Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: A New Start|
The morning had been overcast, I shouldered my bow and pack and then walked to the edge of the forest and stared down at the city. It had been a year since I was near any other people. The city seemed huge, it went from the far side of the valley all the way to the near edge of the first river. I started walking down the hillside heading for the walls of the city.
It was noon before I reached the gate and had to stand in line to enter the city. The guard at the gate gave me directions to the marketplace where I hoped to sell the valuable furs and gemstones in my pack. It took me a half hour of winding my way through the streets before I reached the stalls at the edge of the marketplace.
The stalls were colorfully draped with wagons and carts going down the lanes between them. After asking at several booths I finally got directions to the stalls of the gem merchants and the fur traders, I picked the third stall and went in. The merchant was counting his money and saw me, “Well, boy what do you want?”
I took the bow off and removed my pack. I was digging in my pack and told the merchant, “I have some gems to sell.”
He stared doubtfully as I pulled a squirrel skin pouch out of the pack and walked up to the counter. The merchant frowned, “Well, let’s see what you have.”
I emptied out a half dozen gems in my hand and watched as the merchant stared in amazement at the six stones. Three were rubies bigger than the end of my thumb. Two were emeralds slightly smaller and one sapphire as big as a robin’s egg. The merchant shook his head and asked if I had any more. I shrugged, “these are all I will sell for now.”
He looked at me, “watch for thieves.”
After bargaining for a few minutes I settled with him. He smiled, paid me and then told me to come back when I wanted to sell the other gems. I replaced the pouch and all but five gold pieces. I shouldered my pack and bow and as I stepped out of the stall I looked around for someplace to eat.
I walked down the lane until I came to a street emptying out of the marketplace. After following the street for several minutes I came to an inn named the Silver Griffin. I pushed open the door and went in. After looking around I went to a table by the window and set my bow and pack on the chair next to me.
My quiver bushed the floor as I sat, reminding me that I needed more arrows. I only had eight left and they would not last after being used as much as they had. The Innkeeper came in from the kitchen and when he saw me, he crossed the room to the table, “what would you have?”
I looked at him (a short stout fellow with dark hair), “whatever is in the pot, some bread, cheese and a tankard of ale.”
The innkeeper looked at me and saw the travel stains and the worn out cloths. Before he said anything I handed him a gold piece, “I also need a round of cheese and a loaf of bread. Wrapped, as well as two skins of wine.”
The innkeeper took the coin and nodded before returning to the kitchen. I looked around the inn and saw that there were two other customers in the room sitting at a table. They seemed to have finished their meal and were talking over tankards of ale. The innkeeper returned with a tankard and a serving girl following him with a tray that she set in front of me.
On the tray were two linen wrapped objects, a large squab covered with a brownish sauce, half a loaf of bread and several large slices of cheese. The innkeeper put the tankard on the side and handed me eight silver crowns and five copper pennies and then turned and went back to the kitchen with the girl.
It didn’t take me long to finish the meal, I had not tasted another persons cooking in a long time. I sat back and took a drink of the ale, it tasted bitter and not like the ale I remembered. When I was done I got up and put the pack back on and picked up my bow. As I left I noticed the innkeeper watching me from the kitchen doorway.
Walking back to the marketplace I followed the directions I had been given earlier until I came to the stalls of the fur traders. Seeing most of them closing their stalls, I picked one still open and went in. Seeing me come in, the trader frowned, “I’m getting ready to close.”
I smiled, “I have three silver snowcat pelts to sell.”
At this he looked more interested, “let me see them.”
I took the pack off and unlaced the wolf skins at the bottom. When I unrolled them the trader saw the tightly rolled skins that were bound up inside. I put them on the counter and he picked one up and untied it. He noticed how light it was and when the skin was unrolled it felt as soft as a baby chick’s down. He noticed the rich silver color and when he turned the skin over he felt how supple it was.
He looked up, “are the other skins like this one?”
Even as I answered he was untying a second and unrolling it and then the third. When he looked up, he was grinning and then began bargaining. After he paid me, I placed the money in my pack and asked for directions to a fletching shop. Putting the pack back on, I picked up the bow and left.
When I left, I followed the direction I was given to the fletching shop. When I reached the stalls, they were all closed. Looking around I noticed that all the stalls were closed. I looked up at the sky at the dark clouds. I walked down the lane until I came to a street leading off from the marketplace.
As I started down the street, it began to rain. After a couple of minutes I saw an alley on the left. When I got to the alley I saw a house down the alley that had been burned out. It was on the left, three houses down. Taking a chance I went down to the house and stepped into the doorway. Looking in I saw that on one side the roof was still intact.
I took my pack off and went to the corner before setting it down. Putting my bow to the side I undid the quiver and set it with the bow. I went back to the door and looked out, I saw that the first and second house had doorways that emptied into the alley. Looking the other way I saw that the alley turned to the right after a little way.
Going back into the room I decided to take a nap and wait out the rain. Digging in my pack, I pulled out my blanket and lay down before pulling it over myself. I woke and looked around, it felt like I had just lain down but it was dark. I heard the sound that had awakened me and listening closer, I heard the noise again and it was feet moving around in the alley outside.
I got up quietly, picking up my bow and quiver. I moved to the doorway and looked out. In the moonlight I could see four men standing by the door to the first house. As I watched two moved away, one stopped at the corner and the other went around to the front.
The two that stayed in the alley went to the door and moved to each side. After a short time I heard someone pounding on a door. I saw the two men at the door moving around, one pulled out a dagger and the other pulled what looked like a small club.
After seeing this I nocked an arrow, a moment later the door opened and a man stepped out. The man with the club hit him in the back of the head and as he stumbled the other struck with the knife. The man twisted to the side and threw up his arm, blocking the knife arm.
I sighted and fired the arrow in one movement, striking the man with the club in the side, the arrow going all the way into the heart. I put a second arrow on the string and sighted at the other man, who was drawing a short sword and shot him in the chest.
Putting a third arrow on the string I saw that the man by the corner was running towards the man that was still on his knees. He was carrying a sword in his hand so I sighted and shot him through the chest. Looking back at the man by the door I saw him lunge at the door with the fallen man’s short sword, running the fourth man through.
Standing up the man in the doorway looked around and then at the doorway where I stood. He walked slowly over to me, “thank you boy, I don’t know why you helped me but I’m glad you did.”
I looked up at him, “I don’t like anyone ganging up on people.”
He just looked at me and smiled, “My name is Camden. We should be leaving, the watch will be making rounds and I would rather be elsewhere.”
I nodded and went inside, I rolled up my blanket and placed it back in my pack. I put the pack back on and went back to the door. Looking around I saw Camden going from man to man. When he came back he had two long swords in their sheaths and a short sword complete with sheath. Looking at me, he handed me the short sword, “Here, you might need this. You don’t have very many arrows left.”
I nodded, “Thank you, I don’t know how to use it, but its better than nothing.”
Camden smiled, “Come on, let’s get out of here.”
Turning to the left he went back to the street with me following. As we got there he looked both ways and then went to the left. After following him for half an hour I was lost. He looked back and saw how tired I was, “We’ll be there in a few moments.”
Scarcely were the words out when we heard boots on the cobblestones. We ducked into a courtyard and Camden drew one of the swords he was carrying and motioned for me to do the same. As I drew the short sword, I saw the shapes of men marching down the street we had just left. When they turned the corner he put the sword away and I did the same.
Starting off again, we turned the corner and went down the next street. After a couple of minutes Camden led me into an empty building. Going to the back room, he moved a panel aside and went in. I hesitated and he called, “Well, come on.”
I went in slowly, as I entered Camden struck some tinder and lit a candle. He walked by me and closed the panel, “This is my home, such as it is. You can set your pack in that alcove.”
I looked at the alcove he indicated and took the pack over and set it on an empty pallet. When I turned back, he was coming out of another door with a large cold roast, “I’m sorry, this is all I have. I didn’t get a chance to pick up anything.”
I smiled and started for my pack, “well at least I can add something, I have bread, cheese, and some wine.”
After finishing the last of the cheese, I looked up to see the older man looking at me with a serious look, “Where are you from Kevin?”
I shrugged, “South and east over the mountains, why?”
“You don’t have any family?”
I frowned, “No they were all killed in a raid by bandits last year.”
He sat back, “Where did you learn to shoot the bow so well?”
I smiled, “My Father taught me. He said it might help me one day.”
“What are you going to do now?”
I shrugged, “I don’t know, hunt I guess. Maybe look for more gems.”
Camden looked thoughtful, “I could teach you a craft. Many people look down on it and it can be dangerous at times.”
I looked at him thoughtfully, “What is this craft?”
He looked at him and spoke softly, “A thief.”
I sat back in surprise, after a couple of quiet minutes I leaned forward, “Are you any good?”
Camden smiled at me, “I’m a master.”
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