With much pomp and circumstance (what does that even mean really?) the Baron and his Chosen Men rode out today to face down the evil barbarians of the hills. Women were waving kerchiefs, men were doing that thing they do with their hats where they just kind of hold them up in the air, children were doing whatever kids do (being loud mostly), it was quite the scene. If you’re into that sort of thing. There was an overblown carrying-on with various high-class ladies giving their “favors” to their champions, I have to imagine there were some favors being handed out last night as well. There should have been anyway, you never know with these courtly types.
The Baron only had two dozen knights with him, which doesn’t seem like enough to go up against the presumed sixty battle-tested warriors of the Sky Thunder tribe but maybe they’re going to pick up more along the way. Not my business I suppose. My business is now helping my dear cousin to run whatever it is a Baron runs. A barony I suppose. I’ve never heard that term used though. I wonder what he’s really in charge of around here. It’s probably marked on a map somewhere. I have to say though now that I’ve been wandering around Cymrile County for a while it certainly seems like ninety percent of the kingdom has no one in charge of it. I bet you copper to silver that you could build a keep and just start bossing people around somewhere and no one would question it.
It was no more than three hours after the Baron left that it was time for an emergency. A farmer from the Uthden Homesteads had arrived complaining about his wife being missing. The Baroness had no idea what to do but lucky for her, and for the farmer, I was there to take the moose wolf by the scaly tail.
“No worries, Quinna and I will just take some of the hounds and track her down.”
The Baroness was stunned “You will?”
“Sure, that’s why you have tracking dogs right? I mean the Baron has them because he’s a fancy-lad and he wants to have them as a status symbol of sorts, but they can also be put to good use right?”
The Baroness bit her lip in a most undignified manner “Cousin, I don’t think that’s a good idea, it’s far too dangerous and we don’t have any men to send with you.”
“Oh, it will be fine. She probably just ran off, I mean look at this guy – he looks like a trout with legs – who wouldn’t want to run away from that walleyed face? And if she didn’t she probably just got grabbed by some rapist, no big deal. Quinna is a dirty barbarian so he’s probably a decent fighter right? If you’re worried though we can take that Marcher bastard with us. I know he’s only twelve but they use kids younger than that as messengers and such on the front lines. Plus bastards grow up faster anyway. He’s a scrappy little bastard, I’m sure he can mix it up if it comes to that.”
“Oh shit, I’m sorry, do people not know that he’s a bastard?”
“People know about his . . . situation, but you don’t speak of it!”
“Whatever, Quinna and I will take the kid and a pack of dogs and track this lady down. If she just ran off we’ll grab her and bring her back to the flapping fins of this fishy fellow, and if a rapist has her we’ll stab his face off.”
The Baroness was dubious but she didn’t have any better offers so the rescue mission was go. Quinna didn’t seem to be any happier about being volunteered for this mission than the Baroness was to send us on it – what’s wrong with these people? Where’s their sense of adventure? I found the bastard stealing sherry from the kitchens and after whomping him upside the head with one of those bread shovel things I told him to grab his gear. At least he was excited. That may have been the concussion talking though.
We’d be taking with us the pick of the litter, literally sort of – Gale an Alsatian tracking hound, Mechas a Malakanese herd dog, and six Cimmerian fighting mongrels all with names like Chopper and Ripper and so forth – Quinna is a heck of a trainer but he’s not much when it comes to names. Although I suppose after you’ve named six or eight dozen dogs it kind of loses its luster.
Quinna’s plan was to take the road ALL the way around to the Homesteads but I told him that was going to take too long – we should just cut through the forest instead.
“It’s going to be ten times faster. If fish-face had done that on the way here his wife would already be rescued instead of whatever awful thing is happening to her right now. I’d explain in detail what’s probably happening to her but it’s not something a kid should hear. Not even a bastard kid.”
“I have a name.”
“That’s the spirit! Now run and fetch me a crossbow from the armory will you? Just in case.”
Inventory: Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Dagger of Venom, Bracers of Armor +2, Ring of Protection +2, Rope of Entanglement, Enchanted Feycloth Dress (Green), Light Crossbow
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince
Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle
the butler , Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire
Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror,
Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe,
Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family,
Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale
Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna
Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer,
Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin