By Brian Flood
Chapter 25 - Staying on the Farm
Along the Uldoon Trail, The Sunset Vale
Late Afternoon, 29th Day of Eleint; Year of the Tankard (1370 DR)
“Being a farmer's son myself, I'll go up with whomever wishes to come,” replies Darius. While waiting for others to volunteer, Darius turns to Soft Fang, scratches behind his ears and growls/yips at him. The wolf bumps his head against Darius' leg, and then sits down.
Dolak replies, “I dinna need t' go with you, but if you need a bargainin' chip, I can set up the forge in the morn and fix some things fer these folks – that is if we have the time to pause tomorrow. I think we might.” Dolak looks to Tomar for an answer.
Tomar shakes his head in response. “Nay, I do not think we should be in a hurry in the morning. Tomorrow is the 30th day of Eleint, the next will be Higharvestide – the day that Asbravn apparently celebrates its Harvestfest. From what those Red Cloaks told us, we should be able to easily make Asbravn tomorrow. That tells me that if we take a few hours to help these farmers, we still should make it to town before nightfall.”
always need fixing on a farm, and this a a much better trade than a few coins.
Thanks Dolak,” replies the druid.
Alric speaks up, saying, “Dolak, would you be able to teach me some points of metalworking? I can make basic repairs to my armor, but I would like to learn other types of repairs.”
“I'll go with you,” Kjira replies. “Though I'm not sure we want to approach with Soft Fang at our side. Most farmers don't take too kindly to wolves on their property...much less on their doorsteps.”
“Aye, even my own father did not take to Soft Fang right off so he will stay here whilst we go,” Darius replies.
The red robed mage halts his mount and dismounts. Lucas speaks a word that the others struggle to understand as the mount then dissolves into mist and disappears. Straightening his robes about himself and still dissatisfied with his appearance, Lucas utters another quick mystical word and makes a sweeping gesture about himself. Suddenly the clean, dry mage appears happier.
“Well that is much better,” he pronounces. “I would like to come with you but some farmers might not like things which they cannot fathom. I will stay with Tomar til you return. I am looking forward to getting a bit of rest in a dry spot if possible, too.”
Darius nods and sets off toward the house with Kjira at his side.
* * * * *
The two adventurers approach cautiously up the muddy trail that leads to the main structure on the homestead – a stone cottage that looks to hold no more than two to three rooms. After knocking on the warped wooden front door, that pair waits for a few moments before they receive a response.
From behind the closed door, a man’s voice cries out. “Who is there?”
“Greetings, sir,” replies the druid. “We are Darius and Kjira, travelers with a small group. We are looking to perhaps rent your barn for the night so we may get out of this rain and get a fresh start in the morning.”
A long silence follows and then the gruff voice responds. “How many are ya – and whaddaya plan on payin’ with?”
are eleven of us and two carts,” Darius answers. “As for payment, perhaps a few coins and one of our party
is a smith who can fix things. As a
farmer's son myself, I know that every farm has tools that need fixing.”
“You’ll hardly notice us here, and we'll be gone soon enough in the morning,” Kjira chimes in with Darius. “A roof over our heads for the night would be a welcome respite from the rain we've been traveling through these last few days.”
Another long silence ensues before the sound of a door being unbarred comes from behind the portal. The door opens a crack, revealing the aged face of a human male. Dirt lies embedded deep under the fingernails of the hand that holds open the door, revealing the faint smell of a woodfire from within.
The man winces as he studies the pair of adventurers on his doorstep. Craning his neck he glances around them at the small procession that is stopped on the muddy Uldoon Trail. He grunts as says, “Alright then – you look safe enough. If not, we oughta have some Red Cloaks back here before long to kick ya out. Get on to the barn and make yerself comfortable. I’ll take a copper fer each ‘a yer band fer now – or just a single silver fer alla ya if ya got that. And no fires in the barn, ya hear?”
sir,” replies Darius, as he opens up his pouch, pulls out a silver coin, and
hands it to the man. “We thank
you for your hospitality and you can be assured of no fires in the barn.”
Darius heads back to the group with Kjira, and tells them the night is paid for, and that there are to be no fires.
* * * * *
After a brief period on the stoop of the farmhouse, Darius and Kjira return to the party.
“The night is paid for,” announces Darius to the small band. “But be aware, there are to be no fires in the barn.”
“Well done,” Cyzicus comments with a smile. “The enclosure should make up for the lack of flame. I guess I'll just have to smoke my pipe outside.”
Slyvia goes with the others to the shelter and safety afforded by the rented barn. “It would be nice to get out of these damp clothing,” she weakly coughs.
The small group moves into the spacious barn for the evening. They quickly find that there is plenty of room to spare – as long as one is not particular about the smells in the hay that blankets the floor. The party performs their routine evening camp duties in a fashion suitable to their new – temporary – environment.
In the morning, true to his word, Dolak sets up his traveling forge and proceeds to repair a broken plowshare for the farmer – whom the party now has learned is named Amos. In return, Amos’ wife Elise produces eleven generous servings of fried eggs and bacon for the party’s morningfeast.
Sometime around highsun, the party members pack up their meager belongings and head toward the Trail. Yet another dose of midday drizzle coats their cloaks as they make the eastward turn toward Asbravn.
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