The five of them entered the small building. They were in an empty room. They could see a faint blue glow from the next room and a lot of boxes and crates. Malut used the key to lock the door.
Twila took her bag off her back and from the impossibly small bag, pulled out a rapier and a dagger. She secured the bag again. Thysmac pulled out a wand from his bag, Malut a greataxe. Kal opened his bag and pulled a large mace from it. Faith felt a little desperate; she didn't have a weapon! Why hadn't she thought about that?
Twila gave her a look of puzzlement.
"Don't you have handwraps?" she asked.
Faith remembered the shimmering muslin in her bag.
"Oh, right," she answered as she removed her bag and pulled out the strips of fabric. "But I don't know what to do with them."
Kal gave an exaggerated sigh.
"Haven't you had any training at all?" he asked her.
Embarrassed, she shook her head.
"OK, look these go like this," he took the strips from her and started to wind one around her right hand. When he ran out of fabric, he tucked the end securely underneath the wound part.
"Make a fist," he said. She flexed her hand a few times and balled it up into a fist. The wrap actually felt pretty good. She felt powerful. She wanted to punch something.
While Kal wrapped her left hand, she studied him. She could punch him, she thought idly, but he'd probably punch back. He was tall for a dwarf, although he was still quite a bit shorter than her. He was just a little shorter than Twila, actually. He was broad and powerful-looking with tanned skin, light brown eyes. His hair was also light brown and twisted into rows on the top of his head but hung free in the back. His long beard was braided.
"That should do it," he tucked the end of the second wrap under at her palm. "Go ahead, take a couple swings."
She awkwardly punched the air in front of her but quickly found a rhythm to punching. She ended up with a flying kick.
"I think you've got it," said Kal. Then with a dismissive wave of his broad hand he said, "Now go find a place to sleep. I've got this covered."
He entered the second room where the crystal was mounted.
"That's cool," said Twila. "I didn't know you could fight like that."
"I didn't either, " said Faith. "I'm learning all kinds of stuff."
She was itching to punch something for real. She and the others followed Kal into the crystal room, and there it was. A long, thin blue crystal suspended between the floor and ceiling in the back corner of the room. It had flat sides and sort of a pyrimid shape at the top of it... if Faith had had to describe it, she would have said it was the shape of a long, skinny okra. It hummed and glowed with a turquoise blue light as it twirled slowly around and Faith could feel the power it was emitting. It certainly kept the room warm.
"OK, everyone spread out," said Kal. "We'll need to keep an eye on the main door and that small door in the corner." Faith hadn't even noticed the door on the back wall.
"Monk and rogue, camp close to the crystal. Barbarian and sorcerer, sleep next to the back door. I'll take the front room."
"Who put you in charge?" asked Malut. He dangled the small key from his beefy hand and shook it a little. "I don't take orders from you."
"I don't want you kids getting in my way. It's more dangerous for all of us. You don't know what you are doing and I can handle this."
"If we don't help, how will we learn?" asked Faith.
"Learn on someone else's time. I'm not your teacher. Your weapons are for defense only. Now go," Kal growled, then he waved them away.
Malut looked like he had more to say and stared down at the dwarf he towered over. After a moment he simply walked towards the back door. Thysmac followed him.
"He's being a jerk but I am so tired I don't even care," said Faith.
"C'mon, I'll show you a magic trick," replied Twila.
They walked over to the area where the Cannith Crystal hung suspended in midair, surrounded by crates that contained the village's supplies. Twila cleared an area in the back corner, pulled off her bag and said,
She reached into the small bag and pulled out a full length brown wool cloak. It was a little ragged and had some holes near the hem but looked clean, soft and warm. It was way too big for little Twila.
"Ta da! It's magic," she said, waving the cloak in the air then settling it on the ground. "Lay down here and get some rest. I'll meditate on the other side of the crystal."
"Twila, that's the best magic I've seen all day," Faith said gratefully. She laid down on the cloak, then wrapped it around herself. It was as soft and warm as it looked. "This is wonderful. Thank you."
Before Twila could answer, Faith was fast asleep.