Belvanaj looked that way, now with disappointment. "Yes, you are right. I was hoping to still spot food vendors, so that we could add to what we bring. Over there at the other end, see, is the station. I have called for tickets for us to be reserved, we will just go there and pick them up, and we will be ready to board a wagon early enough.
Belvanaj still went on not slowing down. He wished though that they could have already been going before it was darkening as it already was. He never cared for being in the town at night, where those with a different lifestyle made their presence, that he did not want involvement with. At least they were coming close to this station, and once boarded they could be comfortable, and get good rest before they got busy checking what would be likely caves according to clues they brought.
"Hello!" he said at the station window. "I am here for two tickets reserved for Belvanaj."
"Yes. They are reserved for you. That will be two megamite coins each."
With a curt nod, Elloria followed Belvanaj quietly to the station. If she had judged her time correctly, they still had a fair bit to wait until the train would board; now she wished that she had packed a deck of playing cards, or something to that effect. Even though they had put some distance between the school and themselves, and she couldn't see any other students, she was still hesitant to start discussing their plans out in the open- but perhaps this would at least be an opportunity for the pair to get to know each other.
At the window, she remained quiet, only digging into her bag to pull the two coins from her wallet and place her share on the counter. With the money they had, two coins was practically chump change- but too many such purchases and they would be broke before they realized. On the other hand, though, aside from whatever they bought on the other side of their train ride, they wouldn't have any further expenses for a while... Perhaps she was worrying for nothing.
With her coins exchanged for a ticket, Elloria sat on a nearby bench and, once Belvanaj joined her, spoke. "It's a shame that we were unable to become more well acquainted before now, but perhaps we can make up for that a touch now, while we wait for the train. So... as a start, I suppose, were you a general student or did you have an area of focus?"
It pleased Belvanaj, to his own surprise, that Elloria took some interest in his own life. He recognized though that there was not much they would be doing otherwise until they boarded the wagon.
"I started at this institution as general as any who were there for learning heroic use of devices for rescuing the world from what is known to be coming. I focused then on the sorts of rock and the formations with it that has caves and caverns formed from it, and the places in the world where there are those rock formations. I was sure this knowledge I was then focusing on would really help in finding caves and caverns more likely to be where we could locate any one of those devices with the power to deal with what is coming. While my family knew there was the institution with those there learning how they might find any of the devices which many know would be needed, they let me know it was really a great longshot for me to think I would possibly be one who would find one. So I really studied to have a better chance and maybe show them."
Belvanaj watched in the distance, and finally saw with hope in the dim distance the long line of wagons coming.
Elloria nodded along as Belvanaj spoke. As he finished, the lights of the train could be seen in the distance; but they still had a good way to go before they would arrive at the station, meaning that Elloria and Belvanaj still had a few minutes to talk until they arrived.
"They're probably not worth spiting," Elloria mentioned as she watched the lights flicker in the distance. "I think you ought to forget about them. Entirely. When we come back victorious and they try to eat their words... Well, it wouldn't mean a thing from a stranger, aye? So why give your kin such power? But I would imagine that your kin are not worth the effort of spiting." Elloria spoke in an unaffected manner, as though she were discussing a topic that they had studied in school.
Perhaps her bitterness at her own family was, in part, behind the unsolicited advice. But perhaps if she had received the same advice when she had parted ways with her own kin, that bitterness would have left her earlier. And perhaps she was no longer bitter, just as she was no longer hurt by what had transpired; perhaps this was just the wisdom of having spent too much of her own energy to show her family what she thought was the error of their ways that was speaking.
Belvanaj watched in silence for a while seeing the line of wagons gradually approach the station where they were, waiting, not far from where a few others waited. At least those others were not young people or anyone he recognized, so Elloria and Belvanaj were the only ones here from the Academy of Learning Heroic Use of Devises.
He said finally, "It served its purpose for family I grew up with to be critical of this, I would not have been so competitive without it. But certainly, it is right for me to put them behind me now. I have basis in myself to know things that I am really capable of. With this, I can go, along with you, knowing there are great plans already set for helping us do what things we go for doing."
There was the relief he felt as the wagons in the front of the line now neared them where they waited in front of the station, with the few others there seated nearby.
Despite Elloria's attempt at making conversation, they waited for the wagons to finish their approach in relative silence. For a while, Elloria considered asking some other sort of question, but she wasn't quite sure what topics would lead to more discussion; and once it was clear that Belvanaj didn't care to ask her the same that she had asked him, she felt as though he would perhaps prefer that they keep their relationship strictly professional.
Not like we won't end up getting to know each other eventually, she considered. In the days ahead, there would be plenty of time to observe each other and make inferences from that; even long silences could tell you something about a person.
Once the train had finally drawn near enough for Elloria to consider standing again, Belvanaj finally resumed his thought. Elloria blinked at him, unsure what to say in response. "So long as you are content," she said, after a moment. She couldn't deny her curiosity about why his family felt so negatively about his life's work- but she also recognized that it would be prying to ask. Some other time, perhaps I'll find out she told herself, while standing. And with a quick stretch, she grabbed her bag, made sure she had her ticket in hand, and turned once more to him. The train was just docking, but she was eager to board it. "Shall we?"
Belvanaj went with Elloria to the uniformed man who must be conductor for the wagons lined up in sequence. Each was a solid structure of a covered wagon, with small curtained windows, two each on the sides of the wagon on view from their side, with an entrance door in between. A couple of huge beasts he did not recognize, with a hump on the back of each, were harnessed to be driven by the driver of the wagon.
The uniformed man who checked the tickets, and tore a perforated piece off from each, pointed the two of them to one nearby wagon. "3H, right over there. It is all yours for the ride tonight, to Elsefort."
Belvanaj went on toward that wagon, with Elloria accompanying him, marveling for just a moment at the great beasts harnessed to lead it, and then opened the door to the carriage, and saw with surprise the cushiony comfort within that was beyond the comforts of any room he had seen. There was a lamp within lighting the interior, very comfortable looking beds on either side of the door, with huge cushions along the front side and the back side that would enable them to sit and talk with each other before they would choose to lie down and sleep.
Without a word, the pair boarded the wagon. The beasts that drew the train caught Elloria's eyes- had she not heard of a creature that sounded like what was in front of them in her studies?- but, failing to recognize them, she simply passed on by. Maybe she could offer them a pet on the other side of the journey.
The inside of the wagon, while simple in actual furniture, was still a marvel to behold. "Oh..." The woman couldn't help her sigh when she saw what she assumed must have been the height of luxury. After a moment, she stepped forward and deposited her bag behind one of the two beds, and cautiously looked at the bed itself before slowly sitting on the edge of it. "All this for just two coins each? Quite a deal you found for us," she complimented, stroking a hand over the blanket she sat on. Just sitting and talking on the beds would be plenty of rest, let alone actually sleeping on them.
Once the door had been shut and Belvanaj had settled in at least as much as she had, Elloria spoke again. "As far as I could see, you were right, in that we're the only party with our particular quest setting out on this wagon. With that, and the privacy from the other groups it offers us, I think we ought to talk some strategy before we sleep, and have a plan set in place for tomorrow. I believe you mentioned that there would be a market we could shop at in the morning; aside from food, what do you expect we shall need? Perhaps a mattock, since we'll be going into caves?"
Belvanaj adjusted his weight on the other bed across from that one Elloria chose, and looked at her now that he was facing her. In this light he noticed more her attractive features that it complimented. He adjusted the cushion behind him for satisfactory support, and considered what Elloria said to him. He wondered though why a couple of megamite coins seemed slight to her, when ten megamite coins was a good days wage for many people.
He answered, "The village of Elsefort is right by known caves, there are sure to be places there where we can buy items we need. I really did think we could catch markets that were open here in town before they would close, that we could buy more food to bring. We will need to find where we can get desirable food we can take, there. A mattock could be good for our exploration, if it is with a pick. We should get good tough clothing, and gloves and boots, and I think helmets too. We should be sure to get ropes and rope ladders, and harnesses for climbing. We could get a hammer and bolts for hangers and what we need for drilling too. And maybe we might want whistles to bring with us. Is there anything more you can think of?"
As Belvanaj got more settled, Elloria began to scoot back and allow the bed to support her more fully. The comfort was immediately restorative; and while in the morning she would be reluctant to let the bed go, she would certainly be ready for the subsequent days of dealing with caves. Whatever expressions Belvanaj might have made in response to her earlier comment went unseen as she marveled at the spread.
When he began to speak, though, Elloria focused again on her companion. She nodded along as his list grew longer and longer, but her brows began to furrow towards the end of his list. "I am concerned that if we bring all of that, along with what we have already packed, we may be weighted down and tired by our supplies. I do not wish to slow us down. Is our clue to the artifact any more specific than just this cave system? While all you propose to bring is smart equipment, if there was anything that we could pare down, that might be beneficial in its own right."
In part, she was also concerned about bringing a drill; the woman herself did not know enough about excavating caves herself to feel comfortable risking destroying any structure with such equipment, but assumed that Belvanaj would have that knowledge with his focus of save systems.