Lying on her back, idly stroking Celeste's hair, Rose stared at the puffy white clouds drifting in the sky above her. Wow, she thought. I don't usually jump into it like that, but... wow. She smiled and looked down at Celeste, lying with her head on her chest. She smiled up at her. Grinning foolishly, Rose looked at the sky again. Maybe the Lady is watching for me. Or I've been listening to too many romantic songs in the market. She snorted to herself and looked up again, trying to judge the distance of the sun from the horizon. Shouldn't it be...? Oh no. Leaning over she grabbed her tunic and breeches. "I'm sorry." she stammered, jumping up and pulling her breeches on. "I've got to go. I need to get to Greyton before nightfall!"

"We've got lots of time." Celeste said, sitting up to watch her.

"No, no, I mean the moon is almost full and I want to get a room."

Standing up, Celeste walked over and picked up her pack. "You too?" she asked, amazed.

Rose stopped and hung her head, feeling a blush heat her cheeks. "Um... yeah." she replied, embarrassed.

"Wow! I've never met another were before! What are you? When did you find out? Do you tell people? What do they say?"

"Uh, a cat, sixteen or so, and if they ask." She looked at the road and then back at Celeste. "I'm sorry, but I've..."

"Hey, did you mean it? Earlier? When you said we should travel together?" she interrupted.

"Yesss..." Rose replied, trailing off uncertainly.

"Great! I'll fly ahead and meet you there!" She turned away.

"Wait!" Rose said. Celeste turned back. "Do you need clothes? I mean I think I can give you an extra shirt or maybe a tunic..."

Celeste laughed, a happy bubbling sound. "It's all right. I've got a friend at the Fire Temple. He keeps clothes for me." Standing up, she turned to face the road, "I'll see you there!" she called and shifted. A seagull flew into the sky.

Rose watched her until she was little more than a speck, then started walking down the road.

She reached the city gates at sunset and, with help from a passing Guardsman, located a small inn not far away. Locking the door behind her, she looked around, the room was only slightly larger than the bed. A pitcher of water sat in a chipped bowl on a small table near the window. She yawned and wondered if she should take a nap before eating. Her stomach growled, overriding that thought. Taking off her dusty breeches and changing into a clean skirt, she walked downstairs to eat.

The innkeeper, a tall man with a pinched face and no time for small talk, brought her a plate of food, collected her money, and walked away. Rose looked around as she ate. The crowd seemed to be mostly laborers and poor traders. She didn't see any women other than herself. I better ask for a bar for the door tonight, she thought.

The front door opened, "There you are!" a familiar voice said. Rose looked up at Celeste striding towards her. She was dressed in a brown tunic with a red shirt under it. She kicked a dark green skirt out with every step and her heavy boots clomped on the floor. "I have been looking all over for you!" she announced, reaching Rose's table and standing over her. "If Eph hadn't suggested I try near the gate I never would've found you!" She pulled out a chair and sat down. "So how are you?" she asked.

"Uh... fine." Rose said, taken aback.

"You should've come meet me at the Fire Temple." She looked around, "Boy, this place is kind of a dump, isn't it?"

The innkeeper frowned at them from across the room. Rose, embarrassed, looked down at the table.

"I'm surprised you aren't fighting the fleas for room." Celeste continued, her voice seemed to echo.

The innkeeper walked over, stood behind her, and cleared his throat. She turned around. "Hello good sir! You must be the innkeeper! I'll have a plate of your finest roast, some buttered vegetables, and bread! And what kind of ales do you have?"

"We have two kinds of ale." he answered flatly, glaring at her. "A dark one and a light one. What do you want?"

"A mug of each!" She turned back to Rose, "Do you want anything?" she asked.

Rose gestured at the half-empty plate in front of her. Celeste turned back to the innkeeper.

"That'll be four coopers." he said.

"Four! That's outrageous!"

"One for the food, one each for the ale."

"What's the rest?" she demanded.

Rose put a hand in her pocket, counted out four coopers, and pushed the bright copper coins across the table. "Thank you, sir." she said.

He scooped them up and walked away.

"You didn't have to do that!" Celeste said, turning to face her again. "I could've paid!"

Rose shook her head, "It's all right."

The innkeeper set down a plate and two mugs in front of Celeste and walked away without a word.

Celeste pushed one mug towards Rose. "Here." She raised her mug, "To new friends." Rose lifted her mug. "And lovers." Celeste added with a sly look, taking a drink. Rose giggled and drank her ale.