For two weeks aboard the Endeavour, Ris spent four hours a day, every day without fail, practicing with his sword and shield. Above deck or below. Rain, blazing sun, heaving waves, ferocious winds--it didn't matter.
He felt for the first time in his short, uneventful life, that he was finally part of something big. Something important. He had to prepare. He had be ready for whatever lay ahead. Liothryth was counting on him, and Ris would not let her down.
During their travels, the hedge-knight slowly came to know something of his companions.
Ris did not trust Sonata. She in turn did not seem overly fond of Ris. He wondered what had brought the woman to "thievery." She must have had a difficult upbringing, he assumed. Why else would someone turn to stealing? For her part, Sonata sometimes smiled at Ris, but more often scowled in his direction. She reminded him somewhat of his middle sister, and just like Colette, Sonata was able to see right through the young Ris. This made him nervous.
As for Kelad, first impressions back at the Peacock proved accurate. An insufferable, pompous lout of a man, Ris kept his distance. On the second day of their sea voyage, two of the sailors nearly yanked Kelad overboard over some dispute (and his obnoxious mouth). The hedge-knight came to the rescue with some quick, amateurish diplomacy at the last moment. As thanks, Kelad simply snorted in Ris' direction and stormed off cursing.
Crysilda was the simplest to understand. She was what she was. Or was she? Liothryth seemed to believe (and hint at) that there was something special about the barmaid caught up in the adventure of her life time. She was so eager, and he could not blame her. Truth be told he was eager as well. Over-eager even.
He got along well enough with Crysilda, she was easy to get along with after all, a little shy, but again, so was Ris.
He approached Liothryth who was staring out toward the coming coast with a longing in her eyes. He wondered what it must be like for her now. She was returning home to Tirnasol, after hundreds of years! He could not even begin to understand what she could be thinking...feeling.
"Tell me, M'lady" he said softly behind her. "What is Turnisol...like?" He felt stupid for not thinking of a better word. "Uh--I mean what can we expect to see there, to find? How far is it to the Grove of Memories? Can you tell me more of your homeland?"
Shut up Ris, too many questions!