year passes uneventfully and Rea’s training progresses smoothly as she prepares for the next gathering and assessment. Now, she is on the porch, leaning against the railing and watching the sun set while Alix is inside preparing dinner.
“Rea! Could you come lend a hand?” Alix calls and Rea heads inside to help. “Stir the stew, will ya please? I need to finish chopping.” Alix works quickly, and soon the vegetables are chopped and simmering in the stew.
Rea stirs the stew one more time, “How else can I help?”
“Just keep stirring,” Alix grins,
grabbing a pair of bowls and spoons to set on the table. She waits a few
minutes before checking the stew. “Perfect.”
“You’re a good cook,” Rea compliments.
Alix chuckles, “I’m only good if I have the best apprentice in all of Araluen to help me.” Rea blushes, looking at the floor and smiling.
Alix gestures to the table, “Shall we-.” She is interrupted by a knock on the door.
“I’ll get it,” Rea volunteers and Alix agrees, leaning against the wall to watch the door. Rea quickly walks over to the door and opens it.
“Gilan! Come on in,” Alix says, a smile spreading over her face. Gilan steps inside, allowing Rea to close the door behind him. Alix gestures for both to sit. “Hungry?” she asks Gilan.
“When am I not?” he queries.
“Never,” Alix laughs, bringing a third bowl and spoon. “So, what brings you here Gil?” Alix asks as they all begin to eat.
Gilan glances over, sees Rea’s eager looks, and says, “I think we ought to discuss it after dinner.” Rea looks crestfallen, but says nothing.
Alix shares a quick glance with Gilan and resists the urge to laugh at her apprentice's curiosity. “I agree,” she says with unusual solemnity. Rea, her curiosity unquenched, rushes to finish eating and waits impatiently for the other two.
Gilan leans back when he finishes, and Alix stands to clear the table. Rea rises to help, but Alix waves her hand dismissively. “Sit. Gil, you can explain why you’re here.”
“I need to make a request of you and Rea,” Gilan begins.
Alix raises an eyebrow as she returns to the table and sits down, a serious look on her face, “What kind of request?”
“I need you two to go to Arrida, and renew the five-year treaty. Make sure they still wish to have a treaty with us. I would just send the treaty delegation, but we aren’t quite sure how well they will be welcomed.”
“Why do we have a treaty with Arrida anyway?” Rea cuts in, looking between the two Rangers.
“It’s nice to have, otherwise they might decide to go to war with us in the future,” Gilan explains, smiling slightly.
Rea nods, his words making sense “When do we leave?”
Alix holds her hands up, “Woah, I never said I agreed to this.”
“You would never turn down an assignment from Gilan,” Rea points out.
Alix sighs, smiling slightly, “I suppose you are right. We’ll do it.”
Gilan nods, “Perfect. You will need to leave as soon as possible, and meet with Selethen in Arrida. He will explain a few things to you.”
“I can’t wait to leave!” Rea says, rather excited about the thought of going on a mission. Especially one out of Araluen.
“Normally this would be assigned to our special task force, but as they are busy doing other things. I needed someone else I could trust with this,” Gilan explains.
“That makes sense. Glad we could help,” Alix says, getting to her feet.
Rea rises too. “I’ll pack our things.”
While Rea is packing, Alix is getting more information about the mission from Gilan, “Right," Alix agrees to one of Gilan's statements. "And make sure someone keeps an eye on the fief while we are gone. Can’t have all sorts of hooligans coming and ruining the peace.”
Gilan nods, “Of course.”
Rea finishes preparing for the next day, and walks over to the two Rangers, “Done.”
“That was fast,” Alix comments.
“There wasn’t that much to do, so I helped you out too.” Rea explains.
Alix smiles, “That’s sweet of you, kiddo. Keep Gil company while I add a few other things we may need.” Alix steps into her bedroom and Rea is left standing awkwardly in front of the commandant.
Gilan looks amused. “So, how is your training going?”
Rea shrugs, “It’s going.”
Gilan sits, and gestures for Rea to do likewise, “Going for better or worse?”
Rea shrugs, sitting. “Better, I suppose.”
“How is your archery?”
“It’s alright. Alix says I’m a natural with the bow.”
“She is!” Alix calls from the other room and Gilan chuckles.
“What about your knife skills?”
“Those are pretty good as well. Thought I do need to work more on the throwing knife.”
Gilan nods as he leans back in his chair, propping his feet up on the table. “Excellent. I’m excited to see how you do during the assessment this upcoming gathering.”
Alix walks out of the bedroom, a paper in hand. She hands the paper to Gilan, and simultaneously knocks his feet off the table, “You know that ruins it,” she scolds. “And, it’s the report for whomever comes to check on the fief,” she explains, before Gilan can even ask.
“How long will the mission be? Do I get to skip the assessment because of it?” Rea asks hopefully.
Alix shakes her head, “The gathering is in a little over three months. Plenty of time for us to get there and back. Trust me, your assessment is nothing to worry about. No matter what our Commandant says,” Alix reassures, raising an eyebrow in Gilan’s direction.
Rea smiles slightly, “I’ll be going to bed. Night Gilan. Night Alix” She stands up and goes to her room, shutting the door quietly.
“I suppose that is my cue to leave,” Gilan says, standing.
“Bye Gil,” Alix says, giving him a quick embrace.
“Goodbye, and be careful while you are out there. It’s a dangerous place,” he cautions, stepping outside.
“Of course,” Alix nods, shutting the door quietly.