There was no meat as tasty to Drelei as venison. One whiff of the fragrance reminded her of home and all that was right with the world. The steak the drop-dead gorgeous Terran plunked down on the bar before her was cooked to perfection and accompanied by a medley of steamed veggies and what looked like Terran potatoes.
"Mushrooms?" Jerri asked. "I fried some up."
"I love fried mushrooms, but I'll pass, "Derelie said. "I've just come from a densely forested place inhabited by nomadic tribes where I ate a steady diet of mushrooms and whatever else I could forage in the wilderness, and I've reached that 'too much of a good thing' point," she explained, not wanting to insult the chef.
"Ah, more coffee and lisse lante syrup."
She rolled the unfamiliar words over her tongue and helped herself to a generous a dollop of the golden liquid, sampling the sticky substance still clinging to the spoon.
"Lisse lante syrup really does taste like honey."
She gave AnThaya's a huge "thank you" grin and met her host's exotic catlike eyes. They also conjured memories of home. The forest cats and her mother's poeple had similar-shaped eyes, though not the vivid green of this woman's. Sensing a repertoire of untold stories beneath the surface, she almost fell into their depths. She shook herself back to the inn and her steak. Excusing herself politely, she lowered her eyes to the heap of goodness before her and dug in, hardly coming up for breath until she'd devoured every last morsel.
"You're right. Jerri is a fantastic cook. I haven't enjoyed a meal as tasty this one in a long time."
She let out a satisfied burp, sat back and savoured the sensations of sitting indoors with a full belly among people she felt she could trust.
"The potatoes remind me of home. Are they of Terran origin? Ours are."
She yawned and rolled her shoulders to loosen the tight muscles. Journeying through the wilds to avoid nomadic warriors and portal pirates was catching up to her despite the coffee buzz. What she needed next was a room where she could store her gear, somewhere she could bathe, and sleep.
"Now that I've eaten and quenched my thirst, I'd greatly appreciate a room and somewhere I can clean up. Is there a stream or a pool of water near here where I could soak and wash my clothes?"
She yawned again and gave an appreciative chuckle low in her throat.
"Once I've slept, I will gladly tell you a tale or sing you a song, or both."
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