The plan is to fly into the Verticals. It turns out that the flying talisman we used on our last adventure, The Little Bird of Many Wings, wasn't one that Purrzhon owned; he'd borrowed it from the Adventurer's Guild. (The Guild has all kinds of nice equipment that members can borrow if they pay the appropriate level of dues, in accordance with a very complicated algorithm that takes into account your standing in the guild, your reliability, the cost of the item, and how long you want to borrow it.) Purrzhon had returned The Little Bird at the guild in Ulmarn and it found its way back to the Vheshrame guildhouse where it belonged. Mirhandrax is going to borrow it so we can fly down.
Actually, Mirhandrax is borrowing it so he can fly down. Outcast and I are going to be riding on ulgrane! I sent a leaf to Intoxicating Sky a few days ago that we were going to visit Resia's family -- she's the crefian matriarch who hosted me last time -- because Intoxicating Sky is friends with them too. Intoxicating Sky sent back that he'd be happy to come with us and visit them too and Summer Sun and Glory Blaze also wanted to go. Then Summer Sun and Intoxicating Sky agreed to carry Outcast and me in return for feather-styling. No one is willing to carry Mirhandrax because he's HUGE.
It'll be nice to have The Little Bird of Many Wings with us anyway as a backup though.
Naefar and Outcast helped me pick up and pack the crates of trade goods this morning. Naefar and I were going through the market selecting lemons while Outcast hauled the cart. "So this is for the host gift?" Outcast asked
"Noooo this is what we'll trade them." I felt some of the lemons while Naefar sniffed at them.
Outcast looked back at the cart he was pulling. "... what else are you getting?"
"Mmm. Papedas if they're any good."
"So ... we're asking them for an extremely rare, hard to find, and valuable magical reagent. And in return we're offering two crates of oranges, one of kinnows, and some number of lemons and papedas."
"... are you sure this will be sufficient?"
"Oh yes they love citrus! And none of this grows in the Verticals and they don't get much trade," I said. Naefar finished filling the bag with good lemons and I paid the merchant.
Outcast looked dubiously at the cartful of fruit. "It seems dishonest, somehow."
"Why this is delicious fruit and babyberries really aren't that good?" I made a face as I remembered the taste. I lead the way to the farmer stand that usually has the best papedas.
Outcast chuckled. "I don't think taste is the important part."
"It is to them. Last time they didn't charge us anything at all for the berries."
"Nothing?" Naefar asked.
"Well we had killed the jack o' hooks that was bothering them already."
"I guess we'll see if a cartful of fruit is worth as much as a dead monster," Outcast said.
"It will be!"
We packed up all the fruit in nice crates with straw for padding and then discovered there's not enough room in Mirhandrax's pack for them all. Oops. Now we're waiting on the road outside the Vheshrame North Gate to meet the ulgrane and maybe we can bribe Glory Blaze into carrying some crates for us. Wish us luck!