As Thunder and I made our way south I had intended to travel for a while and then rest, but I found strangely that I didn’t feel tired in the slightest, nor did I really get hungry. Instead we traveled on through the night. I stopped to let Thunder rest and eat at dawn and then I did fall asleep for a couple hours and woke feeling completely refreshed. I could feel energy coming from the ring I picked up recently so it must be sustaining me, which is a really nice benefit. Assuming it’s a real feeling . It could just as easily be enchantment magic making me think I’m not hungry or tried to starve me to death or drive me insane with sleep deprivation. That’s the fun thing about magic – you never know which. Now if only I could get the same kind of magic for Thunder I could really make good time. Thunder, what a typical man-naming move for a horse. Although I did know a horseman back at court who named his war-steed Blossom. He was a little crazy but he was one of the deadliest fighters in the kingdom. No joke. I’d rename him if that wasn’t bad luck. The horse that is, not the crazy warrior guy.
As is tradition I got a little lost heading back to Arbeven but this was nothing like being on the plains by the Scar where there was a very real chance of dying from being lost – here in civilization you can’t go too far wrong. You’ll run into someone eventually, although in my case it often seems to be kidnappers or smugglers or bandits or something like that. I was backtracking to take the path less traveled when I heard lovely singing rolling down from the forested hills above. No one who sings so beautifully could be a dangerous person right?
Following the sound I came to an old trail upon which rattled an ox-cart being pulled by a team of mules. Is that irony? No. Sitting at the reins was a red-haired young woman who was the source of the song and by her side was an older fellow with cloudy eyes. They were clearly itinerates but their clothes were well maintained which meant they were the good kind of vagabonds. Ragged clothes are the hallmark of bad people – it’s true. She stopped singing when she saw me riding their way but had a welcoming smile.
“That’s quite a voice you have.”
“Thank you my lady. We don’t often see noblewomen traveling around these parts – certainly not alone. What brings you into up here?”
“Just pitching in while the Baron is away.” The old man mumbled something about the Baron I couldn’t quite make out. “I suppose you don’t get much news up this way. The Baron and his knights are off fighting against the hillmen to the west.”
The redhead got a mournful look. “How awful. So much violence in this little world of ours. And for what?”
“It’s a tragedy for sure. I have to admit, I’m a bit lost, would you mind terribly getting me back on the right track to Arbeven?”
The old man mumbled again and I leaned in to hear. “Ill rumors swirl about these woods, ghosts and monsters . . .”
“Em, yes, these are troubling times.”
The girl’s smile faltered a little to be joined by a sliver of concern. “Don’t pay too much mind to Ole, he’s not quite right in the head anymore. We’d be happy to help you, my name is Yalana by the way.”
I fell in with their wagon, which looked to have been brightly painted with merry scenes at one point but was faded and peeling. The wagon itself was loaded with trunks and tools and metal items – the kind of stuff you tote around as a tinker-peddler. I confided in Yalana that I was a singer myself but that I was probably a bit rusty. As we traveled we traded songs and sang together, including “Whisper My Love” which is one of my all times favorites but I hardly ever get to sing because it’s a duet. It was a wonderful day, marred only slightly by Yalana’s father’s odd rambling.
I should find time to sing more often, just for my own peace of mind – it’s very relaxing. It’s something that occupies your thoughts without really occupying them if that makes sense. Plus as my grandmother always said it improves your posture. She wasn’t much of a singer but that didn’t stop her from loving it. That was one of the first things she taught me, without even intending to – you can like something even if you’re no good at it.
Once we were in sight of the road to Arbeven Yalana and Ole turned away – they stick to the more remote communities and aren’t comfortable in a town even as small and simple as this one. I offered them some coin but as I expected they might they turned it down. What are they going to do with gold out on the forest trails and hill passages? They have their freedom.
It was a pleasant interlude before getting back to the dirty business of revenge.
Funds: 520 platinum, 1827 gold, 6 silver
Inventory: Noble’s Traveling Outfit, Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Dagger of Venom, Bracers of Armor +2, Ring of Protection +2, Light Crossbow, Fake Signet Ring, Map, False Papers, carnelians (2), Bag of Concealment, Belt of Giant Strength +4, Vest of Resistance +1, Horn of the Hunt Master, +1 Chainmail, Cold Iron Greatsword, Ring of Sustenance, Gem of Brightness, Potion of Invisibility, Silver Chain set with Moonstones, Gold and Emerald Ring (2), Glove of Vampiric Touch, Platinum and Silver Holy Symbol of Kralten, Thunder (Heavy Warhorse)
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, Lumber Consortium
of Three Rivers