" Yes, it's actually a simple little luck thing common in these areas: when someone is to go on a journey, you spill some water after them, so they will return safely. My stepfather used to do it often, when I would leave with the army. " Conrad smiled faintly and little wistfully.
" It's actually a custom that was developed from superstitions around White's waters, as far as I know. " Melody educated them playfully. " Since it was so wholesome and magical, people believed it's soothing protective properties also worked as lucky charms. Some wore it in a pendant, some drank bits of it after prayers, and some started taking bits of it and spilling it when a person from household goes to journey, so blessing of a God may follow them... With time, as it was rather a waste to use water in such manner and priests would not allow its needless waste, customs slowly transformed, and afterwards, common water started to be used more and more... Once, a little prayer was said beforehand, and people would call upon White's name, or bid priests to say their prayers, and so on... But tradition deteriorated over time, until it came as it is today, very simple, its origin long forgotten - people take glass of water, and as beloved person leaves, they spill it after them, in hopes it would protect their life in the dangerous travels... just like White's water protects their soul. "
(OOC: Emitting White from the story, of course, it's actually a custom here to fill a glass and spill water after them as someone leaves for important travel/meeting/event, we got that from time under Ottoman empire, I believe :)
"I see, I didn't know about that custom," Svarik said. "I'll see you there, then." He then left to take leave of Lipka in private.
(OOC: Interesting, I didn't know that)
Xia followed him in step, as always, not willing to part with him easily.
When he hot back outside, he sow his friends all ready to see him off - there was Erdel there, who was all ready with bag with Sunshine and Yiska at his shoulder; there were Melody, Mole, Conrad, Ciel, Nameless, Baldir, Owl, Captain of his guard Hall Merit... They all came to bid him good luck on his trip.
( OOC: I assumed you didn't know when Svarik responded with curiosity - so I was glad I could share a fun fact ;)
It actually has a short wikipedia page:
Svarik took the animals from Erdel, and then waved to the others. "See you in a week," he said. "It won't be that long..."
" Sure it won't. " Falcon grinned at him. " As long as you promise not to overdo with the merriment and wine, it will be alright. " By the way - Liron apologized for not being able to make it today, but he did build up two days of invisibility spell in your ring, and told you to carry it if you are in need, so you wouldn't spend your own magic on it. Zephir, when he heard of your trip, also made you couple protective runes and told me you should keep them in your pocket. " man said, and as a parting grace, he pinched his cheek like he was a kid jokily, and made sure king does as instructed.
"I think I'm as safe now as I could possibly be," Svarik shook his head. He nodded slightly to Conrad in a silent goodbye just for him, then waved to the others again and got on Xia's back. "Let's fly," he told her, pointing up, when he made sure that Erdel is ready to follow.
Xia was apparently excited, and curious, as never before they were flying with so many things, and it felt important since so many people bid goodbye to them. She seemed even more excited when Erdel followed up right behind them - vampire was, true, clumsily, but jumping through the layers and appearing there and back again, fast skipping through fabric of time and space giving him acceleration to jump very high and go much faster than before. Vampire was apparently nervous about presenting himself best on such responsible mission of protecting king all on his own, but while more less successfully jumping between layers he seemed a little timidly charmed and even a little pleased with himself, as if glad he started to get hold of his new abilities.
" A bit hard to. Say much. " creature said between two quick jumps, blushing as he was searing a little more to the left by accident when he made last jump and it made him look a little unprofessional and silly. " But I technically can, sire. " he explained as he steadied himself better again.
(OOC: trying to post through email now, let's see if something doubles...)
"If it's hard, then we can speak when we are on the ground. Let's just fly now until it's time for lunch..." Svarik said. "Then we can look for some nice place to have a break and teach Xia some words..."
" That would be nice. " vampire agreed shyly, and Xia woofed to make him feel more comfortable, which he definitely welcomed, his face spreading in a little soft smile for a short moment between jumps.
Outside of White's warm influence, the land was colder, but, purified from the darkness, everything was fresher and more pleasant, and seemed more bright and new. Both vampire and demon fox never went this far away from city, apparently, and while Xia was downright fascinated, Erdel didn't seem much short from that either, travelling like this indeed being a whole new level of experiencing the world.
Around lunchtime, Svarik started to look for a secluded place where they could land and sit down comfortably. They flew for a while longer before he pointed to a little grove of birch trees and led Xia to land there.
Animal landed there, making sure Svarik and animals did not shake, her descent smooth and skilled.
Erdel, on other hand, was not born into such high speed, and still wasn't used to it. He needed a little moment to slow himself down, mostly by digging his fingers into the ground as he landed - but it still didn't help him not to end up tousling around a little in the end and creating a bit of a mess along line of ten meters or so of mud. He came back right away to king's side, though, much steadier when on land with both feet, embarrassed while he was cleaning his hands with a tunic shyly.
" Not you, sire. I am one that landed too fast... " Vampire stuttered with some embarrassment - maybe more sensitive to following his instincts since he became demon, in reflex hiding dirty hands behind his back like a child. " It's a bit hard to steer like this... It's just when I go so fast, stopping suddenly is much like.. " his voice wavered a little and he bend his head in apology. " Like stopping a horse suddenly in a gallop. But I promise I will practice, sir, and it will be better next time. That is why I am relieved you agreed to carry Yiska and Sunshine. So they wouldn't fall when I turn poorly or have to stop on cue... "
"I will remember to give you a warning ahead when stopping next time," Svarik said, and let the animals out of the bag so they could move freely after the flight. He put Yiska on a leash though, not wanting her to run away somewhere where they didn't know the surroundings well.
Sunshine was curious about everything, with both Erdel and Svarik with her, having no fear of new place, and leaving marks of her paws all over it. Yiska was an animal more used to warm climate, though, and wet ground and colder air did not seem to please her as much - and instead of wondering around, once Erdel sat down shyly at a side, she hid underneath his long black cloak, as it seemed it had warmth that attracted her.
As for Xia, she, more intelligent, seemed to be wondering why they flew so far to stop right there. She did not dare step more than few steps away from her companions, but she was looking around tree holes and turning stones, as if trying to figure out if there is some game they are playing and if she's suppossed to find some clues about it in fields around them.
"We just stopped for lunch," Svarik explained her, making a gesture of eating. He then took out some of the supplies from the bags they brought - the remnants of the pie and some more perishable food that should be eaten first, and also food and water for the animals. "Will you join us this time?" he asked Erdel.
Erdel measured the food in king's hands a little longingly, before he shook his head slowly.
" Only if you desire it enough to order me to do so, my king. " he whispered more quietly. " Please, do not take offend - I enjoy your company and generosity. But it's wasteful for me to eat your supplies when I don't have to, and even more so - I do not want to eat anymore. I have been blessed to experience taste again, but others have not been and still have only taste fr blood. I feel it would be wrong for me to take advantage of it and enjoy myself where they can not, if you understand. "
"I enjoy myself just by being in your company, sire. " vampire said tamely, glad for not being made to do it. He did not eat, but he sat down closer to Svarik, and while Xia shared meal with king gladly and contentedly, he took Yiska in his hands and caressed her gently to soothe her.
They were much further south, and scent in air was a little colder and fresher. They were still not quite at the sea yet, and to reach it, they would have to travel for around five more hours.
" Will we try to reach the sea today? Or are we going to stay in area of these meadows for now? " Erdel asked timidly as he observed map with interest. " If we stay, there seem to be two hosts Falcon marked where we can stay at tonight - and he as well marked two sightseeing places to see that aren't quite far. There is also one place White marked.... But that one is around 3 hours flight east. What should we do, sir? "
" I agree. It would be nice not to rush. From what I have been thought about map reading... " vampire stroked his chin as he observed map in more detail. " Nearest one, this one, should be on wavy terrain beside river, and is an hour of flight away. Second one, here, is an hour and half away, and should be a little hill or something similar. Last one, farthest one, is one White marked that is three hours away, and it's a little unclear by map, it seemed like some uneven forest mixed with lot of streams. Which from those three places we shall visit, sire? "
" I would really like to check out White's place, like you suggested... But I certainly don't mind if that's not only thing we see. Let's go to the closest place first, then. " Vampire admitted and agreed timidly. They got ready again, and calmed little animals tenderly, before they took off and went further once more.