Walking silently away from the stables, Garth's mood had taken an upturn after checking in on Bucky. The mule had been his first and only traveling companion for a number of years, ever since Selune had taken him from the ditch at Adbar and turned him toward her ways. Bucky was as happy as Garth to see his master before him and eagerly took the sugar cubes offered by the dwarf. Garth was himself pleasantly surprised and relieved to see that Bucky had been so well cared for and made a mental note to see that the stablemaster and his boys were adequately thanked and compensated for their care.
Turning up the path away from the dusty street of Milbourne and toward the compound of the temple to Tyr, Garth's thoughts shift to the lady Marlay and her strange condition. The last time he had been to see her, he could see some marked improvement in her condition and the priest Semheis had even said so. He only hoped that she had improved even more. He had prayed to the Lady Selune many times for her healing, he hoped that the Goddess had heard his prayers and bestowed her grace upon Marlay to remove her ailment. He knew the whims of the gods and goddess of Faerun however, and even one as benevolent as Selune might not see fit to restore the cook, Marlay. He couldn't think on that at the moment however, he could only take hope in the fact that because his Lady had seen fit to lift him up and save his life, he could only devote his energy and blood to helping as many others as possible as long as he had breath remaining.
The hour is getting late as Garth lightly bangs on the knocker of the temple door. Because of the hour, Garth knocks on a side door that he assumes would be easily more accessible than the main entrance. He waits only a few minutes before the door is answered by a young acolyte to who frowns upon seeing Garth.
"The hour is late, can't this wait till morning?"
"I cannot truly speak for the priesthood of Tyr, but would not your god wish his followers to be more receptive of those coming to his priests for aid in the night?" responds Garth with a light rebuke.
The dark-haired priest frowns slightly before changing his tune, "How can I be of service?"
"I simply come to speak with the priest Semheis. Tell him, Garth, of the Company of the Red Feather wishes to speak with him."
Hearing the name of the renowned Company and seeing one of it's stalwart members before him, the young priest takes on a genuine look of awe as he stammers a reply, "Y-Y-Yes, j-j-just a moment." He then rushes back into the shadows, leaving the door open and Garth standing outside.
"Hmmph. Humans," mumbles Garth.
A few moments later, Semheis appears with a candle in hand as he ushers Garth into the temple. Taking a few turns down short hallways, the two finally emerge into a small study of the priest.
"Greetings, friend Garth. To what do I owe the honor of this visit?"
Taking the lead of Semheis, Garth takes a seat in a chair offered by the priest as the two sit down. "I've come to check on the lady Marlay, see how she is doing. I also have some money for her, to buy her decent clothes and such."
Semheis smiles broadly and shakes his head somewhat as Garth speaks, "The followers of the Moonmaiden constantly amaze me, I must say. And you are no exception, friend Garth. Your concern and generosity are a welcome sight in these times."
Garth smiles somewhat and inclines his head ever so slightly at the words of Semheis. Always one having trouble accepting praise of any kind, Garth waits for Semheis to continue.
"I must say that as a follower of the Lord of Justice, I was very hesitant in helping the former thief. I was only swayed by your compassion and the words of my fellow priest, Brother Randor. Since her arrival however, I have spent many hours contemplating her madness and the justice of it all. At first I believed her madness to be the sentance for her crimes committed as a youth. Since then, I have begun to wonder if her crimes were not the result of her madness? That justice will not be truly served for her until she is relieved of her calamity."
"That is food for thought," acknowledges Garth although he truly has no desire to contemplate the reasons of Marlay's madness, only its cure. "But how is she now?"
"Oh, sorry, you must forgive me, the monks and acolytes of the temple here seem either horribly inadequate for this type of talk or wholly uninterested. I did not mean to bore you with my thoughts."
"Not boring, brother Semheis," begins Garth, hoping that he hasn't offended the priest, "merely that I haven't much time here tonight, we are leaving for Shadowdale in the morning. Perhaps we could continue the discussion at another time however?"
"Of course, of course. To answer your question, the lady is doing much better. She is excellent in the kitchen and all of us wonder how we got along before without her. The Just God, our Lord Tyr, isn't very strict on his priests growing through domestic chores, so we were all happy to turn the handling of the kitchen duties over to Marlay. The lady appears quite normal when working in the kitchen and preparing meals, laughing at times and talking with the priests. Only outside of the kitchen or when not preparing meals does she show signs of her illness. She has gotten much better as of late, however, as she has taken to working an hour or so in the gardens every day."
Garth brightens as he hears this news, perhaps the lady is slowly getting better after all.
"I thank you for that news, Brother Semheis. I hope you will take this gold and see to purchasing new clothes for her?" Garth hands a small pouch of coins to the priest.
Semheis graciously accepts the pouch of coins and sets them to the side. "I will be honored to see that she receives it."
"Thank you. Well then, I will be leaving now. I will let you return to your studies."
"Of course. Thank you, friend Garth. Please feel free to stop in when you have more time and we can discuss the lady's illness at length."
"Yes, I will," replies Garth with a smile as he nods his head and turns to follow Semheis from the study.
Outside the fortified walls of the Tyrran temple, Garth's mood is visibly improved as he walks back toward Milbourne and the Baron of Mutton. Hearing the positive report on Marlay, he is uplifted and once again filled with hope that her illness will be overcome. His thoughts no longer on the recent deaths in the company or their failings, he feels confident that they will be ready for the trek below and will find the girl Jelenneth.
Striding into the tavern, Garth quickly notices his dwarven kin still engaged in hearty merry-making at their table. All four appear well on their way to a grand drunk as he watches them singing and ordering more drinks from their table. Tired and not wanting to engage in the celebration anymore, he skirts around his companions and heads up the stairs toward his room. His mind on the Lady Marlay and his journey ahead, he is deep into prayer to the Moon Goddess only moments after entering his room.