Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: A journey begins|
I leaned back on the roof, it wouldn’t be long before the merchant left with his wife for their evening walk. While I waited, I thought over the past year and a half. I remembered those first lessons Camden had taught. It had taken me months to master all the locks he had shown me and I still took lessons with the three sword masters.
He also taught me to read and write, I was getting good at it too. Maybe that was why he had hired the old elf to teach me both the high and low language of the elves. I heard a door slam over the edge of the roof and saw the merchant and his wife walk off down the street.
Moving to the back of the house I took off the small pack and pulled out a grapple and short rope. I hooked the grapple onto the gutter and swung over the edge of the roof. I climbed down the rope to the topmost window and hooked the rope with one leg. Keeping a grip with one hand I pulled out my dagger and slid the point into the crack of the window.
By pressing up, the old lock popped up and the window swung open. I put the dagger away and pulled myself through the window. I stopped to listen for a minute and then went to the door and opened it quietly. Glancing left and right, I turned to the left and went down the hall to the stairs.
I went down the stairs to the second floor and followed the hall to the front of the house, that was where I thought the merchant’s bedroom would be. It turned out to be behind the third door. Once in the room I looked around until I saw a desk with a large chest sitting next to it.
Crossing to the chest I knelt and examined the lock. Nodding to myself, I reached into my pouch and pulled out a small kit. It was only a moment later that I heard a click from the lock. I replaced the wrench and pick and then put the kit back into my pouch.
Standing to the side I opened the chest and looked in. I made sure there were no traps before sorting through the chest. I found a small chest with expensive spices, a large pouch full of coppers, a second pouch half full of silver crowns and the last item was another small chest.
Opening the chest I was surprised. In ten neat columns were gold pieces and on the right side were three small pouches. Opening one pouch I saw it was filled with small gems of all sorts. The second pouch was the same, but in the third one there were only twelve gems but the size and quality is what surprised me. They were easily worth twice the gold in the chest.
Putting the pouches in my vest pockets I took an empty pouch from inside my shirt and poured the gold into it. I tied the pouch to my belt and replaced the small chest. As I started to close the lid he saw something in one corner, reaching in I found it was a stiletto.
When I pulled it out of the sheath, I saw the silvery runes on the blade. I unwound the leather on the handle and looked in amazement at the small handle. It was in the shape of a cat, with chips from every type of gem covering it. Shaking my head I quickly wrapped it back up and stuck it in my belt.
Closing the lid I crossed to the door and stepped out into the hall. I paused to listen and then went back up the stairs. Going back to the room I had entered the house from I closed the door and went to the window. Looking out I didn’t see anyone so I reached out and grabbed onto the rope, as I pulled himself out I pulled the window closed.
After reaching the roof, I replaced the grapple and rope in my pack. I untied the pouch of gold and put it in the pack as well. After closing the pack, I put it on and crossed the roof. When I reached an alley at the other end of the block I climbed down a drain pipe and walked to the street.
Walking towards where my cache was I came to the edge of the animal pens. I decided to take a short cut through the pens and as I was passing an area with larger cages I noticed a man feeding one of the animals. When I looked closer I saw that it was not an animal but a Kaire, one of the four people.
Interested, I waited until he finished. When he moved off I watched him turn a corner and then went up to the cage. As the catlike being looked up at me I spoke in high elven, “Why are you being kept like this?”
Surprised the Kaire moved to the bars, “Because these humans think I am an animal. Who are you, human?”
I looked at him closely, “I am called, Kevin.”
The Kaire nodded, “I am Farrell.”
“How did you come to be here Farrell?”
He scowled, “Hunters came into our woods. When they saw my sister, they thought she was an animal and killed her. When I found her, I vowed vengeance and followed them out of the woods. After a couple of days I fell ill and was much weakened. A caravan found me and here I am.”
I thought for a minute and then broke the silence, “I will help you, have patience and I will free you.”
I smiled, “Tomorrow. I must buy provisions.”
With that I walked towards my cache. Winding my way through the streets I came to the inner wall, turning to the right I went into an old warehouse that was partially collapsed. As I went in I turned towards the wall again. Making my way through rubble I came to the old office. Going to the side I climbed up a ladder until I came to what was left of the catwalk.
I went to the wall and pulled out two blocks that had been shaved on the back. There was a larger space behind the wall, inside was a pack, a quiver full of arrows and a new bow. I pulled the pack out and opened an outside pocket. Inside I found some squirrel skin pelts, I had paid some children one copper for every pelt they brought. I still had a large sack full of pelts, both squirrel and rabbit.
I took off the small pack I was wearing and opened it. I took out the pouch of gold and opened it. I counted out half and put the pouch back. I counted out twenty gold pieces from the other half and then put them in my belt pouch. I made equal columns with the rest and wrapped each column in a squirrel skin and put them in the large pack.
I took the small pouch with the twelve gems out of my vest pocket. Turning the large pack on its side, I unlaced what seemed like the bottom seam. After I had opened it a little I placed the gems inside and laced it by up. Replacing the pack behind the wall and put the two blocks of stone back.
Going down the ladder I noticed how dark it was getting. At the door I stayed in the shadows and checked the street. When I thought it was clear I left the building and made my way to the abandoned building Camden lived in. Going to the back I knocked on the panel. When it opened I stepped in. The first thing I noticed was Egan, my teacher.
Stepping up to the table I looked back at Camden, who was closing the panel, “Am I interrupting something?”
Egan smiled, “No, I was just visiting. I have told Camden how fast you were learning.”
I smiled, “I like what you teach.”
He rose and went to the panel with Camden, “Its getting late and I should be going.”
I sat my small pack on the table and took a seat, waiting for Camden to come back. He returned to the table and sat, “Well, what have you been up to?”
I smiled warmly at my friend, “Oh, this and that.”
As I finished speaking I opened my small pack and pulled out the pouch of gold and set it on the table. He opened the pouch and looked inside and then back at me in surprise, “What have we here?”
I just smiled and put the two small pouches from my vest on the table. Camden smiled, “Have you put anything in your cache?”
I laughed, “Aye, half the gold and one pouch of gems.”
He nodded as he started counting the gold, “no one saw you?”
I said nothing about the divided money. I knew it went to pay for the lessons with my sword masters, it also paid for my lessons with Egan. There was also his commission as my master. Looking at him, I saw a man in his middle years with dark hair and eyes that were blue. He looked up from counting, “Is something wrong?”
“I think I am going to take a vacation. Maybe do some hunting. I begin to miss the woods.”
Camden sat back and looked at me, “you’ll come back?”
I smiled, “I might be gone awhile but I’ll be back. I’ll keep my room at the inn.”
He nodded, “I’ll leave any messages at the inn. To many know where to find me.”
He finished counting and put one of the small pouches of gems in his vest. He picked up the gold and put it in a chest, “I’ll miss you. Take care and watch out for snow cats. They’ve been seen in the valleys.”
I smiled, “I’ll bring you a pelt.”
I put the small pouch of gems in my vest before standing and moving to the panel. Camden crossed the room and offered his hand, “Good luck.”
Shaking his hand I opened the panel and left. Winding my way through the streets I came to the Black Oak. I had been staying at the inn for nine months now. I had rented the attic, it had the space I needed for my exercises and it gave me the privacy I wanted. Going in the front door I saw Bromley the innkeeper sitting at a table and he waved me over.
As I came to the table he indicated a chair, “Would you like some dinner?”
Sitting down I nodded and he waved as Fiona came into the room. When she reached us Bromley grinned, “Dinner Fiona.”
She laughed, “You’ll want ale too?”
I laughed as well and Bromley smiled, “Aye lass, bring ale.”
I grinned, Bromley was a rather plump man with dark hair and green eyes. He always seemed to have a smile, his wife was completely different. She was tall for a woman, just under six feet. She had blonde hair, blue eyes and she was all business. There were times she was like her husband though.
I looked at him, “I will be going away for awhile, hunting I think.”
He returned my look, “the woods are not for the young.”
I smiled, “I lived in the great forest for a year after my parents died.”
Bromley sat back in surprise, “you never told me. I’m sorry.”
I kept smiling, “It was years ago.”
The door to the kitchen opened and Fiona came out with a tray, behind her was Leilani, Bromley’s wife. She had two tankards of ale, Fiona set the tray on the table. There were two large venison steaks, some greens, a half loaf of bread and some cheese. Leilani set the tankards down and smiled at me.
Bromley cleared his throat, “Kevin was just telling me that he was leaving.”
I looked up, “I don’t know how long I’ll be gone but I would like it if you would keep my room. I’ll pay of course.”
She frowned, “We’ll keep the room for you of course and we’ll miss you.”
After dinner I went upstairs but I stopped at Bromley’s door and knocked and Leilani answered, “I’ll be leaving early in the morning.”
I counted out several gold pieces and handed them to her, “I shouldn’t be gone that long but if I am keep the room and I will pay you what is owed.”
She was surprised, “you think you will be gone this long?”
I nodded, “Yes, it’s very possible.”
“Take care and return when you can.”
In my room I looked around, it wasn’t a bad place for a half silver a week. Sighing I thought of what I was going to do. Tomorrow would be a long day and there would be a lot to do. Going into the back room I undressed and went to bed.
I woke early as was my custom, going to my clothing chest I put on black pants and shirt with a leather vest. Taking my short sword off the wall, I slung the sword over my right shoulder and fastened the tip to his left hip. I took out the new pair of black boots and put them on. I slipped a stiletto into my right boot and strapped another in its sheath to my right forearm. Picking up the third I saw it was the one I had taken yesterday and strapped it to my left forearm.
Closing the chest, I stepped onto the lid and reached up to the rafter. Feeling along the top I found the hole I had carved into it and pulled out the pouch of gold I had saved. Stepping down I dusted the top of the chest and took the green cloak from a peg on the wall. I took a last look around and then walked to the door and left.
Leaving the inn I made my way to the animal pens and to the Farrel’s cage where I saw the owner bringing him breakfast. Coming up to the cage I saw that he was awake and watching me, “how much are you asking for the beast?”
The man looked over his shoulder at me, “What would you do with it?”
I shrugged, “That’s my business.”
He looked at me for a minute, “All right boy.”
I began bargaining and after several minutes we finally reached a price. I opened my pouch and to the owner’s surprise counted out the gold. The merchant counted it again and then smiled as he pulled a key out of his vest and handed it to me, “Good luck and watch your hands.”
He turned and walked off and I watched him leave and then turned and walked to the door of the cage, “we have much to do so stay close.”
I opened the door and Farrell stepped out slowly, “It has been so long since I walked free.”
I smiled, “Come we need horses.”
Turning I headed for the corrals and Farrell waited a moment and then followed, “Why are you doing this?”
I slowed, “I don’t know. I feel a need to get away and you needed help.”
We started off again and didn’t stop until we reached the horse corrals. We stopped at one of the better looking ones and the owner came over to us keeping his eyes on Farrell, “Can I help you young Sir?”
I smiled, “I want to buy two horses with all their gear.”
He looked at me closely, “Can you afford it?”
I just continued to smile and he turned to look at the horses. After a couple of minutes I pointed out a grey stallion, “How much for that stallion?”
The trader looked at the horse and then at me, “You know about horseflesh anyway.”
We bargained and he threw in the saddle and bridle. I looked at Farrell, “Do you see one you like?”
He looked back at me, “I have never ridden a horse but I will learn.”
He turned and pointed to a black mare, “Perhaps that one.”
I turned to the trader, “My friend would like the black mare.”
The trader looked at Farrell, “To eat or ride?”
I laughed, “To ride. We have a long way to go.”
The trader nodded and then looked at the mare. We started bargaining until we agreed on a price and I thought about it, “You’ll throw in the gear?”
He trader took a moment to think about it and then agreed. While I counted out the money the trader had one of his handlers catch and saddle the horses. When the handler brought the horses I gave the trader the gold. At first the horses were afraid of Farrell but when he started talking to them they quieted down.
Leading the horses I headed for the marketplace and as we got close I noticed the attention Farrell attracted. I stopped at one of the first stalls and purchased a long grey cloak and gave it to him. I studied the cat like creature as he put the cloak on, “I don’t know your customs but you are drawing attention to us. Do your people use weapons?”
He was six feet tall, only a couple of inches taller than me, “Yes, the bow and sword.”
I nodded, “Then that’s our next stop.”
I led the way to one of the many weapon booths. Tying the horses to one of the posts we went in. I called out to the booth’s owner, “Braden are you here?”
“I’m in the back. Be there in a minute!”
I had met Braden at the inn, he was courting Fiona. He was a big man with blonde hair and a beard, “I have business for you!”
I pointed, “why don’t you look through those weapons in that corner.”
As Farrell went over to the weapons I started going through the pile I was standing by. I found a leather case about three and a half feet in length. As I opened it I heard the smith enter, looking over a rack of weapons the smith smiled, “I see you found one of my prizes.”
I grinned, “What is it?”
Braden started crossing the room, “Open it, I’ll put it together and you can see.”
I opened it and Braden took it out, when he put it together I saw that it was a crossbow. It was all metal, the stock was only a frame. The rear sight had a small knob on the side to change the distance. It had three settings; one, two and three hundred paces.
When I felt it, I liked it right away. It was very light weighting less then four pounds. Looking up I saw Farrell crossing the room carrying a long, hand and a half sword that was a dull silver color, “You found something you like?”
He nodded, “Yes but how it came to be here I don’t know.”
Braden turned surprised, “I didn’t know we weren’t alone.”
After looking at Farrell for a moment he looked at the sword, “That one came back with one of the caravans. It belonged to one of the guards that died during a raid.”
After bargaining for a few minutes I bought the sword and crossbow. Braden threw in fifty bolts and a large dagger by the time we were done. Farrell strapped the sword over his right shoulder under his cloak, he cut a hole for the sword to stick through. I took the crossbow apart and replaced it in the case, “Thanks Braden.”
He waved it away, “Come see me when you come back.”
Going out to the horses I tied the case and two quivers behind the saddle. Leading the way I headed for the fletching stalls. When we reached them I headed for Kane’s. He had the best reputation and I had used his arrows before, “Kane, my friend has need of a bow. What do you have?”
He grinned and looked from Farrell to me, “My young friend you came back and you bring me more business. Good, good. I only have five bows right now, wait a moment and I will bring them out.”
When he returned he had the bows in his arms. One was a plain oak hunting bow, two were iron wood hunting bows, another was a carved war bow made from iron wood. The last one was an intricately carved war bow made of an Ivory like material, “What is this last one made of?”
He grinned, “If you believe the merchant it is from the horn of a sea dragon.”
I handed the bow to Farrell, “What do you think?”
Farrell took the bow and after looking it over he drew it back a couple of times and then he looked at the fletcher, “May I try it?”
Kane grinned, “Follow me.”
He led us behind his stall where there was a narrow passageway with a target set up at the other end, “From here it is fifty paces.”
He gave Farrell three arrows, setting two aside he shot the first, it was an inch above center. Nodding to himself he picked up the second and shot it. It struck in the center, the third landed beside the second almost touching. Going back into the stall I asked for fifty arrows in two quivers.
After a short time bargaining I bought the bow and arrows. Leaving I handed Farrell one quiver of arrows. After securing the quivers on the horses I untied them and led them into the marketplace. After stopping at several stalls we had two bags of supplies for the trip and I headed for my cache.
When we reached the warehouse I had him wait. Inside I took out the pack, bow and quiver. I put the pack on and secured the quiver to my belt and picked up the black iron wood bow I had carefully made myself. Taking a last look around I went down the ladder and out of the building.
I shifted things around and placed the pack behind the saddle. After showing Farrell how to mount up, I helped him into the saddle and then mounted my own horse. Riding towards the gate I stopped at a small shop and went in. After a couple of minutes I came out with a bedroll and ground tarp.
I handed them to Farrell and then mounted my horse again and led the way to the gate. Once outside the city I led the way southeast, a couple of hours later we came to the edge of the forest. I stopped and took a long look back, sighing I turned and rode into the woods with Farrell beside me.
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