FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 1 Part 4c

FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 1 Part 4c

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Adwin repeated, “You’re a mage.” the idea seemed to be slowly sinking in.

Tipper, “So you’re not a Tannican priest. I though they were the only Tannicans who wielded magic.”

“Mostly, but Aggedrah are the exception to most things in Tannica, and a good many outside of Tannica for that matter.”

“You’re not a mind mage.” She confirmed to herself. As he could only assume she would not actually ask him that question.

Adwin piped up, “You could have mentioned something earlier.”

“Yeah, well, a lot of people tend to either fear or worship mages. I thought it best to wait until I’d seen how reasonable you two were before dropping that in the fire” He smiled at his own play on words, the other two seemed not to notice.

Tipper sat back down. “Alright. So-” she paused as if considering her words carefully. “I thought Aggedrah were travelling minstrels or performers with some drug base mystical philosophy.”

“Oh, to be sure, we are. Though there is more to it than that. We are without caste in a society ruled by conformity to status and adherence to the laws of the Imperial Church of Illumination. We can dine with the unclean and entertain the Empress and anything else between that and the other.”

Adwin looked curious, which was not dissimilar to his confused look, so perhaps he was not simple minded. Tipper looked on intently, watching him carefully as if she might catch him in a lie.

Mokha continued, “There are no formal schools for the Aggedrah, that would be rather contrary to the point. Though we do keep track of our lineages, for example, I was trained by a well established Aggedrah in Rohg Mohk Talh by the name of Moddar Ponh. He is best known for his ruddah on the complexities of sexuality. Ruddah would be ramblings in the Andalee, though in Tannica that word is more complex. Anyway, his master was Harrahk of the Mountain Leaf, and he was an ascetic mystic who is best known for his manipulations of fire magic.

“Does that clear things up?”

“Wow, that’s really interesting.” Adwin was bright eyed and obviously curious.

Tipper nodded, “A bit, though I don’t approve of the drugs you choose to dull yourself with.” She paused for a moment.”Anyway, its late and I’d like to make sure we are all on the same page about how we’re proceeding with the journey.”

Mokha rolled his eyes, “Alright, so you want us to keep travelling really fast, be polite to the locals and try to avoid unnecessary attachments to the locals. Though I can tell you that Sharlok’s Hold is an alright place. When Shak and I passed through about a month or so back everything seemed pretty civilized. Roads were well maintained, regularly spaced way stations and coach service available within the hold. And a surprising amount of opium, available in a variety of forms, despite there being no signs of poppies anywhere.”

Tipper scowled at him, “You’ve recently travelled through and you’re just getting around to telling us now. But yes, you have the basics. I guess I was just mentioning this for Adwin’s sake. I’m heading to bed. Don’t stay up late, it’ll be an early start.”

Adwin watched her go with his confused look, Mokha called after her.”Yes mother.”

Adwin chuckled. Turned back to the fire and dumped the last bits of fuel onto it. “Tell me more about the Aggedrah.”



A sixty foot tower, built atop an artificial mound, nearly a yat from the road, overlooked the border crossing into Sharlok’s Hold. The last few yat of road had been increasingly more road-like and there were more homesteads and smaller trails and paths cutting across country. Six riders approached from the tower. Mokha noticed Tipper was giving Adwin pointers on how to talk with guards and he was trying to point out that his friend Breggan was a guard in his hometown.

Surprisingly, it turned out that Adwin was from Hadden’s Fort, yet more surprising had been the information that the fort was in ruins, that there was no one of Tannican ancestry in the area and that the Willik family ruled. Whoever Willik was. When Mokha had left Swampdon with the idea of going to Elquin, his information had indicated that Hadden’s Fort was at least nominally a Tannican town of fair size and one could expect at least some of the trappings of civilization to be available there.

The other surprising piece of information had been that the Elquin border was many hundred of yat, further east than Mokha had been lead to believe. Also, neither he nor Shak had picked up on either of those facts, even when they had passed through Sharlok’s Hold. It just lent more to the argument of returning to GreensBridge. Perhaps he could find a more recent map or find someone who had travelled to or from Elquin within the last decade or so.

The border patrol stopped a few paces from the trio. Not much further along the road a stone way marker designated the beginning of Sharlok’s lands. Tipper stepped forward with a friendly smile and a raised hand. Mokha ignored the exchange with the guards and tried to think back to the information he and Shak had gathered about their trip east.

A few moments later one of the guards nudged his horse forward and addressed Mokha directly, breaking his thoughts of reflection.”You passed through a number of eight-days ago. Heading east you said. What happened?”

Mokha looked up at the young man and nodded, he took a breath “Oh hello, I’d not recognized you. Well, we ran afoul of those bandits you had warned us of. My companion escaped capture, but his whereabouts are unknown. And, if not for these two and the villagers of Lekas I’d still likely be a captive myself.”

The young guard looked to his companions and they in turn looked the trio over and then to each other.

The oldest of the guards, he had a nice copper finished breastplate, laughed and looked at Tipper, “I’d say that qualified as news from the road, you should have mentioned that.”

She shrugged, “Well, sure. As he said, the villagers of Lekas cleared out some bandits eighty yat east of here. That was about an eight-day ago. Around twenty bandits were killed, ”

“Yeah.” Adwin said, though the look he gave Tipper held all kinds of horrified wonder.

The older guard addressed Mokha, “What say you, bard? Is there a story worth the telling?”

Mokha gave a deep nod with a serious look, “I’m afraid I’ve not composed a verse for my gallant rescuers, though I can attest that Lef, the musician from Lekas, said he saw the back of the hideout where the bandit’s leadership dwelt. He claimed that Andisal and that one there,” he pointed at Tipper, “slew seven of the bandit, men and women that had been prepared to fight, in their own home.”

The leader of the group furrowed his brow and looked Tipper up and down. There was some excited exclamations from the others.

Adwin confirmed, “I saw it with my own eyes. Andisal killed five bandits when we first descended into the gorge.”

“And she’s still acting as marshal for them folk?”

Tipper answered, “She is, though she’d not call herself such.”

“And when you say gorge, you mean the one out near the old Loopee low house?”

“The bandits were using a big pile of rocks as a lookout camp.” Adwin confirmed.

“Well that is good news, to be sure. Enjoy your passage through the holding and luck for your journey.”

“Thanks to you.” Tipper replied, Adwin gave a bit of a wave as Mokha smiled and walked on.

They proceeded westward, the road was well packed and regularly travelled, wide enough in most places that two wagons could pass each other with little difficulty. Homesteads and villages were increasingly numerous as were small way stations along the road. Towards late afternoon a stagecoach rattled past them heading east, the driver waved. The wild grasses and shrubs of the plains gave way to gardens and farms, cultivated trees and hedgerows along property walls.

Adwin was impressed by the number of people, structures and even the road itself. He waved often to the locals, with a big smile, he really seemed to be enjoying the day. Even the number of side trails leading off the main road was a wonder to him. Mokha wished he was in a better mood, but it had been a number of days since he had a full nights sleep, he was sore and he was developing a headache.

They spent the night at an unmanned way station, Mokha was asleep before the meal and woke shortly after sunrise. Tipper handed him breakfast and mentioned something about a stream nearby where he could wash up if he wished. Mokha ate halfheartedly and managed to pull himself together by the time the other two were ready to depart. He followed along, still not feeling the best, coffee would have been nice, but so would a day or three to rest and relax.


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