Journal of Shogar Paradax

Posted: October 21, 2011 in Shogar's Journal
Shogar Paradax

Shogar Paradax: Sorceror

We rode south from Sandrucar looking for a place to spend the winter. Three days of easy travel brought to us to Anglar. It looked promising to me, but Threse shook his head.

“I’ve enemies nearby,” he said. And that was that. We rode on after only one night in real beds.

By now we were out in the sticks, close to a week’s travel south of Gradsul. The road meandered inland, away from the wind-blasted shore, and we rode over rolling downs and through quiet farmlands.

Towards the middle of the second day out of Anglar, we spotted a few steep hills to the north west of us and rode through a long gap between stretches of primeval forest. At one point we came to a well used ford in a fast moving river. Threse nodded and smiled to himself.

“I know a good place not too far ahead, he said. “Big enough to hold us for the winter; too small for anyone we don’t trust to hide in; and too far away from anywhere important to be noticed. Just what we need.”

And thus we came to Sandpoint at the end of the season.  The leaves were changing color and the evenings drawing in, getting cold and rainy. It had been a profitable season with three assignments from the Duke of Gradsul, but we’d taken a beating. My leg might never be the same again. I had to ride everywhere and then hop around with a stick when I got off the horse. And Wolfsdottir had it worse than me. She’d spent three days in the tombs fending off the undead before we rescued her, and that haunted look was still in her eye.

We rode into town at the end of a miserable long day. Cold rain turning to sleet as the temperature dropped. I could smell the town long before we came to a wooden bridge over a shallow river. And suddenly Sandpoint was there, crouched on a spit of land jutting down from the steep hills to the north into the bay.

We clattered  across the bridge into the main street. There was a toll-both or a guard house – but no one was in it. Too cold by far to be sitting outside. I doubt they have many visitors this far away from anywhere important.

Away to the south, I could see a cluster of mast trees marking the location of the docks. And from somewhere up ahead came a snatch of music and a woman’s voice singing a song. It spoke of warm fires and hot food, cold drinks and soft beds. Even the horses looked up in anticipation.

Dabin Threse

Dabin Threse: Our Captain

“Here’s the stable yard,” said Threse pulling up in front of a gated entrance. He reach up and pulled hard on a dangling rope. A bell rang somewhere inside. I looked up at the sign creaking in the gusting wind. A goblin being crushed under a horse’s hoof that looked as big as a dinner plate, shod in heavy iron. Blood thirsty sort of place. Threse must have known it from before. There was no sign it was a stable and I would have ridden right past it in the shadows.

The gate opened a foot or so and a tall man with pointed features and heavy eyebrows looked out at us in the early evening gloom.

“What do you want?” he asked in no friendly manner.

“Somewhere to stable our horses, Davarin Hosk,” said Threse in that big hearty voice he saves for people he’s trying to bluff.

“Is that you, Threse?” asked the old man, stepping all the way out into the street to see us better.

“It is indeed, my old friend. It’s been many a long year since we parted company. I’m pleased you still remember me.”

The old boy grimaced. I could se that he had once beena powerful fellow, tall and rangy. Even now, though advanced in years, his hands and his arms looked strong.

“You owe me ten Lions, Dabin Threse,” said Horsk. “You left last time without paying your bill.”

Threse laughed and pulled out a small leather purse from his belt. He tossed it at the old man who caught it quickly in his left hand. I heard the chink of coins within.

“There’s fifty Lions in there, Hosk. Enough to pay my past due, with interest, and start an account for these poor beasts – who need a dry stable and real food – not trail pickings.”

The mention of the horses’ need persuaded the man and he grudgingly pushed open the gates for us. We dismounted, with groans of pain as saddle sores scraped against cloth and muscles took weight they were not used to. I hopped on one leg until I could slip my walking stick out of my saddle bags. A shift in position after so long in the saddle is a fearful thing. The horses snorted and shuffled from side to side, glad to be rid of our weight as we were to be off them.

When you ride a beast day in and day out and come to rely on it to save your life when only flight will do, you learn to put the creature’s needs first. Every night at camp, the horses eat first and they get settled before we do. Each of us takes turns in brushing maintaining the animals in our group. You get to know them personally.

Squished Goblin Stables

Squished Goblin Stables

Hosk’s stable was a rare luxury, though, for all of us. His grooms came forweard to to take our horses from us. We made sure the barn was dry with plenty of straw and watched the grooms look after our tired friends. It soon became clear, however, that they were in good hands and we started to think about our own needs.

“Is the Rusty Dragon still in business?” asked Threse. “Does Lonjiku Kaisits still serve roasted boar on Freeday?”

Horsk nodded and shook his head at the same time.

“Dragon’s still going strong,” he explained, “but Lonjiku is retired. Five years now. It’s his eldest, Aimiko who runs the joint now.”

“I don’t remember him,” said Threse.

“Her,” replied Horsk. “Looker, too. You would remember her if you’d met her. ‘Spect she was off on her adventures when you was here. Not any more, though. They say she made a packet running a pirate ship out of Monmurg and came home when she was young enough to retire and enjoy it – before someone killed her for it.”

“Sensible girl,” nodded Threse. “And good looking, you say.”

Horsk honked a raucous burst of laughter at Threse .

“Too damned young for you, y’old goat,” he wheezed. “And too damned smart to take up with the likes of these fly-by-nights!” He nodded at Walken and me. We’re the youngest in our gang. Youngest males, leastways, and Aynia has a way of not being seen when she doesn’t want to be.

  1. Mr WordPress says:

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