Ezra decided to take over navigating Maximus through the streets while Lucia recovered from being sick. She was slumped up against Ezra's back, her head rested on his shoulder. Subtly, he would sneak glances at her calm expression as she slept. "When you get up," He whispered. "We're going to speak about this..costume of yours." He gently fingered the fabric of her veil and chuckled.
"You never tole me your names!" Casper squeaked - yet again. He wouldn't rest until he got an answer. Orion let out a little gasp as he tried desperately to think of a faux name. "Or-I..er..Owen. My name is Owen." He grinned widely, albeit forcefully. Casper raised a thin, silky brow, but nodded with satisfaction.
"And you?" His gaze flicked to Ezra, who felt his blood run cold. "Eagle!" He blurted. "My name is..Eagle."
For the third time within a span of only an hour, Orion facepalmed. Casper burst out laughing. "That's not your name! You're lying!"
Ah, the honesty of a child never fails to be terrifying at the worst of times. "Yes, it is." Ezra protested. "Isn't that right, Owen?"
"Yes..Eagle.." Orion snickered. Casper followed suit. Ezra rolled his eyes, but tried to ignore their mockery. As they moved away from the bustling groups of people and deeper into the city, he came across an inn that seemed..nice enough. It was a quaint little place, made of wayward, piled-on stones and a thatched roof. Etched into the splintered wood door were the words The Spitefire Inn. It..seemed fitting, considering the part of the city they had come to. Maximus whinnied and stomped his hooves against the ground. Even he sensed that something seemed fishy about this place. Still, Ezra took the chance, unmounted his barebacked steed and knocked on the door much too loudly. He cringed as he pulled away from it, his knuckles were scraped pink. He let out a little hiss of pain and quickly stuck his hand in his pocket as the door was answered.
At the threshold stood a round, stout young woman, wearing a flower-patterned shift, along with a matching headscarf. Her mousy blonde hair stuck out like stray blades of hay. Her chin was caught underneath the knot of her scarf. her nose was at such an angle that Ezra could see her nostrils.
"Yes?" She raised an unkempt brow and crossed her short, chubby arms over her chest. "You need a room?"
Ezra opened his mouth to respond, when something struck the back of his head. Upon bending down to inspect what it was, he found it was a sack of coins, gold ones that had spilled out upon the street. He bent down and scooped them into a palm, not bothering to count them out. "H-how much will this get us?"
The woman raised a brow and counted out the coins, closing them in her pudgy fist and pocketing them. "One night, room, dinner and breakfast included." She stepped to the side and peered over at the ragtag group, horse included.
"The mule stays out here, obviously. Have you any bags?" She went on. Ezra shook his head, and the woman motioned for him to follow her. The rest of the group stumbled in. Lucia looked especially dazed. She leaned up against Orion for support. "Four of you. Two rooms, then." She murmured.
"Thank you-" Ezra started, but the woman let out a little huff and pointed out the door. "Horse. Tied up. There are stakes around the side of the building." And with those parting words, she tromped down the narrow hallway. Lucia followed, sweeping by Ezra with a little smirk. "You must work on your hand-eye coordination, my love."
Ezra let out a growl, his cheeks heated up as he stormed outside, yanked Maximus by his reins. And was in for a surprise when Maximus leaned on his first two legs, lifted his hind legs and kicked the crown prince in the back as hard as he possible could. Ezra collapsed into the dirt with a soft little 'oomph' and gave thanks to the Gods that his head was protected by the preposterous bucket he had chosen to wear. He let out a groan, and slowly picked himself up from the dirt.
"Fine. I won't be rough the second time around, my mighty steed." He nursed his sore shoulder and followed the horse as he led himself to one of the posts that were around the side of the Inn.
"You know what?" Ezra said. "I won't tie you up. As long as you promise not to roam, okay?"
Maximus whinnied, satisfied with this answer, and bowed his head to his Highness. Ezra grinned, hobbled inside and dragged himself down the hall to his shared room with Orion and Casper. Even though he was not told as such, he could tell by the shouting that flowed down the hall jauntily, bouncing off the walls. He pushed open the door with his uninjured shoulder and walked in on Casper bouncing upon his cot, giggling incessantly as he whacked Orion over the head with a clearly overstuffed pillow. Goose feathers fluttered about and lay scattered across the floor.
"Alright, boy, if you're going to accompany us on our journey, you must treat us all with respect." Ezra took the dented bucket off his head and his hair fell about his shoulders rather ungracefully. Casper let out a little sigh and threw the half empty pillow into the corner. "Fine. But will ya at least tell me where yer all are going?" He bounded over to his own little cot and sat down upon it crossleggedly.
"That is something we do..not yet know.." Orion said as he pulled bits of fuzz from his head. "To..keep things simple, we needed an adventure to go on together."
Casper nodded slowly. "Fair 'nough. Why's the lady so grumpy all the time?"
Ezra smiled a little at Lucia's new alias. "She is my wife." He explained. "She is with child."
Casper's eyes widened. "A baby? Ewwww, yer gonna have one of those? But they're so..smelly!" He pretended to swoon and flopped back against his pillow with a deep, sorrowful gasp.
Ezra let out a little chuckle and settled onto his own cot. it was rough and had little cushioning. He would have to get used to the feel of the floor. "Yes, but we wanted a child. So we have to put up with the hardships."
"Bleh! Who cares about any of that?" Casper rebutted, lifting his head. "Yer still gonna hafta wash all those dirty nappies!"
Ezra grimaced. That was undoubtedly true. Orion shared the sentiment with a little twisted smile. After a few hours of much-deserved rest, the trio of boys drifted down to the dining room for supper; the three of them were famished after what seemed to be a day or two without eating. It had only hours at most. They found Lucia at a small, rickety table, a few empty dishes sat in front of her. She was happily chatting with the stout woman who had answered the door, who was presumably the inn owner. She had a pot in hand that was steaming with some sort of brownish gruel, topped with prunes. A small girl clung to her skirts and buried her face in them when the boys tromped in.
The woman looked up, and her smile was immediately replaced with a frown. She let out a little hiss of disgust and motioned for them to sit down. Casper made the mistake of making eye contact with her - he went pale as he slammed himself down into a seat and folded his hands into his lap. The woman grabbed the little girl by the arm and whisked her into the hall. They were gone within a moment, and returned just as quickly with three bowls of gruel which were slid in front of the boys. Orion and Ezra nodded in thanks, while Casper dug into his bowl using only his hands. Lucia watched in horror as he slorked down his meal, her golden eyes wide with disgust. Orion burst out laughing and did so until there were tears in his eyes. Ezra struck his friend in the back of the head in an attempt to get him to stop, but found himself laughing, too. Lucia shut them both up by grabbing their ears and twisting them.
"Jesus, woman!" Orion yowled as he pulled away. "You have quite the grip for someone so small!"
"It's just one of my many talents." Lucia said, her eyes narrowed to slits as Ezra pulled away, looking sheepish. "How dare you laugh at him in such a manner?"
"Laugh at who?" Casper looked up from his dinner in confusion. The trio gave each other glances of concern whilst the boy went back to eating.
"It seems that in addition to adventuring," Orion said drolly. "We must teach our straggler some manners."
Lucia put herself in charge of getting Casper clean, though he was reluctant to do anything besides have his face scrubbed.
"Why's I gotta take a bath?" He whined as Lucia dragged him to the washroom. She wasn't giving into his whining under any circumstances; she was too tired to fight anyone on this particular night.
"Because," She said dryly. "Good little boys have to be clean to go on adventures."
"My ma always told me that, but I didn't get any gooder." Casper answered petulantly. He pouted as Lucia switched on the faucet and let the water flow into the dented washbin. "Can't I just take one tomorrow? Please?"
"No, dear." Lucia said petulantly. "Besides, don't you want to see some magic?"
Lucia smiled her sweet smile, reached into her pocket, and dropped a small, round lavender thing into the water. Suds immediately started to form. Casper pulled at his tunic, and struggled to pull it over his head. Lucia assisted him with a little smile, and lifted him into the warm bathwater. The magic of the suds soon dissipated when the process of scrubbing came into play. Casper complained loudly as the bristles of the rough horsehair brush rubbed his skin so harshly it turned pink.
"Yer mean!" He hissed as Lucia handed him a nightshirt. He pulled it on with a bit of a struggle since he was still sort of damp.
Lucia softened. "I'm sorry. But at least you smell like a fresh spring day, right?"
Casper stuck out his bottom lip. "Yeh, 'pose so." He stalked over to the door and yanked it open.
"Goodnight, Casper." Lucia said as she folded his dirty tunic. Perhaps she could find the time to wash it tonight.
"Don' 'goodnight' me! You ain't me ma!"
And the door slammed behind him. Lucia let out a little sigh and set a hand on her stomach. "Please, whatever you are..respect me..and learn good manners."