An Unforgettable Luncheon - 10/17/20


The kitchen in Luna's home-turned-tavern was alive with activity this comfortable Autumn midday. A board covered in vegetables, some chopped already and some awaiting preparation. A pan sizzling away with two large fillets of fresh salmon. Standing tall over the stovetop was the woman preparing it all, happily toiling away at the meal for two. A grinder was held in her hand, crushing peppercorn and cascading it onto the searing salmon. She had already applied some small amounts of lemon juice, and was now moving over to begin cutting more vegetables as well as preparing a bed of cabbage for the plates. She hummed to herself and took a moment to prepare a third smaller plate bereft of most seasonings. Deeming it complete, she brought it upstairs for her ward who was only too happy for her taste of the luncheon.

“Here you are Lucatiel, do enjoy. I will be downstairs with our friend shortly, and while I am sure you would like to attend with me I do ask that you remain upstairs for now.” The woman hands the plate over and gives the girl a pat on the head.

“I knooooooow! They're your friend too, and you guys never get a chance to talk! Thank yooooou!” The girl happily holds up the plate and begins eating as Luna heads back downstairs.


The red-haired Lalafell arrived in Mist just a few moments ago, traveling the aetherways they had so many times before. Unlike the last unexpected visit, Vinalo expected this one to have a much more positive atmosphere. It'd been so many moons since Luna first mentioned a meal as compensation for trying to help her, with so many things happening in the meantime, that they'd nearly forgotten entirely when Luna contacted them. At her insistence (and Misha's, after explaining it), Vinalo decided today was a good time as any and headed out.

Walking up the familiar steps to Luna's house, they swore they could smell something delicious already. With a smile on their face and a rumble in their stomach, Vinalo stepped up and gave the door a light series of knocks.


Taking a quick break from watching the fish, Luna quickly moves from the kitchen to the front door, opening it. She offers Vinalo a smile that seemed genuine, as working with food oft did for her. “Ah, good afternoon Ser Vinalo! Do come in and make yourself comfortable!” She would wait for the Lalafell to enter before closing the door and going back over to the stovetop.

“I do believe the meal shall be finished shortly, would you care for some tea to go with it?” There was a hint of cheer to her tone even.


“Of course you know my tastes by now, Luna. Tea would be wonderful,” they said cheerfully as they walked into the emptier-then-usual room. “And the food already smells great!”

Vinalo looked around and spotted the small table tucked against the railing. It never seemed to get much use when the tavern was open, but…

“Suppose we'll sit here, then? Nothing against the bar, of course, but I reckon this'll be a bit better for a nice chat.”


The woman busies herself with a kettle as well as extracting some few tea leaves from a sealed jar. “Very good. C'est magnifique - To hear you already ache for my cooking brings warmth to my soul Ser Vinalo!” She cracks an invisible smile as she continues working, just about performing the finishing touches and preparing the dishes. “Indeed, I really do wish I had a proper dining room and living space, but the establishment takes priority. For now, at least. Mayhap soon I shall renovate the floor below for a more homely usage.”

As the fish is taken off the pan and arranged on top of the cabbage leaves, she begins to set the table with spotless plates and utensils, bringing over some napkins as well. There is a happier warmer air about her than usual, perhaps this was just her way when partaking in the more domestic side of life.


“Downstairs does seem to get a bit neglected by visitors; suppose the bar's really what they come for,” they muse, walking over to the aforementioned table. “Either way, a remodel'll be something.”

Vinalo watched Luna go back to work as they hopped up on one of the chairs. Her more upbeat tone was obvious and the Lalafell swore to themself that they saw a spring in her step. A distinctly different atmosphere than usual, one that they were happy to see. Settling into their chair, they slid their gloves off and stowed them away for now.

“You know, I don't get much of a chance to ask this when the tavern's open, and hardly ever at the Grindstone or such. But… how have you been?”


There is an audible sigh of frustration at the truth of Vinalo's words. “Yes, I wished to open somewhere both to eat and drink, yet unfortunately patrons only arrive for liquor and the occasional tea. It is truly a shame.” She shakes her head for a moment, now bringing over the plates of fish, expertly arranged. She sets them down on the table gently before returning to the kitchen, collecting the various vegetables.

At their next question, she pauses in place next to the table, placing the bowl of veggies by moving her upper body. She puts a hand to her chin after, thinking. “How have I been? Let us see… I suppose much has been quiet recently. Lucatiel yet grieves over her parents but I fear she tries too much to pretend it hasn't happened. She still runs into my bedroom after a bell or so if she tries to sleep alone. Blessedly, I do not mind it so, as it allows me to keep her feeling secure overnight. Hrm…” She rubs her chin with the applied fingers, still thinking and having missed the target of Vinalo's questioning entirely, more concerned with her ward than herself.


The food being laid before them assured Vinalo that they were right to arrive with an empty stomach. The cooked fish and veggies were already making their mouth water and they had to stop and make sure they weren't actually drooling. Composing themself a bit, they took in Luna's words about Lucatiel's ongoing grief. They lowered their voice, not sure how much in earshot Lucatiel was at the moment.

“It'll be some time before she fully accepts what happened, I think. Especially since it's still not truly known who attacked the ship and where her parents ended up. It's right good you've been supporting her when she needs you, Luna,” they said, managing a small smile after the last sentence. “But… suppose I'll ask again. How've you been?”


Luna takes a seat across from Vinalo and pauses, nodding at their words. Then for a moment, she looks surprised. “Oh, you meant myself. Oh… Well…” She pauses ever-longer now, clearly unused to such a question. After a few seconds, she speaks again. “Well, I suppose I have been doing alright. This haunt that clouds my mind still persists from time to time, but I have grown much accustomed to it. Work has been… trying as ever but no more than usual. There has not been any great source of dramatics that has fallen upon my purview as of late, so for that I am blessed.”

The woman rubs her chin a bit more, thinking further. “I am healthy though I feel mine age beginning to claw at me from time to time. Or perhaps it is the wear of such an active occupation. I suppose all in all, I am faring quite well. Ah, but what of yourself Ser Vinalo?”


Vinalo already had utensils in hand as they listened to Luna speak, though mindful enough not to start eating right as the conversation started. Their smile grew as Luna actually spoke about herself.

“Ah, good to hear you're well. Sometimes hard to really tell where we usually see each other. As for me…” they started, tapping their chin with a finger not grasping a utensil. “Been quite well, I'd say. Still tending clients' plants, though that has some dry spells. Pipino and I… our book's been published and should be in some shops by now; I should have a copy myself soon!”

“And, well…” They continue, ears turning a tiiiny bit red. “Things're going really well with Misha. She's moved in with me recently, and we've been right happy together. It's really something to have someone to come home to. Someone to go home with. I got that apartment moons ago so I had a place of my own to share with others. And it has been shared. But… this is something else entirely, you know?”

The Lalafell smiles down at their plate for a moment before looking back at Luna. “And, well, aside from a rather intense healing treatment Misha and I worked together on, things really have been good!”


The woman leans back, listening and shooting a glance over at the stovetop for a moment to check on the kettle. “Ah yes, Miss Mimisha. Lucatiel has told me muchly of the two of yours pairing up to watch the Grindstone. Full glad am I to hear that things have gone so swimmingly for the both of you. Though I am quite shocked on her moving in so soon, but you are two adults.” She offers a smile just as the kettle begins to whistle. She gets up with a polite “Pardon” and goes over to it, continuing the tea preparation before bringing over two filled cups on saucers, placing one in front of Vinalo and the other herself.

She sits back down, relaxing once more, picking up a fork and knife and beginning to cut her fish.


Vinalo chuckles a bit, almost expecting that reaction. “Yes, well… we thought of that when it first came up. But like I've told a few others, it was like we've known each other for a long time, and just found each other again. It felt right, so we decided to try. So far it's gone well as we could've thought. Maybe better, even.”

They started to slice into their fish as Luna excused herself to retrieve the tea. Already chewing on a piece when she returned, Vinalo nodded as the saucers were placed on the table. They savored the flavorful salmon for a moment before swallowing and speaking again.

“This is… really good! I learned to cook something like this a couple moons ago, but it didn't come out nearly as well. Sure I'll get better at it, though.” They stabbed a veggie, but spoke again before chomping it. “Pipino was learning to cook a dish from Langston, so I felt a bit inspired to try something myself. Both of us tried the other dish when we were planning out the book. Made it a bit more fun while doing business, I reckon.”


Luna takes a polite bite, covering her mouth as ever. As she finishes, she looks over at Vinalo curiously. “As if you had known each other so long already? That is rather queer, but I suppose in this realm such a feeling is not so impossible. I suppose it stands to reason that two people might click so readily and completely. Full glad am I for the both of you indeed.” She takes a sip of her cooled tea, setting the cup back down with a gentle clink.

“I am glad you like it. When you mentioned fish, I knew I had just the right meal in mind.” She nods affirmingly and with a smile. “Well, mayhap I ought to teach you then.” A dry chuckle escapes her lips at her own half-joke. “Well, sampling each others work seems quite the smart idea. I would have quite liked that sort of encouragement when I was learning as a young girl.”


A bite of vegetables, and another slice of fish downed as they listened on. Vinalo sighed contently after finishing swallowing and followed with grin at Luna's comments. “Misha believes we've a sort of… thread, connecting us together without us knowing it until we met. Maybe we knew each other before our last stay in the Lifestream, or maybe we were supposed to meet. I'm not much a believer in fate, but it is a nice thought.”

Vinalo took a good drink of the all-too-familiar tea, pleased to have some in a more quiet setting than a busy tavern night.

“I can cook well enough to keep myself fed, and Misha's been happy to cook for both of us, now,” they said, already poking for more veggies. “Even make my own rolanberry jam sometimes. It's something I managed to learn years ago. Could even bring a jar next time, if you'd like.”


An eyebrow lofts itself high on Luna's face. “Pardon, prior knowledge from a life lived naught? If that is what the two of you believe, so be it, but it sounds quite… whimsical. I suppose that it is the appeal though, is it not?” Her words seem curious and disbelieving, but not altogether harsh. She takes some more of her own meal. Measured and cut precisely, hand in front of mouth as she eats, markings of years spent learning manners and etiquette. She might almost seem like a noble lady at times, were it not for the large muscles and scars.

She sets down the teacup once more after another gentle sip, nodding. “I would be most delighted to sample some of your home-made rolanberry jam, Ser Vinalo. Perhaps in exchange I might learn you of cooking that you may feed you and yours a step above keeping oneself fed.” There is an air of elitism and arrogance, in that sort of 'well of course I could, look at you' manner. Though it is bereft of ire or hate, instead just quirks brought on by decades among Ishgard, collected via osmosis.


“Yes, well, nothing wrong with a bit of silliness, I reckon,” They said, grinning widely. “Next time I'll make sure to bring a jar for you. And… I'll think about cooking lessons. Would be handy to have more things I know how to cook.”

Vinalo took a break from eating, letting the food settle before diving back in. They leaned back in their chair and looked around the welcoming tavern. Though they've seen it quiet, especially since they tend to be one of the last to leave, it looked a bit different midday and mostly unoccupied. They turned back to Luna with an inquisitive look.

“So. Never really had a chance to ask before, and been curious for a while. What… inspired you to turn part of your home into a tavern like this? I know it's to 'bring a bit of Ishgard' to others, but what gave you the idea in the first place?”


The woman finishes another veiled bite, setting down her utensils for a moment. “Hmmm, I am not so sure you should refer to it as 'silliness'. If it it something the two of you agree upon and it makes you both happy, there is naught silly about it.” She nods at their likely placative agreement to cooking lessons.

“Now that is quite the curiosity. It has been over a year since I began running this tavern, the original reasoning seems to have buried itself deep within myself.” She pauses to think, rubbing her chin. “Well, I suppose it is a natural extension of my domestic desire to cook. Cooking being what i am so proficient at outside of my work, it seemed like a wise decision. But more than that…” She exhales, rubbing her temples for a moment.

“When I returned from the Ghimlyt frontlines, my left arm was completely destroyed and unusable. Bones shattered almost beyond repair. I had to come to terms with the idea that I may never work as a knight again.” She flexes said arm visibly, the smallest wince detectable on her face as she does. “What is a lame knight to do, no longer able to fight? I had spent my entire life learning servitude and knighthood, that I may serve the temple and my country. I developed some odd domestic skills, but none so much as to continue working with. Fortuitously, I had picked up cooking at a young age for various reasons and had become quite adept at it. You might say the tavern was my lifeline when I was crippled.”


Vinalo sat back up to grab their cup of tea, and gave a little smile and nod at Luna's musing of 'silliness' and the probable cooking lessons. They took a small sip and continued to hold the cup as the knightess described her reasoning for opening the tavern. Their eyes widened a bit as she described the extent of her injuries and what that meant. Another sip and they placed the teacup back on its saucer.

“I think I heard you'd been at Ghimlyt before, but I never knew how badly you were injured! Right impressive that your arm healed up as well as did,” they said, nodding slowly. “I've never been on the frontlines of a battle or such, but… I've seen plenty of wounds and injuries on people who've come back from them. Weaving aether and mending wounds when there's not much left to work with is hard. Very hard. So… you must've had someone who knew what they were doing sometime during that. And I'm glad you did.”

The Lalafell idly poked another veggie and held it up for a moment before continuing. They smiled a bit.

“Suppose you could also say that the tavern was a way of giving you hope when seemed like you had no path to follow anymore.”


The woman holds up her arm still, as if examining it. “Yes, it healed surprisingly, but only after Gair and Miss Miyuki mended it. Poor Gair had to physically re-break the arm, that it might be saved as the bones had set incorrectly. Every now and again, I remember that night - languishing and shuddered away in an apartment for convalescents.” She seems almost lost in herself as she looks at the appendage that had only somewhat over a year ago been completely useless, eventually locked away in an armored sling.

After some moments, she snaps out of her trance, looking over at Vinalo again. “Indeed, that would be a very succinct manner of describing it. It has grown, naturally, into something a bit more, but at the same time it has become less what I desire. Yet it brings in coin, as Miss Pipino assures me.”


There's a visible wince on Vinalo's face as Luna describes her arm being re-broken. They put their fork down for the time being. “I've… had to do that a few times for patients. Always unpleasant, but like you said, the only way it'll heal proper.”

They were about to continue, but hesitated when they noticed her gazing at her own arm. A few moments passed and they were unsure if they should say something. Vinalo started to open their mouth right as Luna suddenly snapped out of it.

“Less? I don't want to pry too much, but… what did you hope it'd become?”


Luna nods, even now quite easily remembering the horrific pain. She shudders visibly as the memory comes and goes.

“Well, I had desired more of an eatery, somewhere for people to come for a good meal and perhaps alcohol was on the menu for those with such inclinations. However, the liquor has far over-taken the food, and I completely took off meals from the menu due to a lack of use.” She exhales, shaking her head lightly.


Vinalo picked their fork back up and chomped the vegetables, the topic shifting to something a bit less grim. They finally wiped their face with a napkin after getting the feeling that it'd probably been long enough.

“That's right unfortunate, Luna. You could surely chef a proper eatery if the meals were this good!” they said, moving to slice off another piece of salmon, as if to make the point. “You know I never come for the alcohol, but I suppose that's where people're more likely to spend their gil. The tea and good company are enough for me. And… sometimes dessert.” They grinned a bit on the last line.

Another bite of fish, and another look of tasty contentment. “If it's worth anything, I'd make sure to order some proper meals if you ever wanted to try it again. Good for both of us, I reckon.”


Another sip of tea is taken by the woman, thinking overlong on the restaurant she had envisioned compared to the bar that now resided in her home. “There is no question of my abilities in regards to it. Merely patronage. As you say, bars and these clubs filled with sin and lechery seem to be all that man desires.” She shakes her head and sighs. “Aye, you are one of the few who visit regularly for such nobler desires. If only we had more patrons such as yourself. Perhaps if one day I make another go of it.”

She smiles at Vinalo for a moment. “But you come here not to listen to my dejected rants and forsaken wishes. I would not bring such gloom to our meal.” She takes another sip of her own tea for a moment.


“Right, right. Of course!” Vinalo said, waving a hand and smiling. “A friendly meal between friends who've finally gotten the chance to sit down and chat. Thinking about it… so much has happened since you first offered to 'pay' me with a meal. Can't imagine what this'd be like if I accepted right away.”

The Lalafell took a sip of their tea and looked around the room once again, their gold-amber eyes taking in the familiar surroundings. A brief hum.

“Suppose we'd be sitting downstairs, since that was before you remodeled the tavern. Before I even came here for the first time, I think. Barely even knew Gair, A'erina, or even Lucatiel,” they mused. “What a difference eight or so moons make.”


Luna herself looks around, considering Vinalo's thought. “Not necessarily. This floor was accommodated with couches and tables, for those guests that did actually desire a meal. In a sense, it would have been more comfortable, surely. I suppose… Goodness, I was not even Lucatiel's guardian at the time. I do not believe I even knew her yet, or if I did it was not to the extent i do now.”

She can not help but give a small dry laugh. “How strange to consider those you did not even know at the time. They were somewhat different sorts back then. Gair was grappling with some… internal struggles, to put it politely. As for Miss A'erina… She was…” Her mind goes to the request she put in for information about Eluric, and the poor woman's reaction. “She was wrought with grief at news I delivered to her. She has come far since then.”

She sips her tea idly as her thoughts bring her back so far, remembering how she was that many months ago. “It is quite humorous how much we have all changed, is it not?”


“Oh, I remember the lounge up here. Was how it was when Pipino first invited me to visit. You're right that it might've been a bit more cozy, I suppose,” they said, gesturing to the general direction of the kitchen. “Even remember a rather small table over there, against the wall. The small seats made me think it was made for us Lalafell at first!”

Vinalo let out a small chuckle at their own size joke as they started to slice off some more salmon. They pondered Luna's words while savoring the bite of delicious fish.

“We have all changed a bit; grown too, I reckon. Was only back then that I really figured out a real goal for myself, you know?” they said, tilting their head to the side a bit and sighing. “Been healing in some way for over ten years now, and known it's my calling all that time. But it was only in the last Second Astral Moon or so that it truly came together for me.”

The red-haired healer gave the knightess a warm and genuine smile, putting down their utensils and placed a hand on their own chest. “Pipino's heard this, and Misha has, too. But I've known for a long time that my road is one walked with others, and… I decided that part of that is being a sort of… shining light in the dark. Someone that would always be there to give hope whenever needed, however needed.”

Vinalo held the pose for a moment before chuckling a bit. “I know it might sound a bit silly, saying it all like that, but… it's what I believe.”


A gaze is cast towards the indicated area, as if looking at the table mentioned. “Is that so? No, that was never my intention, but I suppose I could see why one might think that.”

She looks back at Vinalo as they continue to speak. “Ten years? Goodness. Ten years adrift without a goal overhead? How did you maintain your motivations?” At the mention of being a light in the dark, she nods and smiles. “That is quite the virtuous desire, Ser Vinalo. One that is needed in this realm more and more it would seem.” She idly takes another cut of fish to eat, thinking.


“It's not that I didn't have any motivations, of course. Just that… it was more general? I saw people. I healed and helped people. It was fulfilling, meaningful. And it still is,” Vinalo responded before taking another sip of tea. They held the cup as they thought for a moment, eyes wandering just a bit before looking back at the woman. “Giving people hope, Luna. Seeing their faces after I've mended a bone, or wove direly wounded flesh back together, or… gave someone their vision back. Them knowing that not everything is lost now. That's how I've always known that this is what I should be doing, and it's always given me strength.”

The healer took another sip, getting fairly close to the bottom of the cup.

“Guess it's less finally having a goal more like… like putting an real idea to the motivations I've always had,” they continued, keeping that smile on their face. “And… well, suppose that's how it worked out.”


After finishing her mouthful, she nods in agreement. “Very well put. Even without such a fine focus, you were still doing good in the realm. Were my hands made for such work rather than violence, I would have followed a similar path I would like to think.” She finishes her tea before speaking again. “You are already cultivating a student in your ways, as we both know. I believe your ambitions and desires are influencing hers to some small extent as well. Between the two of you, I would wager that a considerable amount of hope may yet be restored to those in need.”

She takes the last bite of her salmon, now working on some vegetables idly.


Vinalo chuckled a bit before responding. “Really? She been talking more about what she wants to do? I did have to push her to talk about motivations and such, before. And how… prepared she was for all this.” They chomped down the last of their fish, taking time to also skewer some vegetables at the same time. Washing it down with the last of their tea, they continued. “I needed to find out if she knew the kind of road she was starting down, and the sorts of things she'd be seeing. Reckon I don't need to tell you that this isn't an easy path she's decided on.”

A few more veggies eaten, and Vinalo leans back in their chair.

“Never thought I'd be teaching anyone like this, though. And I'll admit I've had to be a bit creative, since I only know the very basics of arcanistry,” they said, grinning. “Lucatiel's been a good student, though, well… excitable and unfocused. But she really is stronger than everyone thinks, I can tell.”


The woman nods. “Indeed. She speaks much about how she wishes to heal people around the world, taking care of the injured and sick. To be fair to the girl, she would speak of such things before being placed into your tutelage, however I feel her resolve is magnified now thanks to your guiding hand. She is certainly apprehensive towards the more dangerous points involved, but anytime I have ever asked if she was willing to undergo such trials, she was very quick to the affirmative.”

She pauses, thinking on Vinalo's words. “I am a bit surprised myself how well she is doing, learning from you. There is no doubt in my mind of the efficacy of your teachings for her, rather… I have concerns towards her ability to absorb education. And yet, these fears are allayed. You are quite the formidable teacher, Professor.” She gives Vinalo a dry smile.


“Professor? I've just… prepared a few things, and then did what I felt would work. Though… I suppose I can't ignore it if people keep saying I'm good at it, can I?” Vinalo muses as they fiddled with their fork. “But, thank you all the same, Luna. I'll just keep doing my best for Lucatiel.”

The Lalafell sighs and glances across the room to the staircase leading up. A thoughtful expression crosses their face for a moment before being replaced with a smile.

“Luna. I think your hands are good at more than violence. I've seen how you've cared for Lucatiel, especially when she's needed it the most. Like… when she was so distraught after her parents were lost, you were right there, trying your best to keep her safe and calm in your arms,” Vinalo said calmly before turning back to her. “I don't think she'd be taking to my lessons well if she didn't have the support here, too. So… no need to sell yourself short, okay?”


Luna leans back in her seat, nodding. “Do not take my words for self-pity, Ser Vinalo. I know what i am best capable - what I worked for during the last 2 decades of my life. All this 'mothering' business is incredibly new to me, and I am trying as hard as I may for the girl's sake. I do appreciate your kind words all the same, but you need not rub the salve on my own self-inflicted wounds, they keep me weighed down to this plane.” There is almost a dry chuckle from her at her own words.

“So, 'Professor', what are your lesson plans for her next class? Surely it is time to take a more direct approach to her teaching?”


“Well, just wanted to make sure you knew. Sometimes easy to lose perspective and such on how much little things matter,” they said with a calm smile and nod of acknowledgement.

Vinalo sat back up and took the last bite of vegetables. Masticating and ruminating, their face was full of thoughtfulness on Luna's question. They finally swallowed, but still seemed to be thinking.

“Ah, right. The next lesson. That's something I've been thinking about and at a bit of a loss. The, uhm, tricky thing about practicing actual healing is that someone has to need healing first. It's why the Stillglade Fane takes in those with minor wounds, or sends out new conjurers to the ailing; it's good practice.” They drumed their fingers on the table for a moment and sighed. “Lucatiel was worried when I gave myself a tiny cut on my finger for her to sense, and the only other injury was when she hit herself with a weak spell. And I'm surely not going to press her into a dangerous situation just for practice. I try very hard to stay out of dangerous situations, after all.”


The woman nods with a smile. “I do appreciate the sentiment, Ser Vinalo. Thank you.” Her own plate now cleared, she pushes it slightly to the side before leaning back once more and thinking. “It is rare that the chirurgeons allow me to return homeward with untreated injury. Elsewise I would allow her to tend to my wounds.”

She leans forward for a moment. “I have considered taking her on a proper field exercise, to be honest. Hunt some animals that need culling, see if she can handle a relatively low risk situation. Sure to be some minor injury for her to heal, as well as see how she acts when there are stakes.” She exhales, clearly a bit apprehensive of what she says next. “In addition, such a commotion would be liable to draw out a bandit or highwayman. With myself in tow, such a danger would be minimal but it may be the escalation she needs to see. I do not enjoy the thought of putting her life at risk, but she will not learn much more with such safe lessons, I fear.”


Vinalo blinked a few times as they took in Luna's suggestion. There was a long pause as they looked away, a feeling of conflict obvious on their face. They turned back to Luna and sighed again.

“A real field exercise? That sounds reasonable and such, and probably safe enough. But… it still worries me. Not much the wildlife, of course. Dealing with some unruly efts or puks'll be right simple compared to anything you've dealt with.” They sit up straight, still looking at the woman, their expression becoming more serious. “An actual attack by some bandit could turn bad real fast. I don't doubt your skill at all, Luna, I really don't. And it's unlikely some thief out in the wild would actually be a highly-trained thaumaturge or somesuch, but…”

The Lalafell leaned back and tilted their gaze up at the ceiling. “If you really think this'll help, and Lucatiel agrees to it, then I reckon it might be the right next step. But…” Vinalo returned their gaze to Luna. “If you do this, I'm coming along. She's my student, and she'll need some guidance no matter what happens. And, well, three of us'll lower the chance of anything serious happening.”


Luna sighs, clearly conflicted herself. “I am quite aware. I do not desire to put her into a dangerous situation, even if I could control it so readily. But the investigation into her parent's ship draws near, and I am no fool. Once we have ascertained what occurred, she will desire to aid us as we visit justice upon those who attacked. She needs to have real experience.”

She nods to Vinalo. “It was never a thought in mine head that you would be left out. I may be the aegis to keep her safe in such a lesson, but I am no teacher. She needs her professor just as much. Mayhap we will find luck and no wicked men shall show themselves on such a day. But we shall be prepared if they do.” She leans back, rubbing her temples as she often does when frustrated.


“Right. The investigation,” Vinalo said, nodding. “Then she really does need some kind of experience if she'd be determined to come along later on. And you know I very much try to avoid fighting, or hurting people, but… well, you've seen that I can if I have to.”

They again gazed up at the ceiling, seeming to join Luna in a moment of frustration. “We'll just have to do our best for what comes at us. Keep her safe, and hopefully prepare her a bit more for the path she wants to take. Just contact me when you and Lucatiel are ready for exercise, and I'll make sure to be prepared.” Vinalo looked back and smiled. “And I'll stay optimistic that luck'll be on our side for this, one way or another.”


She nods once more. “I harbor only minor fears that she may become injured. Between the two of us, she shall be just fine. I believe I shall contact you shortly then, to begin this field exercise.” She leans forward once more, coming to a stand and beginning to clean up the plates and cups now emptied. “I do hope you have enjoyed your meal, Ser Vinalo. It is but a small token of appreciation for your assistance so long ago, and in fact ever since. I could not have imagined what would result from our meeting - that you would be teaching my…. Lucatiel.” She pauses after catching herself, clearing her throat. “That you would be teaching Lucatiel… Much less that I would be caring for her. Life is strange, indeed.”


Vinalo found themself giggling a bit at Luna's 'slip.' They gave her a warm smile as they hopped down from the seat. “The food was wonderful, Luna. Like I said, if you ever try a full meal service again, I'll be sure to be there!”

The Lalafell stretched their arms a bit, lingering by the table as Luna gathered up the dishes.

“It is. I've really learned that our paths'll take unexpected turns without us even realizing it did.” They said, letting out a tiny chuckle. “Mine's lead me to tutoring Lucatiel, something I'll keep doing my best at, and making sure she can live up to her dreams best she can.”


The woman smiles from behind the counter. “Full glad am I to hear that, Ser Vinalo! I will keep your words in mind should I ever convert mine tavern into such an establishment.”

She begins cleaning the dishes before looking back at the Lalafell. “May the Twelve bless you for your work. I am sure she appreciates it more than she says. Although… knowing her, she has expressed such a sentiment muchly. I do appreciate your coming, Ser Vinalo, and I wish you well until our next feast.”


“Thanks much for having me over, Luna. We'll not wait six moons for the next one!” Vinalo said, chuckling. “So, you take care of yourself until then. Be well!”

They walked their way over to the door, but stopped short. They glanced at the stairs for a moment before turning back to Luna.

“Oh, make sure to give Lucatiel some well-wishings from me. Maybe all three of us could sit down for a nice meal sometime.” Vinalo then gave their usual friendly wave and smile, and opened the door to head out into the sea breeze of Mist.


There is a dry chuckle from the woman mid-rinse. “Indeed, half a year is far too long.”

She turns fully to Vinalo at their next words, smiling. “I will do just that. Perhaps if our field exercise goes well, we shall celebrate thusly.”


Giving one final enthusiastic nod to Luna, Vinalo walked out, closing the door behind them. They headed down the stairs to the lower level and gazed out to sea, the scattered ships in the distance reminding them of the trials ahead. A minute or so passed before the healer stepped away from the guardrail, smiling to themself.

“Reckon I should get prepared for next time.”

A brief moment of focus and thoughts of home, and the Lalafell vanished in a flash of light.

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