First Intermission 16
Turns since TBfGK: 3 Dawn failed to bring the start of their turn, indicating that Transylvito had entered battlespace with Carpool, or with some other side that had a natural turn before theirs. Caesar checked in with Bunny, but whatever information she gave him he kept to himself.
They kicked around the rocky hex all morning. Vinny tamed a feral bat. The other Transylvitians talked. Jillian sat and chewed cold mutton, mending her gear, sharpening her blades. They were on the side of a ravine; the dew hung heavy all morning and the sun did not reach down to their campsite. So she kept the low and smoky remains of her fire going with the last gnarled wood she could find.
At one point, Vinny showed up with a couple of decent sticks and added them to the little flame. Jillian had her sword and its scabbard laid across her lap, but she hadn't touched the whetstone for several minutes. Just staring into space. She looked down to watch the wood catch, adjusted one of the sticks with her boot, and gave him a flat, "Thanks."
He floated there until she looked at him. Arms folded, he studied her grimy face. "Y'arright?"
"Yeah," she said, almost automatically. "Yeah, I'm fine."
He jutted his jaw, and held his lips tightly closed for a moment, looking down at her. "Good," he finally said. "Good."
Vinny looked up at the clouds, Jillian down at the fire.
"So what do you think your king does want?" Jillian murmered.
"I dunno. Some kinda mercenary work, I guess. Somethin' secret that he don't wanna relay through Caesar fer some reason, maybe?" Vinny shrugged. "Dunno. Maybe he just wants ta meet you in person. Decide if he trusts you or not. He should, though."
Jillian looked up. "Why?"
She knotted her brow. "We failed at the ambush."
"True," said Vinny. "Yeah, bigtime. But Stanley was right where you said he'd be, even though none of us really believed you."
"Not even you?"
He gave her a snaggle-fanged smile. "I halfway believed you. Maybe. But it was your show until Caesar popped up, and that's that."
The fire flared up a bit. Jillian warmed her hands and rubbed her cold nose. "So you think he should trust me. Based on that."
"If Don King is smart, and he is, then I think he already trusts you. Based on that." Vinny poked a finger in the air, punctuating his point. "At least as far as bein' able ta outguess Stanley. And that's what he wants you for, I bet. I bet we're plannin' to take out Gobwin Knob, and he wants you on as an advisor."
"My consulting fees are pretty steep," she said with a grim smirk. She lifted the sword from her lap and held it up between them. "But if I get another shot at Stanley...I mean a personal shot? I'll do it for upkeep-plus."