Dot waves to Thomas as she puts the rolls down near the fire pit and starts preparing tea for everyone. The brown leaves give off a sweet, earthy scent.
“Grandma Margie, how did you know that tea is exactly what I need right now?” She pauses for a moment. “I hate to ask, but have any Journeyers from Ersol headed west over the grasslands lately? We found a backpack, but no owner…”
Thomas raises a hand with a smile as he enters the main room.
Thomas raises a bald eyebrow. “Grandma? I didn’t know Ernes and Hort had kids yet?” He looks incredulously at Margie with a smile.
“Hush!” Grandma Margie tuts before turning back to Dot, “Oh, I think the last time someone left towards Ersol was … oh, must be over a decade now–”
“Kenny and Firn.” Thomas cuts in, to nobody in particular as he sneaks a cup of tea from Dot.
“…Four years.” Grandma Margie humphs to herself before smiling at Dot once more, “People tend to visit Burr enough without going on a Journey, but they usually take the southern route to get to the road. It takes longer, but it’s safer.”
“It was a little dicey on the way over, I knew there were slimes about but I was expecting something more like the little ones you find squirming around ponds. I was certainly surprised by how big a group of them we encountered”
“And I had a belly bug too! It’s like we were jinxed!”
Dot refills Thomas’s tea cup for the second time. “If your Journeyers were last in the grasslands…” she glances at Grandma Margie “…four years ago, I wonder if the place was just as slimy then like it is now? Are Kenny and Firn back home yet? I’d maybe like to go visit them tomorrow morning.”
[Dot is contributing her two rations towards the party’s evening meal. She sat them too close to the fire, so now they’re squashed and toasted.]
“So Grandma Margie, I’m sure you know how this works, Travelers stroll into town and fix all of your problems before saying their goodbyes with smiles on their faces and food in their bellies,” Shiro sets down his teacup, a youthful grin on his face, “what can we do to help Burr?”