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Author Topic: The Traveller. A short story in instalments. Part: The final.  (Read 7204 times)
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Tharoc Wargrider
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« on: 16 July 2008, 02:57:22 »

                                 THE TRAVELLER
              By Humbert Humbold, discoverer of Truphull Oil

     Being an accurate account of events which befell me recently.


I had a new horse. It was an exciting toy, a large Remusian Kor’och Fey Mologh gelding, bred in the stables of the great-great grandson of Kelleroch himself. His coat was of the deepest shade of norsidian imaginable, which seemed to accentuate his muscular body with every twitch and turn.
I haven’t always been able to afford such wonderful things, though. Before my most fortunate discovery of Truphull Oil and all its benefits, I was scratching out a meagre living as a Truphull-snuffler, barely able to make ends meet. I always promised myself that one day, I would own one of the fine beasts that I saw drawing the carriages of the rich merchants of northern Sarvonia. And now, for me, that time had come.

I was travelling up to Remusiat by myself. It was a beautiful Rising Sun day. Peasants were haymaking in the fields and there were Sun-smile flowers along both sides of the track. I was rocking gently along, leaning back comfortably in the leather seat of my carriage, with no more than a couple of fingers loosely holding the reins to keep Nightshade, my horse, steady. Ahead of me, I saw a man waiting by the side of the road. I gently pulled on the reins and brought Nightshade to a stop beside him.

I always stop for travellers. I knew from my own experience just how it used to feel to be standing at the side of a country road watching the carriages and carts go by. I hated the drivers for pretending they didn’t see me, especially the ones with big, empty carts, with big, empty seats. The large, expensive carriages seldom stopped. It was always the smaller ones that offered you a lift, or the derelict ones or the ones that were already crammed full of taenish in crates, boars, goats and children, and the driver would always say, “I think we can squeeze one more on top.”

The traveller looked up at me expectantly and said “Goin’ to Remusiat, guv’nor?”
“Yes,” I said. “Climb up.”
He climbed up and sat beside me and I flicked the reins to get Nightshade moving again.

He was a small, rat-faced man with grey teeth. His eyes were dark and quick and clever, like a rats, and his ears were slightly pointed at the top. He had a dirty cloth cap on his head and he was wearing a greyish-coloured coat with enormous pockets. The grey jacket, together with the quick eyes and pointed ears, made him look more than anything like some sort of huge human rat.

“What part of Remusiat are you headed for?” I asked him.
“I’m goin’ straight through an’ out the other side,” he said. “I’m goin’ to the cock-fightin’ in a village just through the wall. It’s a big contest today.”
“Ah yes, so it is,” I said. “I wish I had time to come with you. I love betting on the fights.”
“I never bet on ‘em,” he said. “I don’t even watch ‘em fight. Stupid, silly business, that is.”
“Then why do you go?”I asked.

He didn’t seem to like that question. His ratty little face went absolutely blank and he sat there staring straight ahead at the road, saying nothing.

“I expect you help to organise the betting or something like that,” I said.
“That’s even sillier,” he answered. “There’s no fun running ‘round wiv an ‘andfull of tickets, sellin’ ‘em to the mugs, havin’ folk shoutin’ at yer. Any fool could do that.”

There was a long silence. I decided not to question him any more. I remembered how irritated I used to get when cart-drivers kept asking me questions. Where are you going? Why? What’s your job? Are you married? Do you have a sweetheart? What’s her name? How old are you? And so forth and so forth. I used to hate it.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “It’s none of my business what you do. The trouble is, I write stories in my spare time, and that makes me very nosey, especially when I meet someone as interesting as you.”
“You write books?” he asked.
“Well, no, more like short tales, the kind you can tell by the fireside on a winters night.”
“Writin' stories is okay,” he said. “It’s what I calls a ‘skilled trade’, is that. I’m in a skilled trade too. The folks I despises is them what spend all their lives doin’ silly old borin’ jobs an’ no skill in ‘em at all. You see what I mean?”
“Yes.”
“The secret o’ life,” he said, “is to get very very good at somethin’ what’s very very ‘ard to do.”
“Like you,” I said.
“Zackly. You ‘an me both.”
“What makes you think I’m any good at writing?” I asked. “There’s a lot of bad writers around.”
“You wouldn’t be drivin’ round in a carriage like this ‘un. ‘an ‘avin it pulled by an ‘orse like that if you weren’t no good at it,” he answered. “It must ‘ave cost a tidy sum, that fine beast.”
I decided not to try to explain that I was actually a Truphull merchant, and not a writer by trade.
“It wasn’t cheap.”
“I’ll bet he can shift some, though. ‘Ow fast can he go?”
“The breeder told me that he would run fast enough to shake the teeth out of your head.” I told him.
“I bet he can’t.”
“I bet he will!”
“All ‘orse breeders is liars,” he said. “You can buy any ‘orse you likes and it’ll never run as fast as they say it will.”
“This one will.”
“Alright then, gee ‘im up an’ let’s see what ‘e can do.”

Who is the strange traveller, and why is he going to the cock-fighting? Just what is his skill? And how fast can Nigtshade really run?     To be continued....... 


« Last Edit: 20 July 2008, 04:58:39 by Tharoc Wargrider » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 16 July 2008, 03:14:27 »

Another good story started! Did I already say, that I hate this "--will be continued.." ???
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« Reply #2 on: 16 July 2008, 03:16:54 »

Hey, we all gotta eat sometime!

I'll post the next instalment tomorrow, if that's ok Takor?
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« Reply #3 on: 16 July 2008, 05:07:36 »

How long do orcs eat? A whole night?  grin
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« Reply #4 on: 16 July 2008, 05:33:38 »

How long do you think it takes to cook and eat a full Warg?
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« Reply #5 on: 16 July 2008, 05:43:34 »

Fond of Roald Dahl too, are you, Tharoc?   Just a wild guess on my part, of course... :P



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« Reply #6 on: 16 July 2008, 05:49:44 »

Very, Alysse. I think it must be those (are they?) naked women dancing in the flames. Ah, it takes me back to my youth.......
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« Reply #7 on: 16 July 2008, 05:55:48 »

Very, Alysse. I think it must be those (are they?) naked women dancing in the flames. Ah, it takes me back to my youth.......

*Sits and listens, ready for Tharoc to recall some of the more wild moments of his youth*
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« Reply #8 on: 16 July 2008, 06:05:03 »

Don't hold your breath, Azhira, might be a looong trip back...(laughs, ducks and runs)


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« Reply #9 on: 16 July 2008, 23:40:38 »

I don't have to come here to be insulted like this, y'know.

I can stay at home and get it instead.

Insulted, I mean.

Well, that as well.

If I'm good.

Why am I telling you two all this?
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« Reply #10 on: 16 July 2008, 23:56:09 »

 rofl


Okay, okay, I'll be good (crosses fingers behind back)


More story?  Pretty pleeeeeeeeese...with knobs on?



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« Reply #11 on: 17 July 2008, 03:17:19 »

                            THE TRAVELLER
                            Part: The second

There is a very winding stretch of road just to the west of Remusiat and immediately beyond there is a long, straight section of flat, smooth, hard-packed dirt. We came out of the curves onto the good road and I clicked my tongue and slapped the reins down sharply on Nightshade’s rump. He leapt forward as though he’d been stung. In a few seconds we were galloping along at a good rate.

“Lovely!” he cried. “Beautiful! Keep goin’!”
I whipped the reins against Nightshade’s flanks a second time, urging him on.
“HEE-YAAH!” he yelled, “Go on, guv’nor, don’t slack off. We’re flyin’ now!”
I had to pull out to pass several slow-moving carts laden with goods for the market, the wheels of the carriage brushing the edge of the road and threatening to slide into the ditch which runs alongside.
“GO ON! GO ON! GET UP THERE!” my passenger shouted, jumping up and down.
I looked back to see the carts we had passed disappearing into the distance, a smile playing on my lips.

When I turned back in my seat, my heart nearly leapt out of my chest. There was a detachment of Remusian Watchmen right in front of us, their sergeant wildly waving his arms at me to get out of the way. I tried to rein Nightshade back, but it was no good, he tried vainly to stop himself, but the weight of the carriage just pushed him forwards, his hooves scoring deep ruts in the road.
Realising the danger, the Watchmen were scattering in all directions, pushing each other out of the way in their efforts to escape being crushed. Most of them, including their sergeant, finished up waist-deep in the stagnant water-filled ditch.

Gradually, Nightshade and myself managed to gain control of the carriage, bringing it to a juddering halt about ten peds beyond the patrol. A large cloud of dust, kicked up by Nightshade’s dragging hooves, hung all around us. I nervously turned to look at what damage we had caused. Slowly, the dust began to clear, and the first thing I saw was the sergeant, sodden from the waist down and with weeds and mud stuck to his face and hair, glaring at me from the edge of the ditch.

Seeing the look in the sergeants eyes, I knew this wasn’t going to go well for me. He  began to walk slowly across towards us, deliberately picking the bits of wet foliage from his hair and uniform and dropping them to the ground. As he drew nearer I could hear the muddy water squelching inside his boots with each step he took. He stopped briefly to remove first one boot, then the other, and lifting each one to head height, he slowly poured the contents out whilst staring in my direction. He was taking his time. He had us where he wanted us and he knew it.

“This is real trouble,” I said. “I don’t like it one little bit.”
“Don’t talk to ‘im any more’n you ‘ave to, right?” my companion said. “Jus’ sit tight ‘an keep quiet.”
Like an executioner approaching his victim, the officer strolled slowly towards us. He was a big, meaty man with a round belly, and his green breeches were skin-tight around his enormous thighs. Beneath his helmet was a smouldering red face with wide cheeks.

We sat like guilty schoolboys, waiting for him to arrive.
“Watch out fer this ‘un,” my passenger whispered, “ ‘e looks mean as a demon-lord.”

The sergeant came to my side of the carriage and placed a large hand on the foot-rail. “What’s the ‘urry?” he said.
“Erm, nothing, officer, I mean, no hurry.” I answered.
“Per’aps you’ve got a woman in the back there, ‘avin a baby, an’ yer rushin’ ‘er to th’ midwife? Is that it?”
“No, sergeant.”
“Okay then, per’aps yer ‘ouse is on fire an’ yer racin’ ‘ome to rescue yer fam’ly from upstairs?” His voice was dangerously soft and mocking.
“My house isn’t on fire, sergeant. At least, I hope it isn’t.”
“Well then, in that case,” he said, “you’ve gone an’ got yerself into a nasty mess, ain't ya? What d'you think you were at, racin' down a public 'ighway like yer arse were on fire?"
I shrugged and didn't say anything.

When he spoke next, he raised his voice so loud that I started.
“You were goin’ faster’n a bloody racehorse, mate. And pullin’ a ruddy great carriage, to boot!” he barked. “You must ‘ave been goin’ at least twice as fast as is safe round ‘ere!”

He turned his head, hawked, and spat out a huge gob of phlegm. It landed on the wheel of my carriage and began to slide and drip slowly down the spokes. Then he turned back and stared hard at my companion. “An’ ‘oo are you?” he asked sharply.
“He’s a traveller,” I said. “I’m giving him a lift.”
“Did I ask you? No. I asked ‘im.”
“ ‘Ave I done somethin’ wrong?” he asked, his voice was soft and oily as my Truphull Oil hair-cream.
“More than likely,” the sergeant answered. “Anyhow, your’re a witness. I’ll deal wiv you in a minute. Traders permit.” He snapped at me, holding out his hand.
I gave him my permit.

He unbuttoned the left-hand breast pocket of his tunic and brought out the dreaded sheaf of magistrates summonses. Carefully, he copied down my name and address from the permit before giving it back to me. He then filled in the date and details of my offence. After re-writing all the details down on a second summons, he checked that all the information was the same on both tickets. Finally, he replaced the roll of parchment in his breast pocket and fastened the button.

“Now you.” he said to my passenger, and he walked around to the other side of the carriage. From his other breast pocket he produced another piece of parchment. “Name?” he snapped.
“Tomass Quinch.” he said.
“Address?”
“Pond Lane, Darooth.”
“Got anythin’ to prove you are ‘oo you say you are?” the sergeant said.
My passenger rummaged around in the voluminous pockets of his jacket and came out with a crumpled document. It was another magistrates summons, this one for public drunkenness. The sergeant checked the details and handed it back to him with a shake of his head. “What’s yer job?” he asked sharply.
“I’m a brick-carrier.”
“A what?”
“A brick-carrier.”
“What the ‘eck is a brick-carrier, might I ask?”
“A brick-carrier, sergeant, is a person what carries bricks up the ladder to the bricklayer.”
“Alright, smartarse. ‘Oos yer employer?”
“Aint got one. I’m unemployed.”
The sergeant wrote all this down on the little document. Then he returned it to his pocket and did up the button.

“When I gets back to the City-watch office I’m goin’ to do a little checkin’ up on you.” he said to my passenger.
“Me? What’ve I done wrong?” rat-face asked.
“I don’t like yer face, is all,” he said. “And I suspect we might ‘ave a picture of it somewhere in the files.” He strolled back around the carriage and returned to my side.
“I ‘spect you know you’re in serious trouble? What with reckless endangerment, interferin' wi' City watchmen in the execution of their sworn duty and causin' bodily 'arm an' discomfort to an officer of the Watch.” he said to me, wincing as he rubbed his backside.
“Yes, sergeant.”
“I don’t s’pose you’ll be usin’ this fancy carriage of your’n for some time, not after we’ve finished wiv yer. An’ a good thing too. I ‘ope they lock you up fer a spell into the bargain.”
“Prison!”
“Abso-bloody-lutely.” he said, savouring the moment. “In the clink. Behind the bars. Along wiv all the other criminals ‘oo breaks the law.  And a ‘efty fine to boot. Nobody’ll be more pleased than me about that. I’ll see the both of you in the court. You’ve got yer summonses to appear.”
He turned and walked back to his men, who had been watching the proceedings with smirks of enjoyment on their faces. Calling them to attention, he barked his orders at them and they marched smartly off in the direction of the Remusiat City-watch office.


Tune in tomorrow for another exciting episode.........
« Last Edit: 18 July 2008, 06:36:17 by Tharoc Wargrider » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: 17 July 2008, 03:45:15 »

Hehe, Tharoc, you are a good storyteller!


There are a few problems I see arise.

- Remusiat is faaaar away from Elindor, so your hero won't pick somebody up who has the same destination. At least they won't find out at once. In the first installment I thought, you were merely a few strals away from the town. Why don't you just say, you are approaching Remusiat and that last straight piece of road leads into Remusiat.

- Sergeant - the Remusians might have some, but the Kuglimz, or the elves (Elindor is elven, right?)? I don't think so, ask Alysse.  And do we have sheriffs ??

- paper, we are still in the middleages, and on top in Northern Sarvonia , away from the centre of culture, so I doubt such a person as your sergeant has seen any paper at all in his life, not to speak of two notebooks!

Why has he stopped at all? he could have just went on, the soldiers might not even have had the time to look what kind of carriage was passing. And a speed limit??? Is that not a bit too modern?
« Last Edit: 17 July 2008, 03:47:18 by Talia Sturmwind » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: 17 July 2008, 03:52:45 »

Maybe he stopped because it was the right thing to do. :D
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« Reply #14 on: 17 July 2008, 04:49:04 »

@ Talia. I'll have alook at the location/destination issue. I wasn't 100% convinced I had it right anyway.

I agree that the elves probably wouldn't have sergeants. Perhaps they have an equivalent? I shall find out.

I used sherriff as I was struggling to find something which fit the bill. Magistrate, perhaps? Captain of the guard? Any suggestions, anyone?

Ah, paper. There, my lady, you have me "bang to rights". I shall change that to parchment or something similar. As for the notebooks, I'm sure I can think of something to replace them.

The speed limit is there because (a) this is a Santharization of a story set in the modern RL, and that is why the driver was stopped in the tale, and (B) I thought it would be quite good fun to introduce something so obviously "modern" into the story, just to see how the people of Santharia would deal with it. I find it quite chucklesome, anyway!

Ah, dear Talia, you have the eyes of a hawk! I should have known better than to try and squeeze anything past you!
Thank-you for your comments, and I hope you will enjoy the rest of the tale.

PS. I will make the changes tomorrow, when my eyes and head are clearer.
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