CHAPTER III: CRAZY MAN

A SANTHARIAN NARRATION

 
The Frethoni Book of Fables   
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Introduction. Heir'gor's escape was successful, but yet he isn't saved. Until one of the ships he has been hoping for so long, sets an end to his dangerous adventure up north and takes him with them, this obviously crazy man, talking about being captured by the orcs and getting back alive!
 

eir’gor stared glumly at the horizon. Four days since he had reached the Aelyvian coast, and he had seen no ships yet. He knew the trade routes - most bards did - and he knew that summer was the peak trading season for ships from Southern Sarvonia and the outlying continents. With no safe way through the Tandalas, it was also the only way for trade goods and people to actually stand a chance of getting to the other side alive.

He poked at the coals of his fire with a stick. The roasting barsa fish was starting to smell good, and he was ravenous. Beina’gor snorted as the sparks flew, but continued to eat the rough grass and moss that he’d gathered for her. Impatiently, he pulled the skewered fish from the flames and began to eat, burning his mouth, but was too hungry to care.

Then he saw it. Far out across the water, a small trading ship was sailing south. The bard leaped to his feet, seized the remainder of Beina’gor’s food, and threw it on the flames. Dark smoke puffed up. The indignant mare squealed angrily, but he ignored her, ripped of the remains of his shirt, and began to wave it wildly through the billowing smoke in a distress signal pattern (used by some Kuglimz for long distance communications, it was a limited but useful idea). He blessed all the gods he knew that it was a clear day and the dark smoke would show starkly against the shoreline. He repeated the signal, over and over.

On the ship, a drowsy helmsman yawned. He’d been up a bit late the previous night, helping to get the ship in closer to shore. They’d been hit by the tail end of a storm and so had chosen to go between the Tandala coast and the Isles of Ram to avoid the worst of it. He stared blankly at the coastline. Suddenly a billow of black smoke caught his attention. What in Caelereth…? At first he thought it might be an orcish fire, but then he realized that something was deliberately interfering with the smoke, causing an obvious signal pattern. He thought rapidly. I don’t know the Kuglimz smoke signals, but… Wait! We’ve got that rogue of a Turik on board, he’d know!

He pulled the alarm bell and within moments, his fellow crewmates swarmed the deck.
 

“What in the Netherhells is it now?!”

“Not another feffin’ storm!”

“No, you kuati-skulls, look yonder. There’s someone sending up smoke signals over there. Send for Turik!”

“Him? He’s likely still drink-sick from yestereve, we had to celebrate escaping the storm, no?” The others laughed raucously.

“I don’t give a feffin’ kack for his drink-sick, get him up here!” the helmsman roared and a ships-boy ran to fetch the Barsalonian researcher.

I don’t believe it, Heir’gor thought, but they’re lowering a boat! Oh gods, I’m saved! Tears of emotion ran down his cheeks. He hastily scooped damp sand over the remains of his fire as the boat neared and rushed out into the water towards them. The boatmen regarded him with mingled shock, pity, and disgust on their faces. As he seized the prow of the boat, one addressed him in Kuglimz'seitre, telling him to stop, they were coming ashore. He began to babble at them, the words spilling out of his mouth, telling them about the orcs and that he’d escaped and caught the horse and… But he was interrupted. One of them translated some of what he’d said to the others and they spoke amongst themselves.

“He’s a feffin’ lunatic! Losh-Oc? They’d’ve eaten him!”

“Man’s not sane, and he reeks to offend the gods!”

The Bard and Archivist F'ash
View picture in full size Image description. Heir'gor, F'ash or just "Crazy Man" - many different names for a recognizable face which has many adventures up his sleeve... Picture drawn by Bard Judith.

“But there is the horse - funny lookin’ beast that it is - and we can’t leave him here.

Heir’gor, like most bards, had a gift for other languages, and he had learned Tharian from the traders that had come through his area, so he could follow some of what they were saying. In halting Tharian, he begged, “Do not leave me! I am bard…the orcs…my songs…” but he was interrupted by a shout of laughter.

“A bard?! This, a bard? Look, fellow, d’ye think we’re feffing stupid?”

“Oh, shut your kacky mouth, he’s not clear-minded.”

Rage flooded Heir’gor and he turned on the sailors savagely.

“Lunatic, am I? Curi’lyr! Very well, then, crazy man I am! Will take me with you, yes or no?! Vekk’ang!” he added for good measure. Fortunately for the bard, the one who spoke Kuglimz'seitre did not translate the insults, although the horrified expression on his face gratified Heir’gor somewhat. He’d never flung such dire insults before, except at the orcs, who hadn’t comprehended them anyway.

“Sunspawn, you’re hot! All right, then! Let’s go, time’s fleeting. What about the horse?”

“She come, if stabling have you aboard,” the bard said hopefully. He didn’t want to leave the little mare behind, for without a herd, he knew she’d quickly fall prey to one of the many Tandalian monsters.

“No, but there is room in the hold, you can tie her there. We’ll be docking at Nyermersys Harbour soon and you can return to land if you’re so minded.”

The bard climbed aboard. Beina’gor swam behind them. As they paddled back towards the ship, the sailors started to introduce themselves.

“M’name’s Garius, this is Morly, him’s Luran, an’ that’s Turik…” The last named, the one who could speak Kuglimz, interrupted, smiling mischievously. “And you, you are Crazy Man, that is, F’ash, is it not so?” His irresistible crooked grin made the bard smile in response.

“If that way you will have it, I am F’ash.”

The Bard and Turik soon became friends and when the latter departed the ship at Nyermersys, he invited F’ash to accompany him back to Santhala. Though F’ash knew Turik well enough by then to know that this was not an entirely altruistic suggestion (for Turik would get plenty of attention for bringing back “the only man who lived with the orcs and survived”) he appreciated the offer as well as the tempting suggestion that he would be able to contribute to the Compendium. For a bard, such an offer was irresistible, and he accepted gladly.
 


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