Posted by Tim Chappell | 2012 Oct 16 14:04 -0400 GMT
Written by the EM Team
Victor stretched with a loud yawn from the back of his wagon, the storm seeming to have finally blown over during the night. It’d only been a few weeks since the healers in Skara Brae had cleared him for being able to leave, and he’d taken his chance once he’d managed to purchase another wagon. He’d been told he might feel it when the weather was bad, but the soft aches that had plagued him during the night were gone with the rise of the morning sun. Crawling out from under the soft wool blanket, he took his seat at the front of his wagon, untied the horses, and got on his way. The wagon rumbled softly along the road to Yew, leaving him with his thoughts as companion for the journey.
As he approached the Abbey, the first thing he could see after catching sight of the building was the enormous dragon outside, sitting on its haunches with it’s forelegs in the air like a begging dog. The sight was so bizarre that he could hardly fathom it, until he got close enough to make out those nearest to it, a crowd of children and townspeople all cheering loudly as the dragon set his heavy claws back down on the earth once more, and a garishly dressed man in a jester’s hat bowed. By now the horses had taken him within earshot, and a smile spread to his face at hearing the man’s performance.
“For my next trick, I’ll need a volunteer! Oh, don’t worry, Talratha here is gentle as a kitten and trained much better, I assure you! Ah, there’s a brave young lad. What’s your name?”
The young Gargoyle child had separated himself from the woman watching over him, holding up a talon to volunteer, and Victor was surprised to see two of the Ver Lor Reg gargoyles here in Yew. Times had driven people to strange destinations, and upon even stranger paths, he thought to himself. The young gargoyle was handed a torch, which the tamer set alight with a simple spell..
“Now if you will, I want you to stand clear of Talratha’s mouth, but at any time you want her to show you her fire, put the torch in front.”
The gargoyle stepped forward, and Talratha craned her neck low, opening her mouth in a roar…and only emitting fire while the gargoyle had the torch in front, moving it back and forth, before the great dragon ceased her roar and then tenderly set her chin on the ground next to the gargoyle, looking to him expectantly. The tamer gave an encouraging gesture, and the young gargoyle ran his hand along the great beast’s head, giving her a gracious pat on the head. The tamer then called the gargoyle over, and handed him a shank of meat on a long bone, and the gargoyle threw it as high as he could, with Talratha howling in joy and spiraling into the air with the pulse of her great wings, flying high enough to do a flip and circle above the tamer and gargoyle for a moment.
“And your name, volunteer?”
“Let’s hear it for Kar-An-Vim!”
The small crowd cheered, and he gave the young gargoyle a smile and let him rejoin the elder Gargish woman. With upraised hands, the tamer signaled to the dragon who landed with a heavy thump along the ground, and both he and the dragon took a bow simultaneously.
“Thank you, I’m Thomas Applewood, and of course, I’d be lost without my trusted companion Talratha!”
Talratha gave an appreciative rumble of noise at some unseen cue, before Tomas and Talratha both bowed one final time, collected the few coins that had been given as thanks, and headed towards the center of Yew, detouring only to give the coins to one of the monks of the Abbey. Victor smiled at the gesture, only now remembering to spur his horses once more along the path. At the gates of the Abbey he informed one of the monks of his arrival, before another came and they discussed the terms of the trade, offloading much of his raw goods for several cases of wine he could sell for quite a bit in Britain. However, the main reason he’d come was heralded by a soft squeak, and he knelt as Sherry approached, and picked up the small mouse, before lifting her to the seat of his wagon.
“I’ll just be a minute longer, Sherry, I need to make sure everything’s secured before we get on our way.”
Victor headed around the back of his wagon and adjusted the crates, moving them around and securing them with rope and twine, before coming back to the front and wheeling around the horses, once more traversing the road and heading for Britain.
“It’s good to see you again Sherry, though I was surprised to hear you needed transport again. I’d have thought some of your friends in higher places could’ve helped you out…After all, you do know our new King.”
Sherry squeaked with a soft bit of amusement, though it seemed to be tinged with good-natured frustration. “Maybe I’d be on closer terms with King Blackthorn if he didn’t insist on keeping that cat at his new castle…Heckles swears it’s domestic, but it’s got the soul of a wild hellcat!” Despite himself, Victor couldn’t quite manage to stifle his laugh, although Sherry didn’t seem to mind.
“Well if that’s the worst of your worries, then it seems we are doing much better as a whole. The cities are once again working together, the moongates whole, and even the bandits seem to be almost entirely gone from the main roads, so we should be safe on our journey.” Sherry turned to regard the merchant, her approximation of a smile once again adorning her face.
“And how have you been, Victor? I was glad to hear you’d recovered from your injuries…and I am sorry you weren’t awake when I came to visit you during your recovery.”
“I’ve been…very well, actually. And the healer told me you visited, thank you. I know that the wounds I suffered were terrible, but the end results were not. I’m back to as healthy as I can be, and even aside from all that…I’m quite taken with one of those healers, and she’s become quite taken with me. I’m hoping that within a few months I’ll have a proper dowry for Miss Sans Ailes.” With a smile and a moment’s pause, he turned to Sherry. “So perhaps, despite what I’ve suffered, the reward will have been fully worth it. Some flowers only bloom after a hard rain, after all.”
Sherry chittered happily, before smiling up to the trader. “I expect you to invite me when you do settle things with Miss Sans Ailes.”
Victor looked along the road, the sun shining high and bright in the sky, the autumn leaves blowing in a gentle breeze that caused their rustling to sound almost like whispers. “Sherry, I wouldn’t dream of doing it without your invite being the first sent out.”
The soft rattle of the wooden wheels along the dirt and cobbled road may have been omnipresent, but it was underscored completely by the sounds of their laughter as they continued to talk to each other.