The girl was now calling him as the water had finished boiling. He carried what he needed as he went down the stairs and around to the back of the gants.
There was a bathing area near the well that was covered in pebbles. Further back there was a large barrel that was full to the brim with steaming hot water.
Well, that was surprising. You could immerse yourself and bathe here.
Bard was incredibly grateful.
He leaned his sword against a short fence to the side and then took off his clothes.
The girl handed him a pail and told him to use it.
He scooped up the water with the pail and poured it over his head.
His hair, beard, and body felt the wonderful sensation of running hot water.
He scrubbed his body as he poured another scoop over himself.
After that, he sank his whole body into the warm water.
Much of the hot water had poured out to make room for his large frame.
That is one big, old man. She seemed to say as she looked at him with wide eyes.
His feet, lower back, spine, and shoulders all seemed to crackle as they loosened in the warmth.
One could say that enduring pain and hardships was the foundation of being a knight, but he had now traveled and slept in the wilderness for a whole month. And it had taken a toll on his body.
The pain that he had suppressed, ignored and forgotten was reviving inside of him.
However, this at least meant he was alive.
Bard enjoyed the joy of healing his weariness in the hot water even as he grimaced at the pain that would surface.
Does it hurt? The girl asks him.
There were many cuts all over his body.
She was worried that the water would soak into his skin and sting.
Bard smiled kindly.
These are all old wounds, they cannot hurt me now.
It is just that the water is so comforting, that my body is surprised by it.
There was a sponge made of dried porpos seed nearby, and he used it to scrub his skin.
The water slowly became murkier.
He felt a little apologetic at the idea that someone would later have to clean this.
The girl was now washing his boots and undergarments on the rocks.
As she was scrubbing his boots, she asked what the name of his horse was.
He is called Starboros.
He answered. What does it mean? She asks.
It's a name that an old friend gave him.
I never did ask what it meant.
I gave Starboros food and water. I will wash him later as well. His horn is rather short, but it is sturdy. The girls says.
Not just horses, but most livestock had a horn on their forehead.
This horn tended to grow smaller as the animals aged. Once it came too small to even see, they would often go mad.
There is no need to worry.
Once the barrel of hot water had been contaminated with enough mud, a plug was pulled and half of the hot water was drained out. Then clean water was added.
There was something very comforting about the sight of the girl with her rolled up sleeves, grunting, as she carried bucket after bucket of hot water.
Ahh, this water is good.
The girl seemed very pleased that Bard was enjoying himself.
He returned to his room after his bath and fell into a deep sleep as soon as he lay on his bed.
The first floor was a lively scene, full of guests.
Bard carried his sword as he descended the stairs and found an empty seat.
After a brief moment, the master came and set down a bowl of stew, bread and a bottle of whiskey.
Bard was surprised at the generosity as he poured himself a cup and downed it in one gulp.
The distilled drink burned his throat and calmed his body.
There was soon a warm sensation in the pit of his stomach, and he could feel his insides moving.
The stew contained meat and freshly picked vegetables and emitted a most appetizing smell.
He brought it to his lips with a wooden spoon and slowly tasted it.
It was good.
The cororose meat.
It had come out very tender.
It was flavorful and that seemed to increase every time you chewed it.
The vegetables were also very tasty and had the perfect texture.
It was delicious.
A man who sat on the other side of Bard looked towards the master and said,
"I'll have some of that."
The master replied that it was a special dish that would require a separate fee, then told him the price.
"Bah, that's a lot."
The man says.
Bard brings the stew to his mouth once again. This time he takes a sip of the whiskey before the taste disappears from his tongue.
The stew worked to enhance the flavor of the drink.
He felt an inexpressible sense of joy then.
The man watched this display and gulped.
"Damn it. Hurry up and bring me some of that stew!"
As if on cue, several other voices from other tables rose and ordered the stew as well.
The girl was now running around busily, carrying the bowls and accepting money.
It did not take long before the master declared that the stew had been sold out.
When Bard was finished eating his stew and bread, the master brought over a small plate of something.
It was a crisply cooked cororose skin.
Ignoring the venomous stare of the man in front of him, Bard picked up a piece and ate it.
It had the perfect amount of salt sprinkled over it, along with a drop of lemon juice which helped soften the smell of oil. The aftertaste was also pleasant.