“I usually do,” Nashtra explained. “In this part of Summerlay, I am usually acting as a guide for someone or other. It helps to know that I will always have a place for us to stay.”
“Oh,” Cerys said.
“It sounds like you do a lot of traveling,” Himeko noted.
Nashtra nodded. “I am not known in the forest as a traveler simply for having visited the neighboring lands. I have been to many different parts of the kingdom.” Cerys set her pack down heavily on one of the beds, sighing in relief to have the weight off of her back. “We can leave our bags here now, right?”
Peter wasted no time in following suit. He pulled Bayani with him, claiming the bed that was closest to the wall, and dropping his bag down onto it, followed by his own body.
“Don’t get too comfortable,” Nashtra told him. “We should get down to the tavern before all of the tables are taken. Once we have eaten, we can come back up for a change of clothes and then head to the bathhouses.”
Peter groaned. “Did you hear that, Bayani,” he told his boyfriend, “he just said that you need a bath!”
The other boy gave him a sort of half-smile, knowing that he was teasing. “Speak for yourself.”
Nashtra set his bag on the couch, waited for Himeko to put hers done, and then led them back out of the room. He locked the door behind him and threaded the key onto a ribbon around his neck. Then he let everyone down stairs.
The dining area was already packed with people. Their elvan guide was able to claim a table in the far corner of the tavern, though it had been meant for four, and they had to squeeze together in order to fit all five of them in. The girls sat on either side of Nashtra, and the boys had their own side of the booth. It took awhile for a barmaid to come by and ask them what they wanted to drink, so they settled themselves into the idea that the service will not be terribly good evening.
The tavern did not keep menus. It turned out that the cook only planned one thing for each meal, but made plenty of it. Dinner that night was stew. It wasn’t made with the typical pieces of meat, but with whatever the local fishermen had been able to harvest from the river. It was an interesting sort of freshwater seafood do. Himeko noticed that there were two different types of fish in it, plus something similar to crayfish, and some sort of small shelled picture, like half-sized mussels. Peter seems quite pleased with the meal.